Corio routine combines dance, cardio and fun to help sculpt your body without visiting the gym

Hong Kong-based Elle Kealy created Corio using her experience as a professional dancer, and the fitness and nutrition coach wants to encourage women who hate gyms to work out and have fun

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 12:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 8:31pm

Former professional dancer Elle Kealy is an enterprising fitness fanatic who has shaped many projects over the years, including founding a dance production company, and more recently, Rebelle, an online fitness and nutrition coaching business for women. Her latest goal is to get people moving, not just dancers or workout buffs, but even those with two left feet.

To that end, she developed a method she calls Corio. “It’s the best bits of dance cardio with the challenge and science of functional fitness. It combines high intensity tactical training, body sculpting, dance cardio, all these fun things to make it a really effective workout for people who hate the gym,” she said.

The Corio programme has different classes – one combines dance and fitness, another is a circuit-based training session for burning calories, and another aims to sculpt the body and focus on building a strong core.

“What’s unique about Corio is that you’re using your brain. It helps improve your motor fitness, your memory, your co-ordination – all of these skills we don’t often use when we’re exercising,” Kealy says.

On a rainy Thursday afternoon at Flex Studio in Wong Chuk Hang, we take part in a Corio group class. It begins with half an hour of fitness to warm up the muscles and work the upper body, lower body, and glutes, as well as the core, with moves such as donkey kicks and bicep curls.

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A simple but fun dance routine follows, aimed at getting hearts pumping and bodies sweating. “Every single class is multilevel. I always assume you know nothing about dance. I think a lot of people get a bit intimidated if they feel like it’s a dance class,” says Kealy.

With more than 20 years of experience in the dance industry, Kealy is well qualified for the task. She used to run a dance school in London and specialised in teaching beginners. But after giving birth, she was hit by a spell of depression.

“After my first baby I struggled for a long time to feel like myself again. I was tired, demotivated, emotionally stressed and without a sense of identity,” she says, adding she even lost her passion for dance during that period. “It wasn’t until I decided to get into fitness almost three years later that things started to change for me.”

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She worked with a physiotherapist and personal trainer to regain her strength and build a proper workout routine. “The changes that occurred when I started exercising weren’t just physical. I did get stronger, leaner, fitter and healthier in just a few months. But I also became mentally stronger, happier and more confident, which helped alleviate the symptoms I’d been experiencing,” she adds.

Those positive changes led her to become a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach herself.

Now she is keen to share the joy and benefits of dancing and fitness with others. “It doesn’t matter what kind of mood I am in when I start the class, by the time I finish, I just feel so uplifted,” says Kealy. “And that’s something I really want to share with everyone.”