All you need is a clear area and comfortable clothes to get fit in your own personal space.
BADAK, Fatty, Fadly (a combination of Fatty and Adly) – those were some of the names Adly Almanzo Adnan was regularly called in secondary school, due to his obesity.
While they were certainly hurtful to hear, the greater tragedy was that Adly eventually grew immune to their sting; a fact that he acknowledges probably delayed his eventual efforts to get fit.
“After a while, I grew used to it, which was bad in a way, because if not, I would have done something earlier,” says the 31-year-old freelance personal trainer.
Despite getting used to the name-calling and bullying, his self-esteem and self-confidence were still badly affected.
“To be honest, I kind of despised my body at the time.
“It wasn’t really good in terms of my own self-image, coupled with low self-esteem, and I lacked any sort of self-confidence,” he shares.
Then, his parents decided to send him to do A-Levels at a boarding school in Shropshire, England.
“They provided dorm(itory) food, and every day, the food was like steamed vegetables and chicken breast – day in, day out, you got this sort of food.
“Then, everyday, I did a lot of bodyweight exercises – push-ups, pull-ups and dips – and I played basketball everyday,” he says.
“And after six months when I came back, my friends and parents who greeted me at the airport couldn’t recognise me, because I had lost a lot of weight, and packed on a lot of size (muscle) as well!
“So, from that point onwards, my self-confidence grew, my self-esteem shot up, and I just realised the benefits of being fitter.”
Thus, his passion for fitness was born. He started reading a lot about fitness, including buying every Men’s Health magazine he could get his hands on, and really began to work out to build his bulk.
Toning it down
However, he notes that getting to where he is today was through a lot of trial and error.
“The size I packed on in college wasn’t that ideal. I did lose weight, and I did put on muscles, but it was hampering my daily activities and I was quite heavy, going up to about 90kg.
“So, for example, I kept getting injured at football, because I was very top-heavy – my legs couldn’t support me properly.
“My pants were also getting tighter, because I wasn’t just putting on muscle, but also putting on fat, because my nutritional knowledge was not there. I was just eating everything I could, because that’s how you bulk up.
“And I thought, no, that’s just not practical, and it wasn’t comfortable any more.”
With that in mind, he decided to focus on a pure bodyweight programme about the time he started working.
The result: he managed to strip off about 15kg of bulk, leaving him at a comfortable and healthy weight, which allows him to play sports without getting injured.
Adly adds that he no longer has to spend long hours at the gym, and can finish off his daily exercise routine within an hour.
It was also around this time he realised he needed to change his eating habits. While previously, he was eating lots of mamak food, especially after his gym sessions, now, his diet has changed to include healthier options, like brown rice and less oily foods, and he has stopped the binge-eating.
“Nutrition is important. However, if we are talking about body composition and fat loss, I think what you eat doesn’t matter so much, because at the end of the day, it is calories in, calories out.
“If you want to lose weight, you need to expend more energy than you consume. So, if let’s say I need 3,000 calories a day, if I want to lose weight, then I just need to eat 2,500 calories a day.
“But it doesn’t matter where this 2,500 calories comes from; it can come from 2,500 calories of McDonald’s or 2,500 calories of steamed chicken breasts or steamed fish,” he says.
However, he adds that this does not mean he advocates eating whatever we like, as what we eat has long-term effects on the body; for example, on cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight.
“What I’m saying is that one hamburger or pizza won’t derail everything. Some people can be really uptight about it, so they reject invitations out to social events, but that’s not the way it should be.
“You should still be able to enjoy life, and at the same time, just try to be as fit as you can be and eat well.”
Helping others get fit
Although he didn’t originally plan to become a personal trainer, the death of his father in 2011 triggered a change of heart.
“People were always asking me advice (about fitness), and they were always telling me I should be a personal trainer.
“So when my dad passed away, I thought it was time to really do something to start helping people,” he says.
He found that he really enjoyed what he did, and found it very fulfilling.
That was when he decided to do things properly and get certified. He underwent the six-month American Council of Exercise personal trainer certification programme last year, and successfully completed the course.
He still advocates bodyweight exercises, which can be done at home because it requires no equipment, and can be tailored for any level of fitness.
The following are five exercises that beginners can try out in their own homes.
1. Get into the regressed push-up position (see top photo), while holding your upper body up at arm’s length with your hands placed shoulder-width apart.
2. Lower yourself down until your chest almost touches the floor as you inhale.
3. Breathe out and press your upper body back up to the starting position.
4. Hold the starting position for a brief moment, then begin lowering yourself downward again and repeat the exercise.
1. Begin in a push-up position, i.e. your body facedown on the floor with your weight supported by your hands and toes.
2. Flexing the knee and hip, bring one leg forward to your chest.
3. Then, stretch it back to the starting position.
4. Do the same with the other leg.
5. Repeat the exercise, alternating your legs.
1. Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Bring one knee towards your chest, then quickly return it to the ground.
3. Follow immediately by bringing the other knee towards your chest, and quickly returning it to the ground.
4. Repeat the exercise by alternating your legs as quickly as you can.
1. Begin in a split-leg standing position with your hands on your hips, and one leg forward and one leg back. You knees should be flexed and your hips slightly lowered.
2. Move downwards by bending your front knee to 90° angle. Keep your torso straight. Go as low as you can without your back leg touching the floor.
3. Move back upwards to the starting position, then repeat the exercise.
4. After that, switch the other leg forward, and repeat the exercise.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and arms held out straight in front of you.
2. Move downwards to a sitting position by bending both your knees, while keeping your arms and back straight. Make sure that your knees do not go past your toes.
3. Reverse your movement to return to the starting position. Then, repeat the exercise.
Number of repetitions
- Beginners can start with five repetitions for the regressed push-up, split-squat (lunge) and squat, and 10 repetitions for the mountain climber and high-knee run.
- As you get used to the exercise, you can slowly increase the number of repetitions by one each time you do the routine, until you are doing 10 repetitions for the regressed push-up, split-squat and squat, and 20 repetitions for the mountain climber and high-knee run.
- Once you get used to this level of intensity, you can up your exercise routine by repeating the entire circuit twice. After the first round, rest for 30-40 seconds before starting on the second round.
- As you get used to the exercise, you can slowly increase the number of times you repeat the circuit until you are doing four repetitions.
- Once you reach this level, you can consider diversifying the types and intensity of the exercises you do.