Summer is nearly upon us, so getting in shape is on everyone’s list right now. Paul Kim may be able to help you with that. He is a former body builder and a certified trainer. He created the Alpha Trainer, fitness app with an extensive customizable training program and was released on both the iOS and Android platforms earlier this May. Paul Kim is a man who was able to merge his love for fitness with his tech savvy abilities. We caught up with Paul to see his views on LA tech, fitness, and his Alpha Trainer app.
TechZulu: Since you are stationed up in North California, What is the tech scene like in LA for you?
Paul Kim: Right now, LA or it’s now dubbed “Silicon Beach”, has a good foundation. Many companies are still near Silicon Valley, the entire tech infrastructure is all here and to be funded by various investors is easily done here compared to what’s available in LA.
I say, give LA another 5-10 years to become a major player in the tech scene. New companies are being raised and incubated to help build LA’s tech scene. There is a lot of potential in LA; it just needs a little bit more time to grow.
So how did Alpha Trainer all start?
I first founded two mobile companies before I worked on Alpha Trainer. Both did very well and I was able to raise millions in venture capital for both. I am a tech entrepreneur now, but I have always been into fitness my whole life. My first job was in fitness and I even competed in body building competitions from ’97 to ’99. I started to wonder where I can combine the two and do something I loved.
I saw the mobile ecosystem as a start of my plans for Alpha Trainer. Looking at the available fitness apps, there was nothing that really helps customize your exercise routine. The idea of customizing was the starting point of Alpha Trainer.
How is it any different from all the fitness apps?
Again, I didn’t see any app that allowed users to customize their training regimen. Each person has specific guidelines and goals. Each person needs a different focus and they all have different limitations. I sought to bring Alpha Trainer into the public’s hands, by creating a system that finds a training regimen for each specific user.
Alpha Trainer has been coded to find over 100,000 different 14-week workout routine. You can set guidelines like what days you want to work out and what specific areas you want to gain muscles and lose fat. Alpha Trainer has a large database of exercises and routines to give a user the best set of exercises available.
You can even invite friends through Facebook, phonebook contacts, or email to help you be motivated in gaining your goals. Send motivating messages and “gifts” to make sure your buddy is reaching their goals.
Since you are using social media, how does this help “motivate” your friends?
For example, let’s say you are determined to be fit. But in actuality, you are tired after work and all you do is eat or just sit and watch TV. The problem is life takes over and many fail to be healthy because of that.
That is where your friends come in. The additional support gives moral and the physical ability to go out and reach your goals. Studies have proven that a strong network of friends that are into fitness, have helped each other become more fit than others.
What made you put all your cards into a fitness app?
I was born overseas and growing up, I was always into sports. Moving to America posed a big challenge as the kids were a lot bigger and I was actually bullied at a young age. I started to work out not only to prevent myself getting bullied, but to keep up with the bigger and stronger kids in sports. So I started to work out when I was 15. Fitness helped shape me mentally and physically. It was just right for me.
Being able to train and work with someone was a blessing. To see others being transformed into something better brought happiness. Fitness can be applied to all aspects of life. Health and fitness is the only thing keeping people going, without it, our overall quality of life is dwindling faster and faster. Fitness is an area that will never die out.
Let me give you two extreme examples. First example, there is a person who only diets and never exercises. That person will not only just look bad, there is also no muscle definition and he/she will look sickly thin. There is no appeal to it at all. Second example, say there is another person whose only goal is to exercises, but eats whatever they want. He/she will look bulky, but also will look nasty. They will look like mush and nothing will look right again.
I would say 70% is all exercise and 30% is dieting. Of course each person has their own different body types and the percentages will change. It is hard to put exercise and dieting on a percentage scale actually, but exercise and dieting coincide with each other. They are both needed for someone to look healthy and stay healthy.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Developing the app’s customization features. Each person has their own set of goals and there are millions of permutations of working out. What’s their focus? There was just too much to think about when trying to create one of the most customizable workout apps.
Creating the different trees of customizations was time consuming and challenging. I had to code so much to incorporate different ways of training based on the user’s own goals and settings. Testing and designing the app was difficult as well. Being one of the first of its kind is always a difficult road to face as there is nothing to base it off of. Just getting the app done right and releasing it was probably the main obstacle.
Just getting the app to be released on both iOS and Android. Nothing felt greater than finishing a product you wanted to design and release.
What are your goals now?
I just would love to have everyone download the app. Not just locally, but world-wide. So developing Alpha Trainer in different languages is a direction we are looking into. But right now, we are just waiting to get customer feedback to improve our product by fixing bugs and adding/improving features.
What’s next after Alpha Trainer?
Well, my lifelong dream is to donate all of my money to different orphanages. My mother was an orphan and she was able to grow up, graduate from college, and live a successful life by being raised by a loving family. I want to help other orphans by giving them a chance to succeed and that would mean everything to my wife and I. I am trying to build my foundation by gaining as much money from all the businesses I have started up. I still have a long way to go, but I am still fighting to reach my goals. I know I can’t go through this alone either, so I must reach out to others and get as much help as I can to achieve my goal. I want to go out and get everyone’s attention and let them see my vision and together we can help create a dream come true for those that have not had the privileged to do so.
Thank you Paul for your time.