April 21st 2018: ‘Be Mindful’ focusing on mindfulness, goal setting & trusting ourselves

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Another day and another event at Pherform..

At Pherform we believe it is very important to not just train and help our ladies achieve their fitness goals but also to educate on other areas. Having frequent social events is important to us. On average we have around one social event per month. Our community manager and staff always ensure these are fun, exciting and appealing to everyone involved….. and are often full of laughs!

On April 21st Pherform held an Event called Be Mindful.

Helped by our very own yoga instructor @jessicaleeyoga the event focused on mindfulness, goal setting and trusting ourselves. 

Along with learning how to trust our strength and instincts with acro-yoga, members done some mind mapping, vision setting and guided meditation to end the event. 



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April 14th 2018: Two Pherform staff & a member go powerlifting. Oh…. & they win GOLD!

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Saturday 14th April 2018

Pherform escorted two of its staff and one member to compete in their first federated powerlifting competition at the Hong Kong 2018 Nationals! Not only did ALL three walk away with personal bests but won gold too!

Follow them here:

Coach Martina @martina_edge ,Community Manager Maria @maria.pherformhk & Pherform member Kimberley @kimpossiblecarder

Could we be anymore proud?!

Coach @tanzenmuskelbier required one thing- “put your heart in it and do the work. I have been asked several times, what is the requirement to compete? Put your HEART into it. Lots of ♥️♥️♥️. HK, we have just began!!! “

The Pherform ladies have been training hard and deserved every single bit of success they achieved from the day. It was an amazing chance for them to prove their strength in the 3 powerlifts: back squats, bench press and deadlifts.

Watch out for these Pherform ladies, this is only the start…

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Alex describes the four training modalities that make up Pherform’s unique FST. Read More..

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Why is Pherform unique to any other female gyms?

Well FST (Female Specific Training) was created out of a necessity to develop a proven training system, specifically designed towards the female body! Want to learn more click this link: https://www.pherform.com/fst/

Below @alex_de_fina describes the four major training styles that make up Pherform’s unique FST (Female Specific Training)

  • Metabolic Conditioning
  • Hypertrophy
  • Strength & Power Training
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)


Interested to know more? Watch below..



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Pherform Launches Metabolic: Macro Based ready to eat meals consisting of 300 cals each!

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As if Pherform couldn’t get any better..

Grab your macro friendly, Metabolic meal on your way out the door or drop by the gym to pick it up.

All meals are based on 300 calories- 50%Protein, 25% Carbs, 25% Fats.

Every meals is organically sourced, no soy, gluten or dairy, packaged in bamboo shoots, and designed by head chef Mike Boyle from Alto Restaurant in Causeway Bay…

Oh and they taste so yummy!



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Excuses are for people who don’t want it bad enough! TravelHER Workouts ANYWHERE!

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Can’t make it to the gym?…

Traveling?… Working?… Just busy?

Well Pherform has created three 20 minute bodyweight workout videos where you can train absolutely ANYWHERE! You have no excuse not to train now 🙂

Videos by: @rjoshuad

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Did you know we run a 12 week Fat Loss Program throughout the year? Learn more..

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Check out Pherform’s 12 Week Fat Loss Transformation Girls getting bizzzaaaayyy!

This is the result of a team effort in nutritional education, application, and accountability ✔

Six pack are great. But what’s #AwesomeAF is having dozens of women feel amazing in their skin, and empowered with simple systems to maintain their health, body composition and performance for LIFE!

We got our fabulous Pherform ladies in for a photo/ video shoot and they looked absolutely AMAZEBALLS! Have a look at their video below..

Also known as FFF, we offer a 12 week, 3 phase nutrition program that is to be combined with our FST programming. Reduce inflammation, improve metabolic flexibility, burn body fat, create lean and functional muscle, and improve energy throughout the day are just some of the positives you will receive from the program. This program is ran in blocks throughout the year!

