FitBase – South Korea’s New Nutrition Headquarters
There’s only one thing we at Get Fit Korea love more than watching our fellow expat community get fit in South Korea, and that’s expat entrepreneurs. Fortunately for us, we get the best of both worlds when it comes to FitBase, a new startup currently in soft-launch mode.
What is FitBase? From the website, it’s simply an “online health platform that facilitates services between personal trainers / nutritionists and their customers.”
However FitBase CEO and co-founder Mark Balneger provides some more depth, describing the origin of his company: “FitBase is the idea of two Dutch guys who used to be really fat and unhealthy. They became friends in middle school and lived very unhealthy lives. Bad diets, not enough exercise, irregular sleeping patterns. Both of them weighed 120kg (264lbs) at one point. One day they had enough and started figuring out what it actually takes to be healthy through nutrition and exercise. They learned a lot through friends and the internet, and eventually they reached their goals. It took a long time, and that was actually quite unnecessary. They could have gotten healthy way faster if it wasn’t for the lies and bullshit companies tell people just to sell their products. There is so much contradicting information online, which is discouraging and confusing.”
Mark further explains that: “That’s why FitBase was made. To eliminate those barriers and help people find the truth in fitness and nutrition.”
Currently, FitBase offers custom, 7-day and 14-day meal plans to help their customers get on the right path towards fitness, as we all know that a healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen.
Meal planning in South Korea? Does that mean western foods or Korean foods? “We are targeting the Korean market, including the expats here in Korea,” Balneger explains. “All our meal plans contain ingredients that are readily available in Korea. The food in the meal plans is neutral, while slightly leaning towards the Eastern palates in my opinion.”
No, this doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to scarf down kimchi-covered rice cakes. There is variety and customization to each meal plan that FitBase creates. Balneger sums it up perfectly, “Every person is different, and should be treated differently. What works for me, might not work for you. And vice versa. All meal plans we make are custom-tailored to each individual’s wants, needs and goals. A lot of variables need to be considered while making the plans. Gender, body composition, fat percentage, goals, medication, religion, personal beliefs, allergies, etc. Some people want to lose weight, some people want to gain it. Others just want to live a more healthy life. Together with our clients, we can make a plan that will work for them. Furthermore we give nutritional coaching as an extra service.
So… um … yeah, go ahead and keep those kimchi rice cakes.
FitBase also has plans to extend beyond meal planning for clients in South Korea. “The custom meal plans are just part of our soft launch while we are building our platform. FitBase will be an online health platform that facilitates services between personal trainers / nutritionists and their customers. It will also serve as an easily accessible portal that is built to inform, and supply, everyone with what it takes to be healthy.”
Qualified trainers and nutritionists around Korea are able to sign up on their platform and make themselves available to be paired with well-matched clients. “Our own FitBase dietitian is a licensed professional with work experience in the World Food Programme and hospitals in Korea,” Balneger says.
Balneger’s vision goes beyond this of course. Having struggled with nutrition himself at one point, he expands upon the greater idea of what FitBase represents: “We want to educate people on what it takes to be healthy. The best part of this is, as soon as we educate our clients, they will be able to help their friends, family and loved ones. They can help them find the truth in fitness and nutrition. Ultimately FitBase wants to make the world a healthier place.”
So, to get the gears rolling, FitBase has initiated its soft-launch and hopes to have a fully-functioning platform by the end of 2017. To help get the word out about FitBase’s mission, the team decided to start with simple social media exposure to snag those first few clients. “Those clients are already referring other people to us, which is the best way to reach our market. In the future we will be planning offline events to get our name out further.” Balneger adds, “Furthermore we already have several interested companies and groups who see partnership potential with FitBase.”
What else would Balneger like our readers to know? “Dedication, dedication, dedication. I can tell you how you can get healthy. What to eat, how to exercise… but dedication is something I can’t give you. That needs to come from you. If you come to me with dedication, FitBase will supply the rest. And you will achieve your goals. I went full-foreigner and got ‘전념’ tattooed on my arm. Which is Korean for ‘dedication’ or ‘focus’,” Balneger laughs.