How Group X Helped Eric Chan and Jenna Wong Establish a Health-Focused Relationship

Eric Chan and Jenna Wong met five years ago, and right away they discovered that they both worked in the Bay Area and were 24 Hour Fitness members. They started dating, and almost immediately, Wong began driving out to San Francisco to take Boot Camp classes with Chan. He would return the favor by driving out to Walnut Creek to work out with Wong or take a Group X class before a dinner date.

Five years later, Chan says, the couple—who now live in San Francisco—still does Group X classes together four times a week and go to the gym six days a week. Their only rest day is Friday—and when they’re not working out together, they’re out eating at restaurants and enjoying their hard-earned cheat meals.

Establishing a routine

Growing up, Chan says he was very active—he played basketball and baseball and ran track and cross-country. About six years ago, he was introduced to group fitness at 24 Hour Fitness by an instructor named Gil.

“I went to his Boot Camp class for the first time, and then from there, I just kept going to his class, and then I started going to other fitness classes,” Chan recalls. “I started to incorporate Group X in addition to my normal gym and weightlifting. And it still continues to this day.”

Wong, too, was an active young person. She also played basketball and started running to condition for the sport. Eventually, Wong started running half marathons. She did a few fitness classes here and there with friends. But it wasn’t until she met Chan that she started going to classes like Boot Camp and BODYPUMP regularly.

At first, Wong would take BODYPUMP with Chan and then leave him after class to go run on the treadmill while he took BODYCOMBAT.

Chan and their favorite COMBAT instructor, Jason, would jokingly give Wong a hard time.

“There was a whole group of them that would say, ‘You should take COMBAT with us,’ until finally, I was like, ‘OK, I’ll take COMBAT.’ And then I got addicted,” Wong says, laughing. “Ever since I’ve been taking COMBAT, I’ve loved it. I should’ve started earlier.”

The couplehas since switched their workouts to be weightlifting-focused and use Group X classes like BODYATTACK, BODYCOMBAT, GRIT and Boot Camp as a way to get a cardio or agility workout in.

“We mold our weekly weightlifting schedule around which classes we want to go to,” Wong says. “We have it down to a routine.”

The beauty of living in San Francisco, the couple says, is the plethora of classes and clubs available.

“We know that different gyms have different machines, facilities and amenities. And we’ll tailor our workouts based on what gym we go to,” Chan says. But when it comes to choosing a favorite class, both Wong and Chan plead the fifth.

“It’s mainly because we view them as different workouts. We really do take them as accomplishing different things,” Chan says. “We look at it on a whole scale: how these classes fit into our overall balanced fitness routine and go from there.”

Becoming each other’s biggest cheerleaders

When they’re not in a COMBAT or ATTACK class, the couple can typically be found on the weight floor, powerlifting, sculpting and doing overall strength-endurance training.

Wong says that since she’s started working out with Chan, she’s been introduced to new workouts—things she may have never tried on her own. Chan says he’s seen Wong grow a lot in her workouts.

“When we started to do heavy powerlifting, Jenna realized that running kind of impeded that. So now, instead of running, she does powerlifting, a HIIT workout or a class, or overall just strength weight training, whether it be dumbbells or kettlebells. In this sense, she’s gotten stronger because she’s literally lifting more weight.”

Wong says that Chan has been very supportive of her fitness endeavors over the years and is incredibly encouraging—not just to her but to others.

“For example,” she says, “when he finds out that one of his friends has a 24 Hour Fitness membership and mention that they are going to take a class, he offers to go, too, and I also go. He’s very good about welcoming people into our circle of gym friends. He’s really good about trying to encourage people to come to the gym with us so that they can either lift or do a class with us.”

Wong has also helped Chan grow by introducing him to workouts outside of 24 Hour Fitness, ones he normally would not take, like spin classes, treadmill and Stairmaster HIIT workouts, and circuit-style boot camps. “Jenna has introduced me to some great workouts that I am not used to taking and they have been alternatives if we want to switch things up,” he says.

Carrying the torch

In March, Chan will be going through BODYCOMBAT certification training.

When a few of their favorite instructors stopped teaching, Chan says this left a void—one that got him thinking, “What if I became an instructor?”

“At the time, I felt a need for more. I wanted to inspire others like these instructors have inspired us. What if I can eventually reach that level where I am inspiring others to do the same?” Chan says. “I felt like maybe it’s time for me to give back that same feeling to people who need that inspiration. Maybe I’ll teach that midweek class that’ll get them going.”

And while Wong isn’t planning on pursing a fitness certification, she says that if she were to go after one, she’d choose BODYATTACK.

Regardless of the workout, Chan and Wong always conquer it together, helping each other along the way.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Jenna Wong and Eric Chan