Hi there and welcome – I’m so excited you’ve made it here! My name is Sohee Lee and I’m a California-based fitness buff. I am currently a 4th year student at Stanford University and will be graduating in June 2012 with a B.A. in Human Biology – Psychosocial and Biological Determinants of Health. I’m also an NSCA-certified personal trainer and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor.

How I Got Into Fitness

I’ve been physically active my entire life, starting with swimming at the age of 2. I’ve since participated in gymnastics, tap dancing (yeah, really), cheerleading, baseball, track, soccer, swimming, and cross country. I was an endurance athlete and, at one point, dipped into some dangerous territories. Read more about my battle with my eating disorder here and how I climbed my way out of the abyss. To super-summarize that article, here’s a before picture:

Anorexia: hitting rock bottom. 80lbs.

And an after – after dedicated heavy lifting and eating right:

Winning 2nd place. Cheeeeeze!

Today, I’m thriving, and I’m constantly on the up and up.

My Take on Training

I made a lot of training mistakes along the way, as I’m sure you have before – or are currently still doing. What sucks about this is that you may not even realize that hey, you’re doin’ it wrong. There are way too many so-called “reliable resources” out there that tell you to do XYZ workout that consist of 20 reps of bicep curls supersetted with 50 reps of quarter squats while balancing on a Bosu ball. For the pump. And the core. What? I remember when I first started lifting weights, I ingeniously put myself on a 5-day split, and one of those days was devoted entirely to training biceps. I kid you not. I was fooled by those online forums and the magazines that told me I would get “toned” (what is that, anyway?) if only I did hammer curls, preacher curls, incline dumbbell curls, reverse barbell curls, and cable curls all in the same workout. I mean, you realize how small your biceps muscles are in comparison to, say, the meaty gluteal muscles, right? Can you begin to fathom how ridiculous this all sounds?

Fast forward a few years, and I’m now leaps and bound more informed (when it comes to fitness, anyway). I’ve only scraped the tip of the fitness knowledge iceberg, but I’m anxiously scrounging for more. I think that when most individuals first begin lifting weights, they dive in a little too enthusiastically and end up overwhelming their bodies with too much volume, too little rest, and too few of the right exercises. They work themselves into the ground and then call it quits before they’ve really given proper exercise a fighting chance.

I believe in prioritizing the compound movements and saving the accessory movements for later, if at all. I believe in lifting heavy, regardless of whether you’re leaning out or trying to build mass. I believe that training should complement your diet, not compensate for your crappy nutrition. I believe that pink dumbbells should be used for rehab purposes only (ladies, I’m looking at you), and that nothing is quite more badass and sexy than a man or woman who can dominate in the weight room.

My Take on Nutrition

Hearing the following statements make me cringe:

  • Too much protein will damage your kidneys.
  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you skip it, you. Will. Die.
  • Small, frequent feedings keep your metabolism up and everybody should eat this way.
  • Not eating for more than 4 hours at a time will cause your muscles to atrophy.
  • You should never, never eat junk food lest the calories race straight to your hips, ass, and face. And stay there forever.
  • You can say goodbye to alcohol.

I don’t want to argue with you. Really, I don’t; I think we’ve both got better things to do with our time, no?  With that said, none of the above are true. They’re just not. When I was prepping for my NPC bikini competition for May 2011, I did the opposite of everything listed and looked like this:

I know these long-held beliefs may be hard to let go of, but I encourage you to keep an open mind. And I’m going to tell you one more thing: I’m an intermittent faster (IF). For those of you who are not familiar with the term, check out Martin Berkhan’s site here. I do it because 1) for someone who’s only 5’2”, I have a huge appetite –it’s kind of scary; 2) I’m a busy gal, and busting out my Tupperware 6 times a day is not really all that convenient; and 3) I have a serious sweet tooth and I’d like to satisfy my craving for Swedish Fish, Almond Joy, and butter pecan ice cream on a regular basis. I like feeling full, and I enjoy food. Who doesn’t? That’s why I do IFing.

Food is meant to be enjoyed, not feared. Sure, it’s sustenance, it’s calories, it’s nutrients; but it’s also a means of bringing people together. It’s a shared experience; it’s a sweet rush of momentary joy after a long day of frustrations. I’m not advocating an emotional relationship with food – I simply want you to recognize its value (or lack thereof). Food is important, but it’s not that important. Especially here in America, we think far too much about what kinds of meals we’re eating and how much. We’re gluttons for food and over-analysis. Paired together, we are presented with today’s obesity epidemic, which has been predicted to only get worse in future years. I know it’s cool to feel like you’re a part of something (and social psychology has proven that we as human beings gravitate toward blending in), but I think it would be safe to say that you’d be doing yourself a disservice by contributing to this nation-wide problem. So… let’s try our best to stay away from that, mmkay?

Why I Created This Site

I made this site for you, dear reader. For years, I’ve spent every minute of my free time absorbing everything I could about fitness. I’ve worked with a number of trainers, learned what worked and what didn’t, and stumbled through many roadblocks to get to where I am now. Also, I like to write, and I want to share my stories with you. I have many.

I’m a lover of all things psychology (hence my academic area of focus); I’m intrigued by everything that makes us who we are as humans. Social relationships, the psychology behind our decisions… they all play into making us unique individuals.

When it comes down to it, fitness in and of itself is not what I’m passionate about; it’s you. It’s what exists between me and you – this thing called a connection. A bond. I get such a high off of nurturing something so intangible and watching as we help each other in some way. How can you help me? You can start by helping me help you. Ask me questions, prod my brain, contact me! I’m here to make your life better. Whether that’s by providing you with a thought-provoking or entertaining blog post in the morning as you sip your heavenly java or by working with you as your training and nutrition consultant to transform your physique, I’m here, and I’m ready.

Are you ready?

Please feel free to send me an e-mail vis the contact form. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!