A new face in the Hong Kong CrossFit community, Saed Alami has years of coaching experience in his pocket—from Brussels to Abu Dhabi—and a cheerful personality that makes even the most brutal CrossFit workout look bearable.
Ahead of his gig at Zouk at Sea – Weekend Fit Edition taking place onboard the cruise ship, World Dream, on September 27-29, 2019, he tells us how CrossFit changed his life, his go-to healthy snack and why being healthy is more than just about the body.
Hello! What do you do?
I’m a health and performance specialist at Coastal Fitness Hong Kong, where I guide people towards a healthier lifestyle through strength training, metabolic conditioning, flexibility, nutrition and habit advice.
I was born and raised in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, a small town surrounded by farmland and cows. It’s a great place to live as a family but not so much to build a career as a trainer. I later moved to Brussels, where I spent some years improving my craft and meeting people from all over the world.
In 2016, I moved to Abu Dhabi for a job opportunity, where I was exposed to a completely different culture and learned so much as an individual and coach. In 2018, I moved to Hong Kong to join Coastal Fitness.
SEE ALSO: 21-Day Habit Makeover with Saed Alami
What’s something not many people know about you?
I’m very passionate about self-development. The idea that it’s up to the individual to uncover and develop their potential strikes me as something that brings meaning to life.
How and when did your fitness journey begin?
I started reading Men’s Health at the age of 12 – I’d do crunches in my bedroom every night before going to bed and played around with my dad’s dumbbells in the garage.
At 16, I joined a local gym and started to research training and nutrition – spending my after-school hours looking up videos, reading articles, anything I could find. I’d be the guy at the gym showing my friends how to do certain exercises.
Looking back, I never thought I’d become a coach. I naturally chose this profession because of the impact I could have on people’s lives – to be able to affect someone in a positive way and make them happy, confident and proud about themselves and what they can accomplish.
What was your very first workout?
I still remember the first typical CrossFit workout I ever did. It was called “Fran”, a notorious workout performed for time, thrusters and pull-ups 21-15-9. Doing this workout for the very first time at that weight (43kg barbell) was devastating. It took me about six minutes to finish and I had a “fran cough” for about an hour.
How many times do you work out a week now?
About 5 times a week. I join our group class program because I enjoy working out with the community and pushing myself.
What’s your favourite exercise/workout and why?
My favourite exercise has got to be handstand push-ups because I’m fairly good at them (haha)—it’s where you kick up into a handstand against the wall, lower your head to the floor and press back up.
And the least favourite?
My least favourite exercise that I’m planning to make my favourite is swimming. I have a very basic breaststroke but anything over 100m is tough—it’s a weakness that I want to attack in the near future.
What is your go-to healthy snack?
80% dark chocolate with full-fat Greek yoghurt and frozen berries—a snack that is fairly high in calories, but rewarding and delicious after a long day of being on your feet and training.
Something you have yet to try in the fitness/wellness space?
I am fascinated by retreats, especially the ones that combine self-development with breathing and fitness. Something I’ve yet to try!
Favourite treat day meal?
Burgers and fries with lots of ketchup.
Any athletic brands/products you swear by?
I love Lululemon, especially what they stand for and the quality of products they make. I am also curious about the latest Calvin Klein Performance brand, which looks quite fresh compared to the usual sporting brands out there.
And finally… what’s your personal definition of healthy?
My personal definition of healthy is a happy mind in a fit body. We cannot speak about health without also including mental and emotional health.