The elevator doors open and directly in front of me are six topless, sweaty, ripped guys doing burpees whilst times are yelled out by a trainer. I’m not going to lie… I couldn’t work out whether to run away or just stand and stare! As the session ends, it’s high fives all round as the guys hydrate and record their times into the computer system. The trainer and owner of the gym, Ed Haynes, then comes over, gives me a high five and says, “Are you ready for this?” The question is – am I?!
It’s 10am on a Saturday morning and I’m at the Coastal Fitness Performance Training Centre (CFPT), the hottest gym on the Hong Kong fitness scene right now. The space itself is cool, located in a North Point warehouse with a very raw vibe to it – there’s no elliptical machines, treadmills or Power Plates. “Earned Not Given” is emblazoned on the walls and the area is filled with weights, medicine balls and bars; it’s definitely not a space for posing in your Lululemon pants, but somewhere where hard work and dedication is required. I’m at the gym to take part in an On Ramp session, which is mandatory for all members before they can take part in classes. On Ramp is a three hour session that goes through exercise techniques, including how to squat properly, dead lifting, Kettle Bell swings, Mid Line Stabilization, Cleans, the importance of diet and nutrition and, of course, an introduction to CFPT and what they can do for you.
I originally started working out with the CFPT team at their outdoor bootcamp SMAC (strength, mobility and conditioning) sessions. I love High Intensity Interval Training and Crossfit Bootcamp style classes, and lift weights on a regular basis, but this type of exercise is definitely something that requires guidance and monitoring. Technique is crucial so that you don’t injure yourself. Ed and his team of uber fit trainers understand the importance of this, hence why all CFPT members have to take part in an On Ramp class before they are given access to the gym.
Andy, one of CFPT’s five trainers, explains to us that the classes at CFPT are designed to develop all aspects of one’s fitness – strength, stamina and endurance. There are two sessions at CFPT: Fitness and Performance. Fitness is great for anyone new to mixed modal fitness who is looking to improve lifestyle/fitness, whereas Performance is designed more for people who have experienced strength training, Olympic lifting and gymnastics, and want to take it ‘to the next level’. Each class has a maximum of six people to ensure that everyone is receiving the highest standard of training and guidance, which is music to my ears (there’s nothing worse than over-populated classes)!
Following the introduction to CFPT, we had two hours of exercise technique, which was amazing as you could really feel the difference; Ed and Andy were adamant that everyone mastered the moves, so there was no slacking! All our learning was put into practice with an exhausting 20 minute workout at the end of the session, a taster of what CFPT do in their hour training sessions; I left with legs like jelly, beetroot red and sweating profusely (great look)!
The nutrition aspect of the class was also fascinating. As CFPTs approach is similar to Crossfit, they endorse the Paleo lifestyle (note: it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!), which I try and live by, although it’s slightly harder as a vegetarian. To help gym members with their nutrition, CFPT have an online portal where you can track your meals. At the end of the week, you can submit your meal diary to be reviewed by one of the team and they will provide you with direction on good alternatives and options. It’s such an important part of fitness and reaching goals, so I was thrilled to hear that Ed and his team help with nutrition in such a tailored way. It’s also worth noting that this system also tracks your times and development, so you can watch yourself progress.
The On Ramp session ends and it’s high fives all around again. Would I be back? Absolutely!
A few days later I entered the gym again, this time for an hour’s Fitness session – and I wasn’t disappointed. The workout was fantastic, I pushed myself to my limits and my technique was corrected when needed. I achieved things I would never normally manage when working out alone and Andy motivated me throughout. I’ve tried to stick to Paleo as much as possible, and I’m already feeling much more toned and energetic.
If this all sounds intense and quite scary, it’s really isn’t! It’s not just for fitness fanatics and gym junkies – it’s for anyone looking to improve, progress and better their fitness and lifestyle. Just like CFPT’s boot camp SMAC, members in the gym range from teenagers to ladies in their 50s (so you won’t be constantly surrounded by shirtless sweaty men) – there’s a real feel of community spirit.
In order to give a tailored experience and reach your goals, Ed recommends 2-3 sessions per week. Monthly membership at CFPT starts at $1700, which is expensive; however, when you consider that there will only ever be six people in a class, that you have personal trainers on hand to talk to whenever you want and that you can also make the most of the nutritional advice the team are happy to provide, I reckon it’s pretty damn good!
For class schedules, costing info and more information about Coastal Fitness Performance Training, check out www.coastalfitnesshk.com.