Victories: Ash J Gibson Triumphing After Tragedy

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A thirty-two-year-old café and customer service worker from New Zealand, Ash J Gibson has dealt with more than her share of tragedy. Losing both her parents unexpectedly only seven week apart, she found herself severely depressed and overwhelmed by grief. Stopping work, she was forced to deal with the sale of her family home and other legal issues regarding her parents’ estate. Deciding she needed both a break and a fresh start, she ventured out to Tiger and in the process has discovered the warrior inside that she never knew she possessed. Having faced adversity at every turn, she has battled through it all, going from a top weight of 130 KGs down to her current weight of 80 KGs. She arrived at camp lost in life, overweight and unhealthy. When she finishes her training in a few months, she’ll return home the embodiment of Tiger strength and spirit. She even plans on working toward her PT and Group Fitness certifications. This is her story…

When you were first looking at traveling, what made you choose Tiger?

I just woke up one day and decided I needed to come to Thailand. I can’t explain it; I’d never really planned on traveling to Thailand before. I looked into the different options… going to a monastery, doing a yoga retreat, everything. Finally I found Tiger Muay Thai online and it seemed to be the best fit for me. It offered more activities and things to do around than the other places I was exploring. I exchanged some e-mails with their staff and found it was easy to get information and reassurance that it was the right place for me.

When you arrived at Tiger did you set any goals for yourself?

I first arrived at Tiger about a year ago and trained for a few months. Then I returned home for a bit, and spent some time traveling in Australia, Ko Samui, and South America. When I returned to Thailand after that, I spent a few months at a different gym, but it wasn’t quite the same. I came to visit Tiger and participate in their 12 Hour Cross Training Challenge for charity and decided to come back.

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It made me realize that Tiger’s body fit and cross training are way more advanced and strenuous then the ones I attended at the other gym. Tiger is a real community. Here people will cheer you on, pushing you to finish your workout, even if they’ve already finished theirs. It can be a competition, but in a fun and supportive environment.

Since I started back at Tiger in the last month and a half, I’ve lost more weight in that time then I lost the full four months at the other gym.

When you returned to Thailand did you set new goals for yourself?

I was at 103 KGs and my goal was to get down to 75 KGs. Right now I’m at exactly 79.5 KGs. I’ve got a couple months left here at Tiger, so I know I can achieve my ultimate goal.

Have you faced many challenges along the way?

A lot. Now and then the emotional stuff still comes up and affects the way I’m training. Loneliness can be a problem; being here so long and missing home. I also used to have really bad cravings, but I’ve found that now they don’t happen as often. You just have to power through.

Can you think of anything fun or memorable that you’ve been through here at Tiger?

The Halloween BBQ Beat Down last year. I missed this year’s one, but I had an incredible time last year. It was so much fun dressing up as a zombie and cheering on the fighters. I also enjoyed learning how to drive a scooter for the first time, snorkeling for the first time and even driving a jet ski! Ive been able to do lots of little island trips, which have been great.

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What are your favorite and least favorite exercises you’ve encountered at Tiger?

I hate doing any kind of squat. I have weak knees, so I have to be careful when doing them. I really love medicine ball slams, but I think my favorite exercise is when we drag tires with barbell weights on top of them. Dragging all that extra weight I used to carry on my body helps me realize how far I’ve come in my own journey.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to Tiger?

I have a lot of friends and strangers messaging me asking me about how I’ve gotten my results and I’ve been sending them all to Tiger. It’s got the best range of choices and the best community feeling. Just look at my photos and my progress. If you’re willing to put in the work at Tiger, you will succeed.

When you finish your weight loss journey in February, do you think you’ll ever return to Tiger?

Once I leave, I have to start getting settled at home, so it might be a year or two before I return. I will definitely be coming back, though. I feel like I’ve almost achieved my goals here, but I would love to bring a group of people to Tiger who are dealing with loss, or even a group of fellow LGBT Kiwis, to work with them and train. It would be nice to give back and help other people on their journeys. It would also be a great way for me to keep fit.

I have never really been into sports in my life. My parents tried putting me in Kung Fu and gymnastics, but it never really worked out. I used to be bullied throughout school and never really felt supported by most my extended family because of some recent misunderstandings.

