Health and wellness

Boot camps and shakes: how a personal trainer motivates clients, and the fitness programme that lured her to switch careers

Hong Kong health and lifestyle coach Jane Fang loves the mix of nutrition, wellness and community spirit at her health club. She talks about inspiring her clients and her breakfast staple: the nutritional shake

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 April, 2018, 6:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 April, 2018, 7:20pm

Good personal trainers or coaches try to gauge the true motivation behind a client’s health or fitness goal.

“They may want to get healthier and lose X amount of kilos, but as you get to know the person, you find those were not their No. 1 priorities,” explains Jane Fang, a health and lifestyle coach at the new StudioWXS in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan neighbourhood.

“You have to get to their real goal,” adds the 34-year-old Australia-raised Hongkonger. These goals include the heartbroken seeking a transformation known as a “revenge body”.

Everyone’s motivation is different. Don’t expect judgment or shaming from this coach, who tries to understand clients better to help them achieve results.

That philosophy extends to the studio’s boot camps, with dedicated followers of all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life. “There are people looking for a place where there is no intimidation … they don’t want to be judged by all the gym junkies,” she says.

This studio fuses nutrition, wellness, an active lifestyle and the community ethos of a club. It’s all part of reinventing the fitness centre format.

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In 2014, the then newly certified yoga practitioner discovered WellnessXperts Fit Club (originally from Singapore), her first exposure to a nutrition-meets-fitness-meets-community-club model. After workouts, participants got nutritional shakes, guidance on diet, fitness, wellness and more.

At the club’s Hong Kong outpost, she got hooked on its boot camps and it wasn’t long before she became a full-time coach, leaving a 10-year career as a 3D architectural animator.

StudioWXS offers a Thursday evening “urban challenge” combining cardio and strength training while weaving through the heart of the city, “fab abs and firm butt” classes on weekends, “10-day weight loss challenges”, with plans to offer express breakfast workouts and more. All feature end-of-class shakes and a chat about nutrition and well-being.

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After taking part in a tai chi session led by a fellow coach, Fang takes my vital statistics from a body composition measuring machine. She gives me a chocolate-flavoured nutritional shake, and begins grilling me on my fitness regimen and motivations. This is one of the studio’s methods to find your “blind spots”.

Eventually, it was my turn to ask the questions …

We want to empower everyone to have a good understanding of a wellness lifestyle, to take care of their physical and mental states
Jane Fang, personal trainer

What do your boot camps entail?

We run from the club to Tamar Park, where we do an hour of circuit training and body weight training, mainly whole body strengthening involving cardio and fat-burning exercises. Then we bring everyone back … we serve shakes, which people look forward to, as it’s not just about exercise …

It’s a highlight of what we do as a community where people mingle, see their coach every week, get feedback and follow ups on how their programme is going.

At the same time, we look at body composition: your internal organ fat, metabolism, bone mass and so forth.

What is your most important diet routine?

My breakfast shake … it’s a nutritional shake, not a protein shake, that’s healthy with all sorts of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It gives you what your body needs in a convenient, fast, healthy way. I’ve been doing this for four years. That’s my No. 1 thing.

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How do you encourage those facing a lull in motivation?

I ask why did they come to see me in the first place. Everyone has a ‘why’... If you don’t have a strong reason, you will have excuses to give up. Or I’ll ask about the last time they managed to lose some weight, to remember why their motivation was so strong back then and why they stuck with it. ‘Do you remember that feeling that time?’

Is StudioWXS’ main goal to whip people into shape?

We don’t want to give a strong sense that we’re just about fitness; we also put emphasis on nutrition.

We want to empower everyone to have a good understanding of a wellness lifestyle, to take care of their physical and mental states.

We found, after years of running a fit club and boot camps, when people are changing their body and getting slimmer, happier, healthier from the nutritional programmes and classes, they become more positive human beings.