We not only train at Pherform but educate! Daily these women were taught how to sustain a healthy life over and beyond the 12 weeks. Unlike many commercial diets which have a end date we want to make sure our Pherform ladies know how to continue and maintain. We understand that no one can 100% “diet” for the whole 12 weeks or even in real life. We are not fitness robots who solely drink protein shakes and eat lettuce ourselves.. so we educate what to do whilst traveling… having a celebratory meal… having that date night…. or even perhaps having a cheeky boozy night out with the girls!

All we asked was for our ladies to turn up to Pherform (recommended 4-6 times a week for the best results) kill it in our FST structured classes, follow their personalised meal plans and to keep a positive attitude!

Video by@rjoshuad


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We’ve all struggled with some sort of stress. So Let’s talk Stress Management

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We all use the words “I’m stressed”, probably a little too frequently as far as our health is concerned, but what really is stress?

Whilst the word “stress” conjures up mental images of a beetroot-faced stockbroker screaming into a telephone while throwing staplers at co-workers and yanking at his necktie, or a mother driving the kids to school with one hand on the steering wheel and the other frantically delivering unorthodox karate chops to the terrorist children in the backseat… there are in fact many different types of stress, in fact too many to cover in this literary masterpiece.


This article will, however, hopefully shed some light on just two of the more common types of stress, and offer some insight into how these affect your body. I’ll be focusing on physical stress from exercise and physiological stress caused by your life! With a little action on your part, there are always ways to minimise our exposure to stress if we consciously decide to take control. Let’s first put this into context, and briefly explain the difference between acute vs chronic stress.


This refers to limited exposure or short duration of physiological response.

Exercise: Whilst training you are placing your body under acute stress. This is awesome! And often, the more stress you subject it to, the better the adaptations during periods of recovery.
Psychological: Think of shopping in Causeway Bay on a Saturday lunchtime… stressed already? This is acute psychological stress, as you will move heaven and hell to flee this situation as fast as possible.

Chronic Stress
 This is referring to prolonged exposure, long physiological response, and often compounded by various stress-factors all working against you.

Exercise: If you fail to plan training properly, or consistently do the exact same intense workouts with very limited recovery, the levels of oxidative stress that build in the body can become toxic.
Psychological: If you are married to the wrong person, questioning your place in the universe, whilst working a job you don’t like and experiencing some financial difficulties – safe to say that these factors compounding would be a textbook example of chronic psychological stress.


What is it?
Commonly we would refer to oxidative stress, or nervous system stress when thinking about stress induced from physical exercise. Acute exposure to both types of stress is something very healthy, the only way we keep our bodies strong and healthy is to consistently subject it to a stress of some kind. This result is adaptation – but ONLY when we have sufficient recovery.

The danger of ignoring it
You can get fatter, slower, and unhealthier… Continued exposure to oxidative stress will increase the levels of free radicals in the body dramatically. This causes toxicity issues, disease, and inability to utilise fat stores efficiently. Continued exposure to nervous system stress will lead to poor recovery, diminished performance and possibly adrenal fatigue. Pretty much zero benefit and a whole lot of bad stuff, in a chronic environment.

How to manage it
Schedule your exercise so that there are varied intensities, varied movements and focus on allowing time to repair and regenerate.


What is it?
Of course, this is the most common form of stress that we tend to refer to. It is that un-definable feeling of rapid anxiety or frustration, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and perhaps dark fantasies of random acts of uncontrolled violence…

The metabolic and neural changes that occur in this environment are startling. In an acute setting, they are very beneficial; in fact it has been an integral backbone of human survival and evolution for 200,000 years… In ancient Siberia, being stressed about a sabre-tooth tiger about to eat you or a marauding tribe was definitely a good thing! We can focus on the threat, deal with it, and move on… But of course the reality in our modern society is that most of us do not deal in these acute settings. In fact, we spend our entire existence in this perpetual symphony of higher and lower stress levels – compounding the harmful effects exponentially = chronic psychological stress.

The simple fact is the level of stressful situations we are subjected to is unprecedented in human history, and our inability to manage it is one of the leading causes of death and disease.

The danger of ignoring it
Seriously, it would be easier to list the problems it won’t cause than the problems it will. It won’t affect your dancing ability or the rate at which your toenails grow, but that’s about it! Cancer, mental illness, digestive concerns, auto-immune, coronary disease, metabolic disorders… these are all amplified by stress as much or even more than any other factor.

