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The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
When it comes to health and fitness, pumping iron and participating in triathlon competitions can be the ideal impression to keep fit. For Mike Ling, a fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur, fitness and health encompasses not just physical conditions, but also mental strength, food intake and happiness.
Ling was born and raised in China with a medical background. He was to become a surgeon until he turned around to venture abroad, with the US being the ultimate destination – both because he wasn't for the Chinese hospital system and he wanted to see the world.
Initially, Ling started biomedical research and decided to switch to business, fascinated by its intricacies. After completing his MBA from Indiana University, Ling started at Deloitte Consulting, where he spent five years helping several global healthcare clients to formulate and implement strategies for expansion in emerging markets.
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Although Ling enjoyed his job at Deloitte, his relentless passion for being an entrepreneur never waned. That endeavor served as a catalyst for his next step: returning to China to start his own business by combining fitness and technology. FitTime, an online fitness company, is the result of his passion and entrepreneurship with more than 20 million active users between mobile phones and smart TVs.
“At first I tried to get fit because I was studying medicine,” says Ling. “We learned how to treat the sick, but we haven't really learned how to stay healthy. In the US, I was influenced by the fitness culture so I started weight training and I really enjoyed it and wanted to share those benefits with the world. "
Redefine the philosophy of health
The pursuit of happiness blossomed for Ling as he turned his dream into a reality. But as he gets older and wiser, a number of physical and mental setbacks have changed his understanding of health. Rather than just focusing on being disease free, his work has shifted to developing the ability to recover from illness or injury. Diet plays an essential role in this process, with food consumption a high priority, which Ling believes is critical to wellbeing as there is no magic pill that cures all diseases.
“My views have changed,” he explains. “You have to take care of your body every day, and one of the most important things you can do is take care of the foods you eat. I've been on a vegetarian diet for about 10 months now. I feel good, but there is another reason – not necessarily to gain muscle or lose fat. "
Ling admits that there is no one single answer to good health or everyone would take the train to become a vegetarian. However, a vegetarian diet offers at least two good reasons: plants produce many magical biochemicals that are beneficial for the human body, and increased consumption of plant-based diets negatively affects the intake of animal proteins, which are associated with higher abundance by animals Get cancer.
"I'm 43 years old," says Ling, "I'm at a higher risk of developing cancer and many of the chronic illnesses, heart disease, diabetes and mental illnesses related to the food you eat." So my view of food has changed a lot. "
Today, Ling's reading focuses on a wide range of herbal diet books written by doctors as opposed to titles written by bodybuilders and so-called fitness gurus. And he has also adopted meditation as a means of living more consciously. His interpretation of mediation, however, is not tied to the common holistic view in which you have to sit down and close your eyes in a quiet room with soothing music in the background.
Be in the present
"My most important principle is not to multitask," Ling emphasizes his meditative approach. “I only do one thing at a time and try my best to do it. I don't open my phone until I've finished my jiu-jitsu practice. When I eat, I put my cell phone away, I don't listen to music, I don't look at the screen, I don't look at the TV, I don't read books. I want to enjoy the food, look at the food, feel how the food enters my mouth, how my teeth chew the food, how the food runs down my esophagus, and how my body feels with the food. I think this is the number one thing that helps me be present. "
Ling prefers Jiu-Jitsu not only because of its physical properties, but also because of its philosophical foundations. "Number one in the battle with the brain," he says. The second thing is playing chess with body weight. Basically, most of the time it doesn't depend on strength. It depends on the mechanics, it's about creating an imbalance, an unfair advantage. I like it because it forces me to move in different ways. "
Since then he has incorporated these ideals into his entrepreneurship. He attributes FitTime's attention to the passion for health and fitness that is a prerequisite for joining the company. Ling is even setting up a gym in the company's Shanghai office, with a corner for practicing Jiu-Jitsu, a studio for video production, and for developing new ideas for creating new content.
The 4 pillars of fitness in life
Ultimately, Ling believes that six pack abs simply won't get healthy without the four cornerstones of fitness and life: health, finances, job skills, and relationships. "I often have to think of it as a four-legged stool," he adds. "If one leg is missing, the stool is standing, but if two are missing, it will likely fall apart."
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The pursuit of happiness and success in life is a million dollar question. There is no one-to-one answer, and any answer itself can be difficult and subjective. For Ling, “success means waking up in a good mood.” The phrase hits him deeply because it compares it to “your internal definition,” not an external idea that people can impose on others.
He sums up: “In the end it boils down to this: Jack Ma or Jeff Bezos, do you wake up in a good mood? If you do, I think that you are pretty successful. "