As interest in health and fitness continues to accelerate in Vietnam, two persistent barriers remain in front of gym doors: inconvenience and intimidation. Signing up can be a painful process full of demands for long-term contracts. Once inside, a lack of support can leave gym-goers directionless, or even worse, injured.
Hustle hopes to break these barriers when it opens tomorrow in Thao Dien, District 2. Aiming to bring a unique group fitness concept to Vietnam, Hustle blends the effectiveness of personal training with the energy and community of a class. Each exercise and class type is adaptable and is built on the belief that functional strength is important for everyday life. And with an integrated mobile app, browsing schedules and prices will be as easy as ordering a post-workout recovery drink to be ready at the in-house smoothie bar.
We meet with Javier and Erin, the founders of Hustle, to talk about their plans to create a new fitness community in Vietnam.
Why did you start Hustle? Why here and why now?
Javier: We both love fitness, but it’s hard to be active here. Outside, there’s pollution and traffic and not a lot of green space. There are great places to eat, great places to drink, great coffee shops… but people also want new activities. Due to more education about the effects of exercise and diet and an increase in free time, interest in health and fitness is skyrocketing.
In the U.S., 25% of the population goes to the gym. In Vietnam, it’s less than 1%. Huge growth is coming, and we want to be there.
Erin: I’ve never been a fan of big gyms because when I walk in, I have no idea what to do. I end up spending twice as much time, see few results, so I stop going. I discovered group fitness back in Canada and became addicted.
When we moved here, we couldn’t find anything quite like our boutique gym studios back home. So we thought, why don’t we start one? There’s just something about working out in an awesome environment, with the person right beside you working their a** off, that keeps you motivated. And the bonus of having a trainer teach you how to exercise properly and not injure yourself makes a huge difference.
We also want to be a great neighbor, and we are very focused on engaging with the community, developing partnerships and events with other companies in the area. In looking for a location, we were drawn by the exciting potential of Thao Dien, whose businesses have a mix of expat and local clientele. There are great businesses to work with here that share the same passion for health and wellness.
Walk us through the Hustle experience.
Javier: The user journey starts even before you come in. When you pick up your phone or look at our website, you’ll find how easy it is to browse our schedule or join our class. Transparency is crucial, and we want to be clear on what you’re paying and the value you’re getting.
Before a class starts, we understand that not everyone might have come with the same energy, but once you walk through the door, everyone’s in it together.
Erin: Our classes are formatted as circuits with 8-10 different exercise stations, all led by an experienced coach. They are functional exercises, replicating everyday movements and getting your body strong to handle the strains of life. Different classes have different focuses, from cardio to strength. Each exercise is also adaptable to your level, for flexibility within the class structure.
The beauty of this workout is that no matter your fitness or experience level, you can participate and get a great sweat on. Once your class is done, you can pick up a restorative smoothie at our “Boost Bar” (all recipes created by local nutrition company La Holista).
Can you elaborate on what makes Hustle unique vs. the current gym options in Vietnam today?
Javier: Everything in the health space here started happening over the last ten years, when a few big box gyms entered the market. In these gyms, you typically see a lot of machines, and there can be thousands of members. This makes it nearly impossible to offer a personalized service. We think there is a market for people who want to work out in a more intimate environment where they can also get great coaching.
Erin: At Hustle, we put a big emphasis on quality of training and the customer’s overall experience. Our class formats and personal training framework have been designed over several months by Canadian fitness expert Brian Kehoe. Secondly, we don’t believe in long term commitments or very high upfront payments. We think the client should have flexibility and freedom when it comes to purchasing a membership. That’s why we offer Pay-as-you-Go (class passes) or unlimited monthly memberships. With our model, we want our customers to come as many times as possible to encourage them to live an active lifestyle.
Lastly, we want to be a great place to work. That’s why we are putting a big emphasis on learning and education. We have a thorough training program every trainer must pass, and along the way, they will develop crucial technique and skills. We have been extremely lucky to find a great group of trainers, led by our Head Coach Hubert Cu, who has many years of experience and an incredible passion for fitness.
What misconceptions about working out do you hope to dispel?
Erin: One big misconception is that lifting weights will make you big; we hear this especially amongst women. One of our friends, during a recent conversation about exercise told us, “Oh no, I’m gonna turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger!”
This misinformation, combined with the fact that the gym has so many unfamiliar machines and weights, means that people tend to gravitate towards the familiar treadmill and yoga.
But strength exercises are good for your muscles and body, so when you age you retain your vitality. With our functional high intensity workouts, the energy it takes to recover means you are also burning calories even after you leave the gym!
How do people sign up?
Javier: Sign up online or visit our first location at 26 Thao Dien St. Classes start tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd. If you’re unsure if this type of workout is for you, try our free week trial; no strings attached.
We are also having a fun launch event on Saturday morning, October 26th with a group exercise class, live DJ, free food, and lots of fun raffle prizes (including free memberships).