Featured Influential Individual - Justin Nucum

I am literally always on the go whether it is meetings at coffee shops, other gyms, training outdoors or out to races in the middle of nowhere.


To be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.

If you've been following our journey, you'll know that we love putting a spotlight to individuals we consider just that - winners.  Those individuals that go beyond measure to follow his or her dreams.  The ones who are not afraid to take on any challenge to fulfill his or her goals. The ones who welcome the risks that come with being an entrepreneur. The go-getters.

With that said, we introduce you to an amazing individual who defines all listed above. We were fortunate enough to have been able to collaborate with him in the past as well, and to see where time has taken his company is admirable. Without futher ado, we introduce Justin Nucum.

Read along for an awesome story.

The basics: Who is Justin?  Where did you grow up and where do you currently reside?

Justin is an island boy that loves three F’s: fitness, fashion and food! I was born and raised in Guam. Moved out to California when I was about 11 years old after my father passed away. I now reside in Buena Park right by Knott’s Berry Farm.

It’s hard to imagine you having any spare time.  You seem like you’re always on the go. But when you do have “me” time, what are some things you enjoy doing? 

As you already know, being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. With what I do with Hardkour Performance and the company being mobile, I am literally always on the go whether it is meetings at coffee shops, other gyms, training outdoors or out to races in the middle of nowhere.

I do have pockets of time throughout the day and throughout the week where I can have some “me” time in which I like to disconnect. I’ve noticed with the nature of the business and social media, I am always on my phone. When I don’t have to be on the phone, I like to just enjoy conversations with friends, family and clients. I also like my quiet time either in nature or at a place to eat and just unwind for a bit.

Congrats on everything that you’ve accomplished so far! We collaborated in the early stages of HK and it’s amazing to see how far it’s gone! How does that feel?! Is everything that is happening now what you expected?

THANK YOU so much! Honestly, that really means a lot since you and MUNUM were one of the first to collaborate with. I am so grateful for that experience since we did do a full collection along with a video, photoshoot and all that good stuff. After this interview, we should discuss future projects!

From that time we collaborated to where HK is at now, it has blossomed so much to more than I have ever expected and it feels amazing. From partnerships with bigger companies, to traveling almost every month for races, getting recognized in the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) community, being nominated for one of 2019’s Best Regional Team, to a race team that ranks and gets on the podium, hosting our own events and in-store workouts, and the impact we are making in our clients’ lives...the list goes on BUT it’s just so much for me to be thankful for and a lot of this just unraveled with time, consistency and experience.

With what I initially planned out, this was not even close to what I was expecting.

A lot of the Influential Individuals we interviewed in the past had a different career path before being where they are now. Is what you’re doing now ever part of the plan?  How did this all come about?

Back story on how HK came to fruition..HK was actually my senior project in college. We were asked to pitch an idea in 60 seconds (similar to Shark Tank). At that time, I was super into Ninja Warrior (the one in Japan; before it was American Ninja Warrior). I thought it was the coolest thing and I wanted to try some of these obstacles out. I did my research and could not find a gym or place that offered obstacles like that. People would either have to build their own obstacles in their backyard OR be a member of multiple gyms such as a rock climbing gym and a free running gym or gymnastics gym which was not ideal for a college student.

My idea was to incorporate all of these pieces of obstacles, rock climbing, free running and ninja warrior into one place. That idea was worked on for two semesters with research of starting the business from the ground up. That included funding, marketing, the build out, etc. My idea was pitched to a group of investors, venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs looking to invest in which we were 1 of 6 for a scholarship at that time. Despite not winning the scholarship, we were encouraged to pursue the idea since it was so viable and realistic that I decided to go for it. I told myself..the research is already done. We just need to execute our research.”

At that time, I was a recent college graduate and I was working at a business insurance company suited up every day from 8am-5pm. After work, I would go straight to the gym, eat dinner, shower, then work on HK until 2am. Rinse and repeat until I was able to quit my full time job and devote all of my time into HK.

It is a tough grind as I was essentially working two 8-5 jobs for awhile. This is why entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. People don’t usually understand the hard work that goes behind the scenes, behind the glory on social media, etc. It is a roller coaster of emotions and takes a certain type of person to push through those difficult times. I told myself I wanted to risk everything now in my 20’s rather than regretting pursuing HK later on OR deciding to start HK in my 30’s or 40’s which might be too late. I also told myself that I can always fall back to an 8-5 job if all else fails.

Did you ever come across certain family members or friends who criticize your career choices? What were their objections and how did you handle it?

Yes, of course. I think family and friends are always our toughest critics. Both wanted the best for me which would be the safe way out. In the beginning, it was a lot tougher trying to convince both family and friends that I was going to drop everything and pursue my passion. It wasn’t until they saw the amount of time and effort I was putting into the classes, the apparel, the marketing of the company and to the events. Then they started to see what HK was really about and what I envisioned it to be.

To be honest, deep down I knew I just had to put my head down and block the negativity. Even though the people that are close to you criticize or object what you are trying to do, these are the people that you want that affirmation from especially in those early stages. But I just believed in what I was doing so much that it did not affect me as much as it would for others.

What did you have to give up/sacrifice to follow your dream?  If you could go back and change one thing, knowing what you know now, what would you have done different?

I gave up plenty of things for my dream. As an entrepreneur, you start to understand and appreciate different aspects in life. With that said, I gave up on hanging out with friends, sacrificed relationships, socializing after work or on weekends to work on HK and to save money. I gave up on materialistic things. I sold whatever I had to get more money to keep the business afloat including my shoe collections and some valuables.

Knowing what I know now, I would save more, spend less and get more funding. Cash is king!

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 

5 years from now, I see myself with a bigger staff, bigger team and a HK HQ. Doing more of what we are currently doing but at a bigger scale in different states. Last year, we had the privilege of traveling for races and events. I see that we will continue to travel and expand the business that way.

We just launched Hardkour Nutrition. I see that becoming as big as HK Performance at that time.

Define a go-getter. 

A person that wants something and executes to get it, regardless of how they have to do it. No bullsh*t, no excuses.

What (or who) is your greatest inspiration?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs (on both sides of the family). Some are really successful and some aren’t. Doing business within a family, there are repercussions and drama that goes behind that. It fuels me and inspires me to DO better, to BE better and to become successful on my own WITHOUT the help of my family and only with the help of those that believe in me and my vision.

You’re talking to a group of admirers and people who find you as an inspiration.  What is the best advice you can give them about following their dreams?

EXECUTE, EXECUTE, EXECUTE. I see this constantly. People who want to start their own business, be an entrepreneur or has a great idea, they think about it too much. They research night and day but don’t do anything about it. You will NOT know everything about what you are trying to pursue; you will NOT have ALL of the information; just do the best that you can and start somewhere!

Thank you so much for your time!  

I appreciate your time and featuring me on your site! To all the readers, please follow us: @hardkourperformance @hardkournutrition



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