Work Hard, Play Hard, Rest Well!

Work Hard, Play Hard, Rest Well!

When English footballer, Chris Feather came to Australia on a working holiday visa with a mate, he had little idea that he would soon be training Russell Crowe. Or that one day, he would be heading up 98 Gyms with the Hollywood star as a silent partner.

Feather and his associates belong to one of Australia’s growth industries with fitness centre revenues expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2023, according to a report by international market researcher IbisWorld. But `Ibis’ also cautions that the market is in danger of reaching saturation point.

Spearheading the boost in fitness is the rise and rise of 24/7 fitness chains, which allow entry at any time of the day or night. These budget  24-hour gyms mostly operate with out staff, and wage savings flow down to consumers in the form of cheaper membership prices.

So far, 98 Gyms has survived Covid lockdowns and their focus is very different to the 24/7 ethos. it’s all spelt out on the website: 

“At 98 we always want more from our performance, both physically and mentally. We know that the way we approach our time in the gym will translate to the way we approach every aspect of our lives. Under pressure, we’ll only ever be as good as our training. That’s why we train so hard. We build resilience.”

Currently there’s two 98 Gyms, the original in 98 Riley Street in Sydney’s Darlinghurst and another in Bondi. In the next few months there will be a 98 Newcastle with perhaps Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne also on the drawing board.

There’s a certain kudos in training at 98 Gym. It’s almost like a sacred brotherhood/sisterhood  of pain and gain with members following programs that will really test their limits.

“Our gym is based around performance and being fit and strong. The primary focus is  executing the programs and the resulting aesthetics is a by product of that,” says Feather, who once played rugby league for Leeds and Bradford in the UK. “Our trainers are ex-professional athletes or ex-Special Forces military,” he adds. “We’ve done that type of training in a high performance environment so we know that it works.”

And while there’s a certain novelty in visiting a 24/7 gym whenever the mood takes you, Feather believes the key to the longevity of the business is in the trainers.

“Gyms need to have substance,” he says. “People are not just turning up to use the equipment but for the community and the camaraderie. It’s the coaching aspect. They want their trainer to explain why they’re doing what they’re doing,” he comments.

It doesn’t come cheap to be a part of the action at 98 Gyms. A 10 class pass is $300 with class membership at $79 a week, plus there’s plenty of brand merchandise, brimming with street cred.

Feather is often being approached now to franchise 98 Gyms but he’s not interested in losing control of them.

"The biggest thing for us is that we don’t want to dilute the product,” he says. "We’re only interested in working with people we know, who have followed our programs and share our fitness philosophy.”

Meanwhile he  spends most of the week in 98 Riley Street and 98 Bondi, actively training his clients and joining in challenges. These exercises build on legendary feats that inform the brand’s social media following.

And it’s social media which provides a boost to the fitness industry, according to Fitness Australian Chief Executive, Bill Moore. He believes that it’s ``the fitspo generation” of Instagram Influencers and celebrities  has many more people interested in the "physicality of exercise."

However ultimately it all comes down to the way you want to train. Those solitary sessions in the early hours of the morning at a 24/7 gym, can feel just as empowering as being around like minded souls and sweating it out. Who can say which works best.


ABOUT THE WRITER Ros Reines is a Sydney journalist and the author of four books. She is currently penning her fifth - a memoir of a life in the media.

