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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happy and healthy, not hunky

Blame it on the beefcake: In this scene from Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) is instantaneously turned from dweeby nothing to hero hunk with a fictional serum. Photo: Filepic

Personal fitness coach Jeremy Ng (right) and the writer before the intense workouts began. Photo: The Star/Muhamad Shahril Rosli

Workouts involve a lot of work

I blame it on Captain America.

Or rather, that one particular scene of Captain America: The First Avenger in which a skinny guy transforms into a hunk of a hero.

After being rejected by the military, Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) volunteers to be injected by a “super soldier” serum. Before you can say “Put on a shirt!”, he turns into a muscular superhero that sends women swooning and villains cowering. Since a serum of that kind is not available – and steroids is a definite no-no – the next best thing for me was to hit the gym.

With our boss issuing the Star2 Monthly Challenge, I figured I would embrace this as my fitness challenge. Within a month, I would transform my puny self into a beefcake.

To guide me on this quest, I even found the perfect person: personal fitness coach Jeremy Ng.

With over a decade in the finess industry, Ng is founder of PFC (Personal Fitness Coach) Studio. Located in Plaza Damas, Kuala Lumpur, PFC Studio is also Under Armour’s sponsored studio, specialising in fitness education, personal training and sport performance training.

From the moment we met, Ng and I hit it off. He is amicable but when the situation calls for it, he will push you for those extra push-ups. And he is a master at Power Plate (a brand of vibrating platform), which is my favourite exercise equipment.

According to Ng, the greatest satisfaction from his job is seeing his clients’ transformation. “I used to work with a woman who had Parkinson’s. In the beginning, she couldn’t walk on the treadmill but after six months of training, she was able to run for 15 minutes continuously,” he said.

“Personal trainers offer more than just bodily transformation,” enthused Ng. “They also offer health and lifestyle improvements – things that are important to society today.” With such a gung-ho mentality blended with a zen personality, what’s not to like about this guy?

The challenge

After taking my body measurements, Ng noticed that I had muscle imbalance, more specifically my right hip and left shoulder were (gasp!) not proportionate. Throughout the one month – we trained two to three times a week – he worked on fixing that issue and getting my body toned overall.

The first couple of sessions were tough, I will not lie. I was panting and cursing under my breath throughout the workout, and the following morning, my body ached in places I didn’t know existed. (Not being a spring chicken anymore didn’t help.)

Fast forward to 30 days later, and I still didn’t have Chris Evans’ body. By then, I realised one month was too unrealistic to achieve that goal. To see drastic results, one has to workout more frequently (up to five times a week), and watch his diet (which I’m hopeless at).

But I’m glad to report that my posture has improved, and exercising made me less lethargic. Best of all, my programme with Ng made me look forward to workouts – something I used to dislike.

So, instead of a one month challenge, I have converted it into (hopefully) a lifelong one, and I have signed up to be one of Ng’s clients.

As I celebrate my 41st birthday (in a fortnight!), I have come to the realisation that I have to take better care of myself. At this point in my life, I’d settle on being healthy – and happy – over hunky anytime.

By William KC Kee  - William aims to focus more on fitness, and less on fried chicken and Ramly burgers. Send feedback (and encouragement) to


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