Nestled in Central on the mad dash of Des Voeux Road, the seemingly innocuous Wincome Centre beckons and a coveted workout craze shared by the likes of American celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and former (but forever in our hearts) First Lady Of The United States Michelle Obama: H-Kore.
The only Lagree Fitness studio in Hong Kong, H-Kore (short for Hard Kore) utilises high-intensity training with low-impact movements and constant muscle engagement through an innovative machine called the Megaformer. For those unfamiliar with the Lagree training method, it is an intense full body conditioning method that focuses on the five elements of physical fitness: cardio, strength, endurance, body composition and flexibility. By using the Megaformer, a spring-based resistance trainer, clients are able to hone in on any part of the body to sculpt and tone. Upon first glance, the Megaformer can easily be mistaken for a traditional Pilates Reformer. Hardcore H-Kore enthusiasts will be quick to point out differences, but one unique feature is the ability for subjects to stand on the surface, training balance in addition to strength.
Within minutes of the class starting, I am already panting. Through a series of slow and controlled repetitions, my muscles are contracted, very much awake, and starting to scream at me. We maintain this constant tension throughout the entire workout. I later learn this is most effective for building strength and muscle definition. Our instructor walks around the open 2,000 square foot studio, tapping us lightly to keep out joints in correct alignment to avoid risk of injury. Once the muscle has been worked to exhaustion, the instructor today, Garth, takes it one step further and calls out to pulsate, which absolutely kills me, in the best possible way. Sweat is pouring off my face and onto the complimentary towels provided. We’re just ten minutes into the workout. Oy vey!
Accessing the entire carriage of the Megaformer, we do traditional planks, lunges, side crunches, and alternate between Lagree Fitness trademarks like Kneeling French Twist and Curtsy Lunge. Yellow and blue colored coils attached to the carriage dictate the resistance and strength training added to your workout. The 45-minute session flies by and by the end, my legs are trembling, my core is burning and my arms feel like jelly. It hurts so good! We close out class with some cool down stretches, wipe down the Megaformers and hit the showers.
Complete with full service locker rooms: showers, complimentary towels and accoutrements, H-Kore has you covered leaving the studio looking and feeling your very best. A glance at the schedule makes it clear that they offer a workout for everyone. H-Kore Basics walks you through the Megaformer to get you acclimated. H-Kore Classic is the full body workout (though Basics will also give you a full body workout! There is nothing basic about the Basics class) that will take you out of your comfort zone and push you to give it everything you’ve got. After eight classes, those who wish to take it up a notch are welcome to the advanced KettleKore and CircuitKore classes. For new mamas, there is also a Pre/Post Natal session, modified to ensure safety pre- or post- delivery. Also, clients nursing injuries are still able to get in a workout at H-Kore. ‘Tis true! On my way out, I spot a strapping fellow working up a sweat sporting a knee brace.
“Oh, Shane’s on a modified workout we’ve specifically made for his ACL injury,” explains longtime H-Kore devotee and Brand Manager, Zara Balfour, as she catches me watching. The Megaformer is able to modify various moves around the individual based on their strength and capacity. Your muscles will still be getting a workout, but in a different manner compared to the person on the next machine. Upon further prodding, Balfour divulges many of Hong Kong’s top athletes trains regularly at H-Kore. Bottom line – whether you’re new to fitness, a professional athlete, expecting, post-partum, or recovering from an injury, H-Kore has what it takes to make your body healthy and strong. Hustle for the muscle. Are you ready to go Hard Kore?
All images courtesy of H-Kore.