Month of March is a special month for women. 8th of March is International Women’s Day.

We have spoken to two of our past female students, whom both are ACE certified Personal Trainer – We hope their stories able to empower more women who want to pursue their career and personal goals.

Sue Teoh – you probably have heard of her, she is an icon among Malaysia sports team, triathlon, running clubs. She is also a certified Level 1 ITU certified triathlon coach, swimming coach.

Esfah Lili – has been a ACE CPT since 2008. Currently a JK1M’s coach and full-time freelance personal trainer.


Sue Teoh


Sue cover

Have you been an athlete in school/uni time? What did you do before being recruited in the national team?

I’ve been an athlete most of my life. ..started off with competitive swimming since age 8, swam for my state all throughout school n also selected as national team for synchronized swimming. Throughout college n uni I just kept active by joining in all sorts of sports. When I started working full time I got into triathlons until now I’m in the national team.

Sue mom

Sue has been an athlete since young. 

Was working full time in a bank. the usual 9-5 kinda job and trained after working hours and on weekends.

Sue office

When did you get certified and why did you go for fitness certification course?

I wanted a change in my career, I wanted to do something that I was passionate about so I decided that sport or fitness coaching would be the way to go for me. Since I wanted to coach professionally, the next best step was to get certified as a PT. I wanted to learn as much as I can about being a knowledgeable, responsible coach so going through a certification course helped me achieve that. Getting certified also help open doors to a new comer like me in the fitness industry, once you get a well recognized certification, potential employers or clients have better reassurance that you are of higher calibre. After doing my research, I found that ACE Certified PT course was one of the most sought after certification for PTs due to its quality syllabus and international recognition. So I signed up and completed the full course!

Sue ACE card

 ‘A hard-earned card’ she quoted. Sue did Personal Trainer Development Program part-time at Fitness Innovations Malaysia while working full-time at a bank.

Sue with Key

I found that ACE Certified PT course was one of the most sought after certification for PTs due to its quality syllabus and international recognition

How did it fitness education help you in your training/career?

First of all, it gave me confidence that what I was teaching was correct and the most current practices so my clients are getting value for their investment in a PT. It also helped me realize that coaching wasn’t just all about knowing how to create a training program or what exercises to prescribe to a client. It also enlightened me about the ‘human’ side of coaching, knowing how to handle a person, motivating them and understanding their character so I could work with them to achieve their fitness goals. Career wise, it really helped me in building my resume. Potential employers and clients came to me instead of me searching for them! So I think that is a real testament for getting the right fitness education.  It gave me a lot more credibility as a certified PT.


Sue attended a few fitness continuing education workshops after she was certified with ACE PT – this was Corrective Exercise Specialist workshop.

Sue Teoh TPPPC 2013

Sue completed training pregnant and post partum clients workshop

What are the highlights of your fitness career? (personal achievements, clients achievements, involvement in which event/training group, sponsorship?)

Achievements: Personal..successfully transitioning from the corporate world to the fitness  line was a big leap for me so I’d consider that as an achievement  Sporting wise, represented Malaysia in the Duathlon event at the Asian Beach Games 2014 in Phuket, Thailand. Received sponsorships from Pedalspot Bikes, Compressport compression wear, Team Time Triathlon, Skechers.

Sue Teoh sponsors

Clients achievements: trained clients who have successfully completed their first Ironman race. Coached many clients to swim and complete a triathlon event.

Sue Teoh trainer

Currently coaching Skechers Running Academy, Kids triathlon training club, Tom,Dick & Harry’s Running and Mountain biking club. And also coaching my own group of swimmers for triathlon.

 Sue Teoh skecher


What is your take when people say sportsmen has a short career life span? What are your future plans?

Right, when ppl say sportsmen have short career life span..I say, yes that is true on average but there are more and more senior athletes out there nowadays especially in endurance sports. Endurance athletes peak much later compared to other sports. For example, marathoners peak at about 30years old and as the sport moves to the higher ends of the endurance spectrum, the peak age also increased. So it depends on the type of sport you are talking about, not all athletes have short career spans.

