A new community-led fitness studio

Committee members Rikki Simpson and Craig Rich at Mount Fit. Photo: Brydie Thompson.

Like a phoenix, a new not-for-profit community fitness studio has risen from the ashes of a former business at the Mount.

And when it flies into profitable skies – those involved intend on giving back to local charities to help them fly too. “It’s such a fantastic initiative and goes against the grain of money-hungry business,” says one of the founders and coaches, Craig Rich.

The not-for-profit was born out of tragedy - F45 Studio at 34 Tawa St, Mount Maunganui, closed its doors May 31. Members were informed of the closure on May 21. So Craig and fellow F45 members leapt into action – to open a not-for-profit gym in the business’ wake.

“I was determined to keep the studio open, and quickly found others with the same view,” says Craig, who with head coach Doug Swiper put their heads together to create a plan.

They created a working group to switch to a generic video-assisted studio with a wealth of new community options that go beyond traditional classes.

“Incredibly, with brute force from a group of our loyal community, sheer determination [and a distinct lack of sleep], we managed to remove all the old branding and technology from the studio and ran our first class the day after F45 closed on June 1,” says Craig.

“It’s just a bunch of people who love their fitness community so much that they’ve started this not-for-profit studio,” says Craig, who also believes health and fitness shouldn’t break the bank.

That’s why in this living-cost-crisis the Mount Fit committee has opted to keep costs down as much as possible for members. Mount Fit – unusually – has no contracts. Most gyms demand members sign up annual contracts to bring cash – whether they use the facility or not.

“Our membership is currently $35 per week for unlimited classes, $60 per week for a plus-one membership, and $10 to ‘drop in’ any class. The committee will review these prices on a monthly basis,” says Craig.

“We believe we offer a positive place for people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing in a supportive community, and it’s important to try to make it as accessible as possible.”

Craig says all workouts are redesigned and all equipment is there – and it’s for all ages, fitness abilities and experience. “We aim to extend the number of classes and variety as soon as possible, whatever the community wants, and we can lead.

“It’s a studio where people can come along, make new friends, and work out to their ability. This gym is formed for the community, by the community, bringing a distinct level of positivity,” says Craig.  “We even host monthly social events to further bring people together.”

And the plan for when it’s making a profit, after all essential running costs, is for profit to be donated to local charities. “The Mount is our home, our community, and we aim to enrich it whilst keeping active and enhancing our health and wellbeing.”

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