Be Strong. Be Fit.


How Jonathan Started in Gym and the Lessons He Learned

November 22nd, 2008 · 9 Comments ·


This post is written by one of readers of this blog, Jonathan. He shared with us how he started in gym, the mistakes he made, lessons he learned and how he set his fitness goals. This article is a must read.

“Hi all, I’m Jonathan Wong. I have been involved in fitness for the past 6 years or so. I am currently a certified Les Mills instructor in Body Pump, Body Balance and RPM. Fitness is my passion as well as profession.

I actually started working out seriously as an offshoot to my interest in rock climbing. Rock climbing was the first sport that I truly enjoyed, so I was climbing indoors and out about 4 to 5 times a week. And being a little kiasu (kiasu means fear of losing in Hokkien, one of Chinese’s dialects), I was trying all sorts of ways to improve my climbing performance. So began my journey of research, experimentation and learning into the world of fitness. There are definitely no shortages of resources for one to learn from, I feel it is only understanding and choosing what is relevant and useful for the given situation that one is in.


My exercise preferences have slowly changed over the years in line with my fitness levels and knowledge of training principles. I personally favor workouts that are challenging and intense, but also appreciate active rest days to loosen up the body with light cardiovascular exercise and stretching. The bulk of my training comes from the classes that I teach.

In addition, I train about 2 to 3 times a week using short (30 minutes or less), intense, circuit based workouts. These circuits have combination of weight training and cardiovascular elements. Circuit training is one of the best ways to work out if you have limited time in the gym.

The things that motivate me to step into the gym or to get out and go running have evolved as I got fitter. Initially I just wanted to be a stronger climber, but now, I work out because I love the way it makes feel. Energetic, strong, supple, agile, fast… just to name a few.  In addition, I do set some short-term and long-term goals as a guide. So, the key to staying motivated is finding you own driving force. Saying “I want to lose weight” is never enough. Saying “I aim to lose 1lb per week through watching what I eat and working out 3 times a week of 30 minutes cardiovascular training, 20 minutes of weight training and 10 minutes of stretching per session” is more the real deal. The difference should be obvious.


One thing that I learn throughout the years is the danger of over training. It is something that has crept up on me without me even realizing it until much later. The signs are subtle at first but can get full blown – lackluster workouts, fatigue, constant muscle soreness, loss of muscle mass, and even a bad bout of fever or flu. I now listen to my body more and on days that I don’t feel 100%, I either take a rest or have a much lighter workout. So the moral of the story? Train hard and rest well. Your body will appreciate it.

Fitness is a lifestyle. It is a conscious step we make each day to take care of ourselves. I like to think that keeping fit is an investment for my future. The minutes and hours spent each day exercising could mean added years of vitality and energy in my later years. I definitely want to be able to keep up with my grand kids one day. So put on your shoes, let’s run!”

Mun’s comment: I have published few posts based on the feedback and e-mails from blog readers. The contents are written without knowing that they would be requested to be shared as as posts in the first place. Some time ago, when I followed a link in a comment left by Jonathan, I was amazed by what this guy is doing.

So, I requested him to be a guest for this blog.  He sent me his post the next day. Thanks, Jonathan!  I am impressed. By the way, Jonathan has also being featured on Malaysia Men’s Health magazine on Decmber 2008 issue.


This is one of the video clips showing Jonathan working out with body weights and weights, including kettlebells. (Don’t try the workouts yourself without professional training.)

What worth me mentioning again about what Jonathan wrote is the part of him mentioning setting fitness goals. A quantifiable goals with a definite time line will make the direction clearer and push you harder to achieve them. He also mentioned about the painful experience he had after over training.

If you like this post, let me know. Let Jonathan know too by leaving your comment here. I hope that he will be back with more excellent post like this! Also, if you want to contribute to this blog, feel free to write to me. Who knows, your post will be featured here next.




Category: Motivation

If you like this or other articles in this blog, Subscribe to today. It is free.
Scroll down to leave a comment. I really want to know what you think.
9 responses so far ↓
  • rafie // Nov 22, 2008 at 2:03 PM

    i totally agree to the last advice….train hard and rest well…..been in that situation before until i realize the true facts is that my body cannot accept the continuous hard training….i hv to rest for 2 weeks after get caught wif fever andf flu…

    thanks for the post mun and jonathan..

  • Nancy // Nov 22, 2008 at 2:59 PM


    Your post has motivated me to start a fitness regimen for myself to strengthen my body. Anything done with passion definitely gives results, i believe. I wish i get a good body,if not like yours.


  • wani // Nov 24, 2008 at 9:15 AM

    dear Mun and jonathan,

    a great post, really help me to get motivated.

  • morpheuzneo // Nov 24, 2008 at 5:48 PM

    wow.. jonathan really impresses me in the way he train..!

    but.. you don’t wipe all the shared equipment that you used eh?

    i make it a habit.. 1 towel for me.., 1 towel for the equipment..

    it’s not nice to leave sweaty bench or sweaty bar to other gym user.. :p.. (after you.. )


    keep on going..!

  • Jonathan // Nov 25, 2008 at 8:43 AM

    Hi all, thanks for your comments.

    The video above was of a workout that I did slightly over a year ago. Since then, I’ve continued to learn and grow as a trainer and trainee. I now train doing CrossFit( workouts. My overall performance and fitness has improved by leaps and bounds by CrossFitting regularly.

    By definition, CrossFit is a program that uses varied, functional movements done at high intensity. It develops athletic fitness by constantly challenging not only the body but also the mind. So give a try and you will be amazed at what you experience.

    morpheuzneo: Couldn’t agree more with what you said, but I normally wipe down equipment after my workout :) What you see in the video was the 2nd round out of a total 3 that I was doing for time.

  • saiful // Nov 25, 2008 at 4:35 PM

    well-said jonathan! thanx for the post…it inspires me more to work out harder.. you know it’s kinda sad to see most of college students around my age don’t care enough bout fitness and health… and some of them eat like damaging their bodies… muchas gracias once again for ur post…

  • Chris // Jul 17, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    What are some ways that I can better anticipate if I am over training?

  • Jonathan Wong // Jul 17, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    Hi Chris,

    There are a number of ways you can keep track of over-training.

    For me, the most important thing is to listen to your body. If you feel tired, it’s absolutely OK to take a rest day. Keep in mind, adequate rest is required to make the most of your training. But that doesn’t mean you can use that as an excuse to slack off :)

    All the best in achieving your fitness goals!

  • Reestus Rat // Dec 20, 2010 at 6:35 AM

    1lb is the difference between having a decent sized bowel movement or not. Most peoples’ scales are not reliable to within this level of precision (they have the marks on the dial, but do they mean anything?).

    A change of less than 5% of bodyweight (10% is better), means nothing except on a doctor’s scales. Do it for months or years – before that time scale, you’re kidding yourself.

Leave a Comment