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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello! I’m Hanah, and I’m Japanese Norwegian. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and currently studying Business and Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong.
Fitness was a big part of my life since I started learning ballet at the age of 4. I was training for 6 days a week and was juggling school and ballet throughout the majority of my primary, secondary and high school education. Therefore, moving my body every day was my natural way of living.
My biggest accomplishment in the field was winning the gold medal at the Asian Grand Prix ‘14 – an international ballet competition held in Hong Kong. I took this a step further by dancing professionally at the London Ballet Company.
After closing that chapter of life, I started studying at the University of Hong Kong. This is the time I picked up yoga and trail running.
Today, I alternate between yoga, ballet and running when I’m not sitting in lectures. I have also obtained a personal trainers license, and my main interest now revolves around training girls with balletic movements.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I don’t have a specific regimen or program that I follow. I listen to my body and do what I feel like doing.
I move my body because I love to and because it makes me feel good. The three main forms of exercise that I do are ballet, yoga and running.
Ballet is my passion. What I love about ballet is its performance aspect. The fitness benefits are secondary, and I truly enjoy the moment of dancing and performing for myself and for others to watch.
Yoga gave me a new drive and motivation when I started. Having learned ballet for 18 years of my life, all the techniques and skills I was working on were not new to me.
There were so many new things in yoga that I couldn’t do and have yet to learn, handstands and arm balances for example. I’ve also noticed a significant improvement in my flexibility and patience.
Finally, running. When I started running regularly just over a year ago, it was because I felt like I needed continuous cardio in my workout mix to feel like I’ve worked out.
I started with once a week of 10km run – I call this Sunday Runday and to this day, I run 10km every Sunday religiously. What changed over the year was my mindset towards running. I started to enjoy running in trails, and now I go out for a run 2-3 times a week.
So I alternate between these three. However, I don’t have a set plan apart from the Sunday run, and some yoga classes held on specific days. I usually decide what kind of workout I feel like doing on the day, or the day before.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
This is my biggest motivation and life motto, especially when it comes to working out. On days where my motivation is low, I think about how if I slack now, the next time I work out will be twice as hard. This always does the trick for me.
And the feeling of accomplishment you feel after a workout always keeps me going. Even better when you started your workout demotivated!
My personal trick for continuation is to set myself a goal that I can achieve even on bad days. For me, it’s the 10km Sunday run. The goal here is to get out of the house and run the distance weekly, and the intensity or speed doesn’t matter. This means that on a bad day, I can run slowly or even walk it.
These kinds of goals really help mentally with sustaining the habit. This is the reason why I’ve been able to keep up this Sunday habit for more than a year now, even when I’m sick, or when I’m on holiday.
And with that level of consistency, your performance is bound to improve after some time. I’ve recently noticed a significant increase in speed which I’m happy about!
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’ve finally found a good balance of physical/mental fitness vs enjoyment and comfort. As mentioned previously, I listen to my body and pick workouts that I feel like doing that day.
I’m no longer forcing myself to exercise in order to stay fit. I’ve found forms of exercises which I truly enjoy, and it keeps me fit at the same time!
My goal for the next 5 years is to break down the barriers of my passion – ballet. A lot of girls tell me that they’ve always wanted to try ballet but they feel like it’s too late to start.
Ballet is perceived by people to be professional and competitive. I want to get rid of these aspects and teach ballet as a form of exercise.
My goal is to mature my new form of workout routine, where girls can sculpt their bodies into ballerina figures while experiencing the true fun of the art which is to perform.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Those two are so important in recovering quickly and avoiding injuries. These are also the two things I keep in mind when I travel.
Having proper meals three times a day at the correct times of the day is exactly how I reset my body clock. You will see a massive difference in adjusting to jet lag.
I also try to get 7-8hours of sleep every day – nothing less, and nothing more.
It’s always motivating to wake up feeling well-rested.
When I’m injured, I take a break from intense workouts and focus on exercises that are not too strenuous to your body – like Hatha Yoga.
I don’t take any supplements, but I usually stretch well before and after working out.
If I’ve really used my muscles in a session, I’ll massage my muscles to loosen them up using my hands or the Hypervolt handheld massage device.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I don’t take any supplements, and I have a conventional diet. However, I make sure I have a balanced diet and eat 3 proper meals a day with snacks in between.
The only special thing I do is make sure I work out a little harder on days I know I’ll be going to a party or a night out which typically means I’ll be consuming a few glasses of alcohol and/or junk food.
I watch my diet with more caution if I have a race or a competition coming up – cutting alcohol, carb loading, etc.
Days when I used to train hard for months leading up to a competition, I’d also take amino acids to help my muscles recover.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I don’t have specific people who inspire me and motivate me, but I draw energy from people in the fitness industry in general on Instagram.
People are always posting pictures and videos of their bodies, food, workout routines, sports, the list is endless!
When I see ballet videos, I always feel like dancing on the spot and when I see videos of people running in the forest, it makes me want to grab my running shoes and head to the trails!
I like to surround myself with people who like to move and are happy. These are the people that give me energy and motivation every day.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If you’re new to the fitness living, I recommend you to find a sport or an exercise that you enjoy doing. It’s hard to continue if you’re forcing yourself to do things.
Everybody is different, in terms of their mind and body. It’s so important to find something that suits you.
As mentioned previously, set goals that you can achieve even on your bad or lazy days. Keeping your goals realistic will take so much pressure off you, and will make a difference in sustainability.
Keeping your goals achievable but a little too high is what I think a lot of people do wrong.
For example, I had a client who said to himself, “I’m going to do an ab workout routine every day”. He later told me that he lost motivation after slipping up on one day, and he gave up.
He then changed his goal to “Do an ab workout routine at least 5 days a week” – “at least” means that if he’s having a good week, he can do it every day.
But he’s also saying that it’s okay to miss 1 or 2 days. He’s been able to keep this up for 10 months now!
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
If you aim to have a lean and elegant ballerina figure, I might be just what you are looking for!
My exercises are based on authentic ballet movements and class structure, but with a modern take on it.
The class flow follows the traditional ballet class structure, so you will get an idea of real ballet, but with pop music to get you through it!
The most common question I get is whether you need prior experience in ballet, and the answer is absolute no!
I’ve only taken up real-life clients before, but if you’re not in Hong Kong and you’re interested then give me a shout! I’m open to new things!
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
I’m on Instagram @ballerinahanah