The Arnold Classic Hits Hong Kong
In case you hadn’t noticed the posters and general buzz around town, the first annual Arnold Classic Asia is happening this weekend from 19 – 21 August. The Arnold Classic is a multi-sport festival featuring everything from Crossfit, arm wrestling and Krav Maga, to cycling, skate-boarding and even table tennis. And of course, the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger will be making an appearance and holding his own seminar alongside the IFBB Pro Show… welcome to HK, Arnie!
Celebrating sport and fitness, the festival also includes an amateur Strongman event, hosted by strongman competitors and owner of Sai Ying Pun based gym URSUS, Santina Philips and Gary Manwaring. We caught up with Santina to find out more about the upcoming Arnold Classic Asia, her training schedule and her tips and tricks for incorporating fitness into our daily lives…
Tell us a bit about your career. How and why did you go into Strongman competitions?
My uni degree couldn’t be further away from my career – I studied German, Russian and Politics and have ended up co-owning a Strongman gym… I met my business partner Gary and we began doing some Strongman training in the jungle on Lamma Island. What started out as a weekend hobby turned into a passion and we decided to open our own gym. I took part in my first Strongman competition this April in Singapore because I love training with a goal in mind. When we were given the opportunity to be so closely involved with the Arnold Classic Asia, it was a big step-up for us and I couldn’t turn down the chance to enter and represent URSUS. I’ve also qualified for the Asia Pacific Championships in the Ladies Lightweight (U62kg) Category later this year, which should be exciting!
What’s your training schedule like and do you have a strict diet that you stick to?
We run a busy gym so my training schedule isn’t always how I would like it to be, however I aim to train Strongman twice a week, sprint training 1-2 times a week and Strength training twice a week also. The weights are reasonably heavy in the events for the Arnold’s so I’ve spent the last six weeks focusing on strength and explosive power. I don’t stick to a strict diet as such, I just try to eat an all-round healthy diet but also feed my body, as lifting makes you hungry! Counting macros and timing carbs particularly around workouts can be essential to helping with recovery, particularly when you are trying to maintain weight.
Apart from the obvious physical benefits, what other skills have you gained from being involved in these competitions that you can apply in every day life?
Carrying suitcases up walk-ups in Hong Kong, haha. In everyday life I just feel a lot healthier and happier being fit, most people – and unfortunately especially women – underestimate the benefits of strength training and being strong!
What types of things can people expect at Arnold Classic Asia? What are you personally excited about?
There are a wide variety of sports being showcased at the Expo, there’s definitely something for everyone! There are various competitions going on, demonstrations, products on display and for sale. I’m personally excited to watch the Pro Strongmen attempt the World Record Log Press.
Any advice for those who struggle to incorporate fitness and healthier practices into their daily, busy lives here in Hong Kong?
I know some people just aren’t really into fitness and see working out as a chore, but this is the worst way to approach exercise and your health. Try to make getting fit fun anyway you know how, instead of going drinking and for indulgent meals go for a hike or take a fun new class with a friend and try something new. For those who struggle to find time or are very social, try to get in a workout before you start work so that you can still have evening plans. That said, the gym is a great place to make new friends and is also very social!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time and any favourite places in Hong Kong?
In my spare time I like going hiking, running or paddle boarding with friends, anything outdoors and in the sun makes me happy. I also spend a lot of time with the guys from work and my family. My favourite place in HK is the top of Tiger’s Head in Lantau!
Don’t forget to snap up your tickets here for the Arnold Classic to support Santina and all the other competitors! Or try your luck and enter our giveaway below to be one of two Sassy Girls to win a pair of weekend tickets to the festival. We’ll see you there!