IF you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it. This, as posted on her Instagram, had been life’s motto for sports medicine doctor Dr Aisyah Asmadi. Aiesha, as she is well known as, has used this philosophy in the journey to her current station in life. This petite body builder, who is also a sought-after brand ambassador, has not only won accolades in an exclusively male-dominated field of sports, she is also a cancer warrior, having beaten the Big C. Twice.
Describing her involvement in body building as being “accidental”, Aiesha, who is in her mid-30s, recently shared her path to success in a very challenging field that required not only personal commitment and financing, but also a focussed mind with the aim of winning each time she steppeds onto the stage and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the world’s best. Aiesha competes in the Bikini Physique Division – that requires a sculpted muscular physique in a feminine body. In this division, less muscle mass is required as compared to other division in bodybuilding sports.
Good team work - Aiesha with
physiotherapist Louis Yeoh.
“At that time, I was recovering from breast cancer,” she said in retrospect. “I was having problems with weight gain and fluid retention as side effect of cancer drugs. While working with my personal trainer to manage my weight, he introduced me to weight training. Apart from being a personal trainer at commercial gym, he is also a professional bodybuilding coach and judge. He introduced me to the bodybuilding lifestyle, the healthy diet and training protocol that focus on aesthetic physique. He prepped me for my first competition. I was placed 3rd and secured a sponsorship deal with sports nutrition company. Since then, I never looked back.
Golden harvest - Aiesha's
recent haul of medals
Aiesha, who is also a sports medicine doctor with UMMC, had won many medals both locally and abroad. The most recent is a gold medal (master category) at the Vietnam Muscle Contest International in Sept 2019 at Ho Chi Minh City. Weeks prior, she had hauled a hattrick at the IFBB Pro League sanctioned event, The British Finals, in UK. The IFBB governs the sport of bodybuilding and fitness and was founded by brothers Joe and Ben Weider in 1946 in Montreal, Canada. It is the most prestigious and highly competitive federation in bodybuilding. The highest level of competition in bodybuilding is known as “The Olympia” and the event is sanctioned by the IFBB Pro League Federation.
Aiesha was placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th, in the Master , Intermediate and Open Category. Her first big win at the international arena was in 2017. She won gold at Fit Angel Classic held in Thailand, and won the title of Ms Fit Angel 2017.
How did Aiesha’s path and Physiowerkz’s cross?
“When you are in this demanding sport, you want to have the best team to work with you,” she said. “I was looking for a committed physiotherapy team to help me manage my injury, soft tissue maintenance work and proper activation of certain muscle groups that are crucial to bodybuilding competition. I was recommended Physiowerkz by a doctor friend. She said Physiowerkz would be able to help me achieve what I have in mind. I knew I wanted to win and to win, I had to get a dedicated and professional team, so I came here.”
Within six weeks of working with the Physiowerkz team, having undergone the thoroughly scientific PMAT assessment, physiotherapist Louis Yeoh was selected to help Aiesha. It started with the rehabilitation of her injuries and later progress her in performance-focused approach, allowing her to have competitive edge in the sports.
With the winning team - Physiowerkz members sharing Aiesha's joy
“In professional bodybuilding competition, a lot of emphasis is based on symmetry, proportion and correct muscle activation to make the muscle ‘pop’,” she said. “Louis helped me in identifying the muscles and how to activate them. He also assisted me in differentiating between correct and incorrect movement patterns and he also showed me how I can present my best physique. As we practice, Louis and his colleague Gwen became my ‘judges’.
“In this sport, I know that if I wanted to win, I will have to work with the best. And I know I am working with the best when it comes to preventing injury, rehabilitation, and giving a tip-top performance. I want to win and for that I need a team like Physiowerkz that has a similar winning mindset.”
Two wins in a long line of others to come, Aiesha was exhilarated by the sessions she had undergone at Physiowerkz’s Infitnitum programme.
“Louis is very particular about my progress. He pays attention to every detail but what I like is that he listens. The most important thing for me is that my physiotherapist or trainer listens to what I want. As a trained sports medicine doctor, I try to avoid template-based training. With Louis, I am happy that my training is individually customised to my needs instead of following a template.
“In bodybuilding, symmetry and balance is important. But since I have undergone many surgeries during my battle with the big C, I cannot activate certain muscles because of weaknesses. So here is where Louis came to the rescue. He taught me the various ‘muscle hacks’ that have enabled me to hold certain poses. He taught me corrective exercises to activate the targeted muscles using other muscles, and that give me the ability and confidence to present a proportionate and balanced physique to the judges.”
And wowed the judges she did at the British Finals.
“The exercises that Louis taught me improved my pose and gave me that boost to get an edge over other competitors.”
Would she share with readers what exercises were she taught?
“No,” she said with a laugh. “Those exercises will remain my trade secrets!”
Currently taking a breather from her winning streak, Aiesha is preparing for more medals under her belt. “I want to thank everyone who has helped me accomplish my goals and bring back these medals. We won these together. My win is our win.”
For those already in the bodybuilding fraternity or just starting out, Aiesha advises them not to neglect body maintenance work if they want to perform well.
“All sportspersons should not neglect their maintenance work. You can push hard at the gym but you must also make sure you recover properly, under good supervision. A good team of physiotherapists, like what I have, will be able to help you recover fully and so that you can perform better at a higher stage.
“There are two components to bear in mind,” she adds, “They are injury-prevention and physical maintenance. A good physiotherapist will help you take care of both. Only then will you be able to perform better with a competitive edge.”