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Ju Young Yoo: “We don’t have time”

I believe it takes 66 days to change a habit. It’s incredibly hard to stick with a new program, especially when you find it challenging. That’s why you need to create a routine that’s manageable and realistic. For example, if you work late nights, don’t promise yourself you’ll exercise at 7am each morning. Be kind […]

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I believe it takes 66 days to change a habit. It’s incredibly hard to stick with a new program, especially when you find it challenging. That’s why you need to create a routine that’s manageable and realistic. For example, if you work late nights, don’t promise yourself you’ll exercise at 7am each morning. Be kind to yourself and create an attainable schedule that works for your lifestyle.


As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ju Young Yoo

Ju Young Yoo is the Co-Founder and CEO of SUKU Vitamins, a company that aims to bridge the gap between beauty and wellness by developing natural health products that are scientifically-driven, innovative, yet so delicious. He started the first sugar-free, sugar alcohol free, plant-based gummy vitamin designed to help women and men look and feel their very best. Prior to studying at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Ju Young received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Thanks for having me! I first got involved in fitness and wellness when I was in high school. I started being more active with my friends, going to the gym, and playing sports. I loved the idea of being healthy, so I started doing more research about supplements and diet. It also helped that my mother was always into healthy eating. She made sure I ate my fruits and veggies every day.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most interesting story that happened since I started SUKU was meeting our investor and third member of SUKU, Alexandra. They always say finding the right investor is like finding the right partner in marriage — it takes time to know if you’re the right fit. We met Alexandra at a charity event where she first tried our products. We randomly connected again at another event where she expressed her love for SUKU and wanted to invest.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect because we were actually looking for an investor. We had multiple meetings soon after, and things just clicked. She fit in so well with us and has brought in all of the skills that the company needs to scale successfully.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

The most humorous mistake is also one of the most common mistakes start-ups make, which is that we calculated our prices wrong. We were trying to figure out why some stores never replied when they saw our costs, or why they would price our products higher than we suggested. It wasn’t until a retailer sent us a cost sheet for their planogram where we finally saw the margins and markups. That’s when we realized we were off!

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I believe my unique contribution to the world of wellness is providing an alternative way to take your daily supplements and vitamins. Most gummy vitamins in the market are made with sugar, sugar-alcohol, and gelatin. They are essentially candies.

However, SUKU gummy vitamins are sugar-free, sugar alcohol free, and plant-based. It is the healthiest gummy vitamin available in the market today. We also didn’t shy away from using botanicals, which is extremely hard in gummy vitamins due to color and taste.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am very grateful for my girlfriend. When my business partner and I started SUKU, we were bootstrapping. Money was tight. I remember looking at all our products in my room and asking her, “How am I supposed to sell this all before it expires?”. She was there for me as my emotional support and continually cheered me on when I felt overwhelmed. Thanks to her I was able to push through the hurdles of starting a business.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

  1. We don’t create realistic routines.
    I believe it takes 66 days to change a habit. It’s incredibly hard to stick with a new program, especially when you find it challenging. That’s why you need to create a routine that’s manageable and realistic. For example, if you work late nights, don’t promise yourself you’ll exercise at 7am each morning. Be kind to yourself and create an attainable schedule that works for your lifestyle.
  2. We try to go it alone.
    I know that many of us don’t like to ask for help, but tackling a new healthy lifestyle alone can be daunting and often defeating. Try to find someone with similar goals as you, that way you can keep one another accountable. You’ll also have someone to celebrate milestones with!
  3. We don’t have time. We’re all so busy with work, family, and managing life through the pandemic that it can seem impossible to find time to prep and cook nutritious meals. I like to choose five easy recipes that use ingredients I can find at any grocery store and take less than 20 minutes to make. From a whole wheat pasta with a simple tomato and basil sauce to a hearty quinoa stir-fry, having these in my back pocket makes me feel less stressed (and keeps me from ordering takeout) when it comes to dinner time.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

Carry around a water bottle.

Staying hydrated is incredibly important, especially for business professionals who often opt for a

third cup of coffee rather than a cup of water. I tend to drink more when I have my water bottle with me. Add a squeeze of lemon for flavour and a quick vitamin C boost.

Take the stairs over the escalator or elevator.

Those extra stairs per day really add up! Try to optimize every chance you can to get your body moving.

Stand up once per hour.
They say that sitting is the new smoking, and it’s easy to see why. A sedentary life can lead to a series of health complications and is said to increase your risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. At the office, we sit and stare at our computers day in and day out. So try to optimize every chance you get to move your body.

Sleep with your phone in a different room.

We all know how easy it can be to “quickly” look at your phone, and then find yourself reading your emails, browsing through Instagram, or texting with your friends. Pretty soon, an hour has gone by. Resist temptation and sleep with your phone in another room so you don’t get distracted from that all-important shut-eye.

Get outside once per day.

I find nature walks help me brainstorm better ideas and relieves my stress. Whether it’s a local park, trail, or just around the block, fresh air can do wonders for the body and the mind.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

The first benefit is stress relief. We all lead busy lives, and as an entrepreneur, you are constantly trying to overcome challenges. Work can be very tolling on your body. Exercise helps to relieve the daily stress and anxiety, plus it gives you time away from the screen to regroup.

The second is that daily exercise releases hormones that helps you improve your mood. Whether a brisk walk or an intense gym session, physical activity stimulates your brain to leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

Third, you’re reducing your risk of chronic diseases. Regular exercise has been proven to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, and even several types of cancer.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

Walking is an easy and free way to get daily exercise into your life. Starting an intense workout regime can be daunting, so if you’re looking to ease your way into daily fitness, walking for 30–60 minutes each day is a great start.

I’d also recommend stretching. This is one that many of us forget to do. Stretching keeps your body flexible, strong, and your joints in motion. It’s so important to properly stretch to prevent injury. There are plenty of free resources online that can walk you through a quick stretch routine.

To increase that heart rate, grab a jump rope. This is another very affordable option that doesn’t require a lot of space. Jumping rope is fun, challenging, and is a great way to work up a sweat.

In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?

I think cooling down and stretching after every workout session is very important for both recovery time and to prevent injury. I also take BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) for faster muscle recovery.

There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?

I’m not a big fan of dieting, especially fad diets that restrict entire food groups. This isn’t a healthy or often a sustainable way to live. That being said, my diet looks similar to the Mediterranean diet. It’s full of fresh fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats (I personally use olive oil), whole grains, nuts, and fish.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth was one of my favorite books I read when I was in school. It broke down that success was associated with hard work rather than natural skills. I found it really inspiring and drew lessons out of it through my own entrepreneurial journey.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to make healthier foods more accessible and affordable for everyone. A healthier diet is the foundation for healthier and happier people.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Consistency of effort over the long run is everything.” ~ Angela Duckworth

As an entrepreneur venturing into an already competitive market, I knew I was about to face new challenges. Sometimes I got it right, sometimes I got it wrong. However, I always showed up each day and kept pushing myself, trying new things, and learning how to be better. Consistency is everything if you want to be successful.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to have tacos with Lebron James! I have read numerous articles about his dedicated health regime, so I’d love to pick his brain about how he stays on top of his game season after season.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Please follow our journey on Instagram! We are @SUKUvitamins. You can also learn more about our sugar-free gummy vitamins on our website: www.sukuvitamis.com.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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