Hate The Gym? Here Are 14 Alternatives That You Can Try
Working out in Hong Kong has its many strong points––we're blessed with a lot of gyms and yoga studios. But if that's not right up your alley but you still want to keep up your fitness game, there's still plenty of other alternative ways to workout and we've rounded them up here.
Some would call movement a fitness trend, but others would argue that it is more of a lifestyle than a training style. A fun, interactive way to exercise and tackle physical inactivity, movement is a practice developed by Ido Portal, the founder of Movement Culture, which utilise bodyweight and movements to build strength, agility and flexibility.
Hong Kong-based movement coach Andres Vesga, a student of Ido Portal, hosts regular outdoor movement classes around the city using a varied, engaging approach to stimulate coordination, thoracic mobility and social interaction. You can expect anything from juggling tennis balls, playing fetch to crawling on all fours in each session, which ends with meditation as a cool down.
Intimidated by the weights at the gym? Why not try a new form of exercise that will allow you to sculpt your body anytime, anywhere using purely your bodyweight?
Enter calisthenics, a Greek Spartan-style training that has been practiced for centuries. In Hong Kong, you will be in good hands with Timothy Skinner, a calisthenics expert who has just opened his first indoor calisthenics studio, TSF Studio. Stay tuned to this Instagram page for updates on group classes and PT enquiries on primal movement, calisthenics park and body optimisation.
Taking the “work” out of workout, Zumba at Defin8 Fitness is a calorie-burning dance fitness party that will make you forget that you’re exercising.
A mix of low-and high-intensity moves are choreographed to go with the Lantin rhythms to take you through a fun, full body workout that will help you shake off unwanted calories.
See also: 10 Best Female Personal Trainers In Hong Kong To Get You In Shape
Fresh air, a solid workout and incredible views—it’s no wonder that hiking is one of Hongkongers’ favourite weekend activities.
Dragon’s Back is an obvious choice for an easy, scenic hiking trail for those looking for an active recovery, while Violet Hill and The Twins can be tackled at once as one of the most challenging hikes in the city. The good news is, most hikes end at a beach so you can treat yourself to a much deserved dip in the sea.
Need a hiking buddy? Bring your pup along. Hong Kong has plenty of dog-friendly hiking trails to choose from.
See also: Hong Kong Hikes—Plus Where To Eat And Drink After
If you want to work up a sweat and get your heart pumping, running is a simple, effective cardiovascular exercise that will help improve your aerobic capacity.
Not sure where to start? There are many running trails in Hong Kong that are suitable for novices and seasonal runners alike. The most popular one is Bowen Road Fitness Trail, which boasts spectacular vistas of Central, Wan Chai and Happy Valley. If you don’t mind running on a circular track, the Happy Valley Racecourse is open for public use except on race days.
See also: 5 Hong Kong Running Trails Under 5km
If you think Tai Chi is exercise for the elderly, think again. Known as a spiritual mediation in motion, Daogong Tai Chi is the most ancient form of Tai Chi with postures resembling mannerism of the dragon, tiger, eagle and crane.
Offered at Fivelements Habitat, this healing and revitalising practice is led by Master Joe Lok, who will guide practitioners through a sequence of movements that channels energy flow and breathing with connection to the universe and beyond.
Mobility is one of the keys to longevity in life and training, but it’s often overlooked as part of a workout routine. Simply put, mobility is a combination of strength and flexibility, which we tend to lose in our sedentary lifestyle.
At Ikigai, Clare Lim and Aaron Martin will take you through fundamental movement patterns to help you rebuild strength and improve the range of motion of your muscles through simple yet detailed movements, from a bodyweight squat, hip hinging to crawling and rolling on the ground.
See also: 20 Hong Kong Fitness Influencers To Follow On Instagram
You might not know it but jumping can be a workout too and a huge plus if you’re a fan of trampoline parks. At Ryze Hong Kong, a number of different types of jumping activities are available––from the ninja obstacle course, the foam pits to the bounce boards.
Jumping might not seem much but it's actually considered a full-body workout so you get to burn a lot of calories in a short time. It varies from person to person but on average can burn 10 calories per minute.
See also: 8 Most Calorie-Torching Workouts In Hong Kong
Parkour might raise a few eyebrows but this type of workout allows you to learn how to balance, crawl, vault and climb with skills. Parkour was developed from military obstacle course training and bears similarity with movements inspired by ninjutsu.
Over at Hong Kong Parkour Association, you can join weekly sessions spread out across the city no matter your level. If you a more thorough session, they also offer personal training courses. All trainers are highly experienced and are certified to perform first aid, so you know you're in safe hands.
See also: How To Choose The Right Shoes For Your Next Workout
Indoor rock climbing or bouldering is a great alternative to try an otherwise extreme sport whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced climber. Lucky for us, Hong Kong has a number of climbing facilities available.
If you're looking for something other than rock climbing or bouldering, you can have a go at Verm City's Clip N' Club. Trainers and instructors are always available so rest assured you'll get the workout you need.
See also: 5 Indoor Climbing Gyms In Hong Kong
The aerial workout craze comes in many forms but aerial yoga might be the most popular. The name is exactly how you’d imagine it––it combines yoga, pilates, and aerial acrobatics. You will be using a piece of fabric called hammock that’s attached to the ceiling.
For those who wish to gain a little more in the height department, this workout might be right for you as it helps decompress the spine. It also helps you increase your flexibility. Aerial Arts Academy in Wong Chuk Hang offers the best aerial yoga sessions and various other aerial workouts that you can try.
See also: The Best Yoga Teacher Training Programmes In Hong Kong
Hula-hooping might not seem like a workout but you'll be surprised to know that it is. It combines cardio, strength, and core training that targets flexibility, balance, and stability. According to a study done by the American Council on Exercise, hula-hooping for 30 minutes can burn about 210 calories per session.
Turning Circles offers 60-minute classes for a total body workout. The classes include an eight-week beginner’s course in Tamar Park giving you a wonderful workout out in the sun. Their classes are tricks-based, allowing you to learn different ways to move with the hula-hoop. The workout is a great way to tone your core, shoulders, and legs.
See also: Why Exercise Is More Important Than Ever and How to Stay Safe Doing It
Cycling is an effective way to burn calories. But if Hong Kong's summer heat is too much for you, consider moving your cycling session indoors. Strap into your stationery bikes and prepare to burn almost 300 calories in 30 minutes in you spin with a speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour.
Get started at XYZ Indoor Cycling, where founder Belinda wanted to provide a different concept of group exercise and create a unique space that each person can participate in. The best thing about this workout is you don't need to have any prior skills—so whether you know how to ride a bike or not, you'll be welcomed by the instructors. The sessions are different from regular cycling as you will also do all types of down and roundabout movements while grooving to disco music.
See also: Tatler’s Guide To Cycling In Hong Kong: The Best Trails For All Abilities
When you think of an aquatic workout, the first thing that might come to mind is water sports. Those are great choices too but aquatic cycling is a refreshing new way to break a sweat.
At Velocity in Causeway Bay, you can enjoy an aquabike session in an exquisitely furnished, private cabin using state-of-the-art solo Jacuzzi that is designed and engineered in France. Through this workout, you can slim and tone your thighs, calves while easing away cellulite. For swollen legs, enjoy a one-of-a-kind Jacuzzi jet massage.
There's a caveat—sessions at Velocity are only available for women. Other aquatic workout alternatives include SUP Yoga and Pool Fitmat Yoga.
See also: Hong Kong Water Sports: Your Guide To Surfing, Paddle Boarding, Wake Boarding And More
This article was originally published on March 4, 2020 and was updated on September 14, 2020.