A week ago, I took upon myself to follow one of my gym mates to a bodybuilding show that he spent the last few months training for. Fred Borzumato is actually one of the oldest competitors at the Grand Prix in Brooklyn and his experience training clients for decades is beyond impressive! I had a glimpse of previous NPC shows with my Brand Ambassador opportunities with Quest Nutrition, but this was the first time I was able to get backstage and actually watch through the shows myself. I haven't shot as much as I used to, I just needed a little break. Other than that, here are some pictures I took! Enjoy.
Jen is stretching Prince’s joints prior to his first show.
Years in the making, age is truly a number
Regardless on stage or any camera, this guy already won to me.
I know how strong I am and the funny thing is that I know I can be stronger, not limiting to the weights. I promised myself to never stay frail and weak physically to protect my mental state, especially if I couldn’t say the words out at first. Usually, when I’m given a workout, I try my best to not take super long rest periods. Even after a workout is done, I hop onto another one. I often combine Layne’s Norton PH3 trainer with Michael Vasquez’s Abs without crunches to raise some hell at the gym. My macros have been tracked for 60+ days straight without eating extra earned calories. I want to beast. However, I sometimes get upset if I don’t do the work in cardio and flexibility workouts such as yoga and not push my results further.
I still lament on the things I want to improve on as a person nor shot anything more consistently (btw, I am looking to shoot travel, fitness, events and portraits in the NYC/NJ area, so email me at email@example.com if you or you know someone.) Automatically, I am in the "not to beast" zone. To beast, you do the things you love the most and do it well! To beast, you have to make your weaknesses your strongest asset. Hrithik Roshan has stuttering issues when he was younger and even though he was born into the Bollywood scene from family, he wouldn’t have been as successful if he didn’t overcome his challenges in his speech. No different from Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr., to play Ice Cube in Straight Outta Compton. He had to go through two years of acting classes to play his father. As for me, I struggle slowing down when I talk at times, but because I admit this, I am accountable.
The bottom line is that you have to do both things that you enjoy or really good at as much as you do the things that make you uncomfortable to also reap the reward of success. How do we do this? This is totally up to you, but I recommend we write a list of the things you want to work at and doing the things you love to do. Do this as a start, write three things you want to improve on and three things you want to do again. Repeat when you cross off all items from this list.
This is my current list:Improvements:
Yoga/Flexibility/Stress Relief Methods
Shoot a short film
For me to get these items crossed off, I seek to ask people who are better than me in achieving some of these categories. I am a brand ambassador for several companies in the city, which I am planning to somehow incorporate that to my branding. The coolest thing of freelancing as a brand ambassador besides the experience of working with different companies and the swag is often being surrounded with creative people, often with similar interests. You will run into the actors, models, photographers and other artsy people that have more colorful stories than Hollywood. And so, I want you to write a short list of the following:
Post some of your answers here. I am doing a giveaway of winning a pair of Balega socks for the top answers in the next post or follow up post. Multiple winners for more shared stories. Share this post with friends who can use the space to tackle tasks and hopefully win some socks.
Until then, what’s Your Concept of FIT? Please share this post today. It means a lot!
When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, life is good.
Our first podcast for The Concept of FIT for 2016 and we are delighted to bring you an award- winning model and athlete from all the way from Canada, who currently lives in New York City. Steven Van Nguyen’s claim to fame was winning the International Modeling and Talent Association completion in New York City, the very same competition that launched the careers of Ashton Kutcher, Katie Holmes and countless others. Instead of simply writing a lengthy interview about his work, we thought it would more personable to share this podcast of our chat about the call to adventure to pursue opportunities presented to you in life, his fitness background and advice for other creatives.
Hope everyone had a wonderful new year's so far! It's been a while since I hopped back on writing on here, but I do want to share a few things before I figure out how to slay 2016 with the goals I envisioned. In order to do this, I have to be completely honest with you. Sometimes it’s best to do these types of posts, whether on social media or simply writing a sticky note to yourself. I started losing weight in 2014 to cope with getting my life together after losing my grandmother in 2013. I mentioned this a few times throughout my blog, but at my heaviest, weighing slightly above 180 pounds, I was mentally weaker than I ever been. I ask myself these questions, I wanted to be more honest, which you should too.
Why did I become this heavy?
Why did I compromise so much of my energy to people that didn’t value my time or worse, respect me?
What circumstances shifted my original goals in life and is it too late to have the same dreams to pursue them?
When will you start loving yourself and not trying to impress others?
Are you even honest with what you truly want?
What is your biggest fear, if you have any?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years from where you stand?
These questions may seem daunting to ask, so I answer some of them with my own responses, after all, this is a post about honesty.Response:
I became heavy due to the combination of many factors, especially the usual unlimited meal plans, college drinking, all-nighters and more. Ironically, I was formerly a track and field athlete and was active in Rugby and Karate in college. If anything, despite my tendencies of being a self-starter, I would have benefited if I developed a stronger bond with sports teams I was part of, not just for the sake of doing the sport.
