Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Panchalee. You can call me ‘Mint’. I’m from Bangkok Thailand, currently living in Tokyo. I’m dedicated and passionate about health and fitness. My other passions are fashion photography, travelling and cycling.
Why did you start working out?
I’m a former fat kid. I spent 18 years of my life overweight. At my heaviest, I was around 70kg. Bear in mind that I’m only 158cm.
My weight loss journey has always been like a roller-coaster ride. Over the years, I lost weight on unhealthy diet plans (cutting carbs, skipping dinner etc.), but whenever I stopped, I’d gain it all back and even more. As a result of these FAD diets, my metabolism started slowing down and I began to rapidly increase in size, while eating less and less. I tried weight-loss shakes, I took diet pills, but I felt extremely fatigued and depressed. Eventually, I realized that these diets don’t work. They’re neither sustainable nor enjoyable. There are no shortcuts.
This time I decided to be honest with myself. I wanted to start living like a fit person. I needed to break free from the cycle of binge eating and guilt. I made a choice to break my bad habits, by eating healthier food and hitting the gym.
How long have you been working out?
About 1 year and 2 months.
What are your goals?
Currently, I am training for mass and strength. I enjoy challenging myself to lift heavy. I have an eye set on competing in my first bikini competition in July.
How do you stay motivated?
It’s not every day that I wake up feeling motivated. I remember when things got so tough, that I wanted to quit. I often think about where I would be right now if I had in fact called it quits. I keep saying to myself “Mint, no matter what happens, just don’t quit”.
I love being at the gym and being surrounded by people who share the same passion; pushing ourselves to the limits and feeding ourselves nutritiously every single day. It has easily become a lifestyle, and once you begin to see the results of your hard work, it’s hard to quit.
Have you seen or noticed any changes since you started working out?
I feel healthier, physically and mentally. It took about 2 months for me to notice physical changes. My weight remains more or less the same on the scale, but my size has been decreasing little by little. My body fat dropped from 30% to 17.5%. I began to see more definition on my body. My posture has improved dramatically; I used to have a hunchback.
I feel stronger, more energized and I sleep better. My digestive system is on schedule. My strength has been increasing continuously. I am able to do many things I couldn’t do before (ex. pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, dips). My chronic headaches have decreased significantly since I started working out.
What are people’s reactions to your transformation?
My family and friends compliment me on my transformation. They can feel an increase in my energy levels and my confidence.
Back home in Thailand, the concept of beauty tends to be different. To be “stick thin” is seen as ideal and the curvy body type is considered “fat,” and muscles are only for men. Many people don’t understand why I’ve chosen this path but I am happy that people are at least able to see the results of my hard work.
How do you feel?
Transforming my body has helped me in so many aspects of my life. I feel and look better physically, mentally and emotionally. The fitness journey has enlightened me in many ways. I’ve learned that fitness isn’t just about having a six pack. It’s about feeling healthier (mentally and physically) and feeling better about yourself. Lifting weights greatly boosts your confidence. A year ago I couldn’t even lift a 4kg dumbbell. It’s quite unbelievable that today, I can deadlift 110kg for about 4-6reps. It feels great when you accomplish something that initially seemed impossible.
What’s your training schedule like?
I lift weights 6 times/week. I usually do 2 body part splits. My usual workout routine is as follows:
Note: I do heavy/low reps squats, deadlift, and bench press once a week and I try 1RM once every 4-5 weeks. I don’t usually do cardio but when I do, my choices are kick boxing, stair sprinting, cycling and hiking.
What do you usually eat?
My diet has changed completely; my meals are a top priority. I listen to my body and eat whenever I feel hungry. I keep my diet very simple and clean. I feel very comfortable with carbs, but I tend to watch my sugar and sodium intake. To ensure I consume enough vitamins and fiber, I drink at least a glass of green smoothie every day. What I eat on a typical day is as follows:
Breakfast: 1/2cup oatmeal, 1/2can tuna, 2 hard- boiled eggs, black coffee
Snack: 500ml green smoothie, a handful of mixed nuts
Lunch: 1/2 cup of brown rice or sweet potatoes, 250 g grilled salmon, 1/2 avocado
Pre-workout: a cup of black coffee, a hard boiled egg or a spoonful peanut butter.
Post workout: a banana, a scoop of protein shake in water or milk
Dinner: 1/2 brown rice, 200g grilled chicken breast or 200g sliced shabu pork, a cup of green smoothie or a bowl of green leafy salad.
I sometimes sneak in a cookie or scone between my post workout meal and dinner. I usually have a large supply of hard boiled eggs and mixed nuts, ready to grab whenever I feel hungry.
What were some of the mistakes you made when you first started working out?
- I didn’t eat enough. I was so focused on dieting, which led to a lot of stress.
- I focused way too much on my weight and was scared of gaining muscle.
- I feared training my upper body.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out?
-Remember that it’s all about consistency and dedication. You’re going to get out what you put in.
-It’s your own journey, you do it for yourself, compare your results to yourself not someone else’s.
-Learn as much as you can about macro and micronutrients.
-Surround yourself with the right people who inspire/encourage you to reach your goals.
-Don’t be afraid to lift heavy! I assure you that becoming manly or bulky is not the end result, unless that’s your choice. Even then, it would be difficult.