Healthy mind, healthy body, says fitness trainer Gillian Benjamin

220207 Gillian Benjamin training

Fitness trainer Gillian Benjamin is excited to be part of a ‘Fit Wisma Putra: Work, Life, Balance’ programme.

The Sabahan said the programme would start with a talk on mental health on Thursday.

“Initially, it was supposed to be a weight loss programme, but it then evolved into promoting a good work/life balance. This is why mental health is so important,” said Benjamin, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) International Certified Trainer.

“When I was in Germany last year, I learnt so much about mental health.

“I found that men too are vulnerable, despite their supposed ‘macho’ exterior. It is different for women, who are free to express their emotions.”

Benjamin, who has conducted fitness training for other ministries, said the mental health talk is a new element in the module.

“I have been a certified fitness trainer for 12 years. One of my clients was the Federal Territories Ministry,” said Benjamin, who studies boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts.

“I usually focus on getting my clients into shape.

“Everyone says they want to be fit, but how many have the mental strength to do so?”

Benjamin knows all about the importance of mental health as she battled her own demons after tearing her ligaments before the final selections for the national women’s rugby team for the 2017 SEA Games.

As a testament to her mental strength, Benjamin attended a photoshoot with Shape Malaysia days after injuring herself, and before her operation.

“I went to the shoot on crutches! It was tough, but I had to do it as I was the inaugural winner of the magazine’s ‘Fit Girl’ competition,” said the fitness model.

“After the shoot, I checked into the hospital. The diagnosis was – anterior cruciate ligament, 100 per cent torn, meniscus, 60 per cent torn, and lateral collateral ligament, 50 per cent torn.”

After the surgery, she battled with depression.

Benjamin hope to get more opportunities to help Malaysians lead a healthier life.
Benjamin hopes to get more opportunities to help Malaysians become healthier.

“I could not walk, and worse, could not train my clients,” said Benjamin, 36.

“I lost a lot of weight, too. My parents came to Kuala Lumpur (from Kota Kinabalu) to take care of me.

“It took me a while to snap out of it. I started reading and watching motivational books and movies.

“I realise that I should not feel sorry for myself as I still had plenty to look forward to.”

She slowly rebuilt her career and is now one of the most sought-after fitness trainers in the country.

“I hope to get more opportunities to help Malaysians lead a healthier life.”