How to manage it
While I could never articulate it as well as most self-help authors or a distinguished psychologist or even philosopher, I will happily quote someone who is. “The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances Andrew Bernstein.

Perspective is the ultimate tool in your arsenal. Accepting that some things are controllable and others are not, being grateful and focused on the positive components of your life, and reminding yourself that a good chunk of the world’s population are probably facing much more immense challenges then the frustrated conversation that’s in your head.

Combine this with meditation, yoga, relaxing walks… anything that calms you and can distract the mind from its often toxic affects on the body. This psychological process will result in immediate physiological benefits!

Take away points:

  • Understanding various forms of stress, while trying to minimise your exposure and maximise your coping mechanisms, is without doubt one of the most beneficial undertakings you could possibly do for your health.
  • Physiological and Psychological stress are intimately entwined. The elevation of either immediately affects the other.
  • Be okay with acute stress, it is part of life and often a healthy thing. Chronic stress on the other hand, is arguably the leading.

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Want to know how to fly but keep stick to your healthy diet? Here’s Alex’s Flight Food Hacks

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That Stubborn Fat.. That problem area.. Them squidgy bits. Why are they there?

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Ever seen a newsreader who looks fantastic on television, but in reality she doesn’t look quite so hot? Do you feel like you have a flat tummy, but your arms resemble parachutes should a strong wind come?

We all have problem areas, that part of the body that disproportionately tends to accumulate fat, and we have trouble getting rid of it once it’s there. For men, this tends to be the naval, back and hips, and for women it tends to be the hips, thighs and butt.
Ask any of your girlfriends which part of their body they would magically change, and the hips/thigh/butt combo is a universal response.

But why is this? Well, in the example of male vs female it has to do with hormones. Men have more testosterone and less estrogen, where women have higher oestrogen and less testosterone. Most people can accept this as a logical reason why there are significant differences to the way men and women build muscle and lose body fat, but what if it wasn’t as simple as male vs female? In actuality the hormonal spectrum is enormous, just think of frail, petite little Sally vs Olga, the rugby-playing, tree-cutting, deer-hunting female competitive shot-putter… You get the point.

If you have been adopting a well thought out nutrition plan and training effectively, but the body fat isn’t shifting from certain areas – there may be some underlying causes…

Genetics will play a vital role into how your body shapes itself. Some people draw a lucky card, other less so. However this is no reason to throw you hands in the air and claim defeat. On the contrary – a little awareness into what other areas you can focus on will dramatically improve the genetic baseline. No one complains more about their body shape than those who do almost nothing to improve it – a sad fact.

Dr Laurena Law, a leading anti-ageing and aesthetics specialist in Hong Kong says, “Body fat storage in women (and men) in specific areas could be a reflection of underlying hormonal disruption. Adding to this is exposure to environmental toxins that mimic our hormones or increase toxic burden – leading to storage in fat cells

A cheat-sheet of areas to focus on is:

Not much you can do about this. But once you are honest and look at the cards you are dealt with, you can use this as motivation for how you look at the next areas. Turn your Datsun into a Ferrari!

There are so many environmental and behavioural elements which disrupt normal hormone production. Getting a full hormone panel done by a physician is a great first step. Once you know what (if anything) is wrong, you can look at natural or synthetic options to optimise hormonal levels.

Digestive health
People are increasingly growing aware of digestive health as allergies, auto immune conditions and other intestinal issues are affecting record numbers of people… As it turns out, overly processed foods is not what you body likes! Try an elimination diet where you remove sugars, gluten containing carbohydrates and anything processed – as this will give you initial feedback about these most common causes of poor digestion.

Toxins cause bloating, lethargy, poor metabolism, irregular fat deposits and can make you very sick. We all have them, but little know much about how to avoid, and how to eliminate. Research environmental toxins and focus on food quality. A great resource is www.ewg.org

Vitamins and mineral deficiency
Vitamins and minerals regulate all metabolic systems and play an important role in detoxification. Being deficient in any of these can be a result of imperfect nutrition or fast-paced Hong Kong lifestyle.In particular, look at: zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, omega 3 and glutathione.

