Health is about many things, it combines many factors.
In my opinion, these include (in no particular order of importance):
- Nutrition (what you fuel/hydrate your body with)
- Exercise (what you exert and how you move, keeping your muscles and bones strong, supple and flexible)
- Stress (how you manage your emotions and moods)
- Sleep (the time you give for your body to rest and repair)
- Social connections (quality time spent with others, building respectful, authentic relationships)
- Spiritual connections (believing in something – leads to a purposeful life)
These “pillars of health” are vital and this post is going to address them (some more in detail than others) and how you can live a full, healthy and happy life.
Let’s start with Nutrition…
The following health issues are common today, including:
- Weight gain/obesity
- Type 2 diabetes or any other metabolic disease
- Hormonal imbalances and women’s issues
- Gut dysfunction
- Unhealthy skin, hair and/or nails
- Brain fog/Inability to focus
- Low energy
If you are suffering from any of the above health issues, I can direct you towards foods that are healing so that you can incorporate a diet full of healthy whole foods, low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, whilst being full of necessary healthy fats. These foods allows your body to heal, often reversing many of these issues, and can possibly even get you off any medication you usually rely on from pain relief to statins, giving you back the vitality you once had.*
Sounds great no?!
So, let’s take a look at the second pillar: Exercise…
(although this one also incorporates stress, sleep and often social connections too!)
Firstly, exercise is a vital part of health. There is no denying that it has healing effects on the body, releasing endorphins (the happy hormone which means stress reduction), whilst also strengthening bones and muscles, improving the quality of your heart and lungs, having anti-aging benefits as well as reducing your risk of disease. This has all been proven with research.
So, where can you go and what can you do? Z&B Fitness to the rescue!
In Shanghai there are MANY options out there but my personal preference is Z&B Fitness. I’ve been living in downtown Shanghai for almost a year and I’ve been scouring the fitness centres, yoga/boxing/cycling studios. Whilst all of these studios are awesome and have a place, they do often limit you to one type of training. If you’re anything like me, you love doing yoga, cardio-box, weight training, body weight training, HIIT or tabata training and spinning. Going to a fitness centre like Z&B Fitness gives you all the choice in one location (there are so many more to choose from), which makes it perfect for everyone.
So what was my experience at Z&B Fitness like?
Living in Jing’an made it super easy to get to as the studio is located in the Golden Eagle building on Shaanxi South rd, near Nanjing West Road. However, they also have a studio located in the FFC, their flagship branch on Changle rd (not too far from Wulumuqi Middle Road)
Upon arriving at the Shaanxi south location, I was impressed by the building. It’s on level 6 of the Golden Eagle and is very modern and new. The quality of the machines, equipment and rooms is excellent. The studio consists of four workout spaces (soon to be 5) and more recently, a new state-of-the-art gym.
I love a good sweat so I booked into the Saturday morning boot camp with Andrea. To my surprise, the class was quite small, around 15 people (I’m told this is common for a class like this). But unfortunately for me, a smaller class means more attention and an instructor who hassles you if you’re slacking off – although I suspect this is Andreas’s normal training style, he wants people to push themselves and I’m told all the trainers are equally as tough! The exercises were not complicated (I’ve been a gym junkie for almost 20 years) but they definitely got our sweat up and worked our muscles. I like this form of training: keep it simple and work hard. And we did. I was sweaty and tired by the end.
In addition to this, I enjoyed working in pairs for the session. It’s a nice way to meet people when you get to endure the pain of a hard workout together. Sounds a little morose but it’s true.
What other class options are there?
There are HEAPS of options. Anything and everything you could want is at Z&B. Check out the timetables below or click here for class information.
Z&B’s signature class is the Xtend Barre class that I’m told is killer and super popular because it’s also fun. It always fills up so make sure you book in early!
Z&B is also a registered Les Mills provider. They have invested in the Les Mills programs which means you get the genuine classes that are updated on a regular basis. It also means their instructors are really well trained, no knock-offs here! Equipment is also genuine Les Mills. Very cool in my opinion and not many in China who are genuinely registered to host these classes.
