Non-intimidating exercise in West Auckland

I did my first ever proper lunge today. It was much earlier than I'm normally awake, and it wasn't to grab a sandwich or duck out of the way of a hot oven door - which is how most of my lunges usually take place!

Why was I exercising at the crack of dawn? Well, I go on about the importance of exercise for mental health, but I also acknowledge there are some common barriers to actually getting out and doing it. Clients often tell me gyms are scary, or they don't know what they're doing when they get there. Or they hate going alone, it costs too much, or they don't have the energy to even get started. I've heard a lot about the 'bootcamp' trend, which is where a small group of people do a workout which is led by a trainer. (They're often outside, but also sometimes in a gym environment.) So I decided to head along and check out a new place that offers bootcamps called Invigorate, on Central Park Drive. 

Invigorate Gym

I met Matthew Norris, (the owner) there yesterday to find out more about his vision. He's been in the fitness industry for 15 years, and opened this gym last year. His aim was to provide effective training for people (surprise surprise, being shown what to do gets better results than going it alone!) but at an affordable price (PTs are expensive!). On the walls of the gym hang the values, including 'no judgement', 'support each other', and 'leave egos at the door'.

It's truly the least intimidating gym I've set foot in, and not just because the sessions are really small (usually around 4-6 people at a time, often less), but also because Matthew goes to great lengths to make sure everyone's comfortable. There's no minimum term because 'if people don't want to come back, I'm doing something wrong and need to change that', and he's well involved in the community, believing that community is what sets his gym apart. 

Matthew with his dogs - who have their own spot in the corner of the gym. They don't move much (they're getting on in years!) but they'll provide encouragement in the form of a wagging tail!

Matthew with his dogs - who have their own spot in the corner of the gym. They don't move much (they're getting on in years!) but they'll provide encouragement in the form of a wagging tail!

So all that said, he suggested I pop back this morning and have a go myself. It's all well and good sitting on my butt asking questions about exercise - but the best way to really review a bootcamp is by actually participating. Can't argue with that! I never recommend things to clients I wouldn't do myself, and so I can confidently say this is a way of exercising I would really recommend. You get a heart monitor to see how hard you're working as well an initial meet-and-greet session (when the gym is empty!) to talk about your goals and for Matthew to see where you're at and what you can do. Which, in my case, was not much! But I didn't feel embarrassed, which is easier when you're with a trainer who genuinely believes everyone can improve. 

'For some people, just showing up twice a week is going to be their initial goal' he says. 'We meet people where they're at, and no one is in competition with anyone else.'

There's heaps of sessions over the week, and different membership options. It's $30 a week for as many bootcamps as you want to attend, and Invigorate runs a scheme where employers can claim GST and other taxes back - so worth looking into. You can also join a small group programme where you get your own set of exercises to complete, but you do them at the same time as others. Oh and Mike McRoberts is trained by Matthew (so I found out on his website), so you can't really go wrong there! Exercise is amazing for your mental health, and if you can enjoy it while you do it - you'll be more likely to go back.

If you're interested in taking a look at Invigorate, you can find their website here and Facebook page here

For me, I think I've earned some couch-time!


Ps - As always - I am not affiliated in any way and don't benefit from recommendations at all. Except for that I'll have more people to sympathise with my sore muscles, and get to see people feeling happier! :-)