Brand-new chapter for Dunedin women’s gym
INSPIRING WOMEN – Much more than a gym
It’s been operating as Dunedin’s only family-run women’s gym in the same location for the past 24 years. But now, rebranded and free from the shackles of a national defunct franchise. the new Inspiring Women facility, launched at Filleul Street replaced the former Configure Express with a fresh new approach in May 2017.
“We will move into the future as much more than a gym,” says Tania Grave. who with her husband. Chris, took over the thriving business in 2004. “We listen to our clients and know what they want and need. This is why we aim at making it a real local community-style gym, rather than one run by way of a prescription”.
“Much More Than a Gym” is, fittingly, the business’s new tagline.
Tania believes that over the years, negative connotations have crept into many people’s perception of a gym. “We would love all those thinking this way to come along and check us out and see first-hand how we operate”.
She sees the potential for huge growth “Now, with all the restrictions removed, we can make decisions ourselves. This makes way for a facility that really responds to what our members seek”.
Claudia and Tania two generations on hand at Inspiring Women
The loyal client base sweeps the age spectrum from young teens through to octogenarians. A number of women have been enrolled since the gym first opened in 1994. Then opened as Contours, it was launched in the city by John and Lyn Bishop, Tania’s parents.
In 2003 it became a Configure Express franchise, a year before the Bishops retired and Chris and Tania headed back to Dunedin from Christchurch to take over ownership, this was a seamless process, given that Tania had set up and operated a Configure Express franchise in Christchurch and had worked on a part-time basis at the Dunedin gym while a teacher at Maori Hill primary school and a young mother.
“For both of us, Otago was always home and it was good to be back in Dunedin, it’s a great city.”
The couple have three children, Claudia (22), Tom (19) and Ruby (15). Claudia is working part-time at the gym as she completes her second degree before moving to Wellington to begin her career.
As Tania pointed out the strength and success of the gym lies in the whole team which has been involved in the whole process, including the name change.
The name, cleverly, has two implications. “It can mean that the gym can, indeed, inspire its members, but much more importantly, the members are a great inspiration to us as a team”.
Tania pointed out “Many do not realise what a real privilege it is to be involved in their lives. We really do respect and celebrate our clients”.
“An important factor of the gym is the way it puts everything in place for members to feel safe and valued as soon as they walk in the door. Interestingly, our main age demographic is between 45 and 65 years, whereas most gyms are from 18 to 25,” Tania pointed out. The word “local” also applies to the way Tania has turned to local businesses in the whole rebranding process, including signage, staff uniforms, the website and the paint. “There a tremendous amount of talent and creativity in Dunedin,” she said.
The gym has a broad range of features, including its group fitness classes, personalised training, a huge variety of group fitness classes, nutrition training programmes, pre-school child-minding in its special children’s playroom, sauna, two beauty clinics (also available to non-members), a monthly inspiration seminar and community events.
For Tania Grave and her team it is an exciting time as they continue to develop and enrich the whole gym experience for their members.
Sessions with a personal trainer really inspired me and the classes were also fun. I feel so much better having made the decision to do this for myself.
I have lost a total of 30kgs, and through regular exercise at the gym and the support of the lovely ladies at Inspiring Women, I have kept that weight off.
I might feel like I’m too tired to go to the gym, but as soon as I get started into a workout I feel energised and the pay-off afterwards is always worth it.
It's not about lifting a few weights or running on the treadmill. For me, Inspiring Women is a place where lives are changed, and endless potential is realised.
Having the gym gives me space, and 2 hours a day to tune out and focus on me. The best things for me are the classes, childminding, and the social community.
I love the gym because it is full of wonderful women, both staff and clients. There is no judgement, just enthusiasm, encouragement and acceptance.