The Hong Kong Guide to Fitness: Two Weeks to Toned
Feeling fat as a frankfurter or weedy as a… weed? HK Magazine’s two-week fitness challenge will take you from zero to hero in a fortnight.
Getting yourself into workout mode is always a challenge. But don’t despair: it’ll get easier. Bite the bullet and start strong with a hardcore workout to get the adrenaline going.
Action Plan: Head to Epic MMA to punch, kick and elbow your way to happier (and healthier) days. Referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai boxing keeps the body tight and the mind nimble, and you’ll soon be drop-kicking and back-flipping your way to a tighter body. Muay Thai classes at Epic range from beginner to advanced and are offered seven days a week.
How much? $280 for a drop-in class. From $2,880 per month for three-month packages.
Locations in Central, TST, Tung Chung and Stanley, visit epicmma.com or call 2525-2833 for more info.
Your body might be going into shock after hitting the gym hard after a long period of inactivity. Lay off the weights today but keep your heart rate up and give those muscles a good stretch with a Pilates or yoga session.
Action Plan: Exercises like Pilates and yoga incorporate a certain amount of mindfulness and meditation to the practice, which is why they’re the perfect workouts to do at home. Jump on YouTube channels such as Yoga TX, Yoga With Adriene, or lululemon for a full range of easy-to-follow home exercise videos. The best part? You don’t have to shower with a bunch of sweaty, smelly gym-goers afterwards.
How much? Free!
Your muscles are beginning to feel a little tighter, your energy levels are up, and you’ve got a good dose of endorphins in you. Keep up the good vibes with another high-intensity workout, this time targeting different areas of the body.
Action Plan: Head to one of Pure Fitness’ many locations around Hong Kong to get a full-body workout in their signature Bodypump classes. This resistance training program works to improve raw strength while shaping and toning all your major muscle groups: quads, biceps, abs, you name it. Through a series of squats, presses, lifts and curls, you’ll be feeling fit as a fiddle in no time.
How much? $350 for a one-day trial pass includes access to all facilities and group fitness classes for the day. Membership packages start from $800 per month ($999 joining fee).
Locations around town; visit www.pure-fitness.com for schedules and pricing details.
Call your most annoying CrossFit friend and tell them it’s their lucky day: you’re ready to give the WOD, Murphy and Filthy 50 a shot.
Action Plan: A high intensity workout that combines weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio, CrossFit is all about pushing the body. CrossFit852 is one of the largest communities in Hong Kong, and you’ll be in good company as you motivate and push each other through the grueling workout. Plus, you’ll have gym buddies to grab a drink with after class. Or maybe a fruit smoothie, anyway.
How much? $250 for a drop-in class. Memberships available in one-, three-, six-, and 12-month packages; $2,300 per month for a 12-month package.
1/F, Li Dong Building, 9 Li Yuen St. East, Central, 2205-0338, www.crossfit852.com.
- Cheat Option! Go for a picnic at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, where you can watch the joggers going round in a circle as you sip on a crisp Chardonnay and contemplate the sunset. 16 Eastern St. North, Sai Ying Pun.
Hurray! You’re almost at the end of Week 1. You’ve earned a day of rest, but don’t get too comfortable on the couch.
Action Plan: Lay out the yoga mat in front of the TV and smash out 100 crunches to something on Netflix.
How much? Netflix subscriptions from $63 per month, www.netflix.com.hk.
The weekend is here, so who can blame you for getting a bit sidetracked? Follow up that 2-hour brunch with a hardcore session in the evening, and you’ll be right back into the routine.
Action Plan: Sweat out the champagne brunch with a high-intensity cycling session at Studio Fitness. With the bright neon lights, heart-thumping music and incredibly good-looking instructors, it’ll almost be like you’re bumping fists at Dragon-i around the corner.
How much? $350 drop-in class. $2,199/mo for a 12-month package; other durations available at varying prices.
1/F, World-Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham St., Central, 9450-5600, www.studiofitness.com.hk.
