"I say to my students now that when you sweat, you're glittering," exclaims the beautiful biracial TV host-turned-fitness and lifestyle guru, and founder of fitness program FitSphere, Liv Lo.
Today, ahead of the official launch of her fitness program in Kuala Lumpur, the ever-effervescent Lo talks to us about how she plans to revolutionise our workouts, her love for yoga, how she remains authentic, and let's us hear her wax lyrical about her favourite foods (it's a total shocker!).
How did your fitness journey first begin?
My fitness journey began as a young child. I was always active. I loved playing basketball, beating the boys at their own game. I played a lot of badminton as well. I was always very active as a child.
But my personal fitness journey began when I started yoga. I think I was about twenty years old. It was definitely not hip then or trendy at all to practice it. Back then you really had to go out of your way to find where studios were. They were really quite indie at the time. But it was fun! You're trying out something new, and yeah, that's kind of where it all began. And thirteen years later, I'm still doing it.
How did your love to yoga come about?
Yoga just kind of found me. I don't know why I was in love with it. I was just doing my thing and being a model, and my role models at the time like Christy Turlington were doing it so I told myself, oh, I want to try that. And I tried it and I love it this day!
You know, yoga really helped me with my awareness when it comes to my body's stability and mental health. It's something low impact that models can do and still remain svelte. It helped me with my balance and allowed me to do so many things that other models couldn't, in terms of poses, and I was more flexible than they were.
How often do you work out?
Now? I would saw about three, four times a week. And I balance my workouts with weights, yoga, cardio, spinning. I like to mix it up. It's a whole combination. I like to mix it up a bit. And that's what FitSphere is all about as well, it's a combination of yoga and also fitness — I call it Fit Yoga.
How do you incorporate working out into your hectic schedule?
Great question! That's exactly what I share — how do you find time to work out when we all have our excuses. With FitSphere, it's all about ten minute episodes of what you can easily do in the morning, before you go to work.
I really want people to actually learn from my videos. It's not just about following it blindly, and think you're good. I didn't set it to a time frame, this is your twelve-week programme! It's not rigid at all, it's very flexible, and should it into your lifestyle.
Say, it's a Morning Fit episode, once you've watched it and have that knowledge of what you can do, I want you to not have to turn it on and you can do it on your own, by heart. It's all about incorporating more health into your daily life.
How do you stay motivated?
I'm a hustler. So I think that's what motivates me — that drive. It definitely comes from within. And that's what constantly I tell people; that it should come from within. You need to look to yourself to inspire you. Know what you want and how you can get there. If you don't want to do something, you inherently won't do it, until you actually want to.
What advice would you give to a person that wants to get healthy?
Everyone's different. What could be very healthy to me, could be very different to another person. It's totally personal. I'm a big advocate for getting in touch with yourself. Break down what your lifestyle is, and set little realistic goals that you can actually achieve. I don't believe in pushing fad diets; I don't believe in pushing a regiment.
Another tip would be not to workout to become tired, sore or end up in physical pain. Once your body associates a good feeling with that particular activity, you'll keep going back to it, and you'll keep wanting to do more. But if you feel horrible at the end of the day, who wants to do that? It just doesn't make any sense. It should be something that is enjoyable. You do what you can. Start small. Start with a walk. Start somewhere. Just start.
Is it ever stressful being a #fitspiration to so many?
Hmm. I follow my own path, you know. I follow other people who are fit on social media and they post two to three times a day, and I don't think I'm like that. That's just not me, it's not something I advocate, you know? I think if it's something that works for them, then great. It's all about finding that spark that works for you.
How do you remain so authentic despite your fame?
I just keep sharing the real me. I definitely remember back when I made my first post about my body image issues, and I didn't expect there to be any kind of reaction at all. Because it was really just something I wanted to get off my chest. And I found it so vindicating, and so refreshing for myself. And for me to feel that way was so liberating. I loved that! And what you've put out there, you can't take it back, because the internet never forgets. And there's definitely still more I want to share.
Do you get stressed though?
What is your favourite stress-buster?
Oh, definitely a glass of wine. Some aromatherapy at home. Have candles around the house. I am a big TV person. I've watched everything on Netflix. And oh, I love cooking!
How has cutting your hair changed your post workout routine game? I assume showering will be so much faster now?
I'm used to being very boyish. I love competing with the boys. And even now, I go like like ha ha, my hair is shorter than yours. Like one with the lads. We'd trade information on hair products. I love to have the kind of freedom that men do. And you know, I've always been very quick in the shower even with long hair.
