Mohd. Fareed

Taking center stage on our Athlete Spotlight is the quiet but jovial spirit, Mohd. Fareed. He is 673's resident handyman, a great team captain to "SwoleMates" in the recently concluded Team Opens held in 673 and an all-around team player who never fails to lend a hand to anyone in need. Over the weekend, we found some time to catch up with Fareed, and learn about his journey to wellness. 

What were you doing before CrossFit?

I was a recreational badminton player; I competed in local tournaments but not seriously. I used to Lawn Bowl a little, and was a state athlete for Selangor in the Malaysian Games (SUKMA).  

When and how did you pick up CrossFit?

I first discovered CrossFit on YouTube, but it wasn't until I saw Mo, Nadzri, Mandy (and others) demonstrate movements at the 2014 Consumer Fair that I realised that CrossFit existed in Brunei. Not long after that, I signed up for Foundations and never looked back.

So it's been a year! Congratulations on your anniversary. What has been the biggest change in your life since you started? 

My body, definitely! (bursts out laughing) I lost a lot of weight. About a month before I started my foundations, I was 125kg. I'm now 89kg. 

Wow, that's amazing! What kind of sacrifices have you had to make to get here?

I gave up eating rice first, and that was hard. I'm Malaysian and a lot of our food centers around rice, but eventually I got used to it. After that, I started cutting out sugar bit by bit. Now I work out 5 times a week, and eat mostly meat and vegetables. 

Looking ahead, what are some of your goals in fitness? 

I want to be able to compete in a local competition. Nothing too fancy, but I would love to be able to do the scaled event for X45 Challenge out in Kota Kinabalu. I wasn't ready last year, but I think I will be now. I also really want to do a muscle up, and I think maybe I'll be able to do one this year. 

Jessie Halil


Unearthing Confidence

Teacher by day, avid CrossFit athlete by night, Jessie Halil is one of our favourites at the box. Her quiet confidence paired with an unwavering resolve is only half of her charm. Since she started her CrossFit journey in September 2013, we've seen consistency in her pursuit of fitness, and witnessed this amazing lady's transformation into a more daring and courageous version of herself. 

We learn more about Jessie here:

What was life like before CrossFit? 

I wasn't a very active teenager; I was blessed with good genes and so I kept very lean despite only exercising minimally. But as I grew older, I started doing a lot more individual sports. I ran and swam 5 to 6 times a week, but still never really liked the idea of exercising in a group setting. Even when I started coming to CrossFit, I would always just keep to myself. Get in, do the workout and get out. 

What changed your approach to CrossFit?

It was mainly because of the huge support the community has given me. The environment here at 673 is just so encouraging; everybody wants to see you succeed. And you don't have to rely solely on the coaches to learn a new skill. Members very willingly step up to help you improve on your weaknesses by passing on what they've learned. 

My husband, Garry was the first to join the box. We used to come to separate classes and did CrossFit individually, but I'm started to enjoy coming to classes together with him as a couple.

And how has that benefitted you?

I think I've become more daring as a person; from struggling to jump onto a 12 inch box to eventually clearing 32 inches in our last test day, I think I've become more confident in my own body and ability, and a big part of that I owe to the community. 

Let's talk about your nutrition for a little bit. What does Jessie Halil eat? 

I used to be very strict with myself; no sugar, no complex carbs. I didn't eat rice for the longest time. But since starting CrossFit, I've started working these 'forbidden' foods back into my diet because of the volume of work we do everyday. I definitely binge more on chocolate and other things now, but strangely enough I don't feel guilty for it anymore. I don't restrict myself from satisfying the cravings I have, and I'm a lot happier because of that. 

What are some of your goals for the new year? 

I want to be able to compete in the sport; not to win but just to have the confidence to try. 

Words by Melanie Lim, shots by Ezra Pilpus. 
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The talented Ezra is available for shoots, by appointment only.