Fit And Fab

Keeping supple having a ball with tennis

Ms Chow says playing tennis improves one's metabolic function and lowers the resting heart rate and blood pressure. Her love for sports, including badminton, track and field and netball, also helped her to stay fit during her school days.
Ms Chow says playing tennis improves one's metabolic function and lowers the resting heart rate and blood pressure. Her love for sports, including badminton, track and field and netball, also helped her to stay fit during her school days.ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

ShopBack Singapore country head Josephine Chow tells Joan Chew about the lure of the game

Q What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

A Tennis is a great sport to keep you in shape. It improves your metabolic function, lowers your resting heart rate and blood pressure, improves your muscle tone, especially in the legs and abdomen, and gives you strength and flexibility.

The best part is, it's fun and you get to do this with friends. Every match you play is different.

Q What would you do if you miss an exercise session?

A I won't fret too much about it. Life goes on. I'll either do extra time in my next session to make up for it or just sit on it.

  • Bio Box


    Age: 27

    Weight: 49kg

    Height: 1.58m

    When Ms Chow was six, her family migrated to Singapore from the United States.

    The American citizen is now the country head at ShopBack Singapore, an online cashback platform.

    She recalled how she accompanied her father – now a 65-year-old project director – to his tennis matches when she was a child and played mini-tennis with him during breaks in the game.

    Mini-tennis is an introduction to tennis for children and is played on small courts with short rackets and soft balls.

    At 11, she joined CHIJ (Katong) Primary’s mini-tennis club “for fun”, but was good enough to enter her first tennis competition. It did not matter that the team did not win. Ms Chow was spotted by a coach.

    She went on to play competitively in Singapore’s junior tournaments.

    When she qualified for the Tennis Elite Squad of the Singapore Tennis Association at 13, she trained five times a week, for three hours each session, until she was 17.

    She has dialled down her training due to work commitments, but coaches three children in tennis during their school holidays.

Q Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

A In my primary and secondary school days, I was really skinny, or what some might call scrawny.

I had to alter most of the clothes my mum bought for me.

This was because I would rather go to the playground and run about than "waste" my time eating.

This love for sports was why I had five extra-curricular activities at one time - mini-tennis (tennis played on a smaller court, with a plastic racket and lightweight sponge tennis balls), badminton, track and field, netball, and arts and crafts.

They really helped to keep me fit and fab.

Over time, with an increased appetite that came with age, I managed to get my weight up to the average for my age group.

Q What is the biggest sacrifice you've made in the name of fitness?

A I started panicking when I realised that I had put on some weight rather quickly while still in school.

I cut out all soft drinks, which was considered a big deal for me, and ate no carbohydrates for an entire month. I was still having intensive tennis training then.

I lost 2kg to 3kg after that. It's amazing how I survived without carbs for that long. It's not healthy and I will not recommend it.

Q What is your diet like?

A To be honest, I do not track my diet. I love to eat and I indulge in things that are really bad for me, such as Coke, and tubs of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

Instead, I make sure that I exercise a fair bit after pigging out to make up for my sinful acts.

I make it a point to have three proper meals a day and they are mostly made up of carbohydrates.

I try to avoid suppers in general.

Q What are your indulgences?

A I snack almost every day, but in moderation, on chocolate biscuits, ice cream and so on.

On weekends after dinner, I'll usually go to a dessert house for some sweets.

My younger sister is amazing at baking, so I enjoy her treats, especially her molten chocolate lava cake.

Q What do you do to relax?

A Each week, I organise at least one after-work gathering with my friends, be it for drinks, movies or video-gaming sessions.

At home, I love to watch television shows and read articles online - what I consider my "alone time".

Q What are the three most important things in your life?

A Family, friends and career. Family is like my backbone, friends are my limbs and my career is my "growth hormone" - without it, I cannot grow as a person. I cannot function as a whole without any one of these.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery and why?

A No. I'm happy with the way I look and even if I'm 70 and wrinkly, I'm pretty sure I'd still love myself for being who I am.

Q Do you think you are sexy?

A I think I have decent legs, but I prefer the description of sporty to sexy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline 'Keeping supple having a ball with tennis'. Print Edition | Subscribe