Jon Lee, Josh Li and Benny Liu are not your ordinary group of personal trainers. The trio, each a former competitive bodybuilder, co-founded ONE Personal Training with the shared goal of helping each of their clients reach their fitness goals—no matter how big or small. After opening last year in the heart of Central, ONE has established itself as one of the go-to body transformation gyms in the city.
In the spirit of the new year—where many find themselves setting ambitious fitness goals in January and forfeiting by February—we asked them about their favourite exercises, how they stay motivated and what their perfect cheat day looks like:
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When did you first start working out?
Jon: At the age of 12 I was already doing push-ups and sit-ups in my bedroom and when I turned 16, I was able to join a gym and would go every day after school. Getting bigger was always the goal.
Josh: I started training when I was 17 but I’ve always been involved in sports specifically rugby, and with rugby being a very physical sport I had to train to be more effective on the pitch.
Benny: I picked up my first set of weights in high school when I played Australian rules football—being the smallest kid on the field I found myself training in the school gym through my lunch breaks.
Describe a typical week of workouts for you.
Jon: There are so many variations that have been used over the years from four to seven day splits. Now I would prefer a 4-day split of Lower A / Upper A / Lower B / Upper B for example.
Josh: My workouts vary depending on what my goal is at the time, most of the year I’m focused on doing weights to improve my muscle mass but for the other quarter of the year I will incorporate more cardio to help shed some unwanted fat.
Benny: These days my workouts are more frequent but tend to be shorter sessions, I tend to focus on full body workouts that consist of one to two exercises across two to three different muscle groups.
See also: The Best Exercises For Strong Shoulders
What is your favourite workout class or exercise?
Jon: I don’t have a favourite but what I do like is when you have a workout partner that is able to push you to go beyond your limit, there’s nothing worse than daydreaming between sets.
Josh: I wouldn't say I have a favourite exercise, workout or class. I do on the other hand feel there are more effective exercises that I favour like compound lifts such as the barbell back squat and deadlift you will get the most bang for your buck, so I always include these big movements into my training. I also like the challenge of trying to get stronger in these big lifts and test myself each week.
Benny: A good leg session by far would be my favourite workout. Deadlifts would be my choice of exercise as it recruits almost every muscle in the body while executing the movement.
How do you stay motivated?
Jon: Aside from competitions, there is no added motivation for training, I simply train because it’s something I enjoy.
Josh: Surrounded by like-minded, driven trainers make it easy to stay focused and keep progressing.
Benny: Staying fit, eating healthy and living the fitness lifestyle is just something I do.
What do you wear when working out?
Jon: I like to wear black when I’m working out and when training my legs I prefer to have my shoes off as I find that I’m more stable in my movements, especially when doing squats or lunges.
Josh: I'm not like Benny and don't feel the need to wear a Givenchy t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Anything I find in the morning to put in my bag I'll train in.
Benny: I have a thing for wearing hats when I workout. Can’t have a good session without it.
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What does your cheat day look like?
Jon: It’s usually sashimi, ice-cream, burgers or pizza!
Josh: Blue Butcher Burger and Fries.
Benny: Lots and lots of carbs!
What’s on your workout playlist?
Jon: Funnily enough, if it’s one of those days where I just need to get through my workout then I listen to dubstep, but outside of the gym I never listen to dubstep. Personally, when I work out I like to listen to rap or R&B.
Josh: It really depends on my mood but usually, I will go for playlists that have tracks by Kaskade, Martin Garrix or Dillon Francis.
Benny: I always tend to listen to Claude VonStroke, Marc Romboy, Stephan Bodzin, Surkin and some occasional Taiwanese Pop!
Your favourite healthy foods and restaurants?
Jon: I like a good bowl of oatmeal, a dollop of almond butter, tsp of cinnamon and chocolate whey protein.
Josh: The best meal service in town is Nutrition Kitchen, but if I'm going to eat out I find that Oolaa or Wagyu tend to have healthier options.
Benny: Favourite restaurants in HK: Carbone, Yardbird, Bistro Manchu.
How do you stay fit while travelling?
Jon: If the hotel has a gym—use it.
Josh: Quick morning sessions in the hotel gym, even if it's only cardio. If I'm being really good I'll stick to a lean protein source, plenty of veggies and watch my carb intake.
Benny: I still train as much as I can whilst travelling. But usually, I have a diet break when I am on holidays.
See also: How To Stay Fit While Travelling
Your advice on starting a fitness regime?
Jon: Plan for it and note everything down from weights to repetitions. It gives you accountability and progress is always made this way. Set dates for goals big or small, and keep going until you hit them. Changes do not happen overnight.
Josh: Establish an overall goal and break this goal into smaller goals to hit every four weeks. Set yourself a time limit and always be prepared, whether that’s with preparing and packing your own meals or ensuring you schedule in the correct number and type of workouts that week.
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