With wisdom and grace, philanthropist Kathy Huang bares her holistic understanding of fitness, one that cherishes the power of mind and body in harmonious balance
This is an excerpt from MEGA’s July 2023 Fitness feature.
As the light rain pattered gently against the pavement, I stood outside a mall in Pasig City, waiting for Kathy Huang. As I scanned my surroundings, my gaze landed upon a figure gracefully navigating the wet streets. There she was, Huang, radiating an unmistakable energy that seemed to defy the gloomy weather that day.
Wearing a crisp white sleeveless top that highlighted her toned physique, she effortlessly carried two large duffel bags. She approached me with a genuine smile, exuding a warmth that instantly put me at ease.
From our very first exchange, Huang’s unique brand of humor was immediately apparent. With an air of foreign wit that held a respectful charm, her quips and anecdotes effortlessly punctuated our conversation, swiftly erasing any hesitations or awkwardness that often accompany first meetings.
In an act of kindness, I offered to help carry her bags. Yet, with a gracious smile, she politely declined, assuring me that the weight was no burden to her—it was a glimpse into her character, the tenacity that lay within her vibrant persona.
SOURCE OF HAPPINESS
As we begin our interview, Huang, with unflinching honesty, revealed that the driving force behind her active lifestyle is mental health.
“I really don’t think mental health is talked about enough,” she says. “So a lot of this is for my own mental health, happiness, and endorphins.”
Huang has always had a lifelong love affair with physical activities. Since her formative years, she recounts being drawn to the thrill of competition, immersing herself in the world of lacrosse and basketball—athletic endeavors that not only sharpened her skills but also nurtured an enduring affinity with fitness.
Nowadays, Huang says her fitness regimen revolves around muay Thai, indoor cycling, and using the Megaformer, a machine that melds the precision of pilates with an amplified intensity, challenging her body and sculpting her muscles in deliberate and measured motions.
With the list of activities that Huang engages in, one could easily mistake that her lifestyle is always fueled by boundless motivation. Yet, Huang says, it is something that is not constant, but rather a companion that comes and goes.
“I’m not always inspired to lace up my shoes and hit the gym—nobody can be motivated 100 percent of the time,” she confesses. “But what I am is disciplined. It’s the discipline that keeps me going, treating exercise as non-negotiable, just like showing up for work, even on the toughest of days.”
MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF HER OWN DRUM
Huang’s notions of fitness are a refreshing departure from traditional approaches. The way she sees health and fitness is very fluid: They are not guided by rigid plans and meal preps.
“I don’t know how to say it without being kind of offensive,” Huang admits, “but I see a lot on Instagram, both men and women that are just like completely jacked, like, eight packs or whatever, and they’d advise to count macros and stuff. I don’t even know what that actually means.”
Huang says she chooses to embrace an approach that champions a balanced and intuitive relationship with both food and exercise. For her, it’s about nourishing her body without succumbing to restrictive measures and allowing herself the freedom to savor junk food.