Neither Victor Chau nor Adam Hawkshaw were at their physical best when they began dating in Beijing a decade ago, while working with Lane Crawford.
Chau was practising yoga, but not to the advanced level that he is today as a fully fledged yogi.
“He has an eight-pack now, but Victor didn’t have it when we met,” recalls Hawkshaw, a fashion retail veteran and Australian native.
“And he was like this shape,” Chau retorts good-naturedly, pointing to a blob-shaped light fixture at Sugar bar in Taikoo Shing, Quarry Bay.
In Beijing the two spent much time drinking and dining out together. A career opportunity in Hong Kong at Celine in 2014 for Hawkshaw (where he is currently the fashion house’s retail director) led the duo to the city where their sybaritic pursuits continued. In a matter of months, Hawkshaw had packed on an extra 10 kilograms.
The couple remember their first hike over The Twins and Violet Hill on Hong Kong Island. “I couldn’t make it past the first peak … I moaned all the way for three hours and said I’m not doing this again,” recalls Hawkshaw. The pivot to a healthy, fitter life together began as Chau’s yoga pursuits intensified. In 2014 he became ambassador for yoga clothing retailer Lululemon.
“I met other fitness instructors, gym trainers and studios like [cycling studio] XYZ, that all helped me explore more of the fitness world. And I learned I wasn’t as fit and strong in these areas, so I did other things [than just yoga],” said Chau. Hawkshaw decided to make a healthier lifestyle change, too.
Victor would remind me constantly of these goals that I had set out to achieve, like my body composition
“As the ambassador’s wife I have a responsibility to not be a fat, unhealthy person; it doesn’t help,” he said. An encounter with another friend in China, with a ripped physique courtesy of CrossFit, prompted him to try it out too. He has been working out five times a week at Coastal Fitness in North Point for the past three years.
Much research shows when one partner achieves positive behavioural change, the other tends to follow suit. In 2015, a University College London study led by Sarah Jackson looked at 3,722 couples in the UK. It found that couples that worked out together and quit unhealthy habits such as smoking together were more likely to maintain these changes compared to people that attempted such changes on their own.