Beware of the Cobra!
CobraCamp is a fitness movement started by 23 year old Vincentian, Adriel Francois. Adriel is originally from Belair, but he eventually moved to Calder Ridge with his family. Currently he resides in Taiwan where he is studying chemical engineering at the National Taipei University of technology (NTUT). He has created CobraCamp to help persons attain their unique health and fitness goals by educating them about proper nutrition and exercise. He wants to help persons find a balance that allows them integrate physical fitness into their lifestyle and show that it doesn’t have to take up all your time or confine you to the gym.
His content is delivered primarily through his YouTube channel which currently has over 70, 000 subscribers and his following is growing rapidly. There are over 50 informative videos to choose from and he produces content both in English and Mandarin Chinese (subtitles available). The Cobra has competed in bodybuilding competitions and has the medals to show for it (see below). He admitted that even though they are not his favorite thing to do, they allow him to network and get his name out there in the fitness world.
One of the things that stand out about Adriel is his unwillingness to settle in mediocrity. This character trait was ingrained in him from a very young age by his parents. They pushed him to excel by encouraging him to give a hundred percent effort in everything he did. His dad in particular was very keen on teaching him the value of physical activity. He recalled numerous summer vacations where his TV time was limited and it was mandatory for him to go outside and play. Therefore, a lot of his childhood days were spent riding bikes, climbing trees and things of that nature. As a result, he developed a love for fitness that he carried with him right through his teens and now into adulthood.
His peers came to know him as the man to consult for everything fitness related, so throughout University he found himself coaching and sharing his knowledge. He began toying with the idea of pursuing a career in Health and Fitness, but initially shied away from it fearing that he would not be able to achieve financial stability. His girlfriend on the other hand (who he coaches), believed in his abilities and was convinced that his passion and work ethic would make a way for him to be successful. She was the one who urged him to create the YouTube page and she was there to help him during the startup stage. Since then, he has wholeheartedly taken the reins and is determined to turn heads and achieve great things with CobraCamp.
Although he believes he still has a lot of work to do, he is already seeing the returns of his labour in the form of companies contacting him expressing a desire to have him endorse their products. Ultimately, he would like to produce merchandise of his own, provide large group classes and offer a mini course that educates persons about how to be their own personal trainer.
“Whether I am studying, working, whatever I do, I plan fitness into my life.”
It takes great discipline and dedication to do what Francois does. It is no small feat to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve your fitness goals, while being a full time well-performing University student and pursing a business venture at the same time. Adriel shared that what has allowed him to get to his current position is the understanding that you cannot have your cake and eat it too; sacrifices must be made to achieve greatness. Therefore, he uses strategic planning, time management and prioritizing to strike a balance that makes him happy.
When asked about who he looks up to Francois shared that he is no longer heavily influenced by renowned fitness gurus and bodybuilders. Instead, he is focused on self-development. If he is impressed by a particular trait in someone else or how a person managed to achieve a particular goal, he studies the situation to come up with ways he can integrate those features into his own being. When he was younger, he would watch in awe as other people perform incredible stunts like ‘the flag’ (pictured below) and eventually he got tired of just admiring. He made a conscious effort to become what he admires.
“This [CobraCamp] is my escape plan… I am trying to have a life where my work hours are not fixed, I can support myself financially and I get to do what I’m really passionate about.”
As mentioned before, Adriel is currently pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, but he says he would only settle on a career in this field if he absolutely has to. To him, that career path comes with rigidity and mundaneness and that sort of restriction is what he longs to evade. He regards his degree as a plan B and is doing everything in his power to make CobraCamp a successful Plan A. If things continue the way they have been going for him, there’s much to look forward to from this exceptional young man.
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