As the story has it, I woke up and found myself on the very opposite side of the globe – the flipside. I arrived February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d simply do a year, then leave. Years later and I’m still here. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company, Flipside Fitness, and CEO of my own boxing club, Korea's largest -- Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing.

But now I'm back; back in Toronto, Canada. It's not a new chapter in the book of my life though, it's a whole new book I've started!!! I'm a whole new woman and I left Korea with Flipside Fitness on my brain, boxing in my bag, and my four-legged friend Balboa Button by my side.

Life is an adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Friday, May 19, 2017

I'm a SheEO

It's a Friday night and that really means nothing in my life because my days are focused on making my future instead of making a present moment.  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving my days but I've got my eye on the prize -- my business, my Second Dream.  Some may say I'm crazy for doing what I'm doing but you know what, it's us "crazy ones" that actually make things happen.  
I rather be crazy than boring.

Struggling to Keep it Cool... Friday, May 19

Meal #1 – largest meal of the day.
Boxing at Elorde.
Meal #2 and shower.
Drop by the Office Supply Depot for stuff.
Meeting at Anytime Fitness.
Starbucks:  work on my business plan.
Email main supplier, Hulk’s, and potential employees.
Start first draft of the floor plan for my business.
Meal #3.
Watch “Project Runway”.
Meal #4.
Workout at the condo gym.
Meal #5 – smallest meal of the day.
Resume working on my floor plan design.

Could have, would have and maybe even should have but didn't.

I got offered a chance to jump on a plane fly down to Boracay for the night but opted to stay here in Eastwood. I didn't want to leave Balboa alone, I really didn't want to miss out on boxing because I'm leaving my club in a week, and I really wanted to start my floor plan rough draft today. 

Warning, be prepared for the next week for me to be dropping a lot of "this time next week" lines. 

I killed it at boxing today only to find out when I most needed it that my water bottle was gone. I found out that one of the cleaning ladies at the club had thrown it out and then I watched as she picked it out of the garbage can and giggled. I was exhausted from boxing but not too exhausted to seriously want to take that now dirty water bottle and hit her on the head with it.

Who throws out someone's unfinished water bottle at training?! Seriously.

It's not like we can drink from the tap here and the club sells overly priced water as it is. 

The hangry in me was tempted to grab a bottle from the club fridge and tell her to pay for it but then I envisioned my father frowning at me and saying "we don't do that". I opted out of both, of letting the hangry Hulk in me and being the sweet princess my dad told me to be. Instead, I gave her a sarcastic thumbs up and said "good job". 

Exhausted, dehydrated and not impressed, I then tried to cross the close-to-impossible street so that I could flag a taxi down. I stood in the medium for honestly a solid 10 minutes before some construction workers took pity on me, weaved through the traffic like a couple of hardcore ninjas and then stopped traffic for me. 

How sweet are they?! Right... So very sweet!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Distraction is a Two-Way Street in Eastwood

 When he should be sleeping and I should be working...
The struggle to stay focused is rough when I try to work in the condo, yet another reason why I go to Starbucks.  He and me are each other's distraction but can you blame us?!  Lots of cuddles and kisses between the two of us.

Plugging in the Numbers... Thursday, May 18

I’ve been given a heads up – we’re doing financials on Friday.

This heads up meant that today I slaved away at Starbucks, Googling and researching, emailing my main supplier and typing up numbers I’ll need to have tomorrow. 

CANCEL ON FINANCIALS ON FRIDAY… my main business mentor is flying out to Boracy. I got invited to join but that’d mean missing out on my training, more importantly my boxing, plus trying to figure out what to do with Balboa. 

Slaved away figuring out all the needed numbers only to be told around midnight that our meeting will be postponed. Can’t say I’m sad but I can’t say I’m happy either. Financials are something I hate doing but need to do.

