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Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In our weekly 27 Questions column, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same amount of time it takes to sit through a casual speed date. This week, we speak to Hybrid Gym’s general manager Gabriel Carroll, who also oversees the brand-new Asaya Hybrid 360 programme.

Fitness is a journey. It’s something you’ve either discovered you have aptitude for in recess tag games and erstwhile gym classes; something you’ve grown to sort of like, then love, then can’t live without; or, something you’ve since forced upon yourself on 1 January as yet another New Year’s resolution.

For Gabriel Carroll, though, it’s a way of life. 

In a past life, Carroll spends his time pelting across gain lines as a professional rugby player, eventually making his way to the Junior World Cup as part of Scotland’s under-20 squad. This love for team sports, for dynamic athleticism, has not waned in the years since his move back to Hong Kong post-university, for he now heads up Hybrid Gym as general manager.

“It is very tricky to integrate three different departments under one model,” says Carroll about the intricacies of what makes Hybrid Gym tick. “Personal training, group training and martial arts form the foundation of what [Hybrid Gym offers] and this holistic approach suits me. All people usually do is talk about methods but I am a big believer that with the right principles, you can utilise any style of training and provide a client experience that doesn’t keep you in just one discipline.” 

The Asaya Hybrid 360 programme adds yet another layer of depth to this venture towards fitness that looks beyond the aesthetics; beyond the before-after transformations. Towards fitness that looks a lot more like wellness.

The 18-week programme opens up unlimited access to Asaya facilities, inclusive of 36 personal training sessions, sports therapy, rehabilitation, naturopathy, mental health sessions, skin health treatments and expert consultations on everything from posture correction to goal setting. A comprehensive wellness regime where “fitness” is merely a spoke in the wheel.

But back to those New Year’s resolutions.

“Change is the only constant and whilst I fully believe in goal setting and the premise of New Year’s resolutions, its important you shift your perspective particularly with how you are going to process and overcome the challenges that follow,” insists Carroll. “Nothing comes easy, no matter what day or month it is.”

In light of gym closures and in light of those of us that have been using that as an excuse to lay low and move very little, here’s what a professional has to say:

“Daily consistency coupled with the ability to focus on the task at hand is all a new-comer needs to prioritise,” says Carroll. “No point starting a health and fitness regime if you’re not going to enjoy the journey.”

Righto, coach. Before you dust off your dumbbells, though, take a short break and meet the man behind the battle-ropes; the man you’d likely see yawping encouraging words to a client at Hybrid Gym (whenever that’s allowed to happen again); the man behind @hybridstrengthcoach on Instagram; and the man who’d, really, just enjoy a quiet moment of solitude.

1 Set of 27 Reps (Questions) with Hybrid Gym’s Gabriel Carroll:

Name: Gabriel Carroll
Age: 27
Neighbourhood: Sheung Wan
Occupation: General Manager of Hybrid Gym Group

1. What is your life motto?

Right now with everything that has gone on with the pandemic, I find myself leaning toward the motto “Bring on your wrecking ball”. It’s a lyric from a Bruce Springsteen song and it reminds me that adversity is part of life.

2. Who is your role model?

I have a number of mentors — in business, personal life, education and even spiritual. I always ask myself how they would behave and what they would expect of me. I’m fortunate to have many but this past year, Dean Stallard (co-founder of The Hybrid Group) and Paul Baxter have been a tremendous impetus for my growth.

3. What was your first job?

I worked in the freezers at a meat shipping depot back in the UK. It was a slog but I met some incredibly hard working individuals who I still am in contact with today.

4. What is your drink of choice?

Right now, I’d love an Irn-Bru!

5. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?

My mini projector that casts on my ceiling.

6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I can’t see in the dark so I’ll have to say morning person.

7. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?


8. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?

My body temp regulation during the summer months is abysmal.

9. What is your greatest fear?

Saying jik hui (straight ahead) when I really mean lee dou (right here) to the taxi driver.

10. What is one movie everyone should see?

Stand by Me.

11. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would enjoy the freedom to live on a boat. Location doesn’t matter, it’s more the solitude I am after.

12. What makes someone a real Hongkonger?

A deep and meaningful friendship with your doorman.

13. If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?

My mum, David Brent, Naval Ravikant, Russell Brand and Anthony Bourdain.

14. What is one song you know all the lyrics to?

“Kings of Summer” – Quinn XCII

15. Where do you go when you want to be alone?

Nothing beats a solo walk along the Avenue of Stars outside Rosewood.

16. What is your favourite scent in the whole world?

Any pastry baked good will quickly send endorphins rushing through me.

17. Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, what is one important lesson that they taught you?

The late Michael J Davey who guided me through my defining years at school. His enduring lesson: “Disturb the universe”.

18. Do you have a catch phrase?

“Wear Sunscreen,” Baz Luhrmann.

19. Have you ever experienced love at first sight? Tell us about it.

Our puppy Rudi. Impressive how he posts on Instagram so often without opposable thumbs though. Something going on there.

20. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?

My Lane Eights are non-negotiable. I’ve never been a shoe person — if they don’t slip off, I’m happy.

21. What would you do if you won the lottery?

Ring my dad and ask what he would do.

22. What was the best gift you ever received?

I’m yet to actually receive it yet, but our puppy Rudi was an amazing gift. Sadly it’s been two years since we got the wee lad.

23. When did you feel that you ‘made it’?

Towards the end of 2020, I finally made peace with a variety of issues in my life that had been stalling me for nearly a decade. I feel like everyone has these kinds of life events, around three to four of them that truly propel you forward. You feel you’ve made it when you have these kind of breakthroughs.

24. What energises you about your work?

The people. You figure out who you can trust and take them with you all the way. You make life good for them and they make life good for you in and outside of work.

25. What’s your favourite tradition?

A New Year’s Day morning swim. Wherever I may be in the world. No sea means a cold plunge in a bin full of water.

26. What’s a relationship deal breaker for you?

Those we don’t like, we don’t know. I try to get to know people better before any “deal breakers”.

27. A genie gives you three wishes — what are they?

Firstly, I would fly my family out to Hong kong and the other two that I can think of right now: freedom of means and spiritual freedom. You can’t have true freedom without one or the other.

Click here for more information about Hybrid Gym and here for more information about the Asaya Hybrid 360 programme.

The post 27 Questions: Gabriel Carroll, strength coach and general manager of Hybrid Gym appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.