Plus-sized runner aims to minus a few more kilos

Plus-sized runner aims to minus a few more kilos

What was supposed to be a routine medical check-up three months ago turned out to be a wake-up call for ex-national youth bowler Sam Chua.

Back in May, the 1.65m-tall Chua - who then weighed 135kg - was told by a doctor that his blood pressure was higher than normal.

"The news hit me hard, even though my condition wasn't life- threatening and I didn't need to be on medication at the time," said the 31-year-old financial planner with life insurance group Great Eastern.

He had let things slide via "a combination of a lack of exercise and an uncontrolled diet of junk food" while studying in Australia in 2006.

Spurred into action, he lost 10kg in three months by cutting back on soft drinks and carbohydrates while going for twice-weekly brisk walks that lasted 5km or an hour each time.

Now, the bachelor is aiming to push himself harder by brisk walking at the 10km race at the Safra Bay Run tomorrow.

"The 10km race will be taxing on my body because I'm top-heavy and my legs may not be strong enough to take the stress of moving across such a long distance," said Chua, who represented Singapore in bowling from 2000 to 2003.

"But I am pressing on because I got to push myself and see where my limits are to know how much more I can improve."

He weighed 75kg when he completed his national service as a storeman. Then, he clocked 10km runs daily at his military unit.

But when he piled on the kilos, he was not bothered by the shocked reactions of friends who had not seen him in a long time. His fitness had deteriorated to the level where a simple task like climbing a short flight of stairs left him panting hard.

He was equally breathless when he played badminton.

The doctor's diagnosis made him decide to change his lifestyle.

Chua's newfound dedication to fitness has surprised close friend and training partner Sherazzin Ismail, who will walk the full 10km with him tomorrow.

"I didn't believe it at first when I realised Sam had transformed from someone who would rather laze at home into a motivated individual who's proactive about changing his life," said Sherazzin, a 34-year-old banking executive who started exercising in June last year after learning he had diabetes.

"He even joined his friends in playing football every fortnight after joining me in brisk-walking once a week."

The change was something Chua did not expect either.

After all, he did try to lose weight once, when he hit 90kg. He tried going on a diet, but then gave in to temptation when friends constantly asked him out for supper.

But Chua now says he has the full support of family and friends who have pushed him to sign up for the 10km challenge.

His goal now is to bring his weight down to 90kg again by the end of the year before pushing on to his ultimate target of 75kg.

"I'm tired of how I look and feel right now, and how I have an entire wardrobe of old clothes that I'd very much want to wear but can't fit into now," said the bachelor.

"The only way to do that is to go back to being 75kg again."

This article was first published on August 30, 2014
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