Fit & Fab: Simon Tasker
Life is too short not to do what you love. Or, if you ask Simon Tasker, not to do what inspires you to get you out of bed every morning.
It's a mantra that has driven his recent decision to set up an online health and supplements store with his brother Andrew, equipping everyone from rugby players to bankers with their fix of protein shakes and other health supplements.
Supplements HK started a little over a year ago to sell the products that the siblings have tried and liked.
"I realised you've got to have passion for what you do, and it's the passion for sport and a healthy lifestyle that keeps me going when it's a struggle to balance everything," says Tasker, 31, born in England but raised in Hong Kong.
Growing up in Discovery Bay, he's led a sporty life for as long as he can remember, dabbling in everything from rugby (he played for the Hong Kong national team) to dragon boating to white collar boxing.
He began taking protein supplements to aid his gym training at Loughborough University in Britain. But back in Hong Kong, he and his brother became frustrated with their options for buying quality products.
"Until now, there really hasn't been much in terms of Hong Kong-based supplement e-commerce websites. And it's a pain to go online to get a tub of protein delivered in three or four weeks for some overinflated price. We just felt there needed to be an alternative," he says.
In addition to managing a recruitment business and new health venture, playing and coaching rugby, the Tasker brothers organised Hong Kong's first "Couple's Fitness Challenge" that was held at the weekend at Discovery Bay. It involved running, swimming and exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups. Couples worked together to get to the finish.
"They say a couple that sweats together stays together," says Tasker.
"Hong Kong has a lot of running and adventure races, but I think people can be put off by the level of fitness required. We've designed something that is going to push people, but is still achievable, and is something people can do together."
What are the benefits of partnering in business and in sport?
Camaraderie and team spirit, I find, always help to push you that little bit further. You have to have that thought that you can't let your teammate down, and trust they won't let you down either. I enjoyed boxing, but I found it harder in a way than rugby. Those two to three minutes on your own in the ring feel like an eternity compared to 80 minutes on the pitch. It's the same in business: we've got each other's back.
What's it like working with your brother?
It can be a bit tricky working with family because you say and do things that you would probably never say to a colleague in the office. But at the same time I'm working with somebody who's got a similar attitude and ideas to me, and we're driving towards a common goal.
Where do you find the time to fit in all your pursuits?
I believe there's a lot of time in the day, more than we realise. It's a mindset. No matter how late you come home from work, you can always go to the gym for an hour or put on your running shoes and go for a jog around the block. No excuses. It's about good planning, and not giving in when it seems that little bit hard.
You've been a resident of Discovery Bay for around 15 years. What is it about the place that keeps you living there?
It's the only place I've been to in Hong Kong that has a real sense of community. If you want anonymity and don't want to be recognised walking down the road, then Discovery Bay is not for you. I enjoy seeing people that I coach and train with. Discovery Bay is also cool because you've got the space to do the sports you want to do: you've got the beach down the road, the mountains behind you, the clubs and the gym.
It definitely promotes a healthy lifestyle. And the ferry gives my life a schedule.
What would you like to see change in Hong Kong in terms of health and fitness in the future?
Hong Kong's work-life balance is a little skewed; people tend to work longer hours here. But I have noticed a shift towards focusing on health and fitness.
It can be a hard slog at times convincing people that protein supplements will help them achieve their goals rather than turn them into a hulking beast, but we're getting there.
I think I'd like to see a greater overall awareness that it doesn't have to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep fit.
It doesn't always have to be radical changes. It starts small - just by eating better and moving more.