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Meet Dr. Dean Tanglao of Kinda Fit Kinda Fat in Covina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Dean Tanglao.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was a “fatter” kid growing up. In high school, I had a body fat percentage nearing 50%. It wasn’t until college that I began to take fitness more seriously. In spite of my initial motivation, however, I would only go to the gym maybe 2x a week at most mainly due to fear and simply not knowing how to achieve my goals.

I eventually moved on to become a physical therapist. I met a number of wise people ranging from personal trainers and chiropractors to your everyday office worker who enjoyed fitness. I became obsessed. I meal prepped religiously, went to the gym > 6x a week, and took whatever supplements that promised me beautiful gainz. And it worked. I put in the time and the dedication and was FINALLY able to see my abs for the first time in my life.

Even after achieving these goals, I wasn’t happy. I frequently said no to my friends who wanted to eat the latest food they saw on Facebook or Instagram. I sat quietly drinking my no sugar green tea while my friends enjoyed boba drinks from the latest bubble tea joint. My body was “fit,” but my heart yearned to be “fat.”

Needless to say, that lifestyle didn’t last long. I kept my gym routine and ate out more regularly. My abs slowly faded but my strength remained intact. Was I sad to say goodbye to my abs? Of course. But I was able to find a way to live my life in the moderation that was enjoyable for me.

I eventually put the phrase “Kinda Fit Kinda Fat” on my bio on Instagram, where it sat for about a year. I was joking around with one of my coworkers at the time about putting it on a shirt and starting an apparel line. And one day, my coworker finally said, “Either do it or stop talking about it!” (in a joking manner of course). That was enough to convince me to take the leap and start the business.

About two years later, KFKF grew from me and my friends folding shirts in my 150 square foot bedroom to subletting a 300 sq/ft space from our friends (Milk+T) to 800 sq/ft and now to 3000 sq/ft and growing. The KFKF team and community have grown faster than I could have dreamed and we are humbled by the support we have been given.

I started this brand to remind people, including myself, that it is okay to not have the “perfect” body. You don’t have to beat yourself up for grabbing some ice cream or pizza with your friends after you hit the gym. Am I supporting complacency? No. I believe that we should ALWAYS pursue to better ourselves, whether that be fitness or other aspects of life. KFKF is a reminder that no one is perfect.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting and running a business has been anything and everything BUT smooth. One of the biggest struggles I personally faced was managing work/life balance (or lack thereof). When the company began, I was working full time as a physical therapist and working on the business immediately after. I would sleep for 3/4 hours every night and work the remaining hours awake. I lost friendships, family relationships, etc during the process which was a very hard pill to swallow. I had to actively choose the business over spending time with the people in my life in order to continually grow and build the business. I eventually had to quit my job at the beginning of 2019 to go full-time into the business and haven’t looked back.

Other struggles I faced were the struggles associated with developing and managing a team. Most of the core KFKF team are friends that I’ve known for at least seven years. Learning how to build a business together while maintaining our relationships was difficult to say the least. Learning to communicate well and be understanding helped us overcome many of the obstacles we faced.

Please tell us about Kinda Fit Kinda Fat.
At first glance, Kinda Fit Kinda Fat is simply a catchy slogan for lovers of food and fitness. However, through our revolutionary movement, we have been able to organically grow an inclusive community where you can and should be proud of your body at every stage in your fitness journey — from fat to fit. We are currently an eCommerce business that sells apparel as well as accessories but are quickly expanding into further business ventures.

We have proudly sponsored a variety of events and athletes in sports (such as powerlifting, strongman, the drifting community, e-sports, and rugby) fit expos, and have hosted successful Food Fashion shows at Barbell Brigade the popular 626 Night Market just a couple months ago.

Additionally, we place a strong emphasis on “community over competition” and want to continue collaborations with other local businesses. We have previously worked with Milk+T, Rose City Pizza, Dingle Berries Coffee and Tea, Class One Donuts and have plans with Cauldron Ice Cream in the near future. We have also worked with nonprofit communities such as the Efight Program which aims to assist international competitive gamers with visas as well as Youth In Union, which aims to help underprivileged islander youth through the community and sport of rugby.

”We are a company dedicated to those who love fitness and food. Our mission is to show that you can pursue your personal fitness goals and still enjoy eating great food. With this revolutionary movement, we are committed to creating a community where you can be and SHOULD be proud of your body no matter what stage of the fitness journey you are on – from fat to fit.

Hit them PRs, make them gainz, and eat that donut. You deserve it.”

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