And the ironic thing about having short hair is that I actually maintain it even more now, because when I had long hair, all I did was air dry it. And it'd be all flat without lustre.
I wanted my hair long for the wedding, and after that I was like bye. Haha! I really like not having to tie my hair and worry about fly-aways.
Take us through an average day – from the time you wake. What is a typical day in the life of Liv Lo?
Well, everyday is not the same. You have to be really motivated to get things done. And being my own boss, I have to be disciplined. And if I were to go for F45 with a friend that lives across the street from me, we'd go for the 8:30am class, and if we don't do that, I am really not a morning person.
If I don't set my alarm, and have no morning meetings, I'd wake up at 10. I call myself a professional sleeper because sleep is so important to me. I don't even count the eight hours; I just sleep as much as I like.
Do you have days when you feel lazy? What do you usually do? Or don't do?
Of course! I stay in or, hang out with friends. I feel that with running your own company and with social media, you're still kind of working when you're not. So your threshold is very different. I mean, I still Instagram from bed and go like, "Ooooooh I'm so cosy here…."
Do you feel compelled to create content even on an off day?
It's something you get used to. Now you don't even think about it. It's just like second nature.
Are you a foodie? (Please say yes)
Oh, I am absolutely a foodie! I literally look forward to waking up in the morning so I can eat. That's my favourite thing to do. Haha! And eating is a really social thing for me, so I love to share meals with friends, and be able to discover new restaurants and just go out. Yeah. It's a very social activity for me."
What are your guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasures are — I should think everyone has the same, I don't know about you — wine, cheese. The usual stuff, because you never know how much you are actually consuming. Like, if you go to a fondue or a raclette place and you consume all the cheese your body can handle. [laughs]
Something like that, or maybe some caviar. Some champagne. That's definitely nice. And you mix some French fries with that. Hahaha! I recently went to Belgium, purely for the fries!
What are you currently craving?
I don't know, lunch? Haha. But I've been really into hotpot lately," she says, and little do we know, she threw herself a hotpot party with three of her closest girlfriends at her place after the shoot. "I love Hai Di Lao, and even the Korean ones where it's all in a pot. I just love soupy food. I am super Asian like that. So anything soupy is my cup of tea.
What do you like to order for a hotpot?
I love the noodles. Again, soupy noodles are my obsession.
How do you balance eating right and indulging?
You know you have your indulgences and be okay with that. Because if you don't, you'll end up hiding in the cupboard eating the whole bag and feel horrible about yourself.
You need to acknowledge that want. And let's say, if you really want some, then have some. When you are present and in the right state of mind, it won't be just your impulse taking over. It'll be a much different experience.
Are you a firm believer of new year resolutions?
I guess I do. But I don't know if I believe in that word resolution. I think it's a very tough definition, like you must be this, I must do this, and if I don't do it, then I've failed, you know?
What resolutions did you accomplish in 2018?
Ooh. Loads! I really wanted to put up some new programs with FitSphere. And I had been doing a lot of yoga with weights classes with students, and they really love it, so I developed workouts specifically for that – which was a big personal project of mine.
And now FitSphere as a company has become kind of profitable, and sustainable, and really snazzy as a product – I was travelling all over the world, like New York to teach. So, yes, I want to keep growing FitSphere in 2019 as well.
I've still doing my TV work as well.
I am very grateful that 2018 was a year I was able to settle in that headspace.
What are your resolutions for 2019?
Now that I am settled, I want to break out of that mould and be uncomfortable again, and I'm excited for that because, you know, the sky is the limit, and the world is my oyster. I get to go wherever I want to be. I want to reach new audiences, and take my brand around the world.
Any travel plans for 2019?
Immediately, I need to go to London, go to LA, then back to Singapore, then Thailand.
What are your plans for the Liv Lo brand in the foreseeable future?
I'll take it as it comes, I guess. I'm doing much more global work now, so even with ClassPass, which is working with the US Office, doing global events. I'm really excited to break out because I've never been in those new markets before. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to explore the things that I want to do on an international landscape.
Finally, what do you want to inspire in your followers?
I want them to understand the tool that perfects their bodies, exercising gives you that tool. Once you know what to do for your body, it's like a superpower that's connected to the mind, to your career, it's connected to everything else. It's something that you can develop – it's something that I developed. And I want to give people that superpower of knowing themselves, and what their bodies can do to have a long healthy life.