Highlight of today was getting word back from someone I wanted to hire for Hulk’s back in the day. She’s Filipino and she’s in the country. I had anticipated her being out of country like she usually is but low and behold she’s here. I reached out to her today and offered her a job for my company. She may or may not take it, it all depends on if her out-of-country deal goes through or not, but she was super excited. I’ve got about 9 different job positions to fill which means I’ll have to hire about 20-25 people. My company is going to be a women-only business – for women ran by women – which is fantastic but it means it’s super hard finding these rare women to fit these stereotypically men-filled roles. 

My crew is going to consist of 20-25 fabulous females and the more I think about it the more I’m super excited about it. I built Hulk’s and I absolutely loved it but I worked mainly with just Snickers. We had hired trainers and random help but they were always just an accessory and we never got attached to them, beyond Kato that is. This time it’s going to be different. I’m going to be as in love with my crew as I am with my Second Dream. I’m going to be the best boss to work for and I’m going to love it more than I ever loved Hulk’s. Hulk’s was just a warm-up for what’s next.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fabulous Females and a Fantastic Food Find

Killed it a boxing this morning and ended up meeting a new fantastic female.
Actually, I met two new fabulous friends today.  Am always meeting new people at Elorde, I love it.
I was warming up when I spotted this lady's affirmation tank top and when I started talking to her her familiarity with Toronto gave me warm fuzzies.
(I love the Philippines, it's awesome here, but I do miss Toronto and think it's fabulous too.)
Turns out this fierce female is Philippines' first female basketball television and radio anchor,
head of Sports5, very cool.
 Hitting the weights in my condo's ghetto gym is brutal and I always end up sweating like a beast.
It'd be one thing to sweat but it's another thing when there aren't any towels or so much as tissue there to clean it up... nasty.  I occupied a spot on the floor and pretty much left looking like I had seriously peed there.  Thank God the security guards here think I'm hot.  I think that's the only reason why I get away with the stuff I pull here, like bringing Balboa in the regular elevators and walking him without a leash.
Late in the evening, close to midnight, I got hungry.
When am I ever not hungry?!  Exactly.
Anyways, perhaps the only perk of Eastwood is that it's the call centre hub of this country and so many places are open 24/7.  Juju is one of those places.
Juju is all about made-on-the-spot, ultra fresh salads and wraps.  I first ate here yesterday and today I came back because, well, it's just that good!!!
I ordered the Tuna Nicoise Salad -- romaine, tuna flakes, french beans, 
boiled egg, sun dried tomato, and honey mustard dressing on the side.
I love their take-out boxes.  Super cute and very eco-friendly.

Keeping On Pushing On... Wednesday, May 17

Finally caught up on all my business emailing today. 

Friday I’m scheduled to sit down and attack my financials for my business proposal.

[Enter a big loud, overly sarcastic “oh fun” right here!!!]

I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to dealing with things I don’t want to deal with, I’m well aware of this, so I’m giving myself a heads up notice.

Note to self, you WILL do your financials on Friday, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!!!

I sat at Starbucks today for a little over 5 hours today, plugging away at my business planning, and I had a bit of a mini panic attack when I was doing online research and discovered a company that’s doing something somewhat like mine. Key word being “somewhat”. They got good reviews online and I like what they’re doing but I know they’re not really competition for what I’m about to launch because mine is still so different. Everyone whom I’ve shared my business idea with thinks it’s awesome. I shared my idea today with a new friend at boxing and he was so excited, that is until I told him men aren’t allowed at my company. Only once a month will men be allowed into my business’ vicinity. 

Side note here, I haven’t really shared with many who I am here in the Philippines with, who is mentoring me with my business plan, so I feel like I should reveal that here. It’s only about time I did. 

I am here with Skittles. 

Back in Toronto he shared with me his business proposal and it’s because of him I came to the Philippines in the first place. He said he was only going for three months so I said I’d come along. It’d get me closer to Korea, making it easier for me to go there and settle things up with Hulk’s and Snickers, and it’d give me three solid months of grade A boxing training and working on my own business plan. He just got word that he’s landed his desired location for his business, his investors are all in and his plan is quickly becoming a physical reality. It’s pretty awesome to be here experiencing it with him. I’m sitting here watching first hand his dream become a reality and it’s so incredibly inspiring.  It's inspiring but it's also super intimidating because he's throwing around all this business lingo and legal points that feel like a foreign language to me.

