Joan Liew

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Joan Liew Yee Ting
Joan Liew 1.jpg
Born30 January 1976
EducationDiploma in Sports and Wellness Management, Diploma in Health Studies (Nutrition), Degree in Commerce
Alma materCHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School, Nanyang Polytechnic, Catholic Junior College, University of Western Australia
Height168 cm (5 ft 6 in)

Joan Liew is a Singaporean bodybuilder and fitness coach.[1] She is well-known in the bodybuilding community for her long-standing participation in the sport, boasting numerous titles like her 1st placing at the 2016 Arnold Classic Asia (Hong Kong) Women’s Physique Open.[2] Joan Liew is the first Singaporean to receive the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro Card.[3] Joan has been featured in the Singapore Book of Records as the “Top Woman Bodybuilder in Asia”.[4]

Background[edit | edit source]

Born as Joan Liew Lee Ting on 30 January 1976 to Liew Khooi Song and Agnes Chow, Joan is the youngest in the family.[5] A cat-lover and a Hello Kitty collector, Joan is also a member of Sanrio Singapore.[6]

Education[edit | edit source]

Joan Liew as a student of CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School (left) and Joan Liew in 2014 (right). Photo from Scoopnest.

Joan Liew went to CHIJ Secondary School and Catholic Junior College. In 1999, she obtained a Diploma in Sports and Wellness Management from Nanyang Polytechnic as part of the pioneer batch for the course.[7] Joan furthered her studies in marketing at the University of Western Australia. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce in 2004.[8] Joan has an additional diploma in Health Studies (Nutrition).[9]

Childhood[edit | edit source]

When she was 8 years old, Joan had stumbled upon a book titled “Keep Fit” during a field trip to the library. Intrigued by the cover image of a woman dressed in a 70s-looking leotard and legwarmers, she went ahead to borrow the book.[10]


A year later, Joan tried a Lat Pulldown machine for the first time. 9-year-old Joan had been at a friend’s condominium for a birthday party. Curious of her surroundings, she had made her way into the gym facility. This first encounter reportedly inspired her to pursue weight training in the future. [11]

Fitness training[edit | edit source]

Joan started fitness training during her teenage years.[12] After completing secondary school, she chose to study at Catholic Junior College because of the school’s gym facilities.[13] She soon became the school’s fitness instructor. It was her responsibility to help male students who had failed their Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) prepare for National Service (NS).

Bodybuilding[edit | edit source]

Joan Liew and her ex-trainer turned business partner, Augustine. Photo from Second Focus Blog.

Joan started bodybuilding after being captivated by the physique of a female bodybuilder. She had first spotted the image on the cover of Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness magazine at a second-hand bookstore.[14]


Motivated to achieve a similar physique, Joan increased her training load. She expanded her knowledge of training and dieting through fitness articles and magazines. Immediately after completing her GCE ‘A’ Level examinations, Joan signed up for a gym membership with Bronx Master (now defunct).[15]


After 6 months of little progress under another coach, Joan approached the esteemed bodybuilding champion, Augustine Lee, to train her. After training for 7 years, Joan entered her debut competition in 2000. She won 1st place in the Asian Women’s Bodybuilding Championship, heavyweight category.[16]  

Training & meal plan[edit | edit source]

Joan Liew trains daily, targeting one muscle group per day in 3-hour-long sessions. She incorporates cardiovascular workouts into her training program three times a week in 30-minute sessions.[17][18]

For her meal plans, Joan adjusts her intake daily according to her caloric requirement. During off-season periods, she consumes 5 to 6 meals in a day. She sticks to complex carbohydrates and low-glycemic (low GI) foods. Her protein intake comprises of chicken, fish, beef, eggs and protein shakes.[19]

Career highlights[edit | edit source]

Joan has been an adjunct lecturer at her alma mater, Nanyang Polytechnic, since 2014.[20][21][22] In 2018, she was appointed the ambassador for ActiFit Asia. Joan is also on the board of advisors for FitnessSG and previously, SHAPE magazine.[23][24]

