Forty-two-year-old Christie could run circles around most of us—certainly hula hoop circles.
The mother of one daughter, she spends most of her time in Manayunk, a long way from her original home in Ho Chi Minh. But because her parents wanted her to have a better life, Christie immigrated from Vietnam in 1992 with no more than $20 to her name. Now, more than 20 years later, she has made good on what her parents’ dreamed for her.
This teacher turned nail salon owner and philanthropist says, though busy, she still finds a way to make her daily routine a healthy one. “When we were younger, it didn’t matter. We could eat anything. But now, I have to be careful.” So, what’s included in her diet? “A lot of vegetables. Not a lot of carbs and junk.”
When it comes to exercise, her main go-to is a hula hoop.
“You’re not Vietnamese if you don’t own a hula hoop.” And by hula hoop, Christie is not talking about the general-store-bought variety, but those you can only find in places like the Vietnamese neighborhoods of South Philly. These hula hoops are weighted, and specifically designed for fitness. They’re also sturdy and made to last. So, this investment, if used regularly, can keep your waistline slim and your curves curvy.
“Getting hooked on hula hooping is easy because you can do it anywhere. I do it whenever I have a free moment.”
But Christie doesn’t just hula hoop. “I try to do push-ups, squats, and whatever else I can when I have ten minutes between clients.” As committed as she is, Christie says, like everyone else, she also struggles to stick to her routine. “Some days I’m lazy, but when I don’t have customers, I do bench squats, or just walk up and down the steps at the salon. I get 5-10 minutes, that’s it.” But every minute is worth it to her.
“To have a little curve at the waist. To look more feminine. I exercise to feel good, and to look good, too.”