When Paul Hume moved to Hong Kong, he decided to ‘get ripped’. Here’s how he did it

The self-employed entrepreneur attends high-intensity workout classes at Studio Fitness five nights a week that focus on compound lifts with weights

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 May, 2016, 8:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 May, 2016, 8:01am

Starting a new job in a new city, Paul Hume reasoned it was time for something else new – a fresh approach to fitness. After eight years in the Middle East in the lap of luxury, 33-year-old Hume was ready to “get ripped” when he moved to Hong Kong in January last year.

“My general fitness wasn’t too bad, but I wasn’t what you’d call ‘fit’ or ‘toned’. I’ve never been overweight, but I was definitely in need of a lifestyle upgrade.”

One obstacle was in his way: a lack of interest in dragging himself around the gym floor, solo, night after night.

“I run my own business and, while I am self-motivated at work, I’ve always struggled to motivate and push myself in a gym – so I was looking for a different type of gym, something that challenged the status quo.”

High-intensity group workouts are on the rise in the city, and Hume tasked himself with finding the perfect one. He approached the challenge with the same diligence he does his job, formulating a checklist of essentials for his new regime.

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Among them, flexibility (with plenty of classes to fit in with his schedule), a routine he wouldn’t get bored of, a sense of community and a workout that demands full focus.

A friend recommended Studio Fitness in Central and, after a free trial, he signed up on the spot. Boasting classes such as “Get Ripped” and “Get Jacked”, the gym appeals to those looking for efficiency. “Out of 10 for intensity, it’s certainly a 10 out of 10,” he says.

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Through a five-day-a-week routine Hume, originally from Britain, trimmed down from 82kg to 75kg in 2015 – lean for his 1.73-metre frame.

“My workout goal this year has been to back squat 100kg, and I’ve already done it. What seemed like a very ambitious goal back in January, especially as I was only back squatting 60kg back then, has become the new reality.”

What’s your workout like?

Intense, hard work, yet fun. My favourite classes are “Get Ripped”, a fusion class of strength and cardio, super sets, “Get Jacked”, a pure strength class, and “Cut Fat”, a high-intensity aerobic workout with light weights and boxing. Studio Fitness has an underground atmosphere: think old-school iron-pumping style but with a new-school vibe with the lights and music. Trainers are always there helping out to spot or give advice on form. There’s a great sense of community.

How do you find the motivation to go after work every day?

I’m an evening workout kind of person – finish a day at work and then de-stress at the gym. Plus, there are only 14 people allowed in each class, and the classes are always full. If you can’t go, you feel like you’re letting someone else down.

What’s the pull of group fitness?

I like knowing that I go for the hour-long class and then I am done, rather than hanging around a gym wondering which exercise or piece of equipment to use next.

What’s your secret to sticking to it?

Having the weekends off. Monday to Friday, no excuses.

How are the classes on your wallet?

You need to budget approximately HK$2,800 per month. Sounds like a lot, but I did a quick calculation and figured if I went an average of 20 times a month that equated to HK$140 per class – not a large sum to pay for what feels like personal training.

Do you have any special diet?

I’m definitely more conscious about what I eat these days, but there’s nothing special about it. To go straight from a tough class to a burger joint just seems like a waste of an hour.

What’s your go-to post-workout refuel spot?

I tend to head to Wagyu [in Central] after class with a friend for their two-for-one offer on steaks – a great protein kick following a hard session.

What’s been the biggest change since you implemented your new regime?

Working for myself, I have to be sharp and feel fresh. And these days, I am. For the first time in my life, I’m actually committed to a regular workout. People comment on my energy levels all the time. That’s when you realise it’s all worth it.