How many times have you “roller coaster’d” in your life in terms of trying to live a healthy lifestyle? I’ve roller coaster’d numerous times throughout my life. And as you grow older, it becomes more and more difficult to bounce back and get back on track, both physically and mentally. I recently turned age 40. One year before turning 40, I was in bad shape. Drinking too much, eating late, eating bad, not exercising, etc. But I told myself that “age ain’t nuthin’ but a number,” and the summer before turning the big 4-0, I created my own personal goal dubbing it “Project 40.” I would be fit, healthy and slim down by the time I hit 40. And I did it.
The problem is, I cheated. I did it mainly by not eating carbs altogether. 3 months of eating mainly vegetables, meat, tofu, eggs, natto (smelly fermented soybean)… And 3 months of trying all kinds of quick, gimmicks. I slimmed down to the point where I was slimmer than ever.
The problem with these types of “programs” are that you can’t sustain this type of lifestyle forever. It’s somewhat unnatural. Who doesn’t want to eat bread or pasta or rice? Or fruits or cake? Or french fries or ice cream? Who wants to put an ice pack on their neck for 30 minutes every morning? Or take 15 pills a day? You can only last so long…
So, I decided to utilize my resources and reach out to one of our brand ambassadors to learn a little something. Ky Vuong, a ripped dude of Chinese descent born in Vietnam, now living in Hawaii, and well into his early forties is that ambassador. And after a long conversation, I learned through him that the key to fitness is being active and eating clean. The key to maintaining this proper lifestyle is by having fun doing it. Period. Simple, but not.
I don’t know many people in our age demographic that look like Ky. There’s a certain level of drive and positive attitude one needs to maintain his type of lifestyle and level of physique. We heard of Ky through the former Phiten Hawaii store. His story was interesting and he’s been an avid supporter.
Ky and his family escaped from the war and were refugees that left Vietnam. They ended up in the US ultimately being sponsored by a Korean church in Maryland.
Early in Ky’s life, he began volunteering in the weight room at a local YMCA community in Maryland once a week. After providing valuable input to regulars at the weight room and developing friendships, Ky had found his passion early. He enjoyed how he made people feel. He liked how he inspired people and how he made them feel. Reading magazines, watching videos, being around the local YMCA people, Ky knew this was his path in life and decided to attend Springfield College in Massachusetts, a private New England college in Massachusetts specializing in the human mind, body and spirit with a strong concentration in health and fitness within fields such as sports medicine, physical therapy and exercise physiology .
After experimenting with subjects as many of us do during college, Ky ultimately made the right decision and took the path towards Exercise Physiology and graduated top of his class, Magma Cum Laude.
15 years ago, Ky moved to Hawaii through an internship that was offered through the YMCA of Hawaii and ended up staying here for the weather and positive energy that exudes the island. Ky worked his way up to becoming a Health Fitness Director at the YMCA.
The right path in life is never a simple point A to B. It’s the ups and downs, the curves and winding roads that makes things exciting, creating value and lessons learned. The longer the path, the greater the success.
To make a long story short, after Ky took a corporate sales job in Hawaii with a busy corporate traveling lifestyle, his routine began to change for the worse. Eating more, training less, his weight slowly began to creep up gaining upwards of 40 pounds.
Ky had just set his wedding date and his now wife motivated him to lose his weight – he had 1 year until his wedding date – and one year to go from 200 lbs. back to 165 lbs.
The rest is history.
Since 2011, Ky always had a side gig doing business as “KY Fitness” on a part-time basis. In 2014, he slightly changed the name to Key Fitness and went full force along with his other job, daddy daycare, for his 4 months old newborn, Skylar Vuong.
“Key Fitness is about taking fun and fitness to the next level. When something isn’t fun or challenging, it’s difficult to maintain mentally. If it’s fun you tend to want to repeat it.”
And Ky Vuong makes sure his clients know he is an educated fitness consultant – different from a personal trainer. “Anyone can come w/ no background and get a 3-6 month certificate. It doesn’t sound as serious…”
Ky’s education makes him well-rounded with the ability to help a wide range of individuals from kids up to 6 years old and adults up to 90 years or older. No one is excluded.
“The gym is boring and hard. No, it can be fun. It can be challenging. If it is fun, they will continue to do it over and over. The body is an amazing machine. ”
Another bit of advice from Ky: Eat Clean. Cook your meals. Eat out less. If you eat at home, and you cook and prepare your meals, you are a very disciplined person with strong values because it takes time to do this .
“Eating out is expensive! Most of us cannot afford a 5-star meal every night. And we can’t control what the chefs put in the food we order from their menus. Everything is very rich and heavy. Even if what you cook is not organic, you still have control of what you put in and how much of it you put in.” That is Ky’s definition of eating clean.
