As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kollins Ezekh
Born in Russia and raised in Thailand, Kollins Ezekh has been a leader within the realm of fitness for 15+ years. A trainer to the stars and head of the Mayweather Boxing franchise, Kollins has defied all of the myths with his plant-based chiseled physique and consistently delivers his clients with results-driven regimens. Also a personal life coach, Kollins is extremely competent and well-versed within his discipline.
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?
I was a skinny kid who got bullied, but as I got older, I really looked to fitness as an escape from that. I started working out at 15 years old, trying a mixture of different disciplines, and haven’t stopped since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
An interesting story I have since I started my career is a total Hollywood story. Someone approached me for training, and they were very nice and humble. I trained him in boxing and fitness and next thing you know, a year later he was a box office hit alongside Will Smith in the international success “Aladdin.” He was Aladdin! Long story short, I’d say pursuing my fitness career brought me to Hollywood, which has landed me a lot of valuable opportunities. It’s crazy to think that I was born in Russia and raised in Thailand and now train tons of Hollywood celebrities. Something I’m most proud of, however, is being affiliated with one of the fastest growing gyms in the U.S., “Mayweather Boxing and Fitness”.
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?
When I train clients, sometimes they need help with the diet portion of their health. To start, I recommend my clients eat 4 ounces of kale each day. And I had one client eat 4 bags one time. Needless to say he was ripped, but communication is definitely key with clients. Now I show them exactly how to portion with visuals.
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 have been in the fitness realm for over 15 years. And ironically, I’ve noticed a lot of unhealthy practices in the fitness and wellness industries. I believe in a holistic approach to wellness and have actually been vegan for over 5 years, which is generally atypical for bodybuilders. I like to defy the perception of what people think being vegan means and how they are able to perform. Mix that with my passion for boxing as an enjoyable way to get fit, and I can really show people what’s possible. Many people recognize me for my involvement with the Mayweather Franchise, a boxing and fitness gym that has grown to over 100+ locations in about a year. I am also excited to launch online home programs that people can follow along with no matter where they are. I feel my unique contribution to the fitness space is showing people that no matter what your personal situation is, it’s possible to get results if you’re committed to the process. I have achieved some far-reaching fitness goals as a vegan, so it’s really possible for anyone to achieve their results.
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?
In high school, I had a P.E. teacher named Mr. Woods. I have such strong memories of him being a mean teacher who was very competitive with and demanding of his students. Quite often when I was not able to perform at my best he would discourage me from trying because, in his opinion, I would not become anybody. He said, “Don’t even try.” At the time, it affected me in a negative way, but later in life it was the fuel that lit my fire.
Even now as an established fitness professional, when you are doing so much, it’s close to impossible to do it on your own. I am also very grateful for my girlfriend, Natalie. She has been by my side through everything. If you go on my social media accounts, you can see that she is literally by my side all the time. She loves my movement and is my other half. We are a team in everything.
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?
Three things that can affect whether someone is able to integrate healthy habits into their lives include their environment, not being mindful of creating no-compromise habits, and a lack of accountability.
If you are around people that live an unhealthy lifestyle, you might feel that the way others live is normal, but it may not be. If this is the case, you probably don’t make it a ritual to exercise, and it’s probably not a habit to eat fresh, whole foods instead of packaged foods. Last but definitely not least, if you don’t hold yourself accountable in any way, it’s much more difficult to achieve your goals. Getting a coach or starting a challenge with a goal date are great exercises in accountability. I think addressing these three blockages are vital, and that’s why I have programs that account for all these blockages.
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.)
- Focus on gaining weight — muscle weight that is. Our society focuses too heavily on the numbers on the scale, which ultimately leads to feelings of restriction and stress. If we focus on building our muscle and feeding the muscle, we will reap more benefits instead of having to deal with the body going into starvation mode. This is a much healthier mindset for those wanting long-term results because ultimately, it’s about consistency.
