How To: Get Your Hong Kong Dream Body

Want the body of your dreams? From ripped rugby players to junk goddesses, you’ve gotta do some heavy lifting to attain physical perfection.

So, you wanna look like… a ripped delivery guy?

You see these delivery guys on the street all the time—shirts off, biceps out. If you want to look like you lift stuff for a living, then you’re just going to have to recreate those conditions…

Photo: Ross Pollack/Flickr

852 and You

Looking to pack on the power? Sessions at CrossFit 852 combine functional movements, body weight exercises, Olympic-style weightlifting and gymnastics for a varied program that hits all your major muscle groups. Good news for all you couch potatoes: you don’t have to already be in great shape to take on CrossFit. “Whether an athlete is new to fitness, is recovering from an injury or just feeling less energetic that day, all the weights and even movements in our workouts can be scaled down to suit the athlete’s capabilities,” says director Teddy Lo. Right, no pressure then.

Membership from $2,300 per month.13/F, Li Dong Building, 9 Li Yuen St. East, Central, 2205-0338,

Bear it All

Started in 2014 by Dr. Justin Gregory and Gary Manwaring, Doctor Urso’s Fitness & Wellbeing offers training regimes as well as diet plans, sports performance technology and DNA tests. “We see too often in the fitness and sports performance industry this one-size-fits-all approach, but that doesn’t work,” says Gregory. Instead, they take an individualized approach with a range of classes like Bear Camp, an interval-based workout with multi-directional speed work and compound lifts using unconventional objects—think beer kegs and tractor tires. It’s just like you’re lugging stuff around town all day.

From $250 per class. Training sites include Lamma Island, Central and

Take a Hit

Lantau loafers may want to hit up The HIT Room, two studios in Discovery Bay that offer a spin on high-intensity workouts with a mix of functional training, TRX, Bulgarian bag lifts, boxing, agility ladders, medicine balls and kettlebells. Try new high intensity interval training class “GRIT Plyo,” which is all about “dynamic, explosive strength,” says Wesley Reid, who co-founded The HIT Room with his wife Cindy. “The best way to ‘get ripped’ is simply to keep the variety high, and these are functional devices so the body is using multiple muscle groups to burn even more calories.”

Classes from $155; sign up online for a free trial. 96 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay North Plaza, 6621-7410,

Typhoon 8

“Some of us want to get strong, some of us want to get fast, some of us want to live better for longer, and others just want to look hot with no clothes on!” says Steve Wilson, head coach ofCrossFit Typhoon. “Whatever the reasons for training, the good news is that you can cover all those bases by building muscle mass.” But temper your expectations: CrossFit doesn’t automatically translate to a Schwarzenegger-esque physique. “Not everyone can, or wants, to build mountain-sized traps [neck and shoulder muscles] but it will take your existing muscles and make them stronger and denser, which then speeds up your metabolism.”
Still sounds promising to us.

Unlimited monthly membership from $2,200. 38-40 Third St., Sai Ying Pun, 2858-8864,

So, you wanna look like… Bruce freakin’ Lee, bro?

From tai chi to Muay Thai, these workouts should kick your ass.

Don’t Krav In

Founded back in 2008 by Yugoslavia-born martial artist Zorica King, Krav Maga Hong Kongfocuses on this Israeli-originated style that’s not technically considered a martial art, as there are no real rules. It’s about cut-throat self-defense tactics—anything goes when it’s life or death—that employ strength, endurance, speed and agility. And, as you might imagine, regular practitioners develop a seriously intimidating physique.

$300 per class, at Impakt, 2/F, Wing’s Building, 110-116 Queen’s Rd. Central, 9525-4756,

Life of Chi

Sometimes the oldest traditions have lasted for a reason: tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, can be done anywhere. Despite relatively slow movements, the flow of tai chi takes considerable mental and physical coordination, resulting in better focus and control over external forces. It’s all very deep: don’t know where to start? Get a taste at California Fitness, which holds group classes several times a week.

