EVOLVE the way you train
Hiring a personal trainer in Hong Kong is one hell of a financial commitment. With the city’s health and fitness scene booming, the options are endless, but when it comes to forking out the cash, not all of us are in a position to do so. With the cost of an average personal training session costing anywhere between $500-$1,000 a pop (at least!), there’s a noticeable rise in those opting to use a workout app.
Read more: Free Workouts in Hong Kong
Whether you’re a regular gym bunny, would rather workout at home, or are only just embarking on your fitness journey, if you’re looking for gym guidance without the hefty price tag, EVOLVE by Melissa could be the app that gets you motivated! Effectively an online personal trainer, EVOLVE specialises in “personalising your fitness and nutrition journey to make sure that the time and effort you put into your health is helping you get closer to reaching your goals.” The process is simple: choose a package which suits your needs and work directly with Melissa, who will tailor-make a programme to suit your nutritional needs and exercises requirements. These can be done at home or in a gym space – it’s totally up to you.
The app itself is actually pretty cool. It’s super easy to use and is in-built with a personal messaging service so you’re always in contact should you have any questions. Each type of workout also includes video tutorials to show you how to do each exercise (because “frog thrusts” require more than a description)! Use your calendar to plan your workout schedule, check in to your exercises and track your progress; there’s even a section for tracking weight, measurements and logging progress photos as well as syncing with your most-loved fitness apps like Myfitnesspal and Fitbit. Team Sassy is always ready to put our hand up for new experiences, so we were keen to test-drive the app for ourselves and work with Melissa on her four-week package ($800) to see if we could transform ourselves from desk-junkies to Wonder Woman. Here’s how the month went…
Name: Surmayee, Partnerships Manager
Experience level: Intermediate – believe it or not, I actually enjoy working out!
Working out time: Four days a week
How I found the programme: A challenge! I normally work out best in a small group setting or in classes, so working out alone was difficult because whenever it got tough, it was more of a mental fight to keep going (40 weighted walking lunges are not the best, folks!). However, by the end of the four weeks I enjoyed the routine of a solo workout and being able to track my own progress over the course of the programme. It was also great to be able to message Mel through the app in real time about any issues or questions I had, so it felt like she was there with me throughout my workout.
How EVOLVE tailored the programme to my needs: Mel knew I wanted to work on lifting heavy rather than excessive cardio, so my programme had two strength workouts, one core workout and one HIIT workout a week which was the perfect combination for me. She gave me checkpoints with my weights in each exercise so I knew that I was pushing myself enough, but not lifting to the point of injuring myself. The optional mobility modules also helped me reach some of my flexibility goals and ensured I was giving my muscles what they needed to recover.
What I felt I achieved: My biggest achievement was actually developing the mental strength it took to push through a difficult workout alone – something I wouldn’t have been able to experience in a group classes!
Any progress? I went into the programme looking to build up my weight load in my compound exercises (like my squats and deadlifts) as well as improve my core strength, and I definitely improved in both areas.
Name: Annie, Editorial Assistant
Experience level: Low. I’ve been too lazy (slash too cheap) to have a gym membership for years, but if we want to go back 10 years, I was on my high school netball team…
Working out time: I chose to work out four times a week – on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
How I found the programme: I really enjoyed the flexibility of the programme. Having it as an easy to use and convenient app is great, and meant that I could manage the workouts around my daily routine. I found that being able to contact Melissa via the app was much like using WhatsApp, and if I had to move a workout last minute, I could just send her a quick message to let her know, and then reschedule the workout in my calendar. I’m not going to lie and say that it was easy – in the first week my thighs were definitely feeling the burn – but once you get into the swing of the exercises, it does become easier, and I found that they then took less time to complete.
How EVOLVE tailored the programme to my needs: As I don’t have access to a gym or much equipment, Melissa tailored my programme around what I had at home. I also wasn’t looking to focus on any area in particular, so the mix of HIT, Core and Strength training kept the workouts enjoyable, and meant that I didn’t get too bored repeating the same exercises for four weeks!
What I felt I achieved: As mentioned, by the end of the programme, the exercises did get easier, and I do feel generally fitter as a result of it. The main thing for me was realising just how easy it is to fit in a 45-minute workout before or after work, and how much better this can make you feel.
Any progress? I think I would have to continue the programme for longer to see any physical results, but it definitely showed me what can be done in a short space of time – even if it is just being able to hold a plank for a couple extra seconds!
Name: Lexi, Editor
Experience level: Does walking my dog count?
Working out time: Four days a week
How I found the programme: I’ve used workout apps in the past, only to be deleted within the same week. There was never any variety and I didn’t feel motivated to keep myself accountable for my workouts (or lack thereof). It was encouraging to know that at any time I didn’t feel comfortable with my schedule or needed that extra push, Melissa was a quick message away. I found that having visual aids for each exercise ensured that my form was correct and I was getting the most from training each week.
How EVOLVE tailored the programme to my needs: I’ll be honest, I much prefer working out at home than in a gym setting – I’ve never really felt comfortable lining up for machines and often end up doing a bodyweight workout anyway. Which is why my schedule was perfect. Melissa took all of my goals into account when putting together the training plan (was asking to look like Gal Gadot an unreasonable request?) which meant that there was a nice variety of strength training and HIIT circuits. There was no lifting pots and pans or tricep dips with water bottles, all I needed was my own strength (which is not as easy as it sounds, so it turns out!)
What I felt I achieved: Consistently working out for four weeks is an achievement in my books – as was (somewhat) enjoying each one!
Any progress? Turns out that it might take slightly longer than a month to look like a Victoria’s Secret model (and less boozy brunches) but I definitely felt stronger and happier within myself. I enjoyed the routine of waking up slightly earlier, sweating my butt off and setting myself up for a productive day. I felt that my stamina increased and come week four, I wasn’t wanting to cry during a round of burpees. I’ll take that as progress!
Name: Tania, Assistant Editor
Experience level: Erm… I gym whenever I can (rarely), practice yoga, and power walk to and from the MTR. The latter is the most exhausting.
Working out time: Three days a week, plus extra mobility/stretch sessions.
How I found the programme: The training programme was more efficient – and more challenging – than I’d imagined. Melissa made the whole process seamless, and was happy to answer my stream of consultation questions. It was great to have a personal trainer on hand, whilst still being able to workout in my bedroom. Bonus points for the little motivational messages on a Monday morning, and photos of correct posture for certain moves. Plus, the daily reminders from the app mean that you can’t “forget” that working out is on your to-do list.
How EVOLVE tailored the programme to my needs: One of the things I struggled with was finding the time to schedule in a dedicated hour, three to five times a week. I know, I know, we all have the same number of hours in a day, so it ultimately came down to prioritising. At the end of it all, my body thanked me for it! Melissa had tailored my programme to focus on postural work to reduce the strain of scoliosis. Having a set focus made a huge difference. I could clearly feel that the exercises were set to target parts I felt strain and pain, which was a sure way to notice a quick change.
What I felt I achieved: I found that the exercises really worked the muscles I take for granted. This impacted everything from the way I sat at work, to the way I waltzed my merry way to lunch (engage in that core, girls). The programme also taught me that I really can schedule in time to work on things that make me feel stronger and healthier.
Any progress? Without a doubt, EVOLVE left me feeling more energised in my day to day. Though there were moments when my shoulders and back struggled, the overall tenseness eased up. Feeling a physical difference is a sure way to keep you motivated!