The fitness industry is alive and well and doing good things in Whanganui.
ReVitalise in Guyton St is feeling the love, employing extra staff and initiating more programmes to suit the needs of its clients. The fitness centre now has seven staff.
"We've added yoga, pump classes and circuit classes," says Audrey O'Keefe, ReVitalise owner. And, she says, they have the right people with the right qualifications to do the job. They also have personal trainers for that one-on-one advantage.
"We've listened to our clients and asked ourselves, how can we offer more than we're already offering. Classes were a big thing, and more of a holistic approach." ReVitalise is known for its core product, the 12-week Challenge, but they looked at different options to suit budgets and time commitment.
"We also do more seminars," says Audrey, emphasising their focus on nutrition and lifestyle. "We also do a lot more online."
ReVitalise has established an outreach programme, taking their skills to places such as Taihape and Waiouru, bringing in people who don't or can't belong to the gym but still want aspects of what the gym offers.
"I believe food is the key," says Audrey. "It's either your medicine or your poison, so how can we help people feel good about themselves?" She says a lot of people who seek her help are anxious or depressed, surrounded by body image expectations and pressure.
"How do we help people make that step to better health? They are often scared to even walk into a gym, so we've tried to make this a safe haven for people. It becomes family."
Julie Heathcote divides her time between managing Mainstreet maintenance and working at ReVitalise.
"We do stuff together as staff. We went horse riding at the weekend — it's a good vibe."
Tracy is the yoga instructor and classes have proved popular.
"She does small groups and you don't have to be a gym member to join in," says Julie. "What we're trying to do with classes is provide people with more fun and working out with a group is less intimidating and more exciting," says Audrey. "We have people who do all the classes." Classes are small and teaching is interactive and hands-on.
Sophie, also new to the staff, is UCOL trained.
Julie sees the gym as a place for people, especially women, to be themselves and enjoy special "me" time.
"You're not the mother, or the wife, or the employee … you are you."
"We're getting more guys, too," says Audrey. Staffing hours have increased so the floor is manned the whole the time and staff know the names of every member.
"Once people start exercising, they start feeling better about themselves, they start losing weight, building muscle, getting stronger, they start feeling happier, and you can actually see their posture and their personalities change. That's what it's about for me," says Audrey. "And we don't judge. It's our job to help get people to their happy place, not where we think they should be."