Think the gym is just for adults? Not at My Gym Wong Chuk Hang, which has a gym programme to suit kids from six months to five years of age! Think floor exercises, swings and a rock climbing gym wall, all created so your little ones can safely let off some steam. We chat to gym director Christine Lau about these feautres, and about her career in education, family and what led her to working in her role.
Tell us about yourself and your move to Hong Kong.
I was born in Canada and came here when I was four years old because of my dad’s work. I later went to study abroad in the UK and US. I’d always been interested in teaching and I recall my “dream job” as an eight-year old was to be a teacher; so I pursued my Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. I moved back after graduating – Hong Kong will always be home for me! – and I founded JEMS Character Academy in 2009, the first English character development learning centre in Hong Kong.
Who do you live here with?
My husband and our four kids: Christian (7), our twins Lizzie and James (4) and youngest, Matthew (3).
Sounds like a lively household! How did you come to know about My Gym?
My kids all went to My Gym and I’ve always loved it. My friends had told me about it when I was pregnant with my first, and I put him on the waiting list as soon as it was possible!
The first My Gym launched in the US in 1983, and the company came to Hong Kong in 2003 with the opening of the Hong Kong Island branch. So we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year!
Tell us a bit more about your role in the My Gym team.
I began as a My Gym parent, and in 2021 the opportunity came up to join the team. As the director at the Wong Chuk Hang branch, I oversee the operations and ensure that we deliver the best My Gym experience to every student that comes through our doors.
What facilities will parents find at My Gym at Wong Chuk Hang, and what programmes are available?
We have a gym floor of over 3,000 square feet. It has swings, a rock climbing gym wall, slides, beams, rockers and all sorts of other fun equipment. Our programmes are suitable for children aged six months to five years and each programme level is specifically designed for the specific age group.
What I personally love about My Gym as a parent is that it gives me wonderful moments of bonding with my child, as classes for children up to the age of 3.5 years are accompanied. As my children explore new things on the gym floor and exercise courage in doing some activities, I love that I can be their companion and cheerleader in the process. And to see their faces light up with joy – there’s really nothing better than that.
What have you found most fulfilling about parenthood?
When I see my kids loving each other and taking care of each other, that makes me happiest. Also when others tell me how they’ve seen my kids show the values I try to instil in them, like kindness and respect, when I’m not there, that also gives me great joy.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love spending time with my kids and my husband. I try to carve out some one-on-one time for each of them – so that doesn’t leave me too much personal time! When I can, I indulge in watching Korean dramas and going for foot massages.
Where in HK do you live?
I’m in Mid-Levels, close to the Botanical Gardens and Hong Kong Park.
What are you looking forward to in 2024?
Exciting projects at work and some long-awaited family trips!
Discover more about the rock climbing gym wall and other My Gym facilities, and find a gym programme to suit your child at mygymhk.com.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2023/2024 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!