Lee Smith, a registered foreign lawyer, started training full-time at Pure Fitness in November 2011. With a combined programme of group classes and Personal Training, his sweat, perseverance and hard work paid off!! Here, his personal account of the road to success…
1. What prompted you to commit to a training programme?
Most of my life, I have been active and reasonably fit (ice hockey, tennis, golf, running, rowing, chasing 4 children). When I arrived in Hong Kong on October 1 last year (2011), I weighed 91.1kg/200.42lbs, the most I have ever weighed, and I felt terrible - tired, flabby and weak. Moving to Hong Kong from Connecticut reduced my commuting time to the office from 3-4 hours a day (train and subway 55 miles from my Connecticut home to my office in lower Manhattan) to 10-15 minutes a day (5-7 minutes each way from Midlevels to Jardine House), freeing up several hours every day for something new. I wanted to feel better so I decided to start training again, and to make big changes in my diet. During the month of October, I used a Concept2 rowing machine for long aerobic workouts in my hotel gym, and cut back on sugar and starchy food. When I moved out of the hotel into an apartment, I needed a place to train. That need brought me to Pure.
2. Why Pure?
When I started commuting from Connecticut to lower Manhattan in 2002, I joined a gym called Equinox - clean, high quality, full-service place with solid group and personal training options. There was a gym on Wall Street, two blocks from my office. Pure reminds me of Equinox - clean, well-supplied, full-service, high-end with a broad range of training options, and very convenient. I walk to the IFC, SOHO and Admiralty locations from my office.
3. Was there any point during your programme when you just wanted to give up? If so, how did you overcome it?
I am happy to say that I have not considered cutting back or giving up on the training. I am in the gym 5-7 days a week doing all kinds of things (weight training, RPM, BodyPump, FIT360, BodyBalance, TRX). Although it was very difficult in the first month (I was really disappointd with my lack of strength whenever I worked with my trainer, and with the exhaustion and sweaty mess I became during and after group fitness classes), the combination of the changes in my eating habits, the regular exercise, the changes in body shape, and the encouragement, both during class and outside, from the group fitness instructors and personal trainer I see regularly (Xiomara, Andres, Brad and Andrew) kept me motivated. I know from recent experience that the changes in diet alone, and training on my own, would not have led to these six-month results. When I returned to the US recently, I started eating more sugar and potato chips and other processed food, and drinking beer and wine, and feeling flabby. The knowledgeable and positive fitness professionals who are investing their time in me are the main reason for my success. I have listened carefully and followed their instructions, and am achieving the results they promised. Another big reason for my six-month results is that, at Pure, I can train with people who are serious about being fit. The regulars at FIT360 are very capable, so it is quite satisfying to be called out in one of those classes as someone who is doing an exercise with correct form and energy. The instructor's public acknowledgement and respect for your effort is a powerful training tool that keeps me working very hard.
4. During workouts - when you're gasping for air, your muscles are quivering, and you feel like you just can't do another repetition……..what do you think about?
I know from 2k erg testing during rowing training (pulling as fast as you can for seven minutes) that my body will always regulate itself so I can let go and work very hard. Whatever is going on in my mind, my view about my physical limits, is not necessary input for correct body functioning. I also know from my regular FIT360 and RPM workouts that I can now recover quickly from high stress. When I feel like I cannot do more, I try to take my mind out of it, let my body decide if it's too much, and start one more rep.
5. How has achieving your fitness goals thus far affected your life?
This early fat-burning stage of training has restored my health. I am again leading a very energetic life. Besides the impact on my physical being, I am happier, calmer and more patient now than I was six months ago. It has also been fun to replace my wardrobe -- all of the clothes I owned six months ago are too big!
6. What are your upcoming goals? Is exercise now a part of your life?
The training goals for the next six months are to take my body fat mass from 13.9% down below 10%, increase muscle mass and strength in my trunk and legs, and sport some 6-pack abs for the first time in my life. Training sessions are set in stone on the calendar, like business meetings and children's school events. For me, the enormous health benefit I have experienced over the last six months now makes regular exercise a serious responsibility, not an option. It makes me the best person I can be.