Fit Mummy Ruth Song

We are really proud to kickstart this fantastic goat year with a feature on Fit Mummy Ruth Song—mother of a 19 months old toddler! At just 32 years old, Ruth has already successfully battled cancer—a glaring hint of her tenacity. Ruth was initially plagued with an overwhelming sense of self-doubt upon transition into motherhood. However, her remarkable determination wielded in defeating the daunting task of being a first-time mother is laudable. Armed with the knowledge that health is indeed wealth, Ruth dabbles extensively in various sports and exercises to remain healthy and fit for the sake of her family.

So do take some time to read the story behind our sexy fit mummy of the month. With a courageous soul and an attractive image to boot, this is one story you won’t want to miss.

1. If you could think back a little, what was your biggest challenge as a new mum and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge as a new mum was overcoming the overwhelming mountain of self-doubt that descended once the confinement lady left. I was having problems breastfeeding, my child wouldn’t be soothed by me (or my husband), and I had to run the home—nothing I’ve had to do before and juggle simultaneously! I couldn’t see myself surviving beyond next week.

I basically worked myself to death that first day (cooking and cleaning), and then crumbled into a big, heaping, crying mess. I went to bed and the next morning, I decided to tackle one task at a time. If I couldn’t complete everything, no biggie. It just meant that we had to eat takeaway for some time, live in a house that wasn’t cleaned, and had a baby who cried a little longer.

As I got better and faster at doing things, I learnt how to pace myself and set proper, realistic expectations for myself and for the things around me.

2. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires strict discipline and is not without its challenges. What inspires and motivates you to maintain this lifestyle?

I’m a cancer survivor and when I found out that no insurance company wanted to protect me (even when I offered to pay a higher premium), I decided that I needed to be healthy to avoid getting sick and finding the money to pay for my treatment.

I also want to be there for my family in the long run and will avoid a relapse of my cancer at all costs.

Ruth 1

3. Share with us some of your daily fitness routines.

When I was a stay-at-home mum, I used to bring my child for long walks at the start of our day. He was placed in the baby carrier and I could talk to him, bond and (very often) soothe him to sleep. As he grew older and could bear to sit in the pram for longer periods of time, I bought a jogging stroller and we continued our daily long walks (5km). The day didn’t seem complete if we couldn’t go for our walks.

My toddler is also very active so instead of parking him in front of the TV, I would bring him down to the playground for an hour in the morning and late afternoon. This prevented me from lounging around and sitting for too long.

I’m also grateful that my child can sleep for one hour or longer, so during his nap time, I would sneak in a 30-minute free YouTube exercise video that varies from HIIT (High-intensity interval training), strength training, kickboxing, pilates, etc.

Now that I’ve returned to work, I sleep earlier at 9 -10 p.m. and wake up at 5.30 a.m. to get my 30-minute workout in. If my body feels up to it, I go for a 30-minute run around the estate.

4. Do you involve your kids in your fitness workouts?

My child loves watching my exercise videos and tries to get involved.

5. How do you instill in your child(ren) the concept of healthy living?

We rarely have fast food, and when we do, we make the healthier choice—for example, he’s never had fries at McDonald’s.

Also, our choice of activity is always a run around the playground. 

6. What are some of your favourite healthy snacks?

I find 1 oz of nuts mixed with raisins, 5 prunes, Greek yoghurt with a tablespoon of reduced sugar jam, a fruit, puffed rice thins, a square of dark chocolate, a slice of wholemeal bread with a tablespoon of nut butter  – great healthy snacks for me when I’m on the go.

7. Any tips for mothers (or generally anyone out there) who desire to keep fit but have no idea where to begin? 

  1. Decide that you want to start somewhere. Anywhere.

My very first exercise attempt was to exert more effort when cleaning the house. I moved on to walking, climbing the stairs, and running during the weekends.

I gradually found what I liked to do (housework and climbing the stairs weren’t my favourites) and I stuck to it. I tried gym classes (pre-baby) and found that they didn’t produce results for me and I wasn’t keen on paying. Hence, I opted out of the classes. However, if a Pilates class rocks your boat, by all means, go ahead and sign up for it; at least you’ve started somewhere.

  1. Be prepared

The moment I wake up, I change into exercise gear. I slip on a sports bra and a sports-friendly bottom. If I’m already in sports gear, I can jump into my workout the moment the baby goes down for his nap and I won’t be able to persuade myself NOT to do my walk/workout.

  1. Don’t let what you don’t have stop you.

The moment I wake up, I change into exercise gear. I slip on a sports bra and a sports-friendly bottom. If I’m already in sports gear, I can jump into my workout the moment the baby goes down for his nap and I won’t be able to persuade myself NOT to do my walk/workout.

Ruth 2

8. What advice do you have for mothers who feel that they do not have time to exercise?

Imagine yourself being able to keep up with your child when he wants to play catching with you.

Imagine yourself being able to cut down the amount of down-time when you get sick.

Imagine yourself being able to positively influence your child to be healthy and fit for the rest of his life.

It all starts with 10 minutes a day and the effort to increase it until it becomes part and parcel of your day. Don’t see fitness as a separate entity to the demands of motherhood. See it as the tool to help motherhood become somewhat easier.

9. Any advice on how to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy?

During my first pregnancy, I ate horribly and basically vegetated in front of the TV the moment I got home from work. My only exercise was the amount of walking and standing I did while teaching my classes.

If I could do it all over again, I’ll eat better by preparing my meals in advance (which I’m already doing now). I’ll also prepare my meals according to the craves/turn-offs of the month—I hated meat during my first trimester, so I’ve learnt to put together vegetarian meals which I’m eating now.

I’ll also ensure that I have 30 minutes of exercise every other day. I was not aware of free YouTube exercise videos when I was last pregnant, but with a plethora of free low-impact exercise videos I’ve since found, I’ll make this a priority.

10. What are some valuable lessons you have learnt through your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle?

If you leave crappy food in your refrigerator/pantry, you will eat it. You can promise the world you won’t, but in the dead of the night, when you’re done with your child’s tantrums, when you’re fed up with the piles of folding laundry to do, that cream cake will scream for your name.

If you’re tired and sore, don’t work out.  If you’re still sore and tired on the second day, don’t work out. You’re going at this long term. If you force yourself to work out and then burn out, you’ll give up even before you’re done.

Don’t compare with other people. I started to wonder why this part (of my body) wouldn’t firm up, or why I didn’t look as toned as another mommy who didn’t even work out, and it almost killed my motivation to exercise. It’s nearly impossible to push on on some days but I’ve come to a stage where I can tell myself that it doesn’t matter where other people are; just look at how far I’ve come since I started.

11. How do you unwind (in mummies’ term – spend your ‘me time’)?
I blog at Running on Full (ruthsong.com) where I talk about healthy eating and ways to keep fit, as a mummy.

I also spend (a bit too much) time online shopping, baking and Instagramming.

12. Where is your favourite spot in Singapore to hang out with your kids?

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has a sand pit and a water play area that my toddler absolutely loves. I can also get a great workout simply by walking around the gardens as well.

We also love the Far East Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay for the cool water play area and its beautiful surroundings.

13. Last but not least, where is your favourite destination to bring your kids for a getaway?
We love going on a road trip around Australia and stopping at farm stays so that the toddler can experience “life in the country”.

Ruth 3

Ruth’s dedication and determination are indeed an inspiration to all of us. If you have enjoyed this story and are aware of any other individuals who embody the idea of a fit mummy, let us know! We would love to get to know them and feature their story on our blog. Drop us an email at [email protected] with their details and we will definitely get in touch with them shortly.