The Waiheke Workout Awards

The Waiheke Workout Awards is about celebrating different aspects of a fitness journey, recognising achievements and inspiring others!
Anyone was welcome to enter, no achievement is ever too small!

We have been very inspired and moved by all the entries everyone sent in! We have seen most of you throughout your journey, but since we get to see you weekly, it’s easy to forget how far you all came…all the words you wrote and the progress photos you posted really put it in perspective! We are so humbled to read how comfortable and motivated you feel in our environment around our trainers but also how happy you are to be around the other members, it truly shows what a beautiful community we have all created over the years. We are happy we can motivate and help and  inspire others to change their lifestyle! Well done for showing up for your sessions and embracing your lifestyle adjustments. Thank you for being you and inspiring others! Good luck in this competition! Remember there is only gonna be one winner in each category, but, as cliche as it might sound, you all are already winners! and huge inspiration!

VOTING form is at the bottom of this page! Or you can click here to see it better!
Choose your “winner” from each category (by clicking on “CLICK HERE to see all entries” – entries are in alphabetical order) , fill out the form and your vote is in

Voting closes on Friday the 6th of August at 5pm
The winners will be announced at our Waiheke Workout 25th Anniversary Silver Party 
Winner of each category gets 6 months of Premium membership, 3 session PT Pack and Waiheke Workout gym towel! Good luck everyone!


CLICK HERE to see all Body Transformation entries


Candice is big part of the Waiheke Workout family! She always trains hard and supports other members. 

I have lost weight through fitness and now have built enough muscle to compete in bodybuilding shows. Before my fitness journey I was so lazy, hated going out as I didn’t look good in anything. Some days I would pig out and other days I would not eat. I would sleep all day if it was my day off and felt unhappy. Now I’m active, happy with life. I appreciate things a lot more. I smile now which is more than I used to. I love sticking to meal plans and eating all the time. I have a lot of support from friends and my fiance. My biggest challenge was getting to the gym on a regular basis. I struggled so hard to go cause I didn’t want to be stared at or people to make fun of me. My fiance, Jaque Grobbelaar was my inspiration and really pushed me to be better. I used to really fight and dig my heals in. He encouraged me and really pushed me out my comfort zone. Waiheke Workout has become like family not only to me but to Jaque as well. With out their support, reaching our goals would be a lot harder. My advise would be: I know its scary but you are doing this for you. Don’t let anyone else’s opinions effect your goals and happiness.


Chelsey has seen big improvement in her health and performance since she started training and entered under those two categories but we have put her under body transformation category as the progress there has been impressive!
What is your achievement?
losing 10 kg over 5 months with a diet change, cutting carbs and sugar mainly. doing it in a safe way, and building muscle.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? I was over weight and had really bad sugar habit , I would snack a lot at home with small children, always finishing their leftovers. I still had a lot of baby weight to lose. from previous pregnancies.
How do you describe yourself now? I feel the best and strongest that I have ever felt, I am putting myself first, I know what makes me feel really happy. I am gradually lifting heavier weights, so my hard work is paying off. I love looking at my body now, I feel very content in myself with my results. I really enjoying working out.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? I had to be very will powered with the rest of my family eating sugar, a lot more food around me. Also finding some spare time when I could work out – which was best at 5.30am.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? I really had to thank my husband, as he was very supportive, and allowed me to go and do what I needed to do, whether the gym or a long walk. I also have a time frame to get the weight off for my wedding, I wanted to feel the best I could possibly.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? I needed the support, help from Gus a trainer, to keep me motivated.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Keep going, you might not see results fast, but stay consistent and it will happen. I lost 10kg over 5 months and now am maintaining in a healthy way. Still love going to the gym when I have spare time.

3. DEE

Dee has been an amazing inspiration to all of us. Apart from training at the gym and spending time with her family, she is part of the Waiheke Volunteer Firebrigade, Wahine Toa O Waiheke (Waiheke’s Women’s rugby team).
What is your achievement?

