Nazharia Schifra is a personal trainer. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
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 Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!
Name: Nazharia Schifra (@nazhariaschifra)
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Food: I track my macros and eat based on the current goal I have at that point of time. When I am on prep for a bodybuilding competition, I will be on a deficit, in order to lose body fat and be as conditioned as possible for the show. If I wasn’t on prep, I would still roughly track my calories, but probably more estimation and eyeballing. I do have breaks though.
When on holiday, I do not open my tracking app. I’ve done this for so long that it’s engrained in my daily life. I eat basically a variety of foods, as long as it hits my macronutrient targets of the day.
Exercise: Monday – Lower body (glute focus), Tuesday – Upper (push and pull), Wednesday – Lower body (glutes and hams), Thursday – Zone 2 conditioning, Friday – Upper (push and pull), Saturday – Lower body (glutes and hams), Sunday – Zone 2 conditioning
Nazharia has been active since young, taking part in sports such as basketball, football and martial arts. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Q: Were you active when you were younger?
A: I have always been active all my life. I would excel in PE in school and the arts, but not so much in the other stuff like maths. Whenever there is a mini-race or competition during PE, I never said no. I thrived in sport competitions. Basketball, football, and martial arts were the top three sports I enjoyed in school. I got into weight training when I was 15, taught by my guy friends.
What did you get into as you got older?
As I started learning more about weight training, I kept doing that in addition to playing football at school. I continued football until my first year of university, then I came across CrossFit and weightlifting in 2014. I competed in CrossFit at the regional and international level between 2015 to 2019, and then switched to weightlifting and competed in the Singapore Nationals from 2019 to 2021.
How did you get into bodybuilding?
After years of doing CrossFit and weightlifting, my body genuinely couldn’t keep up as I got older and life got busier. Priorities in life changed, so it meant that I have to make realistic decisions, such as stepping away from competitive weightlifting.
However, knowing myself, I just THRIVE in competitions, so I still needed that in some form of way. Starting a job in UNREAL in the beginning of 2022 led me to an environment of like-minded individuals. Ben, the co-founder of UNREAL, sparked an old fire in me and thought I should give this bodybuilding thing a shot. So here I am.
What are some of the highlights of your bodybuilding journey?
I won all my classes that I competed in, as well as the Bikini Overall title in the NPC Singapore Showdown 2022.
Nazharia has been successful in bodybuilding competitions. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
What are some of the challenges of bodybuilding?
We face a lot of challenges as athletes in whatever sport we do. I find some similarities in all sports I’ve done. One main similarity is the mental toughness and grit you need. Each day is a battle with the mind.
Another one that is a challenge to me is posing. That’s something I never worked on prior to starting, so it was like learning a new language.
Why did you decide to become a trainer?
I have always been in the fitness industry since I graduated from university. Even when I was in university, my part-time job was in the university gym as a front of house as the reception girl. I could not live my life without sport.
When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
I think insecurities are a normal thing. That’s part of being human. One thing I do deal with is body dysmorphia (this is a big one in the fitness industry). But to be honest, I was always focused on sport performance that I never get bothered much about my body weight.
For CrossFit, all I wanted was to perform better in competitions, so if that means I need to be 60+ kg, then I will do it.
For weightlifting, I was never the lifter that trained way above my weight category, I sat around 59-60kg when I trained, so cutting to under 58 wasn’t hard. As long as I snatched and clean and jerked the numbers at a weight under 58kg, that was my aim.
Nazharia is so focused on sports performance that she never gets bothered much about her body weight. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
But then bodybuilding came around, and to be completely honest, this was the one that is a mental battle. However, I am better at handling it as days go. I’m thankful the bikini category isn’t bodyweight based! I try and focus a lot on how I look weekly as I get closer to the show, rather than stress so much on the bodyweight. I definitely have days that are harder than others though, especially when you don’t see the number going down. But this is why it’s good to have a support system and a coach.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Lol, I am competitive so I will never be satisfied. When I am close to competition, I just want to be better conditioned, I want a better package to bring for the show. And after the show? I still won’t be satisfied, I can tell you that now haha.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
1000000% haha. I come from an Indonesian family. I have always been an outlier. You’ll see a family picture and I’ll be the only female with muscular build. I grew up with comments from the grandmas, the grandaunts, the aunts about how I look but I never let it get to my head. I continued to do what I did and use it as fuel. And from strangers on the internet? All the time.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
Nah. Honestly, despite my insecurities, I’m happy with who I am. We all have insecurities though, it’s part of life. Usually these things are just something we got to learn to live with. Us humans, we are a constant work in progress. We evolve as time passes.
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Nazharia Schifra (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)