Pham Khac Hy, 38, hailing from the south-central province of Binh Thuan, is considered a latecomer in fitness and bodybuilding in Vietnam.
The bodybuilder only started to compete in national tournaments at the age of 30, before advancing to other international competitions.
In 1992, when he was just a 13-year-old boy, Hy left his hometown for Ho Chi Minh City in the hope of earning a stable living.
The teenage boy had acquired several skills at local incense manufacturing facilities and automobile repair shops before deciding to join the military at the age of 16.
“I started studying when working at the garage and tried to read a book whenever I had free time,” Hy recounted.
“Despite being unable to afford proper education, I was aware of how important study was,” he continued.
At 19, Hy finished his military service and enrolled in the Ho Chi Minh City University of Industry.
The young man joined a program to bring Vietnamese workers to Malaysia and later South Korea when he was 25 years old.
During his time in Malaysia, Hy found his passion for bodybuilding when he often spent his free time working out with his home-made weights and gym equipment.
He first had the opportunity to go to a real gym located at his company in South Korea.
Along with his increasingly fit physique, Hy started taking up the skills and knowledge in bodybuilding and thought of becoming a personal trainer.
“The profession requires a certificate. With my decent knowledge of the Korean language, I managed to earn the certification and began instructing at my gym for about US$40 per hour,” He recalled.
The instructor was hired for an average of 20 hours per week, being able to save enough money to build a life in Vietnam after five years.
After returning to his homeland, Hy swallowed a bitter pill opening a restaurant and an automobile garage as he ended up empty-handed after two years of loss-making business.
Thanks to the support and encouragement from his friends, Hy participated in his first professional bodybuilding competition in 2012, marking the start of his continuous victories in many national tournaments.
The achievements have helped the man build a name for himself as a personal trainer, with more clients signing up for his coaching.
Along with previous business experience and assistance from the Ho Chi Minh City Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Competition, Hy opened his own gym and set up its second branch in two years.
Following the ups and downs in his life, the Vietnamese bodybuilder has seemed to finally lead a stable life, with further success expected in the future.
“Bodybuilding is not the only job that I have tried doing but it is what has given me the most in this life,” Hy said.