Linora Low is on a journey to smash stereotypes that strong isn’t feminine
Featured in fitness magazine covers, brand ambassador, and radio announcer. Linora juggles her work and life in style.
By Reenassri Sekaran
All smiles, she breezes into the KOA Fitness doors munching on a red bell pepper. Admiration and intimidation swept over me as I thought that just a month ago, this fitness beauty graced the stage at the Shawn Rhoden Classic 2018 held in Manilla, Philippines under the Women’s Bikini category. Just a few months back, I attended one of KOA’s events and she carried my 55kg frame without the slightest hesitation!
No stranger to the Malaysian media scene, Linora Low has graced multiple magazine front covers, including Shape and I.M, and has been featured in Women’s Health, Women’s Weekly, Her World and Cosmopolitan for lifestyle and fitness coverage. She is also a radio announcer, emcee and fitness ambassador.
Now, Linora has got a new goal waiting for her in just two months. The Health gets personal with Linora as she dishes her fitness journey, her dream of meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger and the emotional roller coaster that she went through.
The first dip
“It all started in high school because I was constantly being made fun off. I was known as the cute, chubby little girl. Of all nicknames, I was given Bibola, like the song Ricola due to my round stature and other names like pumpkin. It’s understood that probably at such a young age, people did not realise that name calling could be quite hurtful. That’s when I got into shooting some hoops and 4 × 100 metres relay. Back then, I couldn’t be as slim or skinny as most of the girls in school but I can be stronger. That was my intention when I kick-started my fitness journey.”
“My fitness journey then gradually turned into a competitive one. I think it all began when I attended a bodybuilding bikini competition where I saw all these women. Basically I was just taken aback to see such amazing physique.”
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” Maya Angelou
Linora needed a coach in order to train herself for such competitions. And she got it.
“I met Benjamin Siong, founder of Australian Strength Performance at a workshop for hypertrophy where I was there to promote it. Lo and behold! I found out he coaches bikini athletes.
A little girl’s dream
“The fourth competition – the Arnold Classic which I am currently training for is a huge deal. It will take place in Melbourne on March 15 and it is a stage like no other! Just the crème de la crème of athletes will be competing so yea I’m just counting down the days.”
Why Arnold? You can see the sparkle in her eyes.
“Why is it such a big deal for me? Arnold Schwarzenegger established it and yes he’s my hero and it would be amazing to get the opportunity to meet him. I grew up watching him. All the way from his breakout role in John Milius’ “Conan the Barbarian’. I even had a tiny booklet containing all the information about Arnold back then!” she quipped excitedly.
“As I grew older, I understood his lifestyle. Just as a person, he is so inspirational. What he set his eyes on, he achieved – now he’s an entrepreneur and philanthropist. I really see myself in that direction, I’ve even studied his voice!”
She mimics one of his famous quotes and close enough, I think she nailed her impression!
“My whole reason of doing this is because when you participate in a bikini competition, you really have to dig deep and find out why you’re committed to it. It’s not meant for everyone because of the amount of discipline that has to be placed into it and there’s a lot of things that needs to be done. In a nutshell, it’s more than just a competition, it’s a journey to self-understanding.”
“My goal is the podium finish and shake Arnold’s hand,” determination resonates in her voice.
“Anyone who enters a bodybuilding competition will tell you it’s a very high roller coaster – you will experience extreme highs and lows. Last season, I really pushed myself in terms of mind set. You have to be wired and not allows things outside to affect you – cause’ they do! Relationships, finance and other things will test you. I’ve really come out mentally stronger because it has given me a very strong ground to test my emotions and handle situations better. I’m not perfect, I’m still learning. The most I can do is learn from my mistakes.”
“I get very emotional when it comes to the competition. You tend to feel alone – that’s when an excellent support system comes to the rescue. I’m still very much an infant when it comes to understanding fitness.
“You’d be surprised but some bodybuilders take years to understand themselves. What I love so much about the competition is that each level teaches you a new experience and at the end, I get to share it everyone especially my clients. Now that I’ve been there and I know what’s it like, and the experience to get there.”
What’s it like being a sports brand ambassador?
“It’s fun! There are lot of perks of being a brand ambassador. However it’s very important for me to associate with brands whose values I believe in. For example’s KOA’s “Beauty in Fitness” really resonates with me. When Under Armour first approached me, they were saying they were the underdogs in the sports pro scene, and you know I’ve never been the most popular one but I really give a 110% so it really got to me. The team at Optimum Nutrition have been so cool and supportive. What I love is that the main thing that binds them all together is that they want to encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Do it for yourself
“Anyone who wants to kick-start their fitness journey, just start. The one thing when you start is not to look around and compare yourself with others. Also find a good support system that you can trust and encourage you. I have a strong believe that you are the sum of the five people you hang out with. That’s why it’s vital to find that group who’s going to be there by your side. Don’t sit dwelling on aesthetics. Instead read more, research.”
“Unfortunately the main thing that always scares us is the visual. You have to remember that you’re doing this for yourself.”
If you could, would you have The Rock’s travelling gym – The Iron Paradise?
For those readers who don’t know, Dwayne Johnson or The Rock travels around the world with his gym known as “the Iron Paradise” which houses 18 000 kg of gym equipment to ensure he stays big, beefy and muscular 365 days a year.
“If I had the money like The Rock, I would so bring my gym all over the world with me! It is because those are my equipment’s and it’s important to have your home gym with you just like KOA Fitness is mine. The Rock is definitely one smart man by taking the stuff that works for him,” she expresses wishfully. — The Health
POSITIVELY FIT: Linora says that to kick-start our fitness journey, you only need to start.
The Health | February, 2019
February, 2019 | The Health
Besides training, she also likes extreme outdoor activities.
5 things you didn’t know about Linora Low
• She’s known as the capsicum girl. Her habit of munching on them raw like apples earned her that nickname
• Her must have travelling equipment? Resistance bands!
• She co-founded KapowBalls with her sister, Linessa Low. Her favourite flavour is the Kokorazz Balls.
• She eats peanut butter straight from the jar. If she could, she would have a whole shelf of different peanut butters!
• Her favourite food is ribs and she’s very passionate about food – not just working out!
I get very emotional when it comes to the competition. You tend to feel alone – that’s when an excellent support system comes to the rescue. I’m still very much an infant when it comes to understanding fitness.”