|By Vince “Fitness Financier” Pe|
A few weeks ago I got to catch up with my dear, dear friend – the beautiful Penny Phang. If you’ve been fortunate to work with Penny, you know right away that she is an individual of incredible drive and passion in whatever she puts her mind to. This stunning entrepreneur is a Personal Trainer, Writer, Public Speaker/Motivator, TwinLab Canada sponsored athlete, and Wellness Coach. Did I also forget to mention that she is a double black belt martial artist in Kenpo and Freestyle Karate?
In addition to balancing an incredibly busy schedule, Penny can be seen frequently with her 10-minute workout videos to keep all of her clients and her fans “on the move” despite THEIR busy schedules. Also if you’re interested in finding more about Penny, her site www.wellnesswithpenny.com is a place where you can find helpful videos, articles and inspiration for your mind, body and spirit.
In this Strong-Athlete feature, we get to find out “what drives the driven” as Penny shares her secrets on what keeps her pushing for more.
1) Penny, you are one of the hardest working women I know in fitness! What keeps you motivated to keep going at such a rapid pace? I’m in awe at what you’ve accomplished so far.
I’m passionate about sharing anything that can add to a greater good. So knowing I can do so by servicing humanity through my work in wellness and fitness fulfills me and keeps me motivated. I went through years of uncertainty about what my purpose in life was… years of self-doubt, sadness and confusion. The pain drove me to do a lot of soul-searching in order to get out of the downward spiral.
I’ve learned from all this that it’s hard to stay motivated or fulfilled when you don’t follow your heart and do what you truly enjoy. When you live your life doing what others expect you to do, you’re no longer in alignment with your truest Self; and whatever you do from this place of misalignment will only prove to be unfulfilling.
But even during those times, I worked hard, but there were a lot of resistance. But now, I’m clear about my purpose. My searching led me to the world of wellness. (How it all happened is a novel in itself lol). All I want to do now is offer guidance to others so they can be their best Self. Knowing I’m able to do this really inspires me and humbles me. Working with other like-minded individuals to make a positive difference in people’s lives is the fuel that keeps me going.
Servicing humanity through my work in wellness and fitness fulfills me and keeps me motivated.
2) Can you tell us where your love of fitness originated and why hasn’t that fire subsided? In fact, I think it’s burning brighter than ever.
I don’t know if fitness found me or if I found fitness. I think we met half way… lol. At one point, I even dreaded fitness. Then, I discovered a paradigm shift. I shifted the way I thought of fitness so I would enjoy it rather than dread it. This method works with anything in life. So for instance, if you don’t enjoy your work anymore but you know that’s the work you’re supposed to do, then you have to learn to see the grace in what you do in order to love what you do once again. You have to make a paradigm shift.
For example: If you’re in finance, think that what you do will not only affect the individual you’re dealing with, but his family, his children, their education and the difference they would make in this world as a result of a stable family life. Or if you’re a housekeeper, think in terms of how keeping people’s homes clean greatly contributes to the family’s health and well-being, which affects their mood and therefore their ability to provide for their family. Or if you sell cars, you make people’s lives easier — they can get to work and pay their bills on time.
So you see, there’s grace in every kind of service, no exceptions! Your purpose is much grander than you give yourself credit for. And so it is that I shifted my view to recognize how fitness isn’t just to get myself or others in shape but it can change a person’s entire demeanor and therefore, the quality of their life experience. So to answer your question as to why my fire for fitness hasn’t subsided? Well, it can’t because servicing humanity from the inside out is empowering for all involved. And fires don’t die when people are feeling empowered.
3) You were nominated as one of “Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Entrepreneurs.” What did it feel like to be in that distinguished class of individuals?
I was grateful to be nominated, and appreciated the recognition. But I have to admit, at the time, I also knew I wasn’t ready for something like that. This was years ago, almost around the same time I started questioning my purpose in life, whether I was being true to myself and doing what I truly enjoyed. If anything, this nomination made me question my own integrity on whether I was being authentic. So I’m very grateful for the nomination for this reason.
There’s grace in every kind of service, no exceptions! Your purpose is much grander than you give yourself credit for.
4) I understand aside from being a personal trainer, you’re first and foremost a wellness coach. You’re also a powerful motivational speaker. Do you have any stories that you can share where you felt most proud in positively affecting someone’s life?
Powerful is such a strong word… I’m not sure if I’m worthy of being called that yet lol. But, thank you. I still get really nervous in front of a large audience and feel like I’m going to forget what to say lol. But I will say that I thrive to be better knowing that people’s lives can positively change from what I share.
As for moments when I felt most proud in positively affecting someone’s life? Well, there’s been many, but what stands out the most is when I was able to coach my clients to bring their bodies from a state of sickness into health. This was done through the most natural methods. It involved instilling change in the way they perceived their “reality”; teaching them to perform power breathing and visualization; guiding them on what to consume, how to cooperate with their body, and tap into a higher state of awareness.
I even had clients who were overly stressed about their personal relationships that they couldn’t even lift another weight or do another burpee lol. So needless to say, we had to tackle that issue in order to move forward. I remember helping them work through it; this was followed by a lot of tears (on their behalf), and momentary doubts and concerns (on my behalf—wondering if I’m helping or making matters worse). And then, when all was said and done, when the dust settled, they’re now in healthier, happier relationships. Two of them even got engaged recently—and I’ve been invited to their wedding!
