The First Step

“Let’s sit here.”

He ushered to the corner two-seater table. I followed and sat opposite him. He took out the body composition analyzer results and started explaining the numbers to me.

“This”, he said pointing to the fat percentage, “is far too high.”

“I know.” I chuckled.

It took me a long time to be open to discuss about my weight. The first time I used the BCA machine, a staff walked by, looked at the numbers then straight into my eyes “You need to lose at least 5 kg.” Well, I thought, that was my weight a year ago.

Living in Malaysia, I lead a very unhealthy lifestyle. It is so different from my university years. We walk everyday, to university and to shopping malls for grocery shopping and getting essentials. The cold burns away the calories we consume easily. Here in Malaysia, I travel by car instead of walking due to safety and heat. Walking become a bare minimum. Badminton, the only sport I was mildly good at, needs company but my friends are too busy and without my car, it is difficult to commute to sports centre.

“Do you have any previous injuries?”

“My knees.”


I contemplated telling him the real reason. I injured both my knees at one point in my life; my left knee was from a car accident 10 years ago. I sprained my right knee when I fell off the couch laughing at a television show. The right knee still hurts once in a while after 7 years.  I went pink as I thought of the incident. It was embarrassing to share.

Pokai issit?” (Meaning falling on the street in Cantonese)

Close enough. I nodded – whatever to get him to the next part.

What is your goal?

Lose weight! He started explaining about ways to eat healthier, and suggested to eat slower. Clearly, he hasn’t seen the way I eat. Any slower I would need an entire hour to finish an entire meal.

Fun fact: To burn 1 kg of fat, you need to burn 7000 cal.

Within the next 3 months, he wrote, I should drop 5 kg and 5% of my fat body percentage. How is that even possible? I thought to myself. 

Why did you join this particular gym? 

Because on the particular date I decided to walk into the gym to talk with a consultant, there was a 1-day offer to waive off the admin fees, joining fees, and the monthly fees for that month (My luck, I know!). I didn’t think much before I entered and join – I just did it because I feel like it’s time to start getting into shape. Because it is so convenient, just a ten minutes drive from my place. 

But at that moment, I didn’t think of any of those. I remembered that I joined at the spur of the moment, so all I could think of was “Because I feel like it.” He didn’t buy it. There was more reasons, he pressed on later.

What is your reason for coming to the gym?

There was a checklist, among them contain:  For others, health, special event, etc. I looked trying to pick the best answer so I chose Health. Confused, he asked “do you have any medical conditions?” “You don’t have to be sick to want to be healthy,” I replied, not sure if it made any sense.  

He pressed further. “Is there someone who inspire you to go to the gym?” I recently wrote a post about change: I want to change for myself, because I want to be a better ME. Not for others.

“A boyfriend, maybe? Or someone you are interested in? Someone you want to pursue?”  I kept quiet, like I always do. Some how, that question always bothered me, especially when a stranger asked.  A girl does not have to be defined by the presence or absence of partner.

But then, for the first time this year, I thought of you.

At the end of the questionnaire, we went up to the gym area where he tested my fitness level.


After a 10-minutes on the thread mill, he said that I had a good heart and lung capacity. Reason: I was able to hold a conversation with him while my legs were pacing, trying to keep up with the thread mill. I swelled with pride as this was a good news for a girl who was coughing constantly when she was young and nearly diagnosed with asthma.

Perhaps I can be more than what thought I am. 

It boosted me a little, but my body still needed a lot of work. Apparently I was the second out of his many female clients that could do a push-up and it was my first time doing push-ups too! (Another plus!). But my body failed me during the stability test, when I could not stand in a starfish pose for more than 7 seconds with my eyes closed. I am afraid of consciously closing my eyes, I’m that when I open my eyes afraid of seeing a third-dimension figure in front of me. Silly unjustified fear, but I rather stay up late at night and only go to bed when I am dead tired.


There was a reason I chose a guy, instead of a woman, to be my PT. I am always feeling awkward if I’m having a one on one conversation with a male. My eyes would dart around, not being able to hold a guy’s gaze for more than 30 seconds. I would smile continuously – my way of coping with uncomfortable situations. My fingers would involuntarily do the annoying clicking sound.

If one prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If one prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

– Evan Almighty (2007)

And the way I deal with overcoming fear or awkward situations is to create the opportunity to deal with it.


4 thoughts on “The First Step

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