Hong Kong’s fitness and wellness scene is booming and hot on the radar is Johnny Tieu, who’s garnered a cult following on his Instagram account where he posts updates on his life as a fitness consultant, personal trainer, Nike trainer and running coach.
We spoke with Johnny, who’s also a Spartan Pro Athlete, to learn more about his fitness experiences, why he loves working out, and what it means to be healthy in Hong Kong.
Hello! What do you do?
I am a Hong Kong fitness consultant, Nike trainer, personal trainer, running/endurance coach, and Spartan Pro Team Athlete.
What’s something not many people know about you?
Before I dove headfirst into the fitness industry and started competing around the US and Asia, I actually worked in finance for five years in Banking and Risk Management. Even back then, most people thought I’d always been into health and wellness from constantly being on the go, which was a big contrast to staring at my three screens at work and cranking out database and Excel files.
How and when did your fitness journey begin?
I was always active as a kid and it’s just stuck with me throughout my life. I dabbled in a lot of different sports as I’ve always enjoyed having fun, working up a sweat and seeing how I could complete unique skills/tasks with my body.
If I had to pinpoint when my competitive and athletic journey began, it would be during my junior year in college, when my friend invited me to join him in running a race around our neighbourhood. I didn’t think much of it at the time, so I signed up.
During the race, I pushed myself really hard and remember hating it. But after crossing the finish line and being told that I had won in my age group, it instantly lit a fire within me to learn how to become even better (through proper training). That one race led me to many other self-discoveries and to where I am today, where I compete to push my own limits and to also elevate those around me to become the best version of themselves.
What was your very first fitness experience?
It was probably in elementary school with all the fitness tests and assessments. I’d always enjoyed them and it was a personal challenge to see how I could improve and get a better grade, even when I was young.
How many times do you work out a week?
I work out six days a week. Some days I double up with one workout in the morning and one workout in the evening (it depends on what I’m training for).
Why do you love fitness?
Fitness for me has always been a way of life – it’s a lifestyle. I don’t focus on weight or aesthetic goals. To me, it’s all about having fun pushing your body in new and different ways and seeing how you can improve over time. It’s not just about health and wellness, but also the aspects that can roll into other parts of your life such as work, family, and mental health.
What is your favourite way to unwind?
Being outdoors and exploring new routes on an easy hike with friends or in another country, just getting lost in nature and capping it off with unique and interesting food destinations.
Something you have yet to try in the fitness/wellness space?
I haven’t tried parkour training and would be interested to do so. I have kept away from it in the past due to constantly competing and the risk of potential injuries sidelining for my scheduled races.
Favourite healthy meal?
Seared salmon on a bed of shirataki rice mixed with couscous and a heaping serving of fresh sea greens mixed with Vietnamese herbs.
Any fitness brands you swear by?
Nike. Yes, I’m a Nike trainer and I’m a bit biased, but it is a brand I strongly believe and stand behind. Their product has supported me in all my athletic endeavours and helped me perform and even excel at fitness.
And finally… what is your definition of healthy?
Being healthy isn’t a number on the scale, or what social media and/or the general public tells you. Being healthy is your progression and dedication to actively living a better life, improving each and every aspect to live longer and requiring less medical care, and being physically and mentally happy with those that you love. Being healthy is about wanting to become the best version of yourself.
Follow Johnny Tieu on Instagram @quacktieu