Andre Penke – “You are your only limit. The body achieves what the mind believes”

Hi there,

My name is André, age 58 and originally from Germany.

Like many others, experiencing ups and downs related to work, relationships, health and money, is part of one’s journey. Life may not always be smooth sailing. Nonetheless, I feel that I am usually able to pick myself up and move on from it fast.

I am a strong believer that happiness is a mindset. I try to switch my perspective of a negative situation with a positive spin to it.  But it was only recently, that I realized how deep impact and critical importance that sports, and exercise has on my health and healing speed progress!

Since year 2016 – 2018, I was hospitalized three times with “acute pulmonary embolism” which means there was blood clot in my chest and lungs. In November 2019 I was in another “hospital-vacation” for a diagnosis of “cerebral venous sinus thrombosis”, which is a blood clot in my brain or Stroke! These are critical life-threatening conditions with a mortality rate of 30% if untreated in time.

My stroke diagnosis in 2019 was the biggest eye opener for me. I was suddenly unable to use my left hand for basic things like eating, buttoning my clothes, messaging on my hand phone, weak standing and walking. I was extremely worried but thankful when the doctors said it will be a temporary paralysis for few months. It was depressive for someone, who is physically active to suddenly have limited mobility!

Recently, this September 2020, I had a total hip replacement surgery on my left hip.

All these “conditions” one after the other puts a lot of strain on me; physically and mentally. The pain and frustration really take a big toll and makes you feel depressive!

 I believe sports and exercise, subconsciously has always function as a cushion to absorb the mental and physical stress I was exposed to. (a healthy, balanced diet, might have been beneficial to it, too)

Furthermore, it is scientifically proven that physical exercise releases ‘endorphin’ hormones which interact with brain receptors to reduce one’s perception of pain and triggers positive feeling.

To conclude, from someone who has survived 4 life threatening condition and 1 major surgery: “Everyday might not be a good day, but there is something good every day. You are your only limit. The body achieves what the mind believes”

Seri Dewi Kasmani – To educate and inspired myself and others that suffer from mental illness that they too can overcome all this, and they are not alone!

My Name is Seri Dewi Kasmani, I am 49 years old and I’m a single mother and living with my only son age 29 years old.

Few years back, my passion was participating in Beauty Pageant. Since 20years old till the last pageant I did, was this year Feb 16th before covid19. I wanted to change my life to take part in fitness competition which I never took part in my life.

I was very active and determined in my teenage years through early twenties, and then things changed. As I age, things started to unravel.

What motivated me to start working out was that I had been putting so much of my time into work, family (I’m a single mum) and friends. I had been ignoring my own health and wellbeing. My professional life as a physical instructor is incredibly stressful and being healthy and strong are necessities. Here’s the thing, mental and physical is 2 separate components, but the ability to share about life experiences and frame it in encouraging others to be aware and advocates of the reality of mental illness and the importance of mental wellness is another thing that I would like to achieve. To educate and inspired myself and others that suffer from mental illness that they too can overcome all this, and they are not alone. Working out really helps a lot in battling depression and anxiety. It releases the happy hormones. It made me look good and feel good and helped to boost not only my immune system but metabolism, self-esteem, and my mood too!

The other key component that changed me was how I was looking at my nutrition. It made such a difference. I know that is why I can see some muscle definition, which I never had before. Daily routine of mine has been mind, body and life changing. I finally have this new life that I never thought I would have. I am who I was always meant to be. The internal motivation a person can get once they start seeing the results is amazing!


Seri Dewi Kasmani

Elroy Teo – A Better Vision of Me Through Bodybuilding

I started going to the gym at the age of 16. At that time, I was as clueless as my friends who went to the gym with me. The worst part was that the gym was always crowded, and I felt like I did not belong there because everyone around me was huge. I remember just picking up some dumbbells and curling them. There was no training plan and of course, I was not concerned about the food that I was consuming. 

At the age of 17, the school that I went to had a gym, the good thing was only students could enter the gym and there was no fear of being judged. Slowly, I began to develop a passion for bodybuilding. Being a student, it is normal to be stressed especially when work starts to pile up and exams are round the corner. Bodybuilding and fitness are the avenues that I turn to whenever I need to destress. I believe that fitness does play a part in my studying too as it helps with my concentration. 

I remember someone asked me this question:” Why do you love gymming so much? Is it just to look good?” It is no doubt that every guy that enters the gym wants to look good, they want to lose weight and they want to build muscles. I won’t deny that I go to the gym to look aesthetically pleasing. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Bodybuilding has helped me through insecurities and disappointments in my life, when I was a teenager, I was very shy, and I had no confidence to talk to people as I was constantly doubting myself. Bodybuilding gave me that confidence boost and it has taught me that I can be a better version of myself and how you must learn to love yourself before you can love others.  I will end off with a quote that I came across recently, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. It all depends on the choices you make in your life, of course, things will definitely happen which are beyond your control, whether you are going to let it affect you is your decision to make.

Shiela Ann Huerte – Victory over Phonophobia Disorder

7 years ago, I was a party goer who decided to do some fitness thing. My only reason is to look good.  Without thinking if I feel good when it comes to my general health, bad diets, unprofessional guidance, improper training routines, in short, just anyhow.

When I first came to Singapore and settled down my life, I got interested with sports activities. I started to love intense trainings and started competing as a Dragon Boat athlete, spartan race, outrigger canoe, kettlebell competition, etc.

In 2019, I got into bodybuilding.  I had a bad struggle with my emotional and mental management. I got disappointments and it really drowned me slowly, but something is telling me I cannot let myself down. In late 2019, I told myself that I have to start something new in 2020. That is when I decided to commit into bodybuilding, knowing that I have to be more committed and more disciplined in bodybuilding.  It has been tough at first because of Covid19, lock down and some personal issues). But it does not stop me from doing what I have decided to do in bodybuilding.

In July 2020, I was in my very bad phase of life. I suffered a disorder called phonophobia (a bad reaction when hearing unexpected noise. Despite that condition I am in, it does not stop me from what I want to pursue as I am in a well-planned year. 

I overcame every obstacle by doing trainings in my vacant time, making sure that I keep myself occupied to avoid over thinking. 

In conclusion, bodybuilding is the best thing that has happened to my life. Not only physically but most importantly, mentally, and emotionally. I am more disciplined (Quitting of smoking, Drinking just occasionally). Mentally, I am more able to control and learn to let go things that are not meant for me and move forward better and stronger.

Here’s few final words from me. 

1. People will not believe in you, drown you. But don’t let them push you deep more. Instead, work hard and lift yourself up for them not to reach you to drown you back again. 

2. Seek for guidance and advice. Either it’s fitness or mental issues. Don’t be afraid to talk, ask if you need help. Reach out!

Best Regards

Shiela Ann Huerte