Julian Khoo, who formerly played tennis for the national team, is competitive by nature. He likes winning, and doesn’t like to lose. For the past four years, he’s zeroed his focus in onto weightlifting, a sport that has been around for a while, but is newly gaining traction in Malaysia. Weightlifting has become such a huge passion to him that he now runs weightlifting classes called BroLab Sunday, at a price of only RM20. And yep, you guessed it, the class is held on a Sunday!
“I’m passionate about fitness and weightlifting. Malaysia is fairly new to CrossFit, and a big part of that is weightlifting. I’ve been in the scene for about four years, and I’ve seen a lot of people getting injured. I wanted to change that, with BroLab Sunday.”
Julian is no stranger to the fitness world of Malaysia. He founded BroLab Malaysia, a fitness community that focused on why people got into fitness. There’s always a story behind every person’s journey to fitness, and he wanted to get to know more about that.
Today, I wanted to understand what Julian’s story was and why he was so passionate about weightlifting.
“Weightlifting is so technical. Every day is never the same, because of how your body works. Some days, you might be really sore or really tight. For example, your rotators might not be as functional as the day before, so every single thing is off. When you’re having an off day, your mindset is a really important tool. Weightlifting is also a very hard thing to be good at. I don’t even think I’m good, I’m just barely making it.”
How did he keep up the motivation to keep weightlifting? Were there days when he just felt like he didn’t want to do it anymore?
“Definitely, I have a lot of those days. But then again, I like to compete and that’s what drives me.”
What’s the hardest thing about weightlifting?
“Your body! Taking that pain, every day. The days after a session are painful to the body. You’re just sore everywhere and you can’t even walk properly.”
Julian himself has a very intense fitness regime, one that puts me to shame and makes me feel like hiding under my blanket. (Plus, it’s quite comfortable under my blanket.)
“I train about 5-6 times a week, and each session lasts about two hours. If it’s competition season, I train morning and night, which would be an hour and a half each. That’s super tiring and I wouldn’t ask anyone to do it!”
My limbs ache just thinking about his training regime. I hazard a guess that weightlifting isn’t a long-lived sport.
“It’s definitely a short-lived sport. Right now, the average age that people retire is below 30. Some people retire when they’re 26 or 27. This is because the young guns are even stronger, and also, that’s just how the body works. When you’re younger, your recovery is faster. You can train longer and harder. When you’re older, your metabolic rate drops and you need more time to rest.”
What’s his vision for BroLab Malaysia?
“My vision is to push the sports industry in Malaysia, especially how Malaysians see it. In every other country, especially first world countries, they push young kids into sports. It’s part of education, and how they learn. They have facilities and support from the country in order to be an athlete.
In Malaysia, you don’t have that opportunity. Other countries support you into becoming a champion. In Malaysia, we only support you when you become a champion. Hopefully, this can change in the next 10 years, because there’s a lot of potential in Malaysia. Look at the Paralympics, for example! The Paralympians ran faster than the real Olympians! That’s really crazy!”
I completely agree and one day, I hope to see our sports industry thriving and making a big mark in the world. While we have a great badminton team (and Nicol David!), it would be amazing to see other sports make a splash.
Check out BroLab Malaysia here!
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