Model physique but Kit Mah's not letting up
THERE are 101 excuses as to why one should skip that trip to the gym, but Malaysian actor and model Kit Mah is not having any of them.
His well-defined biceps and pectorals are obvious signs that the 28-year-old could possibly live in a gym.
While Mah may look like a poster child for a fitness campaign today, he says with a grin: "I was the skinny kid in school."
Standing at 1.77m, he used to weigh only 48kg, he says. His honed physique has been a result of hard work and consistent training.
At age 15, Mah decided he had had enough of being underweight, and would start lifting weights just to "gain a bit of weight".
He recalls buying his first pair of dumbbells at a department store, and doing push-ups and squats to facilitate the various strength-training regimes he got off the Internet.
To his surprise, change came relatively quickly, and the teenager could not be more pleased with the results. "I gained about 8kg of muscle mass in a matter of months. My friends in school noticed the change, and they were quite amazed."
The positive reactions motivated Mah to push even harder. He eventually signed up with a small gym in Petaling Jaya, where he was introduced to proper lifting methods, developed an affection for iron, and met many like-minded workout enthusiasts.
Little did he know that his devotion to fitness would land him his first modelling gig during his college years.
The photogenic model has since appeared in a slew of commercials, including campaigns by Digi, Watsons and McDonald's. In 2007, he made the list of Guess' Faces to Watch, an international modelling search that has spawned the likes of Amber Chia.
Last year, Mah starred in the reality-television series, What Men Want. He also showcased his acting chops in made-for-television movies like Sesuci Cintamu and Nasi Ayam, Nasi Itik in 2003.
He will appear next in RTM's upcoming health and wellness programme, called Body And Soul.
While juggling an acting career and modelling is no easy feat, Mah says he always makes time for the gym.
At his peak, he weighed over 70kg, but reckoned it was slightly "too big" for his liking. He now hovers between 65kg and 68kg, and sticks to eating six small meals a day.
Currently, Mah works out with a group of friends who does CrossFit, an increasingly popular strength and conditioning programme that combines weightlifting, sprinting and gymnastics.
"I enjoy working out with friends because we get to cheer each other on, and look out for each other, especially when it comes to form and technique. We also share our progress regularly through group chats."
Mah shares that he mixes CrossFit with bodybuilding to enhance the pumped-up look, especially on his upper body, as well as boxing, to which he has been drawn to since he was a boy.
"For me, it is not just about looking good. It's also about overcoming mental barriers."
However, the actor admits that he once pushed himself so hard, he ended up with a severe lower-back injury.
The mishap landed him in hospital, where he was told he had sustained a slipped disc, and that he should never lift weights again.
It was a slow, painful recovery for the actor, who went on to seek treatment from a chiropractor, and has since put the injury behind him.
"Now, I am a lot more careful and attentive to form.
"If you can't do a certain weight, scale down. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Discipline and consistent training will get you there eventually," he advises.
"What I'm doing now is definitely something I intend to do for the rest of my life, even when I get really old.
"Fitness isn't a 'destination', it is an ongoing habit and a lifestyle that you take with you until the day you die."
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK