I recalled: it was February 2015, more than a year ago, I was at work, and without warning, a sharp pain in my chest. My colleagues sat me down, my heart rate was racing at 210 bpm. I thought that was it.
I was tipping the scales at 100kg before my life at Onyx. I wasn't exactly a tall person, so weighing 100kg was way, way above what I should be weighing. Initially, I speculated that the chest spike was due to anxiety, but a later check up confirmed that I had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (an electrical disorder of the heart). Surgery was the only option.
At that point in time, my daughter was only 8 months old, and I was expecting a new boy. Surgery for my heart condition became a definite if I were to even think about being alive for the both of them.
I'm blessed that the surgery went smoothly. But I am still unhealthy, not just in the body, but in my mind too. My son is growing, and I wanted to be able to carry him up, to run with him, to catch him when he falls, and just be able to be there to protect my children when they need me. I couldn't even carry my daughter without struggling.
As a heavily overweighted person, it wasn't easy for me to start off the weight loss journey. I still recall vividly, that when I chanced upon Onyx, I was both excited and worried. I've watched some MMA related videos online, but I wasn't remotely sure of what, or how training at Onyx was going to be like. The thoughts of a overweight guy, doing MMA, was just not naturally connected. The online videos, the fights, they all show bulging muscles and athletes with infinite cardio. Can I really do this?
I wanted to be sure, so I spoke to Onyx first, as I recalled, through Facebook Messenger.
Till today, the words of the admin "No worries on being overweight, and let us take care of it" still remains sharply in my mind. I decided to take the first step, and go for my first Onyx class.
I also jio-ed a friend whom happen to be working on a project very near to Onyx. My friend who happened to already witness Onyx's class when he passed by, told me that these guys at Onyx are very "hardcore" and they are not here for me to "play play". He questioned if I was really serious about it. I was a little worried, but I stuck with the plan and went ahead. I never looked back since, and at the time of this writing, I am already in my second year with Onyx.
The guys at Onyx are really something different. I remembered speaking to them about my weight, and my desire to regain a healthier life. The next thing I knew, they assigned a sports science intern to me personally, to help me through the journey. Wayne had great knowledge in both nutrition and exercise, and played closed attention to my progress throughout his time.
Because of where I work, I am blessed to have dieticians and doctors as colleagues. I shared my training and my results with them, and they were all impressed with my progress. We even did calculations and simple research on my training at Onyx, and it was always stamped with the confirmation that I was progressing at a good steady and healthy state. I had lost 15kg by the end of my first year at Onyx.
Of course, it's not just the results that mattered to me, it was largely the people of Onyx. There's something different about the folks here. The ideology of a "family" in Onyx is very strong and oozes out every single time that I'm here. It makes the training environment a comfortable one and that is important because for someone with my weight and size, it was intimidating to imagine training in a place like Onyx.
When I first came in, and I looked at the trainers; for example, Iskandar, you'd see his body and go: "oh my god, so fit one ah... later I jialat liao..."
The truth is, they all look fit, and scary. But they are probably the gentlest people around. I have had friends, who have invited me to train at their gyms, but I want to stay at Onyx. These are the people I want to be with.
I once introduced one of my doctor friend to Onyx. Onyx was not the first MMA gym that he trained in, but he too agreed that the people here are very different. He also said that it was rare for a gym to exist in this manner, and we both agreed that Onyx isn't your typical commercial gym.
To be really honest, there were times where it was hard to balance my schedule. Other than my shift work, I have a new born baby to take care of, I was taking a degree course, and I was also moving to a new home. Most things eventually gets settled down, and I've always made training at Onyx a top priority. Family first, Onyx is next in line. I knew that I had to keep up the progress, and continue to maintain the weight loss journey.
My friends saw a big change in me. I used to not care about my image or weight. Even when I was getting married, I didn't care to slim down or "look better", because I felt that the tuxedo should fit me, and not me trying to fit the tuxedo.
During the first two months of training at Onyx, I'd wake up having difficulty to walk from the soreness and all the muscle aches. Fun fact: these aches don't just disappear now because training doesn't get easier. In fact, training gets tougher as my time in Onyx gets longer because now, the trainers push me even more. Training also didn't get more comfortable, but I learn to manage it better.
Now, apart from the quantitative weight that I've lost, I can carry my daughter from a squat position and stand. I couldn't before, and I couldn't even run after her. But now, I can carry both my son and daughter together, and we would walk around without problems.
Many, especially if they are untrained, have the wrong idea about training at MMA gyms. They think that it is all about the fight, the violence, that this type of training is too "hardcore", too "brutal". They are wrong. The basis of all these martial arts even before thinking about fighting, is fitness. The fight, is only a part of it. It all comes together in beautiful harmony. And for me personally, I achieved a significant weight loss, but I also gained skills and confidence that if I do get attacked, I am self assured that I can stay calm and handle the difficult situation.
After every training, I am thoroughly tired out. Training at Onyx is like that, these guys take the "Onyx way" very seriously and intently. But after every training, I am happy. Happy that I've achieved something, happy that I went through it, happy that I've improved myself, even just a little bit. The happiness transcends, I really do feel that my life is a lot more happier now.
But I'm human, and I won't deny that sometimes I do get thoughts of giving up. But I'm always reminded by the witty quotes around the gym, around their videos, around their photos. To the outsider, these quotes could be funny, or even a joke. But all these quotes have a deeper meaning, as though the guys at Onyx are trying to tell us something, something deeper, something that we all can relate.
I get it. And I understood. "Leave Onyx better than before". To get better than before, for myself, and for my family. Sometimes, I see my colleagues and friends going out after work, and I choose to come to Onyx. I question myself why. Why make the effort to come here for 2 hours and go through the kind of training that we do. But at the end of it, it all makes sense. It is never time wasted.
My parting words for the readers; if you're thinking of losing weight, and better yourself, this is the place. And it's not just your body, Onyx keeps your mind fit as well. It keeps you happy. To me, this is the only place to lose weight, and be happy at the same time. You need to work for it, you need to sweat for it. The moment you stop, that is it and you will go out of shape again. Onyx is the place for me.