When I was growing up, there weren’t a lot of Asian role models to look up to. I can remember thinking Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan were cool, but they were martial arts stars, not the dashing, handsome, leading men I was used to seeing in movies. They weren’t secret agents or men who fell in love! Instead, they were usually the funny sidekick or the friend who knew karate!


As I grew older, I embraced my Filipino heritage and began to love myself for who I was. I didn’t see my ethnicity as a deficit but as an advantage. I figured out what I was good at and went after things I enjoyed. I excelled at sports that required quickness, not brute strength. I wasn’t the smartest person, but I knew how to use my personality when I needed it. I worked harder because I had to! I knew my work ethic had to be higher than others if I was ever to make something of myself. 

“I believe that is what is at the core of my life: helping others.”

Making something of myself has been my life’s mission. When I first started in the fitness industry, there weren’t any Asian fitness instructors. We were few and far between. 

I didn’t start my career thinking that I’d be a role model for others, but it turned out that way! I can remember meeting an Asian fitness instructor a few years back and upon meeting me said, “OMG, you’re Buddy Macuha! You’ve been a role model for me, and I hope to accomplish as much as you have!”  Of course, I was shocked and with a smile on my face said, “It’s nice to meet you! Thank you, and if you ever need help, please just ask!” 

I believe that is what is at the core of my life: helping others.

I know what it feels like when you just want a chance to show how good you are. I know that feeling in your gut when you just want an opportunity to break through. I know that emotion when you just want to make a difference in someone’s life! I know that deep longing when you are so passionate about something you just want to share it with the world! 

We all have those dreams, and we all have the power to realize them!


I’ve always said that my job was to help people move forward in their lives, not hold them back! To do so would be selfish and self-destructive. When we have more compassion for others, we can accomplish great things!  Too many times we complain we’re not getting something when we need to realize we all have an equal chance to live our best life today!

As I look back at my fitness career, I hope I’ve made a difference in people’s lives. If it was about teaching someone proper form or playing my sound bowls for meditation class, all my experiences have led me to the present moment. They are all part of who I am and have shaped how I see the world. I’m proud of my Filipino heritage and of all Asians making a difference in the world and the fitness industry!