I am a creature of habit when it comes to the gym – you can find me there most weekdays taking a Pilates class or jogging on an elliptical, but it has been years since I have incorporated anything new or exciting into my workouts. I have watched in awe at the gym as girls dangle by their toes from TRX harnesses, and heard friends rave about the butt-lifting virtues of their kettlebell workouts, but don’t know where to begin with trying these things myself. Naturally, when Flex invited the Sassy girls for a small group personal training session, I was eager to check out some new equipment and exercises.
Flex is located on Wong Chuk Hang Road, in an up-and-coming area near Aberdeen that all of us at Sassy are currently loving. Though it sometimes seems like the other side of HK Island might as well be the other side of the planet, Flex was actually just a quick 20-minute cab ride from the Mid Levels, and a refreshing change from the buzz of Central. While we waited for our session with trainer Adrian to begin, Maura and I relaxed in the bright, colorful lounge area and browsed through a generous display of yoga-wear by Abi and Joseph that momentarily made Maura forget that she was at Flex for a workout rather than to shop!
The trainers at Flex will tailor workouts to a wide variety of needs, from recovering after an injury, to preparing for a special event or maintaining fitness level during pregnancy. Since Maura and I have summer holidays and junk trips on our minds, we opted to focus on overall lifting and toning in our session. Adrian (Flex’s master trainer who specializes in TRX, circuits and personal training) put together a great group workout he dubbed the “Look Good Naked Workout” that combined collaborative and competitive drills to help us firm up for bikini season. At first, we played nicely – the two of us worked together to play a very bouncy game of catch with a Reaction ball (it’s irregular shape sent us scrambling, as you never know which direction it will bounce), and to tone our abs and oblique’s by twisting against each other using a Smart Toner rope. Next, we were pitted against each other in two tests of strength and endurance – Adrian’s “amazing butt-lifting” exercises using kettlebells, and a series of multi-directional squats using a ViPR (a weighted rubber cylinder). If soreness is an indication of success, the butt-lifting exercises definitely work – I could barely sit at my desk the next day!
Since Adrian is a TRX Master, to round out the session we had to have him show us a few moves using the TRX harness. For those who aren’t familiar with TRX, it is a suspension training system composed of a series of straps that hang from a single anchor point on the ceiling with handles for the hands or feet. Maura and I learned a few basic exercises during our session, and convinced Adrian to showcase some of his “master” moves for us that (for now) we can only aspire to!
For me, personal training at Flex was a great way to experiment with different pieces of fitness equipment, and most importantly, learn to use them properly. Having a trainer show me the proper use of the equipment and correct my form made me feel much more confident about doing unfamiliar exercises. Our trainer Adrian did not let us slack off (something I am sometimes guilty of when I work out on my own!), but he was very supportive in his feedback and corrections. I also really appreciated the quiet, relaxed feel at Flex – it was very different from the crowded, music-pumping, weights clinking environment of some of the larger all-purpose gyms in Central. While there were other pairs of trainers and members in the studio during our workout, it still felt very private. Everyone was very focused on their own thing, so I never got the feeling that I was being scrutinized by others and I didn’t feel as shy as I had expected to. I am glad I had the chance to try out a personalized sampler of some new exercise trends, and now have my eye on a set of kettlebells (in Sassy pink, of course!), so I can keep up the butt-lifting exercises.