- Don’t be scared to eat fat. Nowadays, every grocery store and restaurant menu is loaded with fat-free this and fat-free that. But fat doesn’t always make you fat. Eating healthy fats is a great way to stay satiated for longer periods of time. Eating healthy fats also doesn’t spike insulin as much as, say, carbs, which means you’ll have less cravings and won’t crash after you eat. So don’t be scared of coconut oil, macadamia nuts, or even adding tahini to your favorite veggies.
- When you’re bloated, drink water! I know that sounds like adding more fuel to the fire, but in actuality, bloating can be caused by dehydration. This is because your body starts to hold on to the water it has, which causes that puffy look.
- This may sound odd, but I always recommend drinking a hot drink when trying to cool off after an intense workout. Because when you sip a hot drink, your body senses the change in temperature and, in turn, increases your sweat production. As the sweat evaporates, you cool off naturally. You wouldn’t think of having hot tea to cool off, would you? Tea, in general, calms me. I like it no matter what the weather is outside!
- Try reversing your dinner and breakfast habits. A lot of people eat heavy for dinner and light for their first meal. If you eat your largest meal first, you have the whole day to process it. So many people have found that if they eat their smallest meal last, their quality of sleep is much better.
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?
Daily exercise is essential for optimal health. However, I’d like to point out that you don’t have to do P90x to reap the benefits of exercise, as even low-intensity exercise is highly beneficial. Some of the mental benefits that come from a consistent exercise routine include having more energy, being in an overall better mood, and having less stress. Consistent exercise can also lead to better sleep. While exercise energizes you, regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and help you get into that REM sleep. Other health benefits include reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and noninsulin-dependent diabetes. And reducing your risk for diseases and disorders can, in turn, help you avoid being put on a concoction of medication. For all of these benefits, it seems like a no-brainer to start exercising for just 30 minutes a day.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
I’d recommend walking for 20 minutes just to get the blood flowing. If you want to take it up a notch, you can try doing 30 jumping jacks and knee lifts, where you lift one knee to the opposite elbow. Finally, doing 30 squats in place is an excellent exercise for beginners. However, it’s imperative that you get the form right. Beginners can do these three things anywhere, whether that be your bedroom, living room, hotel room, or office. So why not start this healthy habit today?
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?
Soreness can definitely put a damper on future exercise, but there are things you can do to help. First, always make sure to do a light warm up before working out, even if that’s a 10-minute walk on the treadmill. I also recommend stretching before and after exercise. If you’re really sore from an intense day of exercise, an Epsom salt bath before bed can do wonders, as can simply resting the body. Finally, you could try a detox or taking Magnesium and Vitamin D.
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 personally follow a vegan diet. I know it’s not for everyone, so I put together programs for my clients based on their goals. I give them macros — the protein, carb, and fat breakdown — to follow based on whether they want to gain or lose weight
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I love “The Alchemist.” The book’s protagonist faced a lot of obstacles that many would consider unfortunate, but he was ultimately able to turn those obstacles into opportunities that lead to something better. In all, this book taught me that you can look at things differently and see everything as a stepping stone. Whether something is an obstacle or an opportunity comes down to how you decide to define it.
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. 🙂
My movement would be personal optimization. I just want people to be self-aware and motivated enough to work on their personal potential. I have developed programs for people to work on themselves no matter what their current situation or lifestyle is. When one can pour into themselves, they will overflow and be able to pour onto others.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“It’s okay to live a life that others might not understand. They don’t have to. Be you, because that’s the best way to thrive!”
I don’t live a conventional lifestyle. One thing a lot of people, especially in the fitness industry, can’t comprehend is why I would ever live a vegan lifestyle. They don’t understand why I would put myself through the challenges that may come with being vegan, but that is how I choose to optimally fuel myself. Some people work better eating more carbs, some people function better eating fats, and I function better eating foods that haven’t been killed.
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 🙂
The ROCK is my inspiration. I mean it’s all in the name. He is truly solid in all areas. He inspires, changes lives, entertains, defies the odds, and continues to time after time on different platforms and flexes a new muscle each and every time. When I think of how I want to impact the world, I think of him.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can find my latest and greatest on www.Instagram.com/builtbygod. I post daily, and I appreciate everyone supporting the movement!