- Cheat Option! Don’t want to work out yourself? The next best thing is watching someone else do it. Check out India By the Bay (Feb 24-Mar 1), a week-long festival celebrating India’s theater, dance and food, with a special headlining performance by premier dance troupe Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. Feb 28, 6:45pm. Miller Theatre, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty; $250 from www.indiabythebay.com.
‘Tis a day of rest and a day to detox.
Action Plan: Grab a few friends and head up to Dragon’s Back for a half-day hike with picturesque views and good company. Pack snacks of granola bars and fruit, and cap off the workout with fresh (and hopefully healthy) seafood such as piri piri prawns, oysters and sea bream at Shek O beachside favorite Cococabana.
G/F, Shek O Beach Building, Shek O Beach, 2812-2226.
Your muscles should be screaming by this point, which means a good long stretching session is in order.
Action Plan: Marco Ferdinandi, Regional Director of Fitness Operations at Pure Fitness, shares these simple guidelines for home stretching:
1. Move your joints through a full, comfortable range, then go just a little further. There should be no pain, just fluid movements with each area starting at the toes and finishing with your shoulders and neck.
2. Don’t forget to inhale and exhale: Deep breathing increases circulation and stimulates your mind and body to move better.
3. Slowly move into each stretch and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. You should reach the point of resistance, not pain, and then gently move from that position as your breathing allows you to go slightly further.
4. Start with just a few minutes each day and build up to a routine lasting as long as you can manage, 30 minutes being a great goal.
- Cheat Option! If your body can’t handle the training, then give your mind a workout instead. Caribbean spot Rummin’ Tings hosts pub quizzes every Monday night with a $500 restaurant voucher as the grand prize—and “shot roulette” for the losers. Mon, 8pm. 28 Hollywood Rd., Central, 2523-7070.
You’re more than halfway through the challenge, but with five days still to go, the finish line might be feeling a long ways off. Now isn’t the time to give up—mix things up and channel your inner Jet Li to power through the last few workouts.
Action Plan: Check out FAC Fighting Arts Center, which offers Muay Thai and MMA in a handful of locations around the city. The MMA training course will toughen up even the wimpiest of fighters, with comprehensive combat training encompassing fighting techniques, body endurance and weight training. The workout combines various aspects of judo, jiujitsu, boxing, Muay Thai and Bartitsu for the ultimate physical test.
How much? Free trial class; $888 for one month of unlimited lessons. Locations around town, visit www.fighting-art.com.hk for more info.
The jelly rolls around your belly are slowly disappearing and it looks like you may be able to squeeze into your swimsuit after all, but diet and cardio alone won’t get you those rock-hard abs you crave.
Action Plan: Look to H-Kore for a high-octane workout that specifically targets your mid-section. The KettleKore class incorporates different kinds of kettlebell movements to build up your core muscles and tone up those abs.
How much? Two trial classes for $180; from $2,040 for a six-class package. 3/F, Wincome Centre, 39 Des Voeux Rd. Central, 2441-9000, www.h-kore.com.
- Cheat Option! Want to feel your heart pounding, but too lazy to make it happen the traditional way? Take on the world’s highest bungy jump in Macau for an adrenaline rush without having to exert any real effort (except maybe screaming at the top of your lungs). Macau Tower, Largo da Torre de Macau, Macau. $3,288 from www.ajhackett.com.macau
Two more days until the weekend, and it’s time to blow off some steam—with a workout too, of course.
Action Plan: Head to indoor trampoline park Bounce for their Bounce Fit trampoline workout classes. It’s high intensity, low-impact cardio—plus you’re jumping all over the place, so it’s not like it’s real exercise. Best of all, the class claims to burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour, which brings you one step closer to your smokin’ new bod.
How much? $250 per class; discounted six- and 12-lesson passes also available. Tuesdays & Thursdays at 10am, 7pm and 8pm. G/F, EMAX, KITEC, 1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay, 2556-9555, www.bounceinc.com.hk
Can you see the finish line in sight? You’ve cross-trained your way around town, and now it’s time to pat yourself on the back and embrace your inner namaste.
