I first met Amanda, Founder of Siyaflo, professional photographer and yoga instructor, at a local Business Event (Vancouver Business Babes – my event summaries here) . I was delighted when she asked to interview me for her health and wellness blog! You can read the full interview below and at her website – https://siyaflow.com.
Interview conducted by Amanda Webb
We talked about things like:
- Where to get healthy food
- How to get your body ready for competition
- The cool event she’s hosting on February 6th
- Lots more, check it out
Tells us a bit about yourself!
My name is Po On (two words )
I chose the name poymeetsworld because I grew up watching TGIF with the popular show Boy Meets World! I also love to travel, explore and learn new things, and created my own bucket-list style blog to share my lessons and experiences of how I’m navigating this world. That’s everything from going Hang-gliding in Rio, exploring ruins in Angkor Wat, performing in a burlesque group and going bouldering!
Amazing! And you’re a body builder! Run us through your daily meals when you’re training for a bodybuilding competition.
People always assume I must be starving when I’m on my bodybuilding diet, but really, I’m eating 6 meals a day so that I can keep my metabolism running! It’s a lot of protein, to build and preserve muscle. I also eat gluten-free carbohydrates just before my workout (to fuel my exercises) and immediately post workout. Fats are kept moderate to low.
So some typical meals could be eggs with spinach cooked in coconut oil for breakfast, overnight oats mixed with protein powder and MCT oil as a pre-workout, and then chicken breast, baked yams and roasted brussels sprouts as a post workout meal.
[For an overnight oats recipe check out our interview with Healthy Baker, Anna Dueck]
What is your typical workout routine when you’re training for a competition?
Fasted cardio and weight sessions in the gym! Fasted cardio means doing cardio exercises on an empty stomach. This could be first thing in the morning, or a few hours after your last meal and before bed and helps to burn fat.
Weight sessions in the gym are 5x/week usually splitting between lower body days and upper body.
How much water do you drink daily?
When I’m training for a bodybuilding competition I drink 3-4 L of water! In the final week, I drink 5 L!
What changes in your workout when you’re not training?
Less fasted cardio! I still aim to make it to the gym 4-5 times a week so this really is a lifestyle activity for me.
How do you avoid injury while training or exercising?
The key thing is good form. If I can’t do an exercise with proper form, I lower the weight.There is no shame in that!
So true. What is your favourite type of exercise? Why?
I really love leg day! Your biggest muscles are in your legs, which means you can lift the heaviest weights with them. It’s a really great feeling when you realize how strong you are, and what youe body is capable of!
What are your top healthy habits?
It’s true that you can’t out exercise a bad diet! So my best tips and suggestions for habits involve your diet and relationship with food.
If you can’t fit in time to go to the gym or do cardio, at least make sure you are eating healthy! That means nourishing your body with real, whole food. Think clean protein (chicken, fish, eggs) and lots of vegetables!
I have a sweet tooth, so if I know I want to eat clean, I keep junk food out of the house!
It’s totally fine to enjoy a decadent slice of chocolate cake, or go out for a fancy meal once in awhile, so save those moments for when you know you will be with friends and family. I am also a firm believer that if you’re going to eat a treat, it better be DAMN good! Like a Thomas Haas Double Baked Almond Croissant.
Haha those sound amazing. I’ll have to try one. And I really agree about making sure you’re enjoying decadent foods with people you care about – it makes the experience so much better!
Tell us about your event coming up on Feb 6th!
It’s my 3rd Young Professionals Mingler .
I’m super excited for it, since the demand has been so high! I’m passionate about health and wellness, personal development, lifelong learning and sharing knowledge. One thing I noticed from my work and volunteer (I’m the Vice-Chair for the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Young Professional’s Program), is that there are a lot of networking events out there for business professionals, entrepreneurs or people in tech. Well, what if you want to meet people based on their interests and passions, rather than what it says on a business card?
I have a lot of experience in event planning so I decided I would fill that gap and create my own series of mingler events to bring together people in Vancouver, in a friendly environment, to meet other like-minded individuals! I invite inspirational speakers to share a few lessons, and also incorporate facilitated discussions so that everyone will be guaranteed to meet someone new (this includes the introverts!)
I’m also a huge believer in value! So in addition to having fantastic speakers and creating a space for people to make new connections, I also wanted a way for people to stay connected and put the healthy tips they would learn into practice. Enter, fun door prizes and a complimentary activity for all – Soul Cycle spin classes!!
What health-related things have people been able learn about from the events?
In the past I had speakers ranging from a Pro NHL Hockey Player talking about how to make it as an elite athlete, a Cancer “thriver” who reminded us how to live each day fully, and a 1st place competitive bodybuilder sharing advice on how to stick to your goals!
I wrote a detailed description from my last event here:
Very cool. We saw that Soul Cycle instructor Daniela Dib will be speaking at your next event and we’re super excited! What made you choose her to speak?