Yearlong memberships from $600. Several locations, including 6/F, L Place, 139 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2522-5229,

Tai Thai

If you’re going for more of a Manny Pacquiao look, then get in the ring at Warrior Muay Thai. The champion trainers here cover everything from beginner boxing to advanced group sparring. “Many Muay Thai fighters have the same type of body: strong and defined backs, legs and abs,” explains co-owner Billy Tam. “This is due to the highly explosive and powerful training. If you train hard every day, expect to have a seriously toned body with abs that will make anyone jealous!” Sounds like a plan.

Trial classes from $150. 3/F, Block C, Sea View Estate, 8 Watson Rd., North Point, 2512-2262,

So, you wanna look like… a junk goddess?

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but who doesn’t want to rock the next junk trip? Joining a women’s fitness program or trying a “virtual” cycling class could do the trick.

Teeny Weeny Bikini

Despite its name, Bikini Fit is not just about looking good in a swimsuit. The holistic program runs for 12 weeks at a time, and includes six-day-a-week training sessions, as well as nutrition consultations, instructional videos, private Q&As and travel support. Every week, women partake in weight training, yoga, and a choice of Saturday activity—be it boxing, yoga or an outdoor adventure. “These are the kinds of workouts where ropes are being slammed and barbells are being thrown around all over the place,” says founder Alex De Fina. “We rely on both ‘athletic’ and ‘aesthetic’ training to ensure that we not only build strong, balanced, functional machines—but also target muscles in varied ways to sculpt a physique which projects confidence!”

$795 per week. Next cycle Apr 20-Jul 11, at Hong Kong Park, Sun Yat Sen Park and Kowloon Park.

Epic Gains

The eight-week Epic Body Fit women’s program at Epic MMA & Fitness is designed to help you shape up with a six-day-a-week- training regime that combines cardio Muay Thai, AntiGravity aerial yoga and fitness, weightlifting and cardio MMA. The key to looking and feeling better? “It’s 80 percent diet,” says weight trainer Darrel Erxleben. “You have to cut down on sugar and carbs, which up your insulin levels.” On top of a clean diet, you’ll also want to lift weights. “To achieve a healthy, curvy look you need to load the body and improve range of motion with squats and deadlifts, which will define your arms and make your upper body leaner,” says Erxleben. Hello, J Lo.

$4,000 per eight-week session. Next program starts May 4. 1/F, 29 Queen’s Rd. Central, 2525-2833,

Pure Perfection

Hong Kong’s fitness empire is doing it again: Pure Fitness has just launched a new cycling and fitness studio that’s set to wow you. The 270-degree Immersive Fitness studio in the new California Tower location will be offering Les Mills classes boosted by cinema-quality video and music for workouts that sound more than a little bit trippy—think cycling crossed with video games crossed with Ibiza. The first program to launch will be “The Trip,” an intense biking workout that should feel like you’re actually climbing hills and cutting around corners. If only you could just virtually break a sweat…

Opening rates TBD. 18/F California Tower, 32 D’Aguilar St., Central, 8200-0032,

So, you wanna look like… a beefy rugby player?

So you went to the Sevens and got envious of all those incredible derrieres on the pitch. Joining a team sport may be just what you need for your own sculpted assets.

Pitch Perfect

Even if you don’t know a conversion from your elbow, you can still get your foot in the door atTyphoons RFC, a rugby club that welcomes all-comers. The team practices every Monday and Thursday around town and follows most training sessions with beers at a nearby pub. If you have a knack for the sport (or just simply enjoy a good the social side of the games), then you might get to join The Tequila Mockingbirds traveling team, who tour regularly around Asia.

$800 for the season, includes kit, access to Sevens and a whole lot of

Ball Out

If you’re keen for a pick-up soccer game, lace up your cleats and get in touch with the Casual Football Network. The group posts upcoming games on the website, and you can simply sign up and show up. With more than 200 people in the league and about three games a week, it’s a great way to kick it off with new friends.