I came into Waiheke Workout to strengthen my back after an injury I had from playing rugby in 2014 for the  U21s Women’s Canterbury Development Team. Not having the intention of losing weight.
12.5kg Lost, 7cm Gone from my waist, Healthier Lifestyle, Drinking 3L Water EVERYDAY, 2% Body Fat Gone.
Photos attached: on the left: May 2021 76kg Size 12/10, on the right: February 2021 88.5kg Size 14/16
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Physically: Being indunal as a person sitting at the rotor of nearly 90kgs wearing size 14/16 or 18  comfortably. Not accepting I had put on a lot of weight. Binge eating like there was no tomorrow – Having a sweet tooth didn’t help either.
Emotionally: Some days I would be fine some days I would cry some days I wouldn’t feel like I was  good enough. It was so hard and upsetting not agreeing with the weight I was putting on because I  was doing nothing about it but I couldn’t see that my vision was almost blind. I didn’t feel  comfortable taking photos or even looking in the mirror.  Mentally: Self talk “YOU ARE FAT, YOUR NOT GOOD ENOUGH, ITS ALRIGHT TO BE SIZE 18  YOU JUST WANT TO be comfortable….”
How do you describe yourself now? There has been a big shift to work on to be a healthier, happier, and a stronger person with a commitment, passion and love to turn up to Waiheke Workout to take the leap and add the gains on the daily – I’m so happy that I over achieved my goals especially the fact I wasn’t expecting my  results that have got me here today!!!!
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Waking up early, committing to training, drinking lots of water and cutting out sugar. Lets say EVERYTHING!
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? The Famous GUS and of course Waiheke Workout and ALL the staff! Waiheke Workout are  supportive and my home away from home
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? My everyday life of the interaction to come and train to help me be a better person.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey?
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” Take your time and believe  yourself you can achieve this when you put your mind to it. 


Flor shares her amazing energy every time she is at the gym! Her vibe will make you smile!

My achievement was to accept myself and believe I could get to my goals. I lost 16 kg. It wasn’t an easy journey but it was fun!
At the beginning I was excited but also really lost. But always focused in achieving my goals.
Now I describe myself as a warrior. I decided I wanted to be a “Fit Girl”, and it is easier for me to get my objective than to take an idea of my mind. Now I have a lot more discipline, I can motivate myself to keep going and not to stop.
My biggest challenge was not to fall in the excuse of being too tired from work. Getting the habit of coming to the gym wasn’t easy, but by coming I started feeling better and it was the perfect motivation to keep going.
My friends and my boyfriend played a really important role in my journey. They never stopped motivating me and pushing me to keep going. I would like to mention my boyfriend as my biggest help, who joined me and adapted his life to a healthier lifestyle, starting with having soft drinks on the weekend only to being a happy vegan fit couple.
The gym is my happy place. It is the time I give to myself which makes me feel so good. The guys and girls that work there are always with a big smile and happy to help with anything that might come up or be needed. Before I used to train on my own but then I met my instructor Maca who did my assessment.  And there we started our journey together and thanks to her I can keep up with my objectives.
My advice would be: Never stop! With discipline and time anything can be achieved. Our mind and body are ours and we can get whatever we want. Giving up is not an option, we have to accept that the journey is slow, but you have to go one step at a time. But we have to keep going forward.


Izzy usually trains with a group of friends at the gym, we love seeing the girls motivating and supporting each other!

What is your achievement? becoming much stronger than I ever imagined I could have been, finding heaps of happiness in the gym when I get a new PB and come out after my workout feeling amazing. + Losing 13kgs and going down 4 clothing sizes
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? At the beginning of starting working out I was really unhappy in my own body and wore a lot of baggy cloths. I didn’t have much idea of things To do in the gym but everyone at Waiheke Workout helps me to figure out the best things to do for the goals I wanted.
How do you describe yourself now? Now, I would describe myself much more confident in the gym with equipment.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? The biggest challenge throughout my weight loss would have been the calorie deficit I am in, due to not wanting to fall back into old habits of an eating disorder and trying to stay on track.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? I feel as though my family and friends have been amazing help throughout my journey, but most importantly myself and having the confidence in myself and the motivation to keep going.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke Workout has been amazing for my confidence and growth in the gym, from the friendly staff commenting on my progress to helping me from the very start with my goals.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? What I would say to myself at the start of my journey would be to believe in myself more and know things will take a lot of time and to not give up, weight loss takes time and consistency and to not eat 1200 Calories because it isn’t enough! Haha!!
Overall, Waiheke Workout has changed my life in a lot of different aspects. The gym is an hour to work on myself and to be alone and has been a big factor in learning to love myself was spending that time in the gym working on myself. Also, losing weight has helped me mentally to feel a lot more confident :)


