Whether you call it Physique 57 or the Bar Method, this re-incarnation of the 1990’s Lotte Berk Method has drawn the allegiance of women from New York to LA. It’s a combo of Pilates, Ballet and Yoga, with some stomach crunches thrown in for fun (no tutus required). Kelly Ripa is a big fan (saw her skinny-self with my own two eyes in class in Bridgehampton last summer). For those of you wed to a deep sweat and a heart-rate monitor, this is not the workout for you. On the other hand, for those of you looking for the long, lean muscles of ballet dancers – this is the workout that promises to get you there. Most classes are 60 minutes, set to music, mostly women (I guess guys don’t really care much about looking like Natalie Portman) and incorporate a ballet bar, weighted medicine balls and hand weights. Your body will definitely be asking you if you secretly auditioned for Black-n-Blue Swan after one of these workouts! Sassy hopes Natalie’s Oscar will get noticed by Hong Kong’s ballet studios, and that classes like Physique and the Bar Method are just a pirouette away!
Gwyneth, Nicole Richie and Madonna have all been devotees of Ms.Anderson, a former NFL cheerleader. These workouts promise not only to bring out the Laker Girl in you but also to bring out every last HKD in your wallet as well. Classes with Tracy and her equally sculpted, all-women army are not for those who want a budget-conscious or time conscious road to fitness. Group classes start at about $7,000 HKD a month (yes, you read that correctly) and are 2 hours long. Results are pretty much guaranteed, especially when you consider after 2 hours at Tracy’s your muscles will have little energy for much more than going home to rest and do it again (i.e. no worries about calorie loading post-workout your arm will not reach your mouth!). For those of us a bit more pressed for time and/or money, Tracy is now selling a series of video tapes which promise equal results. I do not know about you, but this Sassy Girl has a really tough time turning on the TV to have a trim instructor squawk at me. I am much more responsive to the live sound of a cracking whip! The tapes can be bought from Tracy’s website, and from having done a few with friends, I promise you your arms will have you wondering if you have signed up for 10 rounds with Marky Mark Wahlberg. After a few rounds with the Tracy tapes, your arms will be a body double for the jiggle free limbs of Angelina.
Yes, Hong Kong has arrived enough to offer spinning classes, just not enough to offer KICK-YOUR-ASS spinning classes. Soul Cycle has cornered the market on the exclusive spin studio, originating in LA and now firmly planted in New York. They will get you in shape TOP to BOTTOM, but it starts and ends on the bike. How many of you have left a spin class thinking your back is a bit achy from leaning over the bike, and wondering, what, if anything, you did for your core and arms? Soul Cycle has come up with the solution — SOUL BANDS. Elastic bands that are attached to the ceiling above your bike to make you move your WHOLE BODY (your SOUL will already be moving as it looks for signs of an afterlife!). No more complaining about your aching bum after class; you will hardly notice a saddle sore with your arms and abs wondering how they got so fooled by a stationary bike and asking for another ride to solve the mystery. I was a Soul Cycle regular in NYC and I have yet to get on a bike in Hong Kong when my arms haven’t said “What’s in this for me?”.
Is this an oxymoron? Some call it Caponyasa (the name given it by Carlos Rodriquez) others have coined it as Yogaeira (Amber Campion‘s moniker for the practice). Regardless of the name, the flow is the marriage of the Brazilian martial art form of Capoiera and Vinyasa Yoga. Think of it as Lululemon meets Gi for a sweaty party. The combo features yoga’s warrior poses and inversions with the fun of Capoiera’s quiexada (kicks) and ginga (squats). Both founders are based in New York City, so it is likely to take over as the newest twist on yoga as fast as the Caipirinha replaced the Margarita (either of which you can sip guilt-free after you burn the estimated 800 calories in this class). Carlos teaches his class in a heated room (I have taken it and prayed for death, not air-con). Here’s hoping Hong Kong embraces the region’s history of martial arts and invites this new yogi into shala.
While this is not new, it does seem to be gaining in popularity. Hong Kong does have a number of infantry-styled bootcamps and attendance is up with the recent media focus on the Navy Seals and the dashing military-trained British princes. Many are now incorporating kettleballs (essentially plastic-coated cannonball/bowling balls with handles). Unfortunately for junior recruits, most venues do not have a bell you can ring to say you have given up and want to go home! In communities with beach-proximity, the latest craze is Stand-Up Paddleboarding which, thankfully, has also arrived on the shores of Hong Kong. Balancing on a surf board, you paddle into the waves and stabilize yourself to stay out of the sea (and avoid the fearful fins) by using your core muscles. As John Mellencamp said, “Hurts so good!”.
While we cannot wait for many of these new takes on exercise to hit Hong Kong, it does not limit the ways Sassy girls can stay healthy and fit this summer! Take a hike, ride a bike, twirl into a dance class or get a bunch of friends to create your own adventure. The gym is not the last stop on the in-shape train so try one of these options and have fun.
Born in Miami, FL, Tracie headed north for college and did not look back. After slogging it out for 16 years as a quintessential Type A, ENTJ, marathon-running Wall Streeter, Tracie finally took a long, deep breath. That gasp turned into the first of many OHMs and eventually a yoga-license. During this quest, she visited nearly 40 countries; trying the best, the newest and the oddest paths to physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Finally illuminated (not yet enlightened) she realized that, despite all she had been told, New York was not the epicenter of the world. Now, Tracie is two months new to Hong Kong, and with Sassy is exploring the city inside the gym, in the great outdoors and on hilltops. In a journey to feed both her curiosity about the financial markets and her new-found realization that not EVERYONE owns a treadmill, Tracie will document her search for the key to balance in a fast-paced, diverse and fun city.