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Former Management Consultant turned Martial Arts Guru and Boutique Fitness Founder

Hello! What's your background, and what are you working on?

I was previously a management consultant and chartered accountant (!!!) and fell in love with martial arts and strength training. I competed in amateur boxing and professional MMA. I am a Poliquin strength coach by background with qualifications in nutrition, weightlifting, CrossFit, have completed internships under the Irish Strength Institute and YPSI in Germany, and am currently a Functional Medicine Coaching Academy candidate. My current startup is called Warrior Academy, which is a boutique facility that encompasses fitness, martial arts, and nutrition. Additionally, I am helping HK's latest commercial gym, Goji Studios, with a progressive wellness concept startup as their Director of Fitness.

Describe your idea/startup in less than 50 words

The Warrior Academy is a unique all-encompassing concept and space that bridges martial arts, strength & conditioning, wellness, and nutrition to provide you with a complete holistic health and fitness experience, regardless of your age, gender, ability, or experience.

How did you get started with your business?

When I was in the corporate world, I fell in love with martial arts so much that I began competing. Because I wanted to become a better athlete, and later on a strength coach, I decided to invest a lot into professional development around strength coaching, nutrition, functional medicine for the personal trainer, and so much more. I hated the idea of women focusing so much on becoming skinny and sacrificing their health in the process, but always loved the idea of promoting the strong and dangerous woman, so I decided to start my first venture in female fitness. Further down the road, I founded the current Warrior Academy which is a boutique fitness concept that combines fitness, martial arts, and nutrition. At the Academy, we believe fitness is for everyone and that we should coach and educate our members, not just dictate what they should do.

What did you do to attract users and grow your business?

While we do marketing on social media, our business is based predominantly on word of mouth. We let our results and our community speak for itself. We have put a lot of time into growing a tight-knit like-minded community and building a team, and this has helped us grow our user base. Happy members will tell their friends about us and generally, we find that when someone joins the Academy, they don't leave!

What are your plans for the next 12 months?

Wow, this is actually a difficult question! I want to continue growing as a strength coach so this means I would like to return to the Irish Strength Institute for another mentorship and also complete my Functional Medicine Coaching qualification. I would like to grow the education arm of the Warrior Academy and start offering more workshops, seminars, and eventually, Train the Trainer courses.

Tell us about the challenges you have faced and what you have done to overcome this.

My first business venture was successful but I found myself being ousted by my business partner, and at the same time, I was going through a nasty divorce and a major injury. It was probably the worst year of my life. So I focused on being positive and redirecting my energy into doing the things I love. From there, I rebuilt another business and focused on moving forward little by little.

What's the one tool or resource you've found helpful?

Mentors! I have been lucky to be able to draw knowledge from the best strength coaches in the world. Additionally, I make it a point to read/watch/listen to a learning resource every two daysso I learn something new every other day. For every strength or nutrition article, I also read/listen/ watch a self-development or management resource.

What's your advice for other women who are just starting out?

Don't overthink every single decision, particularly when you are planning. I find most female entrepreneurs I mentor spend too much time planning and have too much fear to move ahead. If something doesn't work out, be adaptable and change, but keep moving forward.

What is your morning routine?

My alarm usually wakes me up, but this year, I have made it a rule to not check my phone for messages first thing after waking up. My bag and outfit for the day are prepared the night before, so I brush my teeth and get changed. I always start my day with a glass of water with lime juice and some pink Himalayan salt which has benefits for gut health and the adrenal glands.

My breakfast is either eggs or grilled red meat with avocado and greensred meat raises dopamine (think of it as the motivation hormone) and fats from the egg and avocado keep me satiated during the busy morning ahead. What you eat for breakfast determines not just what you eat for the rest of the day but also your energy levels and your mental and physical state. At breakfast, I practice the 5/10/15 principle to maintain good gut health: 5 breaths before starting your meal, 10 seconds between every mouthful, and making meals last 15 minutes. After breakfast, I finally allow myself to check my emails and messagesthis signifies the start of my hectic workday.

My favorite quote is

"Believe in yourself and know that there is something in you greater than any other obstacle."

Describe yourself in 3 words

passionate, strong, positive.

Where can we go to learn more?

Catch my TEDx Talk in Hong Kong

About Tricia Yap

Tricia Yap is the Co-Founder of Warrior Academy and also the Director of Fitness for HK’s upcoming progressive wellness concept, Goji Studios.

After a career in management consulting, she co-founded her first startup in Hong Kong called Bikini Fit, which was a female only health and wellness community. After that, Tricia moved on to co-found The Warrior Academy, Hong Kong’s first all-encompassing boutique wellness concept, which bridges strength and conditioning, martial arts, wellness, and nutrition. Since her switch from corporate to entrepreneurship, Tricia has been recognized as one of the most accomplished health and fitness experts in Hong Kong and was featured on TimeOut, CNN, and Bloomberg, amongst others. She is a writer and speaker on entrepreneurship, health, and wellness, with experience at The Women’s Foundation, TedxWomen Wanchai, CanChamHK, General Assembly, HKMBA UST, international schools, and much more. She is also HK’s first professional female MMA fighter and has a lead MMA coaching role in Hong Kong’s ViuTV most-watched program, G1 Fight Club, and has been signed to film its second season starting July 2017.

Tricia’s philosophy is to encourage a holistic and balanced mindset towards lifestyle, nutrition, and training because a long-term transformation is built upon consistency and sustainability. Her motto: State of mind is everything. If you can control your mind, you can control your body. So if you focus on performance as opposed to aesthetics, subsequently, your decisions around how you live will shift to optimizing health instead and you will find that, as a by-product, your aesthetics will also have changed. Be strong and dangerous. Be badass every day.

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