As a lifestyle and wellness coach, you talk and I listen! We talk about your life, what you’ve always dreamed of, and the goals you would like to accomplish for your health, life and career. It’s an opportunity for you to be heard and have more support in your life. I will be your accountability coach and personal cheer-squad and I will help you reach your goals by working with you in my Health Coaching Program. I work with clients to help them create a healthier and happier life, reduce stress, have more energy, and reach their health goals to live a HUGE and fulfilled life.
Author . Speaker . Lawyer. Business Owner.
Executive. Health Coach.
Hugh has owned and operated his own businesses since 2002. He has a double degree in law and accounting (LLB B.Bus) and is a qualified solicitor providing business and advisory services to his wife's business, The Gratitude Project. Hugh was the chief financial officer and general manager of one of Australias most luxurious motor yacht dealerships. Hugh is a qualified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, coaching clients and conducting corporate health & wellness workshops through his exclusive The Executive Athlete program. Hugh coaches many successful executives, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, and business owners to help them achieve their health and career goals. Due to his unique background, he has developed easy to follow and integrate health and lifestyle tips (Routine Hacks) as detailed in his book titled "Rule Your Routine" - giving his clients the edge they need to achieve success all while becoming happier and healthier.
I was born into a multicultural family in the 1980s. My Mum is Filipino and Dad is Australian, and back then it was unusual to have an Asian mum. Being bullied was a part of my school days, so my Dad sent me to boxing classes from the age of 5, and getting into punch-ups and being called into the teacher’s office for fighting was part and parcel of my school days. It wasn’t until I graduated from high school in 1996 that I fully appreciated being Eurasian, and was scouted by a modelling agency. I modelled in fashion shows for various stores and labels including Versace, and was featured in editorial campaigns for fashion magazines, including Marie Claire.
I took my first job when I was 15, working for a national sporting goods store. I was casual salesman of the year for two years in a row out of all the staff in their 16 stores at the time, and I was selling more than salespeople twice my age. Customers would come in to buy shoes and walk out not only with the shoes, but often with a treadmill and even a home gym.
"My Dad (Hugh Snr) was a bodybuilder in the 1970s, and even trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger."
I still have his old hand-made weightlifting belt. Dad is the true meaning of an entrepreneur, but what really stands out from all his businesses is that he was and still is an awesome swimming coach, which meant I had to be a good swimmer. Dad is my idol, and will always be—if I had my time over again things would be different, as I was too young to understand what he was trying to bestow upon me. Back in the late 1990s, Dad was so far ahead of his time, he would make me read self-help and motivational books like Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World, and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People—most of it was way over my head at that age, but unbeknownst to me at the time, some of it did sink in. Dad also enrolled me into public speaking from Grade 8, and then Toastmasters, where I went on to win a bunch of awards. But swimming was his launching pad for me. I was a pure sprinter: I would swim three times a day and Dad would come to school at lunch and I would do 5 x 50 m sprints, and that was it. I would use custom shorts with pockets sewn into them for extra drag and a bungee cord tied around my waist which would make it harder for me to swim the further I got down the pool. He would pack me a lunch of raw vegetables (broccoli and beetroot), I would have tablespoons of flaxseed oil, sprinkle millet on my breakfast, drink vials of royal jelly, take bi-carb soda before I trained, and swallow colostrum supplements. I used to try and hide my lunch at school as my mates thought I was a weirdo. I was school and regional champion, and once I finished school I was training for the Sydney 2000 Olympics for the blue ribbon event, the men’s 50 m freestyle.
"My finishing grades at school were good enough to get me into to law school."
Where I studied a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business. I was a poor student while I was training and at university, so I had to find a job. I found a part-time job working at a brand new nightclub that opened up on the Gold Coast. This is when my life became interesting!
The nightclub was the Gold Coast’s version of Studio 54, and I was Ryan Phillipe’s character Shane O’Shea, and I’m not exaggerating. My job was to look after celebrities and VIPs. I was 22, and coming from a fairly strict non-drinking family and background, this was the most insane and crazy period of my life. I was hanging out and partying with celebrities, racing car drivers, athletes, and models, and even partying and hanging out with Paris Hilton (back when she was in vogue). Swimming training began to come second to this new life. I lost interest in swimming, and the Olympic dream was a distant memory.
My attitude towards studying never wavered though—I was still studying and graduated in 2001 with both degrees, a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business (Accounting). Working in the nightclubs was like a free networking seminar every night, where I met and hung out with so many influential and successful people (and some very colourful people). I forged a great friendship with a woman who owned the best clothing stores on the Gold Coast at the time, where everyone who was anyone would shop.
