16 Dec 2019
Audits on fitness
Those keen to break bad habits for good as the new decade approaches can consider accountability coaches, who take a holistic approach, going beyond exercise plans and gym routines. One of them is Beth Wright, Founder of Fit & Fabulous, who helps clients with sleep patterns, stress management and social engagement in addition to nutrition and fitness. Ms Wright, who has full-time day job as a lawyer, creates highly bespoke programmes for a small client pool, aiming to keep them on track for good.
How did you start in this field?
I’ve always done fitness since I was at university, and that evolved from being a personal trainer to a lifestyle coach, or accountability coach. Having lived in Hong Kong for a long time, I know what it’s like to be stressed, to try and be all things to everyone, and I had gone through process myself before; I could help other people. For the last four to five years, I’ve been focused on bringing my education up to a top level and finding out more about sleep and choosing the right diet. I used to teach at Pure [fitness centre] for 11 years but stepped away to focus on one-on-one nutrition and lifestyle coaching.
Nutrition is one of your focus areas. Why don’t we focus more on nutrition?
I think we’re conditioned to believe that doing more exercise is the way to change your mind, body and shape. But it’s part of a jigsaw. If your goal is to lose weight, then it’s 80% nutrition, 20% exercise.
How many clients do you have?
I have a maximum of around 12 to 15 clients, as what I do is really hands-on. I currently have around 10, and each of them has to check in with me every single day. I find this high level of accountability gets very good results.
How do you devise your bespoke programmes?
First, clients must fill in a detailed questionnaire that covers their diet, exercise and stress history, and based on that, there’s a consultation of one to two hours to find out more about them. If I give them a plan that doesn’t fit with their lifestyle, it’s not going to work.
What are your clients’ most common goals?
It’s usually weight loss. A lot of my clients are female entrepreneurs and have a high work ethic while still wanting to look and feel good. I also have a lot of mums, who’ve usually put everyone else but themselves first. I put them first.
How long do clients typically stay with you?
With most, it tends to be three months, but it depends on the goal. I set a minimum of three months. People may want to get in shape for a wedding, or lose 5 kilograms … but then they go back to their old ways. If that happens, I haven’t done my job properly. In fact, I’ve made their life worse, as every time you diet, you get fatter. It’s a life change, because otherwise why are you doing it? I don’t want people to be worrying about getting smaller, or how to manage a night out. It should become second nature.
What are some of the biggest problems you have to address with clients?
I think getting them to eat more protein, and that’s particularly challenging at the moment because there’s this big push for a plant-based diet. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, it’s important to eat more protein as it keeps you satiated and helps build muscle. Another problem is making sure clients eat enough calories so they can function. Then working towards a daily step count, as it’s low impact and gets you outside, and going to the gym. Those things combined get the best results.
What are your top tips for managing stress?
Definitely exercise. If I have a really bad meeting, I go for a walk. Or do a five-minute meditation just to re-set … anything that switches you down into relaxation mode rather than fight or flight.
What’s unique about Hong Kong as a market for nutrition and fitness?
It’s very high-stressed. Everyone in Hong Kong expects a huge amount of themselves. Whatever job they do, they want to be the best. There’s this huge expectation to excel at everything, and that causes a lot of pressure. I help people manage that stress, so they can be in the moment more.
How do you hope the business will evolve?
I’m pretty happy with the way it is now, working with a select group of people on their lifestyle goals. I’d also like to do more speaking at events and become more of a name in the nutrition and fitness industry.
Find out more about health and fitness facilities in Hong Kong at the HKTDC Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo.
Fit & Fabulous