The Australia raised athletic trainer shares her vision on empowering women through re-defining their understanding of fitness

There is no better word than “strong” to describe the co-founder of Warrior Academy and former MMA fighter Tricia Yap. But what makes Tricia strong is not just her physique. Born and raised in Australia, Tricia first moved to Hong Kong for a corporate job, but eventually followed her passion for fitness into a full-time career.

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The founder of a hugely popular female-only fitness bootcamp back in 2012, Tricia underwent an unexpected fall-out with her business partner, while her personal relationships too collapsed. Not long after, a severe injury from an MMA fight threatened to halt her fitness career indefinitely, but Tricia didn’t give up. Instead, she bounced back as a successful gym owner and fitness influencer, empowering women to challenge the norms and misconceptions of fitness.

We spoke with the fitness warrior on how women can define their own success.

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Above Photo: Moses Ng/Hong Kong Tatler

What motivates you?

Fitness. I am passionate about coaching people, so being an athletic trainer allows me to help others navigate their fitness journey because that can be intimidating at times.

I am not a fan of magazine articles with titles like “how to lose belly fat in 30 days” or magazines that put up images of skinny models and run articles that “teach” people how to get their bodies. In the fitness industry, some trainers try to make money out of people who want to lose weight. Business is business, but I think we can also approach things with more integrity. 

What does it mean to be a woman nowadays?

Women nowadays are juggling so many roles: homemaker, daughter, girlfriend or wife, career woman, athlete, gym-goer, fashionista, etc. and we are often expected to excel in every single one of them. There are so many hats we can wear, but it should be up to us which hats we would like to wear. We should be the ones who decide how much pressure we place on ourselves.

What’s the biggest struggle for you as a woman?

As a woman in the fitness industry, I used to feel like I had to get my abs out and walk the talk. There was a point in my life where I would be calculating the calories in all the food that I ate. I would even bring a portable scale to restaurants as I thought I had to look really good in order to coach somebody.

There would always be a checklist I had to follow in order to prove my success; a great marriage, a good career, looking amazing and the list goes on. I was so obsessed with the pursuit of success, I forgot that it should be me defining what success is.


Can fitness empower women?

Absolutely. As a coach, I often get women to do something that they thought would be impossible. And when they can finally do it, I tell them to harness the power they used and apply it to all aspects of their lives.

Except training, do you have any other hobbies?

Playing the piano, reading, and collecting vintage jewellery.

Your guilty pleasure?

Cakes from Ms B’s Cakery.

You will be speaking at the upcoming TEDxTinHauWomen event, any spoilers?

I will be speaking about my journey of recovery, realisation and redemption after life knocked me down, and the difference between the perceptions of success and failure.

Tricia Yap will be speaking at TEDxTinHauWomen on November 1 at PMQ along with various female speakers from different industries. Tickets available here.

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