On the flip side, Ky says, “Eat what you want! I’m not saying eat fast food everyday, but have things you crave. Have a hamburger, pizza, pasta. It’s okay. If you maintain your active level – your body cannot help to burn more energy – to increase more production.”
Ky, obviously, trains for himself as well – twice a day – 5 days a week (morning and night). Ky was selected to represent Hawaii on American Ninja Warrior.
His mission is to open up a studio or a gym facility – to create his own training program and show everyone that he is the best – better than cross fit – much more healthier, attainable and fun.
Ky has a vision to get investors and land and create this thing – a facility to train a large group at once – and to be a motivational speaker – with the principle of never giving up.
People in the mainland will seek him out. I’ve already begun surfing more on the weekends and learning to incorporate an active lifestyle. Because all work and no play creates stress and devalues your body. When I go to Hawaii next, I plan to seek out Ky because he taught me the key to health, wellness and fitness.
Center Fielder, New York Mets®
What are the keys to your training program?
For me I gotta continue to eat. I’ll burn calories and lose weight really quick if I don’t. And then actually, the workout side of it, a lot of people want to work out with me, they think my workout’s so intense, and they get there and they’re like, “that’s it?” I go yeah, I’m not trying to be a body builder, I gotta work on what’s specific for my sport, and that’s strength, core, quickness, agility, and they get out of it, you get a good workout in, but you’re not gonna die or throw up after it’s all said and done.
How do you handle stress and stay motivated?
I always just look forward to working and seeing the results of the hard work paying off. It’s amazing when you change something and you stay for an extra hour, you come in an hour early – you see the benefit. The fact that you get stronger, you run faster, you’re not as sore. Those are my motivators, this is a great game where you always deal with failure, so it’s just part of it, and just the mental side staying positive and, and knowing how to cut the game off and everything else back on.
As a baseball player what has been your toughest challenge?
Toughest challenge? I wanna say in 2005 I was in triple A, I had 7 strike-outs in a row and it was one of those things where people were putting band-aids on my bats, they were putting glasses in my locker saying I couldn’t see. And the craziest thing about it was, it was a frustrating 48 hours and then within hours the next game I was a hit away from hitting for the cycle so, just knowing that there’s gonna be downs, there’s gonna be ups and just understand, no matter where you’re at, you’re always gonna be able to move from that point.
If you could ask one question to anyone, living or dead who would it be?
Probably Jackie Robinson, and how was it to go through being that person to represent the Civil Rights movement even before everything started, and how did you handle it.
What advice would you give younger players?
Keep it fun, no matter what. If you don’t enjoy the game, then you need to move away from the game. But as long as you’re having fun, you’re gonna look forward to wanting to work, you’re gonna look forward to being competitive. And you’re gonna have fun every day out there. Of course there’s going to be ups and downs, but as long as you’re having fun, you can do any and everything in this game, or in any game.
Tell us about Phiten.
Everyone always asks me about it, that’s one reason why I love wearing it. It’s a great conversation starter. I always feel like I’m the Santa Claus because I got a ton of them to hand out to friends, whether it be socks, stickers, lotions, and people coming back with results saying “hey, my knee feels better, my back feels better, my arms feels better, my shoulder feel better,” and even when I had my fashion stuff going on and I took it off for one night to go wherever and come back and I noticed, either I slept funny or my neck was sore. I don’t know which one it was, but I know I didn’t have the Phiten on that particular night. So, in my head I gotta keep it on as much as I can.
What is your favorite Phiten product?
Always the necklaces, I can never go wrong with that, whether it be the rope as you see, just the regular ones, two of them, three of them. That’s the one thing I kind of feel lost without if I don’t have it. And I’ve taken it from trainers, I’ve made guys go inside and get it if the game started and I didn’t have it on for some reason.
How do you incorporate Phiten in your game?
Once I change out of my street clothes into my uniform, it’s one of the first things to go on. Both of ‘em, click, click, go, I don’t ever have to look for them, I know where they are, and everything kind of rolls itself into there. And they just are there, it’s a feel, it’s a comfort, it’s a lost without, my little buddies and I make sure they stay with me.
Phiten Ambassadors are athletes who embody our brand and are passionate users of Phiten products. These athletes have been organically chosen not because of their popularity but because of their love and experience with our products and the commitment they have in helping us create the best product for you.
Our mission is to INSPIRE EVERYDAY ADVENTURERS and what better way can we inspire you than to show you amazing athletes who do incredible things. From surfers to MLB® All-Stars, we have expanded our line-up with athletes from all different athletic backgrounds. The main purpose behind this is to show you that our products are not made just for one sport or for one type of individual but for anybody who wants to take the next step and enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer.
If you have a moment please take a look at our new Ambassadors page and follow are awesome team! If there are other Phiten fans out there who believe he/she has what it takes to join our incredible line-up leave a comment below!