More women than ever are getting involved in fitness—but sport and exercise is still male-dominated and can sometimes be an intimidating space to enter. From different goals to unique challenges, the way that men and women workout can be worlds apart: sometimes you want someone on your side who has experienced that journey first-hand.
See also: In The Gym With Ramona Pascual Of Epic
As it’s International Women’s Month, we’re taking a look at some of the best female personal trainers in Hong Kong: from pro fighters to former olympic champions, these are the incredible fitness aficionados you want in your corner.
Personal trainer, group fitness instructor, dance choreographer, trainer, business consultant and model—Utah Lee does it all. Currently a Nike Master Trainer, the mother of two has been in the fitness industry since 1999 and teaches fitness programmes such as Zumba, kickboxing and NTC (Nike Training Club).
She is frequently the face of fitness and style for numerous brands on social media, including Nike. When she’s not teaching, spending time with her family or exploring Hong Kong’s hiking and running trails, she loves designing fashion jewellery.
A former athlete with Hong Kong Sports Institute and Rugby Sevens star, Cuvelier decided to take up personal training full-time after studying exercise physiology and science in Sydney.
While she also has qualifications in personal, sports and exercise nutrition, as well as pre/post-natal fitness, her current focus is on rehabilitative exercises for those with acute and chronic lifestyle conditions, including mature clients or people struggling with illness. Cuvelier lives by the motto "health is the best wealth".
With over five years’ experience in the fitness industry, Chan covers everything from Les Mills, spin, HIT and yoga classes, to tailored personal training sessions in weight training, mobility and nutrition.
Currently based at Coastal Fitness Hong Kong, she focuses on strength and conditioning in combination with nutrition. She believes there is no one-size-fits-all formula for fitness, and encourages everyone to find what works best for their body.
McCollum started out in marketing, turning to exercise as a way of relieving stress. She believes health should always be the first priority and eventually left her job to study nutrition and fitness full-time.
Her most recent bi-weekly boot camp, SCULPT w/H, is an intense women-only 45-minute workout followed by a group breakfast which motivates women of all fitness levels to achieve their physical best. McCollum believes life is too short to diet, and balances nutrition with little indulgences: her guilty pleasures are red wine and peanut butter.
Hong Kong born-and-raised, Means was a gymnast for eight years before turning to rugby where she represented Hong Kong for seven years at the Rugby Sevens, Asia Championships, and World Cup Qualifiers.
Her current focus is on strength training, and her own competitive powerlifting placed her seventh in the world at the Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships, at the Arnold Classic Worldwide this month. Working with Ultimate Performance, Means wants to help individuals achieve their personal health and fitness goals.
Originally from Scotland, Dunn was formerly a gymnast coach before she moved to Hong Kong and joined Coastal Fitness. She turned to strength and conditioning training as a way to improve her own health and confidence, and now shares this knowledge with her clients to incorporate fitness strategies into their everyday lives.
Dunn’s fitness mantra is to work with your body, not against it, and to understand the importance of the mind and body working together—if you move better, you will feel better.
Although she started in economics, PR and advertising, Tang’s passion for dance and sport led her to pursue a professional career in fitness and join H-Kore. An experienced yoga teacher and a Lululemon ambassador, she looks at more than just exercise when it comes to fitness.
Tang specialises in anatomy, Jivamukti, Yin yoga and Reiki. Her positive spirit and creativity empowers her clients to achieve their best, and her holistic approach makes sure that mind, body and soul are engaged in every session.
The bronze medalist has competed in three Olympics and won the USA National Weightlifting Championships 11 times consecutively. Her amazing weightlifting career includes retaining the Youth World Record for the 125kg snatch, as well as the record for two super heavyweight lifts of 128kg snatch and 161kg clean and jerk.
Haworth joined Coastal Fitness when she moved to Hong Kong in 2015 and focuses on training both amateur and competitive athletes for strength and power. She sees weightlifting as an integral part of any fitness routine and believes you can never be too strong.
Tam left dancing in Canada to open BounceLimit Hong Kong, which makes rehabilitation and strength-building fun. With over 23 years of dancing experience, Tam now focuses on rehabilitation, rebound instruction and therapy, pilates, TRX STC, GSTC, and Myofascia therapies.
Working with clients to reduce pain and increase muscle and joint protection through building strength, her personal mantra is to push until you can’t push anymore—because that’s when you see results.
At one time pursuing a career in sales and finance, Pascual followed her passion for competitive fighting to become a professional MMA fighter. Her experience in Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu have given her a rounded knowledge of strength and core training.
Read more: The Ultimate Exercises To Build Strength
Her competitive streak drives her forward and helps motivate her clients at Epic MMA, where she focuses on weight training while preparing for her quarterly MMA fights. Her fitness philosophy is to believe in your own ability, and she loves facing a challenge head-on.
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See also: This Pilates Guru Hates Exercise