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This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.
Name: Steven Phan, 28
City: San Francisco, CA
Occupation: During the day, I actually work in tech at a cryptocurrency trading company and at night I am a fitness instructor at Barry’s. They both are so different and challenging in so many ways. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is your favorite gym for working out?
Barry’s (I am biased). I am a big fan of sprints and being able to run on the treadmills at Barry’s really helps reduce the damage done to my joints versus on the pavement. The treadmills at Barry’s are Woodways, which have been specifically designed to absorb the shock of the impact from your strides.
Do you have a favorite exercise playlist?
Kaskade, that is all. Check out this Spotify playlist.
What’s the best food to eat prior to a workout?
When I do anything HIIT-related [High-Intensity Interval Training], I need something that is easily digestible, so that I am able to jump around freely without feeling like the food is coming back up. I have experimented with tons of different food combinations, but have found that just carbs work the best for me, such as a banana or an apple.
What’s the best outfit for working out?
The shorter the better ;). I have tattoos everywhere, so I like to show those off. Shorts have to be a minimum of 4″ and a simple tank top usually does my body justice.
How do you balance staying in shape and having fun?
These two go hand in hand. It is important to find ways to move your body that you truly enjoy. In the past, I pretty much dabbled in a whole bunch of different types of fitness classes to get my body moving to see which one was the best fit for me. I have done Spin, Barre, Pilates and Crossfit just to name a few. If you are new to exercise, I highly recommend immersing yourself in the different types of fitness activities that are available to you. Ever since finding group fitness, it has made moving so much more fun and positive for me. Also, being trapped in the house for the past year has really made me appreciate the human connection you get in a group fitness setting versus a solo gym session.
What’s a basic, if useful, workout tip you can offer?
Set realistic goals. Your body does not look like mine and vice versa. As things start to open up, I have found that clients are going on crash diets and working out x2-3 times in a day in an attempt to lose weight in the “shortest amount of time”. This is not sustainable and they tend to fall into a never-ending cycle of failure because they are not setting themselves up for success. Be patient and understand that goals should be set with the understanding that it is going to take time. You need to be able to stick to them for the long term.
How do you keep your clients motivated?
My nickname is the “Energizer Bunny of the North.” I smother my clients with positivity no matter at what time of day it is. Yes, 6 AM clients get the same high-level energy as my 6 PM clients. I act as a cheerleader and make sure to provide movements that are scalable so that everyone can participate in the workout. I have found that providing movements that are scalable allows clients to choose their own path because everybody’s bodies are different
What do you keep on your nightstand?
My journal. Every night, I like to unwind by reflecting on the day. Sometimes, I doodle as a way to help me settle into bed. Honestly, it keeps me distracted from my phone, which I use way too often.