Published 13 July 2020
Taking multitasking to a whole different level. We speak to Wen Li, who juggles multiple roles in the fitness and wellness industry (and manages to stay sane).

Tell us a little about yourself.

I wear a couple of hats at Union Strength as the Marketing and Studio Manager, personal trainer and a group coach. On the side, I’m the co-founder of a wellness and fitness platform called THESWEATCO. and a boxing coach at TRIBE Boxing Studio.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My role as a personal trainer and group coach are usually a 7-days-a-week gig. With a majority of my personal training sessions throughout the day and group classes in the evenings on a daily basis. Simultaneously, I manage Union Strength’s digital and offline marketing channels, campaigns as well as coordination of our studio classes, our amazing team of group coaches and all studio related matters.

My co-founder, Janine, and I handle THESWEATCO. operations on the fly. We've recently launched our third collection of our premium resistance bands, SWEATBANDS. We handle marketing, planning and operations between the two of us and we are now working on expanding our geographical reach in the coming months.

Photo credit: Wen Li and Janine celebrating 'SWEATTURNS 1' at Wet Deck W Kuala Lumpur

Who or what inspires you as a coach?

The people. I get very very invested in each person I meet and train. Between being a personal trainer and group coach, I get to meet about 20-30 individuals on a daily basis and it's hugely gratifying to watch them progress each session or class. And it's beyond the physical progression they make, a lot of the work we put in together is overcoming emotional barriers and hurdles. Each person approaches their training differently and it is inspiring to see how they tackle it and challenge themselves.

What’s been the most memorable moment for you as a coach?

Frankly there have been many and it is hard to play favourites here! Many of these moments have the same underlying theme of growth and progression. It's always a good day when a client comes up to you and tells you that they feel like they've come a long way since day one and that they feel good about themselves. I'm (very) far from maternal but I guess it's like watching your kid group up and graduate multiple times over.

"I'm (very) far from maternal but I guess it's like watching your kid grow up and graduate multiple times over."

With group classes, the most memorable classes I've had are coincidentally one's that consist of only women (sorry guys, coincidence I swear). I recently had an online class (again, coincidentally all women) and when they realised it was just us ladies - half the class turned on their cameras at the same time and it encouraged everyone else to do the same *ugly cry face*.

I've also had the privilege to host a regular group of women at our Union classes (y'all know who you are) and they are just so supportive of one another?! I've witnessed support and encouragement in so many forms. Coordinating class schedules, exchanging weights, glances of pure hatred when the coach (aka me) says one more set, matching your pace to the person next to you or the group - most of the time these things happen between complete strangers in group classes. It's amazing.

Bottom line, these classes stand out the most to me because of the energy, support and good vibes radiating off each person. Zero competition, zero bullshit.

What has your role as a coach taught you about yourself?

It has taught me a lot about perseverance and staying humble. It has definitely made me realise that I do want to focus a lot more on advocating and empowering women in their fitness journey. To encourage the messaging that there is no one correct formula in your fitness journey. In the early days as a new female coach in a mostly male environment (this was my experience and not necessarily the same for everyone), I unfortunately had a lot of early experiences that were not the best and was borderline discriminatory.

But I'm grateful to have found my place at Union Strength, it's such a supportive and family-based environment that I feel safe to grow and continue educating myself amongst like-minded individuals (and pretty badass ladies in the gym).

What would you say to someone who is looking to attend one of your classes?

Show up on time. I'm kidding but not really, am such a stickler for punctuality. Semi-jokes aside, show up and do your thing. Whether you're having a good day, or a bad day. Whether you're there with a goal in mind or if you're just there for the good vibes and good music (which I guarantee). You're doing it for yourself and that's all that matters. YOU DO YOU.

Wen Li
Marketing and Studio Manager,
Personal Trainer and Group Coach
at Union Strength,
Founder of THESWEATCO. and
Boxing Coach at TRIBE Boxing Studio.