$30-60 per game.

Playing Footsie

Rugby and soccer may steal the show, but there’s also a growing American football scene in Hong Kong that’s as much about tossing the ol’ pigskin as it is about socializing. Look up the Hong Kong American Football League, which started up in 2011 with a couple of flag-football teams and has grown to include 10 teams that compete over the season, from September to April. Rather just watch? Join in for the Monday Night Football parties during the NFL season.

$650 per season, includes personalized jersey and flag belt.

Rump and Rumble

Why do rugby players have such gorgeous glutes? Nathan Stewart, the head of athlete performance at the HKRFU, says that the rugby team training regime actually includes a lot less running than you’d think. “Running breaks the body down, whereas weightlifting builds the body up,” says Stewart. “We focus on a lot of power cleans, power snatches, jerks and what you call compound lifts.” So, in English: squats, lots of squats.

So, you wanna look like… a sexy pretzel?

What comes first: the yoga or the lean, limber yogi? These challenging yoga and Pilates sessions should get to the core of the question.

Wham Bam

One of the quirkiest yoga studios in Hong Kong, Yoga Bam Bam gets top marks when it comes to creative classes. Look for personality-packed practices like AcroYoga, in which everybody gets to fly and support each other in airborne poses, as well as Aerial Yoga or Yoga with Basic Cantonese for Expats. So what’s up with all the slender yogis? “When practiced correctly, yoga helps strip away both our fat as well as our excess emotional baggage, which often leads to overeating,” says owner Melanie B. “Yoga produces beautiful people, firstly from the inside, and that permeates to the outside.” Spoken like a true yogi.

$150 for first-time classes. 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, 5511-8141,

Get H-Kore

The first thing you’ll notice at H-Kore are the torturous-looking contraptions. And they are indeed tough: the Lagree Fitness Megaformer machines require slow and controlled movements to strengthen and tone the body. The resistance causes a constant tension as you work through twisting, pulling and some Pilates-esque motions, so it’s doubly difficult—sometimes working over 600 muscles all at one time. Apparently, you have 640 muscles in your body. Who knew?

$350 per class. 39 Des Voeux Rd. Central, 2441-9000,

Art of Yoga

Aerial Arts Academy turns traditional yoga on its head, literally, with its Flyoga program. Classes utilize a fabric hammock suspended from the ceiling that allows deeper stretches and longer poses thanks to extra support. The suspension practice also works in elements of acrobatics, dance and gymnastics so you can expect some whimsical strength-building exercises as an added bonus.

$300 per class. 16/F, Parkview Commercial Building, 9-11 Shelter St., Causeway Bay, 2375-8088,


Just For Fun

Sup Yoga: Why do yoga on the ground when you could do it on a paddleboard? Sup Yoga Hong Kong hosts 90-minute classes at Stanley Beach. Just try not to fall in the water. Classes from $500,

Ultimate Frisbee: The quirky game has been catching wind in Hong Kong. Join the Hong Kong Ultimate Players Association for a pick-up session. $100-200 per season,

Hyperspace: This new venue has a lineup of awesome sports—like hoverboard quidditch (go Gryffindor!), bubble soccer and archery tag (which we’re sure is totally safe). $2,500 per team for first hour, 5/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Aberdeen, 3106-3789,


Get to Work

A personal trainer at Epic MMA & Fitness, Darrel Erxleben says that the fastest way to look better is to work your posterior chain: aka your back, butt and hamstrings. “You have to target your biggest muscle groups with squats, deadlifts and lunges.” Here’s how to spend those precious 30 minutes at the gym.

1. Deadlift x 10 Reps

2. Glute Bridge Raise x 20 Reps

3. Walking Lunges x 40 Reps each leg

4. 400-meter sprint

5. Two-minute Rest

Repeat Set x 4

Free private training trial available ‘til May 10. Call 2525-2833 or email Info@epicmma.comto book.


This article originally published as an HK Magazine cover story, and appeared online here.