What about memberships? Is Z&B competitive?
For an expat fitness centre/gym, ABSOLUTELY!
Classes are paid per class and you can buy packages which you can share with a friend or use yourself. As you may or may not be aware, this is common in Shanghai rather than yearly memberships given the state of flux with expats coming and going. It’s easier and more cost effective than a full membership that could leave you broke if you have to suddenly leave. MANY gyms/fitness centres only offer yearly memberships, which can be a commitment many expats can’t always be sure they’ll see through.
Z&B prices per class are not super expensive and buying the largest package makes one class worth only 78 RMB, super cheap. To try your first class, you pay only 50 RMB.
Alternatively, you can buy a membership with Move Shanghai and use Z&B’s facilities too.
There are also memberships for gym only (as well as personal training and kickboxing) which come with one or more free classes, depending on the package you purchase.
Is it easy to book in?
Yes! Super easy. I registered quickly for a free account via the Z&B website and once logged on, you can view and book classes easily. You will receive a confirmation email for your records.
Alternatively Z&B can be booked via their wechat account. Super easy system.
If you have a Move membership, you can also book via their app.
The Mindbody app is also linked to Z&B.
So would I go back?
Another Absolutely!! Why? The following reasons:
- It’s close to my home
- The facilities are excellent
- The instructors know what they’re doing
- The classes are varied and plentiful
- The prices are reasonable
- It’s easy to book
- Pillars of Health covered: Exercise, Stress reduction and Social connections
Floatasian has the next pillar covered: Stress
(…actually, they’ve also got Sleep and Spirituality covered too!)
As I’m sure you’re aware, there are many ways in which to destress, here are some you may have tried (and that work a treat):
- Deep breathing exercises
- Essential oils
- Exercise (often cardio workouts like running or boxing where you really get your sweat on)
I incorporate all of these aspects into my life but the one that REALLY makes a difference to stress, sleep, spirituality and those sore, tired muscles from working out is FLOATING!
So many people still haven’t heard of floating and they think I’m super weird when I tell them that I’ve become a regular floater, (did you just think about poop?!) but I don’t know what I’d do without that hour immersed in the silky smooth water that is filled with magnesium salts.
Magnesium is an epic relaxer and healer. It takes away the stress. In fact, it works at a cellular level. Our cells NEED magnesium for energy and most people are deficient. The article I wrote previously addresses this more so here it is again…
So post Z&B bootcamp, I was feeling it. I had DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). You know how it hits you two days later, rather than the day immediately after. You think you’ve got away with it, that your muscles have handled your blow-out session and then another day passes and now it’s too painful to even sit on the toilet! Ouch! You’ve tried stretching, you’ve tried hydration/eating well, you’ve tried electrolytes, (if you’re an athlete), you may have even tried ice baths and you’re still sore… enter magnesium…but more specifically, FLOATING at Floatasian.
Now I recommend floating on a regular basis because it is incredible but post workout, it is even better. My muscles recover quickly, like I feel immediate results. That doesn’t mean my muscles aren’t still sore but they markedly improve and my recovery time is far shorter. They say that an hour in the tank can be similar to a 6-8 hour sleep. I also sleep like a baby after a session, getting a super good rest.
So what was my post workout float like?
Well, as you probably guessed, I felt SO much better. My muscles were more relaxed, my mood was more mellow, and I get total pleasure from just being in the water, especially magnesium filled water. It feels thicker than water, soft, smooth and silky. It is divine. I was also able to tap into the spiritual side with some meditation while in the tank and naturally, my stress just melts away and I feel like life is A-OK.
So floating will most definitely sort out your stress and sleep issues. And, the experience is wonderful!
…now to get back to Z&B for another class (so I can then get myself off for another float)!
For more info, or to book into a Z&B class, scan the qr code below for more:
Alternatively, to get your float on, scan the qr code below:
Have you balanced your life by focusing on these pillars of health? If not, what do you think you could introduce more of?
Feel free to comment below on your experience.
With love (and healthy fats), Bianca x
*It’s always important to work with your both your doctor and nutritionist in tandem.