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Review: Defin8 Fitness launches Hong Kong’s first infrared reformer Pilates class

It’s that time of the year when, after excessive festive indulgences, we start to research what the best, most effective workouts are — the classes that burn the most fat in the shortest amount of time. Miracles do exist, right? Right! And it appears now in the form of Defin8 Fitness’ infrared reformer Pilates classes.

As the ole adage goes: The couple that sweats together, stays together. It’s certainly true in the case of power couple Trixie and Leo Velez, co-founders of Defin8 Fitness.  

Since launching their brand in 2016, they’ve helped thousands of Hongkongers create sustainable, effective workouts. To commemorate their fifth anniversary, the dynamic duo recently opened the doors to their new fitness studio location in Central, an expansive, hybrid space that boasts state-of-the-art facilities — including the first ever infrared reformer Pilates studio in town. 

Trixie & Leo Velez / Defin8 Fitness

The enhanced experience

“The infrared definitely adds another dimension to the classes,” says Trixie. “You’re going to feel the heat from the moment you get on the reformer, and that will help you warm up a little faster, loosen those muscles and increase flexibility during the session.” 

I’ve always been intrigued by reformers — I mean, look at those machines! — they almost look like medieval torture devices and I suppose, to some extent, they are. I jest, I jest… For machinery that looks so intimidating, learning how they functioned was surprisingly easy.  

“The five springs control how high or low you want the resistance to be. That way, everyone can work out at their own pace and fitness level,” she explains. “Throughout the class, I’ll give instructions on which colour will be the toughest and which will be more manageable.” 

Manageable was a level that was necessary for me — Ms. Big Brains who booked this workout session the day after our team’s Christmas party — but Trixie assured me that the infrared panels would help me sweat out and burn off the toxins in no time. 

Trixie & Leo Velez / Defin8 Fitness

The infrared reformer Pilates workout

We started the class with some warm ups directly under the panels, letting the heat sink into us and loosen our muscles in preparation for the onslaught of activity. And it’s proper activity — a whole 50 minutes of it. With some of the sets, my muscles were shaking (and I was cursing every known alcohol under my breath), but Trixie’s humour and quick body corrections were very effective in helping us pass the time. The Velez couple are tough, but they’ll whip you into shape if you commit to putting the graft in. 

At the end of the session, I finally understood the “jelly legs” most gym-rats complain about. As I gingerly climbed off the machine, I noticed that I wasn’t completely drenched in sweat à la hot yoga. I was sweating, sure, and I definitely felt the overall burn (especially in my abs!), but it was nice. I missed this! The soreness of a workout. The shared whinging and laughter in the class during tougher moves. The satisfaction of burning fat and building “long, lean muscles” as Trixie says.

The verdict

I will note that the most significant muscle soreness happened in the following few days. Perhaps it was my lack of overall exercise the last few months, but my core and abs were aching for about three or four days. And yes, if you must know, I checked my stomach in the mirror every morning to see if my abs would pop out (spoiler alert — they did not… yet!).  

There’ll always be people in the world who were born to motivate, encourage and improve, and I can say with full confidence that this attitude is one that the Velez team encompasses. The couple have really hit their stride with Defin8 Fitness, and I would encourage anyone to join one of their sessions to see for themselves.


The new Infrared Pilates Reformer group classes are HK$380 per person, and can be included in packages.  

Defin8 Fitness, 17F, Silver Fortune Plaza, 1 Wellington Street, Central, +852 9859 8620

Sandra Kwong
Features Editor
A perpetually hungry individual paired with an acute dirty martini obsession. You'll catch Sandra waltzing around town from gallery openings to various happy hours. Usually waxing lyrical about her 10-step skincare routine or her latest gadget. Currently missing: long ski runs in Hanazono.
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