We’re always on the lookout for new workout places in Hong Kong – and Anhao Wellness, a new fitness company in Hong Kong that offers a range of different classes both in and outside their Sheung Wan studio space, caught our eye!
We sent two of our fitness guinea pigs, Charlotte and Simran, to check out their offerings; first up, Charlotte on Pilates…
In a bid to look like Gwyneth Paltrow before the end of the year, I’ve got increasingly into Pilates. The sworn secret of Victoria’s Secret supermodels, Miley Cyrus and Pippa Middleton, Pilates is popular with fitness fanatics around the world. Why? Well, it improves flexibility and muscle strength with a particular focus on ‘the core’, which helps your posture and tones your body like you would not believe!
Having experienced many different types of Pilates, I was really looking forward to trying out Anhao Wellness, who specialise in the STOTT Pilates® method. STOTT Pilates® is a mind-body approach that uses precise movements to help reshape your muscles, increase your body awareness and boost your energy while improving your ability to cope with stress. In fact, it was just what I needed – I’d been sick, stressed and exhausted in the lead-up to the class (and wasn’t entirely sure I should have been working out in the first place!).
Anhao Wellness is located on Ladder Street and Google Maps lies when it tells you the location. It is at the top of Ladder Street, not the bottom. My advice is to come from Caine Road and don’t make the mistake I did by walking all the way there from Sheung Wan MTR (see where it really is on the map here)! I arrived short of breath and sweaty, only to be greeted by Estelle, a ridiculously elegant French lady and the owner and founder of Anhao, who would be teaching me.
The space itself is very calming. Small but cosy, there were seven of us in the group class (all of whom were French and equally as elegant as Estelle). After a brief introduction to the practice, we began the class using bands. Unlike other Pilates classes that I have taken, there was a large focus on breathing and being in tune with your body, which certainly helps relieve any tension you are carrying. The class was very different – despite practising Pilates, I found the effects similar to yoga, and left feeling relaxed and energised. The class was a much slower pace than I am used to and positions were held for much longer – I could practically hear my core screaming at me to stop as we did our hundred!
Of course, working out in a smaller group is always far more enjoyable and there’s a very nice feeling of community at Anhao (everyone hangs out to chat afterwards, rather than battling for the showers!). Estelle was hands on and definitely pushed you if she felt you could take a pose a step further. I didn’t have the exhausted, drained feeling I normally have after a class, but really felt like my body had had a good workout. Even as a sucker for sweat and pain, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Meanwhile, we got Simran to trial Anhao’s Bootcamp classes…
Post birthday week and filled with way too much cake and everything bad for you, a wake-up call was most definitely required! So come Monday morning and a bootcamp session at Anhao Wellness was a welcome workout for my weary waistline.
Anhao’s bootcamp classes are held in the park opposite their studio, so you can leave all your belongings inside for the duration of the workout. We started with a quick warm-up session, with a variety of different running exercises, and then moved onto circuit training, where we did 3 workouts each with 4 different exercises and 2-3 reps. With a few exercises on the TRX thrown in for good measure, there was never a dull moment and the 50 minutes really flew by! By beginning with targeting your big muscles, legs, arms and back, then shifting focus to your core and balance, it really did feel like a total body workout – plus, by breaking out a sweat that early in the morning, I felt extra virtuous for the rest of my day!
My bootcamp class was also led by Estelle, with her enviable French accent that coaxes you into doing more push-ups just because she sounds so lovely! With only one other person in class that day, we both received plenty of attention to help us perfect our techniques and positions, ensuring we maximised the benefits of our workout. Having been to a few indoor and outdoor bootcamps before, I really enjoyed Anhao’s smaller class size and their more targeted approach.
Meanwhile, Anhao’s studio on leafy Ladder Street is one of the nicest and hygienic I’ve been too; they even have a shower area too, just remember to bring your own towels!
The absolute perk of working out with Anhao Wellness is that you don’t have to buy a package for only one type of exercise; rather, you can buy one of their packages and use it towards any of their group classes, including Zumba, Power Yoga, TRX, Aerobics… and even a class dedicated to Abs & Glutes, which is definitely next on my hit-list! Estelle and her team also provide one-on-one and corporate programmes for more personalised workouts, plus they teach swimming in both one-on-one sessions and group classes too.
Annual membership at Anhao Wellness costs only $200 between now and 1 September 2013 (the normal price is $450), whilst individual classes start at $200 per session with other reasonably priced packages also available. So if you fancy mixing up your workouts in a new airy boutique-style studio (and checking out Estelle’s accent in person!), Anhao Wellness may just be the place for you.
Anhao Wellness, 4/F, 5 Ladder Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 6397 8284