Eugene Choi is a physician with 15 years of clinical experience. He was pre-med biology major at Princeton University, went to medical school at Weill Cornell Medical College, and did his residency training at UCLA. He is a life-long fitness enthusiast and dedicated Crossfitter over the last decade. He currently practice and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two young boys.
Where are you from? What is your upbringing?
My parents are immigrants from South Korea but my brother and I were both born in New York which is where we grew up. My parents worked every hard to establish themselves in this country and they instilled in me the importance of education and hard work at a very early age.
How did you get into fitness?
Starting from a young age, I was obsessed with building a physique. It may have been watching too many episodes of WWF on the weekends or the fact that I was frail and skinny with a congenital chest wall deformity and low self-esteem.
I distinctly remember being kicked in the stomach by a bunch of older school bullies in the school yard when i was in second grade. They assumed I knew “karate” because I was “Chinese.” That experience led me to start Tae Kwon Do at that age.
After I received my black belt at the age of 12, I began focusing on body-building at a local gym at the age of 13. I have never stopped lifting weights since.
What is your workout routine?
For almost a decade, I have been exclusively lifting weights through Crossfit. I currently take a Crossfit class before work Monday to Friday. The main workouts during class are very short and rigorous – usually less than 15-20 minutes.
I will also do some slow steady cardio by running outside or riding my Pelaton bike after work several times a week for general cardiovascular health.
What is your diet?
I avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates in my diet and focus on food quality. I usually have eggs for breakfast and large salad with protein for lunch. I will also snack with whey protein, low glycemic fruits, and nuts depending on my hunger and energy level. I eat a very light dinner or skip dinner on most days. I don’t keep track of calories or macros
Did you ever work in the entertainment industry?
I did some amateur modeling when I was in college in Korea many years ago. I have not done anything in the US.
What kind of doctor are you? Why did you decide to become a doctor?
I am a body and interventional radiologist, which is a doctor who interprets images of the body and performs imaging-guided procedures.
My passion for fitness as an early age, interest in science/medicine, and lack of interest in everything else drove me into medicine.
At 44, how do you stay so fit?
I am very consistent with regards to exercise. I don’t spend hours in the gym. My workouts in the gym are short but intense.
The nutrition component of fitness is more challenging for me. But I have come a long way since I decided to become serious about my diet since 2015. Looking lean and fit really comes down to nutrition.
Why is gratitude so important?
Mindset is everything. Being grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what you deserve can really impact your satisfaction with life. Gratitude can translate into greater happiness and health.
One’s reality is achieved through the thoughts one believes in their head. How do you take a thought and manifest it into your dreams?
Agree. Again mindset is everything. First, you need to believe in yourself. Your thoughts and attitude needs to be in alignment with your goals. Second, your self-trust and confidence needs to translate into action. Other than thinking about it, what are you doing each day to make your dreams a reality?
Everyone has a past…sometimes, it can be quite dark. How would you suggest letting go of your past so that you can achieve great results for the future?
I believe in not dwelling in both your past failures AND accomplishments.
We all have failures and negative experiences as we navigate through life. The “letting go and moving on” process is key but this is not easy. My suggestion is to setting your sights on or re-comitting yourselves to your current/new goals and aspirations.
On the flip side, many people rest on your their laurels and don’t progress. For example, I don’t care how about your athletic accomplishments or how ‘jacked’ you were when you were 21 years old. What matters is what are you doing today so you can continue to achieve great results for the future.
Do you have any biohacking practices that you do?
Blood sugar control is vital for health. I have been using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) the last two years to help me achieve better blood sugar control through exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.
Sleep is an important component of health which I have historically struggled with. I have history of sleep apnea and I have difficulty sleep more than 5 hours a night. The Oura ring has been an important tool in allowing me to determine which habits are good or harmful for my sleep.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who defies stereotypes regarding age, gender, race, occupation etc.
What is your skincare regimen?
I never had a skin care regimen because I have always been fortunate to have relatively clear skin. My face gets washed in the shower.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me, it means health, fitness, and strength and the resulting empowerment and self-confidence to inspire others.
How would you describe success?
What success has meant to has evolved. When I was a student and doctor-in-training, it meant scholastic achievement and career progression. Now as someone who has hit middle age and reached the peak of his career, I am more interested in having an impact….making a difference, as cliched as it sounds.
Where can we find you?
I am active on Instagram (@eugenechoimd).