When I walked into Impakt – famed for its Muay Thai, boxing, karate, and general “hard-coreness” – I wasn’t really sure what to expect. A lot of scary looking dudes in boxing shorts and gloves, with ripped abs and messed up noses? A sweaty, stinky man-den? I concede that I had friends who thought I was a little crazy for agreeing to do a trial like this. But I was kind of excited. I mean, how hard could it be? Surely nobody would make me do any sparring on my first day?
The gym itself was a lot less intimidating than I was expecting. Though there was a lot more boxing gear, and a lot less by way of cardio machines than you see in other gyms, I wasn’t too put off by my initial impression. (Rather appropriately, Eminem was pumping through the speakers.) There were some pretty tough looking dudes, all muscled up, but they all seemed to be personal trainers, and not really all that scary looking. They were working out with a few female clients (the normal looking type of females, not the bodybuilding type) and while working hard, neither the women nor the trainers frightened me. In fact, some of them were even smiling!
I was introduced to Zubaid, my trainer for the session. The first thing I will tell you about Zubaid is that while he wasn’t exactly quiet and shy, his relaxed and friendly demeanour meant that I relaxed a little. And so I wasn’t too worried about doing a session with him.
This was my first mistake; thinking that because I was a fit runner I should relax because hey, how hard could this session be? In retrospect, I realize that my second mistake was telling Zubaid exactly how much running I do (around 100-120km per week). “So you should be quite fit then?” he said. As I said, telling him this was a big mistake.
Zubaid set me a warm-up of 3 minutes of skipping. It almost killed me. Do you remember the last time you tried to skip? It is really, really hard. I remember saying to him, “this is harder than doing interval training on the track.” But then, being the stubborn person that I am, I was not going to tell him it was too hard – especially after I’d just bragged about my running! We moved onto some strength and core work. Again, what a workout! I’ve got to say, it was one of the hardest, though I think the best core workouts I’ve ever done. I was sore for more than one day after that!
Zubaid was great at pushing me. He kept a smile on his face the whole time, and kept checking that I was ok. (I said I was fine – even when I was on struggle-street… in a good way of course!)
We next moved onto a bit of Muay Thai. Again, this was challenging, however because it was in short bursts, it was totally manageable. It was also AWESOME FUN. I’ve never been much of a tough girl. In fact, a friend at university once told me I had arms like Maggi Noodles. So it was really empowering learning how to punch and kick. Boxing was a great workout, and thinking about technique really took my mind off the intensity of what I was doing. It was so much less boring than staring at a wall on treadmill! And it gave me a huge appreciation for how fit boxers must be.
Although I was sore for days afterwards, I absolutely loved this workout with Zubaid. It was certainly challenging, but because of that, you knew how beneficial it must be. If you are pressed for time, I’d certainly recommend signing up for a few sessions – you will get the best value for money in terms of spending the least amount of time for the greatest results.
At Impakt, there are a variety of group classes, however unless you have done some kind of martial arts before, I’d definitely recommend signing up for a few private personal training sessions before joining the group classes. This will help you get familiar and comfortable with the technique, whereas in a group class the trainer may not be able to spend as much time as you might want in your first class. The beauty of doing a few private classes first is that you can work at your own level, and increase your fitness sufficiently so you are not intimidated in a group environment. The workout won’t be scary at all!
While this is not a workout for wimps, if you are serious about getting fit and strong, and learning some self-defence – a major plus in my eyes – I would certainly sign up for some classes at Impakt. In fact, I’ll see you there!
Membership starts from $1099 per month, or $2700 per month including personal training. Drop-in sessions for gym use and classes costs $250; Single session personal training starts from $850 per session. (It’s cheaper if you buy more classes). Private group sessions and kids classes are also available. Check out the Impakt website for more info and schedule.
Impakt, 2/F Wings Building, 110-116 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong