Get Fit, Get Fat, then Get Fit again

Apparently, somebody is watching over us. Understanding that heat and humidity are possibly the worst conditions for fitness training, Diane and I have avoided the inevitable topic of how to enjoy all the incredible food available in Southeast Asia without destroying the last year of workouts. Lo and behold, as if they heard we were coming, a group of dedicated fitness professionals just opened up what looks like an incredible gym conveniently located right in the heart of Penang. Normally avoiding promotion of specific businesses to keep the blog from sounding too commercial, this post is an exception to the rule. Consider this my one and only plug for something we haven’t yet seen but are confident will meet our expectations. Worrying about where to find air-conditioned comfort, studio classes and modern equipment we’re used to, Team Powerhouse Fitness appears to be a godsend.

Dr-Joe-LeonardiRecapping a bit, Diane and I were neither fat nor fit back in late 2013 but knew we could stand to lose a few pounds and increase our fitness levels. Deterred by her two-hour commute and my ridiculous work hours that coincided with a time zone three hours ahead of the Western U.S. coast, we usually reserved productive workouts for once weekly weekend trips to our local gym. Fortunately, the bank that shall remain nameless put an abrupt end to my working days and sent me reeling into uncharted (and unemployed) waters. Wondering what life as a House Husband should be like, I decided to embrace the positives. After agreeing we’d simply retire early 16 months later once I was old enough to apply for an MM2H Visa at a reasonable cost, I embraced the free time and embarked on a five-day a week fitness routine that included HIIT training, free weights, yoga and a lot of cardio. Seeing an immediate improvement, Diane decided to use her corporate gym membership and started attending fitness classes.

Boasting gym equipment that includes steppers, ellipticals, stationary bikes, free weights, rowers and more, the gym’s grand opening was February 1st, 2015. They also have a functional area with the following equipment:

  • Dumb Bells
  • Bosu balls
  • Fitballs
  • Medicine Balls
  • Kettle Bells
  • TRX
  • Punching bag
  • Monkey Bars

Unclear how to use most of the above referenced items before being laid off or even knowing what they are for that matter, I studied a few books from fitness instructors that stressed “core strength” and not just having big biceps, I quickly learned what works for me and the difference showed a few months later. Visiting the doctor for my annual physical, my numbers greatly improved for blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

This will NEVER be me

This will NEVER be me

Believing it’s useless to retire early if we can’t enjoy a lot of the things we’d want to do from a physical point of view, we’re not advocating becoming one of those nut case people who run 18 triathlons a year, eat rabbit food and salad every day and look like US Marines. We’re simply saying that diet actually controls 80% of your body so no matter how much you exercise, a basic understanding of lean proteins, proper carbohydrates and the glycemic index goes a long way, especially since we’ll be beginning a totally new diet once we arrive in Malaysia. Increasing fresh food and decreasing the processed garbage found at Tesco should hypothetically offset the extra carbs and calories but taking away the exercise routine would certainly lead towards a life of retired obesity and that’s what we’re desperately trying to avoid.

Although we’re hoping to travel a lot once we become expats, the style and activities need to change from higher end tourist vacations like the spectacular Borneo Rainforest Lodge to more budget conscious but interesting travel experiences. One example we’ve found are volunteer and work exchange trips where you take part and help stay fit in exchange for food, lodging, and opportunities to experience off the beaten path places you might not otherwise ever see. The best website I’ve seen is For more laid back trips that highlight activities, tours or even just dining out with locals, we love and look forward to using their services soon after getting settled

We’d like to enjoy trips like this


So without further ado, we’d like to invite anyone in Penang that’s interested in fitness to please visit Team Powerhouse in the Island Plaza on Tanjong Tokong Road and share a review with us via comment, email or even snail mail. Courtesy of their website, here is their story.

We are a group of  professionals with years of expertise in the gym industry who are passionate about fitness and care about the health of our current and future generation, thus inspires us to open Team Powerhouse Fitness. We have the knowledge of the day-to-day operation of its business and understanding people needs and issues of human physical development, with that offering memberships to all walks of life, providing quality service, competitive pricing, a total wellness center  for a long-term and trusted business.

hot placeHoping the gym is as good as it looks and our bodies somehow adapt to 100% humidity along with tropical temperatures, we’re anxiously adding a gym membership to our must-do list. Almost as important as finding a place to live and opening a bank account, we hope fitness continues to play a role in our lives and allows our retired life to extend many years longer than our working life did.

For anyone that lives in Penang, Malaysia: Please pay a visit to this gym and help tell us what you think !!

Coming next:
Back to reality: Sharing the results of our weekend open house

2 thoughts on “Get Fit, Get Fat, then Get Fit again

  1. leslieherself

    Hi, just stumbled upon your blog and plan to follow your posts. I’m an expat here in Malaysia – almost 2 years now. Thanks for that link to Workaway, it’s the first time I’ve heard of it and it sounds great!


    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Thanks for the comment. Where are you living? We’d love to hear some details about you and your story and we’re always searching for new friends that would like to meet us ahead of time. Please send us an email on our contact page if you’re interested.



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