By HARRY CLARKE | SPONSORED
A STATE of the art health and fitness gym in the heart of the Western Downs is bucking seasonal trends, having this year maintained steady growth in membership throughout the traditionally quieter Winter period.
Max Fitness, on the Warrego Highway in Chinchilla, is now edging close to some 900 members who are routinely making the most of its top of the range facilities and huge floor space not heard of in rural areas.
“More and more, people are realising the mental health benefits of regular exercise, and the stigma is being broken that gyms are places just for hulking weightlifters,” said Max Fitness manager, Tamara Pitt.
“What’s giving us a lot of joy is the number of older people who are signing up for classes, seeing them enjoy it and seeing what they’re getting out of it.”
Owned by a former recreational bodybuilder and run by a team of expert exercise professionals and personal trainers, Max Fitness boasts 1,000sqm of floor space and a 24hr operational period suited to the modern lifestyle and workforce.
Pitt said population growth experienced across the Western Downs over recent years had been reflected in the profile and volume of clients taking out memberships and making the most of the exercise classes on offer.
“Nowadays so many people aren’t working 9-5 – it’s all shift work – so being open 24 hours a day is really convenient for the workforce that we have in this area,” she said.
“The hours people work are very different, so we’ve got to be able to offer something for everyone – all ages and demographics.
“And it’s massive. A lot of out-of-town workers who come in are blown away by how big this facility is for a country town.
“Obviously there are lots of fly-in-fly-out workers but the bulk of our members are locals, and more and more its the locals who are signing up.”
As well as the best in traditional free weights and cable weight machines, Max Fitness has a full range of cardio and circuit equipment, as well the expertise to help clients make the most of its facilities.
There are two saunas, a creche for youngsters which opens for two hours every Monday to Friday, and a designated ladies-only room to help women adopt their exercise routines in a comfortable environment.
“We have two classes every day and one class on Saturday, and there’s an average of 500-600 people every month,” Pitt said.
“I’ve added a senior class for over 50s and that’s become popular straight away. We have ladies in their 70s and men in their 80s, and they love it.
“It’s a social gathering. They come and exercise and then go for coffee. A lot of them didn’t even know each other, but now it’s a different group of people getting together.
“Our classes are a mixture of strength, cardio and circuit classes for all ages and all levels of fitness.
“It doesn’t matter which class you do – anyone at any age or level of fitness can do it.”
Memberships for Max Fitness are $19.95 per week and become cheaper with lock in contracts or by paying up front for longer periods. Members receive an electronic key ring tag which gives access to the gym 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
Max Fitness was acquired by local businessman Josh Hardimon in 2017 and tripled in size in 2019 when it was relocated to its current location at the western end of the Warrego Highway in Chinchilla.
Pitt, who spent 10 years early in her career working as a strapper for the Queensland State of Origin team, said the team was proud of the service it was providing to the wider community.
“We’re lucky because this is Josh’s passion. He loves what the gym can do for you and your mental health,” she said.
“The main message we want to put out there is that this gym is for the whole community.
“It was built for anyone and everyone, and we want people to experience how great regular gym exercise makes you feel.”