My name is Ian Cruz. I work in finance at a venture capital firm by day and moonlight as a volunteer head coach at Dreamland Boxing, a non-profit boxing organization in San Jose, California and also provide support to Downtown Yoga Shala, a yoga studio in San Jose, California.
In my past life, I was a competitive boxer competing for both Dreamland and UCLA Boxing. Boxing taught me much more than just how to fight – it reconditioned my mind and my attitude and instilled an ethic of discipline and self-respect into my life. After hanging up my gloves, I’ve continued to volunteer at the gym after work, coaching nights at Dreamland. I also train for obstacle course races, half-marathons, marathons, and ultramarathons and am an Athlete Ambassador for Depression2Extinction, the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon, and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (Big Sur Marathon Foundation).
I was only a few years removed from boxing at UCLA, and I could tell that my health was failing me. The first thing people notice is weight gain, and while there was plenty of that, I also just didn’t feel as good. I was commuting 2+ hours/day and working until 11PM or later 6 days a week and any spare time was spent studying for the CPA exam. I seemingly couldn’t focus and felt lethargic most of the time.
I’m hardly alone in this story. It seems to be a common theme that people have a hard time balancing a career (particularly a sedentary office job) and their health. I dedicated myself to getting back into boxing shape in 2015, which then turned into an eye-opening journey of understanding the wonderful intricacies of the human body – how it recovers, heals, and optimally functions from proper nutrition and lifestyle. My early approach was mostly a “mind over matter” attitude, with me ignoring many of my body’s signals to achieve some short-term goal, before setting another one. I learned that these short-term performance or vanity goals (i.e. an upcoming race, that “summer bod”, etc.) are powerful, yet short-lived. Now, my focus is on how different lifestyle components (fitness, nutrition, hydration, sleep, stress, recovery, etc.) complement each other and fit into the broader scope of overall well-being, which I’ve found to be more powerful and meaningful.
After writing several peers via email and social media on various health topics, I decided to share much of this information in a more organized manner in this blog. Thanks for reading!