I love my family, though, and all the incredible friends Ive made on my journey. My parents were incredibly health conscious and always wanted me to lose weight. I know they would be proud of me.

Thailand is an incredibly spiritual place. Its beaches and sunsets brought me back. It feels like home.

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Victories: Allen Paisansiri 5 Months & 30 KGS

Allen 1A twenty-two-year-old from San Fransisco, Allen Paisansiri is now even more energized and ready to power through life. Having taken a year off of college to grow and gain more experience, he decided Tiger would be the perfect place to relax, explore and focus in on what he wants to do for the rest of his life. Now he’s a transformed man. In only five short months, Allen has dropped 30 KGS (66 LBs) and discovered a newfound confidence. His favorite exercise is the Turkish get-up and his least favorite exercises are burpees and squats. This is his story

How did you find out about Tiger?

My family is Thai and they take yearly trips to Thailand, trips that I usually miss out on because of school or work. When the time came for me to take a break and explore, I automatically thought of Thailand because my younger brothers always came back with fun stories about their trip. My mom and dad are Muay Thai fanatics and often stream fights online. After learning about the sport and taking a look at the conditioning that was required for it, all it took was a quick Google search. Tiger’s informative website made it my first choice.

What first made you want to come?

Initially I thought it was a break from school and work, but after awhile I realized it was because I wasn’t happy with the way my body looked. I desperately wanted to change. I remember telling one of my best friends that I wish I could just disappear for a bit and come back looking completely different. This was that chance.

How long were you at Tiger?

A total of five months.

When you arrived here, did you set any goals for yourself?

Weight loss was my goal. I was looking to lose weight in order to look and feel better about myself. Losing weight meant a lot of things for me, but most importantly in my mind, I felt that losing weight would fix everything. I would be more confident in approaching people and making new friends.

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How do you fare at meeting those goals?

I guess you could say it was a success. I can’t help but smile every time the topic of weight loss and my Thailand trip comes up. In the five months I spent at Tiger Muay Thai, I lost a whopping 30 KGS (66 LBs). I never expected it to be that much, but I just kept losing weight. I remember other guests coming up to me and telling me that I was melting right before their eyes.

What accomplishments at Tiger are you proud of?

Besides the changes in the body, I would say it’s the change in my mind that is my biggest accomplishment. It’s funny because you’d think at a fight/weight loss camp, there would be a lot of aggression and people would just stick to themselves to train. But we’re like a family here. Sure, there are one or two people that were aggressive, but for the most part I had such a mind cleansing experience. Tiger really helped me clear my mind and open up my mind.

Did you face any setbacks or challenges along the way?

The number one challenge was definitely being alone. I had some days where I would lay in bed till eleven or midnight just thinking about what my friends and family were doing back home. It was my first time leaving the United States and alone, at that. It was with the help of other guests that allowed me to stay for so long. I’ve made friends at Tiger who were also exploring and finding themselves and some days after training we would sit, have lunch and just talk. This always cheered me up and put a smile on my face.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to Tiger?

Don’t psych yourself out; just do it. Book your stay and stick to it. Yes, you will miss your friends and family. Yes, you can Skype them. I would have gotten nowhere if I let my mind do all the talking. I remember telling myself, “Don’t think. Just do.” Conquer Big Buddha. You will love it. My first time up Big Buddha, I took an hour and ten minutes. Before I left, my personal best was 33:46. It’s possible!

What surprised you the most about Tiger?

The people that came to train. There were people from all over the world, all different sizes and ages. Even after leaving Tiger I still keep in touch with these people. We’ve even planned a reunion together next year back at Tiger!

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Tell me about one fun memorable thing that happened to you during your time at Tiger.

I won a BBQ Beatdown and it was pretty much the most terrifying thing of my life. But I had so much fun. My first BBQ Beatdown was a draw, and during the first 30 seconds of the first round of that fight I actually busted a vein in my eye and it swelled up and shut. Every time I tried to hit my opponent after that, I would always miss by a little bit because with one eye shut, everything was kind of shifted. It remained that way for maybe two to three weeks, but I still kept going to training everyday. I’ll never forget to block or dodge and weave now!

Have you learned anything that you’ll use back home?

