Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Filza Dorah Sim
Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit up on or !
Occupation: Personal Trainer / Co-Founder of Bold Fitness
Status: Married with three children
Food: I eat intuitively now as I don’t have any extreme aesthetic or performance goals. I am working on a personal healthy sustainable weight loss goal so I keep my diet generally balanced and in appropriate portions. My priority is to maintain my energy levels to stay alert when working, and to have enough strength to work out and recover, steadily lose weight and get leaner over the weeks, and most importantly, to keep my fat levels within the healthy range.
Exercise: I do weights training about four times a week, and light cardio four times a week as well. I try to fit in one long hike once a week. I do some stretching and mobility exercises every day.
Were you an active kid?
Yes. Since I could remember, I was always running around with my cousins and neighbours playing tag or hide-and-seek around the whole neighbourhood. I was also always playing sports for school, from track and field to badminton to netball to touch rugby.
Throughout my schooling years, I was in dance too. I started going to the gym to work out with weights when I was 18 – that was more than 20 years ago.
What did you get into as you got older?
I did less sports and games as I didn’t have any friends who wanted to continue post-school. Thus, I started to focus a lot more on working out at the gym as it’s a solo activity and I was really liking the results that I saw on my body.
How did you get into bodybuilding?
Since young I’ve always been drawn towards strong, athletic women. I’m always fascinated by how their image portrays strength and determination and I wanted to look like that too. I wanted to look lean and tough and different from most of the girls out there.
At that time, California Fitness was one of the most amazing gyms in town and I managed to get a few days of free membership through a friend. From there, I got hooked and saved up whatever money I could to fund my bodybuilding passion.
What are some of the highlights of your bodybuilding journey?
I won my first competition – the WBPF National Bodybuilding Championships 2015 – in the Women’s Athletic Physique Open category. I also came in first runner-up in an international bodybuilding competition in 2016.
What were some of the challenges?
The dieting was so hard, especially when I’m such a foodie and have such a sweet tooth. The problem with dieting is that the more you try to be on a strict diet, the more you want to cheat on it. But if you’re not on a diet, controlling what or how much you eat is actually not that difficult.
Another big challenge was the hard intensive training that you cannot skip, because you are on a tight schedule and the programme does not wait for you to take your time to recover. It takes a huge toll physically on the body, so you either have to keep training through injuries or you just feel so exhausted all the time. It’s really not for one who cannot maintain a disciplined lifestyle.
Do you intend to compete again?
Not really. I have too much on my plate right now with the business, clients, kids, aging parents, etc.
What led you to start Bold Fitness?
Years back, there were only a couple of gyms that served as a co-sharing working space for freelance personal trainers. But what happened was that the gyms would either close down after two to three years and we would have to move to another gym and then another, or the gym conditions would be so bad that none of our clients want to come for training.
I got frustrated and thought to myself that I had to do this myself. So I convinced my husband and a colleague to join forces and we built our own gym, Bold Fitness, for freelancers. Fast forward 4.5 years, we have expanded to a bigger space and now have in-house trainers as well.
What did you do before you became a personal trainer?
I was a primary school teacher for seven years! I definitely feel my career option now is more suited for me, something I’m passionate about and something I do well in and look forward to. I feel so blessed that I can actually turn my passion into my career.
When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
Apart from the normal teenage hood insecurities, I’ve always felt confident about myself and my capabilities.
Did you go through any adversities in life that made you change how you viewed life?
I went through a divorce 16 years ago and the whole experience made me tougher than ever. Since then nothing much can make me cry or crumble really. I’ve learnt that life always goes on and it’s up to you how you can pick yourself up from life’s obstacles and make things better for yourself.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
I cannot recall a time where I was not confident of myself. Not in an arrogant way, but more of my positive thinking I guess. I’ve always been the sort who thinks that there are more important things to life than looks or just one aspect of things, that there’s always a different side of things that can be celebrated or applauded and life is never one-dimensional, so I don’t get caught up with being upset or unhappy with one thing that I can’t do well in or look good in. I guess what I’m saying is I keep a positive mindset?
Did you ever struggle with your body?
Not really, except for competition period. I’ve never been too concerned if my body weight goes up or down, or if my body goes out of shape or not. I guess because I know I still maintain a pretty healthy and fit lifestyle and I know I’m still stronger and fitter than average so I don’t dwell too much on that perfect body shape or body weight.
There are times when I do want to bring down my weight or tighten up and lean down, but I give myself time and a realistic goal so I never really see it as a struggle. I always tell myself it’s a journey that allows ups and downs, and I can celebrate the small successes and if I do falter – in my diet and training – it’s perfectly ok and I just have to quickly back on track. I guess again back to that positive mindset and not being too hard on myself helps. It doesn’t mean that I’m not motivated but just that I don’t see it a point to add too much stress to this.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Pretty much! There’s more I would like to achieve for sure. I would love to be slightly leaner and be as strong as I was when I was younger, but at this point I think I’m pretty content. My health statistics are all within good healthy range, my strength is above average and I do have some peekaboo abs. I’m already in my 40s and people do mistake me for being much younger so that’s great!
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
For sure! A lot more when I was younger and a lot more when I was really muscular, which brings me to highlight how muscular women get body-shamed too, not just obese ones. But I didn’t bother much about these unwarranted comments. I tell myself these haters never received enough attention and love as they were growing up, so I let it go and pity them instead.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
Nope, because I’ll just be a different person and I won’t even be me. Like, if I changed my nose, next time I look into the mirror I’ll have to get used to a different looking face no? And that’s not my original face! Hahahaha. Well that’s just me, nothing against others who choose to do what they do.