About Gary Pope

Born in 1970, for the first 21 years of my life, I lived in Ipswich, UK.

From the moment I arrived in Hong Kong in 1991, my life took a dramatic turn. Growing up in England, I was a sporty child. Football was my passion and the one thing that gave me confidence.

Before I left for Hong Kong I was still playing football twice a week. I was a social drinker with my mates, where anything over four pints was a heavy night. Within a short period of time in Hong Kong, four pints was just warming up, whilst I began smoking for the first time in my life.

Working hard and playing harder was par for the course in the 90’s where the shipping industry was booming. There were plenty of other like-minded people to play with around the bars of Wanchai, Lan Kwai Fong and Tsim Sha Tsui, which often felt more at home to me than home itself.

By 2003 at 33 years of age during my first 12 years here, I had ballooned from a svelte weight of 68kgs, to over 100kgs. One morning as I sat on the edge of my bed, unable to comfortably reach my shoelaces, I decided I had to lose weight. Whilst knowing very little about nutrition, and by just following diet fads, I lost 30kgs in the next 3 years.

What I didn’t realise until recently, was that in the proceeding 12 years, I was chronically undernourished whilst still looking fat. This was because I was going to the gym doing steady state cardiovascular exercises such as running and cycling, whilst never giving my body enough nutrients to replenish the energy lost from this exercise. 

Without resistance training, my muscles atrophied severely. And because this slowly evolved over a period of 12 years, I didn’t notice what had happened to my body until I was 45 and met an expert physiotherapist who helped me slowly unravel the damage done.

Through 30 years of weight management, whilst balancing a typical busy work life in Hong Kong, I have gained a lot of anecdotal experience. Combined with the evidence based nutrition I now practice, I have a wealth of knowledge to call upon and share.

Throughout this life changing process, I remain fully employed in the logistics industry.

About Urbalife

Urbalife was founded in 2015 with a vision. A vision that anybody can be active, strong, and pain free as they grow old, no matter what state of health they are in now, or how wild they have lived their life previously.

It was a vision borne out of hope as much as belief. Hope by me, who at the age of 45 was already feeling old and broken. The stress of living the fast life in Hong Kong since 1991 was taking its toll.

I looked at my children, and thought about playing with my grandchildren. Would I be an old rickety Grandad, or would I be playing with them by running around and rolling on the floor?

I looked at modern western society where many of the population seemed to be old and fragile by the age of 65, in care homes by 80, and dead by 90 after spending the last ten years of life unable to take care of themselves.

I then looked at rural Asian life where 80 year olds were still strong, ploughing fields and lifting produce. Living at home and being active, until they eventually peacefully pass of old age.

That was my trigger to wonder what my future would be. The direction I was on was the western way. I was still smoking, and drinking every night. How did that compare to people who were strong and fit at 80? That was my first “a-ha” moment of many, and that was the moment the Urbalife vision began to take shape.

Experience learned and continually practiced:

Since 2015

  • Practicing evidence based nutrition.
  • Postural correction through pilates and massage therapy with Posture Plus Hong Kong

Since 2016

Since 2018

Nutrition Qualifications

2018: BTN Foundation Course.
2019: Qualified Nutrition Coach through the BTN Practical Academy, UK.

Inspiration / Blog

Here you will find more information about my transitional journey from the logistics industry, to health & wellness. I share my personal experiences, as well as lessons from some of the incredible educators I listen to, read and learn from.

Blog

About Gary Pope

Born in 1970, for the first 21 years of my life, I lived in Ipswich, UK.

From the moment I arrived in Hong Kong in 1991, my life took a dramatic turn. Growing up in England, I was a sporty child. Football was my passion and the one thing that gave me confidence.

Before I left for Hong Kong I was still playing football twice a week. I was a social drinker with my mates, where anything over four pints was a heavy night. Within a short period of time in Hong Kong, four pints was just warming up, whilst I began smoking for the first time in my life.

Working hard and playing harder was par for the course in the 90’s where the shipping industry was booming. There were plenty of other like-minded people to play with around the bars of Wanchai, Lan Kwai Fong and Tsim Sha Tsui, which often felt more at home to me than home itself.

By 2003 at 33 years of age, I had ballooned from a svelte fighting weight of 68kgs, to over 100kgs in my first 12 years of living here. One morning as I sat on the edge of my bed, unable to comfortably reach my shoelaces, I decided I had to lose weight. Whilst knowing very little about nutrition, and by just following diet fads, I lost 30kgs in 3 years.

What I didn’t realise until recently, was that in the proceeding 12 years, I was chronically undernourished whilst still looking fat. This was because I was going to the gym doing steady state cardiovascular exercises such as running and cycling, whilst never giving my body enough nutrients to replenish the energy lost from this exercise. 

Without resistance training, my muscles atrophied severely. And because this slowly evolved over a period of 12 years, I didn’t notice what had happened to my body until I was 45 and met an expert physiotherapist who helped me slowly unravel the damage done.

Through 30 years of weight management, whilst balancing a typical busy work life in Hong Kong, I have gained a lot of anecdotal experience. Combined with the evidence based nutrition I now practice, I have a wealth of knowledge to call upon and share.