Comment(s)
Latest From Our BlogVIEW ALL
Meet The Maker: Fraser McNaul Managing Director of Teff Tribe
The Teff Tribe focuses on quality, nutritiously packed Australian grown teff. Developing nourishing, gluten-free health food products made from a tiny seed called ‘TEFF’. Teff Tribe is owned and operated by the McNaul family, who are proudly the first Australian growers of this ancient seed! All their products incorporate this powerhouse of a seed, grown on their family farm in the Southern Riverina of New South Wales. They supply everything from the staple teff seeds, flours, and flakes to convenient instant teff porridge sachets, baking premixes and pasta. How did you start your homegrown business? Our homegrown business started with a passion for innovation, as we wanted to branch out from more traditional farming in our region and try something new. Once we read about teff we couldn’t resist doing a small trial crop, and once we’d tasted teff, we knew we had to start developing products out of this incredible super-seed to share with the world! Fast forward 6 years to today and here we are with a diverse range of baking premixes, pastas, porridges and more that we’re so proud to offer the gluten free and wider community. What inspires you?  There are many things that inspire our work here at Teff Tribe. For example, our work ethic is inspired by generations of ancestry farming. As we are 4th generation farmers, we have learnt over the years that hard work and a passion for farming results in quality products and produce. Our designs are inspired by the vision to make gluten free eating fun! It is something that the whole Tribe should enjoy and our packaging aims to inspire creativity in the kitchen. What are the benefits of manufacturing locally? The benefits of manufacturing locally are tenfold. Supporting other Australian businesses and stimulating the Australian Economy are great benefits. Now more than ever, it is a fantastic feeling to know that you are supporting other Aussie businesses in this time of need. Another benefit is our ability to manage the supply chain, to keep our products of the highest quality and avoid lengthy delays and unexpected problems at wharfs (particularly during Covid).What makes the Australian consumer unique? We have found the Australian consumer to be unique in the sense that they have a real desire for buying products that are both proportionate in quality and price. We love that Aussies like to find the best quality produce and get the best product for their dollar. We believe our products have both of these qualities. What is the best business advice you have ever received? Hard work, dedication and passion are imperative to a successful business model. Having fun helps to! What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in business? One of the biggest challenges we have had to overcome in the business is developing our products from scratch. Competing in the health food space can also be very challenging as there are many different gluten free products out there to compete with. However, this only drives us to strive for new and exciting products to create and share with our Tribe. What has been your positive takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic? Covid-19 has taught us to uphold positivity and hope, and to adapt with change. We are extremely grateful to the support Australians have given us by purchasing local and we’ve been overwhelmed by messages of support from our Tribe! Thank you! What was your first job? I was a farm hand for my Dad, Shane. My passion for the land and growing premium produce stems from those early days feeding hay to the livestock and preparing the ground by tractor for the upcoming crop.Do you keep your vegemite in the fridge or pantry? Pantry What is your favourite Australian Snack? BBQ Shapes What is your favourite or most used Aussie saying/slang? G’day Mate Time for a road trip! Which famous Aussie destination are you visiting?  Uluru Which Aussie Sport team do you support?   The AFL, go Essendon! Check out Teff Tribe on Buy Aussie Now!
Aussie Beauty Brands Lead Economic Recovery
Has the Covid pandemic forever changed the way that we buy make up and beauty products, in an industry worth an estimated $6.5 billion, (according to figures sourced from the Australian Financial Review?). Market Research companies keep telling us that we’re spending our money differently now with a new set of priorities that have more to do with searching for value for our dollar and scoping out Australian-made products that support our own economy. We’re not only discovering our own country through widespread travel from one coast to the other but we’re also invested  in using our natural resources. Many of us are also seeking out sustainable cosmetic and beauty brands that give something back.  It’s all good news for many of the beauty and cosmetic brands on Buy Aussie Now, who are poised for a bigger market share of this $6.5 billion industry because of the purity of their ingredients. Certainly many of our old habits have changed particularly in when it comes to getting make up done in store and the liberal used of testers. Now that sanitisers reign supreme with more variations than our favourite lipstick brands, do we really want to proffer the inside of our wrists for colour matching different shades of foundations and more? These days both Mecca and Sephora have Covid safe plans along with most department stores cosmetic counters. However many consumers are retaining some of their lockdown habits and shopping online. For instance, you want  to find the right foundation colour? There’s a site for that. matchmymakeup.com will figure it all out for you, scientifically. The site, winner of an Gold Australian Science & Innovation Award, was founded pre-pandemic by two sisters, renowned cosmetic doctor Dr Van Park and lawyer and corporate scientist, Victoria Ha, in Australia.  