A sneak preview into my gym routine – A Malaysian Alien Column #15


Around eight years ago I leapt onto the free weight bandwagon. I was then seeing a man who was a bit of a health evangelist. Now while he in many ways a paleo-bashing fanatic (I still feel a shudder of guilt whenever I have muesli, Satan’s kibble apparently), he did impart one good habit – braving the Olympic training room at my gym.

In those days, I was pretty much the only woman in that room, full of swaggering men, whose hands swung heavily out from their body, due to the sheer size of their biceps. Men who looked like gravity had a vendetta against them, as they squat walked around the room. Men whose curiously bulging muscles reminded me of shelled walnuts (likely due to the fact I was desperately hungry because even muesli was a cheat food).

I braced myself as I opened the glass door into the floured surface of the room, and walked into a room full of scattered weights, the air staccatoed with macho shouts of effort, and a dozen eyes would slowly swivel in their sockets to follow me (a woman!) to the assisted squat rack.

Fast forward 8 years and for the last few months I’ve noticed the increasing incidence of midriff baring Kale t-shirted girls, hair pulled into a beautiful top knot, perspiring prettily while executing a perfect 60kg squat. I’m proud of my female brethren, and glad that they are embracing exercises that make us strong, effective and heroic, not a routine that shrinks us into waif-like, save-able damsels.

But it does cause a problem. I now have to change my gym rounds significantly – I don’t fancy standing around waiting for a shot at the rack. Nowadays I am working on a new routine, and as I am no expert, please let me know if you think it’s any good.



I still believe that running helps melt the fat cells around my muscles, those pesky things that hide my abs.

SQUATS – to failure

These days I use a weight bag and try and do a fewer, heavier reps.


I vary the push ups to be wide-arm, or tricep, or occasionally I use the assisted dip / chin up machine.


This has been borrowed from yoga – it looks like making an open V shape with your body. Lying on your back, lift your legs and your torso off the ground, arms parallel to the matt, palms up, so you make an obtuse angle.


I usually end with a short yoga flow that involves forward, side and back bends. Loosely following the Ashtanga sun salutation format, but adding in some torso twists as well.


This is my treat at the end of the session. And if you’re ending with a stretch or yoga, then you feel amazing when you lie down in the sauna. I usually put a hair mask on, but I’ve been thinking about using a skin serum or mask for my face, but I am not sure if this would be effective – or if I’d just sweat all the goodness out.

What is your routine? Tweet me @tammymeaculpa


Image copyright: Unsplash


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