The Skinny Sumo Wrestler™ (2019)[edit | edit source]

In May 2019, Joan published a health and fitness book titled The Skinny Sumo Wrestler. The book aimed to educate adults (aged 30 and above) who were seeking weight loss. The book uncovers the basics of nutrition knowledge and dieting tips. The book retails at S$45.[25][26]

IFBB Pro Status (2017)[edit | edit source]

On 23 January 2017, Joan Liew was the first Singaporean to receive the International Federation of bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro Card.[27] With the Pro Card, Joan could compete in IFBB Pro competitions and eventually qualify for the IFBB WOS (Wings of Strength) Ms Olympia — the most prestigious female bodybuilding competition worldwide.[28][29][30]

Fitness Factory (2005) & The Mill (2010)[edit | edit source]

Joan and Augustine are the co-founders of Fitness Factory. Photo from Fitness Factory.

In October 2005, Joan and her former coach turned business partner Augustine Lee, co-founded Fitness Factory, a gym located at Boat Quay.[31] The gym provides customized training and recovery programmes. Additionally, the Joan & Augustine Pro Academy provides specialized skills training for personal trainers. It also offers Professional Internship Programs to various educational institutions in Singapore including ITE, Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Management University (SMU).[32]


In 2010, Joan and Augustine set up a boutique gym called The Mill at Martin No.38, a mixed development condominium.[33][34]

Fitness trainer (1998 - present)[edit | edit source]

Joan Liew is an accredited fitness trainer with over 20 years of experience since 1998.[35] She is an appointed lecturer and examiner for the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) and the Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness (FISAF).[36][37] Her certifications are listed as the following:[38][39][40]

S/N Description
1 Certified Personal Trainer - Federation of International Sports, Aerobic and Fitness (FISAF)
2 Fitness Nutrition Specialist - National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
3 Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) - International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)
4 Sports Nutrition Specialist (ISSN-SNS) - International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)
5 Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) - National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
6 Certified Personal Trainer - American Council on Exercise (ACE)  
7 Specialist in Performance Nutrition - International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
8 Certified Fitness Trainer - International Sports Science Association (ISSA)

Competitive achievements[41][edit | edit source]

Joan Liew posing for IFBB Hurricane Pro 2018. Photo from Facebook.
Year Event Placing Category Refs.
September 2018 IFBB Hurricane Pro 4th Women’s Physique - Masters Over 40 [42][43][44]
August 2016 Arnold Classic Asia - Hong Kong 1st Women’s Physique Open [45][46][47][48]
March 2016 Arnold Amateur 4th Women’s Physique (Medium) [49][50][51]
March 2015 Arnold Amateur 3rd Women’s Physique (Tall) [52][53][54]
February 2014 Arnold Amateur 1st Women’s Physique

(Tall - above 153cm Class)

[55][56][57]
August 2013 HKFBF International Bodybuilding and Fitness Invitation Championship 2nd Bodybuilding (Over 49kg) [58][59][60]
February/ March 2013 Arnold Amateur 2nd Women’s Bodybuilding (Heavyweight) [61][62][63][64]
September 2011 NPC Tournament of Champions 1st Bodybuilding (Open Women Light up to 125) [65][66]
September 2010 NPC Tournament of Champions 2nd Bodybuilding (Open Women) [67][68][69]
2009 Asian Women’s Bodybuilding Championships Gold Medal Above 52KG [70][71]
2006 Asian Women’s Open Invitational Bodybuilding Championship Gold Medal Welterweight [72][73][74]
2002 Asian Women’s Bodybuilding Championship Gold Medal Heavyweight [75]
2001 World Games 7th Women’s Bodybuilding (Heavyweight) [76][77]
2000 Asian Women’s Bodybuilding Championship Gold Medal Heavyweight [78][79]

