what compelled you to pursue a career in personal training?
Initially I had dreams of working in multimedia design after graduating from undergrad school. I logged in long hours at a corporate design job, hunched over a computer with very little human interaction. It hit me quickly...this was neither the job nor lifestyle I craved especially since fitness had always been an integral part of my life and identity. I decided to make a career change, and worked as a trainer at a corporate gym. My parents – who are on the extremely conservative side and wanted me to work behind a desk for any established company– didn’t know about my career change for a long time.
How has fitness played a role in your life?
When I was growing up, sports like basketball, tennis, soccer, and tae kwon do had a huge impact on me. As one of the only Asian American kids in the neighborhood, I was able to use sports to forge relationships and make friends. I also learned a lot about discipline, teamwork, and perseverance. To this day, they are still things I value in my personal life and work life.
Why did you choose to start j+k, and how did you get started?
Working at a corporate gym helped me understand what I wanted j+k to be, it was going to be the antithesis of that. I didn’t want people to feel like they were being herded into the same workout regimen because at the end of the day, people aren’t the same. Their bodies aren’t the same. I wanted to offer training in a private and inspiring space that gave identities and bodies back to our clients.
I also envisioned j+k offering a judgment-free environment, so that people could feel comfortable and confident working out.
DO YOU SEE ANY CONNECTIONS BETWEEN DESIGN AND PERSONAL TRAINING?
Both demand savvy problem-solving skills, the ability to find creative solutions, and an endless supply of passion. For an experienced designer it’s not just about making things look beautiful. He/she needs to assess clients’ tastes, preferences, and overall vision before producing results. The same goes for fitness training to a certain degree…you listen to a client and what his/her goals may be. You consider their background and with all this information come up with a solution you’ll execute over the course of time.
In terms of your own workouts what are you doing these days?
Ironically enough I work with a mixed martial artist trainer to fine tune and learn the naunces of striking with both my hands, knees, elbows, legs and proper footwork. It's been the most cathartic experience punching and kicking a pad. I'm a firm believer in mixing things up so my body is always guessing. Sometimes a trainer needs a trainer....