Having trained for more than 15-years, along the way becoming the NPC Eastern USA 2002 Overall Champion and Mr Asia Overall, Wong's muscle size, quality and balance holds its own against any man.
A man of many talents, Malaysian born Wong holds a B.S. M.S in Human Nutrition and Food Science from Colorado State University, and plans to own a chain of gyms, which will enable him to pass on his extensive training knowledge to the wider public.
In the following interview, Wong shares his views on the sport of bodybuilding and gives insights into how he has achieved his dream of becoming one of the best in the world.
[ Q ] Hi Wong. Your physique is quite spectacular. When can we expect to see you on the pro stage? What are your competition plans?
Thank you for your compliment on my physique. I turned pro in 2003. I am planning to do some early season shows in 2006.
[ Q ] Where were you born, and how did you become interested in bodybuilding Hong?
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. I started training in the late 80's when I was in high school. I was in the track and field team and was required to lift weights for added strength and power. My body responded well to weight lifting and I decided to become a bodybuilder instead.
[ Q ] Provide some background for the readers (height, age, contest weight, competition history).
Height: 5' 9" (175cm)
Contest Weight: 220 lbs. (100kg)
NPC Eastern USA 2002 Overall Champion
NPC New York Metropolitan (Mr. New York City) 2002 Overall Champion
IFBB Mr. Asia 1999 Champion
Mr. Malaysia 1996, 1999 Champion.
[ Q ] I understand you practice Buddhism. Explain the underpinning philosophy of this religion, and how it might enhance your bodybuilding endeavors.
Buddhism originated from the teachings of Gautama Buddha, a prince from Nepal 2, 500 years ago. He believed in meditation and spiritual uplifting and emphasized right conduct.
Right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration is some of the teachings of Buddha that has helped me to stay focused and be disciplined in my sport, bodybuilding.
[ Q ] Describe your upbringing. In what way was it conducive to you becoming one of the best bodybuilders in the world? What were you like at school?
I come from a good family. My parents came up the hard way and have instilled good moral values to me and all of my brothers and sister. He was very strict with all of us when we were young.
Discipline is the primary concern in my family. My dad taught us to be tough, resilient, believe in ourselves and how to become a good person. He told us if I want to do something, do it properly or do not bother doing it at all. He is a perfectionist.
I am a perfectionist like my dad and that has helped me to become one of the best bodybuilders in the world. I was a good student. Always in the top 5 % of my class. I was also very athletic and was involved in all types of sports in high school.
[ Q ] Was your family supportive of your bodybuilding goals? What are the prevailing attitudes towards bodybuilding within the Malaysian community?
My family have been supportive of my involvement in bodybuilding from day 1. The Malaysian community in general know that bodybuilding is one of the hardest sports around and requires lots of hard work , patience and discipline in order to build a healthy physique.
Patience and discipline acquired from bodybuilding can be applied to different aspects in life and this is the beauty of the sport.
[ Q ] What has been your greatest bodybuilding achievement, and why? Have there been any disappointing moments?
My biggest bodybuilding achievement is getting my IFBB pro card in 2003. I realized my dream in bodybuilding by obtaining my pro card after training for more than 15 years and competing for 10 years. There was no major disappointment in my bodybuilding career except a few occasions when I was overlooked in some of the shows I competed in.
[ Q ] Describe the experience of competing in your first pro show. Where did you place? Did you arrive in the type of physical shape you were hoping to?
My first show was in 1989. I competed in the junior category at a state level contest. I did my first show after only 8 months of training and won my class at a mere 165 lbs.
I was given the right guidance from the very beginning and as a result of that I came in conditioned and proportionate. I was happy with the way I looked that day.
[ Q ] Who are the other top Asian bodybuilders? What advantages, physique-wise, do Asian bodybuilders have over their Western counterparts, in your view?
If you are talking about Asian bodybuilders not American Asians, then there are only a handful of them. If I am not mistaken, there is a new Japanese pro in the IFBB.
I would like to see more Asians in the IFBB pro circuit. This would make the sport more interesting. In my opinion, Asian bodybuilders have good symmetry. Physiques with a dramatic V-taper. We have good structures (tiny joints with tight waist) that allow them to go far in bodybuilding.
[ Q ] Do Malaysians, across the board, have a particular mindset that enables them to excel in any area of endeavor they choose? What kind of values are were you taught at a young age, and is a strong work-ethic a desirable trait to have within the broader Malaysian community?
Malaysians in general are smart, disciplined, have good work ethnic and moral values. These are the qualities we learned from our parents that was passed down from generations.
It is the Asian culture thing where discipline is the foremost importance. Discipline is one of the most important quality one must have that will lead to good work ethnic which is necessary to excel in any endeavour he/she chooses.
[ Q ] Do you have a non-bodybuilding career? Does this career enhance your bodybuilding aspirations?
My career is centered around fitness and bodybuilding. For now, I cannot think of anything I am involved in, in terms of non bodybuilding/fitness career. Bodybuilding/fitness is my bread and butter.
[ Q ] In your personal training business, what do you do to ensure your clients get the best possible service? What do you recommend a good personal trainer focus on when establishing their business?
I have a pretty successful personal training business here in Malaysia. I make sure all my clients will get 100% attention from me in every training session.
Besides providing them with a training routine and showing them the proper way of performing an exercise, I am also there to motivate and encourage them when they perform every set. The motivational factor is important in training.
With this, the client may do something he/she might think is impossible to do at first. In addition, I always make my client feel as comfortable as possible while training with me.
A good personal trainer should always focus on results. Make sure the clients' goals in his/her fitness/bodybuilding goals are met. This is the primary goal of all personal trainers.
[ Q ] What other businesses are you involved in?
