Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In our weekly 27 Questions column, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same duration of a casual speed date. This week, we speak to Joshua Li.
Joshua Li is an enterprising man. Born in Hong Kong, but raised in Surrey, England, Li kicked off his career by taking on a job as a personal trainer in London. He moved to Hong Kong in 2014, and after realising his passion for health and fitness, proceeded to first launch Nutrition Kitchen in 2015 and One PT in 2017.
“Like Nutrition Kitchen, One PT also saw significant growth the last couple of years despite the Covid lockdowns and restrictions. Across both markets, we achieved 130% growth. This success is truly down to the team we have,” says Li. “During the tough times, they all stuck together and came out the other side strong.”
Designed by nutritionists, the team at Nutrition Kitchen sources from local suppliers to craft meal plans that put the flavour back into healthy eating. With his personal training background, there’s also a clear breakdown of macronutrients on the labelling of each meal.
“We are in an advanced position to launch Nutrition Kitchen in Australia in the first half of 2022. There are other markets on the hit list, but we will see what prevails in time. We don’t want to lose focus of our core markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. We still have a long journey ahead.”
Name: Joshua Li
Neighbourhood: Mid Levels
Occupation: CEO & Co-Founder of Nutrition Kitchen and One PT
1. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?
One of the best meals I’ve had in Hong Kong would have to be at Chaiwala. I love Indian food and the Kerala Fish Curry is a standout, with a hint of chilli in a rich gravy; it pairs perfectly with fresh, fluffy garlic naan. The ambience is unmatched and is one of my go-to spots for a tandoori meal.
2. Who is your role model?
I would say my parents. I feel I got my entrepreneurial spirit from my Dad, and grit from my Mum.
3. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Take ownership; never say “that is not my job”.
4. What was your first job?
My first job was as a personal trainer at Equinox, London. My time at Equinox fostered my passion for all things health and fitness and made me realise that this was the industry I wanted to dedicate myself to. I am happy to have had my career start at Equinox, and it gave me an excellent foundation to take my passion further.
5. What is your drink of choice?
I have to be honest, I am not a huge drinker. If I go out, my drink is a vodka soda with lime.
6. When was the last time you drove a car?
Last weekend — I went on a staycation in Sai Kung with my wife Caitlin, our puppy Rufus and some friends. I love the freedom my car gives me, especially in Hong Kong, where you can go from the city to the beach within minutes. It provides an easy escape.
7. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?
Definitely my balcony. We have a great view of the city. I have my coffee out there every morning, and it’s a great way to start the day.
8. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m a morning person, which is useful when you’re in the fitness industry! I’m up at 6am every morning and in bed by 9:30pm every night.
9. What energises you about your work?
Witnessing week-on-week growth and the projects and plans you put in place reaping the rewards.
10. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Indian food! It’s my favourite cuisine and Hong Kong has so many great options.
11. What is your biggest regret in life?
My biggest regret would have to be rushing into a business with someone who didn’t make the best partner. I’ve learned that who you work with is hugely important, and I am much more careful now with who I go into business with. We have to be like-minded and have a similar worth ethic otherwise, things can go sour quickly. Life is stressful enough without the added stress of work politics!
12. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?
The pollution and humidity in the summer are unbearable. If I could change it, I would.
13. What is the top destination on your bucket list?
South Africa and South America. I’m hoping the restrictions in Hong Kong will be eased, and I can tick both off my bucket list.
14. How often do you prepare your own meals?
Never! That’s one of the beauties of owning a meal plan company.
15. What is your greatest fear?
Not reaching the expectations I set for myself.
16. When did you last ride the Star Ferry? What were you doing/where did you go?
A couple of months ago actually, I went out for dinner in Tsim Sha Tsui to CHAAT, at the Rosewood Hotel.
17. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Barebells protein bars are tasty and a great way to curb cravings.
18. What is one movie everyone should see?
Hard to have one favourite. I do enjoy Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
19. When was the last (me you felt starstruck?)
I saw Brad Pitt at a hotel pool in Hollywood two years ago. That was a surprise, so I was a bit starstruck.
20. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
It would probably be back home in the UK. I have a huge family and a lot of friends there. Ideally, I would like to live in an area like Richmond.
21. If you had to describe Hong Kong in one word, what would it be?
22. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?
I have five pairs of shoes. I rarely wear anything but trainers on a day-to-day basis, unless there is an occasion where I have to wear smarter shoes. Adidas Ultra Boosts are my go-to trainers, they’re so comfortable and lightweight, perfect for walking around the city.
23. How many countries have you been to?
I have no idea exactly how many countries, but I imagine there are quite a few. I was fortunate enough to have travelled during most holidays growing up, so I got to see a lot of the world.
24. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?
My wedding day. We had a great party with a live band and friends and family from all over the world. That is a party will never be beaten.
25. Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life? Why?
Never be alone for a single moment. Who wants to be alone for the rest of their lives?
26. If you could do it all over again, what is one thing you would do differently?
I would look to find expert help earlier in starting a business. There is nothing like having advice from someone who has been in your position and is further down the road.
27. Your go-to coffee order?
An Oat Milk Cappuccino at Blue Bottle…it’s a shame it costs $50 though!