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Meet Pasadena Fitness Trainer: Vincent Wong and Gina Lee Wong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vincent Wong and Gina Lee Wong.  Below you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Vincent.

Vincent, please share your story with us.  How did you get to where you are today?
It’s been almost two years now since my wife, Gina and I started Bright Spot Fitness in Pasadena, California. Before it all began, I was a corporate employee of Panda Express for nine and a half years. Even though I was surrounded by sports and fitness as a kid and throughout high school, I fell off the physical fitness and healthy lifestyle wagon entering college and then years after when I began working. It wasn’t until 2008 when my path in life would change. I suffered a pretty bad spine injury playing basketball. I couldn’t get out of bed the next day, had to take a week off from work and then eventually was in the pool for about a year for rehab. I had multiple disc herniations and pinched nerves which required careful attention during physical therapy. I was lucky enough not to have surgery. During my rehabilitation, I began researching on my own about the body, injuries, injury prevention, nutrition, etc…And at that time, I knew deep down that after I was healed I would pursue becoming a fitness coach.

So I did.

I was still working full time at Panda Express when I became a fitness coach, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I then had the opportunity to run fitness classes for the employees of Panda Express in the office gym and it was because of this that made me fully realize my path in life – to empower others to lead an emotionally and physically healthy lifestyle. When I saw the change in my co-workers from my coaching, I took it outside of the office and began running classes out of my garage in Pasadena with Gina. A few years later, I submitted my resignation at Panda Express to pursue starting Bright Spot Fitness. In August of 2014, Gina and I moved Bright Spot Fitness from our home garage to an actual gym facility. As much as we loved working out alongside lawn mowers and being surprised with impromptu agility work to avoid student drivers, we knew it was time to grow. In the first few months, we were still struggling with trying to define what we were offering and in turn who we were as coaches and as a business.

We loved working out and we loved the intangible changes that comes with it. Yeah the aesthetics and strength are a nice plus but what really hooked both of us was how it makes you feel to take charge of this one area of your life. Most people come to us wanting to lose weight and some wanting to get stronger. What almost everyone discovers along this journey is that they must step outside of their comfort zone, overcome fears and then discover that they are capable of so much more than they imagined. It goes beyond physical strength because you realize that you are mentally and emotionally stronger both in and out of the gym. Hitting a new personal record (PR) in a specific strength movement is awesome but being strong enough and physically fit to play with your kids, go on hikes with loved ones, walk up stairs without huffing and puffing, carry groceries without feeling exhausted..etc. is much more rewarding on so many levels. These small victories outside of the gym are what we love to hear about and so we modeled our business around that. We celebrate small victories in life. What we do in the gym is to prepare others so that they are mentally and emotionally present and physically strong to accomplish big and small things they didn’t think or believe were possible. And as they grow so does their comfort zone and the next time they reach their boundaries, it becomes a little easier to trust their capabilities and make that leap. These small victories are what we call “bright spots” and thus our business name Bright Spot Fitness.

Has it been a smooth road?
If it was a smooth road, it wouldn’t be worth it.  Here are some of the struggles we have faced along the way:

  1. Defining what our business stood for.
  2. Marketing to the right target of people.
  3. Not feeling burned out.
  4. Budgeting and finances.
  5. Maintaining our own healthy lifestyle and fitness.
  6. Showing others why we’re different.

What are your plans for the future?
My wife, Gina and I have discussed finding a new facility for our business in the near future.  Continuing to grow our community is a big part of looking for that new space which will add value for our current members and clients as well as potential clients looking for a close-knit group of like-minded individuals.  With that, we are looking forward to seeing more people come through our doors wanting the assistance and care, so that we can help them take back control of their health and longevity of their lives.  Definitely moving to a new facility is the biggest change we are focusing on right now.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story.  What was the hardest time you’ve had?
The toughest and hardest path so far in my life’s journey was when I was working at my corporate desk job.  It was almost my 10 year anniversary of employment at Panda Express Corporate, and it got to the point where I was miserable, even before heading to the office.  Five years into that job, I felt the same way, but took no action.  Even back then, I wanted to start the business I have now, but stayed on for almost another five because of the “security”.  Because it was safe.  Because friends and family would call me crazy if I left to start a fitness business. It was a hard time because every day I was still there I felt uninspired, sad, angry, and resentful.  I was at the point where very small things would irritate me and I’d just lash out.  I can remember a time where I thought I was in serious depression.

My health suffered – gained weight, didn’t have a steady workout routine, and to top it off I had a fracture in my spine with multiple disc degeneration and didn’t even know it until I got an MRI because the pain just wouldn’t go away.  This is where I made the conscious decision to change my life’s path.  How could I preach to others about health when my own health was suffering?  In addition, my father was scheduled to have open heart surgery which would require him to be in hospital for a month after.  I told my boss I would be taking a leave of absence to be with my father during his recovery.  This gave me a chance to spend time with my father and really contemplate the change.  So, when I returned from my leave of absence I sat down with my boss and said, “I have to leave”.  During the leave of absence, I was able to get through everything because of the support of my family and my wife Gina.  And I knew that other people out there were probably going through something worse, but still making it somehow.  That helped me get through.

Do you ever just stop and think WOW – I’ve made it?
Starting the business with my wife Gina.  That’s when I knew the choice I made to change my life’s path was going to work out the way I envisioned in my mind and felt in my heart.  Having your partner support and take part in the same dream you have is such a blessing.  With that, the second year into the business, which is this year, I was contacted by an old associate to be a part of a health and fitness segment for Travel Channel China!  When I told Gina about the opportunity, we both felt that things were really changing for the future.

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Check out Brightspot below:

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