Happy International Women’s Day!

In preparation for International Women’s Day this Sunday 8th March, we sat down with Annika Kefli, a PT who trains several of her clients in our Gym Pods. Trust us when we say this: if you get the privilege to meet Annika, you’ll immediately be blown away by her positivity! Check out this quick interview and get to know her. Give her a follow on IG! @annikakefli  

Can you tell us why it’s so important for you to stay fit and how it improves your overall wellness?

Fitness changed my life and the daily habits I’ve learnt through it has made me the person I am today, full of passion and grit in everything I do. Not many people understand that getting up in the morning to train instead of hitting the snooze button can soon garner the habit of being disciplined. Without discipline it is very hard for one to succeed and be at their fullest potential. Moving on, simple things like practicing delay gratifications, like saying no to junk food that generally serve very little fuel to the body, will soon create a habit of patience. Having patience in everything I do, taught me to be a better and kinder human being in general. Next, consistency. Being consistent in prepping my food every single day has improved my lifestyle tremendously. Knowing that my meals are healthy in general, will then improve my health in the long run. Having discipline, patience and consistency in fitness will make it easier for me to inculcate it to my daily life. Finally, staying fit and healthy makes me feel so damn good about myself, oh did I mention I’m always full of energy too! Of course the physical changes I see in myself is great and rewarding but it is nothing compared to all the holistic habits I’ve learnt through fitness!  

You recently posted about your own fitness journey comparing over 10 years. What would be your advice to those who want to make changes in their lifestyle but are afraid of such commitment?

Fear is not a physical thing. Fear is something you create in your mind, just like self doubt. You need to fight that negative thoughts of “What Ifs.” What if people are watching me in the gym? What if I didn’t manage to lose weight? What if people make fun of the skinny me? Too many times people fail at something, just because they listen to the self made fear in their head. Take the leap and GO! Go to that spin class that you’ve always wanted to try! Go that morning run you said you would do every night before bed. Sign up for that MMA class that is always subconsciously playing in your mind! Enter the gym and start SOMETHING. If you are going to wait for the right time to start your fitness journey, there WILL NEVER be the right time or the MOST IDEAL situations. Remember discipline is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going. The best investment you’ll ever invest on is yourself!  

Many women look up to you as a role-model because you are so positive and up-lifting. Where do you find your own inspiration?

I receive inspiration from almost anyone I interact with. Unlike many, I view fitness holistically and try to be like a sponge and absorb as much as I can from others. I ALWAYS believe there is room for improvement. The student that refused to give up when she couldn’t jump through the hula hoops, had me saying “Wow I need to have that kind of resilience”. That powerlifter whom I saw just lifting a huge log would fire me up and got me saying “Damn she is strong! I need to work on my own strength.” That iron man finisher that I spoke to who just completed 12 hours of non stop physical exertion got me thinking “Girl!! You need to take inspiration from this and work on your cardiovascular endurance!” That physique bikini competitor whom just completed a grueling 16 weeks of dieting, just to be in the best shape of her life on stage would spark a light in me and reminded myself how being discipline with the food I consumed can level up my physique to the next level! Also, to be honest, most of the time the people who inspire me the most are my own clients. When I see my client who has 3 kids, juggling their careers and motherhood, and still manages to show up for training no matter how tired they are. Salute. When I see my clients, who are at their heaviest in their life fighting their inner demons and are trying their best to follow every protocol I gave them. Damn thats inspiring! When I see my clients who shared their deepest darkest struggles with marriage, eating disorders yet still put in 110% in their food/training. Suddenly all my excuses feel so small. I am constantly reminded of how amazing all these women are!  

What is one stereotype about women in fitness that is absolutely not true, and how can we fight against it?

That we are petty and always in competition with one another. This is definitely not true! You have no idea how much we secretly look up to each other! I think being in the conservative asian culture we are in, we rarely vocalise or express how we feel about one another. I always make a point to come up to another lady whom I am impressed with, and tell her how great she looks or how strong she is when I saw her lifting some serious weight or how cute her outfit is! Normally their faces light up and with just a compliment, you made them smile and they will always reply positively. Now go ahead, leave that comment on that girl’s Instagram when you see her hustling in the gym! Tell that sister from your yoga class her outfit is on fire! DM that girl who secretly has inspired you to start your own fitness journey. Let each other know how amazing we are and we can create such an uplifting society!  

This International Women’s Day, what is the ONE piece of advice you want to send to women in our community who are looking to get started on their own fitness journeys?

I want you to know that you do not need to be at your goal weight to celebrate the body that you have NOW. Yes, you only have one body so take good care of it but understand and acknowledge that you body serves you more than just looks. Love yourself in every journey or phases you are at. As you embark in your fitness journey, there will be highs and lows. Celebrate the good days, and on the low days, always remember that it shall pass and you will learn from every struggles and failures. Women sometimes are too hard on themselves. We tend to always put others first. Our partners, our kids, our parents, our friends before us. Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take good care of yourself and always spread love and kindness to other women around you. You just might not know who you are inspiring!
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