Action Plan: Check into The Yoga Room and go with the flow with the boutique studio’s expert instructors. Classes here are small and intimate, but never intimidating: Go at your own pace and you’ll walk out feeling like you’re on cloud nine.
How much? $280 for a drop-in class. $3,600 for a 20-class package, valid for six months. 3/F, 4/F, 6/F, 16/F, Xiu Ping Commercial Building, 104 Jervois St., Sheung Wan, 2544-8398,www.yogaroomhk.com.
- Cheat Option! If downward dog is too much for your aching muscles, sit and “ohmmm” in peace at The Art of Living Foundation, which offers guided meditation courses. Free trial sessions available; sign up at www.artofliving.org for a full meditation course.
Who wants to be stuck exercising indoors when it’s beautiful out? With the weather warming up, move your workouts to the great outdoors to get a bit of fresh air pumping through your veins.
Action Plan: Bikini Fit does just what it says on the tin: It gets you in shape and ready to flaunt your stuff no matter your age, body shape or size. It’s become one of the top workouts for women in Hong Kong, with a feel-good community that promotes healthy living as well as exercise. While positive support is key, there’s no light stretching or hand-holding here—expect a grueling bootcamp-style workout that includes TRX suspension training, bodyweight Tabata, HIIT cardio, kettlebells, power ropes, barbells and boxing.
How much? $795 per week for the duration of the 12-week cycle, with full access to training sessions, educational workshops, consultations and private Q&A. Training locations vary. 2799-9603, visit www.bikinifit.com.hk to register for the next cycle starting Apr 18.
Ready to climb your way to the top? Stair stepping is one of the best forms of cardio and best of all, it’s easy to do no matter your budget or location.
Action Plan: You can always use the Stair Stepper machine at your gym, but the view’s so boring. Check out Ladder Street in Sheung Wan—about 350m of ascending steps from Queen’s Road up to Caine Road—and start steppin’. Check out historic attractions along the way such as Man Mo Temple and the Museum of Medical Sciences to take your mind off those throbbing calves.
How much? Free!
Don’t want to spend a fortune at a gym? Check out these alternative options to get more bang for your buck.
- Class Cruiser offers access to numerous classes around town with a contract-free monthly subscription. For $899 per month, take your pick of everything from cycling to Muay Thai to dance classes, at more than 40 fitness studios in the city. The catch is that you can only visit one gym a maximum of three times a month—all the more reason to switch up your workout routine.
- Like Class Cruiser, Guava Pass offers fitness buffs plenty of variety, with access to numerous studios at a flat monthly fee of $899 per month. They also have a cap of three visits per gym per month.
- Open 24 hours, Anytime Fitness lets you use their gym facilities (Kowloon City, Sai Ying Pun and Kwai Fong) any time of day for a low monthly fee ($518 per month for a 1-year contract). There’s an additional one-time $500 key fee, granting you access to all of their 2,997 gyms worldwide.
- There may not be any fancy workout classes, but utime Fitness Studio lets you work out at your own pace, on your own time, for $549/mo (no contract needed). There are three studios in Hong Kong (Happy Valley, Sai Ying Pun and 1 New Praya) open 24 hours and if you’re feeling especially flabby around the edges, you can book their personal trainers to give your fitness regime an instant boost.
- Gym memberships at South China Athletic Association start at just $340 per month for full access to their free-weights and exercise machines, sauna rooms, and aerobic dance room. There’s also a beauty parlor on site if you need to freshen up after all the heavy lifting—and, of course, the legendary bowling alley. 88 Caroline Hill Rd., Causeway Bay, 2577-6932.
- The YMCA may be famous because of the Village People, but it’s much more than a disco classic. The Tsim Sha Tsui property’s Fitness & Wellness Section still offers one of the most affordable workout options in the city: from $1,575 for three months you get access to an indoor swimming pool, fitness studio, sauna and Jacuzzi. 41 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2268-7000.