How A Health Entrepreneur Stays In Shape

How A Health Entrepreneur Stays In Shape


When Damian Soong set out to create a protein brand, he knew there was more to it than muscle. Today, the ex-engineer and MBA’s Form Nutrition business balances profit with purpose: for every product purchased, it donates a meal to an underprivileged community. Damian’s also on a mission to expand the definition of nutrition from nourishing the body to supercharging the mind. We caught up with him to discover how he keeps his own health on track…

Wellness has always been on my radar, albeit under a different name. I grew up watching Arnie and Bruce Lee movies, and once I was a teenager started going to the gym with friends. It wasn’t called wellness back then, but I’ve always been interested in nutrition and working out. Consequently, I’d always take a protein shake and was forever trying things I learned from Flex – an American bodybuilding magazine that launched in the 80s.

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. When Cowspiracy hit the screens, I was hooked. I went all in, devouring the research. It struck me that between the emerging evidence on the health benefits of going plant-based, the rising concerns around sustainability, and animal welfare, veganism wasn’t just going to be a trend, but rather a structural change with big macro drivers. Back then, veganism wasn’t the thing it is now. I tried all the vegan protein powders out there, but they were all pretty average. The protein market in general was all over the place: at one extreme, the branding was masculine (think those big, scary-looking plastic tubs); at the other, it was a bit hippy-ish. There was nothing that was more of a performance-driven brand – nothing doing any more than just selling protein shakes and supplements.
Fasting is an easy way to improve your health. Intermittent fasting involves increasing the time between eating to allow for better metabolic management. I tend to skip breakfast and fast until lunchtime, although I admit some mornings I have a pain au chocolat from Orée. I wake early but always without an alarm and always try to get some sunlight first thing, which is great for both your mental health and circadian rhythm. Every morning, I’ll either go for a walk or run in Hyde Park, or if I have more time, I’ll head to Richmond Park with my bike. At the weekend, I’ll often play tennis with my daughter.
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense. I used to prioritise getting stronger and faster but ran myself into a knee operation. Now, I prioritise not getting injured and do things that are good for my headspace.

Supplements are a great way to support your body. On a daily basis, I take our multivitamin, Multi, which uses the highest bioavailable forms of various vitamins, minerals and micronutrients to boost your health; and use our Performance Protein, which contains 30g of plant-based protein and curcumin to help you build muscle, recover and meet training goals quicker. In winter, I take a sublingual vitamin D3 supplement and occasionally I take our ZZZs, a natural sleep supplement, when I feel my sleep needs a helping hand. I also use our Performance Protein when I want a healthy snack – I mix one scoop in a blender with half a banana, ice and almond milk – although I’m also partial to tortilla chips and guacamole and am obsessed with Clif Bars.

Frame wants to upgrade your body and mind. It took about two years of research, but we launched in March 2017 with two vegan protein powders and two nootropics, which have been designed to supercharge brain health. I was driven by the desire to elevate nutrition to be more than just a protein shake after the gym, instead offering a product that offers cognitive enhancement and helps with recovery, everyday energy and digestive health.
You can find me in Planet Organic at least three times a week. In my trolley you’ll often find Amaizin Chilli Corn Chips and Booja Booja vegan chocolates. I also really rate Planet Organic’s super green salad and vegan dhal, and I’ll often pick up a green juice.
I tend to eat plant-based where I can – I make a mean chilli non-carne. I try not to take anything to the extreme, but I rarely eat dairy and would say I’m around 80% plant based. I’ll also choose an organic option if that’s available. None of these choices were conscious decisions, I just naturally moved in that direction. When you renounce something, you become tied to that, and that’s hard work. But that doesn’t mean healthy eating has to be boring – I love a Wagamama tofu firecracker curry and Pizza Express’s vegan pizza.
Alcohol is one thing I’ve always struggled with. I haven’t drunk for a while and for me abstinence is easier than moderation. I have a subscription to Lucky Saint, which is my favourite alcohol-free beer. I do, however, still have a good wine collection at Berry Bros. – I need to figure out what to do with that.
Organisation throughout the working week is key. I try to focus more on managing my energy rather than time, which can have a big impact on productivity. I’m also influenced by Cal Newport and his ideas in Deep Work. I’m protective of my calendar and time, and ensure I have at least a couple of clear days per week. I tend to work in short, focused bursts and am good at managing emails – my phone is always on silent and I have all notifications turned off.

Ideas only arrive when you create space for them. A lot of creativity is about giving yourself the time to think. The most productive thing I’ve done recently is a 48-hour food and digital fast. It’s hard to understand how much we’re driven by habit – take those away for a period and it’s amazing what arises.
Sleep becomes trickier with age. I used to be an amazing sleeper, but like everyone, it gets harder as you get older. I try to keep my sleep hygiene optimal – no screens or eating or drinking before bed. I sleep with an eye mask, earplugs and weighted blanket, all of which I love. I also track my sleep with an Oura ring, which has been great for understanding what affects my sleep.
Tech can help with other aspects of your health too. I track my runs and rides with a Garmin and use Strava. I also rate the Insight Timer app for meditation, and really recommend Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach’s 40-day mindfulness course, which is free on the app. Having said that, I believe the next thing in wellness will be a move away from wearables and data, instead looking towards wellness with a more holistic approach, featuring more mindfulness and work on concepts such as attachment and materialism.
Self-care is vital. I used to think a massage was a luxury I didn’t have the time for. Over the years, I’ve come to realise that it’s not downtime; it’s one of the highest returning investments in my uptime. My daughter got a foot spa for Christmas last year and I often use that – add some magnesium salts and it’s the perfect recovery after a long run.
For more information, visit

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at [email protected].