So ladies, the clear message here is that there are a multitude of factors which may be responsible for you having increased body fat in a certain area (assuming that late night kebabs and jelly shots aren’t to blame).  Now that you know what these key areas are, you can active steps to negate these possibilities.

It’s a long road and there are no simple solutions. Remember that nutrition and exercise is all about improving your quality of life, not detracting from it. Embrace the challenges, train hard, and seek clinical or qualified support in eliminating these additional factors and watch your body transform!




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Some say turning up to the gym is the easy part so why do many of us struggle with nutrition?!

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Why is the topic of nutrition so complicated? Why do we have infinite resources at our fingertips, yet have so many question marks over how to eat properly to reach a goal?

In an age where an ever-increasing number of people have Internet access, there is a lack of quality control in the information being put forward. Fitness blogs are like Internet dating; most people are lying, misleading, completely naive or a heavy-set bearded guy named Bruce with a penchant for listening to Kenny G while rubbing oil onto his chest… I’ve digressed.

The point is, in the hustle and bustle of living your busy life, it can be very difficult to get a clear picture of how to eat. Especially when a perfectly framed picture of a hipster glass filled with organic oats, berries, banana, chia seeds, yoghurt and honey can be hash tagged #raw #organic #cleaneating #glutenfree, and yet still be a calorie-dense sugar bomb.

Additionally, it’s very easy to suffer “analysis paralysis” and never start adhering to any kind of nutritional plan until you find the perfect plan. The perfect plan doesn’t exist – in fact, the perfect plan is no plan at all! When you reach a point where you truly understand how your body reacts to different foods and have created a foundation of discipline, then the aim is to enjoy life and eat intrinsically within the boundaries of health and fitness. The only way you will reach this Jedi-level of awareness is to stick to rigid plans and start creating a personal framework. It may take months or years, but it will give you the best return on investment.

Below is a step-by-step process that has given clients and myself huge success over the years. It starts off with some fluffy stuff, but the fluffy stuff is crucial… Grab a pen and paper, a cup of joe and strap in for the long-haul. I can guarantee that following at least some, if not all, of this process will definitely assist in creating a more positive and proactive approach towards nutrition.

What is the focus of undertaking a structured nutrition plan? What do you want to improve: health? Performance? Body composition?

If you don’t have a clear priority from these three streams, that’s fine. I’m yet to meet someone who says they intend on getting fatter, slower and as unhealthy as possible – so let’s assume that there is a unified focus on improving all three simultaneously. Your priority will give context to the plan. If, for example, you have recently received news of significant hormonal issues, then your primary focus should absolutely be focused on improving health rather than on achieving a “thigh gap”.

When do you want to achieve this by? Let me give you a hint – “some time” is a mythical anomaly that unfortunately doesn’t exist. Seek the guidance of someone who specialises in your goal, and ask whether the timeframe is realistic. The key is to make it an acute period that you can confidently see yourself maintaining discipline throughout.

How have you gone so far? If you’ve had previous success losing body fat or improving a health issue in the past following certain principles – great! If on the other hand your goal is to “lose 5kg of fat” and your timeframe is “within 2 weeks”, and you’ve had this goal since 1997, then that’s a different story. We need to be realistic about the objective in the first place! Unless you look at all lifestyle factors, there is a very real chance you will be saying the same thing in 3015. Unless we are robots by then. Better to take some action now just in case. 

Relevant to your goal, get some baseline measurements to help get clarity on where things sit today. 

Health – hormonal profile, blood pressure, cholesterol, stress levels & sleep.
Performance – strength test, endurance test
Body Composition – DXA scan at HKU.

It goes without saying that in order to track progress, you want the best possible technology at your disposal… A dehydrated selfie in a forgiving hotel bathroom mirror with brilliant lighting and a few Instagram filters applied does not count as a true representation of your body. Comparing yourself to this a week later is only going to cause disappointment.