I would say Tiger was my catalyst. It started everything. I’m home now and still working out every single day. My friends definitely notice the change and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the words, “OMG you lost weight” or “you look so good.” Tiger made things simple for me. You eat right, you work out, you meet your goal. Being in the United States makes it very challenging to achieve your goals. Everyone is trying to make a quick buck off miracle diets because there is such a large market for weight loss. They tell you that you can’t eat after this time, or carbs are bad for you, or if you buy this product you’ll lose weight, or some other lame thing like nutrient timing. After having spent five months at Tiger, it is now so easy for me to determine what’s correct and what isn’t.

Tiger helped me restore my confidence. It reminded me of what I had all along.

Victories: Abdullah Alkarafi Down 11 KGs In Six Weeks

Abdul 4A 29-year-old from Kuwait, Abdul has been spending his time working as a technician for airport navigation systems. Working long hours didn’t leave him with much time to exercise or eat well and he wasn’t even sure where to start. A month and a half ago he took a big leap into the unknown and ventured out to Tiger Muay Thai and MMA to lose weight and recapture his fitness. This is his story…

How did you find out about Tiger?

I was meeting with my family and a cousin of mine suggested I check out sports and fitness camps abroad. I checked on the web when I got home and found Tiger. It had great reviews and I decided to come.

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What first made you want to come to Tiger?

I came to lose weight. That was my big goal.

Did you have a certain amount of weight in mind that you wanted to lose?

I was hoping to lose at least 15 KGs, and I’ve lost 11 KGs so far. I’m very happy to lose that much.

What classes were you taking at Tiger?

The first two weeks, I was doing four classes a day. Yoga and Body Fit in the morning, then Cross Training and Muay Thai in the afternoon. I could handle it the first week, but then after that my knee was killing me. I had to cancel the Muay Thai and just stick with the other classes. I also tried some of the Western Boxing classes and did private weight sessions with Peter the Hulk.

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How did you fight through the knee pain?

I stopped doing running and jumping. I just had to adjust the classes to do the exercises I was able to do. It’s very flexible.

What accomplishments at Tiger are you proud of?

Losing 11 KGs and also running Big Buddha. The first time I did it in over seventy minutes but the most recent time I’ve done it in under an hour.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to Tiger?

It’s easy to tell yourself not to go to Tiger, but you have to convince yourself to do it, and then just come. When you are in your country, it’s like, “This is a big challenge. Why am I doing this?” but you have to do it.

Abdul 1Have you learned anything that you’ll use back home?

I learned that I have to move. Move my body. I will do more cardio and lifting when I get home. I can’t do all the same things because I have to work, but I can at least do one or two hours a day. I don’t want to lose my progress.

Do you plan on coming back to Tiger?

Yes. I hope so. I am wishing to come back for another two months. I want to continue to do sports at home and come back here again.

Victories: Wineke Krull Getting Fit After Graduation

1234644_10201385228648107_479607161_nA 24-year-old from Holland, Wineke Krull has spent the last three weeks working hard at Tiger. Preparing for a new life as a criminal lawyer, Wineke decide that now was the time to take control of her life and lose some weight. Having just graduated from university, she searched online for an inexpensive fitness boot camp and discovered Tiger Muay Thai. This is her story…

How did you find out about Tiger?

I had heard about doing fitness boot camps abroad, so I searched online to see where I could do it cheaply. I looked at going to either Ibiza or Thailand, but it was a lot cheaper to do it here.

What first made you want to come to Tiger?

After a few years of being a student, and living the “student lifestyle,” I decided it would be a good time to lose some weight. It seems like right after graduation would be perfect timing.

536766_10201385663258972_1402017562_nWhen you arrived at Tiger did you set any goals for yourself?

I wanted to lose 10 KGs during my four weeks at Tiger. I had no idea if that would be possible, but that was my goal.

Are you on your way to achieving that?

I’ve been here now for three weeks, but I didn’t weigh myself when I started, so I don’t have a real starting point. I did weigh myself after my first and second weeks, though, and lost 4KGs that week alone. So, I think I’ve hit my goal. If not yet, then definitely before I leave. My clothes are already getting too big.

What accomplishments at Tiger are you proud of?

Physically, I feel better. Also mentally. Last year, I hiked Lions Head in South Africa and I really struggled. When I hiked up Big Buddha here, I felt great and did it in a really good time. I already feel stronger in every way.

