The author recently signed up for gym after his doctor advised him to lead a balanced life.

“C’MON abang! One more! You can do it!” I looked at Amir, the guy hollering at me, with daggers in my eyes.

It was late at night. I was near the end of my very first personal training session, sweating profusely, aching all over, the world spinning around me, feeling like I’m about to black out, and this guy, probably half my age, is yelling at me to lift my entire abdomen up one last time to finish my sit-up set.

I could my feel my body giving up on me.

Satu lagi bang! Satu je! C’mon!”

I just laid there, looking up at the ceiling and thinking, “How did I ever get here?”. For years, night-time for me has always been about lazing on the sofa, soda in hand, watching whatever I can on the television. Not at the gym.

Yes, you heard right.

Like a middle-aged cliché, I recently signed up to join a gym.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I actually finally, after decades of thinking about it, signed up for gym.

I’m at the end of my 40s now. And I can really feel it. My weight has gone up, the hair is going, and I feel sluggish, not moving as nimbly as when I was younger.

And boy, I crave for night-time nasi kandar or nasi lemak. Combine that with a sedentary lifestyle, well, I wasn’t exactly very healthy.

Actually, the wife signed up for the gym months before I did. I always smirked when she ran off to the gym or to Pilates or to some mandi wap (sauna) thing, because then I could enjoy my nasi kandar supper at home in peace.

It all came to a peak recently when at my last medical check-up, I found that I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. And not only that, my blood pressure has begun to consistently be on the slightly high side.

My doctor said I need to exercise; have a balanced life, he said.

So one night, after months of trying to get me to follow her, I decided to tag along with my wife and sign up for the gym. Let me tell you, I was as surprised as
her.

And I surprised myself even more when, at the gym, I also signed up for a personal trainer.

So, in my brand new gym attire and with a new positive energy (new clothes can bring that out in you), I bounded towards my first personal training session.

Amir began with a little stretching.

Arms up and down. Short lunges. Sideways hops.


The writer had to lift weights during his recent gym session with a personal trainer.

Piece of cake, I thought to myself.

Amir smiled.

Next was some jump squats. Amir wasn’t happy as I wasn’t doing it right. Bum out, chest up! I began to sweat.

Then he brought out some weights. And made me carry them while I went up and down on a knee-high square foam box. Suddenly my thighs began to tremble.

I kept my resolute. “Izham! You got this! You need to be healthy! No more nasi kandar! No more lazing around the sofa! Balanced life! C’mon!”

Amir saw my determined look as a sign to push me even harder.

“Knees higher! Arms straight up! C’mon!”

As I was in a squatting position and working hard on the battle ropes, I could suddenly feel pain in places where I never felt any pain before. I was working out muscles and ligaments that I never knew existed. Probably never even used ever since I was born. I remember thinking, “Which sadist came up with these gym exercises?”

Next thing I knew I was doing planks on a half ball thing, balancing with all my might, sweating up a storm. My arms were trembling as I was trying to keep my balance and at the same time trying my best to “engage” my core which seems to be something Amir seemed to assume I had. I never even knew I had a core, let alone know how to engage it.

And so there we were, near the end of the hour, ending with the sit-ups. I could feel my body giving up on me.

Satu lagi bang! Satu je! C’mon!”

I just laid there, looking up at the ceiling ... and then I looked at him. I put on a determined face and slowly raised my body. I was trembling. But finally, I don’t know how, I mustered up all my strength and completed that one last sit-up. “Ten!” I proudly yelled.

At the end of the night, I thanked Amir and told him, yes, I will be back. I walked out, and straight to a nasi kandar place.

Hey, balanced life, remember?

The writer works in the production of films, TV, animation and music and gets panicky trying to figure out his next tweet

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