When Chiobu Collective first met Natalie, she was friendly and had no qualms about sharing more of her diet tips with the team. With her dedication to fitness, she managed to get back into shape just in time for our shoot after devouring Singapore’s most beloved pineapple tarts and love letters over the Chinese New Year festival!
During the shoot, Natalie’s knowledge towards fitness moves were instantly recognisable. She rattled off the Do’s and Don’ts of each move, and confidently performed each set to the best of her ability. Towards the end of the shoot, Natalie was all warmed up and ready to do another episode on the get go.
With all her energy bouncing off the walls of E’s Fitness Studio, Chiobu Collective couldn’t help but stay, and get to know Natalie personally.
Q: Hey Natalie! Tell me about your fitness journey and what got you into a fitness enthusiast?
A: I have been very active all my life as when I was younger, I went for swimming classes regularly. During my teenage years, I followed my mum for yoga classes, and body combat classes which exposed me to different workout routines and prompted me to play around with small weights at the gyms.
It was only about two to three years back when I met my boyfriend that I started seriously lifting weights with his encouragement. I was one of the many girls who had the notion of: “Lifting big weights are for guys and girls can just can just get away with cardio and small weights”.
But after I got started I quite liked it because it gave me a special kind of empowerment whenever I hit a new personal record, and got to lift heavier weights. With every trip to the gym, I got better results which made the training very worthwhile.
Q. You have entered quite a few fitness competitions, so which was the most memorable for you?
A: Well, I wanted to ease myself into getting my body critiqued so I tried out Nutri Girl, which was a more pageant style kind of competition. It wasn’t a one time event where you can get crowned immediately. In fact, it was an event where you got to meet and make friends who are in the same community, share tips, provide encouragement and support.
That was the most memorable for me because i was never really into fitness modeling and Nutrigirl was the one that helped me with that turning point between just purely gymming and actually seeing it as something more that empowers me.
It is building that collaborating spirit than encouraging a competitive one. There really isn’t much point trying to put someone else down to reach for a prize.
Q. Do you see such communities being able to blossom in Nutri Girl? And if you do, why?
A: It is a bit of a sensitive issue because if you go for such competitions obviously everyone is vying for the first place and it can get quite ugly. People compare bodies, so there are some people who would share, and there are also some people who would be a bit more competitive so they would stick to themselves.
I’m pretty sure girls can identify with the fact that even if they are not into fitness, they normally still look at each other like, “Oh that girl has nice hair, that girl is prettier than me.” and you see the same kind of things happening also in the fitness industry and it’s quite sad because everyone started wanting to work out together and wanting to create that community but overtime it becomes quite competitive. You can foster the bestest of relationship by gymming with your friend but on the day when you guys both step on stage, there’s only going to be one winner.
Q. So how do you think ChiobuTV can base off this model, tweak it to be a better version where we can get people together to collaborate genuinely?
A: ChiobuTV can tweak that model by creating a community of girls who can just come together and broaden their variety of interests outside of what they do. It is building that collaborating spirit than encouraging a competitive one. There really isn’t much point trying to put someone else down to reach for a prize. Hence, I think it’s really meaningful that we can learn stuff from a fellow Chiobu in the community. For example, while I am very passionate about fitness, and I do hope to share that with a lot of other people; I don’t mind exploring the passions of other girls who bake, cook, and do makeup etc. It is very different from the experience I have had in fitness, where I mentioned earlier where the girls are generally quite individualistic and they all compete with each other to see who can be the “hottest” or have the most number of followers on Instagram.