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Joan Liew”. Linkedin. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  2. @joanmeowy. “Winning the Arnold Classic Asia - Hong Kong, Women’s Physique Open 2016”. Instagram. August 22, 2016. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  3. Low, Lin Fhoong. “Joan Liew is first Singaporean bodybuilder to earn IFBB Pro card”. Today. January 24, 2017. Accessed on 12 November 2019.
  4. Sports”. Singapore Book Of Records. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  5. Foo, Alvin. “Muscles outside but Joan’s all woman inside”. The Straits Times. September 4, 2002. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  6. PROFILE”. Fitness Factory. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  7. Foo, Alvin. “Muscles outside but Joan’s all woman inside”. The Straits Times. September 4, 2002. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  8. Shree Ann Matthavan. “Sports discipline help her study for degree”. The New Paper. February 11, 2006. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  9. FISAF TEAM”. FISAF Singapore. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  10. Priscilla. “Female Bodybuilding in Singapore: Interview With Joan Liew”. Pris Chew. April 19, 2014. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  11. Priscilla. “Female Bodybuilding in Singapore: Interview With Joan Liew”. Pris Chew. April 19, 2014. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  12. Ahmad Taufiq Muhammad. “Interview with Joan and Augustine”. YouTube. February 14, 2018. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  13. Tay, Cheryl. “No funding, no congrats – but Singaporean bodybuilding world champ powers on”. Yahoo. March 21, 2014. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  14. Alex Michael Betts. "“This Sport Does Not Take Away Your Femininity as a Woman" says Joan Liew, First IFBB Pro”. YouTube. September 19, 2017. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  15. Alex Michael Betts. "“This Sport Does Not Take Away Your Femininity as a Woman" says Joan Liew, First IFBB Pro”. YouTube. September 19, 2017. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  16. Swetha Sundararajan. “Liew first Singaporean bodybuilder to receive IFBB Pro Card”. The New Paper. January 24, 2017. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  17. Priscilla. “Female Bodybuilding in Singapore: Interview With Joan Liew”. Pris Chew. April 19, 2014. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  18. Wee Kait. “The Muscle Women Of Singapore”. fabodylous.com. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  19. METROPOLITANT’S FITSPIRATION – IFBB PRO, JOAN LIEW”. Metropolitant. February 13, 2017. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  20. FISAF TEAM”. FISAF Singapore. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
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  23. ActiFit Asia 2018”. ActiFit Asia. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  24. Our Advisors New — FitnessSG”. Fitness SG. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  25. The Skinny Sumo Wrestler™”. Fitness Factory. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  26. @joanmeowy. “Release of The Skinny Sumo Wrestler book”. Instagram. May 5, 2019. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  27. Low, Lin Fhoong. “Joan Liew is first Singaporean bodybuilder to earn IFBB Pro card”. Today. January 24, 2017. Accessed on 12 November 2019.
  28. Dobbins, Bill. “The First Ms. Olympia: birth Of A Tradition!”. Bodybuilding. January 22, 2019. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  29. Grech, Kevin. “BREAKING NEWS: Ms. Olympia returns to the 2020 Olympia Weekend”. Evolution of Bodybuilding. September 15, 2019. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  30. @wingsofstrength. “Official return of Ms Olympia”. Instagram. September 16, 2019. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  31. “Abs fabs”. The Straits Times. December 15, 2005. Accessed on 13 November, 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  32. ProAcademy”. Fitness Factory. Accessed on 13 November, 2019.
  33. Chan, Alex. “Property Briefs: home”. The Edge Singapore. November 29, 2010. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  34. Strength In Training”. SC Global. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  35. Fitness Factory Singapore. “Interview with Joan Liew”. YouTube. August 26, 2017. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  36. Certified Trainers”. FISAF Singapore. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  37. Khoo, Bee Kim. “Eat carbs and still lose weight, says professional bodybuilder in new book”. Channel News Asia. April 28, 2019. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  38. Joan Liew”. Linkedin. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  39. PROFILE”. Fitness Factory. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  40. Certified Trainers”. FISAF Singapore. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  41. PROFILE”. Fitness Factory. Accessed on 14 November 2019.