But it’s right on trend at the moment when people turn to their computer screens and not shop counters to buy beauty products. Think of matchmymakeup.com as your personal cosmetic assistant. If you’re looking to purchase a new foundation online, it allows you to match your existing foundation shade to that of other foundations on the market. You can then purchase  new products online from your favourite retailer, with confidence, knowing that the colour you select will be a perfect match – not an expensive and time consuming mistake. The Covid-19 outbreak really has irrevocably changed the try-before-you-buy nature of cosmetic sales in specialty cosmetic stores,’ agrees a report from international market research giant, IbisWorld. The report found that the pandemic has put an end to conventional cosmetic testers due to contagion risks. ``Industry operators will therefore likely increasingly emphasise digital interactions with consumers, and use new technologies  including augmented and virtual reality.” In common with so many industries, with ``the emphasis throughout the pandemic on health, demand is also anticipated to move towards clean or ethical beauty brands”, according to the Ibisworld report. Some of the Buy Aussie Now brands to consider include Smitten Cosmetics, Botany, Butt Naked Bodies, Project RBX and Myaura Organics. In fact, the virtual cosmetic and beauty counters on Buy Aussie Now are brimming with products based on all the goodness and richness of the Australian earth with the other great benefit of helping our economy with every dollar spent there. Now just how beautiful is that?ABOUT THE WRITER Ros Reines is a Sydney journalist and the author of four books. She is currently penning her fifth - a memoir of a life in the media.
My Australian Life: Mariya Tkachenko
From a backyard studio in suburban Sydney - to the refined runways of Vancouver Canada, little known Australian label, MTTC (Mariya Tamila Tkachenko Couture), has pulled off quite the coup with the digital presentation of their F/W21 collection at  Vancouver Fashion Week. The MTCC launch runway will be shown on Monday, April 19 at 9.10am AEST. It’s not the first international fashion week that this sustainable Australian brand has been invited to as MTTC has been in demand for both Milan and Paris’ fashion weeks. However as Covid restrictions came in, when VFW sent an invitation to join a digital display, the stars aligned. MTTC is a mother and daughter brand, whose social media posts first caught the attraction of prestigious British glossy, Tatler followed by British Vogue. Suddenly the proud Buy Aussie Now brand was in hot demand around the world. Mariya Tkachenko, 26, tells Australian Life how it all evolved. I have a background in Dramatic Art I studied costume and set design for the theatre but mum, Tamila, has been designing almost since she was a young child because my grandmother used to sew for other people. My mum even designed her own wedding dress and she married young.  She’s super creative, the ideas just pop out of her head. Mum and I often collaborated on projects. So we decided to start our own label as that’s what we’d been basically doing anyway.  Now Tamila makes the garments and I do more of the hand detailing including beading and hand stitching. Mum is more classy but I’m in the younger generation so I give it more edge. When you purchase one of our designs you will never see it on anyone else. We produce one off - works of art. We use a lot of vintage material so we’re sustainable and we take a couture approach. If someone comes in, we’ll look at their shape, then we  pretty much just wrap the fabric around them and see how it moulds to their body. In Vancouver, we’re showing our De Luxe collection It’s been carefully handcrafted in Sydney using minimal waste artisanal techniques whilst incorporating unusual and often vintage or even antique materials. So we have exceptional fabrics, intricate details, elaborate patterns and rich colours to enliven that virtual runway Our Cruise Collection Is On The Buy Aussie Site It’s more casual for the  Aussie lifestyle and includes linens, cotton, denim with a few pieces for men. I was born in the Ukraine and we settled in Australia when I was five years old My first memory is lying down in the back of the car, as I would often become car sick and being driven from the airport.  A family friend, picked us up and told me to just lay on her  lap and look at the trees . I looked at these very different trees including eucalypts and it was quite calming. My favourite place to explore is Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. We would go there on weekends and it forms some of my happiest memories. So whenever I’m in the city and I have some time off, I head for the Botanic Gardens.  I love wandering among the trees, dreaming and staring at the vivid blue water. It inspires my creativity and fills me with gratitude for being an Aussie. Check out MTTC on Buy Aussie Now!ABOUT THE WRITER Ros Reines is a Sydney journalist and the author of four books. She is currently penning her fifth - a memoir of a life in the media.