Location: Hobart, Tasmania
My family and I moved across from Indonesia to settle in Australia in January 2010. After seventeen years in the Asian fitness industry I had found myself working a stressful managerial job at a big Fitness First club in Jakarta, on the ground floor of an old shopping centre, and spent the daylight hours in air-conditioning with brief trips out of the gym to fuel up on Starbucks.
I had long since given up my first love, teaching aerobics, which was my route into the fitness industry when as a skinny teenager I left the familiar rice fields of my hometown in West Java for the dirty skies of Jakarta and a place at the country’s top Sports University. Actually no one liked my classes in those early days. I knew they were wondering why this skinny, self-consciously awkward guy from the rice fields was teaching them aerobics.
So, I went out and bought an odd pair of colourful socks and wore them for my class. Everyone laughed. And so if nothing else, at least they would remember who I was. My colourful socks defined me.
Moving to Australia has been much easier. Hobart’s gym industry couldn’t be friendlier to a newcomer like me and I have been harvesting the fruits of those seventeen years slogging it out in Asia. My name can now be found on the timetables of three of Hobart’s best gyms. I teach Hi-Lo, BodyCombat, BodyBalance, Circuit, Group Kick, Group Groove, Cross-Trainer and Punch Fit just to name a few, and I’ll be taking personal training clients again in the new year.
One of the last things I did in Asia was to attend a workshop with Steve Cotter in Bangkok. I love working out with kettlebells. The endorphin-rush of swinging a bell on a sunny Hobart morning looking out over the River Derwent beats Starbucks any day and I am keen to bring this magical experience to my group exercise classes with a combination of boxing drills and kettlebells.
Even in the darker days of Jakarta I saw it as a priority to demonstrate what many will say is one of my greater strengths, my infectious enthusiasm. Mindset is very important and I always want to show that working out is fun not pain.