Jackie is a multifaceted, complex individual who has diverse skills and experiences that cannot be packed neatly into one box. Among many things, he studied at UofT for Architecture and Urban Studies and is an active dragon boat paddler on the Water Vipers premier team. He is also a paddling coach and former dragon boat captain for UCDBC. His time is currently spent studying User Experience Design at BrainStation and working out to “get jackied up”!
Read more about Jackie and his thoughts on our generation in today’s Millennial Spotlight.
Answers provided by the participant in this interview are paraphrased.
Since you post frequently about your workouts on Instagram, I thought it would be fair game to ask: what are your workout goals, and why do you choose to share that online?
My workouts goals are two-fold. One is for my own personal health and well-being because I used to be overweight in high school. Due to my lack of athleticism in school and my poor diet I felt really unhealthy. For instance, I would be breathing hard just after going up a couple flights of stairs or running for the TTC (although that hasn’t really changed – I still get tired after these things). It was in grade 12 when I decided to, after my failed first attempt in grade 11, be more active and going to the gym felt like a very easy way to do that versus a sport. I did workouts along the lines of P90X or circuit training, and after 3 months I went down from 195 to 165 lbs. I lost about 30 pounds. After that transformation I just wanted to really maintain my health.
My second goal is dragon boat oriented. Because of my passion for dragon boat, I really want to do everything possible to become an elite athlete because why would you do this sport if you have no passion for it.
I chose to share this online mainly to bring positivity to a greater community (mostly to my friends). Surprisingly enough, people have messaged me telling me that they went to the gym mainly because they saw a post from me that same day. It was like an immediate reaction to my post, and it encouraged them to actually commit.
What kind of IG posts/stories do you post about that are fitness-related?
Mainly gym selfies just to show that I am at the gym, because for the most part when I am working out I am in the zone and focused.
You often tag your IG posts/stories with “GSOTD”. Can you explain what that stands for and where that term came from?
“GSOTD” stands for Gym Selfie Of The Day, derived from Outfit Of The Day (OOTD). It is an acronym I coined mainly because I needed to maintain my streaks (the indicator that shows how many days in a row that you post to a friend) on Snapchat. For instance, my highest streak on snapchat is 574 days. This is with one of my high school friends. That’s basically posting for almost two years straight.
For people on a weight loss journey, what would you advise? Was it easy?
No, it was really tough. First of all, acknowledge that you won’t see any visual results for the first month. If you spent years gaining that weight, don’t expect to lose it all in a short period. Be consistent. Make your workouts a habit. And to prevent yourself from falling off the tracks try to find someone to go to the gym with because there are going to be days when you do want to stop, so having that social network to keep you accountable will refocus you towards your goal. And I guess, one more thing is to have a goal that is realistic, otherwise you won’t ever feel satisfied because you feel like you can do more and you won’t know whether you are on the right track in the first place.
What advice would you give people just looking to pursue a more fit lifestyle?
To pursue a fit lifestyle, I would say to really follow a program. Because of the structure of the program, it might help you to avoid plateaus. Without a program, most people will just workout endlessly, and there will be a point where you are just lifting the same weight week after week.
Besides working out, how do you usually spend your days?
I quit my jobs a month ago to pursue a career in User Experience Design. I’m taking a bootcamp style course which is a three month full-time program at BrainStation. To elaborate on User Experience Design, it’s about studying how a user journeys throughout any online application – mobile apps, websites, etc. It’s about trying to find the main points like what frustrates them while using these, and really just finding ways to make the experience more enjoyable and easy to use. Other than that, I just spend time with my girlfriend. Because of the nature of the bootcamp course, it’s just 12 weeks of really demanding school work.
Do you think UX Design is relevant to our generation?
It is relevant to our generation because we were born in the tech boom. Now our culture revolves around consuming online material via digital products, so businesses have to find a strategy to cater to users that have so much freedom in the market to decide what services and products they want in their lives and what they don’t. For instance, if Netflix gave you a bad experience – such as bad navigation to find shows you want to watch – and there was a competitor that does it better, you would most likely switch over. That’s how much freedom our generation has with digital consumption.
You were previously studying architecture in school, what made you want to study UX?
I made the switch because, although I am very passionate about architecture, the field didn’t fit my needs because my impact within the field is very minimal. For instance, a condominium would take six or more years to develop and construct, so I might not even be there when the project is finished or completed. It also takes a very long time to pursue your license (around 5-10 years). Then I found out about this thing called UX design, which really connected with me because what I fundamentally care about is to seek out how I can apply design knowledge in the real world with reason and purpose.
This is just a fun question – how do you think your friends would describe you?
I guess, playful and spontaneous. Tardy – because I’m always late for things like I came late to the gym this morning. Hopefully they also describe me as a good friend (lol).
Are there any trips you took recently? And how did you like it?
Yeah so I went to Japan, mainly Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in May 2018 for two weeks. It was a very eye-opening experience. The culture there is just so different from ours. I can see how respectful Japanese people are, and I also love how, architecturally speaking, how Tokyo understands how to create very interesting places in such a dense city. And also the food is amazing. I went with my high school friends and we really wanted to go because we never really hung out outside of the country together, so that was pretty spontaneous actually.
I really liked the Nara Deer Park because even the animals in Japan are respectful and that is just outstanding! If you see how deer are in Toronto, they are very timid and they would run away from you, however in the deer park they are actually the most friendliest creatures I’ve known aside from domestic pets.
What are some of the main thoughts occupying your mind right now?
Mainly what’s going on my mind is to be able to succeed in my parents eyes. I want to be able to have the resources and ability to support myself financially and also to support them when they retire. And then there’s dragon boat and my girlfriend. I think having an intimate social life and being in a relationship can be very beneficial to know that there’s people other than your family that really care for you.
Just to end on a positive note, do you have any motivational messages to share?
Be really patient with your life. Don’t rush into anything because if you really want it, it’s really corny, but good things can come to you if you persist. And also, have a good balance. Don’t just focus on work or school, but always make sure you have a good balance of everything. There’s this quote that I follow: Mens sana in corpore sano (“a healthy mind in a healthy body”) which basically implies a balance and not to just focus on your intellect but also the body that shows it.