120kg M’sian Managed to Lose 48kg & is Now Taking Part in IRONMAN Triathlon

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There are people and things of all shapes and sizes, and that’s what makes things interesting on earth.

However, some people who are toward the plump end may not necessarily receive equal experiences regarding their bodies as the more petite ones.

This is the case for Bruce Tan, a triathlete from Penang who once used to have no interest in sports.

That all changed once he began actively participating in the IRONMAN Triathlon competition – the toughest sporting event ever known that requires athletes to complete 3.8km swim, 180km bicycle ride and 42km run, all in one day.

Wah, just writing about that makes me tired.

Image: Bruce Tan Sia Chian Facebook

You see, Bruce grew up being bullied for his obesity. He was chubby, and his size led secondary school friends to shun him. They wouldn’t sit with him at recess, and even teased him for being a “non-challenging” table-tennis player due to his size.

If I ever heard that phrase, I’d have body-slammed the guy with my sheer weight. Like Mike Tyson.

Image: Giphy

As it is, I’m only the size of Banana in Pajamas.

Give me some of your fats, bro. We can even this thing out.

Image: Giphy

Okay, I’ll stop being bananas. He grew up into a fine pound of steel.

Or, more politely: Ironman – due to his schoolmates’ mockery.

Fate has a way of bringing goodness to us through not-so-good experiences.

For me, it was being bullied for ten years, which led me to strengthen my verbal rhetoric and confidence so much so I could stand up for myself.


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Similarly, Bruce took heed of his classmates’ mockery to embark on a journey of shedding his pounds.

Followed A Strict Diet

In September 2015, Bruce followed a strict diet of oats for breakfast and no carbs for dinner. He minimized his suppers and only resumed his relationship with bread and mixed rice after losing a lot of weight.

In the beginning, he could not run. The treadmill would get stuck and he could not mime the running act. Swimming an hour a day also helped him burn the calories.

This is how he looks currently:

Image: Bruce Tan Facebook

Handsome, right? Aiya, a guy can praise another guy la, what’s wrong with that?


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In the first eight months, Bruce went from 120kg to 112kg, losing 8kg.

Over 3 years, he shed 48kg successfully!

As is stands, Bruce found his passion for the IRONMAN Triathlon during his weight-loss adventure. Nov 2018, Bruce finished IRONMAN Langkawi in 12 hours and 44 minutes, giving him the ninth position in his age group.

Legend has it that legends will always accomplish the things they do.

For IRONMAN, Bruce has no intention of letting down his guard. He has set his sights on the IRONMAN World Championship and to enter that, he must achieve first in any given IRONMAN event of his age group.


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A feat in itself, not unlike lifting iron in the face of other ironmen. To achieve that, he is putting in 3 hours of exercise per day with only one day off.

That’s 6 days each week like working in retail!

I certainly wish this determined young man good luck. As it is, my legs are numbed from sitting on my seat typing this story after dunno how many liaoz. 

You know, maybe I should do a Bruce L.. Tan. Just one round around my block will do, sir!

Image: Giphy


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