“for me, it was never about getting “toned” or “lean.” I just love the feeling of getting stronger every session!”
Activities: Weight lifting
Q: Where did you grow up? Where do you live now, if different from where you grew up?
I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea for the first eight years of my life. My family then moved to New Zealand for the next eight years, then moved again to Sydney, Australia, where I currently reside.
Q: Were you active or involved in sports growing up?
When I was young, I was very much into rollerblading, and also swam regularly and did a lot of kayaking. I became abnormally dark for an Asian as I spent so much time outdoors! New Zealand is such a beautiful place to grow up in, I lived very close to the ocean. In primary school we were always encouraged to participate in sports and track and field events. Surprisingly, I was selected to represent the school in cross-country runs and 200 metre sprints. However, once I started high school, I became inactive. I slacked off during P.E class and tried my best to sneak out of any sports days. Forging an excuse note from my mum or getting a doctor’s certificate was my specialty.
Q: How long have you been weight training?
Weight training has been my primary form of training for the last two years.
Q: What inspired you to start?
At first, I stepped into a Les Mills Body Pump class with my cousin and sister, because we just wanted to try it out once. The first class was terrifying! I had no idea what to do, and it left me extremely sore and immobile for a week. However, it kept me coming back for more, I guess I like to torture myself! When I couldn’t load any more plates on the bar for these classes, I realized I was reaching a plateau, and decided to step into the free weights area to lift ‘real’ weights. So for me, it was never about getting “toned” or “lean.” I just love the feeling of getting stronger every session!
Q: When acquiring a skill and practicing that skill, I believe, we can learn things about ourselves. What has weight lifting taught you about yourself?
I believe that lifting is more than just the action of lifting. Lifting teaches you discipline, it tests your dedication to your goals, it drives you to strive to be a stronger person than you were yesterday. This personal development isn’t left at the gym once you’ve finished working out, it carries over to your life in all aspects.
Q: How do you inspire your clients to give their all in reaching their goals, outside of the gym?
First we set goals that are achievable and realistic, then we probe further into these goals and inspiration comes to them naturally. It’s important to ask questions such as: How will achieving these goals change MY life? Why are these goals important to ME? What has stopped me from achieving these goals before? Helping the clients to reflect on themselves fosters self-motivation. Motivating yourself is the only way to sustain an active lifestyle long-term.
Q: Why do you believe it’s so hard for inactive people to get and stay motivated to be active?
Many people are already aware that they are not getting sufficient physical activity, but they are not driven enough to make a change. They lack the self-motivation that was mentioned in the previous question. Some people don’t see fitness as high priority, life is pretty busy already.
Some people get into fitness to attain short-term goals such as looking good for a wedding or a beach vacation – goals such as these usually come with no long-term goals, and motivation falls to a negative when these short-term goals have been met, or worse, these goals have been set within an unrealistic time frame and people fail to achieve them, making them feel like a failure so they give up on fitness all together.
Q: So you have a pretty hectic schedule as a trainer and dental student. How do you find time to workout and what do you tell people who say they just don’t have time to go to the gym?
For me, working out is a top priority, it’s a part of my daily routine, 6x a week. Each session takes anywhere between two to three hours, but I get it done because it’s my ‘Me’ time. It’s easy to get swamped by the crazy study load and uni hours. My ‘Me’ time gives me some balance, and it actually forces me to be more efficient in my uni work so I still have time to nap, social media, and nap some more haha!
“I don’t have time” is one of the excuses I hate most. If it’s important to you, you will make time for it, period, and really, 1 hour is a mere 0.04% of your day. Is 0.04% of your day too much to ask for good health? You don’t have to exercise every day, but you do have to realize that you DESERVE to spend some time, no matter how short, on your health and fitness.
Q: Does anyone else in your family exercise? If not, does it bother you that they don’t?
My mum joined the gym last year and that made me really happy. My dad has been very active since getting a very large thyroid nodule removed five years ago. He lifts, runs and swims. He’s very supportive of me lifting, whereas my mum doesn’t understand it.
Q: How much longer do you have in school?
I have just two short years left!
Q: What are your plans when you graduate?
I hope to work as a full-time dentist during the day and train clients during the evening. It’s very scary yet exciting to think that finally my schooling years are coming to an end!
Q: As a student, you have a bit of leeway with your schedule, once you take on a full-time job, will you still make time to exercise?
Without a doubt, yes! Exercise is an essential component of my well-being, and not exercising is non-negotiable to me. I wouldn’t be able to train clients if I made excuses for myself, as I would feel like a hypocrite.
Q: What quote or mantra do you try to live by?
“Stronger than yesterday” is my go-to quote. It just makes sense, in every aspect of life.
Q: Why did you want to be a part of the MCBMI campaign?
I want to encourage everyone, including those who are already lifting, to look at weight training a different way. It’s not about getting bulky or manly and it’s not about lifting heavy ass weights and showing off about it. Anyone can lift, it’s not exclusive. To be blessed with a functioning body is such an amazing thing, so use it, train it and look after it!