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.
Well established within the fitness industry as a personal trainer and gym instructor since moving from New Zealand, Terina initially came to EmpowerFit as a member to improve her own fitness. With a real hunger to learn, develop and be challenged, it naturally didn’t take Terina long to join the coaching ranks and she hasn’t looked back.
What does Neil Finn, Russell Crowe, Rebecca Gibney, Terina Teriyaki and Taieri Grant all have in common?…. Well they are all famous people that share a birthplace in the land of the Long White Cloud, but Australia have since claimed it as their own. Taieri is a meticulous and thorough personal trainer that has has refined the art of coaching to become the resident “break-through specialist.
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.
As a lifelong fitness enthusiast, Bella has taken to the world of Personal Training and Group Coaching like a fish to water. When Bella’s not hard at it guiding and supporting her PT members, she also plays a critical role at EmpowerFit supporting and checking in on all of our members.
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.
Milly is a junior member of the Engine Room and can often be seen at reception with a friendly smile or as a reluctant participant on our pilates workout videos. Currently, Milly is completing her VCE and Certificate III in Fitness, all the while juggling in school captaincy duties and representative netball and football. Fun fact about Milly, aside from having the BEST Dad on earth, due to her nerdy nature, when finishing primary school, she skipped year 7 going straight into year 8.
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Meet with one of the team to chat about how EmpowerFit can help you with your fitness journey.