Whether you are looking to start exercising here in Hong Kong, or just spice up your current routine, there are tons of options!
Whole Body Overhaul
We all know that complete health and wellbeing requires not only exercise, but lifestyle and diet adjustments too. Now on offer at RAW, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition helps clients work on everything at once.
Working at RAW as a personal trainer, Annie Hon sees a lot of clients who work out regularly but still struggle to shift their weight. She also meets people who eat well but still lack energy, or feel rundown. It was this that led to her interest in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN), a holistic approach that looks at the whole body system. After completing a ten-month course and qualifying as an FDN practitioner, Annie now describes herself as a “health detective”.
“With FDN we treat the underlying cause of any issues, not the symptoms,” she says. “We look at diet, lifestyle, stress and sleep history, and we work with a medical doctor for any in-depth diagnostics that need to be done.”
A chance meeting between the team at RAW and Dr Laurena Law led to a partnership between the two. Now, when clients come to Annie, they complete a detailed questionnaire at their initial consultation that looks at past and current symptoms, diet, lifestyle, work, sleep, family history and general health. If any in-depth medical tests are required, Annie refers the clients to Dr Law’s practice.
Laurena is an Australian doctor specialising in anti-ageing aesthetics and functional medicine, and she has been practicing in Hong Kong for over 10 years. Echoing Annie’s earlier words, she says, “I always explain to my patients that functional medicine looks at finding the root cause of a problem. Once practitioners identify that cause, we take a tailored approach by looking into an individual’s unique biochemistry, and creating nutritional and lifestyle plans to optimise health and prevent the onset of chronic disease.”
Annie explains that the overall goal of FDN is to restore optimum balance, and that begins with diet. “Food is the easiest thing to change. We often recommend a food sensitivity test, as food intolerances can be a hidden source of stress.”
Ensuring you’re getting enough rest is next on the list – anyone with children will know what a detrimental impact lack of sleep can have! Then a trainer will add an exercise programme that is tailored to your specific needs – which is where the strength of RAW’s team really comes into play.
Stress reduction is a huge part of the programme and many clients notice an immediate difference in their health once they address the things that are causing them stress. Supplements may also be prescribed, but only after tests have been done to determine whether or not they’re actually needed. Annie also stresses that they won’t work unless you’ve addressed every other aspect of your health first.
The bespoke nature of the practice is what makes it work. Annie spends a lot of time with each of her clients, analysing all of the information and putting it together to create something unique and specific to each person. She knows not everyone will stick to the programme, but the important thing is that FDN allows them to make informed choices.
At the end of the day, improving your health is really up to you, but with this holistic approach and the support of great practitioners like Annie and the team at RAW, you’ll at least have all the tools you need.
23/F Winsome House, 73 Wyndham St, Central
Aussie expat ANDREW COX runs us through the setup at Joint Dynamics, where he is Director of Training.
What’s the Joint Dynamics approach in a nutshell?
It’s an interdisciplinary integrated facility: this means we have physiotherapists, trainers, movement and sports coaches, exercise physiologists, and massage and stretch therapists all working together to give the best possible service to individuals, teams, events or corporations. (We’ve worked with them all!) We combine all of those specialties with the latest in scientific movement, performance testing and body composition analysis, and our staff are constantly upgrading their knowledge whether it be from in-house training (both structured and organic) or external sources.
Tell us about your trainers.
We have seven trainers at the moment, including former national representatives in rugby, water polo and kettlebell training, plus ex-gymnasts, professional fighters and more.
Give us a snapshot of a Joint Dynamics client.
Our clients value their time and our ability to develop and protect their bodies. They include:
* New mums who are nervous about restarting exercise because of the fitness industry’s “no pain no gain” mantra. While there’s a need for some physical discomfort to elicit transformation, we pride ourselves on understanding our clients’ condition and setting the training stress at current capabilities or just above, while instilling confidence to achieve the challenges we set.
* Businesspeople who want to manage lethargy or pain while maintaining or developing their personal appearance and strength goals.
* Endurance athletes who want to perform better and get injured less.
Human development in any field is incremental and ongoing, so no matter the starting position, we can take a client from where they are to where they want to go.
2/F & 6/F, 122 Queen’s Road Central
ALEXANDRA LAMB decided it was time to kick some fitness goals last year, and after completing a 12-week programme at Ultimate Performance (UP), she’s now a regular at the gym.
How long have you been training at UP?
I started in April, and now do a mixture of personal training and group classes.
What were your initial goals how has the UP team helped you work towards those?
I joined to try and lose some fat and get back into clothes that no longer fit. I had a body-fat percentage in my mind as a goal, and then another secret goal that I was too scared to share as it seemed so far away! I went for a consultation for an hour and asked a million questions before I was assigned a trainer. My trainer gave me very easy-to-follow diet instructions and we started with the workouts, which left me a sweaty mess on the floor! Each week we measured body fat, and each week I saw progress, which made it much easier to stick to the food plan and to feel motivated in the gym.
I did three workouts every week for an hour each, and after 12 weeks I was noticeably stronger and leaner – I had lost 10kg and just over 12 percent fat, which took me to a body fat percentage that was even seven percent lower than my secret initial goal!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start working with a personal trainer?
Firstly, find a reputable trainer. You should make sure that your trainer spends plenty of time asking you questions before you even set foot in the gym. Then – and this is the hard part – you need to trust the process, even when you’re being asked to do things that you might not necessarily agree with.
5/F, 59-65 Queen’s Road Central
When it comes to getting in shape, sometimes getting started can be the hardest part. HEATHER SHALABI from Flex Studio gives us her tips to get you on the right track.
“If you haven’t exercised in a while, or at all, I suggest focusing on two areas: getting the core in shape, and taking a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class for an immediate metabolic boost and thermogenic fat burning.
As a starting point, building strong abdominals rewards you in two ways: the abs go back into shape much faster than other parts of the body (like thighs and bum), and with a dedicated ab workout three times a week, you’ll see results quite quickly, which is super-motivating when you’re just starting back into an exercise routine. Pilates classes really target the abs, and some classes are all about the abs, like our Ab Blast Allegro classes.
HIIT are a great way to kick-start your metabolism and start burning fat quickly. These classes follow a very structured formula for bursts of full-on performance on a specific exercise, followed by a short rest, repeat several times, then change the exercise and repeat (classes usually cycle through five or six exercises, depending on formula). HIIT gives you a metabolic blast that is proven to keep burning calories for up to 24 hours afterwards.
Flex offers Insanity Live and our own HIIT Fat Burn classes on the Pilates Allegro machine.”
One Island South, Aberdeen | 2813 2212
15-17 Wyndham Street, Central | 2813 2399