*2017 update: Over the last year I’ve been using GuavaPass and KFIT – websites/apps that give you access to several gyms and studios in the city. They operate on monthly or per class subscriptions, which really take the burden off annual memberships. I thought KFIT is especially flexible and offers the best value for money. GuavaPass is more expensive and has a stricter cancellation policy, making it overall less user friendly.
New Year Resolutions always take the path of health and career – at least, that’s how it is for me. For the last two years.
Last year I made a promise to do yoga 5 times a week, and proceeded to join a yoga studio in February (with a 1 year membership). I did not end up doing yoga 5 times a week, but I did get myself on the path to fitness (of which the incline was very very gradual). I guess that’s a good a start as any, considering I was doing almost no physical activity at all prior to that, and had the strength and stamina of about nil (my maximum distance on a treadmill was 1.6km – with several walking breaks).
It’s now or never. If you’re not fit in your mid-20s then when will you ever be?! The idea has bolstered my determination to get into a healthy and active life. To not be out of breath when walking up 10 flights of stairs. To not be limited when I travel because I get tired easily. So here’s my report on the HK fitness scene after going ‘gym shopping’ for the past couple of months.
Locations: Causeway Bay and Mongkok
Monthly Rate: HK$500 upward (depends if you pay upfront for the whole year, by installment, etc.)
- Local patron dominated
- Pro: wider variety of classes as opposed to Pure Yoga and Yoga Room – they have ballet, Bollywood, aerobics, body combat, etc.
- Con: Too many people now, hard to get booked into a class
- Con: Locations. They’re way too busy, stressful to get to. (Causeway Bay and Mongkok)
- Gym-like feel (they have a spinning room), mostly women members
- Pro: Good facilities, everything is new
- Pro: I don’t know if they still have this, but their shampoo and conditioner are all Vidal Sassoon
- Con: You need to bring your own padlock
2. XYZ Studio – clubbing/exercise fusion experience
Location: 18 QUEEN’S ROAD CENTRAL, Central
Rate: Click here – pretty steep, around HK$200-350 for every 50 minute session
- really great location, right in the heart of Central (across The Landmark)
- great facilities. They have towels, lockers with keys, deodorant spray, everything
- the whole place smells really good
- really fun, cool instructors – and they’re all really fit, so you get inspired. Rachel is amazing
- Club-like/party feel – I met racing driver Dan Wells who wasn’t allowed to drink/party too hard because of his job, and he said XYZ was his way of making up for it. He told me he goes 5/6 times a week (!)
- A really easy and effective way to get your cardio done; time flies and the instructors really motivate you and put you in the mood to work out
- It’s difficult when you get started (at least for me it was) but after the first 15-25 minutes you get into the groove
- The only con: expensive!
3. PURE Fitness
Locations: Cemtral, Admiralty, everywhere
Monthly Rate: HK1,200 a month more or less, depending on your package of choice
- Good facilities, great locations
- You can come and not bring any clothes because they have everything for you – socks, shirts, shorts, towels…
- Too much people-watching
- Great mix of classes including dance, yoga, body pump or whatever aerobic/weights stuff you can think of
- Expensive. I think they just raised the fees to around HK$1,200-1,400 a month
Locations: All over Central and everywhere again
Monthly Rate: HK$800 (5 classes a month) – HK$1,200
- Great facilities, especially at their new branch in Asia Standard Tower
- Crowded. And they keep signing up new people, so will get even more crowded
- As some people have said, there’s a factory/assembly line/clinical feel to it. Not really meditation/practice-oriented yoga. More like gym-workout-yoga
- Commercialized as hell, just like everything else in HK
5. Yoga Room
Locations: Sheung Wan
Monthly Rate: HK$700-1,000 a month, depending on your package. Again, it’s cheaper to pay upfront for a year.
- More intimate feel compared to Pure
- Facilities aren’t fantastic – no showers – but other than that it’s still a high quality boutique type studio
- I thought the candlelight class was cool and unique, but I felt really cold and didn’t feel like I was ‘working out’ enough. But I guess that wasn’t the point.
So that’s it for my initial roundup. I haven’t decided which one to choose yet, I still don’t know if any are really worth it. Would love to hear your thoughts.