Nine years into her fitness journey and Yuliana Laksmono wishes she’d started earlier, but she’s not looking back
After having her two kids, Yuliana Laksmono, 45 was looking to lose some weight and get back into shape. She also wanted to get some relief from the muscle cramps she experiences, and knew improved mobility would help. So she joined boot camp classes to get fitter and worked with a personal trainer every week.
Two years later, she’d lost weight and was seeing the progress she’d made and decided to step it up. Yulia joined the world of bikini competitions, and found the change difficult. “The diet to prep for competition is harder than just a healthy lifestyle diet.” Nowadays, though, her go-to sport is weight training. “I discovered that I enjoy personal training sessions the most and got the most solid results for losing weight with this,” she says.
Through her ongoing journey, her support team is made up of her family: her husband Budi, and her two kids Adrian and Laura. Budi in particular is her biggest cheerleader. “He’s had to put up with my emotional roller coaster,” she says. Her coach and trainer, too, of course, play an important role. “My coach Ashley Moore from Team Barbelles was also there to support me and keep me on track with the prep program and also my personal trainer Rose Nicholson,” she says. “Rose always kept reminding me to keep on doing the sets for three competitions.” And when tempted to eat out or indulge in pastries and sweets, which she admits to have indulged in at times when in training, it’s this support team close to her that helps her to get back on track to win. And it’s paid off: those three competitions? She earned a medal in each one.
It’s those same pastries and breads she turns to as a reward when she reaches a goal. “It’s not a good combination to keep my lean shape,” she admits, but allows herself a bite or two. “It gives me a world of satisfaction after reaching a goal!” And those goals and being in good health is a priority for her. “It does not matter if you have all the money in the world if you do not have your health. It is meaningless,” she says. But at the same time, don’t over train in the pursuit of health. Yuliana’s approach is realistic. “Maintain continuous progress to develop your stamina and good form. Take it easy or you may damage your muscle in the process,” she says, adding that you need to prepare mentally and financially as well for your fitness journey.
To ensure she makes her health a priority, for Yulia having goals is key. “The training and the diet, give me a goal and results to go after. I am a results-oriented individual.” With the routine her goals dictate, it all helps her manage stress. In fact, when she’s not targeting a goal, she finds being in “moderation mode” more difficult when it comes to controlling what she eats, which just results in more stress for her.
When stressed, though, while spending time with her family helps her destress, Yuliana says having a coach or personal trainer to talk to has always greatly helped to keep her on point. “They give me direction and get me on track. You need open communication and good chemistry with your coach and your personal trainer. This helps me a lot in achieving my goals.”
Now, while she wishes she’d begun her fitness journey earlier in life, she knows that you’re never too old to start a journey. “You just need to set a goal and go for it,” she says. And while working towards that goal will come with sacrifice (from what you can eat to the time away from your family), what you get back in return is worth it. “Even with limited resources, there is so much you can do when you have a goal to reach.” Know that it will be time-consuming, especially when you have a full-time job, but you have to have the mindset that you have the power to overcome challenges, she says. With that belief in yourself, you’ll be unstoppable.
Photos by ChrisVLinton