James practically lives in the gym! You will see him working out every day! He works mostly from home these days and it’s great to see he gives himself the “break” time in between work tasks to exercise and focus on his wellbeing away from his desk! He always leaves rushing so he can put his shirt on for his Zoom meeting starting in 5 :)
What is your achievement?
losing 40kgs+
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? six years ago I was 123kgs and told by my doctor that I might not make 50 years old!
How do you describe yourself now? – I’ve changed my job, changed my diet (eventually becoming vegan) and incorporated exercise into my everyday life (and my weight and fitness is no longer an issue)
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? – During lockdown I discovered that I had arthritis in my knee and had to give up running – this, combined with the gyms being closed led to me putting 10kgs back on in 2020 (which has almost gone again now!)
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? My friends and family
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? I was still running when we relocated permanently to Waiheke but with my arthritis Waiheke Workout is pretty much my sole place of exercise I am in the gym about 15 hours every week! (and it’s NZ’s friendliest gym – staff and customers!)
Advice to others? The same as I give my friends – if I can do it then anyone can!


Jess has entered in the Health Improvement / Performance Improvement category but we decided to move her into Body Transformation category as she has done amazing in that area as well and we believe she belongs here. By no means we want to undervalue her amazing improvement that would put her into the other two categories!
What is your achievement? Improved mental health and increased confidence in my body to give new equipment/exercises a go.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Anxious, unsure of myself, not comfortable in my own skin and terrified to go to the “scary end of the gym”
How do you describe yourself now? More confident (but still working on it), more comfortable within myself and becoming proud of the skin I’m in, not feeling bad about the work that I have done and feeling comfortable and confident to venture to the no longer scary end of the gym.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Overcoming my own insecurities in regards to shyness and my fears of feeling like I was too unfit to be in a gym.
What/Who played an important role in achieving your goal/change? My bestie Maggie Dray for encouraging me to start going to functional fitness and wanting to wear sickly cute matching outfits with me, and the welcoming trainers, in particular Gus and Jaque.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke Workout has been fundamental in making me feel at ease, encouraged and that I do belong way back when I first started and only knew Denisa and was still scared to talk to her.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? “Believe in yourself. If you feel like you need help. Speak up. You’re not an idiot for asking for help. You can do it!”
Is there anything else you would like to share? Thank you for becoming somewhere that I look forward to going too.


These 3 words describe Jialu the best: dedication, focus and hardwork!
What is your achievement?
Competing in the bikini bodybuilding. Built more muscles, losing the body fat and growing stronger.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Two years ago I started at the gym, this was new to me… I was not fit and strong and I needed to learn how to train.
I was surprised at how heavy a 2kg dumbbell felt.
How do you describe yourself now? I have become more confident with my training. I have learnt more about my own body and how to have a healthy food diet. I can’t believe how much I have achieved.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? The biggest challenges was becoming more focused, meal plans, training plans, work, family and life… Keeping everything in balance and standing on the stage to compete.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Jaque was the first to introduce me to this sport, and on the journey, I also met lots of amazing people that helped me reach my goals. But most of all was my family’s love and support.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke workout gave me a great place to train. Without Waiheke Workout, none of this would have been possible.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Take small steps, growing slowly and just enjoy the journey. :)


