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Ant Haynes
Photograph: Calvin Sit

The business of keeping fit

We catch up with Asia’s fittest man to discuss training and innovation during the pandemic

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Ant Haynes is the head coach at Coastal Fitness Performance Training, one of the three founders of Hong Kong-based athletic apparel brand Earned, and a top-level competitive CrossFit athlete. A former professional rugby player, Ant traded in his boots for a barbell six years ago. Along with competitions throughout the year, 365 days of hard work (hopefully) culminate in a spot at the annual CrossFit Games, where the world's fittest people compete – quite literally the top one percent of the top one percent. Finishing as 27th fittest man in the world last year, 2020 is shaping up to be slightly different, due to the elephant in the room named corona.

RECOMMENDED: For those wanting to do some exercise at home, check out these workouts for good posture and general weelbeing.

Photograph: Calvin Sit

Tell us about your experience in the last few months during the peak of COVID-19 in Hong Kong.

From having to adapt to a stay-at-home order for two weeks due to travelling overseas, to then having to close our gym temporarily, it’s been interesting to say the least! It was a blessing for my training, as I got more time to sleep, eat, work, train, repeat! Although, adjusting to working online was tough, coming from a business where face-to-face interaction is everything. I missed the sense of community at Coastal Fitness.

Time away from the gym made you more resourceful and resulted in the creation of the Earned Aqua Bag, how did that come about?

While there are many exercises you can do with just your bodyweight and household items, people still craved the resistance and load normally found in a dumbbell or barbell and plates. With the Aqua Bag, we've created something that weighs 37kg, and is also easy to carry around, set up, train with, then pack back down. There are different ways to use the Aqua Bag, different squatting, pressing and rowing variations. It’s designed to be used anywhere: parks, beaches, at home, at the gym and even on holiday. I'm looking forward to taking mine to the beach next time I'm in Bali!

With Hong Kong currently well into recovery before many parts of the world, what does that mean for you as a competitive athlete? 

Unfortunately with COVID still causing havoc around the world, my CrossFit games season has come to a premature end. That being said, every cloud has a silver lining. While I’m upset about being unable to showcase my hard work over the past 12 months, I'm also grateful that I’m able to work on my craft even more. I'm looking forward to getting back out on the competition floor, wherever and whenever that may be.

About Earned
Photograph: Calvin Sit

About Earned

Launched at the end of 2019, Earned Athletic Apparel is the product of brothers Ed and Ant Haynes – the 'fittest men in China' – along with business partner Alan Scanlan. The company was born through the vision of athletes and coaches who seek continuous improvement, not only in training, but in everyday life. Providing quality functional fitness attire that represents passion and hard work, with the hopes of inspiring others to invest in their own fitness journey.

Keep up with Ant and Earned on Instagram, and use code EARNEDWELCOME for 10% off your first order.

Stay mobile, friends
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Stay mobile, friends

We get it, we’re also excited that gyms and fitness centres are open for business. Slow your roll amigo. Before you go back to hitting it hard, remember that you have just spent the last fews months out of routine. Now that you’re back in the office, hunching over a screen all day can strain the spine and stiffen the neck and shoulders.

Throwing heavy weights around is fun, but it’s the not-so-sexy stuff that will keep you moving well, for longer. Here are four stretches from the fittest man in Asia to incorporate into your day-to-day. 

1. Couch stretch
Photograph: Calvin Sit

1. Couch stretch

Hip opener that relieves tightness and activates the glutes. Bring your arms overhead to open up your shoulders, remember to stay tall and tight through the mid-line.

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2. Wall thoracic stretch
Photograph: Calvin Sit

2. Wall thoracic stretch

Stretches out the lats and triceps, intentionally push your chest towards the floor and hold.

3. Squat sky reach
Photograph: Calvin Sit

3. Squat sky reach

Good for fixing hip and ankle mobility issues. Reach overhead to open up the chest, remember to stay tight, and keep your chest up in the bottom of the squat.

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4. Cobra
Photograph: Calvin Sit

4. Cobra

Stretches the neck, shoulders, chest and abdominals.

In the mood for more exercise?

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