Healthy Living Blog

40 Years – In Celebration of YOU!

Next week on June 1st it will have been over 40 years since we opened our doors. We would like YOU to join us in celebrating the commencement of our 41st year throughout June and July!

Club Physical has always been about YOU. You have never been ‘just a number’. Every individual is important. The gym actually began after I managed to persuade my dad and a few volunteers to help me renovate the dilapidated former Waitemata Athletic Club, only $800 to my name. Yes, it was a huge risk taking on immediate debt for Carpets, Vynel, plumbing supplies, timber and yes – the gym equipment, without any other finance or financial backing. Just the enthusiasm and hope that I had done the right thing, and that enough members would join in two months-time to be able to start paying these bills.


Peter Hardwick, the owner of ‘The Muscle Factory’ got involved. Early help came in the form of my dad, who took time off work to build along with my friend Len Coker, a builder who actually owned and operated The SPA Health Club in Albert Street, City. Allan Radcliff and Dave Armstrong (now of Chester’s plumbing supplies) agreed to complete the labour on showers and toilets in exchange for ‘Life Memberships’, as long as I paid for the supplies.

Levenes of Henderson somehow agreed to give me a month’s credit as did the carpet importer, Sutcliffe’s. I paid for the equipment as the money eventually came in. The landlord, Brian Tracey – of Tracy Homes, agreed to two months’ rent free, after this the rent would be $550 a week. Friends Marcia and Marilyn helped with some of the labour, hauling down the heaviest most-massive cobwebs that have ever existed. My friend John Robson from the Post Office took a few days off to help me paint. Faatai Venu, the leader of a small weight-training club underneath the building agreed to support us and to persuade his group to join. As a thankyou I gave him a Life Membership and thirty years later was invited to speak at Venu’s funeral.


I put together a small team of around eight including the Group Exercise instructors. A week after opening, Tina came in asking for a job after all positions had been filled. I told her, “Sorry I don’t have any more spots, but would you like to come out on a date?” Alas, she turned me down. Then Melody, the lady who I appointed Manager of the classes actually hired Tina without telling me. I was taken by complete surprise to see Tina arrive to take her class, consequently magically appearing on the manual payroll.

My company was called ‘PHYSICAL’, after the popular song by Olivia Newton-John. But the gym started its life as TOP SHAPE, until it’s eventual move to the purpose-built gym in Lincoln Road in 1989. After an exciting drama we resurrected where the Korean Church now is, next to West Wave – later, with a near miraculous twist of fate, bought our All-Season’s competition out to be where Te Atatu club is now.

Our original ‘Westie’ members were a colourful bunch, as you will hopefully see in the photo above. Many of them bodybuilders, they didn’t mind that ALL of the original equipment had been welded from bent exhaust pipes and ropes. Cardio was ONE fan bike. The classes were ALL high impact, later incorporating ‘Stretching’. It became an extremely social gym. There were parties, bodybuilding, powerlifting contests and fashion shows. Even Mr Puniverse! The members in this photo will now all be around sixty to eighty years of age!


As we progressed, we went on to build TWENTY-FOUR large health clubs over the years, operating up to fifteen at a time with a team of 350. Our growth experiences were often hair-raising. While this was happening, I managed to earn two Martial Art black-belts along with our children by training in dojos at nights. But the Te Atatu club and members have always been our core. And following the two years of lockdowns we did allot of thinking and made a strategic decision to sell remaining clubs and instead put 100% focus into Te Atatu members and team. Our energies could then be focussed on Te Atatu member relations and a number of innovations and upgrades. There are longer-term goals in the pipeline. This plan has been working well.


During the months of June and July Club Physical will be highlighting many of these founding members and also some of the original videos taken during a variety of experiences. Photo-boards will be set-up in the club and also featured on social media. Come and take a look. Join in with the extra FUN highlighted below.

The Team and I would like to THANK YOU again, for choosing us and for helping to create the unique ‘vibe’ the club has become known for. It’s YOU who brings the mojo and vibe!

Become a FREE

This entitles you to receive Club Physical’s weekly ‘Getting Physical’ newsletter.


In it, you’ll receive exercise and nutrition updates, changes at the club, updated class information, member success stories, health information and much more.

Are you a current Club Physical Member?
Please select one

Facebook Page

Select Your Location:
WordPress website design