Saturday October 6, 2007 ~Star
Staying active all day long
Datin Merina Hew can be called a fitness buff. Not only does she have a range of equipment at home, she even has them in her office!
“I’ve always been known as an exerciser. I never take lifts and even at work, I will spend about five minutes on the stepper before lunch, because I sit for long periods of time,” says the 37-year-old editor of Shape magazine.
It all began when she hit puberty at 12 and her appetite grew. She could guzzle a litre of full cream milk a day, put down a bag of M&Ms and still chomp through anything that was put before her.
From being a skinny child, she ballooned into a large kid at 14. Hew was athletic and all that eating only made her stronger yet slower.
Hew shares, “Obesity runs in my mum’s family and one day, after seeing a huge woman walk by me, reality hit. I didn’t want to look like that. Since I am someone who cannot diet, I cut out the milk and exercised religiously.”
A voracious reader, Hew scoured books and hungered for information on fitness. She saved money, bought ankle weights and discovered yoga. Once she added skipping to her workout, her body started changing – she became long and lean.
When she left for further studies in England, she stumbled upon Shape fitness magazine. Hew diligently photocopied the exercise routines and filed them in a folder. She then put together programmes for herself.
Exercise is vital: Datin Merina Hew (also above) doing a yoga stretch. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star
“It’s totally karmic that I am now the editor of Shape!” she laughs.
At university she joined the gym and was introduced to weights. She instantly fell in love with them.
“Weights didn’t make me lean but I felt good. Now, I start my workouts with weights, do some cardio and cool down with a yoga stretch. If I’m on the bike or rower, I watch TV to catch up on world news.”
Hew’s knowledge of fitness is completely self-taught.
“I learn better on my own. Exercising to me is like brushing teeth. I don’t think it’s a matter of discipline . . . it’s more a habit or perhaps an addiction!” says the attractive woman. Besides, she has a four-year-old son and going out can sometimes be a hassle.
Over time, Hew has amassed enough equipment to start a home gym. In her mansion, she has a step board, a lateral stepper, a bike, a rower, a gym stick, fitness balls, weights and a massage chair.
Hew’s guestroom is used to store the smaller equipment, while the cardio machines are strategically placed in front of the television. She tries to devote four days a week to exercise and all her workouts differ.
“I have to do it in the morning while my son is asleep or he’ll bother me. I start my day at 5.45am,” says Hew who usually walks around the room while having a discussion – to get her blood flowing.
Nothing beats the endorphin high gained from exercising. It’s definitely the elixir of youth.