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Fit to eat, eat to fit

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2016-01-19 08:47

Fit to eat, eat to fit

[Photo by Cai Meng/China Daily]

Before you haul your New Year's resolutions to the gym, take stock of what you're eating. Local fitness gurus are becoming menu planners, they tell Mike Peters, because diet can be the first step to that beach body.

Garry Wang is a cheerful, confident fitness coach who never thought he'd go back to the days when he was chubby - an 11-year-old who felt left out of school sports and other activities.

"My brother was lean - the class athlete, he got the girls," says the Chinese-Australian entrepreneur, now 26. Wang started going to a local gym in Sydney and pumping iron, setting out on a path that would ultimately take him to competitive bodybuilding. Two years ago, having relocated to his parents' homeland, he entered a provincial contest in Shandong.

"That meant 28 weeks of hard work and nothing but broccoli, chicken and brown rice," he says with a grimace. One thing that taught him, however, was the importance of diet as well as exercise for overall fitness. After the muscle competition (he came in second), he and his wife started devising menus that were more diverse but delivered a calculated balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

His gym mates noticed the prepared meals he was bringing to the gym, he says, and began asking: "Hey, can your wife make lunches for us, too?"

Wang laughed at first, but an idea was born, and soon he was catering meals "for half the gym". Thanks mostly to word of mouth from his clients and friends, his food and fitness company, Living Bigg, has been delivering up to 200 meals a day in a 3-kilometer radius of Beijing's Sanlitun area - prompting a recent move to a big commercial kitchen.

"As most people know these days, it's 60 percent diet, 40 percent exercise," Wang says, "so we hope to educate our customers on the importance of both".

To help do that, Wang recently decided to channel his inner 11-year-old - that fat kid from his youth - to produce a video documentary about diet and health.

"I ate nothing but junk food for 12 weeks, and gained 20 kilograms," he says. "By the end, I weighed 100 kg, and most of the gain was around my middle. People would say, 'But you don't really look fat,' and then I'd pull up my shirt and they'd go: 'Omigod!'"

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