Who is @chillibean? In this edition of Hello Honey, we chat with fitness guru Vanessa Budiharja on who empowers her to stay motivated and how she manages it all.
You may have seen our next Hello Honey subject lift weights that look twice her size under the Instagram moniker @chillibean. Trained classical ballet dancer turned straight up woman warrior, Vanessa Budihardja is a force to be reckoned with. With so many incredible projects under her belt – Puravida founder, Nike trainer, and all-round fitness fiend – Vanessa is a multi-threat and inspiration to kick-ass women everywhere. We caught her for a quick chat right before she kicked our butts in a killer spin class. Here’s how she stays motivated and juggles it all.
Have you always been a big fitness and health enthusiast or did you have to learn to love it?
I’ve actually always been pretty active – I did ballet for over 12 years, and was in a lot of sports teams in high school. College was a different story. I moved to LA and started at USC, where I was just having so much fun and wanted to eat and enjoy everything, so I didn’t really exercise at all. When I came back to Jakarta I thought, I should really get back on track, and then one day my friend introduced me to CrossFit and I just fell in love with it!
You wear so many hats – health foodpreneur, Nike trainer, spin coach, fitness guru, how do you even manage it all?
Every day is always a little different for me, which gets a bit hectic. It really depends on what I want to do on a weekly basis – every Sunday I always try to set my schedule depending on what do I want to do or how many times I want to teach that week. Luckily, my schedule for teaching is really just up to me. For Puravida, I’m lucky to have a really good team that can support me, so I’m not alone. With everything – coaching, Puravida, Nike – I definitely couldn’t do it by myself, and so if you have a solid team then it’s all good!
Speaking of, how did it feel when Nike approached you to become one their Nike+ Training Club Trainer? Walk us through how that happened.
Honestly, it was super random. I started working out in CrossFit, and one of my friends Laila Munaf (founder of SANA Studio and first Nike+ Training Club Trainer) said, “Hey, Nike’s looking for more trainers, why don’t you come try out with us?” And I was like, “Sure, why not!” and I got it! Super random, really. She just knew me, knew that I did Crossfit, and thought maybe I would be interested, and it just all happened because of Laila.
That’s awesome! Besides Laila, is there anyone else who inspired you to get into fitness and health?
Just a lot of my friends and the community around CrossFit. Mostly the community around CrossFit because everyone just supports each other to achieve. Whether they’re small or big goals; from achieving their first push up to deadlifting twice their body weight. It was never really about one crazy athlete for me, just about my friends and the community around me.
Do you have any essentials for working out? What’s in your gym bag?
I’m a really sweaty person in general, so I definitely always have a towel with me, a water bottle… I have this one essential black bag that has everything from my make-up to my hairbrush, to my concealer, shampoo, and face wash. Basically so I can shower anywhere, and look great anywhere *laughs*. I have everything with me! Oh, and also my laptop of course.
We want to know what a health foodpreneur eats on a day to day basis! What does your day on a plate look like?
Well, 70% of the time I do try to eat clean, which usually means red rice, protein, and mixed vegetables. I really like that. It’s simple, it’s a little boring, but if you choose the right ingredients, it’s alright. But on the weekend though, it’s all about mie ayam first thing in the morning, and then probably Dominos pizza in the afternoon, followed by martabak Toblerone tipis kering. Haha! So yes, that’s the typical week for me.
Haha, nice! What is the biggest challenge you’ve had in your career so far?
So far, it’s been the juggling of everything: Ride instructor, Nike trainer, I also coach at Empire Fit Club as well, so the juggling part is really hard. But you know what, while I’m young and single, and this is something that I’m still really passionate about, while I still have the energy to do it, I’m just gonna do it for as long as I can!
What is the best and worst career advice you’ve ever been given?
That’s a tough question! I think the best advice someone has ever given me is just to really take it one day at a time. With the way my schedule is going right now, sometimes I overthink and freak out, like “Oh, how am I going to do this, what’s going to become of me if I’m juggling too much, what’s going to happen to me within 5 years, 10 years, is fitness really what I should be into,” and all of that. The best advice ever given me is just, you know what, trust the universe, and take it one day at a time. I know there’s so many people who say the same thing, but it really is good advice: take it one day at a time and stop panicking, it’s all going to be okay.
Worst advice… “Oh you’re a pretty girl, why don’t you just get married and be a tai tai.” I can’t do that! No disrespect to girls who are housewives, absolutely not, it’s just that everyone has a different purpose in life and mine is not to be that.
Any new projects coming up that you’re excited about?
Puravida just opened up in Hong Kong, so we’re really excited about that. One of our good friends decided to move to Hong Kong and was looking for something to do. We’re lucky enough that she has all the connections, so we were like hey, why don’t we expand the business to Hong Kong!
Quick fire round! In Jakarta, what’s your…
Favourite class to take that’s not your own? Yoga Asmaradana Sanctuary – I’ve only been once, but it’s something that I love because it’s completely Yin. What I do is very Yang, and that’s a class that completely balances me out. I like that.
Favourite place to unwind? Honestly, no where in the city. Traveling elsewhere, like Bali.
Favourite cheat treat? Mie Ayam Yamin Pertok in Pondok Indah.
Last item of sportswear you purchased? These glittery black and gold Nike leggings, I love them! I love crazy leggings.
All-time favourite pair of sneakers? Plain black Nike Prestos!