Get Lean, Get Strong Challenge kicks off
The Get Lean, Get Strong Challenge 2016, jointly organised by The New Paper and fitness company AIBI, starts tomorrow. More than 80 people wrote in to be one of 10 contestants in the fitness challenge. HARIZ BAHARUDIN (firstname.lastname@example.org) speaks to two of them
In her "tight gowns", she was a head-turner who would confidently strut around at parties or events.
But those UK size 8 dresses haven't seen the light of day for the past few years, and they now sit in a forgotten corner in Ms Reza Redwan's cupboard.
The 36-year-old admissions officer says: "I used to have a great body but after having two babies, it is difficult to get back in shape."
Ms Reza has two sons, aged seven and 13 months. Over the past three years, she has gained more than 15kg and is now a UK size 16.
She feels especially insecure when she goes out with her 41-year-old husband, who is a football coach.
"We used to be on a par (in terms of fitness), even going for marathons together," Ms Reza says with a sigh.
"Now, while my hot-looking husband has eight-pack abs, I have fat rolls. I feel inferior walking beside him."
She says the stares they get because of the difference in their sizes only feeds her self-doubt.
She has tried all sorts of methods to shed weight. This includes visiting weight-loss centres, going on several diets and for a while, she even stopped eating and only drank juice.
But nothing worked.
She says: "Even when I watch what I eat, my job limits the time I have for exercise. My weight loves me and clings to me for dear life."
Ms Reza was one of 83 people who wrote in for a chance to be a contestant in the Get Lean, Get Strong Challenge 2016.
The challenge's fitness coach, Mr David Devito, says what Ms Reza needs is a "change in lifestyle".
He says: "She has tried so many things for so long and with a husband who looks like that, she is bound to feel insecure. I am sure after the six months, Reza will feel much better about herself."
Ms Reza says she is determined to shed the weight. She looks to those dresses in her cupboard as a source of inspiration.
"I will do whatever it takes. This is my first step to realising my dreams of fitting into those dresses again," she says.
''I used to have a great body but after having two babies, it is difficult to get back in shape.''
— Ms Reza Redwan
Not just for himself, but for his family too
Financial consultant Alvin Low, 43, loathes shopping because he can't buy shirts off the rack.
"I have gained so much weight that my only option is to have my clothes tailored," he says sheepishly.
"Not only does it cost more than double, it hurts my self-esteem too."
Wardrobe problems weren't always the case.
Mr Low (above, with his daughter) says he used to be fit and even ran full marathons with timings of under five hours. He also achieved the gold standard for his Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
But after getting married 13 years ago, Mr Low says he "let myself go".
Despite advice from his wife to exercise, he has gained more than 50kg.
The main reason, he says, is his job. Mr Low explains that he is often so busy that he does not have time to eat proper meals. So he resorts to fast food, which have become a part of his lifestyle.
He says with a sigh: "Food is my Achilles heel, and I cannot deny myself fried chicken or sweet, carbonated drinks. My diet has made me this way."
Mr Low is concerned his weight will cause health problems.
"All this weight gain is terrible and at this rate, I might not last until the age of 50," he says, adding that he worries he won't be around to care for his two daughters, aged nine and 11.
It was for this reason that Mr David Devito chose Mr Low for the Get Lean, Get Strong Challenge 2016.
Mr Devito says: "The encouragement from his trainers and fellow participants will be the push Mr Low needs to succeed."
When told that he has been accepted for the challenge, Mr Low says he is not focusing on the prizes. Instead, all he wants to do is shed as much weight as he can.
"I just need to get myself into a training routine and lead a healthier lifestyle," he says.
"It's high time to change and pay the price to lose the weight."
The 10 contestants
- Rachel Ang, 34, sales support administrator
- Leon Lim, 27, teacher
- Reza Redwan, 36, admissions officer
- Michael Tan, 44, taxi driver
- Junita Rodrigues, 56, nurse
- Justin David, 33, warehouse assistant
- Hozarifah Husain, 29, research engineer
- Priyanka Ketha, 35, sales executive
- Alvin Low, 43, financial consultant
- Rozi Raja, 47, secretary
Training will start from 'ground zero'
Choosing the 10 participants out of the more than 80 people who signed up was no easy task, and Mr Devito says he personally interviewed each one of them before deciding.
What he looked for: a strong desire to get fit.
Says Mr Devito: "We have a great mix of people. They have been trying hard to lose weight but just don't know why they can't. Their stories spoke to me."
During the first few weeks, Mr Devito will be easing the participants into his training programme. The focus will be on conditioning their joints, as well as improving their flexibility.
"Some of them might have their own exercise regime, but I want to start them from ground zero. It is as if they are like babies. I will make sure they unlearn the mistakes from their past and learn my correct techniques," Mr Devito says.
This means that they will not see results within the first three weeks or so, but Mr Devito is confident their efforts will pay off.
He says: "We made it a six-month programme. The change will not be immediate, but it will start showing soon."
If there is one thing he hopes for in the contestants, it is commitment.
"Some of the stuff I will be telling them might be foreign to them, but as long as they keep an open heart and an open ear, I guarantee they will get the results they desire."
About the competition
The Get Lean, Get Strong Challenge 2016, jointly organised by The New Paper and fitness equipment company AIBI, is a fitness competition that challenges 10 participants to shed as much weight as they can.
Under the supervision of weight-loss guru David Devito, 50, contestants will undergo an intensive six-month training regime worth $5,000.
This consists of one-hour classes thrice a week at Mr Devito's gym, The Fitness Protocol, using his techniques that have helped more than 300 people achieve their dream physiques.
Rather than focus solely on cardiovascular exercises like running, Mr Devito's methods, which feature the use of the kettlebell, have a strong emphasis on technique.
Participants will also have to watch what they eat and adhere to a strict diet that Mr Devito and his team will plan and monitor.
The participant who loses the most weight will receive a treadmill, exercise bike and stepper from AIBI, worth a total of $6,100.
There are also prizes for the second- and third-placed contestants and consolation prizes for the other seven contestants.
People still need to be reminded of the importance of exercise, says AIBI managing director Pauline Kwek, 51.
She adds: "We hope to put across the message that exercising and eating right are the best ways to keep fit and achieve a dream body."