Hong Kong seems to be going fitness crazy at the moment, with new classes to try and new studios to visit everywhere you look! So I was stoked to hear that Flex Studio Hong Kong has started “Burn & Sculpt” Tabata classes – a fat-blasting, high-intensity interval training session consisting of 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest… then repeated 7 times, with a minute rest before starting the next sequence. What with high-intensity training being all the rage right now, I was duly dispatched to try it out!
My previous Tabata experience was at Bikini Fit last year and it was common knowledge that I really didn’t enjoy it! It’s tough work and totally exhausting – but you see results, and you see them fast!
I’ve never been to Flex in Wong Chuk Hang before, and was excited by the fluffy towels and spotless showers in the changing room (it doesn’t take much!). It’s a lovely space with a very relaxed environment – far from what I was expecting.
Our instructor Emily (a Hong Kong fitness guru) talked the class through the Tabata basics and got us started with a light warm up – the usual high knees, jogging on the spot etc. Then the Tabata began; the first sequence consisted of jumping squats with weights followed by a plank “to rest”. One thing that really impressed me was how Emily took the class through step-by-step instructions – our “how to squat properly” 101! This was to avoid injury and ensure everyone knew the moves before being thrown in at the deep end.
The next Tabata sequence was burpees (urgh!) and again we were taken through the stages of a burpee step-by-step. I normally avoid burpees because they hurt my wrist (the result of a freak bouncy castle accident!) but following Emily’s instructions and working my way through the burpees correctly made the whole process much more comfortable. Ten seconds is hardly time to catch your breath here, so by the time over forty burpees were complete, I felt suitably tired!
Because you’re trying to do so many moves within a short time frame, you tend to forget things like alignment and keeping your back straight, so particularly for people who aren’t gym regulars, paying attention to this is a very important part of the class. I like to be really pushed if I go to classes, and because a lot of time was spent on alignment (understandably), I didn’t feel like I was given the opportunity to really go for it. The 50-minute class finished with an “active” warm-down and stretching.
I personally like to feel like I’m going to throw up at the end of a workout, but I didn’t have that with Flex’s Tabata – but to be honest, I don’t think it’s catered to people who do bootcamps, crossfit or TRX already. That said, I did feel noticeably sore the next day and it was really good to get up and try something different.
If you’re looking for a way to get fit in the Year of the Horse, it’s worth the trip to Flex if you can find a time in their schedule that works for you – “Burn and Sculpt” is a great introduction to Tabata, but may not be the right fit for those of you whose workouts verge on brutal!
Tabata classes at Flex cost $235 for drop-in, with discount packages also available; see their full class schedule here
Flex Studio 308-310, I Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong
2813 2212 www.flexhk.com