1235404_10201385228128094_1308063577_nWhat advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to Tiger?

Just come. Don’t think you’re unable to do it. There are a lot of extremely fit people here, but there are also people who aren’t. Don’t be intimidated. Everyone is here with their own goals.

Have you learned anything that you’ll use back home?

The exercises I’ve learned. I’ve been sending the class workouts to my trainer back home so I can continue with the intense workouts when I’m done here.

Do you plan on coming back to Tiger?

I would love to come back. I might be able to, but right now I’m still just a broke student.

Victories: Orzullah Majidi – Fitting Into The Perfect Dress

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Born in Afganistan, Orzullah Majidi moved with her family to the United States when she was only a year old. If growing accustomed to an American lifestyle of burgers and movies wasn’t enough to pack on pounds, moving to Kabul a couple years ago made the situation even tougher. With her workouts limited due to a difficult security situation, her health and physical condition deteriorated. Having been at Tiger for a total of three months, she was recently able to fit into the dress of her dreams on the day of her wedding. She says the burpee is both her favorite and least favorite exercise, due to its grueling but effective intensity.

How did you first hear about Tiger?

Through a friend of mine named Vianni who always goes on fitness holidays. It was two months before my wedding and I was really stressed out. I was under a lot of pressure to look a certain way. I really needed to get away, so I decided Tiger would be killing two birds with one stone. I could hang out on the beach but also get to look great in a wedding dress.

What first made you want to come to Tiger?

A lot of it had to do with the wedding, but really I just needed to make a big change.

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When you arrived at Tiger did you set any goals for yourself?

My goals when I first came were all about physical appearance. I had no intention of being healthy, I just wanted to be thin and look good in different outfits. The biggest thing Tiger gave me was the realization that looking good is also about feeling good. It’s fitness and strength. Confidence comes from feeling good and living a healthy life. It’s not all about the numbers on the scale.

You feel like you’ve accomplished what you came here to do?

Definitely. This is the first time I’ve ever traveled alone. In 2005, I didn’t even have a passport, but here I am working out with a bunch of athletes in the jungle. It was very intimidating, but it’s also been very rewarding. Other than the healthy physical condition I’ve built, I’ve also gained a lot of confidence. It’s tough to walk into a camp where its mostly men and there are world class athletes training right next to you, but I did it. You can do it to. It’s amazing.

What accomplishment at Tiger are you most proud of?

Not being afraid on a daily basis. Just continuously going, despite immense fear. Fear holds so many people back from even trying.

What kinds of challenges did you face along the way?

There’s always fatigue. There’s always the bad day where you just want to go home and not do it anymore. There are the scrapes and bruises and injuries along the way that can depress you. That’s the hardest challenge for me, just to keep going.

What classes did you mostly attend?

I loved the yoga. I have to say it’s great for balance, helping you overall with staying focused and not getting injured. I loved the body fit beach workouts. They’re the toughest, but I love them. I really enjoyed western boxing. I also loved BJJ and was surprised how much fun it was.

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What advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to Tiger?

Just try it. Just do it. Just walk in and just let go of the fear and anxiety. Go it ready to have fun, believe in yourself and everything else will happen on its own.

Any advice for someone getting ready to come to Tiger?

I guess it would depend on your age. If I had known what my body was like, I would have started taking some joint supplements before coming out. Just from having the extra weight on your joints, they really help. Also start learning to drink water instead of other things like soda.

What surprised you the most about Tiger?

The incredible people I met. You will meet people of all ages, from all over the world. It really adds to the experience.

Did you learn anything at Tiger that you’ll take home with you?

Don’t eat nothing. A lot of time people will slash so many foods out of their diet that they can’t maintain it in the long run. You have to find a happy medium. You can’t deny yourself everything, but you also can’t eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Try to incorporate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet.

Tell me about one fun memorable thing that happened at Tiger?

The first time I finished a for-time cross training class. I think you almost have to experience it to understand how significant it was. I always say that Tiger should give me an award for coming in last. Last and proud. So when I finished a class in the allotted time, it really chocked me up. Just finishing the workout in less than thirty minutes next to a bodybuilder and Muay Thai fighter was really special.

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