Fitness on a Whole New Level – an Interview with Cindy Reid

Though not a diabetic, Cindy Reid's dedication to health and fitness is a model to us all. If you're looking for perspiration inspiration, look no further, Cindy has you covered.

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So, you say you are having trouble motivating yourself to work out? We suggest you continue reading this because you’ve never met anyone as dedicated to health and fitness as Hong Kong-born Australia-raised, Cindy Reid.

A full time banker from 9-6, in her off time, the 33-year-old Reid runs her own gym located in Hong Kong, where she’s also a personal trainer and instructor. And, when she’s not banking, working out or teaching, she is a champion stair sprinter, racing up some of the world’s highest buildings with the sponsorship of several major companies including Asics, 2XU and BerryTime.

Just last month, Cindy flew to Paris on a whirlwind 24-hour trip to compete in her first elite vertical race in Europe, ascending the tallest skyscraper in Paris’ in just over seven minutes. That’s right, seven minutes.

She landed at 7am on Sunday morning and 2 hours later she was on a bike teaching a full spin class.

Cindy recently spoke with Everyday Diabetes from her home in Hong Kong about her routine, staying motivated and how she prepares for competition.


After dedicating so much time to staying in incredible shape, how do still motivate yourself to put in the work required?

I have always been pretty determined, results-driven, and type “A”, so that helps. I am a work-horse, extremely hard-working with unbreakable work ethics. I don’t really know how to rest, really, and I can’t remember the last time I called in sick. It can both be a blessing and a curse! I feel that training and competing has defined me, provided me with a sense of purpose, accomplishment and personal achievement, and in that I find comfort and confidence. I sign up to any kind of competitions – from charity boxing matches, to bodybuilding competitions, running the Great Wall, and buildings. Recently I had been invited to present to a group of young students from year 7 to 9 at an international school as an inspirational speaker and female entrepreneur. That was a very humbling experience for me, because I am just doing what I am passionate about.

I run an average of 25-35km per week…do strength training 6 days a week…high intensity training 3-4 times a week plus stairs 3 times a week.

What does your typical training week look like?

20-25 is the number of hours I train per week. I get up at 5:30am Mondays to Fridays to teach at 6 or 6:15am a High Intensity Interval Training, Spin or Pump class before my day job. Then I do a fast 5-6km run on my lunch break, usually outside. Unless it’s pouring I would resort to the treadmill and do sprint or tempo work. After work I teach Bodypump classes twice a week and a Boxing circuit once a week. I have to fit in the stairs whenever I could, even if it’s just a 10 minute block.

On Thursday and Friday nights I do my own training, that is usually heavier lifting for the lower body using machines and free weights to develop leg strength. Saturday and Sundays are long days – sometimes up to six hours with a combination of teaching classes at my gym, training clients and doing my own training.

What exercise do you hate the most?

Sprints and stairs – it’s a love/hate relationship. Obviously, it is demanding and painful, and I have to psyche myself up to do it. However, once I get that part of my training done I feel accomplished and much better for it. We all have to get outside of our comfort zone to up our game!

Cindy with Suzy Walsham, the world's top stair racer.
Cindy with Suzy Walsham, the world’s top stair racer.

How did you get into competitive vertical running?

I was on my way to a business meeting at IFC in 2010, when SHKP was advertising for a charity run-up of the building. I have already been winning podium spots in various 10k races in Hong Kong and it was time to step up (quite literally), so I signed up and trained for it at the fire escape stairs of my apartment block where people dumped their junk and it was a little off-putting to say the least!

Do you have a set regimen you use to prepare for an upcoming race?

My training is continuous and ongoing, with slight twigs weekly. I should, but I don’t take a day off. There are 3 parts to my regimen:

1) cardiovascular;

2) strength and flexibility; and

3) anaerobic.

I run an average of 25-35km per week – that’s aerobic; do strength training 6 days a week focusing on different muscle groups; high intensity training 3-4 times a week plus stairs 3 times a week – that’s anaerobic. I also teach about 15 classes including spinning, Les Mills’ Bodypump, Grit Strength, Grit Plyo and I’d love to stretch more and practice power yoga if I can fit it in.

Cindy and Wesley Reid
Cindy, with her husband and business partner Wesley Reid.

Any advice for beginners looking to get into the competitive verticalvertical running circuit?

Running stairs is about 3 times harder than running flats, all things equal – and it’s a very anaerobic and lactic sport but an incredible challenge for your mental and physical fitness. You can start small (some competitions have half towers category); enter relays (great for bonding or team building) or for your first competition, aim to finish without stopping and don’t be too bound by time. Of course, make sure you take on the appropriate and sufficient training leading up to race day. Part of the fun is to see yourself progress through the training.

Along with being a corporate banker, you also opened your owngym. Can you tell us about it?

My partner and I opened up The HIT Room in Discovery Bay 3 years ago. We have always wanted to have our own space, been dreaming of having our own business and I have been commuting all over town to teach gym classes after work on a part-time basis…all things were pointing to the right direction when the right opportunity came up, it was a moment of epiphany and we knew this was it.

Cindy Reid vertical Racer Hong Kong Interview - Everyday Diabetes Magazine
Cut for competition

Along with being a corporate banker, you also opened your own gym. Can you tell us about it?

My partner and I opened up The HIT Room in Discovery Bay 3 years ago. We have always wanted to have our own space, been dreaming of having our own business and I have been commuting all over town to teach gym classes after work on a part-time basis…all things were pointing to the right direction when the right opportunity came up, it was a moment of epiphany and we knew we had to do it.

It doesn’t sound like you have much of it, but what do you like to do in your free time?

3 things:  One: Nap! It must be an Asian thing, I have the ability to sleep whenever, wherever, on demand. Second: Spend time with my other half and Skype my family in Australia. Three: Socialize with friends over dinners – we love wholesome, healthy food, and eat a lot of it!

Last question. How long could you last without exercising before going crazy?

This is such a funny question and so fitting especially for someone as hyperactive as me! The answer is: not even a day. I have to work out multiple times a day. Even when I had a Lasik surgery for my eyes, the doctor told me not to exercise for a week to prevent sweat from getting into my eyes. Of course, I went running the next day, with a big thick sweatband and a visor and a pair of sunglasses because my eyes were sensitive from the operation. The biggest setback was when I tore my calf in 2013 an hour before defending my ICC championship title. I was out of action for a couple of long months, although I was already on the floor verbally coaching TRX and actually taught Bodypump on one strapped-up leg the next day. Yes, I didn’t think it was possible myself! I am much better at looking after myself as I grow older and wiser.


Want to work out at Cindy’s gym? Visit her on the web at: www.thehitroom.com.hk

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