08 Jul How to make this summer your fittest
With Gemma Kelly
A long-term Pilates and fitness instructor, Gemma Kelly recently moved to Hong Kong from… Nicaragua! She lived and worked there for four years offering yoga and HIIT classes to expats, tourists and locals. “I slowly added more and more Pilates into my fitness classes with the locals and they grew to love the toning effects it had, the improved posture and how it reduced their muscle aches too.”
She heard about Hong Kong from her boss whose glowing reports inspired Gemma to make the move to a thriving city. “I wanted choice, diversity and a challenge in my career,” she says. “I was ready to expand my knowledge and Xtend Barre has been one of the newest additions to my teaching repertoire and I love it! I love teaching it, it’s upbeat, I love infecting my clients with good music and fun combinations of ballet, dance and Pilates moves.”
A new instructor at Flex, she gives advice on how to get the very best out of your fitness this summer…
F: What advantages does summer bring when it comes to fitness?
GK: Summer is such a mood booster, we need to make the most of it by adjusting our routines. We can’t be expected to work out as hard in the outdoors, it’s unrealistic. So it’s a great time to trial new indoor classes and enjoy the outdoors in more relaxing ways, and of course eating fresh foods that are lighter will balance out the fact that we just need to move a little slower in this heat!
F: For a lean, toned look for the summer what would you suggest would be an ideal month-long routine?
GK: I believe you need a healthy combination of well thought out, tasty and rewarding meals along with exercise like Yoga, Pilates and Xtend Barre classes with some hilly walks to get some vitamin D for mood boosting!
F: How important is it to log what we do and how we progress?
GK: I’m not a huge fan of digital trackers, calorie counting or heart rate monitors. I think society has gotten too crazed on monitoring and counting everything. Exercise has long lasting effects, not just what’s achieved in class.
For me it comes down to how I feel, not just how I look. I have been thinner but my body has felt stiff and lethargic. It’s important to find an exercise regime that makes you feel energized and good about yourself. After a Pilates class I feel taller, my aches and stiffness are relieved and I bounce down the steps and attack the day or evening with fresh motivation and a good spirit. In turn my body reacts to this, I crave healthy foods and I don’t overeat, because I’m tapping into my mental and physical side when I exercise.
F: Heading indoors for studio classes is ideal during summer. Are there any advantages other than the temperature and humidity level to taking your workout indoors?
GK: Working out indoors is great because in a group class like Xtend Barre you are influenced to keep up and not stop, the music and the instructors enthusiasm will make the time fly and the fat burn away! Yoga can be as vigorous and strengthening or as restorative and relaxing as you need, and when combined with pranayama (breathing exercises) the mind-body philosophy has a beautiful ability to mentally and emotionally soothe.
F: Finally, do you have any tips for people who still want to run/hike/swim outside during our hottest months?
GK: I think exercising in this heat is best done early in the morning. Or alternatively meet a friend after work when the sun has gone down and take a hike to peak or to a place where you will end up for a casual dinner. I find making my exercise a social thing too really helps. You forget how steep the hills are because you’re talking and hopefully having a good gossip or laugh! Keeping hydrated, and wearing good breathable workout gear is a must too.
Join Gemma for a class this summer. Check out the class schedule.
And don’t miss our July special – 20% off selected classes for the whole month! Details here.