Ken Inoue, originally from Torrance, California, is a certified personal trainer. As a life-long surfer, he learned how to embrace the laid back So-Cal vibes in tandem with a vigorous yet rewarding exercise routine from a young age. A firm believer in finding multiple paths to fitness, Mr. Inoue tailors exercise plans to the individual to create accessible, motivating, and efficient sessions with balanced results. In light of 2020, this has proved especially important in curating digital fitness regimens that clients can sink their teeth into at home with little to no equipment. In his spare time, Ken Inoue enjoys exploring new restaurants focused on a well-balanced diet via Los Angeles takeout, practicing a mindful yoga flow, catching a wave along the Southern California coast, and socializing with friends and family in Torrance, health protocols permitting, of course.
Tell us about yourself?
Hey, I am Ken Inoue. Oh man, there’s so much to tell, but in a few words, I help men and women train with ease. I am a personal trainer, so to speak. Not your average trainer, though. In California, you can’t be an average trainer, there are too many sharks (both figuratively and literally speaking). When I train, I focus on lighting the fire inside my clients. I am more of a fitness coach focused on helping people build active lifestyles from the ground up rather than a dude that tells you which exercises to do at the gym. Gym access and routines have changed anyhow. I live in Torrance, in Cali. Surf a lot, eat a lot [discovering healthy takeout is a passion of mine]. I say if you work out hard like my clients do, get yourself an In-n-Out burger once in a while. With proper planning, it’s not going to hurt you.
I like your approach, Ken! Balance is always key. Now, what makes you different from other professionals in your field?
I bring my dog to my fitness sessions. JK. Like I actually bring my dog everywhere I can. He is my pal. But on a serious note, as I have mentioned, I pay very close attention to the identity of my client. I don’t just train their bodies, I train their minds. We, as humans, tend to grip to our perceived identifications. And when they fall apart, we panic. This happened to so many of my friends, gym rats. When the lockdown happened they started stressing out that they would get fat without going to the gym which led to them overeating and guess what? Most of them did end up gaining weight. It happened because their mind had this identification of their body shape with the gym. Well, I tell people all the time – you don’t need a gym to be fit. Yes, if you want to get ripped, you need to lift heavy weights, but otherwise, you don’t need the weights. You can be in great shape doing bodyweight training at home or outside.
On the other hand, you have people who aren’t in the greatest shape. They also have perceived identifications. They say “I’m fat,” “I’ve never been able to lose weight,” “My dad called me a pumpkin growing up.” We have all of this head-trash going on explaining why we can’t be healthy and fit, happy and fulfilled. And it takes mental work to let go of these identifications and start believing in yourself. This is where I come in.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
I wish I knew, man. I am stoked to see my business grow but with how things have been developing last year, I really don’t know. It took me a few months to get over the initial shock of what was happening here in Cali and New York – I have some family there. It’s been a huge adjustment. So I am stoked about the things I can control – the value I provide to my clients. But I won’t speak to things I can’t control. You know?
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
Learning how to surf. Being exposed to the surf culture. It changed me physically and mentally. I learned to go with the flow. It’s a part of the reason that I am continuing to do what I love instead of giving up on the fitness industry. Like so many of my friends, fitness trainers had to get jobs elsewhere. Some started businesses in other niches, some got a temp job somewhere at a warehouse just to be able to pay their bills. Going with the flow helped me through these challenges. I adjusted my offer and kept going.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
I recently purchased a banjo just for fun and I am stoked about it. It’s taking me way too much time to learn how to play but the whole experience of trial and error is exciting to me.
The worst purchase? The other day I went through a Starbucks drive-through and the coffee they made was horrible. I had to make a circle and give it back to them. At least my dog enjoyed the ride. I am very picky about my coffee, man.
What takes up too much of your time?
I would say personal nutrition takes up way too much of my time. That’s why I like to try new restaurants and get takeouts. I can’t stand cooking for too long. I try to have 17 out of 20 meals every few days that are pretty clean and per my diet. And then 3+ meals are flexed. So I try to meal prep on the weekends and stick to what I have in the fridge. I still feel like it’s taking me way too much time.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
Get a mentor. Like it’s a hella job to start a business and you need someone experienced by your side. Someone you can go to for advice, ask questions, pick their brain. You can’t start a successful business on your own and if you don’t want to burn through cash pretty quickly you need a mentor. Get a mentor that you trust, someone who’s done what you want to accomplish. That’s one.
Second, don’t expect to make money from your business right off the bat. Decide if you are looking for a get-rich-quick scheme or if you are building your legacy. Cause those are two completely different things.
Third, relax. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. So many of my entrepreneurial friends got burned out putting in 50-70 hours a week until they started to hate their businesses. You need balance. Get your day off once a week. Get your burger and fries. Get your Starbucks. Stop being this Goddamn perfectionist.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
I am a huge fan of Alex Honnold. I’ve watched “Free Solo” hundreds of times. I love his concept of warrior spirit: “Nothing good happens in the world by being happy and cozy.” It’s so true.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
Like I said, I go with the flow when things don’t go as planned. 2020 has been tough for all of us. And having a philosophy of riding a wave helped me to make the best out of what I had. Sometimes when we try to control our lives too much and try to make them perfect we get very disappointed when things don’t go as planned. So I enjoy the journey and ride the wave. That’s what I do best.
How should people connect with you?
Hit me up on my website keninouetorrance.com