David Beckham's tips for Hongkongers on staying fit and healthy

'A walk or a hike can do wonders -it doesn’t have to cost money', says former England soccer captain and father of four, who's stayed in trim despite giving up the game two years ago

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 June, 2015, 11:55am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 June, 2015, 4:35pm

Since hanging up his boots two years ago, former England soccer captain David Beckham has found a wide variety of ways to keep in shape – and he has a tip or two for busy Hongkongers.

If you cannot find time for the gym, Beckham says, just make an effort to get active in any way possible.

“Even going for a walk around the park or around the city - everything helps ... sustain a healthy lifestyle. A walk or a hike can do wonders. It doesn’t have to cost money. You don’t have to go to a gym or spend money on a trainer. It can just literally be going for a walk or going for a run or a hike.

“I think it’s always important for people to maintain fitness in some way for themselves, their minds and for the healthy side of life.”

I’ve tried to do a lot of cycling and I do some yoga, I do some core work and I also do a little bit of boxing
David Beckham

As for his own fitness, Beckham says he doesn’t have time to work on it every day, but keeping healthy is an important part of his life.

“I try to do something most days. I have four children to take to school, to pick up, and to look after. So obviously it’s difficult to do it every day, but I try as much as possible,” he says.

“I’ve tried to do a lot of cycling and I do some yoga, I do some core work and I also do a little bit of boxing." 

Surprisingly, Beckham - who spoke to the South China Morning Post in Macau, where he was special guest for the opening of Swedish clothing chain H&M’s shop at the Venetian Macao  - revealed he doesn't have his own gym at home.

“I always go out to a gym, he says. “I try to make things work outside of the house. I think it’s important because I find it motivates you more.

“I have a friend that’s a trainer. He helps me out and I spend days with him sometimes, and a yoga teacher from time to time, but that’s about it.”

When he spends time at the gym for training, Beckham says, he makes a point of mixing it up to exercise different muscle groups.

“I go from doing a leg day, an upper body day, a back day, arms. It changes from time to time, but I don’t have a regimented schedule on workout just because I’m busy.”

He still plays soccer with his three sons, and recently released photos of his three-year-old daughter Harper lining up a goal.

Beckham’s physique has been an important asset to him. His six-pack abs gained him instant recognition in the United States when he appeared in ads for Calvin Klein underwear. At the time, few Americans knew him for his winning skills on the pitch as a winger for Manchester United. He later moved to the US to play for LA Galaxy and raised the profile of the game in the country.

He has worked with H&M since 2012, and ran through a Beverly Hills neighbourhood in his H&M underwear for a commercial filmed by his director friend Guy Ritchie.

Beckham, who turned 40 last month, says that "luckily" he has so far avoided any signs of middle-age spread despite forgoing the rigours of a professional sportman's daily training for business meetings, charitable work, modelling shoots and family life.

I go from doing a leg day, an upper body day, a back day, arms. It changes from time to time, but I don’t have a regimented schedule on workout
David Beckham

“At the moment I feel OK, but you never know. Someone told me at 30 that it changes, but it didn’t. Someone told me at 40 it changes and, touch wood, it hasn’t changed yet,” he says.

He says he has a relaxed attitude towards eating, and has never tried any special dieting plan.

“As long as you eat and drink the right things, and eat clean, then I think you can sustain a healthy lifestyle,” he says.

“To be honest, I’m one of those lucky people who can eat whatever I want. I’ve always been able to do that throughout my career. I always thought it would change once I finished playing, but so far so good."

He puts this down to solid baseline fitness. Being a professional athlete for more than 22 years has helped him a lot, he says. Beckham brought the curtain down on his glittering career when he played his final game, for Paris Saint Germain, in May 2013.

Beckham, who was greeted by hundreds of fans in Macau on Saturday, is still involved in soccer. He said he maintains a relationship with the Chinese Football Federation following his year-long appointment as an ambassador for the Chinese Super League in 2013.

“I’m lucky enough to be an ambassador for the sport not just in China but around the world, so anywhere that I can help I always want to.”