Beside my personal training business, I am in the process of developing my new web site
www.wonghong.net Very soon; there will be a lot of new stuff on my site. Videos, clips on training and flexing, e-mail and web cam nutritional consultation, pics and a clothing line.
There will also be member site too. My site will feature other local bodybuilders too. It is a good way to keep my fans updated with the local bodybuilding/fitness scene.
I graduated with a degree in Human Nutrition from Colorado State University and I am giving seminars and nutritional counseling to the public throughout Malaysia and hopefully in Asia. I am also planning to open a gym in the future.
[ Q ] Do you still practice the martial art of Tae Kwon Do? What were your motivations for beginning this art, and why did you quit?
I do not practice Tae Kwon Do anymore. I was influenced by the famous martial artist and movie star , Bruce Lee. His movies have inspired me to take up this martial art.
I stopped at blue belt because I was getting too big from weight training. I put on 30-40 lbs in my first year of bodybuilding and that hindered my flexibility and quickness required in Tae Kwon Do.
[ Q ] Describe your current training routine and diet. How does this change off-season or pre-contest?
I am doing lots of compound movements at the moment.
military presses to build mass. I go as heavy as possible with good form. I never go more than 8 reps in every set (excluding the warm up sets of course). I have been eating huge too. Total calories around 5,000 a day.
Lots of good carbs (rice, sweet potatoes), protein (lean beef, and chicken breast) and some fats too. Pre-contest, I will still do compound movements but will throw in a few cable exercises to bring out the cuts. More reps with less weights. I will still go as heavy as possible with 12-15 reps each set.
Sometimes I will do super set or even giant sets to increase the intensity of my training.
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I also do cardio usually 8 weeks out from a show. 4 times a week. Each session 30mins on an incline treadmill. Pre-contest, I will drop my daily calorie intake gradually to get in shape. I will go more on protein moderate carbs and low fat. I normally start carb rotation 4 weeks before a show depending on how I look.
[ Q ] What supplements do you recommend a beginning bodybuilder take to pack on size? Which ones do you take, and how have these enhanced your success?
Beginners looking to pack on mass; I would recommend them to take
creatine and a good quality
I have tried them before and I was satisfied with the results I've gotten.
I think creatine is the one of the best supplements ever developed. It is my absolute favorite supplement! Creatine makes me stronger and less fatigue in my workout.
I packed on 10 lbs in 3 weeks or so when I first used this product. Unbelievable!
[ Q ] Do you use a particular brand, or type, of creatine? Do you believe in the loading phase?
I use 100% pure Creatine Monohydrate. There is no particular brand that I prefer. I switch brands all the time. To me, they are all the same. I use 5 g before and 5 g immediately after training. I usually mix it with my protein shake. I find no advantages in loading creatine. I get stomach upset if I consume more than 15g of creatine a day. Again there is no particular brand of whey protein that I prefer.
I always opt for 100% micro ultra filtered whey protein isolate which is the purest and best quality of all whey.
Designer Protein are 2 good brands in whey protein products.
[ Q ] Do you think bodybuilding is a healthy sport?
Bodybuilding is a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that can be practiced by anyone from all walks of life. Age is not a barrier in building a healthy physique and that is the beauty of bodybuilding.
Many people go to the gym to tone up, reduce bodyweight, and build self esteem. Lifting weights reduces the possibilities of getting hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
When you have a good physique, you are more confident about yourself and the things you do. These are some of the advantages one can expect from bodybuilding that can't be found in other sports.
[ Q ] Do you consider yourself a good poser? What is your approach to designing your posing routine?
I do consider myself a good poser. I always choose those poses that look good with my physique. Poses that accentuate my symmetry like "achieve" poses.
When I am working on my posing routine, I make sure each pose is performed well (flexed properly) and I move fluidly from one pose to the next. No shaking or things like that. Incorporating the movement of each pose with the music is another aspect to the art of posing.
[ Q ] What do you hope to achieve, ultimately, as a bodybuilder?
People will look up to me and say I was a great bodybuilder. I have inspired them to live a healthy lifestyle by working out.
[ Q ] What keeps you motivated to becoming the best bodybuilder you can be?
What keeps me going after all these years is my desire to promote bodybuilding as a lifestyle throughout Asia. At the same time, I want to make bodybuilding more popular in this region.
I can foresee that one day; this rewarding and healthy lifestyle will be practiced and adopted by the majority of Asians. The market in the fitness and bodybuilding industry in Asia is unlimited!
[ Q ] Where can we expect to see you in ten years Hong?
The owner of a famous outlet of gyms throughout Malaysia and Asia.
[ Q ] Do you have a plan in place that will enable you realise your dream of owning a chain of gyms?
As I am doing this interview, I am in the process of opening a new gym in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The grand opening will be on the 1st of September. It is a well equipped gym with free weights, machines, aerobic classes which include yoga, spinning and kick boxing, sauna, steam room and a juice bar.
Service is our company's priority. Poor service is a serious problem in many of the gyms in Malaysia. My team provides services no other gyms in Malaysia are doing at the moment. For example, every member will get a free personalized training program designed by me. Furthermore, I will also be conducting seminars on a regular basis at my gym for my gym members and their friends too.
I want to educate them from what I have learned from more than 15 years in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, 4 years as a professional bodybuilder in the USA, and my M.Sc in Human Nutrition.
Knowledge is everything and we believe that doing the right thing is important if one wants to achieve his/her fitness goals in the shortest time possible. The motto for our gym is "Do It Right."
The fitness industry in Malaysia is booming. My main goal now is to build a reputable name in my gym. In the future, we are looking forward to open more branches and even franchises throughout Malaysia. My objective here is to help Malaysians to keep fit and live a healthy lifestyle.
[ Q ] Thank you very much for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?