Due to this little cult status I was forging working the doors of the best nightclubs (where my clothes and haircuts would be copied), I was also named the best-dressed guy on the Gold Coast, and my clothing store friend encouraged me to start my own clothing label, which I did—called Hugh Jr. What a learning experience this was.
I began to design and manufacture my own T-shirts, shirts, and singlets.
The goods were made in Australia by an elderly husband and wife. I would stay up for hours each night after I got an order and hand-screenprint every single shirt in my Mum and Dad’s little laundry, then pin every single tee with a swing tag, box them up and send them. I ended up stocking around 20 stores throughout Australia through figuring out what the best stores were and just turning up with my sample range. I remember one of my first big orders was more than $15,000, totalling around 500 T-shirts which took me more than two weeks and a few all-nighters to hand-print.
A few years later I ended up buying one of her stores, which coincidentally I named for her a year before. Without any thought on how it would all pan out I took the plunge, borrowed some money from Mum and Dad, and bought the store. Working 12-hour days, 7 days a week was par for the course. During this time I opened three more stores and, in 2006, I opened a massive 100m2 flagship store in a new retail shopping centre and invited a business partner in. The stores were turning over in excess of $1 million a year. I upgraded my old Holden station wagon, bought a Mercedes Benz, then traded this up a few years later and I was 27-years-old driving a brand new Porsche Cayenne and owned my own bachelor pad.
I began dating the store’s manager at the time and we ended up buying a place together not far from my bachelor pad. I had it all, and I was living the dream all before I was 30. During this time, some of my good mates were lawyers and said I should put my degrees to use and become a qualified lawyer. The stores were self-sufficient, I had my girlfriend running them, (and my Mum always coming into sell up a storm, litterally - she could sell ice to the Eskimo's and I'm not even exaggerating) so I decided to do my articles in a local boutique law firm and I became qualified solicitor in 2003. I was enjoying the change of pace so much that I worked three days a week in the law firm while my girlfriend ran the stores.
THEN IN 2008 THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS HIT, THE ECONOMY SLOWED, PEOPLE STOPPED SPENDING MONEY ON CLOTHES, AND THE NEW ONLINE RETAILING TREND REALLY BEGAN TO KICK IN.
I was committed to four long-term leases and I had to start closing the stores down one by one and walk away from retail. I lost everything I worked so hard for—my homes, my cars, and my pride. One thing I didn’t do was let the experience of failure stop me, but what a ride and experience it was. You don’t get taught what I learned at any school, college, or university.
During this time, my girlfriend became my fiancée. We became engaged in New York in 2010, and I was literally eating and drinking my way around the United States. I was addicted to New York baked cheesecake and I would order and eat every cheesecake I came across to see if I found the “best” cheesecake in New York.
Here is a picture of me when I came back from NYC making a chocolate milkshake and pancakes for breakfast. I was 100 kg, overweight, and unhealthy.
During this time I also dealt with the separation of my parents (it is a weird feeling when this happens when you are an adult), and most recently what has affected me the most is helping my Mum through some of the darkest years of her life after she was diagnosed and admitted to hospital on numerous occasions with a mental illness. I have never faced anything more confronting than this in my life, but this is a story for another time.
I continued to work fulltime at the law firm, slowly working my way up the corporate ladder to become a Senior Associate and being invited to become a partner. A few years later I was approached with an opportunity to change careers due to my unique background and experience in actual business and law. Despite having a pretty risk-averse personality, I took the opportunity with both hands to put myself far out of my comfort zone and accepted a job as the chief financial officer of a luxury motor yacht dealership for one of the best motor yacht brands in the world. I knew little or nothing about boats, let alone luxury motor yachts. I was later promoted to become the general manager of sales for the group, moving, you could say, from the back end of the business to the front end. I have had some awesome mentors during this time, and I have learned so much.
My wife is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, speaker, writer, master healthy treat maker and blogger, running a hugely successful health coaching business The Gratitude Project. Angela has changed so many people’s lives and I love everything she has brought into our lives due to her health coaching, and simply being more grateful. As a result, I studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, also graduating to become a Health Coach – understanding what it means to eat and live well has changed my life and our lives forever, which brings me here to you.
I have lived and breathed the ups and downs of business and corporate life, and with this I am sharing my knowledge with you.
It wasn’t until recently that I realised it was my routine which got me through my days and helped me succeed in business, climb the corporate ladder, manage dozens of staff, settle million-dollar claims and negotiate sales on multimillion dollar yachts.
But when I compare what I do to others, it is my routine that sets me apart.
A critical life formula that we never get taught at school, university, college, and don’t learn through our job, is how crucial a routine is to success and health. This routine all starts as soon as you wake up and finishes when you go to bed. Don’t let what you are not doing hold you back.
Now the question is: Are you going to start ruling your routine or will you continue to be ruled by your routine? Are you ready to rule and change your future?