5) You are also a martial arts expert! What is your specialty and where did this pursuit for excellence stem from?
I have 2 black belts (one in Kenpo and the other in “Freestyle Karate”). However, this doesn’t make me an expert or anything like that lol. I will say though, I didn’t appreciate it at a young age when my parents forced me to go to class. But later in life, I learned to appreciate it. I enjoyed competing and sparring, and it came in handy when I was being bullied at school lol.
Seriously though, I didn’t realize all along that martial arts taught me discipline, focus and confidence. It also strengthened my body from the core, which gives power to my fitness performance. I try to maintain these skills as I realize how they’re so aligned with what I do today. So just for fun, I spiced it up, added music and created my “TKO Cardio Kickboxing” class. It’s a lot of fun pretending to fight off a phantom opponent and doing so to cool music lol. It gives my clients a chance to build confidence, core strength and look like an action star without having to earn a black belt – lol!
Martial arts taught me discipline, focus and confidence. It also strengthened my body from the core, which gives power to my fitness performance.
6) With so much accomplished, you’re even a video game character. I love it! What was it like to find out you were part of Def Jam’s Vendetta and what did it feel like to see people play your character?
I admit, technology is great… it’s pretty cool for me to see an animated action figure of myself. They (Electronic Arts) designed “Penny” the “naughty school girl” who can kick butt and look hot at the same time lol. There were many other celebrities used to create the characters in this video game. So it was fun to watch other people use my character to kick their butts lol. I’m terrible at video games, but I did try to play with myself… Ok, I also learned to say “I like playing with my character”, and not, “I like playing with myself.”
I have some pretty crazy moves in that game, but my favorite one is when you get me “blazin”—this means when you make me really angry—there’s a special move that kicks in (if you know how to work the stick and press the right buttons), and I would do a spinning airborne kick and land on my opponent’s shoulders, twist his neck between my legs as I slam him face down on the ground, and land sitting on the back of his head lol. It’s pretty cool… you should play with me sometime. LOL.
7) Penny, you’re also heavily involved in not-for-profit organizations by being a co-founder yourself. Can you tell us about Imagine1day.org?
I don’t believe in “coincidences” for countless reasons… this is one of them. I happened to be in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, visiting family back in 2005 and “by chance” ran into a gentleman who happened to be there on business. Shortly into our chat, we discovered that we were neighbors! He, too, was from Vancouver BC and we lived down the street from each other. What were the chances?
He was extremely educated, very well connected and highly skilled in the world of non-profits. He shared with me his vision to start something significant in this world and long story short, I and a few others encouraged him to pursue that dream. And so we co-founded “Global Reach”.
When we received our first $10 Million investment, Global Reach became Imagine 1 Day. Our goal is to ensure that all Ethiopians have access to quality education. Our mission is to develop leaders to elevate the world. Our vision is for a world where all people are connected to their greatness.
Today, the thriving organization is filled with teams of passionate people who contribute greatly each day. With a growing schedule I no longer sit on the Board of Directors, but you can be certain I’m still actively promoting it every chance I get—like in this very moment! LOL. Please check out all the wonderful things Imagine 1 Day is doing today, the schools that it has built and continues to build. Our unique way of conducting a non-profit makes every investor (donor) feel very much a part of the process. Check it out for yourself on www.imagine1day.org.
8) I hear you’re now “LIVE” at the hottest, women’s only, fitness and lifestyle facility, Flirty Girl Fitness. What does this all mean?
This means you can join me and some of Canada’s best instructors as we teach our classes LIVE at Flirty Girl Fitness! We make exercise so unique and entertaining it will inspire you to get fit and feel fabulous! LIVE Classes are LIVE with real-time streaming. There are no retakes or cuts. So bloopers are all included (if any) LOL. This is exciting as people from around the world can now join in and do my classes in real-time. Our members can work out with us from anywhere in the world!
9) With so many useful wellness and fitness video clips on YouTube and Facebook, what else do you have in store for us moving forward?
All the work done this far has been good practice for me and my team—to better prepare us for what’s to come next. We’ll officially launch the “Join the Wellness Movement” campaign this year with 10 Minute Home Workout.com. This site is an extension of WellnessWithPenny.com. We’re going to get more in-depth with encouraging people to “get moving”—to live better—even if they have only a small amount of time to commit each day.
This site will aim to provide advice on meals, short effective workouts, healthy thoughts, spiritual practice, and lots of other fun, quick and simple wellness tips. People will also be able to correspond with me, as well as, do the workouts with me as we connect online via videos and emails. The main purpose here is to make “living well” fun, entertaining, inspiring and most of all, empowering.
Thanks so much for your time, Penny! If you haven’t done so, please join her Facebook page, TwinLab Canada’s Facebook page and her monthly newsletters to be up-to-date with Penny.
Vince “Fitness Financier” Pe
Vince Pe, founder of the Fitness Financier, has spent the last ten years in the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has worked for some of the most prominent sports nutrition companies in North America, dealt closely with the IFBB, NPC, WNBF and WBFF organizations, and managed some of the industry’s top athletes, including Mr. Olympia champions. Vince will be a regular contributor with feature interviews from some of the most interesting personalities in bodybuilding, fitness and martial arts. For more info about Vince, check out his company website at www.fitnessfinancier.com.