Fitness & Health



Better in Pairs

We speak to three expatriate couples in Kuala Lumpur who share their stories on how they involve their partners in their fitness regimes

by / Published: 12 Feb 2015

Better in Pairs
Words Samantha Chin
Photos Hizwan Hamid


From work to kids, loss of quality ‘couple time’ and arguments, there are so many excuses and distractions stopping us from stepping into the gym, especially when we have so many commitments to attend to.

Regular cardio and weights in the gym can be a dull routine, but signing up for a different programme may just get you out of your rut.

We speak to three couples who share their stories on how  they involve their partners in their fitness regimes, bonding and resolving conflicts as well as friendly competition against each other.

If you feel intimated by all the acrobatics performed by the pros during a roda, rest assured that Rubens, also known by his nickname Pimbal, and Lilica will make you feel welcome in their studio at Solaris Mont Kiara, the brainchild of Lilica and her business partner Michelle Toh, regardless of your limited Portuguese vocabulary or your inability to stand on your hands.
A martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music, capoeira is very much embedded in Brazilian history and culture, and it’s an art that Pimbal and Lilica have been practicing for about 20 years. 
PIMBAL: I’ve lived in KL for five years, and I learned English here. Lilica was my teacher, now she’s my fiancée.
LILICA: We met four years ago here in Malaysia, because capoeira is very interactive and we’re both instructors, that’s how our friendship started.
It’s definitely different when you practice as a couple, because there is more intimacy and you can be more playful but it also makes the relationship more serious.
PIMBAL: Capoeira has different styles, so when I met her, she was practicing Capoeira Angola and I was  doing Capoeira Regional.
Regional is more aggressive, so before I met her I didn’t like the Angola style because it’s very slow. Lilica opened my mind to her style, so now I train both styles.
LILICA: It’s normal for couples practicing to have conflicts. In the beginning, it was always because of ego from both sides, mostly because we are at high levels in the sport.
12-2, Jalan Solaris 3,
Solaris Mont Kiara, KL
Tel: 03–6211 2585
With two young kids in the family, Guy and Carly finally found time to keep up with their fitness routines in the form of Crossfit. Having tried various other activities like running and boot camp, nothing stuck until they found Crossfit Vidatha near their house.
CARLY: The thing that appealed to us about Crossfit was that we both needed something structured and intense, because we had tried a lot of different exercises but nothing really had an effect — Guy just never turned up! 
GUY: I’m quite sporty, I like rugby and football and stuff but it takes up a lot of family time during the weekends, so we needed something that would fit with work and family. This is perfect because you can do it together — if you play football you can’t do it with your wife...
CARLY: Unless I’m actually into football, which I am not. I’m naturally not sporty, I was one of those people at school who would do anything to get out of PE classes, so it was quite an achievement that I can do Crossfit. We go once or twice a week.
GUY: As an expatriate you can’t just drop your kids at your parents’ to go to the gym, but we have a helper here so that made it easier for us.
CARLY: We’ve got two very young kids, and Guy has a stressful job, so most of what we talk about is the kids or someone that made Guy mad at work.
Exercising together gives us something else that we have in common to talk about.
D1-G3-3, Solaris Dutamas,
1, Jalan Dutamas 1, KL
Tel: 012–293 6903
Duuane and Jenny are big fans of team sports, but reaching out to the local sports community proved to be a challenge until they found Sports Bandits.
The social sports community organises team sports from volleyball and basketball to bubble futsal and Quidditch, and the couple has been active members since September last year.
DUUANE: We first started playing more social sports when we were living in Samoa. We were playing a lot of Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, a lot of community sports — and when we came to KL we didn’t have access to the community sports, so we got more involved in Crossfit and individual sports until we met Sports Bandits.
JENNY: Duuane finds it easy to go to the gym, but not me as I’m a very social person, so I find it difficult to be fit without being in a social context — I’ll get really bored.
Sports Bandits has just been so great for being in a social and friendly environment so you’d be excited to go and workout.
DUUANE: We play sports at least once a week and we go to the gym twice a week.
JENNY: He studied sports management so he knows a lot more about how the body works, he teaches me a lot of stuff and he’d ask me to try something new or if I really hate doing something he’d help me so that I can enjoy it a bit more — he encourages me a lot.
To read the full article 'Better in Pairs' grab a copy of our February 2015 issue, KL's Power Pairings, out on selected newsstands and major bookstores!