THE EmpowerFit STORY
Clinton Thomas - OWNER
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN A Hamilton born and raised lad, in his final year of secondary school (way back in 1997), Clinton took the daunting first step into the world of fitness by completing a class-based fitness training course for Tai Bo. On the back of this, at the ripe old age of 17, he then started taking Tai Bo classes at his local gym. Upon finishing secondary school and without a solid plan on what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, Clinton enrolled at the University of Ballarat to complete his Bachelor of Applied Science degree (Human Movement).
It was here that in between his football and middle distance athletic pursuits, Clinton would continue establish a career in the fitness industry, becoming a free-lance Tai Bo instructor – routinely taking up to four consecutive hours of Tai Bo classes (that is a lot of punching and kicking air) and experiencing enormous classes, many in excess of 60 participants. At the completion of his degree, Clinton had an incredible opportunity to relocate to Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula, running a boutique gymnasium and day spa. It was here that he would get his first taste of what it meant to run a gym – and what better way to do it than among celebrities and “society’s elite”. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS Fast forward 1½ years and with a move back to his beloved Western District, the inevitable happened and Clinton opened up his very first gym – Vitality. It all started with very humble beginnings; a gym at the local leisure centre, taking circuit/boxing classes upstairs, with Pilates, Tai Bo and Pump classes on a squash court downstairs. Over the next 10 years this gym would continue to grow with staff, equipment, space and classes. With the local leisure centre undergoing a significant redevelopment, Clinton’s gym was the successful tenderer. This would result in a very unique arrangement where a private business (Clinton’s gym) would provide gymnasium services to the local community, in conjunction with the local government. It was in 2009, Clinton wondered how he could help people even more. The gym model was good, but the reality was that only a small percentage of the population really enjoyed going to the gym (and would stick at it). So he starting testing the program: Were the workouts too easy or were they too hard? What movements were more effective? How often did the workouts need to change? Testing these variables out (and many more) on the personal training clients, Clinton made a profound observation…. These clients were getting fitter than they had ever been before. Period! FITNESS REVOLUTION This raised more questions and in the pursuit of answers, later that year Clinton discovered CrossFit. The exercise scientist in him meant that Clinton was very sceptical at first. But with continued success among a select group of coaches and training clients, the evidence that this new way of training could produce incredible fitness results was irrefutable. Needless to say, this was a service offering that HAD TO BE made available to the public. However, due to the nature of the contractual obligations that come with tenders, it wasn’t possible for Clinton to offer this service in Hamilton. So in 2010, Clinton opened up a CrossFit gym down the road in Warrnambool. This was the beginning of a fitness revolution. Clinton’s CrossFit gym was the 28th CrossFit gym in Australia (there are now over 500). In looking back at the unprecedented percentage of members that were achieving incredible results, it’s easy to see why there was such amazing growth. Being unable to offer this new way of training at his Hamilton gym, meant that Clinton had to regrettably part ways with a business that he had spent the better part of 10 years growing. But as they say, as one door closes and another opens. This meant that Clinton was now able to offer CrossFit services to the Hamilton region. Much like its Warrnambool counterpart, the Hamilton gym achieved amazing results for its members and very quickly outgrew its first two locations. ERA OF EMPOWERFIT In 2017, a tremendous opportunity was presented to expand into a much bigger location. With the space being far too big to provide CrossFit services alone, Clinton was able to offer 247 gym services to the Hamilton region; complimenting the CrossFit, Personal Training and Nutrition Coaching services already on offer. The key lesson that drives EmpowerFit is that there is always a better way. It may not necessarily be the easier way, in fact it is often much harder. But this relentless pursuit of excellence is what is necessary to Inspire and Empower – because when it’s all said and done, you deserve it.
GENERAL MANAGER & NUTRITION COACH
Jacinta is the go-to person for all things food related - her specialty, making health food taste amazing. Certified with her Level II in Precision Nutrition, in between managing the day to day EmpowerFit operations, Jacinta also heads up our nutrition coaching program. It is here that she has helped hundreds of people transform their health, fitness and lives through the way they eat. Fun fact about Jacinta, she is an accomplished pianist, having studied it at university.
With over 10 years in the fitness and sports coaching fields, Will is a wealth of knowledge with all things fitness and has an incredible ability to help anyone of any ability make incredible fitness changes. Will has credentials coming out of his ears. He's a an accredited Exercise Scientist, Strength & Conditioning coach, registered Athletics coach and has his certificate IV in Fitness - just to name a few. Fun fact about Will, at one point he was a national competitor in Archery.
CLIENT SUCCESS MANAGER
Performing arguably one of the most important roles at EmpowerFit, Juanita is the girl that helps you aim for the moon and celebrate when you hit the stars. As Client Success Manager, Jaunita is the one that helps our clients stay on track and achieving their goals. With an infectious personality that sees and brings out the best in others, rest assured you're in good hands. Fun fact about Juanita, she is an amazing artist that produces incredible sculptures that really do have to be seen to be believed.
Starting out as a member, over the years Dorsy has become part of the furniture and in the process, has made some incredible lifestyle changes. This first hand experience means that he knows exactly what it's like for our clients and is there to give the support they need. Fun fact about Dorsy, in South Africa, he was a national level Ballroom Dancer.
Moving to the area a few years ago from the Big Smoke, it didn't take Dave long to settle to the country life. With coaching experience in CrossFit gyms in Melbourne and a career in Physical Education, Dave has refined the art of coaching and has become a "break-through specialist". Fun fact about Dave, while he is an accomplished basketballer and CrossFit athlete, he is still only the second best athlete in his household with an Australian Swimming Team representative living under the same roof.
Quick for a joke, Jase is the jester amongst the group. A long time gym enthusiast, Jase has tried and tested it all when it comes to fitness and it his "in the trenches" experience that allows him to really empathise with clients and help them on their fitness journey. Fun fact about Jase, aside from being an accomplished local musician, he's also successfully adopted a plant based diet.
As our first full time coach and one of our longest serving coaches (in between babies), Bre is a stalwart at EmpowerFit. Bre has an incredible ability to get the most out of people and to help them redefine what they think is possible. Fun fact about Bre, since starting at EmpowerFit (formerly CrossFit Hamilton) Bre has had two sons. Interestingly, these lads are two years apart, but they share the same birthday.
Having finished his EP studies in 2020 and moving to Hamilton, Nathan has been a great addition to the team. He is our "go-to" coach for anyone that has a bit going on with injuries and needs that little bit more TLC when it comes to their fitness. Fun fact about Nathan, when at University he was one of the Strength and Conditioning Coaches for Bendigo Pioneers.
While Lauren may be our newest coach to the team, she is certainly not a newbie to all things EmpowerFit and fitness, having made some incredible improvements of her own over the years. With a bright and bubbly disposition, expect to see plenty of Lauren around the place helping members achieve their fitness goals.
Being a long time fitness enthusiast, Amber brings a whole new perspective to the coaching team. With a hunger to continually learn and develop, expect to see more of this lady as she continues to transform lives.