Who knew torture could be this cheap!

For only RM13.75 per session – cheaper than a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks – Darren Wong and his band of merry torturers at the Puchong USJ Fit Club will gladly whip you into shape!

Wong began his boot camp in Puchong seven years ago, before starting another one in Subang less than three years ago.

He and his cohorts – Ryan Chung, Anis Athirah, Azri Fahmi and Tan Chin Keai – are dedicated to building a new you for as low as RM110 for eight classes per month.

Before the Movement Control Order (MCO) began on March 18, it was RM130 for 10 classes (still cheaper than the Macchiato), but Wong had to cut back as Anis has taken time off.

Wong and his coaches were affected by MCO as classes had to be cancelled from March 18. It only restarted in early June towards the tail end of the Conditional MCO and into Recovery MCO.

“While I’m glad classes have resumed, we are bound by the SOPs (standard operating procedures) which has changed the way we do things,” said Wong, who used to work in IT before finding his calling as a fitness instructor.

“The first thing, of course, is cutting down the numbers.

“Previously, we had over 40 participants which we split into two teams of 20 each. But since we resumed in June, we could only have a maximum of 15 as we have to practise physical distancing

“A lot of regulars wanted to join but we had to say no.

“We may look into having more classes when Anis returns.”

Wong added it is just as bad for gyms as many members have opted to freeze their accounts while several of his personal trainer friends are suffering as they have fewer clients.

Besides ‘torturing’ his clients, Wong also gives them health tips.

“While we do our best to help our clients, I always remind them ‘you can’t outwork a bad diet’,” said Wong, who is also a personal wellness coach and independent distributor of Herbalife Nutrition.

“They have to do their part by watching what they eat. That is why we also provide guidance by teaching them about nutrition and how to have balanced meals.”

Since resuming classes, Wong explained Puchong USJ Fit Club has shifted focus to bodyweight exercises as sanitising equipment such as dumbbells and ropes – as per the SOPs – would take too much time,

“In a way, it is harder and does give a better overall workout as less time is spent explaining how to use each equipment.”

For the record, today is the 137th day of MCO. Here’s how the week has unfolded.

STUBBORN MALAYSIANS

Patrons outside a popular kopitiam in Klang. Image by Twentytwo13 reader Kuganeson Poologasingam

From gathering at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex to crowding popular eateries, it appears as if Malaysians have forgotten or don’t care about physical distancing.

The number of local cases has risen by 115 to 8,976 while there were two additional deaths in the past seven days, making it 125.

Let’s just hope there is no ‘Bossku cluster’ in the next two weeks.

MORATORIUM BLUES

Banks offered a six-month moratorium from April. I received an SMS stating I needed to inform the bank if I wanted the moratorium, but to ignore the message if I wanted to continue with payments.

I ignored the message as my car loan ends this month.

However, on Thursday evening, the home minister received a call from another bank regarding our housing loan. Apparently, I have been granted a moratorium because “I didn’t request NOT to have it!”

So now, I have to go to the bank on Monday morning to settle the issue as we have been paying the loan faithfully since April – including on Thursday.

Why the different procedure to opt out of the moratorium? I guess when it comes to banks, we really do have to read the fine print.

PLEASE WEAR A MASK

Today, it becomes mandatory to wear a mask in public spaces (although we still don’t have a proper definition of public spaces).

Here’s why it is important to do so.

YOU CAN’T STOP US

A great ad and a good message for all of us.

KIND-HEARTED

Indian businessman Kadar Shaikh, who spent 20 days in a private clinic last month, was so horrified by the bill that he converted his office into an 85-bed facility to provide free treatment for the poor.

The government provides and pays for the staff, medical equipment and medicine, while Kadar bought the beds and bears the cost of bed linen and electricity.

BAD IDEA

Scientists successfully revived microbes that were dormant at the bottom of the sea since the age of the dinosaurs. With how badly 2020 has been, that doesn’t seem like a good idea.

OVERCOMING BAD HABITS

Here’s how to stop falling back into your bad MCO habits.

EASY-PEASY TANDOORI

Check out Mark Bittman’s version of a tandoori if you don’t own a tandoor (clay oven).

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

Here’s a song by Oliver Newton-John for your next workout session.