This girl is a gem! We love watching her journey and have been amazed what a fighter she is especially when dealing with her injury setbacks! Her laughter is infectious. Thanks for always spreading great vibe!
What is your achievement?
I have dropped three dress sizes since I started my journey to better health and re-strengthen my knee after surgery. I have gone from having panic attacks while doing any kind of leg exercises to leg pressing over 200kgs, doing 80kg deadlifts and I like to think my squats are looking pretty good these days too.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? I really struggled to get back into the gym after my knee injury. At the start of that year I ran the 12km wharf to wharf now I was recovering from a knee injury & surgery that left me mostly stuck at home alone for 5 months. I was extremely unfit and insecure. I had extreme anxiety involving any exercise that included my knee causing rapid heart rate increase and copious sweating from the most gentle leg exercises.
How do you describe yourself now? In one word, Proud! I never dreamed that I could where I am today with my fitness goals. I love lifting weights and pushing myself to get just that little bit more and just that tiny bit heavier. I’m fitter and stronger than I ever have been and now the gym is my happy place.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Definitely my struggle with food, binge eating, sneaking snacks in the car and hiding evidence. I get on my healthy eating and follow my food plan and the weight sheds off me and I feel so good but I always seem to relapse back into the over eating.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Definitely my trainer Jaque, I know I do the hard work but if it wasn’t for him cheering me on, encouraging me, putting up with my bullshit and going above and beyond with my training and food plans I wouldn’t be here where I am today.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke Workout has such a wonderful team, everyone is so encouraging and helpful. They make me feel welcomed which in turn makes me comfortable showing up and working out on my own. I also love the range of gym equipment available as I’m not very good at mat exercises. I also love that the gym environment gives me a chance to take classes, meet knew people and most of all wear matching outfits with my bestie when we workout together.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Channel that fear into determination, you’ll save you’re self a bunch of time and feel so good afterwards.
Is there anything else you would like to share? Thanks for being my happy place, and not getting mad when I struggle and start laughing my head off.


Nahuel lost over 50 kgs on his journey so far but he didn’t loose his smile!

My biggest achievement has been building up muscle and strength.
Before, I was lazy and didn’t have much energy. Now I have more energy and I am more active. It has become easier to come to the gym and I feel motivated. So far my biggest challenge has been taking the corrections on board, and making sure that I do the work properly. My trainer Maca was the one who helped me achieve my goal. Getting to the gym and seeing all the friendly and motivating people helped me in my journey. My advice would be to be constant and put my energy in getting my goal. When I arrived to NZ I was 145 kg, I started changing my lifestyle step by step: I reduced my alcohol and meat consumption, I started preparing my meals and eat healthier… I joined the gym because I wanted to take it to the next level when I realised I would like to start strengthening my body… I joined the gym in May and I was 99kg, so far I have lost further 6kg and put on some muscles :)


