Friday, July 19

The ‘accidental’ bodybuilder


Huang displays his trophies at home.

Huang strikes a pose on the Mr Malaysia 2018 stage.

THERE are times when the outcome for someone turns out to be far different fromwhat he had initially planned for.

Such is the case for Huang Chee Yan, a bodybuilder who did not set out to become one.

Still, the 30-year-old Kuchingite clinched the Middleweight (80-85kg) title at the recent 49th Mr Malaysia championships held in Malacca – a feat that he did not originally strive for, let alone aspire to.

It was four years ago when he first stepped into a gym, wanting to get rid of what he called ‘his pot belly’.

“I saw myself as being fat at the time – not the robust-all-over kind, though. My weight was around 65kg to 67kg, which was fairly balanced with me standing at 169cm.

“The problem was my protruding belly – I looked ‘pregnant’ then,” he told The Borneo Post in a recent interview.

Ironically, he weighs 85kg now — about 20kg heavier than he was during his ‘fat’ days.


Huang and Evelyn gather their boys (from left) Lucas, Lester and Louis for their Chinese New Year family photo.

Exposure to sport

Huang, who is now a personal fitness trainer, was among the 12-member Sarawak team competing in Mr Malaysia 2018 earlier this month. His golden triumph was the icing on Sarawak’s collection of three silver and two bronze medals, which earned third place overall for the state contingent behind champion Kuala Lumpur and runner-up Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

Sarawak’s silver medals were contributed by Kelvin Ling (Junior–70kg and Below), Joseph Ladi (Bantamweight–60-65kg) and Lansconnery Ripit (Welterweight–70-75kg) while the bronze medals were from Mohd Affizan Abdullah (Athletic Physique–170cm and Below) and Roslie Jamawi (Heavyweight–90kg and Above).

Huang got his first taste in competition at Mr Kuching 2016, when he placed fourth in the Light Middleweight (75-80kg) category.

“I was beginning to gain good muscle weight at the time, but not enough to reach Middleweight. A friend had told me that, based on my height and body shape, I was best suited for Middleweight.”

Beginning with Mr Benak 2016, where he also placed fourth, Huang now sticks to the Middleweight category.

Nevertheless, it was never his main intention to compete.

“After working out for a while, I noticed that not only my pot belly had gone, but my whole physique had become more defined. My wife and friends noticed it too.

“At the time, I was training on my own, based on what I read, heard and watched on the Internet, I think I was lucky that whatever I did then, worked for me.”

Huang frequently browsed YouTube to seek more tips about bodybuilding, including the stage poses which he watched from clips of competitions.

“It was around this time also that I begin to watch bodybuilding contests being staged in Kuching. This triggered a voice in me, saying: ‘Hey, I think I can do that’.

“Then I met Coach George Awi, and I began to train more seriously and properly under him.”

Since then, Huang has taken part in no less than 14 competitions, right up to this year’s Mr Sarawak and Mr Malaysia.

“I’m now hooked,” he said, as he showed a section of his house displaying all his tokens of achievement.


Strong support

“I would have not made it without the strong support from my family. They’re my pillar of strength,” he said while showing his family photo, taken during Chinese New Year.

Huang tied the knot with Evelyn Kong in 2009, and the couple is blessed with three boys – Lucas, Lester and Louis – aged eight, five and four respectively.

“My wife, whenever possible, would accompany me to competitions. She monitors my diet, she keeps watch over my training schedule. I am so blessed!”

Huang also expressed his gratitude to George, describing his coach as ‘a tough, no-nonsense general with a sincere heart.’

“He used to compete himself, so he’d know what is best for his charges. He’s the one who first showed me the proper way to diet and train.”


Other interests

Nevertheless, competitive bodybuilding is not Huang’s sole interest.

The muscleman also loves superbikes.

“I own a Kawasaki Z750, which I often ride with my wife. It feels like I’m cruising with my girlfriend.”

However when asked to pose next to the motorcycle, Huang politely declined.

“I lost control right after Mr Malaysia 2018 — I have been stuffing my face with food since.

“I’m too bulky for any photo-taking right now,” he quipped.

Additionally, Huang is also skilful repairing mobile phones and computers.

“It’s what I picked up from my past working experience.”

Looking ahead, Huang is eyeing to finish the year with Mr Kenyalang 2018, scheduled to take place in Sibu this Nov 17.

“After that, I would take a break until the next Mr Kuching.

“Hopefully, 2019 would be a better year for me. This sport has now become a routine for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t strive for higher goals.

“I do have a dream to go international,” he said.