Sometimes all you need to boost your career, is someone to inspire you. Marie Claire worked with four industry experts – a celebrity chef, a fashion designer, a fitness Youtuber, and a marketing director – and paired them up with four of our readers who aspire to gain an insight into their world. After a week of the mentorship programme, we sat down for a chat with body fitness and health duos, Joanna Soh and Bella Ridhuwan about their experience and achievements.
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Joanna Soh, Fitness YouTuber, Personal Trainer, and Nutrition Coach
You started your fitness channel a couple of years ago. Recently you’ve expanded to HER Network. Tell us more about that.
HER Network is an extension of my current YouTube channel. Everything is still digital, but instead of doing fitness content on my own, I’ll be working with five to six other female creators. The whole idea is to create an online female network that empowers women. Besides fitness, other elements that I’m looking at will include lifestyle, self development, life advice, parenting, food, and healthy recipes. Other content creators will include Xandria Ooi, Charis Ow, Nika Karan, Jodie Akinci, and Soo Hua. I believe living a wholesome life is not just about fitness, it encompasses other elements as well, so I have goals to make this the biggest female network in Asia.
What do you think about the mentor-mentee intiative?
I think it’s about time that we have this kind of programme! It’s a great way for me to be able to share my knowledge and experiences with another person who might consider embarking on the same journey as me. It’s one thing to tell people about what you do, and try to get them to understand it, but it’s another thing when they get to be in your shoes and actually experience it for themselves.
What’s the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome being a full-time fitness trainer and a Youtuber?
To begin with, it’s definitely the part where you’re doing everything on your own. To keep that motivation and consistency going can be tough at times – you’re filming, recording, and editing on your own. During my time with Bella, I got her involved in all the different things that I do on a daily basis from creating workout videos, writing meal plans, editing videos, sharing on social media, engaging with my followers, and managing my company. Although it was only five days, I trust that she was able to grasp how much work and effort goes into creating video content and most importantly the work ethic behind it.
What keeps you going every single day?
When I know that I’m helping people out there. I know that my videos are making an impact, changing lives around the world. Whenever I receive feedback from people saying ‘I’ve lost 20 kilos from watching your workout videos!’, ‘I’m not binge eating anymore!’, ‘I love my body now!’ – those are the kind of things that keep me going every day.
We hear a lot about weight loss, but weight gain has been the lesser known sister. Can you share any thoughts on that?
I would start off by saying weight gain is a lot tougher than weight loss. Weight loss is not simple, but if you have the discipline and if you really work for it, you will lose half to one kilo a week. But for weight gain, you’re looking at one kilo a month. You have to eat a lot more than what you’re currently eating. You have to choose calorie-dense food like nuts and seeds; but at the same time it doesn’t mean that you can just eat junk. The kind of workout that you need to do will require a lot of strength training as well, so it’s not body weight workout – they’ll have to lift weights and invest in going to the gym. You have to push a lot more if you want to gain weight.
What’s your favourite go-to spot for hiking?
I’ve only been to Gasing and Wawasan in Puchong. Though I didn’t really enjoy Wawasan, it was too easy! [laughs] One of the toughest I’ve done was Bukit Bendera in Penang. I didn’t do the trail, I did the road. I also recently did a hiking challenge in Pangkor Laut Resort. I love hiking. Every time I travel to different countries, I will try to find a different spot. The most beautiful hiking spot I’ve been to was Greece, Meteora.