For Luke Tan, succeeding as an athlete and an individual comes down to being fuelled by plants. As a vegan he has experienced an athletic edge.
What’s your story?
I am an author, coach and award winning plant-fuelled athlete. In my journey through the health and fitness industry, I have found that the intersection between long-term health, enhanced athletic performance and sustainability, lies in a plant-based perspective.
I initially embraced a vegan diet for ethical reasons, but 3 plus years on, I realise it has become my athletic edge giving me, enhanced recovery and detoxification, increased strength and energy and better body composition. Being extremely passionate about a plant-based diet, I decided to start the brand Evolved Generation (based in Australia), authored a book on the subject, and I am now growing my coaching brand, The A.W.A.K.E Method. My intention is to spread the message of health, athleticism and personal empowerment through a plant-fuelled lifestyle.
In June 2015, my team (from Evolved Generation) and I travelled to Austin, Texas to compete alongside global vegan muscle team Plantbuilt. I was placed first in my category representing Australia and Singapore. Through my journey as an athlete and a coach, I have realised that achieving optimal health is fairly simple. All it takes is starting to incorporate more nutrient dense whole plant-based foods into one’s diet.
What excites you most about your industry?
With the rise of chronic degenerative diseases (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc) in developed nations, there is now a massive move towards preventative health (more personal trainers, nutritionists, yoga and holistic practitioners, for example). Medical practitioners in the U.S.A. are starting to utilize a plant-based diet to heal and reverse these debilitating diseases. On another front, companies these days are also starting to move towards more sustainable and ethical practices.
Based on these two factors, the interest in the plant-based movement is experiencing significant growth according to Google trends. It has seen a 3 fold increase in the past 4-5 years and 700% increase in the search for ‘vegan’ information in Australia since 2005. Living and breathing the message, it’s amazing to be at the forefront of an emerging industry.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Born in Singapore, I packed my bags in 1999 and left for Melbourne, Australia to further my studies. In a blink of an eye, 16 years have passed and I realise how much the Singapore landscape has changed. It’s amazing to witness Singapore’s progress each year I visit. A new freeway, a new mall and a new MRT line. Everything just happens so quick here.
While being in Melbourne, I appreciate the great coffee, arts, the four seasons in a day, the Yarra river, but most of all the laidback Australian culture. Fully embracing a western perspective towards life, in my heart, I was always a Singapore boy. I appreciate sitting in a coffee shop sipping on my local $1 ‘sock kopi’, whilst watching seniors doing their morning ‘Tai chi’ in the neighbourhood parks.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I may be biased but I would have to say Singapore. What I’ve noticed is that the government here is very supportive of SMEs and start-ups. Offering generous grants and a framework that supports business owners, resulting in an entrepreneurial culture that is extremely innovative and highly productive.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘Make a difference,’ I once heard Anthony Robbins say in an audio book. I believe that to create something of significance, it has to be driven by a strong ‘Why’. ‘Why’ does the organisation exist? ‘Why’ does the product or service exist? ‘Why’ do you do what you do? It has often got to be greater than oneself, and the obvious.
I believe that as I work towards growing both my brands, I am driven by a strong ‘why’. My ‘why’ is what drives each action and decision that I make.
Receiving a few hard knocks from life (as described in my book), experiencing my own archetypal descent, I’ve now found a deep sense of purpose for doing what I do. It revolves around making a difference to others, and the world at large. Be it better health, a greater sense of self, or creating a culture where consumption is both mindful and positive. I am extremely passionate about my cause.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by wellness advocate, author, ultra-endurance athlete and father, Rich Roll. How he acts in the world is congruent with his brand, and the positive message that he spreads. I love his plant-powered message, and how he inspires others to embrace a life of truth and authenticity.
This quote by Carl Jung deeply resonates with me, ‘the privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.’
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
What you think someone wants, may be totally different to what they actually want. For answers, feedback or leads, my uncle always told me as a kid, “always ask and you shall get!”
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I had my time again, I would not change one single thing. I believe any mistakes made and any past lessons learnt, defines who I am today, and who I will be in the future. As an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) trainer, I often advise clients on the presuppositions I’ve learnt, such as,‘there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.’
How do you unwind?
My morning routine of meditating for 20 minutes when I wake up, then writing in my journal on how my day is to unfold. Another activity that helps me unwind is putting on an ambient soundtrack, sitting on my favourite armchair, then getting absorbed in a good book.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hua Hin in Thailand. Being remote and about 3 hours away from Bangkok, you get the warm Thai hospitality minus the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, I get access to an amazing array of sweet tropical fruits that cost next to nothing. Perfect for someone who thrives on a plant-based diet.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Good to Great by Jim Collins. It describes why certain brands or companies have achieved global success in the long term. The book then visits what the characteristics are of these great brands or companies and addresses how to achieve it within your own organisation.
Shameless plug for your business:
Through the A.W.A.K.E Method philosophy towards coaching, I am looking to launch seminars and workshops that revolve around personal and physical empowerment.
Specialising in plant-fuelled nutrition and NLP, the aim of each seminar is to equip and empower individuals with the necessary tools to break out of the ‘diet/weight loss mindset’ and instead, focus on intrinsic motivations and plant-based nourishment to achieving long-term health, increased energy and enhanced mental acuity, whilst maintaining a perspective of sustainability.
My book ‘A.W.A.K.E and Alive: Harness your physical and mental potential through a plant-based lifestyle’ is a great intro for anyone open to a holistic perspective on long term physical and personal empowerment. On my website, there is a page dedicated to plant-based diet references, documentaries and films to watch, free downloads and even where to eat.
How can people connect with you?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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