The path to attaining a healthy figure is no walk in the park. Just like any other pursuit, it requires a great amount of discipline and hard work. “It is a lengthy process but it’s also a rewarding one”, said Jonathen Louis, a 23 year old regular gym-goer.
Growing up as a scrawny teenager, Jonathen or Jon was often bullied because of his physique. In school, his classmates would insult him by calling him weak. The constant insults thrown at him eventually made him insecure about his masculinity.
Jon recalls a specific incident in school which was the tipping point. “One of my teachers needed help to carry some things. She asked me for help but as soon as she saw me, she retracted her plea for help.”
“I have never felt weaker in my life. It would usually be easy to let these things slide, but having it occur to me so often, I wanted to change that. I wanted to change the way people saw me, especially strength wise.”
At 17, he started working out religiously at the gym. Every week, he would exercise four times. In addition, he started keeping track of the food he consumed. While he wanted to gain muscle, he was determined to do it the right way by eating clean.
Not surprisingly, Jon struggled to adjust to his new lifestyle. For example, it was (and still is) a challenge for him to complete his meals. This is due to his small appetite. Consuming the right amount of calories and nutrients felt like a mundane task for him.
“Some may argue that eating is a piece of cake! But believe me, eating the right food can be very challenging.”
Another challenging aspect about leading a healthy lifestyle in his teens was the burden on his wallet as “healthier food options are very pricey in Malaysia.”
Jon is quick to point out that light injuries are part and parcel of exercising. Unfortunately, these injuries can be an obstacle to a person’s fitness journey.
Asked whether he achieved his purpose despite the struggles throughout his fitness journey, Jon exclaimed, “Of course! I have reached great heights that I previously thought was impossible!”. Not only did the intense exercise routine improve his physique, it also gave him that much needed boost of confidence.
Jon stresses that exercising has played an important role in cultivating a good set of values – “For me, I apply these values in other areas of my life.”
He accounts the compliments he received as a form of motivation. According to him, it kept him going.
His advice to youngsters and aspiring fitness enthusiasts – “As cliché as it may sound, taking that first step is really all it takes. Once you’re [in the gym], I guarantee the constant progress will keep you going back [for more].”
As to his future plans, Jon intends to explore the world of fitness. His main goal is to enroll for a course in fitness training to help common folk in their fitness journey. Currently, he runs his own YouTube channel documenting his daily routines and encourages young people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
View some of Jon’s workout tips here.
We wish Jon the best of luck for a promising future in the fitness industry!
*Featured image sourced from Instagram/jonathenlouis