Skittles has been mentoring me with my business plan and sometime it feels like he and I talk business 24/7… well, business and Balboa. He’s so in love with Balboa and has really taken on shared responsibility with taking care of him. Skittles knows part of my Second Dream includes adopting another four-legged companion and I’ve already named her – Olga Ali. Originally Olga was going to be a boxer and then I decided on an English Bulldog, but just recently I’ve re-fallen in love with French Bulldogs. I was hesitant to even consider getting a French Bulldog because my first dog was one, Jo Mi Nam, and I was completely heartbroken when he died. Truthfully, I’ve never been more heartbroken over any death in my entire life than that of my beautiful little Frenchie, Mi Nam. I still to this day get choked up over it and I still hold resentment towards Snickers for telling me Mi Nam was okay after he rushed him to the vet when he was told differently. He lied and that just added insult to injury. 

Skittles is really pushing me to do my financials and I know I need to get on it but tonight he added a temptation to my situation. He told me that if I got my financials in order before I left for Canada that when I returned to the Philippines Olga would be waiting here for me. Originally the plan was to adopt her when I signed the legal documents for my company’s location so this temptation is a pretty sweet and unexpected one. I’m not too sure if I’ll let him go through with it though, perhaps it might not keep me as focused as I need to be and waiting till I get my location till I get her is a bigger incentive to continue at full speed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It's ALWAYS Been More than "Just a Sport"

Boxing has opened so many doors for me, I've met so many fantastic people and have gone to so many fabulous countries because of it -- Japan, Korea, Thailand, Mexico, and the Philippines. I've launched two companies because of it (Flipside Fitness and Hulk's Boxing) and now I'm about to start my third. And to think it all started back in the day, when I first stepped into EMBA, in Toronto. My first coach ever was Olympian Silver Medalist, Egerton Marcus, and when I left Canada over 12yrs ago he gave me this very tank top. I've taken it to ever country I've trained and fought in. Today I wore it for sparring and today I want to say thank you to him. Thank you Coach Egerton, you opened me up to the wonderful world of boxing and I've been in love with it ever since.
Took a beating from Coach Arman today in our six rounds of sparring and at the end of it I was a bit sad. In two weeks I'll be visiting Canada and then returning to the Philippines but moving to a new city and, consequently, training at a different boxing club. I promised Coach Arman I'd visit at least every few weeks so we can spar. Coach Arman is one of my favourite people here that I've met in the Philippines and I'm not ready to give him up for this move.

Back to Sparring... Tuesday, May 16

Sparring for me today.  I was feeling good, feeling comfortable and confident but as soon as I stepped into the ring my legs felt instantly heavy.  Scored a sick leg massage after from Coach Arman but in between stepping into the ring and then flopping down on the ring floor for the massage, it was me against my legs.  

Regardless, it felt so good to be back in the ring, training at full speed like before.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Boxing IS My Life

Snapped this picture today with some of the fun female fighters at Elorde.
Boxing is hard but it's also a lot of fun.  We sweat, we laugh, and then we sweat some more.
Discovered this picture on Instagram today.  Totally didn't realize I had been tagged in it a while back.
At the time I was training at Paul Brown's BoxFit when 
I was approached about being featured in a commercial.
Another picture discovery today.  I love this picture.  It's of Coach Mario and I doing ab work after boxing training at Hardknocks Boxing in Toronto.

A Sad Countdown... Monday, May 15

The boxing club has always been a staple in my life, keeping me together and opening doors to new people and new possibilities.  I really do love the Elorde I'm training at here, Elorde Katipunan.  It's a short Uber drive away to what feels like the "real" Philippines.  Eastwood is a little bubble world and it constantly reminds me why I never wanted and never did live on campus when I went to University.  Coach Arman teases me all the time about living in Eastwood, telling me that I should visit his house, his family, and really see the Philippines.  

I'm super eager to move out of Eastwood but I don't want to leave Elorde.

