We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Alexander Hui. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Alexander below.
Alright, Alexander thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you open up about a risk you’ve taken – what it was like taking that risk, why you took the risk and how it turned out?
The biggest risk that I’ve taken in my life is following my dreams and pursuing a career in personal training. The reason why is that I felt I would lose the support of the people I cared about the most in my life, my parents and family. Being raised in an Asian household, my family wanted me to have a more traditional, stable, well-paying job, like a scientist, doctor, lawyer, or something corporate.
I went to college to study Kinesiology to become a physical therapist and my parents were very proud of me. Unfortunately, I was unable to graduate with a Kinesiology degree, but I graduated with a communication degree instead. I still wanted to become a physical therapist, but I knew it would take more money, schooling, and time, but I felt that I didn’t have enough of any of that to pursue it.
After college I started working a lot of different jobs like serving, working in retail, and selling insurance. I became really depressed because I did not feel a sense of purpose. Most of my friends were either working well-paying and stable corporate jobs, getting married, or still in school becoming nurses or doctors. I felt like a failure.
A few years after I graduated I was on Linkedin trying to find a new job and career. I went onto Linkedin and saw that my local gym was looking for personal trainers. I still had a huge passion for fitness and always wanted to be a personal trainer, but never pursued it because it wasn’t a job that I thought I could make a successful and stable living with. Along with all of that, when I told my parents I wanted to try out personal training as my next job, they told me that they were disappointed that I didn’t continue schooling and graduated with a Kinesiology degree to become a physical therapist.
After hearing the input from my parents and listening to all the negative thoughts in my head, I decided to respond to the personal training ad and worked hard to become a personal trainer. I told myself that I was still young being in my mid 20’s and I would give myself a year to become the best trainer I could be. If I felt that I wasn’t successful or happy being a personal trainer after a year, I would look for a corporate job and stick with that for the rest of my life.
Luckily, I fell in love with personal training from the minute I became a trainer. Fitness and helping others have always been my passions and I was able to make a living doing both. Talking to people about fitness was very natural to me and working with my first few clients and seeing their great results solidified my choice to be a personal trainer and I haven’t looked back since. It is the most satisfying, enjoyable, and rewarding job I have ever had. Work never feels like work, and I always look forward to working with my clients.
I am so happy I took the risk to follow my passion and become a personal trainer, even when I did not have the support of the people I cared about the most or even the belief in myself to become successful in this field.
Since then I have been able to open up my own personal training practice in San Francisco, called Hungry Hui Fitness.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, I’m Alexander Hui, founder of Hungry Hui Fitness, which is my own personal training practice based in San Francisco, California. The services I currently provide are online and in-person training which includes, general fitness, supplementation and nutrition, boxing and kickboxing, powerlifting, corrective exercise, athletic cupping (AKA) Myofascial Decompression, and bodywork.
I help clients get into shape, move easier with less or no pain, provided relief to the pains they currently have, create sustainable and healthy lifestyle habits, and build confidence that will allow them to do whatever they put their minds to.
I started my journey in fitness when I was a kid as young as 13 when I first started playing football. I also competed in High school wrestling when I was 14 and 15 years old, which led me into both mixed martial arts and rugby when I was 16. I continued to compete in mixed martial arts for 7 years but had to stop due to injuries. During that time I worked for several supplement shops and supplement companies as well.
The biggest attribute that I’ve learned that sets me apart from other trainers in my industry is my personality and character. As cliche as that sounds, it’s the truth. If you do not have personality, people will see you as unmotivated, boring, and uncaring. They will view themselves as a chore for you and become discouraged. If you have bad character, people will not trust you and won’t want to work with you, and rapport is everything.
You need to show that you care about your clients and you love your job. You have to earn your client’s trust because they are putting time, money, energy, and their health in your hands. You need to understand that you play a big part in your clients’ everyday lives even when you are not physically in front of them. Among everything else, you will go above and beyond to help them whenever they need it.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
The hardest period of time in my career is when the Covid 19 pandemic closed down the country. I was finishing my first full year becoming a trainer and my business was growing fast. Each month coming up to that point would be a record-breaking month for me. I finally was understanding what I needed to do to become successful in the fitness industry. Then everything shut down. I was working at a corporate gym at the time and they were shut down indefinitely without a plan to reopen anytime soon.
I had to get creative and change up my training style to continue working with my clients during the pandemic outside of the gym. I invested in new equipment with my own money to continue training. I would work out of my garage, at parks, and even mall parking lots to train my clients.
Eventually, my corporate gym opened up a temporary gym by moving all its equipment outside into a parking garage. During this time I would be training my clients at 6 am outside in the cold. It was always wet and miserable. It was very hard to sell sessions to people because no one would want to pay for training outside in a parking garage. I was barely making any money and wanted something more stable.
I wanted to quit being a personal trainer several times during this period, but I stuck with it. I told myself if I could stick through the pandemic for a little longer, this struggle would make me stronger. No great story has ever just been filled with sunshine and rainbows. If I wanted a great story that could help others, I would have to go through a lot of hardship. It would be another story I could tell others to help inspire them not quit on their dreams during the hardest times.
Guess what? I got through it and now I can tell my story!
If you could go back in time, do you think you would have chosen a different profession or specialty?
One hundred percent yes! I am living my dream job. I get to help others every day and get to see them smile. I get to work with people from all backgrounds of life and learn about their experiences and mindsets. I get to help take away people’s pains and aches and show them how to take care of themselves so their pains never come back. I get to help others become more comfortable in their own body and skin and change their lives for the better.
I believe bringing confidence into my clients’ lives is the best tool I can provide for them. My clients feel like they can overcome scary issues they couldn’t address before they started training. For example, most of my clients become more social, work harder at their jobs, feel happier, have more energy, and aren’t as afraid to start new relationships and ask someone out on a date.
The best feeling as a trainer is when I get random phone calls or texts from my clients telling me that they bought their very first tank top, or that they took their shirt off at the beach or pool for the first time. That they finally had the courage to ask their crush out or get back into dating. That they went back to work and had no pains or problems moving around doing their job or when they come home and have the energy to keep up with their 5-year-old kid.
This is the reason why I love and am so passionate about my job and career. I would go through all the hardships in my life to be a personal trainer over and over and over again.
I want to make a living helping others. I want the people I work with to feel confident and that they can achieve anything they want to in life. I don’t want to just make their bodies better, I want to make their life better.
- Website: hungryhui.fitness
- Instagram: hungry_hui_fitness
- Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/alexander-hui