Feel good in your own skin.
We know that exercise can give energy, aid recovery and reduce stress, but being pregnant or looking after a newborn can make regular workouts a bit of a challenge. However if you can stick to a structured programme, it’s a great way to come out of the prenatal or postpartum fog with a stronger version of yourself. Whatever activity you choose to work into your new routine, remember to show some self-love along the way. Prenatal fitness and postnatal recovery isn’t about looking good for others, it’s about feeling good within yourself. But if you’ve been given the green light to exercise (make sure you consult your doctor before you begin), here’s a list of places in Hong Kong offering some great pre- and postnatal workout options. Plus, you’ll get to meet lots of other new mamas too. Bonus!
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding closures and restrictions on opening hours due to the coronavirus is constantly evolving. Many businesses are taking extra precautions, but please make sure you follow the latest government advice and stay home if you have recently travelled overseas, have interacted with anyone who has been away, or display any symptoms. Always check with each provider for protocols before booking any classes. Always consult your doctor before exercising during or after pregnancy.
With two kids herself, the founder and managing director of Anhao Wellness and former That Mama, Estelle Neve, knows a thing or two about training a postnatal body (and prenatal as well, of course!). The former French national gymnast-turned-banker returned to her fitness roots when opening Anhao and has never looked back. There is a great selection of classes on offer for every stage of your pre and postnatal body, catering to all levels of fitness. Though, with the recent COVID situation, right now you can only book private classes or small groups of two or more mamas. Prenatal Reformer Pilates class packages will hopefully resume again soon (which usually cater to a maximum of four mamas and can be postponed up to six months from your delivery date), while personal training sessions are tailor-made to you and can start any time from six weeks after delivery (prenatal personal training classes can be taken right up to the end of your pregnancy, health permitting). Follow her on Instagram for inspiration!
This personal trainer and Mama of two is well-know on the Hong Kong mama fitness circuit. Ziggy specialises in women’s wellness and pre- and postnatal fitness and is a certified pre- and postnatal coach. She offers group sessions (outdoor baby boot camp at Sun Yat-Sen Park, and indoor pre- postnatal strength classes), personal training, and also online workouts to do in the comfort of your own home. You can follow tips and exercises via Ziggy’s Instagram, as well as keeping track of her own personal postpartum fitness journey (and her two super cute little ones!).
If you’re looking for guidance on exercising safely throughout your pregnancy and beyond, Esther at Aqua Terra Performance can help. This boutique studio (based in Stanley for the Southside mamas) offers pre- and postnatal sessions and also personal training tailored to your specific needs – so she’ll get your body where you want it to be at your own pace. If you’re struggling to get out of the house, you can sign up for two free online workouts to download. The first, a 30-minute workout for mamas-to-be and the second a 30-minute full-body workout for busy mamas. You shouldn’t need any specific equipment and both are suitable for any fitness level, as each includes modifications to make exercises more or less intense.
Pilates comes highly recommended by gynaecologists and physios as a post-delivery exercise to strengthen and tighten the abdominal muscles, and improve alignment and movement. So mamas in Central looking for an ab-focused workout session can book a private or a group class here. The studio has some of the best machines in Hong Kong and the instructor will tailor exercises to suit your health needs. With a range of sessions, prices vary, so check out the schedule for more details.
Holly Wong is the woman behind Birth Bright and specialises in prenatal and postnatal yoga. She’s also a yoga-for-birth-parent educator, teacher trainer, mother of a toddler (and an expecting mama!). Her mission is to provide education and resources to inspire expecting parents to have a positive pregnancy, childbirth and parenting experience. Classes include group, one-on-one or online options and include pre- and postnatal and baby yoga. Follow her for tips and advice (and cute toddler/bump updates!).
The Lagree workout (which has been called “Pilates on steroids”) is a huge craze in the fitness world. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Sofía Vergara and Jennifer Aniston have all been bitten by the bug. H-Kore was the first studio in Hong Kong to offer this highly-efficient, high-intensity workout. The exercise session is done on a machine called the Megaformer. It’s a moving platform which works through a system of pulleys and straps, using your body as resistance. The best part about this intense full-body workout is that it is easy on the joints, which is particularly important postpartum (because ligaments and tendons are more supple than usual). A 45-minute session will get your heart pumping, make you stronger and stretch you like a yogi!