I'll be moving to Makati and training out of Makati's Elorde -- Elorde Elite.  It's a large boxing club with a massively high ceiling but it's no Elorde Katipunan.

I've met about 40 new friends here on my own, however I only remember the names of probably 28 of them.  Of the 40, 31 of them are from Elorde Katipunan.  I see those same 31 Elorde friends every week.  Most of them I see every single time I go boxing so I see them about 5 days a week.  Leaving my club here means leaving a lot of friends.

Having said this, that I'm sad to be leaving Elorde Katipunan, I am very excited to be making my own crew of fabulous peeps at my own place.  It's the in between part, between leaving Elorde Katipunan and starting my company, that's going to be the hard part!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Enjoying Some Finer Things in Life

 On days when I miss Toronto, it's nice to know that a drive away is a Tim Hortons.
However, coming here also means waiting 15-20 minutes for a simple coffee.
This week's cheat meal consisted of me wolfing down half of a small pizza.
Okay, so maybe more than half but in all fairness it was a small pizza.  Cost only $10.
 And remember that piece of cake that taunted me at Starbucks the other day?!
Well, a piece of it miraculously landed on my work station tonight at Starbucks.  I didn't buy it but I did share it, well kind of. 

A Sweet Kind of Day... Sunday, May 14

This time in two weeks I'll be touching down in the Great White North pretty much penniless and homeless... and then I have to figure out how I'm going to get my butt back here to the Philippines.

The life of an entrepreneur, the story of a starving athlete -- the struggle IS real and it's continual.

I'm eager to see my friends in Canada, to train at System and attend Grant Church.  Today I headed to CCF by myself and I felt totally lost in a sea of Filipinos and Filipinas.  I definitely was the odd one out.  Despite sitting in a section of the church that is first to fill up, no one sat beside me.  It was me, them, and five seats of emptiness separating us.

After church I got invited out for lunch so I took an Uber to BGC where I enjoyed some Japanese dining.  Lunch was then followed by coffee at none other than the one Tim Hortons I've spotted since being here.  The funny thing is I don't really love Tim Hortons coffee and I always get a good giggle at just how jam packed the place gets but it's a taste of Toronto and I love Toronto.

Want to confuse a Filipino working at Timmies here, order a triple-double.

I waited 15 minutes for my medium double-double, sweetener instead of sugar.

I'm still super sore from yesterday's leg workout and my gym membership at Fitness First just expired.  I took tonight off the weights, not just because I was sore but more so because my condo's gym is rather ghetto and I've seen people with bigger bedrooms than it.  Plan is to hold off till I move into my new condo in Makati.

I enjoyed a cheat meal today but must admit I loaded it up.  Yesterday I pushed through a No Carb Day that proved to be harder than expected because of being out with friends at FightCon.   I stuck to protein and veggies... and coffee.  My cheat meal tonight consisted of pizza and.... drum roll, please... a piece of that double chocolate cake from Starbucks.  I had struggled through the total distraction of it that it posed to me on Friday when I was suppose to be working on my business proposal.  I shared the cake but two bites into it I realized first hand why that couple had nursed it for so long and why they hadn't finished it.  That cake was super rich, wow.  Rich but delish!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

All Fighting Sports Under One Roof

Walked into FightCon today and this was what welcomed me... intimidating but impressive.
Pretty much every fighting sport was present today.
Each sport took their turn to do a demonstration. 
I was particularly interested in this female fighter who kept 
true to her religious background and kicked royal butt with the boys.
 There were a lot of fierce female fighters present.  Way to go Filipinas!!!
Got a bit distracted by the bods of these fighters!
The ultra toned bodies and lack of body fat, dang Skippy.  I want that too for my body!
 Coach Kristian from Hernandez Boxing texted to say he was coming so I hung out with him and his adorable son.  The both were equally stuck on this particular XBox boxing game... too funny!
Look at who I also ran into -- ONE Championship Heavyweight Champ, Brandon Vera.
The man was massive, both in personality and in size.  
He could have easily palmed my entire head with his hand!!!
Part of the excitement of today's convention was checking out the live fights at the end of the day. 
I think I was more interested in the fitness challenge they had posed than the fights actually.  

