Queenstown’s sweet spot for sweat

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A low-rent Queenstown neighbourhood is becoming the town’s health and fitness hotspot.

Two fitness centres, two yoga studios, a pole dancing centre, dance school and sports shops have all opened in Gorge Road in recent years.

And several are in the process of expanding to offer better facilities for members.

Fight Science recently doubled the size of its Industrial Place gym, while CrossFit Queenstown relocated from a few doors away to larger premises on Gorge Road a few weeks ago.

Fight Science owner Braden Lee says: “The thing with gyms is they require space and space is expensive.

“If you stay out of the downtown core but close enough where people will still come then your space is quite a lot cheaper.

“We kept getting jammed – people aren’t leaving town in the shoulder season – so we had to do something.”

Lee’s added more free weights and an ‘evolution rack’ with pull-up bars, rings and ropes in the expanded gym, which has diversified from just combat sports.

“We have the fight sports, but also do them for fun too, so we have boxing fitness for fun, circuit classes, conditioning, and kids’ classes. We’ve tried to broaden the fitness spectrum and tap into each market.”

The gym employs 10 staff and has about 275 members, average age 27, and 40 per cent female.

Meanwhile CrossFit Queenstown has moved into the former Smith City building on Gorge Road, which is bigger and warmer.

The worldwide fitness craze foregoes the use of machines and isolated ‘iPod-wearing’ training for coached high-intensity group sessions of bodyweight move-ments, sprinting, rowing, core conditioning and Olympic lifting – with workouts taking place in a CrossFit ‘box’.

CrossFit Queenstown owner Simon Green tells Mountain Scene: “Our members are our machines.

“So the model internationally just tends to need a big space, a warehouse that’s not being used. They’re easy to find in big cities but that sort of space doesn’t really exist in Queenstown.

“We’ve been lucky – the [owners] of our new site have made that building accessible for us.”

CrossFit’s move comes just a year after opening its Industrial Place ‘box’ but Green says it’s managing its growth – especially as existing members are seeing such gains he’s needed to buy more weight bars and plates.

“We’re riding a wave which is the fastest-growing fitness phenomenon on the planet,” Green says.

“But we’re also managing the growth so new members come into the culture we’ve established here – it’s not uncommon for over 80 per cent of our members to come to our social functions.

“It’s a supportive environment and people see results every week.

“That’s why it’s so intoxicating and members talk about CrossFit so much – it’s a real rush,” Green says.