When I walked into Impakt, famed for its Muay Thai, boxing, karate and general “hard-coreness”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of scary looking dudes in boxing shorts and gloves, with ripped abs and messed-up noses? A sweaty, stinky man-den?
However, the gym itself was a lot less intimidating than I was expecting. Though there was more boxing gear and fewer cardio machines than you’d see in other gyms, I wasn’t too put off by my initial impression. There were some pretty tough looking dudes but they all seemed to be personal trainers and were not really that scary looking; they were working out with a few female clients, who were also normal looking, rather than intimidating bodybuilders. While working hard, neither the women nor the trainers frightened me – in fact, some of them were even smiling!
Whilst my trainer for the session, Zubaid, was not exactly the quiet and shy type, his relaxed and friendly demeanour meant that I also relaxed a little and wasn’t too worried about doing my session. Well, I should have been! My first mistake was thinking that because I was a fit runner, I could relax (because how hard could this session be?!)… and my second was telling Zubaid exactly how much running I do (around 100-120km per week). “So you should be quite fit then?” he said. Ummm…
Zubaid set me a three-minute skipping warm-up – and it almost killed me! Do you remember the last time you tried to skip? It is really, really hard… harder than interval training on the track! But being the stubborn person that I am, I was not going to tell Zubaid it was too hard, especially after I’d just bragged about my running.
We then moved onto some strength and core work – again what a workout! This was one of the hardest, though also the best, core workouts I’ve ever done; I was sore for well over a day afterwards. Zubaid was great at pushing me and kept a smile on his face the whole time, checking that I was ok throughout (of course, I said I was fine, even when I was on struggle-street… in a good way of course!).
We next moved onto a bit of Muay Thai. Again, this was challenging; however, because it was in short bursts, it was totally manageable and also, AWESOME FUN. I’ve never been much of a tough girl (in fact, a friend at university once told me I had arms like Maggi Noodles!), so it was really empowering to learn how to punch and kick. Boxing was a great workout, and thinking about the technique really took my mind off the intensity of what I was doing. It was so much less boring than staring at a wall on treadmill and gave me a huge appreciation for how fit boxers must be.
Although I was sore for days afterwards, I absolutely loved my workout with Zubaid. It was certainly challenging, but because of that, you knew how beneficial it must be. If you are pressed for time, I’d recommend signing up for a few sessions – you’ll get the best value for money, in terms of spending the least amount of time for the greatest results.
Unless you have done some kind of martial arts before, I’d also recommend signing up for a few private personal training sessions at Impakt before joining their group classes. This will help you get familiar with the techniques, since your trainer might not be able to spend as much time on individual support in group classes. The beauty of doing a few private classes first is that you can work at your own level and increase your fitness sufficiently so you are not intimidated in a group environment. Then the workout won’t be scary at all!
While Impakt is not a workout for wimps, if you are serious about getting fit and strong, and learning some self-defence (a major plus in my eyes), I would certainly sign up for more classes. In fact, I’ll see you there!
Drop-in sessions cost $250 or monthly membership starts at $1000 per month; see the full schedule of classes here.
Single-session personal training starts from $550 per session, whilst cheaper packages and private group sessions are also available; see more info here.
Impakt 2/F, Wing’s Building, 110-116 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
2167 7218 www.impakt.hk
Jane is an ironman, multiple marathoner, corporate lawyer and mum of one, who recently moved south to Hong Kong after a two-year stint in Shanghai; she chronicles her adventures on her blog, Dim Sum and Long Runs