My Personal Titan Journey
I decided to come train at Titan Fitness (www.titanfitnesscamp.com) on the recommendation of my good friend and travel buddy, Val. We had both been taking a gap year (www.mindthegaplife.com) to travel together in between jobs, and let’s just say that we really enjoyed our time on the road – especially culinarily speaking.
You might think that backpacking around the world would be good exercise, and you will be forgiven. The fact is, one can spend a lot more time eating than exercising – delicacies abounded in every country we visited, and who were we to be rude and not try the local fare? In addition, while we did walk, we spent a lot more time sitting on moving vehicles getting from A to B.
Val had gone to Titan before me and loved her time there, so when I was winding up my own gap year, I had a choice – fly from Japan to China and take the Trans-Siberian Railway back to Europe (oh bestill my traingeek heart!), or take the same amount of time and come to Titan in an attempt to return to my pre-gap year body before taking a desk job back in London.
On Val’s strong recommendation, I opted for the latter (Trans-Siberian Railway, I’ll get to you later!). I have to say now, after seven weeks training here, I definitely made the right choice.
Pre-gap year (www.mindthegaplife.com), back in London, I wasn’t unfit per se – I regularly attended classes at my local gym and ran the occasional half marathon. That said, I’d sustained a shoulder injury a few years ago that severely limited my ability to do many exercises, including common staples such as burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, overhead presses – basically anything that involved using my shoulder.
(Oh, and while I might have been carrying an extra five kilograms back in London, my gap year had left me with another bonus five as a ‘souvenir’.)
So it was in that semi-sorry state that I landed at Titan. Luckily, Titan is a very welcoming place for people of all levels and abilities. Their motto might as well be ‘come as you are – we’ll make you even better’.
I had originally purchased a 6-week stay with personal training five days a week. I recognize that this may sound a bit corny, but let’s just say that having Kristian Kjelsbak as my trainer was a date with fate.
When I first saw him, I was honestly a bit worried. Named ‘Fittest Man in Thailand’ in 2017, he is a CrossFit expert who competes in international competitions. And this guy was going to train little ol’ me?! I was concerned that he might push me too hard (which was actually how I got injured in the first place, during a personal training session back in London). I also feared that I might disappoint him, given how he’s used to being surrounded by elite athletes.
Instead, I found exactly the opposite: a really down-to-earth guy who actually listened! (I know, ladies, I know.) He started where I was and worked from there.
We began with a good chat just to get to know each other and suss out what my goals for my time were. I’m a girl, so naturally fat loss was a big part of it. But I also really wanted to do some functional work on my shoulder and knees. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could go back to London and actually be able to do those push-ups and burpees? (Okay, maybe I actually like having an excuse for getting out of burpees… But still, it’s good to have the option to do them.)
We picked some good benchmark goals for me that would demonstrate progress: hanging, deadlifts, squat lifts, and eventually being able to do a handstand – something that would have been unthinkable pre-Titan!
Progress was honestly a bit slow at first (40-year old body and all that), but Kristian was very encouraging. He helped me figure out ways I could modify my diet to enhance my results. If I had a question (for example, do anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen impede muscle recovery?), he’d often go away and do research in order to give me a definitive answer.
At week three, we started to see the effects of our hard work. I went from being so sore after just one class that I walked like John Wayne looking for a showdown to being able to do multiple classes in a day. I even decided that six weeks was too short, so I extended for a seventh week.
It was the fifth week that near-disaster struck. Victim of my own success, I actually found that I’d over-trained, if you can believe that. (Kristian wants me to tell you that there is no over-training, only under-recovery.) I showed up to my personal training session with zero energy. Kristian quickly diagnosed the situation, stuck me on the back of his scooter, and raced me down the street to a clinic. There, he prescribed an IV solution to replenish my depleted energy and kick-start my recovery. Nice guy that he is, he even decided to get an IV himself in solidarity so I wouldn’t have to sit there for the hour by myself!
Luckily, by scaling things back a bit during the rest of my time, I was able to make a complete recovery. I even went on to do a sub-40 minute Buddha Run – once you try it yourself, you’ll understand what an accomplishment that is!
Because Kristian is good with videos (check out his YouTube channel), he makes personal progress videos for his clients. We had a good time filming me over the course of the seven weeks, and now I have this video to document my progress. Seeing is believing, folks!
The downside to training with Kristian (I’m not gonna lie folks, it’s not all a bed of roses) is the fact that he loves to eat – I’m talking, all the time! And he sings. A lot. Off-key.
But it’s a small price to pay when you’re getting results. 😊