Sue Teoh

My future plans…well I’d love to continue being an athlete for as long as I can and of course gain as much racing experience as possible so I can be a better coach to the younger athletes out there. Career wise, the goal is to help as many people out there to be fitter and healthier so they can truly enjoy a fulfilling life!

Sue Teoh swimming coach

Words of advice for someone should they want to become a athlete cum trainer/coach?

words of advise…Manage your time well, stay committed to your goals and you can do what you love and love what you do..which for me is being an athlete and a coach

Sue Teoh triathlon


Esfah Lili

Lili at Bank


Tell us more about yourself. What makes you have passion in fitness and what makes you want to get certified professionally?

I’ve been active since young. Never had a prob with own weight until i started working.I didn’t put on a lot of weight, but for someone who is thin and when the clothes doesn’t fit well anymore it bothers me.

So i signed up a gym membership, went to the classes.. Cycling, yoga, dancing, BodyPump, BodyCombat etc.. I love exercising so much that I fell in love with fitness.

Esfah at AFC

Lili fell in love for fitness after she tried all fitness classes

What was your perception towards yourself as a female PT before you started?

I have never thought of becoming a Personal Trainer. After I signed up a gym membership, I hired a personal trainer.

10994811_10153078485916064_1854362391_nMain reason I become a personal trainer, to have a more meaningful life by seeing a person transform. This gives me the satisfaction and fulfillment in what I am doing.

When did you get ACE certified and why did you do it?

When I took ACE it was for own knowledge. Not to become a PT. I got ACE certified since 2008 and this is the 3rd time I renewed my certification. Main reason I become a personal trainer, to have a more meaningful life by seeing a person transform. This gives me the satisfaction and fulfillment in what I am doing.

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Lili conducts group fitness class outdoor and indoor for women only.

What is your career pathway?

I was working in a bank. Executive in Operational Management Dept. Initially it was a stop gap measure to fulfill my passion in fitness while working in a bank. In 2011-12, I  started to do part time PT and started to gain confidence in myself as a fitness professional. I started to learn to overcome my own personal barriers and understood the things she needed to do be a successful trainer such as creating her network, continue her education, aware of my target market and making myself versatile but focused in skill sets (for example, runner, group instructor and personal trainer).

Then, as I get involved in JK1M, I  started to see a future as a full time fitness professional. I decided to quit my job in the bank and completely change my career in October 2014. As a group instructor for JK1M, I am currently running season 4 which has 57 participants, the largest I ever had.

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You are VERY active! How do you train yourself?

I am passionate about running. I set aside time for running and even holidays just for running events (usually overseas) which I call it a ‘runcation’. I also go to the gym when I have time.

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Lili is an avid runner.

Words of advice for someone should they want to become a personal trainer (female trainer).

First and foremost, you must have the passion. Passion is important as it reflects your action on yourself and others. Passion is something that can be felt by people around you. It is important to know how set up and run one’s own business but with passion, people can feel that you are giving and not just out to get their money. Also, be professional. Respect yourself, your client and the fitness industry.

I believe that I needsto know the latest ‘stuff”. Because my philosophy is, the more we learn, the more we need to know what we need to know.

Lili’s plans for her future includes to expose herself more to the market so that she can be more successful and make her career an exceptional one.

We hope you enjoy reading this. What do you think about these interviews, share your thoughts at the comment box below.

Happy International Women’s Day! 

#100PersonalTrainerMY #fitmalaysia #fitm

In case you want to know more about  Careers in Fitness Industry, there is a talk happening on 15 March 2015 (Sunday). Click here for more info.

Related post:

100 Seconds with 100 Personal Trainers (Vol. 1)

Bartender and Psychology Student

Fitness Career Talk: Your Pathway Toward PT & GX Career!

Personal Trainer – To Be Or Not To Be?