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Coach Spotlight: Jonah Toh

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Male, Trainers

We got a big influx of new friends recently, so we’ll be introducing them to you one by one over the coming months! Some of them have been here for quite a while and you’ve probably seen them around or even trained with them in class. They’ve all brought a fresh new feel to what we do at Level, and we’re very thankful for them.

This month, we speak to Jonah, who leads the charge of the upcoming Level Spartan Program.

Hello, and welcome to Level! Tell us about yourself.

Hi, I’m Jonah, I’ve been a coach now for 5 years. I’ve been working out for a long time, and at some point I really wanted others to experience the thing that changed my life for the better.

How have your years in the fitness industry led you to believe in what you do about fitness today?

I think that my perspective on fitness has been constantly evolving over the years. I used to think that fitness is always changing and evolving in the form of movements and trends arising (like CrossFit, Yoga and the like), but I now think that the change tends to come from different biases getting attention. Nothing is new, and everyone is borrowing from each other, and in a space ruled by social media, the attention now sweeps from loud voice to louder voice.

I now believe firmly in strong fundamentals, and sticking to what’s simple and sustainable. At the end of the day, we live in a world outside of the noise online, and the regular person doesn’t live on an island paradise with plenty of sun, time to kill and access to whole foods.

What do you like to do outside the gym?

I enjoy a challenging match of tennis outside of the gym. I also really enjoy new culinary experiences, and I always look forward to trying out new restaurants.

My two favourite experiences seem to span the gradient of food experiences: The first, having street food in Vietnam, and the second, dining at Odette, a 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Singapore. I loved the street food experience because it was so raw, with nothing hidden. I couldn’t pinpoint what street food I liked best, because the whole atmosphere with the smells, noise and choice adds to the experience.

The food at Odette was technical, and that’s what I loved about it! They used crazy techniques to prepare food, and I found that experience intriguing. Plus, the food tasted amazing.

How would you like to chart your journey in the next 3-5 years? What are things you are aiming to do and are striving toward?

When I look back at the last 3-5 years, I am pretty certain that it is near impossible to guess what the next 3-5 years might look like. The world has gone through such a change and we are now still in the midst of picking up the pieces.

I am however, excited for the journey ahead. The only certainty is that I would have gone to a lot more new countries and territories, and with new opportunities come new paths to explore. I think that’s part of the journey: an open road and an open mind.

What do you think are two biggest ways in the way people are miseducated about fitness?

I think the 2 biggest ways people are miseducated about fitness are:

1) Thinking that everything has to be perfect.
Many people want their ducks to be in a row before they start, and if something’s slightly off, they feel like they shouldn’t begin the journey. For instance, there are people who stay away from doing squats because they can’t squat with good form and are scared that if they start trying something will go wrong. This mindset holds people back from all the benefits of starting their journey in fitness. I’m not advocating for people to squat badly, I just feel they need to realise that it is part of a process.

2) Thinking that there is a single concrete best route for health and fitness
People try to look for the best training program, or the best diet that is efficient, that brings the most bang for their buck, and then idolise it. I don’t think that’s helpful because everything matters in context. If you have 10 minutes to train today, then that’s 10 minutes more than if you didn’t train. If you have headspace to eat one good meal at 4pm, that’s better than having terrible meals for a day.

Life happens to all of us, and no one is going to have a perfect life! The same thing applies with fitness.

What are two things people don’t know about you?

1) I went on a solo backpacking trip for several months in 2018 in Australia, and traveled from Perth to Brisbane just by hitchhiking. I was not prepared for winter because I thought meh, Australia, and only brought shorts and t-shirts. I ended up buying a hoodie from K-Mart, slept in cars, and nearly froze to death at night.

2) I probably would be working in a kitchen if i didn’t pursue Personal Training! I started cooking at 10 because my parents loved to cook, I think it rubbed off on me. I also enjoy food very, very much, and cooking helps me sate that joy.

Come for Structure with Jonah at Robinson Road on Sundays at 10am, then stay on for the Level Spartan Program at 11am. Send us an email at reception@level.com.sg to find out more and get involved!

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