“Personal trainers are proud Ambassadors of Fitness!"
How did you get started with bodybuilding?
When I started as a personal trainer (PT) at 17, I had colleagues who were competitors and champions in the sport, so I was pretty familiar with the local bodybuilding scene. It was only years later did my coach, who was also a colleague back then, convince me to give it a go.
What were the initial reactions from your friends and family?
Obviously they were taken aback at first! I was very involved in various sports back then such as soccer, badminton, cross-country, Muay Thai etc. but this was something totally different and new for my family and friends. It did take them a while to get used to it, but it definitely is something unconventional compared to all the sports I've done in the past!
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about personal trainers?
That we are salesmen and we're only interested in your money, all out to either con or confuse the living day lights out of you. I don't blame people for thinking that way though. It's very unfortunate that a lot of commercial gyms today are so sales-driven and sales-focused that they forget that we are Ambassadors of the fit and healthy lifestyle that has changed our lives for the better. The member/client's experience and well-being should always come first; high above anything sales-related and I'm thankful that I belong to a company and have managers that share that same vision.
Are you still actively competing in bodybuilding competitions?
Yes I am! And it may not be much, but I intend to go as far as I possibly can with the help of my coaches, family and friends. Unlike other sports, bodybuilding requires a lot of time and dedication. So after being inspired by the Ronnie Coleman Classic in Jakarta last year, I might take a year or two off to work on certain weaknesses, hoping to make a big bang when I step on stage again.
Could you share what usually happens in your day on the job?
Well, my day usually starts at 6 or 7am with my morning clients which, depending on certain days, may go up to 1:30pm. After which my job scope changes to looking after my "baby" trainers, making sure they're doing fine and following up with their daily game plan. I also assist my boss in ensuring everything in the gym is running smoothly and if time permits, I’ll slot in my own training. Training my evening clients usually kickstarts at 5pm up till 10.30pm on most days and if I didn't manage to get my workout in earlier, I'd head down to California Fitness to get my training done till about midnight.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a PT? Do you have a particular incident to share?
I'm sure I speak for all PTs when I say it's not just when we see clients achieving and surpassing their physique or fitness goals, but at the same time seeing how leading a healthy lifestyle and developing good training habits can have such a positive and huge impact in their lives.
I remember my friend Jie Hui and his dad asked for my assistance just two months before he enlisted into the army—turns out he was posted to an Enhanced Basic Military Training (BMT) company but he wasn't the least ready for his IPPT at all! I was skeptical at first but for two months Jie Hui pushed himself, which enabled me to push him even harder week by week. Within the first week of his enlistment, I got a message from him saying he breezed through a silver at his first IPPT attempt! Jie Hui's journey can be found on RazorTv as I took him through his IPPT Prep training =]
What keeps you going when the going get’s tough?
Wow, where do I begin...Maybe I can talk a little bit about Decompression. Decompression is a technique which athletes use to release all forms of stress and tension, preventing overtraining both physically and mentally. Some decompress by reading a book, watching a movie or playing RockBandz. Personally, I feel nothing beats serving in church. I've been drumming for church for quite some time now and each time it's always refreshing, so that's decompression for me. Apart from serving in church, there's nothing like staying home and watching a DVD. It's nice to go places now and then but given the fast pace and hectic schedule I have, a nice, quiet day at home followed by a slow-paced workout in the evening sure feels awesome.
Please complete this sentence: “Personal trainers are….”
Proud Ambassadors of Fitness!
Cliff is currently a Fitness Team Leader at Fitness First.
Pictures are taken from Cliff's Facebook profile.