Flex has some great pre and postnatal class offerings, as well as an impressive array of fitness trainers, such as Anna Serafinas Luk (one of the co-founders), who’s a graduate of the Rambert School of Ballet and Royal Academy of Dance (both in London), and international professional ballet dancer. Here you’ll find special classes for expectant and postnatal mamas using the strengthening techniques of Power Flow Pilates and circuit training. The class is suitable for those in various postnatal stages, or even for those with older kids who just want to get back to the gym post-pregnancy.
Sai Kung mamas wanting to tone up should head to The Studio, which offers a range of fitness classes including Pilates, Hatha Yoga, Yoga Flow and Gentle Yoga for both pre and postnatal women. Group sizes are kept small so instructors can pay attention to everyone’s individual needs. With a range of group or individual options from Monday to Sunday, see the schedule for the complete breakdown, prices range from $170 to $1,600. You can book classes online with Mindbody.
(Pre- and postnatal classes temporarily unavailable but should start up again soon)
These pre- and postnatal fitness classes are based on strength and conditioning and are safe for mamas of all fitness levels. The classes can help you maintain fitness levels during pregnancy, and prepare for childbirth, or tone your body postpartum with the baby-wearing exercises. Lead by certified pre and postnatal fitness Coach Ziggy (mentioned above!) you’re in good hands, although she’s currently on maternity leave so keep a look out for when these classes resume! Goji Elite is a holistic fitness studio located in Sai Ying Pun which offers workout classes for Mums with babies from just 2 months old, up to 18 months old. So work that pelvic floor and tone your arms and legs, while bonding with your new baby and other mums.
For the DB Mamas out there, Kristen Handford offers outdoor group and one-on-one coaching (also online coaching for when the mama groups are not available). You find the DB Fit Mamas workouts taking place on the beach (or in front of La Vista) most days of the week. The 50-minute sessions are $150 each or $1,200 for a block of 10. A pre- and postnatal certified trainer, this mama of one is currently in her third trimester for bubba number two, so you’ll be in good company! Follow her journey here.
Kristen Handford, www.kristenhandford.com
Mamas in Kowloon should look no further than In Motion’s studio. It’s a Pilates, Gyrotonic and physio rehab centre, with pre and postnatal classes offered on a one-on-one basis for Studio, Allegro or Mat. Pick the method that suits your fitness and comfort level the most, and train knowing you’re in safe hands. There are classes throughout the week, check the schedule for more details.
If you’re not a fan of groups and would rather focus on your individual progress, how about enlisting the help of a personal trainer who will plan everything for you? Beth Wright works remotely as a lifestyle coach and provides custom home workouts, lifestyle and nutrition plans. On Instagram, you’ll find tips and recommendations for living a healthier and more balanced life, along with nutrition ideas and transformation successes.
If a busy life is your excuse for skipping a workout, Inspire Yoga offers the perfect tailored solution. It has personalised yoga classes with certified instructors who can come for a one-on-one session in your home or office – perfect during these times where a group class might not be in your plans. So whatever your needs, goals or therapeutic requirements, book a free consultation, get comfortable at home and do some yoga! Namaste.
Read more: What Kind Of Yoga Is Right For You?
Personal Pre- And Postnatal Fitness: Other Options
It’s not always possible to leave your bubba to go for a workout class. Enter Yogaia, the brainchild of Finnish yoga devotee, Mikko Petäjä. This app (Available on iOS and Android) has impressive live sessions with certified instructors, prenatal Pilates, yoga and barre classes to suit your needs and fitness levels. So switch on your iPad, dust off the yoga mat and let downward dog bring upward health. You’ll get a free trial class, then subscription charges apply but they won’t break the bank ($158 1-month subscription; $908 1-year subscription).
Short on time or don’t want to pay the money for a postnatal fitness class? Why not slip into your swimwear and head straight to the neighbourhood pool. Swimming is an excellent exercise to tone your core muscles, arms and legs. Fun fact – water is 800% denser than air, so swimming is a resistance building workout which boosts bone strength and has no impact on the loose joints and tendons of a new Mum. What’s more, being in the water is a stellar stress-buster.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2019 by Nikita Mishra and updated in November 2020 by Alex Purcell Garcia.