Why I Integrated Fitness Into My Lifestyle

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Health and Fitness is a part of my life that I took for granted for so long. I grew up with a good metabolism that consumed my calories and I didn’t have to work out for such a long time. I was blessed with good Asian genes that kept me somewhat slim for my 20’s. Then I turned 30 and moved to New York in the height of my career. I previously lived in LA where I began building my photography career and I also lived on a part time Ramen diet to save money to build my business. Those little entrepreneur sacrifices that keep you thin. When you’re a foodie and you love food as much as I do, that Ramen diet goes out the window when, for the most part, you can afford to eat whatever you want. Living in LA 7 years ago, I have to say the food scene was not as good as it is today. I lived there for 3 years and could count on one hand the number of great restaurants that I would visit regularly, let alone recommend to other people.

When I moved to New York, I was in the incline of my photography career and making some good money. I discovered how many amazing restaurants there are here. So many in fact that I had to create a food blog to even keep track of them. It’s called onkenfamilydinners.com. After a couple years of eating so much pork belly and other forms of tastebud goodness in the form of carbohydrates, I went from a size 32 to a 34 with my gut hanging over my belt. It was to the point where one of my best friends, Omri Cohen, was making jokes that you couldn’t go a single meal out with Onken without eating pork belly. Not only was I eating out every single night without restraint, I hit 30 and my metabolism took a turn and just started laughing at me.

In the height, I also realized that I had become a bit bummed out with life. I realized how much my health was affecting my life, not only in the way I looked but my comfortablitiy and confidence. I started realizing that it’s a downward mental spiral and I got so comfortable not working out and just eating.

After a few belly jiggles in the mirror and a couple friends saying, “dude, have you thought about exercising a bit? You’re getting a little chunky there..” I decided to take action. I tried running for a while, but that was a total failure. I hurt more joints in my body than I knew I had. I then discovered jump roping and bought a deluxe jumprope from Duvide (which I can’t find anything similar here in the states). I began my workout journey and started slimming down a bit. Also started cutting unnecessary carbs and sticking to meat and vegetables. I’ve since then seen a big difference.

About 8 months ago I read a book called You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. The first half talks about how doing body weight exercises and that pushing your muscles to failure actually speeds up your metabolism and burns more calories than any sort of cardio. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is good for the heart, but doesn’t actually offset your calorie intake by as much as you think it does. I started integrating bodyweight exercises and it definitely made a difference. I since then connected with my personal trainer friend in LA. We did a shoot together and he built me some custom plyo training workouts that are unique to my lifestyle which I will get into in later posts.

My main point is that health and fitness is beyond a “looking good” thing (which are the side benefits) but in the world of the entrepreneur, it keeps the mind healthy. It relieves stress, and supports you in creating your vision in a higher capacity. I’m now down to a size 31 and feel so much better about life!

How is your fitness life treating you? Are you integrating it into your lifestyle?

(Kettle Bells pictured above by onnit.com)

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Different strokes for different folks.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or full time creative hustler, everyone needs something a little bit different on their journey.

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