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Occupation: actor, fitness instructor
Food: I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for some time now with an eight-hour eating and 16-hour fasted window. In terms of food intake, I consume pretty much everything. I do watch my carb intake and I’ve almost entirely cut off sugar from my diet. I also try to avoid oily food and go for cleaner, more organic options if I have the chance.
Exercise: I will usually workout in the gym four to five times a week. My focus is on progressive overload, so I just stick to the basics: your standard five sets of five for heavy compound movements for strength and five sets of eight to 12 for hypertrophy in the more isolated movements for building muscle mass.
Q: When you were younger, were you active in sports?
A: I used to play basketball a lot in secondary school and did a bit of badminton too, but nothing competitive. I also did Kendo in polytechnic and represented the school in competitions, but I stopped in Year 3 due to my internship and you know, generally trying to graduate with good grades.
Did you continue with sports?
Not going to lie here, I’ve not touched sports ever since polytechnic. So that’s what, more than 10 years? I consider myself to be decently athletic, so I can always get into it without many problems. But to excel at it is a whole different thing.
The one thing so far that I can never get right is football, probably because I’ve once caught a ball going full speed with my face as a kid and a hairline fracture on my wrist due to receiving a bad fall, both from playing football. Not fun.
One thing you need to know about me is that I’m a perfectionist so once I start something, I’ll really go, and that rabbit hole down the sports line is not something I’ve considered yet. But if you consider hitting the gym and calisthenics a sport, then I guess I have that going on for me. Also, I’ve always wanted to try gymnastics.
You only started going to the gym in 2019 and became pretty serious about it.
Why did I start working out seriously? I give 100 per cent credit to my friends around me. Being an ectomorph, I’ve always been a skinny kid, never being able to put on definition or mass, or so I thought for most of my life. I was never able to find the joy and satisfaction in working out.
Another thing is also the fact that for most of my life, I’m just sitting in front of my computer. That’s right – I’m a gamer, a nerd, a bona fide geek. The only time I worked out proper after polytechnic and before 2019 was during my time in national service in the Commandos.
I went in as a zero fighter, basically not being able to do a single pull-up. It was hell, especially in a unit that demands so much physically. So, I worked my butt off, got my Commando IPPT gold, then became complacent. Once I got out, I simply slipped back into being a potato.
And I did that for a few years until I met the lads. These guys are full on fit, and with a little mix of FOMO and being nagged at, I started joining them. That’s when I discovered how much fun and fulfilling fitness can be.
Yes I am what you can call a very late bloomer, I’m still learning new things every day, but I think I’m definitely on the right track.
How did your outlook on fitness change?
Someone once told me this: “Wow Suts, last one to join us in working out but look at you now. A fitness instructor. Nice.” This came from one of the guys that trained me and it meant a lot.
Before this, I’ve been training on and off by myself and there was no consistency. I think training with a bunch of people that actually know what they’re doing, I’d say, was the tipping point for me. I found motivation and a renewed sense of fulfilment in working out.
These guys can find different ways to make each workout session a torture, but once I was done, it felt amazing because I just completed something I never once thought I could. Eventually, I figured that I can’t rely on them forever, so I started a deep dive into the world of fitness, crafted my own workouts, ate clean etc. and boom, here I am topless, doing this interview.
I can go on all day about how exercising can be beneficial to your mental health and the chemical compounds your brain releases when you exercise but I’ll probably just bore you so I’m just going to say this: Ever since I started my fitness journey proper, I have never felt more alive.
If you asked pre-2019 me if I’d ever be in fitness, I’d say hell no. But now, I’d probably do this till my body fails me.
So, for those of you out there reading this that are on the fence about fitness or don’t know where to start: Find YOUR motivation. Start small, work on the discipline, and the rest will fall into place. You’ll eventually find like-minded people and that is where things will kick off exponentially.
Trust me, I’ve been there and to be honest, I regret not starting earlier. Fitness is a journey, there never is a true destination and the only person you must compete with, is yourself. So stop procrastinating, and take the leap of faith.
As an actor, do you face any pressure to look a certain way or be of a certain shape?
Being in the entertainment industry definitely has its fair share of superficiality. But as an actor, I always believe that the primary focus should still be in perfecting my craft of acting. If the role I get requires me to look a certain way, it’s my job to deliver it. I do admit that a small part of why I’m working out more in the gym is to gain mass so that I can generally look better on screen/stage but that’s not my main motivation.
There had been a couple of times where I look at some of the work that I’ve done and I thought to myself that I’m lacking the screen presence or that I look smaller compared to other people in that scene, but its more of a technicality, not so much of an insecurity. I’ll always scrutinise my acting first before anything else.
Bottomline: With or without being in this industry, I’ll still work out.
You're also a fitness instructor. How did you get onto this path?
Remember the guys that dragged me out to train with them? Well a few of them opened up a fitness studio called R10T. And seeing the progress that I’ve made over that short period of time, they probably were confident that I’d make a decent instructor, so I got on board and the rest is history.
One main reason why I jumped on this opportunity was also because I wanted to give back to the fitness community, especially newcomers. I want to be able to help and motivate people the same way my friends helped me out.
When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
This is not fitness related but if there’s one thing I’ve ever felt insecure about when I was younger, it’ll be my own name. Sutsiam Sae Goh, that’s not a normal name. If any of you are wondering, I’m Thai-Chinese. So growing up in Singapore was an interesting experience as the people around me would make fun of my name all the time. It’s not to the point of bullying as I’d usually have a clap-back or two up my sleeve to show that I mean business but you know, I found myself being pretty insecure with my own name. As a kid, all I wanted was to fit in and this did not help.
Even in Thailand, my name is considered weird. I was born in Chiang Rai ad Chiang Rai is considered the most northern part of Thailand. So if you break my name down, Sut: The most extreme of; Siam: That’s the name of ancient Thailand; Sae: Surnamed; Goh: Yes my surname. My name Sutsiam Sae Goh literally means “The most northern part of Thailand Surnamed Goh”.
Introducing myself required finesse. But I eventually learnt to embrace it. In a world where everyone is trying to fit in, why not stand out? Being the outlier is fun. So now everyone just calls me “Suts”.
Did you ever struggle with your body?
As someone with a very high metabolism, I’ve struggled with putting on mass on my body. It is only until the recent couple of years where I changed my approach to fitness that I started seeing progress. The key here is nutrition. You know what they say, its 70 per cent nutrition, 30 per cent exercise. Once I started eating the right types of food for my body type, the change came in pretty quickly. Eating junk food can only produce junk results, no matter how much you work out.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Yes and no. I am happy with the progress I’ve made with my body, but I am definitely not settling for contention because that’s a slippery slope for me.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt so far on my fitness journey is that I’m just trying to be the best version of myself and not compete with others. To constantly challenge myself and push my mental and physical capacity. The next evolution.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
This is going to sound like a shameless plug but yes. Ever since I started getting into shape I’ve had a lot of positive feedback. And as much as I appreciate it, I also want people to know that they can achieve it. It just takes time and patience.
I’m still nowhere near having the body that I want but hey, it’s a perpetual work in progress.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
My height. Definitely my height. I’m sorry if this sounds superficial but the optimum height I would like to have is 1.85m but alas, I shall settle with 1.75m.
Jokes aside, I honestly can’t think of anything I’d want to change. I’ll definitely keep improving on what I’m doing and you know, generally just being a decent human being and being the best version of myself but other than that, I’m just going to do me.