Posts Tagged ‘working out’



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.



We were on one of our favorite topics over Yahoo Messenger one Sunday morning (Indonesia time). My friend Lou was slowly getting back into her running after being sidelined temporarily by fasciitis for several months, and is thinking of trying spinning at the gym soon. I had been hitting the gym for several months now. I used to be a gym bunny several years ago until I discovered hatha yoga and hot yoga. I’m still into hatha yoga except I’ve upped my exercise regimen with gym work ever since I arrived in Indonesia.

It helps that two of my friends are gym bunnies. There’s no way you’re not going to get off your rear end with those two guys around. Alvin is into spinning class and step aerobics while Arnel hits the gym floor like clockwork. I go for spinning class/step aerobics and then gym work and, in between rests, engage in bunny watching.

Gym bunnies come in different shapes and sizes! Some are exhibitionists letting it all hang loose in the women’s locker room. Lou and I see eye-to-eye on this – not letting it hang loose that is – which others brand as prudish behavior or being Asian. I call it not assaulting the sensitivities of others. Men are exhibitionists as well. Straight or not, they have no qualms of letting everything dangle. Sometimes it gets a little out of hand that it forced a guy friend in Singapore to just shower at home after being hit on several times in the locker room. Women nudists are a rarity In Indonesia unlike in Singapore. The gym bunnies would either change in the cubicles or make like a magician in front of their lockers with a towel wrapped around them.  In minutes, they’ve changed from street clothes into workout togs or vice-versa without any indecent exposure.

The other locker room goings-on would make fitness and health experts Dave Nuku and Kristy Curtis of The Biggest Loser Asia show shake their heads in disbelief. I’ve spotted women wolfing down fast food meals inside the locker room an hour or so before spinning or aerobics. I’ve seen some munch on pastel, tempeh and tauhu goreng, martabak or potato balls, popular local snacks, at the juice bar right after spinning class!

The gym floor is a pageant of bunnies. There are the miniature Green Hulks – bulky guys with arms resting on their latissimi dorsi – and the chickens with puffed chests and scrawny legs.  There is one paunchy gym bunny who’s a group on his own. Dressed in grunge style, accessorized with a water bottle and book, he lifts weights for several counts and then spends the rest of the time chatting up women on the floor, the stationary bikes or treadmills. Meanwhile, most Indonesian women on the gym floor are Asian J Los. These women put back the oomph in an era where zaftig figures are greatly frowned upon. Every curve is accentuated by their body-hugging workout togs but is invisible under their après-gym clothes.

One gym bunny reminds me of Madonna circa 1980s with her snug ruffled curtain skirts, color tights and diaphanous tops. She finishes the ensemble with a silver chain around her waist, fiery red hair and makeup. Another bunny, a gothic princess, perennially dabs her heavy eye makeup before they completely run down her cheeks. One commendable gym bunny is the senior of the lot whose buns every now and then would read “Touch Here”. Her energy is boundless, hopping from one class to another. She’d start with spinning class, shaming numerous cyclists who buckle at the first five minutes, and then she’d hop over to aerobics to shake her booty and make like a pole dancer sans the pole.

The instructors are another set of attention-grabbing gym bunnies, but that’s another story altogether.