FBA 23: From freelance coach to small studio owner in Hong Kong with Muk Venkataraman of Gorilla Strong

In episode 23, Jack talks with Muk of Gorilla Strong, a Hong Kong-native and one-man brand who has been involved in HK’s scene for over 10 years. Muk has been one of the most successful coaches I know in carving out a strong and powerful niche in Asia – kettlebell training.

Muk started off as a freelance coach and eventually ran his own studio in Hong Kong as pretty much a solo business. Muk tells us about his personal journey navigating the fitness and business landscape in HK and what he’s learned from his time embedded in the industry there.

In today’s episode we discuss:

  1. How Hong Kong’s scene has developed over the last decade
  2. What motivated Muk to go from freelance coach to business owner
  3. His reluctance to recruit another coach and the pros and cons of this decision
  4. Building his studio and business – the challenges and lessons
  5. How Muk carved out his niche and how it happened by accident!
  6. The fitness business landscape in the city
  7. Predictions for the next few years in the region’s scene



WEBSITE www.fitnessbusinessasia.com

INSTAGRAM www.instagram.com/fitnessbusinessasia

EPISODE https://fitnessbusinessasia.com/muk-venkataraman-gorilla-strong



GORILLA STRONG https://www.gorilla-strong.com/

MUK VENKATARAMAN ON LINKEDIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/muk-venkataraman-2088324/

JACK THOMAS ON LINKEDIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/fitnessbusinessasia/



Welcome to the FBA podcast, I am your host Jack Thomas and today’s episode features a guest that I’ve wanted to get on the podcast since day 1.

Muk Venkataraman has been involved in Hong Kong’s fitness scene for 12 years so we delve into the city’s scene during this interview, but what I really wanted to touch on in our chat was how he found and developed his niche, the thing he’s known best for.

Muk’s niche is kettlebell lifting, and it was at Steve Cotter’s kettlebell seminar at the Asia Fitness Convention that we first met in 2012. Despite his modesty, Muk is known as Asia’s kettlebell guy and along with others, such as Hayati Nuffus from Alphafit in Singpore, has pioneered the usage of this training tool in Asia.

Today we talk about HK’s fitness scene and kettlebell lifting in the region, of course, and we also touch on how you aren’t just restricted to your niche but how you can use this as a stepping stone to a more diverse business. We talk about the challenges he faced when opening his studio, why he went from freelance PT to studio owner and how he worked with physios to get more clients. We also touch on how his reluctance to bring on another coach hit him financially and how he would do things different If he was to open up another studio.

Muk is a good friend and I really enjoyed hearing his perspective on the industry – we’ve interviewed people on the podcast who are involved in big fitness empires, so it was refreshing to hear Muk’s story from someone who did things pretty much solo, how that was for him and what lessons he learned.

Here is our interview with Muk Venkataraman, kettlebell guru and owner of the Gorilla Strong brand



So there we have it, Muk Venkadaratam of Gorilla Strong. I’d like to thank Muk for taking the time to share his journey with us and I think for those looking to start a fitness business it gives a really solid insight into it means to take the plunge.

If you enjoyed today’s chat with Muk please do leave us a 5-star review on whatever platform you’re listening to – it really helps get the podcast out and I’d massively appreciate it.

Last reminder – I will be in Singapore for the Fit Summit next week where I’m speaking on a panel about creating an experience in our industry. I’d love to meet up while I’m there so please do reach out.

Also, if you have any topics you’d like covered on this podcast, please don’t be shy, shoot me a message – my details are in the shownotes and I’ve also left Muk’s contact so you can get in touch with him if you’d like.

As always, we appreciate you giving us your listening time and we’ll catch you next week…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close