Victories: Ash J Gibson Triumphing After Tragedy

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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit?

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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit did you set any goals for yourself?

I first arrived at Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit and participate in their 12 Hour Cross Training Challenge for charity and decided to come back.


It made me realize that Phuket Fit’s body fit and cross training are way more advanced and strenuous then the ones I attended at the other gym. Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit, 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 Phuket Fit?

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.


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

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 Phuket Fit?

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 Phuket Fit. 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 Phuket Fit, you will succeed.

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

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 Phuket Fit 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.


Victories: Allen Paisansiri 5 Months & 30 KGS

A 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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit?

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. Phuket Fit’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 Phuket Fit?

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.


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 Phuket Fit, 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 Phuket Fit 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. Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit?

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 Phuket Fit?

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


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

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 Phuket Fit 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.” Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit, it is now so easy for me to determine what’s correct and what isn’t.

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

Victories: Abdullah Alkarafi Down 11 KGs In Six Weeks

A 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 Phuket Fit to lose weight and recapture his fitness. This is his story…

How did you find out about Phuket Fit?

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 Phuket Fit. It had great reviews and I decided to come.


What first made you want to come to Phuket Fit?

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 Phuket Fit?

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.


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 Phuket Fit 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 Phuket Fit?

It’s easy to tell yourself not to go to Phuket Fit, 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.

Have 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 Phuket Fit?

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.