Simple Tips for Gaining Strength, Losing Fat & Living Awesome

Simple Tips for Gaining Strength, Losing Fat & Living Awesome

Written by Jamal Younis

After spending a week on one of Thailand’s beautiful beaches and observing the behavior and appearance of many tourists and some locals as well, it made me aware once again, how unhealthy and physically unfit the majority of people are. Of course it was a holiday trip and people try to escape their stressful lives. But inactivity, drinking all day long and eating crappy food doesn’t refresh your body and mind at all. Don’t misunderstand me, living a balanced life between health and fun is important. Although it should be done with some sort of common sense.

This experience and some of the following reasons inspired me to write this post and made me think of some other experiences I’ve had where I realized that people need simple tips for getting and staying fit.

The second factor that leads to this blog post is my experience over the last two years working in different gyms in Bangkok. From the detailed observation of regular small group class participants, to their weekly training program in terms of type of classes people like to attend, and program design of the classes and load/weights people choose by themselves. And the confusion and all the questions in terms of nutrition and training.

Beach Life

Last but not least when I was starting to train my first clients, even I was confused with all the different styles of training. How to incorporate all of them into a well-designed weekly training plan? I made minor mistakes here and there by just focusing on HIIT style of training, or barbell lifting or Thai boxing instead of finding a balance, which leads to desired outcome of the client and is varied enough that people enjoy the process of training and stick to it. What may work and not work doesn’t matter so much when people get bored and do not stick to the program. FUN is very important. But don’t confuse different type of training variations (HIIT, strength etc.) with randomly designed workouts (with the only purpose of making you tired).

This summary can help anyone who would like to be healthier, even trainers new to designing effective and fun training plans.

I believe are the 3 main factors which lead to a healthy and happy lifestyle are:

1. Training & Exercise
2. Nutrition & Hormones
3. Lifestyle & Rest

1. Training & Exercise
If you are not practicing a specific sport or having a manual labor job, training needs to be an important aspect of your everyday lifestyle. Different ways of training and exercising leads to different results. And the proper combination of all of them should lead to the best outcome. Training may be less important to losing weight than nutrition but it is extremely important in terms of self-confidence and quality of life.

Strength in my opinion is the one of the most important aspects of quality of life. Especially the older you get. Here I am talking about training for the purpose of getting stronger. A well designed program which leads to specific adaptations with respect of workload, rest periods etc.
personally I think the whole-body barbell movements are the best option.  Check out our ASPATA Advanced Barbell 1 Day Workshop  to learn how to properly perform these basic functional movements.

Metabolic Conditioning (and all the other High Intensity ways of training):
There is definitely room for a few workouts which are done in a short time and produce a very high caloric (after-) burn. Also they are fun to attend in a group setting. Although over prioritizing these types of training doesn’t lead to long-term strength gains or fat loss in my opinion. I don’t see any progressive overload in most of the cases. I personally like to train and teach Thai boxing as a way of kicking the heart rate up. It also trains so many other important skills: self-defense, stress reduction, etc.  Check out the upcoming FAIRTEX MUAY THAI FITNESS CERTIFICATION COURSES which teach you all the foundations of how to run a Muay Thai style small group fitness class.

Steady-State Cardio
The old-school Cardio exercises like jogging, biking, swimming etc. done slowly and for prolonged time. If you enjoy these types of training there is room to do them a few times per week. There are lots of cardiovascular health and some fat loss benefits. A little bit of jogging won’t eat your muscles away and I am sure in the near future people will be aware of the benefits of steady-state cardio training again. Maybe even at the expense of HIIT style training?

Mobility and flexibility
Soft tissue work, stretching, yoga and all the different ways getting you more flexible can and should be done on a daily basis. At least a few minutes. Yoga is perfect form of flexibility work because it’s also a movement practice. If you are interested in a deeper understanding of yoga for yourself and for your clients, we offer a 1 day Yoga-Fit workshop.


  1. Nutrition & Hormones
    We cannot talk about nutrition without being aware of all the hormonal response the food we eat triggers. Long term malnutrition leads to hormonal clogs which leads to chronic body fat gain. We need to clear this clog to improve our basic biological functions that the body works again like the people who can eat what they want without gaining fat.

Forget counting calories!
Focus on calorie quality instead of quantity. A massive decrease in quantity leads to temporary weight loss by letting the body think it is starvation. This approach causes the metabolism to slow down, keep the body fat, burn muscle instead and gain more fat back long term.

A few tips:
– Drink lots of water and don’t drink your calories (i.e. soda, juice, alcohol etc.)
– Eat nutrient dense natural food and not junk food
– Eat a lot of protein instead of starchy carbs
– Make veggies your main carb source
– Sugars just after tough training sessions to replenish glycogen stores

A great resource for nutrition is one of our 2 on-line NAFC Nutritional Courses

Lifestyle & Rest
Rest is a very important aspect and many times people underestimate it. Your body needs to recover adequately to getting stronger. A healthy lifestyle is an important factor which leads to overall wellbeing and performance (sport, work, friendship etc.)

Healthy hobbies
Turn off the TV, computer AND smartphone and engage in outdoor activities that keep you moving. Spending time outdoors and in the sun can clears your mind and exposing your bare skin to the sunlight also will get you your Vitamin D. That happens pretty quickly without burning your skin and you don’t need supplements. Also WALK as much as you can. Up the stairs instead using the elevator. There are many apps and trackers which help you be accountable of daily steps. But you don’t necessarily need that. Just walk!

Sleep is very important. Get enough sleep (7-9 hours each night) helps your body and brain to function properly and perform on a high level. There is no reason to skimp sleep. Turn off all the electronic devices to not interrupt your sleep.

For more info on lifestyle and how you can help clients, make sure to check out our exclusive NAFC Wellness Coach certification.


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