If like me, you are someone who coasts along with a traditional ‘self-service’ gym membership, paying it month to month (like a charity subscription that’s not for a good cause) but not consistently attending, then a class-based programme is probably right for you.
You know where you are with a class… You’re locked in for about an hour with a professional, getting a disciplined workout and you will see results if you keep at it. And, the whole process of actually having to sign up and turn up also works wonders.
Despite the appetite for classes in Hong Kong, not all experiences are positive. Sometimes actually getting into one of the many classes on offer can be harder (and more stressful) than getting a table at the hottest restaurant in town. I was once 46th on a wait list for a Yogalates class and would be ‘notified the morning of the class if a place freed up’, which it did in the end (45 people having evaporated overnight).
The alternative was my ‘standing-room only’ experience (after a particularly stressful day at work) at a gym without a strict booking procedure. I was physically shoulder barged for space by some of North Point’s geriatric population who occasionally lurched to the front to brush the ripped male instructor as he tried to teach the lesson. To his credit, he took it all on the chin (or chest, in this case). But, if you’re a busy person who just wants to get their fitness on when they want to, these oversubscribed options don’t always work.
Then I stumbled across The HIT Room in my neighbourhood, Discovery Bay. Founded by a husband and wife duo, the uber fit Cindy and Wesley, The HIT Room focuses on two of the hottest fitness trends, namely group exercise and high intensity interval training (HIT). HIT focuses on short, sharp bursts of effort that maximise your workout in limited time. By working at near-maximum intensity interspersed with recovery periods, you get more effective and efficient exercise. More bang for your buck, if you like.
The HIT Room has two purpose-built studios for group exercise classes, spin classes and personal training, and outdoor terraces with open views across the sea towards Hong Kong Island (no ‘sea glimpses’ here). Classes are set in a team training environment so you can get the support you need from others to push and work harder. There’s no hanging around posing, it’s straight in for your class and out. Perfect for busy people looking to get the most from their exercise regime.
They’ve also got all the kit you might need from Kettlebells to TRX, ViPR to Bulgarian Bags, boxing gear to plyometric boxes, agility ladders to core-trainers, to BOSU and medicine balls. With all of this on offer you’re bound to work just about every muscle you have and some you didn’t know existed.
On Sunday morning, I popped in to try their GRIT-Plyo class. It was my first time trying out the phenomenon that is GRIT, a 30-minute HIT plyometric-based workout, designed, so I’m told, to make you ‘perform like an athlete’. The workout uses benches and combines explosive jumping exercises with agility training to build a lean and athletic body. Think burpees meets plank press-ups, meets running on the spot and jumping over things, and then some.
It was the hardest, most intense workout and yet the best class I’ve done in a long time. Pushing us to our limit (with humour, nutrition advice and thankfully, options for all levels) was Wesley, co-founder and instructor. GRIT is straightforward enough for almost any one to follow and if you work your way up through the options, there is something for everyone.
After the GRIT session was over and there were a lot of very exhausted bodies littering the room (and only Wesley jumping up and still smiling), the HIT Room adds (oh yes, there’s more) a 20-minute session of core. Wesley tells us this is to put our metabolisms into overdrive and burn fat for up to nine hours after class. We’re all in and welcome the change of pace.
However, even the core training is pretty hardcore, but that’s what’s fantastic about the whole group exercise concept – you push yourself harder and for longer than you ever would by yourself. Yes, it is ‘you vs you’ (like the posters say), but it’s the best version of you, the version that is surrounded by people putting in an amazing effort… And then you realise you’re one of them.
Would I be back? Absolutely! And, once my beetroot red face subsided I felt great. I haven’t glowed like that after a fitness class in a long time.
I would also highly recommend Cindy’s intense Boxing Circuits, Bootcamp, Bodypump with Pam, and Spin classes with Cindy and Sabrina.
It really is true – and I never thought I’d say this about fitness – that once you find the right place for you, you’ll find yourself practically skipping there for your weekly or daily fix.
For class schedules, costing info and more information about The HIT Room, check out www.thehitroom.com.hk.
The Hit Room, Units 13 & 15, LG/F, Office Building, Block 2, Discovery Bay North Plaza, 96 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay, 6621 7410, www.thehitroom.com.hk