Through his fitness journey, Ferdinand learnt that he is capable of so much more than he thought possible.
My life was never easy from the start. I grew up in Manila, and my father died of cancer when I was only 5 years old. My tender years were all about battling hardships and struggling with the basic needs of daily life along with a sibling.
As I grew up, I was extremely focused on studies with the hope that education could improve our lives. With my time largely spent on books instead of sports, I would always avoid other activities such as basketball games with my classmates. As the eldest child, I shouldered the responsibility with my mother and fought for survival with the limited finances we had. Hard work paid off slowly, as I scored scholarships and graduated successfully. That was when I moved to Singapore, found a job and got married with two kids.
I was beaten to my knees again when I got retrenched in 2016, and in an instant my job was gone. I felt my spirit, self-confidence and self-esteem slowly seeping away during this challenging period of my life. It was depressing to look at myself in the mirror, as well as the faces of my children. My wife was deeply worried as I started to lose myself, breaking out in rashes all over my body due to the mounting stress. She constantly cheered me up and encouraged me to discover something new that I have never done before.
My resilience kicked up again there and then, and I knew I had to be strong mentally and physically for my wife and children. I was never fit, but I need to now. The next morning, I found myself signing up for a membership at Fitness First Westgate.
I met my personal trainer, Leon Tan Kian Onn at Fitness First Capital Tower Sports Performance in September that year. I was in a bad shape at 73kg with 25% body fat and my health was deteriorating. He tailored a 3-month intensive training programme for me and my diet was closely monitored. It was really hard for me, struggling with the constant soreness and muscle ache. But the words of encouragement from Leon kept me going and looking forward to every gym session. Every single day, I would send him the photos of my diet and he would make recommended adjustments on food portions and quality. From September to December 2016, I started to see results – the weighing scales went down to 60kg! One workout after another, I also managed to hit many small achievements and breaking personal bests in the gym – doing very heavy barbell movements, single arm push ups, single leg squats and more. I WAS STRONG!
Through the journey, I learnt that I am capable of so much more than I thought possible. I am no longer the depressed man with sunken eyes years ago. I gained confidence to participate in the Spartan Race (Super) last year as well as going for circuit classes such as Athletica and Primal, exclusively available at Fitness First Sports Performance. I am currently taking up my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) while balancing time for family, work, fitness and studies.
Being healthy and fit gives me that “extra energy” that enables me to pursue my dream of getting a degree before 40. More than just an interest, fitness has strengthened me to look at life with a renewed spirit and a positive attitude. Now, I’d like to encourage my wife to join me on this rewarding journey. As parents, I hope we can be an example to our children and to share the love of fitness with the ones I love.
Every day is a new day to get stronger for tomorrow. Fitness taught me to be strong, and it is now my lifestyle! It was really with patience, trusting the process, and perseverance that I managed to get the results that I was hoping for.
So thank you Leon for being the spark, lighting up my journey and my life.