CLICK HERE to see all Health Improvement entries


What is your achievement? I have experienced significant improvement in my health conditions. Last year I was diagnosed with Intestinal permeability and Gut dysbiosis. In human speak this meant that there were larger holes in my intestines than you would want which was leading to bacteria, toxins and undigested food leaking into my bloodstream. Plus, there was a significant imbalance of bacteria, where the bad bacteria including a lot of Strep had colonised my gut, and the good bacteria I needed were virtually non existent. This caused a whole range of symptoms from bloating, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, a feeling of having something stuck in my throat, and even a white tongue. In order to recover I had to start by starving the bad bacteria. This meant a low carb diet. A challenge when you are vegan, and running 60km a week. Despite my Doctor’s plea to try eating meat, I couldn’t do it. Instead, I proceeded to live off of mushrooms, tofu, kale and cauliflower for the next 4 months. With no alcohol, coffee, legumes, animal products, nuts, or seeds and only a small selection of vegetables I dropped 6kg in 4 weeks and did not have the energy to exercise. In fact I couldn’t. My legs would feel like steel when trying to move any quicker than a snail’s pace and often my arms would go numb. Sometimes my legs would give out, just when I was walking to my car.  I was on about 20 herbal and traditional medications a day, I undertook a lot of learning about the mind, gut connection and started prioritising my mental wellbeing as much as I used to prioritise my physical wellbeing. I started meditating, put boundaries in place to prioritise myself and minimize stress and started connecting with my spiritual side. I learned more about why the Dr wanted me to eat meat. It was because some of the good bacteria I was missing- the ones I had to take as a specially made tablet – fed on blood, and to reproduce by themselves in my gut they needed feeding. So I decided to prioritise my recovery and psyched myself into giving it a go.  That was 6 months ago now. And while I can safely say that eating meat hasn’t gotten easier, I know it is part of the picture that is helping me to get better. My medication has decreased to 3 different types and in the summer I started running again. Small distances, and if I haven’t eaten enough carbs, I still have to walk up the hills, but it is more than I could do before. I am eating more, I put on the weight I lost, I still try and meditate and prioritise sleep. Then last month, finally, I was able to go back to the gym. This was a turning point for me. It felt like a triumph. I really was getting better.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Mentally I was so confused. I thought that I was the healthiest person I knew! I was on a whole foods plant based diet. I ran most mornings, sometimes 15km on the weekends, just for fun. Plus I worked out in the gym because I enjoyed it. I made most of my food from scratch to eliminate the preservatives and so I knew what I was putting into my body. And yet, I was not well. I had friends who lived off of junkfood and only ran after the icecream truck. They couldn’t believe out of everyone it was happening to me. My body simply couldn’t work the way it was meant to and no amount of meal prep or exercise could fix it. I was sick of looking down and seeing a stomach that did not look like mine, of my autopilot not working- forgetting how to turn off a tap, catching myself looking for things in places where they had never lived, or forgetting what I was saying mid way through a sentence. I was sick of feeling exhausted deep in my bones where simple tasks like doing the dishes, or even getting up off the couch felt like a marathon. The final straw was when on the same day I put an empty pot on the stove and forgot about it, then I tried to put the kettle in the fridge as if it lived there. The brain fog was bad, and it started to scare me. That’s when I started to get help.
How do you describe yourself now? I think I am healthier now than I ever have been before. While physically I don’t lift as much, or run as far. My health has now extended beyond the physical, and become a more holistic picture of true wellbeing. I have come to terms with the fact that managing my diet might be something I have to do for a long time; working out what types of carbs I can eat and how much of different food I can have before it impacts my mind and body. I have had the odd relapse where I have pushed the boat out too far and started to forget things, or my stomach started swelling up again. But I am human, and as my Dr says, it is about self empowerment. Ultimately, by accepting that while my body might have some additional challenges, I know that I have the ability to make myself better, all I have to do is listen to what it is telling me, and that feels pretty great.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey?  There have been so many challenges in getting better over the last year. But the biggest one was challenging my sense of normality and belonging in a culture where eating and drinking is synonymous with socialising. I could forget about my recovery when at home eating my kale fries and mashed cauli in peace. But when catching up with friends for coffee- that I couldn’t drink, or going out for a wine- I couldn’t have, or meals -I couldn’t eat. It made me feel like I had a giant arrow above my head pointing out that there was something wrong with me, like I was sick. I hated having to explain why I couldn’t eat or drink. It was frustrating being the “difficult” one at the table, and as time went on my willpower to refrain decreased. I had to stop going out altogether.
What role did Waiheke Workout play in my journey? I don’t sound like the poster child for the gym with this story, given I had to stop going to the gym to properly heal. But what they did do, was create a welcoming space that I was dying to come back to. The gym is a positive, healthy community that I wanted to be a part of. The gym was my goal. To return fully. That gave me motivation to get better.
Who played an important part in achieving my goal? My work was incredible, by allowing me to take time to go to appointments and decrease my hours. They bent over backwards to make sure that I was okay, and could do my job well. My close friends, one in particular would even try and not drink with me to help me feel normal. And myself. By reflecting on my healing, on what I needed to do to improve my health conditions, I can see that there was no magic formula or instant medication to fix it. I had to dig deep to challenge myself to make consistent daily choices that would all add up to help me get better.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your journey? The message I would give myself is that change and improvement isn’t instant. It is the small daily choices of self compassion and consistency that add up to create the change you want. Falling off the bandwagon once or twice doesn’t undo months of progress, so be kind to yourself when this happens. Instead know that positive change takes time, but it is possible.
Is there anything else you want to share? My photo attached: Celebrating being symptom free by ordering dinner


My achievement is being comfortable with myself, I’ve been overweight during all my youth, and with the gym I find a balance and I let off steam!
I can describe myself at the beginning of my fitness journey pretty shy, not really comfortable, specially when you are not comfortable with your English!
Now I’m more comfortable with my body and myself ! I know what I need to do and how due to Gus! Thanks to him!
My biggest challenge was to be consistent even if I was working !
The people who played important role in my change are Nathalie my partner she have been always going to the gym! She supports me a lot and helps me daily. Also the Team Waiheke Workout! Thanks for the good vibes!
The role of Waiheke Workout during my journey: it helps me to evacuate all the pression and frustration kept over the days. When I leave the gym I always feel good and glad about myself! My advice is: Just keep going! It’s important to add this routine in our life!
The picture I attached it’s a picture of me couple hours after asking Nathalie’s hand in Cape Reinga! My feeling was a mix of love, happiness, perceptiveness, soulagement. The mix of Gym, and those feelings create a good balance for


