The fifth covid wave took a toll on Hong Kong as a whole. The city saw a record high number of daily cases and some of the strictest restrictions in the world. Like many industries, the world of fitness took a massive hit. From gym closures to gyms completely shutting down, some had to adapt and change up their approach to training their clients.
With gyms set to re-open on April 21, 2022, we caught up with some trainers in the city to see how they dealt with the lockdown, how they continued to manage each client’s progression, and more.
Simon Wang, a trainer at One Personal Training, shares his secret to getting back into the gym routine.
How would you describe your gym to someone looking to get back into the fitness routine?
At One Personal Training, the focus has always been body recomposition, building muscle and reducing body fat. Using science-based resistance training programming and tailored nutrition approaches, we drive to produce outstanding results that clients keep for the long term.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had during the lockdown and how did you cope?
Lockdowns bring so many challenges, and each person handles these differently. Personally, the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was my mindset. At least at the beginning of the pandemic, I really struggled with staying positive and accepting the uncertainty. It didn’t happen instantly and I’m still working on it, but focusing only on the things I can control, especially things I failed to make time for prior to the restrictions. For me, that involved cooking more frequently, hiking and developing a healthier sleeping pattern. Hong Kong is notoriously fast-paced, so really trying to enjoy the slower pace of life stopped me from focusing on all the things we couldn’t do.
How did you change up your clients’ workouts?
Our training programs at ONE are part of the reason we consistently produce so many results. I believe a good trainer will know exactly how to substitute exercises based on the equipment available. Rather than overhauling a client’s programming, we’d carry down dumbbells, suspension trainers and bands and adapt exercises when necessary.
How do you keep clients motivated to train?
My clients have to have goals, it’s almost non-negotiable. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy but there has to be something to work towards. I’m also a firm believer that consistency triumphs over motivation every time. That means I’d prioritise educating and facilitating healthy and sustainable habits, before using a search engine to find motivational quotes.
What new programmes can we expect from you now that gyms are reopening on April 21?
Now that gyms are reopening, I’m really looking forward to maximising how many lives we can change at ONE. It’s not to say that training outside is ineffective, but nothing compares to the atmosphere in our gym when we’re open. The loud music, world-class machinery and camaraderie amongst clients really elevate the experience of working out.
What’s your best secret to building a sustainable gym habit?
I’ve been working in the fitness industry since I was 18, so I’ve seen my fair share of people succeed, but also just as many fails. Those that fail seem to set themselves unrealistic expectations and end up quitting due to frustration and disappointment. If you want to build long term habits for your fitness journey, you should start by aiming for progress and not perfection. Start with small changes to your daily habits and make them more optimal as they start to feel mindless or effortless. If the habits you’re trying to build seem easy and achievable, you’re less likely to bail on them.