An ambassador for all things health, fitness and positive living, Avelino ‘Avey’ Cortes can be seen working out at many of Hong Kong’s top gyms and yoga studios (as evidenced by his #fitspo-packed Instagram feed).
It comes as no surprise then, that Avey is the brand communications manager for Chōsen Experiences, a luxury travel and wellness company that takes its participants to destinations such as Bali, Iceland and Guatemala for their adrenaline-pumping, adventure-themed fitness retreats.
We hit the gym with Avey to discover his fitness habits, philosophies and inspirations:
When did you first start working out?
I've always been an active person. Growing up, I dabbled in rowing, surfing and running, but I properly got into fitness when I finished university and started working. I joined a gym and threw myself into things like dragon boating and long-distance races, thriving off the challenge.
Describe a typical week of workouts for you.
I like to do the 6am class at Crossfit 852 and once or twice I'll week, I'll do that with the 7am boot camp. It sounds intense but I love the way it makes me feel. Alongside Crossfit, I also practice yoga and pilates at Flex twice a week.
I'm also a fan of movement practices to keep my body on its toes. Once or twice a week, I'll throw in a barre class, spin class, some animal movement or an outdoor workout. Outdoor workouts allow me to connect to nature and it means I have no excuse whenever I travel. Finally, I like to round out my week with something light like a hike or swim.
What is your favourite workout, class or exercise?
I don't like to limit myself to one type of workout or class. The art of movement is a gift and whatever way we can move and sweat, means we are constantly nurturing our bodies and discovering. Having said that, I am one of the few people I know who actually loves burpees.
How do you stay motivated?
I get to interact on a daily basis with a positive lifestyle network of like-minded people in the Chōsen community, which includes everyday people who are driven by self-improvement and personal evolution to Olympic athletes. I am constantly inspired to learn and evolve, not only in my fitness endeavours but in my purpose-led lifestyle.
What do you wear when working out? Any fave brands or stores?
I struggle with finding a variety of quality men's active/athleisure wear in Hong Kong but you can usually find me working out in Lululemon and my Chōsen t-shirt... it's like my second skin! I am also a regular at the WIT store in Hong Kong and am a fan of their range of NO BULL Crossfit shoes.
What does your cheat day look like?
I prefer to call it a 'treat' day so there is no shame or stigma that I'm doing something bad—we shouldn't feel guilty about eating. I generally live by that rule, so I know for the most part that as long as I'm putting good, nutritious, whole foods into my body, then all is well. Through my weeks at Chōsen experiences, I have also learnt about the importance of rest days.
While the week is packed with activities, there is a day built in of doing very little but lounging by the pool and reading a book. Surprisingly, it can be one of the challenging parts of the experience to stop and allow your mind and body to rest, slow down and connect with your environment. I have grown to cherish this time, so I now regularly book myself into a ‘staycation’ when I am in Hong Kong.
What’s on your workout playlist?
I love a tune with a motivational lyric... Katy Perry's Roar; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Can't Hold Us and Britney's Work B**ch are a few tracks that get me pumped to move.
Favourite healthy foods and restaurants?
I miss Home: Eat to Live. That was by far my favourite go-to for healthy eats. Mostly, I make my own food during the week for breakfast and lunch. But if I don't have time, I go to Supafood. They're really efficient and I know what I'm getting—simple, honest ingredients that's super tasty.
How do you stay fit while travelling?
I'm a huge advocate of staying active while travelling. When I know I won't be able to get to a fitness facility, I've done workouts in my hotel room, in a park or at the airport when in transit (some push-ups, squats and sit-ups in a corner) just to keep active.
I also always research what is available in each destination I go to, and I love trying out classes and gyms in different countries. It's literally one of my favourite things about travelling and so easy to do within the Crossfit community as everyone is very welcoming.
Advice on starting a fitness regime?
You need to approach fitness with an openness and curiosity—be playful and willing to try new things. You are bound to be out of your comfort zone at some point but the key is to face the fear and not be scared of failing. We all had to start somewhere!
My recommendation is to try out the class setting and find yourself a #fitfam. It's a lot easier to get into something if you have a community of people supporting you and wanting you to succeed.
A sport you’ve never tried but want to?
At Chōsen in Iceland, we do horseback riding, throw axes like Vikings and go on a summit hike—all of which are on my to-do list!
Morning or evening workouts?
I prefer first thing in the morning—the earlier the better so I can even eat my breakfast and start my day before most people have got to their office.
Who is your Fitspiration or sporting hero?
I'm constantly in awe of anyone who can move and who puts in the hard work. Every day in class I am inspired by fellow athletes that are knocked down by not being able to complete a workout or execute a movement and they pick themselves back up and keep trying until they do.
Best Fitstagram (fitness Instagram) to follow?
I like following the accounts of Chōsen alums—it makes me so happy to see them thriving and doing awesome things. I really like the feed from one of our ambassadors Laura Miranda @drlauramiranda—she has a positive and authoritative voice that radiates through her posts and I'm always getting ideas on how to spice up my workouts from her page.
Follow Avey on Instagram @aveyavey and find out more about Chōsen experiences.
All photos were shot on location at Crossfit Asphodel.