Georgina Poh: This Engaging Fitness Expert May be Young, but She’s Also Unstoppable!
Georgina Poh Hui Shan may only be 22 but her resume would put someone twice her age to shame. The Optimum Nutrition-Sponsored Athlete, Nike Influencer, American Council on Exercise member, Certified Personal Trainer, Nike NTC Trainer and TRX Certified Trainer is such a dynamo, she almost takes your breath away! She goes to university while juggling multiple roles yet she never misses a minute of her training schedule.
Here's what we like most about Georgina: She never counts calories. You read that right. She believes that life is tedious enough without ruining one's day counting calories. Bet you like that idea, too!
RS: How and when did you become enamored with fitness training?
Georgina: Around two years ago. I was interested in the whole culture of running and training since I wanted to see how strong I could get. I wanted to know everything about improving myself and my health and it didn't take me long to realize that fitness training had the power to change everything about my life, including my mental and physical stamina and my resolve.
RS: Your resume is impressive; certified exercise personal trainer, Nike NTC trainer and TRX certified trainer. How did you achieve these credentials at such a young age?
Georgina: I was blessed to have these opportunities come my way. FitLion.com first contacted me. They said that they thought these designations would be good opportunities for me to improve my status, image and exposure within Singapore's fitness community and I didn't have to think about saying yes very long. I started with the ACE PT certificate and just kept going.
RS: What does being a "Nike influencer" mean? What are your responsibilities? With so many brands on the market, what made you choose Nike?
Georgina: I was really privileged to be selected as an influencer for Nike! That's why this is such an important role for me to play. I already favoured the Nike brand over other fitness product manufacturers because I identify with their corporate mission and I like the fact that they are dedicated to making gear that's both functional and beautiful. The people at Nike create products that people want to buy and wear. Nobody knows the athletic human body like Nike!
RS: Can you let us in on your training routine and tell us more about it?
Georgina: There's no more beautiful or hospitable place for training runs than MacRitchie Reservoir where lots of the original primeval forested areas still flourish. I'm even inspired by the rubber trees, reminders of our nation's 19th century history when the Central Catchment Nature Reserve was first established by the British government. I like to do a quick 5km run around the reservoir on Sundays and enjoy all of the beauty.
RS: We know you've only been into fitness for a couple of years, but have those two years included marathons or races? If so, tell us about your most memorable and challenging experiences.
Georgina: I've not taken part in marathons because I'm not an endurance runner, but that doesn't mean that I haven't undertaken group running activities. I once participated in an X-Run organized by students who were trying to raise awareness and support for disabled athletes. This was a particularly meaningful experience because I had to do the run with my right hand tied to my partner's left hand as a way of experiencing how difficult it can be to live with a handicap. But we finished the 5km run successfully and we certainly made our point!
RS: You offer lots of beauty, health and gear tips on your website and we already know you adore Nike products, but what's on your "must have" list when it comes to essentials you can't live without?
Georgina: I couldn't survive without my trail running shoes, gym/training shoes, sports bras and tights.
RS: In your opinion, are running and training a good way to lose tummy fat and achieve a slimmer body?
Georgina: Resistance training and running are ideal for people striving for slimmer bodies, but it can be difficult to target specific areas like the belly. My advice is to focus on the entire body rather than isolated areas—to be consistent with your training and running—and, importantly, be patient. People with tummy fat didn't put it on overnight or over weeks and months. Being patient is as important as being faithful to one's fitness routines.
RS: What do you recommend to people who want a strength-training program designed exclusively for runners?
Georgina: They can try my schedule. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I lift weights. I focus on chest, shoulders and biceps on Monday, on my back and triceps on Wednesday and concentrate on my legs on Fridays. I suggest repeating this circuit four times to get strong: Squats (10 reps); Alternating Squats (20 reps); Plank (30 seconds), Push-ups (10 reps); Dumbbell rows (10 reps with each hand) and Crunches (12 reps). Be consistent and your strength will improve dramatically.
RS: You tell everyone that counting calories is tedious, but controlling one's diet isn't easy. What's your secret to a clean and healthy diet that doesn't make one feel deprived?
Georgina: Simple: All things in moderation. Eat slowly so you feel full sooner, don't overeat and always share your dessert!
RS: You may be young, but you're inspiring. Who inspires you?
Georgina: I don' have a role model or someone who inspires me because I have the capacity to inspire myself—to push and motivate myself, even when things get tough. I never compete with others because I'm too busy competing with myself as I try always to be a better person in many aspects of my life.
RS: Fitness trends come and go. These days, Pilates, Yoga and Zumba attract women, so do you think women will stop going to the gym?
Georgina: You are correct when you say that trends and even fads come and go, so this is a pretty subjective thought. Every woman needs to decide what she wishes to achieve and then she must find the appropriate fitness program to meet that goal. I enjoy taking the classes you just mentioned but I can't imagine I will ever stop resistance training and running, so you'll see me at the gym in the future and I doubt I will be there alone!
RS: What's your impression of the Singapore fitness scene—do you think it's important to promote it? Also, do you think that there's a growing demand for female trainers and coaches here?
Georgina: Our nation has made a commitment to healthy living that touches every aspect of our lives, so more and more Singaporeans are adopting lifestyles that prioritize fitness. As a society, we say "Health is wealth" and we live that motto, because without being healthy, it doesn't matter how much money you have and we realise it! And yes, I believe that the demand for female trainers and coaches in Singapore is going to be greater in the future because of this universal emphasis on fitness.
RS: Have you set goals and made plans for 2015?
Georgina: I intend to spend 2015 improving myself mentally and physically while I continue to share my love and passion for fitness and healthy lifestyles with everyone I meet!
She's just 22 and already Georgina Poh has the world at her beck and call thanks to her great philosophical outlook, sensible attitude and, dare we mention, her dazzling smile? What's your impression of Georgina? Do you think her name is destined to be splashed across Singapore some day as an example of our nation's best and brightest fitness stars?