Most people know Natalie Dau as a woman who kicks ass at Spartan Races. Last year, she placed 2nd overall (1st in her age group) in Singapore Spartan Sprint, 4th overall (1st in her age group) in Malaysia Spartan Sprint, as well as 8th in age group (first overall from Asia male & female) in Spartan World Championship.
But what people don’t know is that Natalie is a superwoman who can juggle all her roles in career, sports and family effectively. She is an athlete, trainer, writer, speaker, entrepreneur, brand ambassador, fitness influencer and mother. And she thrives in all of them. How does she do it? To find out, we had a chat with her.
RS: Tell us how you got into fitness and obstacle races!
Natalie: Fitness has always been a part of my life as I played sports as a child and then continued on as an adult, but I took it more seriously over the past few years. I was talked into doing an obstacle race with a friend the day before and had no idea what it was until I finished it. I loved it immediately and decided that I would train to do more.
RS: How do you juggle work, exercise and family?
Natalie: It definitely revolves around discipline and focus. Getting up early for a morning run or gym session when most people are asleep and then prioritising quality over quantity when it comes to how I spend my time. Family comes first, so of course between that, work and training there isn’t much time for anything else – but that is ok for me as I am doing the things that I love.
RS: How’s your workout schedule? What exercises do you do on a regular basis?
Natalie: I exercise every day and sometimes twice a day. I keep it varied, both to keep my body challenged and to keep myself interested! I go for a run 5 times a week, crossfit 3 times, track session 3 times and then some other gym work.
RS: What do you think is the greatest challenge faced by people over 40 in staying fit and healthy? What do you think is their greatest advantage?
Natalie: By the age of 40 you have a lot more bad habits than a 20-year-old, so it can be hard to change these and your mindset. But that should never be an excuse not to try something new or do something – it’s never too late.
There are so many advantages to being 40 and over – you usually have more time and money to dedicate to the things you love (health and fitness) and also know what you enjoy and what you want out of life. I think most people are more mentally tough at this age too (which has got me through many races beating people much younger!)
RS: You recently took up the sprint, what inspired you? Tell us about your preparation for World Master Athletic Race in Malaga, Spain, next year!
Natalie: I decided to take up sprinting to challenge myself to learn something new. I think it’s always important to test yourself mentally and physically. I don’t have a problem of putting myself out there and love learning, especially from experts.
I am throwing as much as I can at it and have some great coaches (Fabian and Shawn) who are helping me with much-needed techniques – so it’s lots of track sessions and mobility work in the gym.
RS: Will you be venturing into long distance running in the future?
Natalie: Yes, I would like to do a Reebok Ragnar run in the USA this year, so I am hoping to make this happen as I love the concept of this relay in amazing places.
RS: What’s your next goal in sports?
Natalie: Completely challenging myself and learning to run on the track! Also trying to defend my Asian CrossFit Open age group title in 2018.
RS: Does your daughter share the same passion as you?
Natalie: YES! She actually started to do track before me. She also loves Spartan Races, basketball and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
RS: You just launched new customised fitness programmes, tell us about them.
Natalie: There are many fitness programmes that can be found online today to cater to the growth in health conscious and fitness driven individuals. Unfortunately, not all the programmes are designed by credible experts or authentic influencers who adapt to the local community and provide a tried and tested 360˚ approach.
My tailored programmes are suited for the busy homemakers to the jet-setting CEOs, from exercises to do at home to travel health hacks. They are easy to follow at any level with exercise videos, eating plans, and lifestyle tips curated by me based on my personal experience and expertise over the years as an athlete, coach and entrepreneur.
Currently, there are 3 programmes: 7-day Kickstart Challenge (designed for the fitness newbies or those who fell off the fitness wagon), The 40’s Project (created for anyone who is 40 years old and above keen to improve their fitness level or change their usual routine) and Personalised Get Fit & Healthy (suitable for any level from beginners without any fitness experience to athletes taking it to the next level). So far, the feedback was great! More fitness programmes are coming soon this year, including Abs & Arms programme.