AS THE HOLIDAYS come to an end, bodies relaxed and appetites sated, we often discover that the Christmas and Chinese New Year decorations are not the only things that have been packed away. Excess pounds find themselves piled onto our waistlines, the predictable New Year’s resolutions of getting fit accompanying them.
Recently, advances in fitness methods have opened the way to getting back in shape in a systematic, scientific way. It’s no longer a matter of fad diets and cramming exercise but an array of choices implementing real lifestyle change that can help you lay the foundation for long-term health.
Of course we all know that lifelong health is important, but when we so desperately want to rid ourselves of the holiday weight in a shorter time frame, we want what gives us visible results the fastest – a kick-start to weight loss. One exciting new development is the arrival of the Sebastien Lagree method in Hong Kong via the newly opened and well-designed luxurious Hard Kore gym.
Lagree is based in Los Angeles and is a celebrity fitness guru whose famous clients include Nicole Kidman among many others. His method is revolutionary because he has created a unique training method combining flexibility, cardiovascular and strength training in an efficient 40-minute workout. He has reworked the Pilates reformer bed – consisting of a platform that moves back and forth along a carriage fitted with springs and using the exerciser’s body weight as resistance – into his vastly improved version, the Megaformer. This reincarnation is quite simply your vehicle to an amazing figure, giving you long, lean muscle toning with results visible after just one session.
Unlike Pilates, the exercises are much more intense and challenging, especially in the first few sessions. The science behind the method, to get technical for a moment, consists of progressively overloading muscles with increasing intensity to stimulate muscle strengthening. Using slow and controlled movements ensures the muscles are contracted the entire time, burning fat faster.
During my session I was made to do the various exercises using my entire body for slow excruciating counts of four. The exercises move easily from one position to the next so the tension in the muscles is constant. Being no stranger to the gym, yoga and tennis, I can say this workout really feels like it will produce not only weight loss but also body sculpting in a shorter time. I didn’t think it possible but indeed after one class I thought my arms and legs looked shapelier. I asked Lagree how he kick-starts weight loss in his celebrity clients on a nutritional level as we know efforts must be made both on the inside and outside to achieve quicker results. According to him, water is a very important and yet little known component of weight loss. It revs up the metabolism and keeps the fat-burning going. “The body can only absorb four ounces of water at a time,” he says “so you must take little sips during the day to keep the metabolism up. If you find yourself going to the bathroom after drinking water, you have consumed more than what your body can use and the rest is just going through you with no added benefits.” He also advises consuming any kind of soup as a meal in the first two weeks as this will already include water, proteins such as chicken and vegetables. After that, to maintain results he suggests eating food that is as natural as possible. Finally he says, “Once I did not believe in vitamin supplements, but as the quality of our available food is declining I now recommend them to get what we no longer can from our food.”
Another exciting health programme that implements change on an internal level is Reset Yourself. To increase energy, optimise weight, get anti-ageing benefits and cleanse, we need to understand the complete picture of how the body is working as a system down to the level of each individual cell. Each person is viewed as being unique. Nothing works in the same way for everyone. This is why Reset Yourself helps you find your inner blueprint through a system of screening tools like the Reset Yourself hair mineral analysis.
In my favourite science fiction movie, Gattaca, Uma Thurman’s character steals a single hair from her love interest to have it analysed – in a less romanticised reality, hair testing can reveal everything from past traumas to DNA characteristics.
According to the Reset Yourself principle, many people are unaware that many conditions we suffer from, including depression, brain fog, insomnia and weight gain, are largely caused by the food we eat, or from a lack of or excessive intake of certain (or a wrong combination of) vitamins and minerals. Simply that. Once you discover your own unique biochemical blueprint and follow the programme created specifically for you, many of these concerns can be properly corrected through proper nutrition. Each body has different needs and that’s why a multi-vitamin pill or a standard dosage of vitamins will simply not work for everyone.
Only a tablespoon of the top two inches of hair is needed to run the test. As my hair was being cut, my locks removed from strategically hidden areas, I reminded myself that the outcome of the test and ensuing health programme would likely double their volume anyway.
Another advanced test offered at Reset Yourself is the telomere test. Telomeres are like the ends of shoelaces that keep our DNA from fraying. It reveals the biological age of our DNA. As we age, stress and poor health make telomeres shorter and shorter until the cell can no longer replicate and dies. People who follow the Reset Yourself programmes have seen the biological age of their DNA drop sometimes to as low as eight years old. Telomere testing requires the drawing of blood so this is for those who are truly committed to long-term health.
If all of this is not exciting enough for you and you need an actual goal other than just straightforward fitness, Pure Fitness’s newest club in Lee Theatre Plaza offers a different approach. They have brought elements of tactical fitness training for members to excel and train like worldclass first responders. First responders are called upon during emergencies like fire or accidents.
The motto of tactical fitness is to be ready at a moment’s notice. The programme works with ropes, weighted bags, mixed martial arts, suspension training, specialised Purmotion gear and free movement to prepare the body and the mind to respond to any situation. Since first responders rarely know what they’re going to face, for how long or in what way, they need to be ready for everything and anything.
Imagine short-burst intervals on turf pulling a sled, climbing a rope, swinging a Bulgarian bag and then commando crawling back to the start. It’s fat-burning movement in every direction, using every part of your body with total focus. It pumps your adrenaline, getting you excited to come back for more.
To add form to all this function, the recently opened Le Spa by Evidens in Causeway Bay offers a series of aesthetic treatments that aim to target fat loss while tightening the skin. Set in luxurious surroundings, Evidens provides fat-burning and fat-sculpting treatments through multi-polar and radio-frequency sculpting machines. In simple terms, these massage heads emit radio-frequency energy for skin tightening and multi-polar energy for fat burning. They are completely non-invasive and as relaxing as a treatment massage. Some of the most popular treatments of this nature include bottom and fat resculpting, as well as leg and bottom tightening.
We are fortunate to be living at a time when advanced information on understanding the human body and how it works is at our disposal. The only thing that has not evolved along with the times is our own personal motivation. Harness that and you will have an attainable goal of fitness and health, not just for the New Year, but for life.