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.
Dan Yeung, freelance personal trainer and co-founder at Re/Nation, 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?
The key to getting back into a fitness routine boils down to two things – patience and perseverance. As a trainer, I understand the importance of a gradual build-up to achieve desired, sustainable goals. It is imperative to start small, especially when getting back into the groove of things. Understandably, it will be tempting to rush, but trust the process, and rest assured, you will build momentum and return to peak physical performance in a safe and healthy manner.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had during the lockdown and how did you cope?
The biggest challenge I experienced during the lockdown was maintaining the standard of training for my clients, without the comfort of a gym. Not only was I posed with the challenge of creating a motivational environment in a public park; I had to get creative with training programs. Retaining client attention and maintaining motivational levels was, and is, of the utmost importance. Training is cathartic in many ways, for many people, and during a lockdown, it’s especially easy to fall out of a routine. Checking in on my clients was a top priority of mine to ensure that accountability and progress-tracking remained unwavering.
How did you change up your clients’ workouts?
When you are forced to confront a change of scene, you discover things that you might’ve previously overlooked. For me, I chose to look at this in a positive light. There are many benefits to training in the great outdoors, and very luckily for me, I was able to create a hybrid training program utilising gym equipment and natural resources. Since we were set up in a park, we had access to bars and naturally, trees, enabling us to incorporate more resistance-based and bodyweight exercises that elevated a traditional workout to include more cardio. And of course, having the occasional furry companion visitor added a bit of pleasure to a painful workout [laughs].
How do you keep clients motivated to train?
As mentioned previously, it’s all about maintaining consistent, strong lines of transparency and communication. The relationship that I develop with my clients extends beyond our one-hour session. When they go home and make their meals, I ask them to take photos, keep me updated, and encourage any home workouts that can be incorporated on the days that they don’t train with me. The beauty of living through a lockdown in this day and age is the accessibility that technology grants us, enabling us to stay in touch, even in the most isolating of circumstances.
What new programmes can we expect from you now that gyms are reopening on April 21?
Returning to gyms gives me access to a plethora of equipment that can be used to accommodate a wide range of goals. Although outdoor training provides a more cardio-based workout, having access to a gym allows me to be more targeted in achieving strength-based goals. If there is a specific body part that a client wants to develop, I will have full access to the tools to make that happen. And most importantly, with summer fast approaching, there will be air-conditioning (thank god).