She’s got incredible energy and I love her spin classes! I wrote a whole blog article which I will summarize by saying, Go to Soul Cycle – it’s cheaper than therapy!
I’m so grateful for their support of my event – we share the same vision of health being more than just physical.
Here’s a brief description from their website: It’s so much more than just a workout — it’s a powerful mind-body experience. We ride together as a pack in candlelit studios to the rhythm of one-of-a-kind playlists. We’re coached by magnetic instructors, who support us, coach us and push us to reach our personal bests. We sweat, reach, and recover, together.\
Let’s learn more about you. Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it like (ex. Meditation, coffee, journaling, gratitude practice)?
I’m currently doing a Damn Early Days accountability program, offered by the creators of the local hiking and adventure group, Chasing Sunrise. The premise is you wake up every day for 21 work days at 4:30 AM, to create space for yourself to get to things that you normally put off.
So I’m excited to share that I have had a really fun start to 2018 with this routine!
I wake up and read the daily inspirational messages from the group. Then I do a quick session of fasted cardio. Some days I will also fit in my weight training session, and I’ll also do some writing – my To-Do list for the day, my blog, notes to friends and family.
Wow impressive. I’ll be interested to hear how you feel once it’s finished! Do you meditate? If so, what is your practice like?
What a relevant question! I would like to incorporate more meditation into my daily practice. I like guided meditation, I’ve tried a few apps, and also went to a meditation workshop that incorporated movements, so that you can have that to align to your breath and focus your attention to the movements and breath.
Do you do yoga? Why or why not?
I have done yoga before and I really enjoyed it. I’m learning though, not to spread myself too thin and just focus on a few passions at a time. For now that is my fitness, my events, and the early days for reading and writing.
Do you stretch a lot/at all? If so, what do you find you always need to stretch out?
I stretch after working out! It feels especially good to stretch in a sauna! Love stretching out my hamstrings because I work out my legs several days a week and glutes, and also hip flexors because of my desk job during the day!
[If you want to learn more about stretching check out our interview with Fascial Stretch Therapist, Carolyn Schmidt]
What other forms of exercise do you love, if any?
Other than weight training and spin classes, I love hiking in the summer! In Vancouver we have nature’s stairmaster, the Grouse Grind, and I’ve had a weekly grind club the past few summers! It is fun tracking progress!
What does it take to become a successful competitive bodybuilder?
I really believe that anyone who has the courage to step on that competition stage is already a success. You might not place and win a medal, but just going through the process of a bodybuilding prep – the discipline of a clean diet and multiple sessions at the gym a day – is a huge accomplishment in itself!
Photo Credit: David Ford
What do you think of the stigma around women and bodybuilding competitions?
I think there is a stigma that everyone is “on something”, and while that may be true for some competitors, it’s not the case for everyone. I also think women used to be scared of lifting weights for the fear of getting “too bulky”, but in order to get really big, you have to be training really hard and taking something “extra”.
Healthy food can be expensive, where do you usually shop? Do you have any tips for places to buy certain foods?
Healthy food can be expensive and it’s unfortunate that all the fast and convenient food out there is usually very high in sugar, fat and salt.
I like to shop at the small markets to buy fresh vegetables because it’s much cheaper than Whole Foods and even Safeway. I also have a Costco membership for bulk staples like eggs and chicken.
I have a new tip for this past year, that will help me with my upcoming bodybuilding competition as well: My household has been ordering healthy meal delivery (pre-cooked meals) from 2 Guys with Knives for over a year and that makes a huge difference! When you factor in the amount of time it takes to for groceries, prepping food, cooking, cleaning the kitchen – it can be hours! So I justify the extra cost of pre-made meals by thinking of all the time I just saved!
I’m thrilled that the local, friendly and authentic team from 2 Guys with Knives are going to donate another door prize to my event to support young professionals with their goals and healthy habits! They are also offering a special promo code to my supporters for 3 complimentary entrees with their first order!!
Awesome! Besides eating right, obviously exercise is important to being healthy. How do you suggest that people fit exercise into their extremely busy lives these days?
You don’t have to do everything at once! Start small, like taking the stairs, or once it’s nice, bike more instead of driving! Have an accountability partner, someone else who also wants to incorporate exercise. That’s really key to staying on top of your fitness program when you’re not feeling like it. Knowing that you have a buddy waiting for you at the gym for a workout, or the park for a run, will incentivize you to get up and go too!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for interviewing me and supporting my upcoming Young Professionals Mingler Event! I look forward to seeing you and your network of readers there!
Thanks Po On! Looking forward to it!
June 2018 Update!
Ran into Amanda and Emily at Equinox! So fun to see these ladies at the gym on a weekend where we were all living out our healthiest lives possible 🙂