Can't find the time or motivation to go to the gym a couple of times a week? Tell that to Mac Robson.

Five days a week, for the past 30 years, the 73-year-old has been going to YMCA Auckland City Fitness, and he can't speak highly enough of it.

"There's not just one benefit," he says. "It's not just your level of fitness, it's not just the mental stimulation, it's not just the group of friends, or the routine. It's all of those things rolled into one."

Robson wakes at 4.45am so he can beat the traffic into town and start his day with a workout.


"You feel good about yourself, you get your body up and working and by the time you get to work you are fizzing. It's something I don't think people who haven't experienced it understand, but it's a huge feeling of well-being."

Robson sold his digital printing business about six months ago but continues his gym routine because he doesn't want to lose the immense benefits he obtains.

So where does he find the motivation to get up before dawn every day?

"Traffic's a great motivator. Of course there are days when I think 'it'd be nice to just stay in bed this morning'. But then I think 'there's no way I want to sit in traffic for an hour and a half to get into the city'. It's as simple as that.

"If you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be happily getting up at 4.45am every day I'd have said you were mad. But you get into the habit of it and once you start doing something regularly and you see that it benefits you, why would you stop?"

The main thing that attracted him to the YMCA was that it was not a fashion competition, where people were mostly concerned about looking good.

"The people that were going to the YMCA then, and it's still the same now, it's not the Lycra crowd. We're just average Joes," he says.

One of the biggest changes he has seen in the past few years is the influx of younger people signing up.

He welcomes the growing popularity of gyms, but adds that if you don't like the gym, then find something else to keep you healthy.

"I think what's most important is that you do something. So if the gym isn't for you, then maybe there's something else you enjoy doing, so do that."