FightCon... Saturday, May 13

I checked out FightCon today, a big event out of town where pretty much every fighting sport under the sun was present -- boxing, Jiu Jitsu, karate, Hapkido, and the list went on.

Brandon Vera, the ONE Championship Heavyweight Champ was present so I tried to play it smooth and slip in for a picture with him.  Man, that guy is a beast!  I don't exactly consider myself very small, hey I may be a small Polack but I'm living in the land of shorties (the Philippines), but beside him I looked like a little dwarf.

I stayed to watch the finals in which they did 2 minutes each of 4 different exercises -- push ups, squats, frog jumps, and burpees.  The point of the competition was to see how many they could do of each exercise in the round.  There were four exercises so the competition lasted 4 rounds.  Each contestant had a ref with them, counting how many they did in the 2 minute rounds.  I was cheering for a few of the females participating but then lost it when they allowed one to really do half a$$ squats and get away with it.  She went against a few other females, one of which was killing it and going super low on the squats.  I left before they announced the winner.  That stuff annoys me.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fighting the Heat and Temptations

First full week back at training after being sick in like a 
million years and I totally killed it at training.
Was treated out to a hair cut -- a shaving at the local barbershop.
There's one particular barber in Eastwood who I think is awesome at what he does and tonight I landed myself in his chair.  
I love going to the barbershop, seriously.  They always leave me with super clean lines
and I always score a sweet neck and shoulder massage in the process.
In attempt to keep my day going at full speed, I headed to Starbucks tonight to work on my business proposal.  I was already feeling mentally drained but then I got a whiff of temptation -- double chocolate cake.  
 I thought sitting myself across from who appeared to be quite the smartie pants would keep me focused but no such luck.  She ordered cheesecake.  Venting to my friend in Canada did nothing to help me either.  He sent me a picture of what he was eating -- cake!!!
 It seemed like everyone but me was indulging in cake.
I watched that couple pick at that cake for seriously a solid hour and then they left some of it there when they left Starbucks.  I was almost tempted to eat it... but then thankfully a worker came and took it away.

It's Just a Piece of Cake... Friday, May 12

I lit up my social media with cake tonight as I sat at Starbucks.  I had gone there to continue my slaving away at my business planning but instead was caught in a war of temptation -- battling my clean eating with my most random desire to indulge in double chocolate cake.

I don't even like cake.  I don't really even like chocolate either.

There I was though, mentally struggling.  I was already exhausted from my training earlier that day.  And though I had settled down for a nap after boxing, I had napped way too long and woke up frustrated that I had slept away a few hours of what could have been super productive business proposal writing time. 

Sitting down at Starbucks was a total bust once that couple at the end of the table sat down with that double chocolate cake.  Yes,...I'm totally passing the blame on to them.  I was physically exhausted from training and mentally exhausted from the hours I clocked in yesterday on my business proposal. 

I was caught in a moment of weakness when that plate hit the table.

Long after I had left Starbucks, I continued on about that cake and I think I stopped when I finally passed out for the night.  By then it was close to probably 1 or 2am.

I should have just bought a piece of cake, seriously.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Struggle and Peer Pressure

The struggle is real and peer pressure is still alive and thriving!
I spent a solid 6hrs occupying the corner seat at a table at Starbucks, working on my business proposal, and when I returned from the bathroom this was on my stuff -- a slice of a cinnamon bun one of the barristers here had left for me.  It was a sweet surprise... literally. 
Heyyyyyy, who was I to refuse her super sweet gift of sugar and spice?!  Exactly.
The struggle continued with me realizing after my workout I had finished off my protein power.
Have no fear, woke up in the early morning to a special delivery sent to me by someone special.

Adding Up the Numbers... Thursday, May 11

While laying in bed tonight, struggling to stop my brain from working on overtime, I figured out some numbers...

When I ran Hulk's in Korea I worked a 70hr, 6 day work week.  

