Abs-olutely fabulous

Wong prepares all her meals and brings them everywhere. — Sunpix by Asyraf Rasid
Maggie Wong doing her workout ta the gym. — Sunpix by Asyraf Rasid
Build the body you love, not the body people want to see – Maggie Wong . — Sunpix by Asyraf Rasid

STANDING at 153cm and weighing a compact 50kg of muscles is Maggie Wong who took up bodybuilding two years ago after getting bored of doing the usual “gym stuff”.

“I attended all kinds of classes and tried bodybuilding via YouTube, but I realised I wasn’t doing it correctly. I got a trainer to help and soon, I knew it was for me,” the 27-year-old said.

Suffering from hyperthyroidism since she was 16, she has to be on medication. When she got her first job, she often forgot to take her medication and one morning, she woke up feeling dizzy and blacked out. She went to the hospital where doctors put her on iodine, and she had to be isolated for seven days.

“Iodine slows metabolism and because of my condition, I lost 7kg earlier which I gained back,” she said.

Hailing from Penang, she doesn’t have too many friends in Kuala Lumpur and rather than eating and watching television in the evenings, she prefers to train at the gym. She trains one to two hours every day, which keeps her occupied.

“My motto is whatever you do, do the best you can. Build the body you love, not the body people want to see. I believe in doing better and my challenge is to be better than yesterday. Fitness has taught me that no matter how difficult it can be, the end journey will make you better than you were,” said the assistant marketing manager.

At the time of interview, she has been preparing for months for the National Amateur Body Building Association (NABBA) competition which was held in Singapore on May 1.

This is your second NABBA competition. How did you fare the first time?
I took part last August, more for the experience. I entered the Miss Sports Model and Bikini categories, but was told I was too toned for the latter so I was disqualified. I had even bought my bikini which cost about RM1,000! I wasn’t prepared at all.

After that event, I realised there was a lot more to learn about bodybuilding. This year, I am entering the Miss Sports Model category (where she placed second runner-up).

What is the hardest thing about bodybuilding?
Bodybuilders need to eat a special diet because of the intense training. For instance, if I eat breakfast at 8am, I’d be hungry again by 10am. I have to eat every two to three hours, but I cannot just eat anything. The food must be high in protein and low in carbs, and eating healthy can be quite expensive.

I usually prepare my meals on weekends which can be kept for four days at most. So, I have to make more by mid-week. Portions vary according to calories expended and a person’s weight. It’s actually not difficult once you get used to it. I bring my meals everywhere, even when meeting clients although I will explain the reason because I am training for a competition.

Name foods bodybuilders must never eat.
Sugar. Lots of people take carbonated and isotonic drinks after they exercise; that is not good at all.

And processed food. While we need not insist on expensive organic ingredients, we should try to eat natural, fresh and wholesome foods. Protein is very important and bodybuilders must eat enough protein at every meal.

Do you plan to go into the fitness business full time?
Not yet. I am quite demanding and I love my present job too much to give it up. But I offer private training, part time. I have taken a fitness coach course, and I am a certified fitness coach.

After I take the ACE (American Council on Exercise) exam at the end of the year, I can become a fitness trainer.