Meet John Wu, Skimble‘s featured Trainer! With his extensive knowledge of Western and Chinese Medicine, John is able to help his clients with a well-rounded approach to both physical and mental health. We recently had the chance to chat with John and learn about why he believes balance is the most important component in achieving any long-term health goals.
Tell us a bit about your background and where you’re from.
John: I traveled a lot during my youth and lived in many places including the Deep South, the Midwest, and New England. I graduated from the University of Maine with a dual major in Chinese Language (Mandarin) and Pre-medical Sciences, and a Minor in Education. I went on to attend a 5-year medical program at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine with a focus on Acupuncture and Massage.
What inspired you to become a personal trainer?
John: I’ve loved training ever since I could lift weights when I was about 12 or 13 years old. My two older brothers played on college sports teams and inspired me a lot. I played sports myself for a while in junior high and high school, and I joined the ROTC Physical Training team. I then began practicing martial arts when I was in college and absolutely fell in love with it. I trained in the USA for a while and then went to train in a martial arts school in Beijing, where we trained 6-8 hours a day, 6 days a week, which included a type of “inner training” through different meditation practices. That’s when I decided that I wanted to practice medicine, and Chinese Medicine in particular, so I finished my Bachelor’s degree in the USA and went back to China to complete a medical degree. With my studies in Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts, training in meditation, and a background in education, it all came together and fit really well to form a comprehensive modality of fitness and health preservation. Exercise is one of the best medicines we have, and it’s free!
What are your training specialties?
John: Fundamentally, I am a big supporter of cross-training. I believe in a well-rounded physique capable of handling anything that the world throws at us. This includes weightlifting, bodyweight training, outdoor sports training, HIIT, martial arts/kickboxing, steady-state cardio-respiratory training, and overall fitness for both healthy populations and those suffering from a disease. I also like to incorporate some breathing exercises, as well as neuromuscular and flexibility exercises that are meditative-like to keep people grounded, focused, and motivated.
John: I love the fact that I can see what my clients are doing through the 1:1 messaging stream, and I can immediately communicate with them and change anything in their exercise prescription that needs adjusting. I also like that they can see how I’m training, which I hope gives them some motivation to continue their own routines.
Who are your heroes?
John: My heroes are an odd mix of ancient Chinese physicians that advocated exercise for health, my martial arts teacher in Beijing – Master Wang Zhi Peng, outdoor sports pioneers like climbing pros Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Also survivalists like Bear Grylls and modern physical therapists, trainers, and bodyworkers – namely Tom Meyers and Jeff Cavaliere. And finally, a “body hack” specialist, Tim Ferris.
What keeps you motivated to stay fit yourself?
John: After a lifetime of exercise, as soon as I stop training, I feel off…so that’s a major factor in staying fit for me. Also, I try to live my life by a certain set of principles, and I believe that it’s important that my clients and patients work towards similar goals for themselves. By living my life in a healthy manner, I am a living example for others to do the same.
What are your guilty pleasures?
John: Chocolate! Hands down. I love it. However, I do go for dark, bitter-sweet chocolates instead of milk chocolates now.
What are your hidden talents?
John: I suppose with social media, nothing is really hidden anymore, but I can throw knives like a ninja, not a lot of people know about that.
Do you have any go-to training gear that you would recommend?
John: I think for some people not having access to a gym, or not having training equipment can be a deterrent for doing exercise. I say use what you have! I love getting creative with my equipment, and whenever I don’t have something, I see what I can use that I already have instead of running out to buy something new. For in-home training, I like using a suspension system or suspension rings, some resistance bands, and a home-made speedball using elastic bands and a tennis ball.
Please share a secret health/fitness tip with the Skimble community…
John: The secret to health is balance. It’s really quite simple. Exercise is wonderful, and we can all benefit from a healthy daily dose of exercise, but there are many other aspects of health that require attention as well, such as stress management, relaxation, nutrition, and sleep. If any one of these is off, in any way, our health is going to suffer. If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, your training will suffer. If your nutrition plan is off, many other aspects of your life will suffer. They are all interconnected. So, if you want to train like a beast, sleep like a baby.
Thanks for sharing with us, John, we’re excited to see what the future will bring for you and your training biz!