I'm pretty much still working a 70hr work week but it's a 7 day week.  Today I spent 4hrs training between boxing and weight training, and then I spent 6 hours business planning.

My upcoming business poses a possibly 90hr, 7 day work week unless I hire a crew. 

I have 6 job positions I have to hire for, for the daily running of my business, so I'm looking at about 20 people I have to hire.  And this doesn't even account for the hired help I'll have to get for the setting up and construction of my business. 

I've been making a lot of contacts here though so I'm very optimistic that once I get my written-in-stone investors the ball will start to roll super fast.  Already I have made connections and know who I'll be hiring for my realtor, PR Rep, corporate lawyer, graphic street artist, and renovation team.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Preparing to Leave Eastwood

It's a weird feeling, feeling internationally homeless yet "at home" in various countries.
My Adidas gym bag has gone to many countries now and a pair of small boxing gloves that were given to me from someone special to me hang off the front of it.
I still catch myself missing Korea and saying "we have", as if I'm Korean, but I am really loving being here in the Philippines.  In a light chat with Coach Arman today during padwork, I said something to him and he laughed out "that's my Amy".  It felt good to feel a part of the Elorde.  
I won't miss Eastwood but I will miss many of the workers here who I see on a daily bases, like the condo workers who are always so friendly to me and the Starbuck workers who always greet me by first name.  
I can do without Eastwood but I'll surely miss Elorde... a lot.
The plan is to return here and train every so often. 

Ready to Go but One Problem... Wednesday, May 10

Currently I'm working eagerly on revising my business proposal so to accommodate the major change of me launching it here in the Philippines.  I am now busy researching and rewriting the sections of my business proposal about my competition and target market.  

For a while there I was super hesitant and reluctant to really attract my proposal because I didn't know if I'd be launching it here or back in Toronto.  It's very hard to write a business plan if you don't even know your location let alone what country you're going to put it in.  

I weighted out all the pros and cons for both the Philippines and Canada but, to tell you the truth, it basically came down to one thing, to one question -- where do I feel I can make the greater impact.  

Philippines is my new home.  

In June I'll be hopefully moving out of Eastwood and possibly to Makati.

I have my May 28th return ticket to Canada and I feel I should use it to go say bye to friends and to have a sit down conversation with my father.  I'm already on limited cash already and I cringe at having to spend $5 for coffee so that I can use the wifi here at Starbucks but now I'm faced with another dilemma.  

How do I pay for a return ticket back to the Philippines?!

I was hoping to go from the Philippines to Canada, Canada to Korea and then Korea back to the Philippines.  I had discussed with Snickers my plan and me wanting to clear up legal stuff with us but once again he's been MIA with answering back to me.  

A certain someone in Korea offered to pay for my ticket but I suspect that will come with strings attached though he's tried to reassure me that it doesn't.  

Crunch time is approaching and with a little over two weeks to figure out how to get back here, I may end up not being able to leave in the first place if I can't find an answer.  It would be so great to see friends, visit my pastor and church, and go to my gym, but I just don't have the extra grand laying around.

I have an amazing idea for my upcoming business but I'm still very much a starving entrepreneur and starving athlete.  The struggle is real. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Feeling Good, Feeling Strong... Feeling Back to Normal

Catch me outside, in my bikini doing laps, how bout that.

The packaging on my lunch comes with a "warning", nice.

On a Mission... Tuesday, May 9

With finally having made the big decision -- Canada or the Philippines -- I am able to continue working on my business proposal with a much more clearer focus and mission.  I spent about 5 hours at Starbucks today slaving away at it and then after my evening weight training session and run I continued working on it long into the late night.

I'm back to my regular routine but with a refocused direction so if I'm not at the boxing club boxing, lifting weights at the gym, swimming in the pool, or at the condo eating or sleeping, then I'll be at Starbucks slaving away on my revised business proposal.

Monday, May 08, 2017

The Intensity of Training Resumes

Am back to pushing my body to the limits with boxing in the morning and weight training in the evening.  I haven't been doing my laps in the pool like when I first arrived, it's a cardio overdose, but I do go to the pool to swim around but not to do laps specifically.