This was something I allowed for an extended period of time because for the majority of my life, I held my speech problems accountable for underselling myself. When you couldn’t speak clearly at the time (tachyphemia) (Note: Although it was self-diagnosed, the majority of symptoms matches mine), you are prone to get people to do the following:
Constantly “promising” or selling you a fake dream. You are feeding their dreams and reaping your time and perhaps your wallet.
Emotionally manipulating you by feeding your thoughts with fear, doubt and anxiety and that “they need you more than you need you factor is in”
That you have more power than vice versa.
Originally I was pursuing pre-med like most peers my culture. A typical life for you is that you do well in high school, get into a great school majoring in pre-med and become a doctor, nurse, lawyer, engineer or any respected field. (WARNING: I may offend immigrants such as West Africans. This is from my viewpoint and no way associated with yours.) Get married, have a bunch of kids and in worse case scenarios, often neglecting your health and happiness to chase status of respect in your community to avoid negative gossip. Unfortunately, those fields are sure-fire ways to become an asset in western nations Although I do love science and my mom was a nurse, I was always a storyteller and started getting into multimedia in high school, restarted a TV station and done documentaries in college and got into photography post-college. Today, I still struggle in getting back into the flow of post-production, not solely on job availability but I often idolize my subjects more than giving myself more self-love and respect of which why I love health and fitness.
I get so bored easily, I rather ditch plans just to have the gym to myself. I might try to impress a supplement company or an apparel company, ho hum.
Now before I did. Is it concrete, no. Is it fitness, yes!
Being alone, rejected and never to be understood. What can get worse than that?
I hate to announce goals before I pursue them. Expect me to owe a fitness related business and video channel.
UPDATE: I am officially a brand ambassador for IMPI. Remember the socks, Balega that I often adorbs? I have partnered with them and would love to giveaway a few socks in the next post. Here is the giveaway, answer at least 1 question above. The more questions answered the more chances to win. Winners will be posted from the next post so stay tuned.Follow conceptoffit
Yesterday, I met one of my favorite fitness personalities in the industry at New York Comic Con, an event I hold very close to my inner nerdy heart. I also did several brand ambassador gigs on the side to support myself financially after another job opportunity that let me down. As much as I would love to tap into the mindset of James Clear and Tim Ferris, I realized that I have so much to be grateful for, but I had very selfish moments, especially as a fitness enthusiast who wants to help people achieve a body of a lifetime. Half of the time, I just write stuff I thought it can be useful, but yet I have had any more than one comment on any of my blog posts, even if I actually poured my heart here and there. I'm still learning so much about myself, yet I'm no fitness guru and try to stay away from being some salesperson- like know it all gym rat to shove you into buying products and services I can't completely vouch for. Bear with me with The Concept of FIT, I have lots to learn and with that, here are a few things I have learned:
I still want to produce more multimedia content again, it's been ages and the more I haven't worked with other creatives, the more likely you have to start again from scratch. So if you are a NYC creative who happens to lift or work out, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I got a clue of my target audience and might will take me hopefully by the end of 2015 to hone it down better, but I can’t stress that the direction of the blog can be better suited to have at least one down to the core.
I always wanted to do a few self-portraits of myself before shooting seriously again. There are many insecurities I constantly face and battle that I somewhat find verbally difficult to describe. I never felt comfortable showing off my skin and being 25 and still never wearing a bikini does make a lady feel, well less sexy. I think every woman (guys too) should fully appreciate their bodies and what makes them physically and mentally unique. As a photographer, the more you can fully understand your subject, the more creative and beautiful that image becomes. This is a challenge, but you might see a different side of me soon.
The more I work out, the less excited I get going out to nightclubs and events that isn’t fitness or technology related, besides film and television. The essential things that truly make me happy are starting to illuminate again after a few years of constantly trying to please people who happily failed to understand me. I strike conversations with new people each day, but for once I rather build how I can help people versus celebrating goals yet achieved.
NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO ACCEPT ME, Keep working out anyways. Can’t cry over people who don’t even value themselves.
PEOPLE DO CARE, Appreciate them to the fullest!
Be inspired to be a better version of yourself.
Wish and Want are both 4 letter words that start with a w, which one are you in terms of what you are aiming for?
Hard work does beats talent, but if you have the talent, don’t waste it either or become something you are not or a ball of repulse.
Fitness open doors, case closed.
What do you think of this article? Pretty straight forward, eh. Until then, what is your Concept of FIT?Follow conceptoffit
I’m sure you are an aspiring artist who has made strides in your career, but somehow hit a slump and it’s really difficult to get out of it. In such, why do we allow rejections validate our worth? You slayed your interviews, but didn’t get the job or got laid off. You were promised the world from people wanting to work with you, only to get both rejected and scammed out of your time and talents. Family stuck on traditional ways and strongly imposed how you should live your life in order to fit in with society, especially if you have immigrant parents outside the USA.
