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Wellness Warrior: Vanessa Valenzuela of H-Kore, Hong Kong

With a name like H-KORE, you know what you’re in for: a hardcore workout that leaves you sweating, shaking and somehow coming back for more. As the only gym to offer Lagree fitness in Hong Kong, H-KORE’s co-founder, Vanessa Valenzuela, tells us more about how she first discovered the intense but invigorating workout, why it’s so effective and Hong Kong’s latest fitness trends:

Image: Courtesy of H-KORE

You were the pioneer for bringing Lagree to Hong Kong in 2011. How did you first discover Lagree Fitness and what’s so unique about it? 

Vivienne Fitzpatrick, my business partner, and I were both clients of a Lagree studio in the UK, so when we both relocated to Hong Kong, we found ourselves missing our favourite workout. So, we decided to open a Lagree studio in HK!

What makes Lagree fitness so unique is the The MegaFormer machine and the method used on it. The workout combines everything; strength and core training with cardio, endurance and flexibility. It really has it all – plus it’s incredibly effective. 

H-Kore has been running for over a decade (while other gyms have opened and closed due to various reasons). What would you say is your secret to success? 

Firstly, it’s the method. Lagree fitness gets results fast. You work the body hard for 45 minutes in a very safe and modifiable way, and you see your body transform. Secondly, we have an amazing team and community! People from all walks of life and all corners of the world come together because we are all passionate about health and fitness. From the front desk to H-KORE’s teachers and trainers, we’ve built a community where friendships sprout, where you can find support, plus share and achieve your goals.

Anyone who has taken a H-Kore class knows that it is certainly ‘hardcore’ – what do you think it is that makes people keep coming back for more?

Results, results, results! Once you see muscles showing up and shaping in, you’ll keep coming back for more.

For those who have never taken a MegaKore class, can you explain what it is?

The Megaformer is a spring-based resistance machine that allows you to train the body in many different angles and all range of motions. Its true benefit is that however tough and challenging it is on the muscles, it is also gentle on the joints and connective tissue.  

You recently introduced The Studio by H-Kore in Quarry Bay – tell us more!

The Studio by H-Kore is a collection of classes we offer that are off the Mega. Staying in line with our motto, “Strengthen, Stretch and Sweat”, it includes variety of yoga, circuit and cardio classes as well as barre and mat pilates. All classes are maximum of 12-15 people only, which allows us to bring an individual approach to our clients and at the same time enjoy the group class energy.  

What is your favourite class from The Studio by H-Kore personally, and why? 

I’m a yogi at heart so I love our different yoga classes – Yoga and MegaKore have a wonderful way of complimenting each other. Strength and flexibility feed off each other; strength translates into a stronger and more stable yoga practice, whilst flexibility allows for more range and better form on the Mega. The perfect combo! As for my cardio and HIIT work, I love being pushed and there’s nothing like a CircuitKore class to help me get to that training threshold.

Besides H-Kore, what kind of exercise/workouts do you do?

One of my favourite things about Hong Kong is its trails and mountains. Escaping the craziness of the city and diving into nature not only keeps me sane but keeps my cardio in check. Plus, I have two labradoodles who give me dirty looks when we don’t spend enough time on the mountain paths. 

Favourite healthy meal and cheat meal? 

True to my Mexican roots, nothing beats a good guacamole – I keep it healthy by eating it with veggie sticks. As for a cheat meal, I would always go for tacos (any type). When that’s not an option, then I’ll go for a cheese and cold cuts board paired with a good glass of wine.

When you aren’t working out, where can we find you?

I love being at home enjoying a meal with family and friends – long casual afternoons filled with conversations, wine and laughter. A favourite weekend activity always includes a beach and the ocean. My top destination is Tai Long Wan, and my newest activity challenge is wake surfing. 

What are some of the latest wellness trends in Hong Kong?

Honestly, after the longest period of studio closures in Hong Kong due to COVID, I believe the trend is that people are going back to their favourite gyms or workout venues to reunite with their favourite trainers and friends. It’s been a really hard time for the fitness industry with a lot of changes, namely people leaving and businesses closing. However, we are optimistic and encouraged to see people back at the gym!

People are also trending towards smaller group classes and a more tailored approach to their training than in the past. With the global shift to working from home, we also see companies trying to support their employees more by providing more movement and mindfulness classes online for their teams.

Learn more about Lagree fitness at H-KORE

Lookin’ to get sweaty in Hong Kong? Nab a copy of the LUXE Hong Kong app for more gym bunny tips:

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