Throughout this life changing process, I remain fully employed in the logistics industry.

About Urbalife

Urbalife was founded in 2015 with a vision. A vision that anybody can be active, strong, and pain free as they grow old, no matter what state of health they are in now, or how wild they have lived their life previously.

It was a vision borne out of hope as much as belief. Hope by me, who at the age of 45 was already feeling old and broken. The stress of living the fast life in Hong Kong since 1991 was taking its toll.

I looked at my children, and thought about playing with my grandchildren. Would I be an old rickety Grandad, or would I be playing with them by running around and rolling on the floor?

I looked at modern western society where many of the population seemed to be old and fragile by the age of 65, in care homes by 80, and dead by 90 after spending the last ten years of life unable to take care of themselves.

I then looked at rural Asian life where 80 year olds were still strong, ploughing fields and lifting produce. Living at home and being active, until they eventually peacefully pass of old age.

That was my trigger to wonder what my future would be. The direction I was on was the western way. I was still smoking, and drinking every night. How did that compare to people who were strong and fit at 80? That was my first “a-ha” moment of many, and that was the moment the Urbalife vision began to take shape.

Experience learned and continually practiced:

Since 2015

  • Practicing evidence based nutrition.
  • Postural correction through pilates and massage therapy with Posture Plus Hong Kong

Since 2016

Since 2018

Nutrition Qualifications

2018: BTN Foundation Course.
2019: Qualified Nutrition Coach through the BTN Practical Academy, UK.

Inspiration / Blog

Here you will find more information about my transitional journey from the logistics industry, to health & wellness. I share my personal experiences, as well as lessons from some of the incredible educators I listen to, read and learn from.

Blog

About Gary Pope

Born in 1970, for the first 21 years of my life, I lived in Ipswich, UK.

From the moment I arrived in Hong Kong in 1991, my life took a dramatic turn. Growing up in England, I was a sporty child. Football was my passion and the one thing that gave me confidence.

Before I left for Hong Kong I was still playing football twice a week. I was a social drinker with my mates, where anything over four pints was a heavy night. Within a short period of time in Hong Kong, four pints was just warming up, whilst I began smoking for the first time in my life.

Working hard and playing harder was par for the course in the 90’s where the shipping industry was booming. There were plenty of other like-minded people to play with around the bars of Wanchai, Lan Kwai Fong and Tsim Sha Tsui, which often felt more at home to me than home itself.

By 2003 at 33 years of age, I had ballooned from a svelte fighting weight of 68kgs, to over 100kgs in my first 12 years of living here. One morning as I sat on the edge of my bed, unable to comfortably reach my shoelaces, I decided I had to lose weight. Whilst knowing very little about nutrition, and by just following diet fads, I lost 30kgs in 3 years.

What I didn’t realise until recently, was that in the proceeding 12 years, I was chronically undernourished whilst still looking fat. This was because I was going to the gym doing steady state cardiovascular exercises such as running and cycling, whilst never giving my body enough nutrients to replenish the energy lost from this exercise. 

Without resistance training, my muscles atrophied severely. And because this slowly evolved over a period of 12 years, I didn’t notice what had happened to my body until I was 45 and met an expert physiotherapist who helped me slowly unravel the damage done.

Through 30 years of weight management, whilst balancing a typical busy work life in Hong Kong, I have gained a lot of anecdotal experience. Combined with the evidence based nutrition I now practice, I have a wealth of knowledge to call upon and share.

Throughout this life changing process, I remain fully employed in the logistics industry.

About Urbalife

Urbalife was founded in 2015 with a vision. A vision that anybody can be active, strong, and pain free as they grow old, no matter what state of health they are in now, or how wild they have lived their life previously.

It was a vision borne out of hope as much as belief. Hope by me, who at the age of 45 was already feeling old and broken. The stress of living the fast life in Hong Kong since 1991 was taking its toll.

I looked at my children, and thought about playing with my grandchildren. Would I be an old rickety Grandad, or would I be playing with them by running around and rolling on the floor?

I looked at modern western society where many of the population seemed to be old and fragile by the age of 65, in care homes by 80, and dead by 90 after spending the last ten years of life unable to take care of themselves.

I then looked at rural Asian life where 80 year olds were still strong, ploughing fields and lifting produce. Living at home and being active, until they eventually peacefully pass of old age.

That was my trigger to wonder what my future would be. The direction I was on was the western way. I was still smoking, and drinking every night. How did that compare to people who were strong and fit at 80? That was my first “a-ha” moment of many, and that was the moment the Urbalife vision began to take shape.

Experience learned and continually practiced:

Since 2015

  • Practicing evidence based nutrition.
  • Postural correction through pilates and massage therapy with Posture Plus Hong Kong

Since 2016

Since 2018

Nutrition Qualifications

2018: BTN Foundation Course.
2019: Qualified Nutrition Coach through the BTN Practical Academy, UK.

Inspiration / Blog

Here you will find more information about my transitional journey from the logistics industry, to health & wellness. I share my personal experiences, as well as lessons from some of the incredible educators I listen to, read and learn from.

Blog