Colombian personal trainer, Sara May Perez, is someone who is extremely motivated. You don't even have to speak to her to tell, her muscular physique and energy says it all. The ex-professional mountain biker and current TripleFit trainer grew up with fitness engraved into her as a passion, from swim classes to choosing the gym over clubbing with her peers. As a personal trainer, Sara May believes that it isn't about just getting your client into shape, but setting an example for them to realise the importance of healthy living.
We speak to her about her path through fitness, from Colombia to Singapore.
When I was young, my mother introduced me to professional swimming. I practised from five years old till I was 14. I wasn't really good, but it cultivated my passion for sports.
When I stopped swimming, I tried all kinds of sports. Basketball, volleyball, football. I was so motivated to just do sports, while all my friends were more focused on going to the discotheques or bars. Sports was my life. After graduating, I wanted to further my studies in sports, but my mother wasn't approving. She felt it wouldn't be able to support my life. So I went to study management studies. After the third semester, I decided to follow my heart, and join a sports university. That's where it began.
My parents didn't support my new career for obvious reasons. I had to start teaching classes to support my education. While I was studying, I also went to attain many certifications, and eventually went into personal training.
I've been in the industry for 15 years. Five years ago, I was working with Les Mills Latin-America as a training instructor. That company had connections with another gym in Singapore, and they contract people from Les Mills to come over. I applied, so they brought me over to Singapore from Colombia. After a year and a half there, I came to TripleFit.
My specialties are functional training, bodyweight workouts, and I enjoy when people come to me asking to lose weight healthily. I like helping people correct bad habits, getting started with a right diet and such.
Girls in Latin-America are very vain. They care a lot about their bodies. They will do plastic surgery and train three to four hours a day. They take supplements, fat burners and such. People who want to get fit in Singapore aren't as obsessed about appearances, and they are very motivated to push themselves harder. I find that people here don't give up as easily.
I eat clean because I believe you are what you eat. I try to choose healthy foods, and have as much natural foods as possible. Processed food is so full of chemicals, whereas natural food is purer.
In the morning, I wake at 5am, and I have a glass of warm lemon juice. After that, I'll have greek yogurt with berries and nuts. I come to work, teach a class, and have five egg whites after my morning class. More classes follow, and if I have the time, I'll eat more almonds or fruits, or maybe a protein shake. My lunch is protein-heavy, with sweet potatoes, some greens and brown rice. Around 5-6pm, I have more nuts as a snack, and then for dinner, another protein-heavy meal.
I take vitamins for sporting women in the evenings, vitamin C and fish oil in the morning.
My favourite cheat meals are pizza, hamburgers, french fries, tiramisu and chocolates. In honesty, I have very good genes that allow me to eat whatever I want and not gain weight, but I try not to. I usually have two cheat meals during the weekend.
I train twice a day. Not because its my job but its something I love to do, I would do it even if I had a different profession. In the morning, I do functional training with isolated exercises. Sometimes, I'll create a circuit for myself. Or, I'll do an upper body workout with push-ups, pull-ups and dips. I don't really train my legs as much as my butt, so I try to avoid carrying heavy weights with my legs. In the evening, I do cardio, either a jog or a HIIT circuit. I train six days a week.
Sometimes people ask me about my age, and they refuse to believe I'm 38. Days where I wake up and feel lazy, I remind myself of my age to feel motivated to workout. Most of the time, I do really enjoy fitness and my lifestyle. I enjoy saying no to parties in favour of training, and when people ask me, "what are you training for?" I say, "myself".
Sara May trains and teaches at TripleFit, located at 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk #-62, Singapore 039596.
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