In early December, BlackToe Running became one of the first specialty running stores in Canada to carry the new Premvida Bolt Mini Massage Gun, hailed as the most compact and convenient massage recovery tool on the market. Shortly after receiving our first round of inventory (and shipping them out the door at lightning speed!), we were able to catch up with Premvida founder, Foon Fu, in an exclusive interview.
Hailing from New York, Foon competed as a cross-country athlete from a young age, but was frequently plagued by injuries throughout his track career. He was forced to leave the sport, and moved into a coaching role where he became increasingly interested in mobility and recovery strategies for athletes. Towards the end of an inspiring trip around the world (where Foon just happened to hang with some of the biggest names in running), the idea for Premvida was born. During our interview, Foon was gracious enough to give us an inside look at his life journey, how the innovative Bolt Mini came to fruition, and why he thinks it will help countless athletes with their recovery needs. Let’s dive into our interview with Foon Fu!
I was heavily into cross-country track when I was growing up in NY, but ongoing injuries basically shattered my dreams. I had it all: torn ankles, tendonitis, stress fractures and never ending bouts of aches & pains. Eventually, I moved to Colorado and transitioned into coaching. I wanted to help coach people through their injuries, so I learned all that I could about mobility, flexibility, trigger points, body mechanics, massage, foam rolling, etc. I had also gotten into photography, and was exploring my creativity through that medium.
I’m a very introspective person, and always asking myself how I can act on my fears to live without regret. I decided to embark on a trip that would take me literally around the world - I visited 6 continents in total! Travelling helped me overcome so many insecurities and fears, and towards the end of the trip I asked myself, “What’s left? What am I still fearful of?” I realized that an entrepreneurial venture was what I needed to try next, and I think of this moment as when Premvida was born.
After sharing my initial idea for Premvida, a business partner of mine wanted to jump in on the action. We started from scratch - reading, watching videos, putting pieces together - and used our various skills to develop the line. It started with a vibrating foam roller, and moved into new products. We consulted with a lot of people who gave their two cents on everything from design to colour to size. We wanted to make sure that we were putting together a trustworthy line of products that would truly benefit athletes. The rest was, well, a lot of dedication. Trial and error is certainly a part of the experience!
While on my travels, I landed in Kenya where I stayed with Jake Robertson and the crew. I even ended up travelling to New Zealand and staying with Jake for two weeks! There are a lot of athletes and subtle investors who have helped along the way - but I’m not in the business of naming too many names! One major contributor who I can talk about is Kyle Merber, who is a 3:52-miler Hoka One One athlete. He has been a huge support in helping grow Premvida.
Blacktoe was actually the first Canadian store I contacted about the product! The Bolt Mini is currently in 40 run-specialty stores, but only two of those are in Canada. The distribution of this product was pretty hilarious - there were at least two nights in a row where I slept in a car while trying to get this thing out there! But that hustle, and those stories, only make your successes more meaningful. I had a series of samples sent to Jake to test out while he was in Toronto for the 2018 Scotiabank Marathon, and we started chatting about about Premvida's development at this time. I even saw him speak at BlackToe a few days before the marathon. You could say that Toronto and BlackToe are a part of The Mini’s story!
I have a strong life mission towards helping people get to places that they never thought they could reach - like a Sherpa, or a teacher, or a coach. My goal has never been to just make a product, but to make things that help people. I’ll continue sleeping in cars if it means that more people can benefit from what we’re doing!
While I was in Bolivia, I would eat breakfast every day at this restaurant called Prem, which means “unconditional love.” I try to live by a personal motto of dreaming big, having gratitude and loving the life you live. “Vida” means life, so “Premvida” loosely means “love the life you have.”
Here at BlackToe Running, we take pride in offering a curated selection of the industry’s best running shoes, gear, nutrition and recovery tools for the athletes who shop with us. We decided to add The Premvida Bolt Mini Massage Gun to our inventory because we truly believe that it stands out from the crowd: it’s powerful, versatile, comfortable to use, incredibly portable and aids with recovery time. We want to give our customers options and tools that will enhance their running journey, and we believe that the Premvida Bolt Mini embodies these values.
Throughout the interview, we strayed off topic once or twice - as is apt to happen when two passionate people sit down to chat on New Year’s Eve! But sometimes those digressions lead to the most inspiring content of all. We’ll leave you with our favourite ‘golden nugget’ from our interview with Foon Fu:
I like to sometimes think about life as a singular game: how do we become a better version of ourselves? Competing with yourself versus competing with others is so rewarding. You get so much more out of your progress, and your results are more measurable and meaningful. It’s easy when you’re at the top of your game to do that extra run, extra few hours of sleep or extra push up. Somebody is probably paying you to do it! But what if you’re not that champion? What if you’re just always working hard to get to your next personal best? It’s such a beautiful measure of success. The person who doesn’t get recognized is always the hero in my story.