  42. 2018 IFBB HURRICANE PRO”. NPC NEWS ONLINE. September 22, 2018. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  43. Maximum Muscle Report. “Hurricane Pro Awards Over 40 | IFBB Hurricane Pro 2018”. YouTube. September 23, 2018. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
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  45. 2016 Arnold Classic Asia - Hong Kong Final Results”. International Federation of bodybuilding and Fitness. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  46. Watatiwatatio. “2016 Arnold Classic Asia Physique Awards”. YouTube. August 26, 2016. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  47. Choueiri, Richard. “2016 IFBB Schedule: Bodybuilding, Physique, Fitness, Figure and Bikini”. Liveaboutdotcom. March 6, 2017. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  48. @joanmeowy. “Winning the Arnold Classic Asia - Hong Kong, Women’s Physique Open 2016”. Instagram. August 22, 2016. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  49. 2016 Arnold Amateur Results”. Arnold Amateur. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  50. Arnold Sports Festival 2016 Schedule of Events March 3-6, 2016”. March 3, 2016. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  51. Videos IFBB. “Arnold Classic Columbus 2016: Women’s Physique medium up to 168 cm”. YouTube. March 10, 2016. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  52. watatiwatatio. “Joan Liew 2015 Arnold Amateur Women’s Physique (Tall)”. YouTube. March 9, 2015. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
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  55. Lim, Ching Ying. “Bodybuilding: Joan Liew crowned champion at top US amateur competition”. The Straits Times. March 1, 2014. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  56. 2014 Arnold Amateur Results”. Arnold Amateur. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  57. 2014 Arnold Amateur”. NPC NEWS ONLINE. February 26, 2014. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  58. 2013 HKFBF國際健美邀請賽”. Sportsoho. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  59. jpthk. “HKFBF Women's Bodybuilding & Fitness Invitation Championship 2013”. YouTube. August 16, 2013. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  60. HKFBF - 香港健美健身總會. “HKFBF 2013 details”. Facebook. May 3, 2013. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  61. Breaking News. “2013 Arnold Amateur Finals Comparisons Women's Bodybuilding Heavyweight”. YouTube. August 14 , 2013. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  62. 2013 Arnold Amateur Results”. Arnold Amateur. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  63. 2013 Arnold Amateur”. Muscular Development. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  64. Chan, U-Gene. “S’pore bodybuilders impress in US event”. The Straits Times. March 5, 2013. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  65. NPC Tournament of Champions 2011 scoresheets”. Muscle Contest. accessed on 13 November 2019.
  66. Joan Liew IFBB Pro. “TOC, Culver City 10th Sept 2011”. Facebook. September 24, 2011. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  67. NPC Tournament of Champions 2010 scoresheets”. Muscle Contest. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  68. Voon, Terrence. “Singapore bodybuilders shine in California”. The Straits Times. September 14, 2010. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  69. Chung, Gladys. “Women with muscles”. The Straits Times. October 22, 2010. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva. 
  70. ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS (2009) - RESULTS”. Thai Body. 13 November 2019.
  71. watatiwatatio. “joan liew contest”. YouTube. August 1, 2014. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  72. Sports”. Singapore Book Of Records. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
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  74. Fang, Nicholas. “Comeback kid Nor Perwira wins again”. The Straits Times. May 22, 2006. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  75. “Poster girl to the musclemen”. The Straits Times. July 24, 2002. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  76. Revathi Murugappan. “A beauty with brawn”. The Star. May 6, 2009. Accessed on 13 November 2019.
  77. Wong, Kim Hoh. “Who says I’m not 100% woman?”. The Straits Times. April 25, 2004. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  78. Foo, Alvin. “Muscles outside but Joan’s all woman inside”. The Straits Times. September 4, 2002. Accessed on 13 November 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  79. Shree Ann Mathavan. “Partners turn winners”. The New Paper. August 24, 2009. Accessed on 13 November 2019.