Posts Tagged ‘personal trainer’



Approachable is one way to describe him. Actually, it is the opposite, he does the approaching, accosting you when he thinks he needs your help with a machine or if you’re doing something wrong with an exercise. That’s how I met him at the gym albeit I had been frequenting Helios at Bekasi CyberPark Bekasi for several months. I’d see him attending to his client every time I was working out. Then one fine December night about 16 months ago, he came over to me. By him, I’m referring to Agus Wahyudi, one of the personal trainers at Helios, whose teddy bear demeanor belies a martinet.

“Let me give you a trial workout,” he said casually, a huge smile crossing his face, as he prepped the leg extension machine.

The workout regimen convinced me to sign him up as my personal trainer despite feeling that every muscle in my body seemed to have been ripped apart. I was challenged even though running up a flight of stairs in school the next day proved excruciating – an experience was commingled with a tinge of hilarity. Picture this – as I run up the stairs I was muttering “Ouch, Ouch”. Every step elicited looks of wonder from every student and colleague who tried hard to suppress a giggle or guffaw.


Immediately after my Christmas break, I began my sessions with Pak Agus which meant training with him four times a week. Admittedly, the first month had me in tears; every squat, lunge, abdominal exercise or chess press was incendiary, but I carried on cajoled by Pak Agus who seemed to not notice that I was picking my tongue off the floor every session, and only smiled during the rest periods between exercises. But I was fuelled by a determination to conquer all the exercises he threw my way and get my breathing to a normal pace, so I trooped diligently to Helios – rain or shine – and worked out between two and three hours.


Pak Agus’s personality showed through our sessions. For one, he is a professional who puts all his attention on his client, as he rarely misses a session unless it’s, for instance, a family emergency. Second, he is a movie buff who kept me updated on which movie I should not miss or give a miss. He gave “Logan” the thumbs up. Third, he’s funny. His disappointment with Emma Watson’s “Beauty and the Beast” because, in his words, “there was a lot of singing” had me laughing. He fell asleep in the cinema. Fourth, he is affable. Every member of Helios is on speaking terms with him; he is just simply nice to speak with. There’s not a drop of arrogance in him. Fifth, he is entrepreneurial. He used to manage a snack bar at Helios selling steamed egg white, sandwiches, coffee and other beverages, etc. Sadly, the rent hike was too much so he closed shop. However, he is back selling beverages like water, coconut milk, protein shakes, Pocari sweat, banana, and especially the pudding, fruit salad, or green bean pudding made by his wife.


Lastly, and this is why I have not changed personal trainers, he is credible. He eats healthily, doesn’t smoke, emphasizes correct movement, posture and breathing, and answers all of my questions about fitness in a straightforward manner. Moreover, the fact that he has a balanced workout is a stark testament to his integrity as a legitimate personal trainer. It’s difficult, I find, to trust a personal trainer who has chicken legs and, horror of horror, smokes. I had a personal trainer before at Helios but it was short-lived. He was not qualified to be one and I regretted signing up with him.

A personal trainer is just like a teacher. The trainer must be knowledgeable, professional, and able to establish rapport. Fortunately, Pak Agus fits the bill to a T. He is committed to my fitness journey as I am.



There was no reneging on my decision that after Christmas break I was going to sign up a personal trainer at Helios when I got back to the gym. The free training session he gave me shortly before I left for Manila left me determined to conquer myself. I can do the basic stuff – something I learned from an ex-boyfriend-best friend who tutored me years ago – but I had reached a dead end and was starting to execrate even the basic workout routine I was doing. Then Pak Agus happened. Perhaps he read my expression and body language, but whatever it was, I knew it was time to sign him up as my personal trainer.

Agus and I had exchanged pleasantries and high-fives occasionally, and he had helped me with some of the machines. I guess the clincher in deciding I’d get him as my personal trainer was, one, he was the only one who spoke to me at length at the gym in English. Second, he was really amiable; he’s like this huge care bear with a super power of weight lifting. But one should not be fooled by his smile once he has his trainer hat on – he makes you complete all the exercises, corrects your inaccurate technique, form and breathing, and pushes you out of your comfort zone. He lives up to the title of personal trainer emblazoned on his t-shirt.

“If you sign up, you have four variants to finish in a session. Come, let me show you the first one,” he said to me and led me to the machine for the latissimus dorsi.

It was an all-body workout routine he gave me which left me gasping for air but feeling definitely much exhilarated, and excited about the thought of signing him up as my personal trainer. I was admittedly in pain the next day and it was complete torture rolling out of bed. I finally got reacquainted my muscles I had long forgotten about. My flatmate, she confessed, was laughing because she heard me crying, “Ouch, ouch, ouch” every time I’d walk around the flat. Good thing she didn’t hear my silent scream the one time I run up a flight of steps from the ground floor to my office on the second – my leg muscles were suddenly tight. Even lifting a textbook was such an arduous task after a workout session with Pak Agus!

Gym collage


But despite the body pain and gripes I never regretted my decision to sign up Pak Agus as my trainer. In fact, it’s one of the best decisions I have made this year. However, honestly, I was not far from quitting the first cycle which tested my resolve. Pak Agus’ training sessions are divided into cycles consisting of 12 sessions each, with a client ideally doing four sessions with him each week without fail. I was dragging my sore body home and dropping on the bed after a quick shower to wake up the next morning feeling raw and debating whether to go to the gym or not. It was reminiscent of my days as a varsity soccer player at the University of the Philippines in Diliman where training was gruelling especially for a flat-footed, asthmatic person like me. But I didn’t quit much to the surprise of my teammates who, I discovered much later, had a wager going on of how long before I renounced my membership. They were shocked when I came back the next day smiling and whistling. It’s similar to my sessions with Pak Agus who noted that I looked better and stronger after the first cycle where I looked so downtrodden and ready to quit.

I am now on my sixth cycle with Pak Agus and exercises like the push-up (the type where you’re in push up position and moving to the right and left before doing the push up) and plank rotation are fast becoming a favourite together with the triceps dip. A friend once commented that I can stop with my personal trainer after a few months, but I beg to disagree. Here’s why getting and staying with a personal trainer is never a bad idea:

  1. A personal trainer pushes one to work out.

There are 101 reasons not to work out and your personal trainer makes sure you don’t use any one of them on him. Aside: I don’t even have Pak Agus’ hand phone number because I know I’d be tempted to text him I can’t make it.

  1. A personal trainer is your personal cheering squad.

When you feel your knees are about to buckle after more than two minutes of jumping jacks, your personal trainer will cheer you on until the last second. Then he’ll give you a bit of rest and time to drink water.

  1. A personal trainer keeps you focused on your work out.

Like a good teacher, he discusses the focus of the cycle, the goal for each cycle, and having a proper diet.

  1. A personal trainer is a paradigm of healthy living.

Exercising cannot be divorced from the concept of healthy living. They go like hand and glove, and your personal trainer is a great reminder of that philosophy.

Naysayers will point out that it’s expensive to pay a personal trainer. I concede that it’s a good point, but here’s my argument: with proper money management paying for a personal trainer is a much better investment than, say, purchasing a branded bag of whatever froufrou you fancy at the moment. It’s a life-time investment that will keep the doctor away and you in tip-top shape.