Now that I had a plan and was fully commited, it was time to work out what sort of exercise I would do and what gym I would attend.
By this time I had decided to go for Bangkok, it was a big international city and seemed like a lot more options. Not many beaches around but still plenty to do and I figured I could get to some beaches on weekends.
For such a big city, it seems like there is not an enourmous online presence of gyms but I was able to narrow it down to about three that had appeal.
One that I found was a husband and wife operation called Flash Fitness. Jeff who was American and Ritah who was Thai. There was a lot of talk about focus on results and outcomes and a short clip of testimonials from some of their customers. I can’t remember why these guys peaked my interest, maybe it was that they seemed so much more real where other options felt ‘corporate’ but whatever the reason, I decided to email them.
Here was my opening email to them (note, it is not exact, I used a contact form on their website, I might have to see if I can get the exact copy from them but its close to what I wrote):
Hi there, My name is Ben and I am looking to come to Bangkok to lose some weight. I am quite large and have a lot of weight to lose. I had a couple of questions about the service you provide: - Will you have personal training availability during October? - Regarding sessions, how many should I attend per week? I am only travelling there with one purpose so I plan to have a daily gym routine with maybe a rest day on Sundays. - Do you guys work with any food providers? I have been looking at a few home delivery services in the area and juice cleanses. Cheers, Ben
It was only a day or two later and I received a response from Jeff introducing himself. He gave me some standard responses to my first couple of questions but it was his answer to my third question about food providers that seemed to contain the most detail. He basically explained that this was not a good approach to be taking as the benefits would only be short term and strongly indicated that they do not preach the ‘traditional calorie deficit models of weight loss’. He went on to talk about hormones and highlighted in bold:
With just 30 days, it’s the knowledge and habits you need to learn and focus on most.
He seemed to be a genuine guy, I didn’t really get the hormones bit, maybe he had some sought of pill. He mentioned a book he had wrote that explains his philosophy really well and he provided a link to it on Amazon. It didn’t feel like a sales pitch (I mean the book was only $5 or something).
So I emailed Jeff back again. I indicated I wished to lose at least 20kg’s in the month I was there and that I had found some healthy food cafes close to his location anyway. I also asked if I could have a training session each day and asked how much this would cost and if there was some sought of discount for packs (which seemed to be the pricing model that most personal trainers used).
A couple of days later I got a response from Jeff that shocked me.
It opened up with this line:
Hi Ben - In your emails, it is quite clear you already have your mind set on what the path should be like for you on your upcoming trip. Unfortunately, your desired approach differs too much from the methods we've used successfully with so many people in the past.
Within his email, Jeff also talks about his experiences and expresses frustration at an industry driving people to a ‘quick fix’ mindset. He tells me a number of things that are wrong with my plan and why I will fail and then proceeds to reject my business and wish me the best on my journey. (It might sound harsher than it was).
Well, at first I didn’t know what to think. Who the heck is this guy to reject my business? I mean I am a potential paying customer? Who does that? I feel a little angry and frustrated as I had kind of ruled out the other options at this point.
But then something resonates with me. This guy is passionate. He really believes in what he does, so much so he politely rejected me because he doesn’t think I am mentally prepared. It strikes me that this is exactly the kind of person that I need, someone who will be brutally honest and help me achieve my goals.
I email Jeff back, acknowledging his concerns and reiterating my desire to better myself. I tell him that I hope to hear back from him and that I will read his book.
Thankfully, Jeff agrees to work with me. And whilst I don’t know it yet, this is a life changing encounter.
Having an open mind is important, if I had of let my frustrations cloud my judgement I may never have considered the information Jeff was telling me. About hormones and how they can affect ketones and stuff. But I was about to discover something that would open up a whole new world.