All of these circumstances do severely take a toll on you and at the end of it, you feel severely depressed and ready to throw in the towel. Unfortunately for me, all of these things I mentioned above were my pain points, some. Over time, I learned that it does take time, whether you have high goals or simply wanted to be a bit happier. As I took my health more serious and love the progress so far, I want to share something about me:
I always knew how to work hard for as long I can remember. I put in the work and often take great pride, regardless of who I have worked with. Unfortunately, my story isn't as simple as finding a diet and workout plan, despite my history as a high school track and field runner. I always had problems fitting in because of my speech problems, coupled with poverty, unsettling family circumstances and high expectations of what I wanted to be versus what was expected of me. So let me leave the quotes the lyrics of “Numb” by Linkin Park here:
The many times I get a no from countless job interviews and inconsistency in maintaining a job becomes painfully the norm from me. My mom is not that thrilled seeing me gain muscles nor my career choice as a freelancer. Sometimes I worked with amazing people and sometimes I worked with others who shouldn’t quit their day jobs. However, it takes a lot of time to overcome pain points that are hindering your goals for success. I still have a lot of work to do, but came a long way. Sometimes, you need a few days to a full year of travel to refresh or pick up some weights. Talk therapy with a close friend or family member is also very important and helpful. Always take care of yourself, you have only this lifetime, so strive to be a badass. If you really look at it, life will always have obstacles and the best way to approach them tackles them head on. Remember:
"The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances." -Anonymous
I am still learning so much about myself and my fitness journey and took a little break to seek more ways to keep inventing myself. After working a full-time job with a tech company that is going through a lot of changes with legislation with New York City, I realized that its okay to take a break, not so often so you don't seem lazy, but to figure things out. Oh, and I blew up my laptop because I never shut it off, which is EXTREMELY terrible to do! Some things I kept in mind.
1) Relive the happiest moments in your life
Growing up in Maplewood, New Jersey, a town I am very fond for its rich cultural diversity with liberal undertone. I was able to dabble into many different interests, hence the development of my hobbies in Nerd/Anime culture and post production. At the same time, I was a track and field athlete. I may not be the top athlete at Columbia High or decided to go to film school, but I couldn't think of a better time solely because I didn't care about what people thought about me and I gave more than 100% in everything I touched. I also started my weight training journey at high school because I opt out of dance class and never lifted a barbell in my life. Lucky for me, my weight training coach was very supportive (and brutal) of me because I was one of three females in a class with only guys, but was dedicated. I had to train with the boys' track team via lifting days at one point. I was just happy and overly passionate with things I loved to do.
Takeaway: If you are at a point in your life/career/relationship that is absolutely the worse, step away from civilization and get outdoors with greenery. Try to meditate or sit still, slowly breathing in and out for at least 5 minutes. Think of the highlights of your life, whether a time you made it or a better time and ask yourself
2) Never neglect those who truly do care about you
Yesterday was my sister's 23rd birthday and despite our different personalities, she was one of my best friends growing up. Her brave, yet warm personalities taught me alot about enjoying the best that life has to offer and don't try to impress everyone that is not willing to listen to you from the beginning. Generally, all of my siblings has a quality about them that I learned from. You are the best invention, the greatest artwork and best investment you can make. Not to mention, never forget those who reminds you of this. I believe that some people do horrible things to you to devalue you because they lack EVEN more value than you. If people truly care for you, your voice will be heard, but never ignore those who build you with those who want to impress. You will lose always. I rather spend $200 in investing on my siblings' gym memberships than a random night out in New York City (unless you really need a break and you go with friends) in HOPES to score numbers and ramble bullshit after bullshit. Sorry to get you uncomfortable, but the truth is that sometimes in order to achieve great goals you set for yourself, your best bet is to ensure that the five people you spend the most time with truly care about you as well as movers and shakers themselves.
Takeaway: Surround yourself with love and support in every aspects of your life and career.
3) Go back to the basics to reinvent yourself
Ever get caught up on a project or job one day and ask yourself what are you doing and why you are here if you intend to get a promotion or start a new company? Sometimes we get lost in the process of getting to the next level, but ask yourself one question, is where you started is where you wanted to be? For example, if you originally wanted to start a dance company and somehow you go into weird fine art photography and now stuck, is there something that you are the best at that led you to this field? I tell you something. I was originally a track and field high school athlete who lifted with boys at one point and got injured and learned how to video edit in order to fulfill my art requirement. I love video editing which led me into photography in Trinidad then writing publications after dealing with depression from family lost and personal struggles.
Now I am considering becoming an athlete and fitness journalist as well as focusing on shooting live events and travel photography. Long story short, I adore James Clear and what he produces in his work overall and would love to grow up to be like him someday. (James Clear if you are ever reading this...you are my hero). I have some many ideas, but its best to do one thing at the time and let the chips fall where they may
Takeaway: Baby steps!What do you think about this article? What are some things that you would start doing today? Submit your answers in a comment below! Until then, what is your Concept of FIT?Follow conceptoffit