I don’t like to toot my own horn but a new gym has opened up in Taipei and they’re telling people they’re the first functional fitness gym in Taiwan and the only place to have bumper plates, etc. This thread stands as testimony that these claims are completely untrue.
We’ve been open almost five years now and my own posts just in this thread go back to 2009. We don’t need to lie about who we are or what we do because at this point we’ve trained literally thousands of people from around Taiwan in our fitness classes, private sessions, and seminars. I think our commitment to the local fitness community has been proven but perhaps we need to tell our story a bit so people know where we’re coming from.
I’ve worked out since about the age of 16 in gyms and have gotten really fit several times (six pack and all) since then. Several years ago, I let my job at the local newspapers get to me. I was sitting in a chair for 10 hours a day and getting off work at 12am. By the time I got home, it was around 1am and I’d sleep in till late morning. Going to work at 3pm left me little time to work out.
I went on a trip with my wife down south and she took a pic of me coming out of the water of the pool. The pic shocked me since i didn’t recognize myself. I had a gut that hung down and shifted the other way when i walked. It was like a counterbalance to every movement i made. i weighed myself and my weight had crept up 10kg. I was totally shocked by this since I’d always been in shape and had ignored what sitting in a chair so much everyday had done to me.
I vowed to get in shape again and did circuit training with basic bodyweight exercises. I got really good results and the fat started coming off. I then read The New Rules of Lifting that talked about a new way of lifting weights based on the six basic motions of the human body – this is called functional fitness. I re-started my gym membership and threw myself into this new way of working out since it seemed so interesting. It worked really well and was totally different from the bodybuilding workouts I’d done before. More fat came off.
I quit my job at the papers since it was killing me and started looking at opening a personal training studio instead. You can read some of that in the early pages of this thread. I imported kettlebells using our own money that we had saved up. I did this because the functional fitness community was raving about kettlebells and Taiwan didn’t have anything like that. Well to make a long story short, they were everything they were cracked up to be. This type of functional fitness took even less time than what i was doing before and was aimed at fat loss. i went to Malaysia to get certified in kettlebells and added to my personal training cert, I then opened Formosa Fitness.
We started in an office that i shared with the workers from another company. The owners had their pingpong table in a large room that i offered to rent and they charged a cheap price and seemed kind of amused by the request. I had been teaching martial arts to a few folks and I told them we’d be switching over to pure fitness and most of them agreed to stay and continue. They formed my first core of students.
From there, word spread and we grew and grew. It didn’t always grow quickly and there were a lot of bumps along the way, but the general trend was upward. i saved the little money we made and used it to buy new equipment. Most everything we made was put back into the business and we eventually grew into our second space. This is where Formosa Fitness really bloomed. We were down a back alley that was dark and damp but people sought us out and we loved them for it. Our group classes grew and so did my personal training clients. Word was spreading quicker at this point and my schedule filled up. I started our own Kettlebell Taiwan certification by this time and was certifying other trainers with the kettlebell. Through the cert, I met a trainer named Abram that seemed to “get it” more than some of the others and he came to work for me as my first trainer. I was able to take my first vacation in two years after that!
About a year and nine months ago, we moved into our third and current location. Again with the money we saved up, I invested back into the business and responded to what my customers said they wanted – a bigger gym with more equipment that they could use to train themselves. They had “graduated” from personal training and classes because I TEACH people how to exercise instead of just leading workouts and these folks had “gotten it” and wanted to pursue their own fitness path outside of class. So we took a HUGE leap of faith and opened our current location. I made a massive personal investment, going against the current trends by buying with cash all of our equipment. Our business model also changed since the members I talked to had no problem paying just a little more for the open gym concept.
Not long after opening, i was honored to write the forward to the Chinese edition of The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. We also taught a series of seminars that brought 20 new people into the gym every week for 4 months. I had taught seminars to the public before but we ramped them up to meet the demand and hundreds have joined us since then. i also taught seminars in Kaoshiung and Tainan. Our team expanded to four trainers and we trained them to led the seminars on their own.
This was the largest seminar i ever taught with over 70 people. I also have certified nearly 200 personal trainers in Taiwan in my kettlebell system. I even taught 10 of these 8 hours-a-day certs in 11 days once. It took me nearly a week to recover from that! But it was worth it because I really want trainers and people in general to succeed in fitness.
Since then, we’ve released two fitness DVDs for people that have to work out at home, we’ve sponsored our own fitness competition that we’re running every year, we’ve sold an huge amount of kettlebells to satisfied customers all over Taiwan, we’ve been featured in every major news outlet and TV network, we’ve held seminars for the internationally famous trainer Steve Maxwell who has visited us twice and brought new fitness techniques to Taiwan, we’ve hosted Southeast Asian Olympic lifting champion Lewis Chua for a lifting seminar, but more importantly, we’ve reached tons of people that we couldn’t have reached otherwise and helped them get fit and healthy. We’ve racked up many testimonials from them and we’re honored by their kind words. Here are just the ones in English, the Chinese ones are listed on a separate site because putting them all together would be too long.
Despite false claims being made, we brought functional fitness to Taiwan many years ago and our body of work stands as testament to that. It certainly hasn’t always been easy and I wondered several times if we would survive the many setbacks we had along the way. But with the support of the local fitness community and people like you, Formosa Fitness has blossomed into what it is today and we thank you so much for that! Without your support, we wouldn’t have made it this far and we plan to continue servicing the community with the highest level of service and equipment that we can provide.
The story doesn’t end here because it’s still being written. I’m off to the gym to train myself and teach a few people now. Hope I can see you there some time.