The Tatler 10: Belinda Koo
We speak to the founder of XYZ about the success of her indoor cycling studio and why it’s only the beginning of her ambitious journey to transform health and fitness in Hong Kong
If you’ve ever come across the terms Born to Move or Grow Young – chances are you’ve come across Belinda Koo. Koo works in the finance industry and she’s also a mother of three, yetshe founded XYZ, Hong Kong’s leading indoor cycling studio just less than two years ago. XYZ prides itself on offering Hong Kongers the opportunity to escape the stress and intensity of day-to-day life. Essentially, she set out to radically rethink the entire concept of group exercise through combining cardiovascular routines in a motivational, fun environment with music that makes you want to move, and push yourself further.
Her dedication is understandable – Koo tragically lost her father at the age of five to a heart attack and, following a health scare of her own, she took her doctor’s advice and set out to transform her life through a healthy approach to daily exercise. Koo’s inspirational focus and dedication to fitness and wellbeing extends beyond her distinct Instagram feed (where she boasts over 15K followers), classes are often at full capacity and Koo boasts an impressive army of instructors that take charge in leading these intense fifty minute workouts, on a mission to reshape Hong Kong’s approach to health and fitness.
As XYZ celebrates their two-year anniversary this weekend, we spoke to Koo about starting her own business, her own health and fitness journey, and why sometimes, you’re the only one holding yourself back:
Hong Kong is where I was born; I call this place home.
If I had to summarise XYZ’s mission statement, it would have to be centered on creating positive energy.
My proudest accomplishment would have to be seeing the individuals that have changed their outlook towards health, fitness and life completely as a result of coming to XYZ; hearing those tatler_stories make me extremely proud.
Looking back, I wish my journey into entrepreneurship had started earlier. I have a constant flow of ideas and it would be nice to have more time to bring them to fruition.
My biggest inspiration would have to be my mother, a woman who stands firmly on what she believes in and possesses the kind of mental toughness that I admire.
The aspect I love about running my own business is being able to push the boundaries and coming to the realisation that I can achieve more than what I might have imagined.
My advice to budding entrepreneurs is that there’s never a perfect time to start. A lot of great ideas exist in people’s mind and unfortunately just stays there. If it’s authentic, trust your instinct.
My end goal is working to inspire as many people as I can to embrace health and fitness as a way of life and to help make that process more enjoyable.
Ultimately, I want to play down the fascination towards weight maintenance and play up the training of mental strength, conditioning of our attitude towards oneself and improving self-belief. After all, these are the things that will lead to more positivity in people’s lives.
I will also continue advocating health and wellness to young members of our community. It is important to promote their education in this area at a younger age; to that end, I have already introduced a signature Youth Ride this past summer to cater to riders aged 21 and younger.
In ten years time I will be trying hard to narrow the gap between the East and West in terms of knowhow, receptiveness and choices in relation to fitness and wellness, and I have already made significant inroads to achieving that goal.
As we approach our two-year anniversary, I feel a sense of pride seeing the diverse community of riders from spinning enthusiasts to new riders, tai-tais to businessmen, and students to celebrities.
Recently, Shay Mitchell, one of the lead stars in the TV series Pretty Little Liars, chose XYZ to maintain her regular spinning workouts during her recent visit to Hong Kong, a perfect illustration of my vision for building a strong fitness and wellness community in Hong Kong that permeates all social and cultural boundaries.
Regardless of background and status, as long as riders are passionate about health and wellness, I encourage them to congregate and ride together.
I live by the words: “don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”
Photography by King Fung