23 January 2015

Fit, Fab and Fifty+

So how is your New Year’s resolution going? Apparently about now is the trickiest time when all good intentions can disappear. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013 Health Survey, 50 per cent of Australians make a resolution at the beginning of each year but the failure rate is a very high 92 per cent, meaning only 8 per cent of us succeed.

Usually I don’t buy into resolutions at all, although on several occasions, I have used the opportunity to make some of those big difficult changes. On 1 January 1992 I threw my last packet of cigarettes into the trash and never regretted that choice, although it sure was a painful process for a few months. If this is you right now, please hang on. Yes, it’s as hard as hell but trust me, it will become a watershed life moment.   

January 1985 was my other big one. A few years earlier I had retired from my fulltime showgirl career as a Les Girl, made some major life changes and for one reason or another stacked the weight on – I think I tipped the scales at 120kgs. So I committed to the number one resolution: to lose weight and get fit. Little did I realise then I was changing my life forever.

I joined a gym in Clovelly and was extremely lucky to find a brilliant woman who was to encourage and educate me on my fitness path. As it happened, about 12 months into the process, that gym closed and Charne and her team joined the line-up at the newly opened Fitness Network on Oxford Street.

By the late 80s, all the ghetto gyms were packed and much of Gay Sydney was aerobics-mad. So much so that in 1989 the 4am show at the Mardi Gras party was a gym-influenced show – yep, about 50 gym junkies doing their stuff: the grapevine, the Mambo and the Ezy Walk all to the Yazz hit, ‘The Only Way is Up’.

The Fitness Network joined up with the Oxford Gym and relocated to a wonderful old warehouse in Riley Street and for the next 10 years it was my second home. It was a heady time. We had a young Marcus Irwin as an instructor, who I recall invented his famous Cardio Funk exercise craze at this time. He became the World Aerobic Champion in 1992 and later travelled the world teaching other fitness professionals. Later that decade, we were in the hands of Michael Thomas, who taught a very dance-based aerobics class. He went on to a very successful career with California Fitness Asia as their Regional Director of Group Exercise and is now a Zumba Master, training instructors in Europe.