Hit­ting above his weight

> Sai­ful Bahari proves over­com­ing obe­sity and get­ting ripped are pos­si­ble when you eat clean and train dirty

The Sun (Malaysia) - - YOUTH - DENISSA GOH

I Twas grad­u­a­tion day for cadet pi­lot Sai­ful Bahari, but the spe­cial oc­ca­sion was al­most ru­ined by his bulging belly which was get­ting in the way of his uni­form. Hu­mil­i­ated, the then 22-year-old avoided pho­to­graphs like a plague on that day. That sin­gle mo­ment of aware­ness, how­ever, would change his life for­ever. Most of Sai­ful’s fam­ily mem­bers were bat­tling obe­sity, but with his own eyes he watched his broth­ers lost weight over time by work­ing out or eat­ing clean. De­ter­mined to get rid of his flab, and highly in­spired by late Rus­sian-Aus­tralian body­builder Aziz Shaver­shian aka Zyzz, Sai­ful prac­tised a strict diet and con­sis­tently ex­er­cised for a year.

The in­cred­i­ble trans­for­ma­tion – Sai­ful trimmed his 34-inch waist to 26 inches, and re­duced his body fat per­cent­age of over 20 to only eight – ar­rested at­ten­tion. Soon, Sai­ful and his broth­ers were known among their friends as “the fat sib­lings who lost a lot of weight”.

Three years later, de­spite his hec­tic sched­ule as a pi­lot for a bud­get air­line, Sai­ful re­mains pas­sion­ate about help­ing others achieve their fit­ness goals. The fit­ness junkie runs a healthy food de­liv­ery ser­vice with his broth­ers and a gym in Am­pang. They were sur­prised. We got a lot of, “No more sam­bal bela­can/ as­sam pedas?” or “Now your diet is mat salleh kind is it?”

So I ex­plained what I wanted in life, and they slowly got used to it. There’s no such thing as a fat gene, that’s for sure. There are only bad habits that you pass down to the next gen­er­a­tion. When par­ents don’t watch what they eat, they’ll feed their kids the same thing. That was what hap­pened to us. Malaysians are im­pul­sive, and we tend to make brash – and ex­treme – de­ci­sions. Some­times they want to go on a diet and so com­pletely cut food for one whole day, but it’s not a sus­tain­able life­style and then they’d say that di­et­ing doesn’t work. Diet and work­out plans have to be sus­tain­able be­cause you want to do it for the long run. It’s tough con­vinc­ing peo­ple that they don’t need sup­ple­ments. Ev­ery time I tell peo­ple that they need to go on a diet, they ask, “Okay, which pill?” Peo­ple want it to be easy and they don’t be­lieve a diet will work with­out a pill. Di­etary knowl­edge among the peo­ple is very poor. If I were to pass a night in an­other state, I would opt for healthy food de­liv­er­ies. In most cases, I would just pack my own food. You have to choose the right kind of food that lasts longer hours since it will be in the bag dur­ing the whole flight.

No one is too busy for any­thing; it’s all about time man­age­ment. If you’re work­ing nine to five, you can go to the gym af­ter work while the traf­fic eases. There are no ex­cuses. I don’t be­lieve in cheat meals. But I be­lieve that a cho­co­late wouldn’t harm once I achieved 8% body fat. I won’t say that I give into my crav­ings, but I en­joy what I eat be­cause I know I’m go­ing to work out and burn the calo­ries the next day. There must al­ways be a balance.

Also a moun­taineer, Sai­ful sur­vived the Mount Ever­est avalanche last year while at base camp.

One of his proud­est feats is to per­form a 160kg pow­er­lift­ing squat.

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