Who’s a “Fitness Fashionista”? She’s fit, smart and sassy with a good heart. She’s inherently stylish, whether sporting gym gear or out for a night on the town. Meet her, learn her ways and borrow (steal) her effortless fitness style secrets.
This month’s Fitness Fashionista is Michelle Lai, the creative goddess behind one of our most-loved accessories brands, MISCHA.
Michelle’s journey from sciences student at King’s College London to creative director of one of Asia’s most successful accessories brand is equal parts madness and serendipity, with an extra pinch of talent and smarts thrown in. But crucial to Michelle’s success has been finding her “flow.” For her, that’s in the early hours of the morning, mid-way between a yoga stretch or a refreshing run.
My favorite time to work out is always in the mornings. It’s the best way to start the day and makes me feel fresh, awake and ready for a new day.
We loved learning more about how a healthy, relaxed routine helps Michelle continue to create the beautiful bags we know and love. Read on to learn more about her love for tennis, the hardest thing about getting in a morning workout and her tips for a healthy mind, body and soul.
MAYYA readers, listen up! Get 15% off your next online shop purchase by entering promo code MISCHAXMAYYA at check out (valid for purchases over $1000, until Oct 31, 2015).
MAYYA Movement: What time does your alarm go off?
Michelle Lai: I normally don’t set an alarm and wake up naturally with the sunlight — lucky me! — which is usually around 6am. My work day starts around 8am. In between I try to squeeze in some form of activity. I like the calm of the city in the early morning and, as much as I can, I try to get into the office earlier than everyone else — I focus better when it’s quiet. Truthfully, I’m really not a morning person, so I need to make sure I get to bed early enough every night.
MM: What’s your favorite time to work out?
ML: Mornings — it’s the best way to start the day and makes me feel fresh, awake and ready for a new day. You don’t have to worry about re-applying makeup after a lunch session and after a long day, the last thing I want to do is work out. I prefer to end the day meeting friends or going home to relax.
MM: Workout of choice?
ML: I rotate to keep things interesting: Ashtanga yoga to feel centered and balanced; running to tune out and let the music motivate me. Recently, I’ve been taking tennis lessons! It’s fun, challenging and forces me to focus on the present. I take lessons with a friend twice a week and they’re always full of laughs (and the outfits are so cute too). Out of all the types of activities I’ve tried, however, I know the best form for me is yoga.
MM: Describe your workout style.
ML: I don’t do matchy-matchy, but I do have a kind of workout uniform: leggings and a sports bra top, always! Sports brands are really upping their sports wear game these days. I’m definitely paying more attention to my workout gear.
MM: What do you think is the most important accessory a girl can wear?
ML: I don’t think it’s about wearing one particular accessory (though my top choice would be shoes); I think it’s more important to look well groomed no matter the outfit. I’d say a fresh mani-pedi is the most important accessory a girl can wear.
MM: What’s your go-to breakfast?
ML: Toast, smashed avocados and soft-boiled eggs.
MM: Coffee or green juice?
ML: COFFEE. Then green juice after a work out.
MM: How do you find the time and motivation to squeeze in a workout each day?
ML: Getting started is really the hardest part. Once you’re up and out of bed you’re past the hardest part. I’m all about being prepared: pack your things and be ready to go the night before. If you let yourself hesitate for just 5 minutes, chances are you’ll go back to bed and miss the workout. Just think about how good it feels after you’ve had a good sweat! I like to work out alone, but for some people having a gym buddy is a great motivator.
MM: What’s your top tip for staying healthy?
ML: Everything in moderation! Cultivate a healthy lifestyle by eating what you want, but mindfully, stay active and be consistent.
MM: What daily healthy practice can’t you live without?
ML: Lots of veggies and eight hours sleep does wonders for your mind, body and soul.
Michelle’s picks for a great workout
1. Nike Zoom Pegasus 32
I’ve worn Nike since I can remember. They’re so comfortable and fit perfectly. I also love their recent Flyknit designs with the external lacing detail.
2. Lululemon sports bras and tops
In the summer time, I like Lululemon‘s Sunset Salutation tank with a built in bra. In the winter, I like to wear their Breeze By Long sleeve tops. I have them in a few colors.
I discovered the yoga brand Harvest on a recent trip to L.A. It’s a sustainable sports wear brand made using recycled plastic and they ship worldwide.
4. Colorful leggings by Nike
I can’t get enough of these!
5. Mischa Jet Set tote
It’s my go to carryall for the gym.
6. Lululemon Pleat to Street tennis skirt
They have built in shorts, side pockets and are so comfortable, have them I three colors! I also really like L’Etoile Sport, it’s really cute and retro style. You can get it on Net-a-porter.
7. A pair of sunglasses from local brand Neo-Ne
8. Jabra Rox Bluetooth earbuds
I cannot live without these.
9. Cap and sunscreen
For whenever I workout outdoors.