When it comes to your track record of setting a challenging goal and then achieving it – let’s take an honest look at the scoreboard. Are you a bloodthirsty savage who is happy to train until aneurism and eat gluten-free cardboard? Or are you a pacifist stoner who has been wearing the same pyjamas for a few days straight? There’s neither a right nor wrong here, being a bit flaky is natural and doesn’t make you any less of a person. However, if you’re setting a very high goal and placing a difficult timeframe on yourself while having an abysmal track record, re-adjust the goals to something more realistic like “don’t eat pizza for breakfast”… After you have proven to yourself you can stick to smaller, more manageable goals – the bigger ones become much more achievable.

What obstacles will you have to overcome in order to maintain a rigid nutrition plan? Regular work trips to Beijing? Mandatory Wednesday dim sum with the boss? Wild weekend swinger parties in Discovery Bay? Whatever foreseeable situations you have occurring that impede your ability to stick to something 100% – make note of it and take this into consideration. The most thought-out and scientifically validated plans will be futile if you are making considerable deviations based on other commitments.

As far as I am aware, scientology or zen Buddhism will not help you here. What we mean is that you should create a framework you’ll work within, in order to reach your target. This may be paleo, low carb, ketogenic, low fat, vegan… the list goes on. If this is the most confusing step for you, allow me to simplify. Follow the “stop eating sh*t diet”. It always works! This means alcohol, croissants, ice cream and chocolate are definitely out. Completely out! You’ll be amazed at the results just from making this “easy to understand, harder to adhere to” change will make.

Once you’ve become crystal clear on a) what you want to achieve b) when you will achieve this by, and c) navigated through the obstacles – it’s time to start crunching some numbers. If you are allergic to numbers, look away from the screen immediately. Do not make direct eye contact as the below function will almost certainly cause spontaneous combustion.

BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) – ( 4.7 x age in years ) 

Or… you can follow this link and use the calculator by plugging in your weight, height and age (don’t lie!). The resulting number will be an approximate number of calories you need per day to maintain weight, given the variables and activity level. Like all formulas, this isn’t perfect. But it’s the best system we have.

If you wish to lose some junk in your trunk, then we need to lower the daily intake of calories slightly. The term “caloric defect” is essentially ensuring you are taking in less energy than you are spending = fat loss.

As general advice, I like to see women be much more moderate about how many calories they remove initially. The truth is, many will see amazing results even without caloric restriction – just by removing all the crap foods and reducing cellular inflammation.

Try reducing overall calories by 10%-20% initially. If you start seeing noticeable results and feel great, you can always increase this a fraction. There is no point making life harder for yourself by introducing a strict nutritional plan and also going into extreme caloric defect at the same time.

Example: BMR = 1,800 calories for weight maintenance. (20% defect) would = 1440 calories for fat loss.

If you’re still reading this and haven’t been terrified by the calculations, I commend you. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet explained where these calories come from, and I truly believe that the specific source of energy is more important than the total amount itself. It would be completely irresponsible of me to offer you a set macro-nutrient breakdown to follow, everybody responds differently. However there is one universal truth: most people consume way too many carbs, from the wrong carb sources, way too frequently.


If you’re looking for a balanced approach, try: 40% protein / 30% carb / 30% fat

If you’re looking for a low carb approach, try: 50% protein / 10% carb / 40% fat.

****Make sure you calculate this on calories, and NOT molecular weight. Each macronutrient has a different amount of calories per gram of weight.

Protein = 4 calories/gram   Carbohydrates = 4 calories/gram   Fat = 9 calories/gram

Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of physician or registered dietician/nutritionist before undertaking any structured nutrition intake.

Now for the fun part! You will have to set up a spreadsheet and there’s a good chance this will take an hour to two… yet if you’ve struggled with body issues for some time, I cannot think of a better way to invest some minutes.

Remember that “close enough is good enough”. Don’t lose your marbles and avoid starting because you are missing a few grams of protein here or a few extra grams of carbs there. I dare say following this process has defined an intake which is lightyears beyond what you were previously doing. Use the resource calorieking.com for the nutritional breakdown on anything you can imagine. Do not search “chicken nuggets” or “oreos”.



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