What is your achievement? Feeling less pain when walking upwards and be able to walk longer distances
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? With great fear, it was difficult for me to use the machines because I did not want to injure myself, put many obstacles to start this fitness stage, which for me is also the beginning
of a rehabilitation.
How do you describe yourself now? More confident in what I do and eager to continue progressing, my main goal is to loose weight but this injury was an obstacle. I know that healthy eating is also is a way to start seeing more changes.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Fear, not being able to achieve my goals and giving up halfway because at the beginning I thought that the injury was going to prevent me from seeing changes in myself.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? First of all me, because I am the one who makes the decisions, and it is up to me to see an improvement both in my injury and in my physique, likewise Maca my PT and Denisa because they are with a smile when I arrive at the gym and with motivation that they give me every day makes this process look a little easier even though it is not, but always with that little push and knowing that you are not alone in the process helps.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Having a motivating staff, because to me means a lot.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey?
I would tell me that, never give up, that if you fight for what you want you can go far!
Why this photo? Because here I do the first steep walk after my injury and for me it meant a lot to do it and get to the top, I hardly felt the pain and I just thought that what I am doing so far is giving me good results


Firstly, thank you for nominating me. I think 2 of the categories apply to me, but I will focus on health improvement.
What is your achievement? Regaining my strength and mobility after an accident
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey?
Weak, loss of muscle tone, and balance
How do you describe yourself now? 100 percent for my age!
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far?
Frustration of knowing what I am capable of and not being able to do it
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change?
Richard, my personal trainer and the whole staff at Waiheke Workout, for their encouragement and help
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Never give up
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? If it was not for Waiheke Workout and the support I received, I do not think I would be where I am today in fitness level

Here is some background information before I start on the health improvement story. I have always been an active person since a child. After leaving school I worked at a research centre and was very involved with their sports and recreation, and was on the committee. I played ladies field hockey for the town where I lived on a Saturday and on Sunday, I played mixed field hockey for the research centre.  I played Squash one night a week. Upon moving to the USA things changed, and I did not get back into any form of exercise for several years.  Started going to aerobic classes and then playing racquetball once or twice a week, and also swam a mile once a week.  Then I injured my back and was in great pain, so I joined a gym and went to a personal trainer twice a week, and played racquetball on a Saturday. Also did many classes of Aqua Fit, cardio etc. My back greatly improved, and I stuck to this regimen until I moved permanently to NZ in 2012.
I joined Waiheke Workout in September 2012 and signed up with Richard to train me twice a week, which I have done ever since. Focusing on strength and cardio.
I have had several injuries since being a member of the gym and I know without a doubt that if I was not as fit as I am, I would not have recovered as well.  Had hand surgery, knee surgery, which were quite easy to rehab.  Then in January 2019 I broke my ankle in 3 places and I got quite depressed, as I am so active and suddenly, I could not walk, in casts for 3 months and then started rehab back at the gym.  I used to get so frustrated and downcast, but Richard and the staff at Waiheke Workout kept me going.  Without my fitness level prior to the accident, I do not think I would have bounced back.  It took almost one and a half years to get back to my strength, balance and mobility in that leg.  Every step of the way Richard and the staff at Waiheke Workout was there for me, encouraging me and pushing me. Last year I injured my shoulder, a tear in the muscle to the rotator cuff, a tear in the bicep tendon and tendonitis, long struggle to get back to full use.  Only in the past 2 months have I achieved this.  Again, I could not have done this without Richard and Waiheke Workout.
In summary: It is so important to stay mobile and fit as we age, and I know sometimes it is difficult to stay focused and motivated, but if you belong to a gym like Waiheke Workout, it is easy.  All the staff and trainers are 100% focused on your training and health. THANK YOU, WAIHEKE WORKOUT I would not be, where I am today without you all.  Not bad for a 70 year old!!!


12 months ago I was 138kg. I was suffering from adrenal fatigue, severe depression, insomnia and a total lack of self esteem.
I started at Waiheke Workout and was immediately taken by the people there. This was like no gym I had ever been to before. People knew my name and greeted me each time I entered or as they walked around the gym. They had a beautiful, natural energy about them, that was inspiring and would always lift my spirits.
Over the following months I made steady progress with the help of the gym and outside of the gym; gradually becoming more active. When I started I could hardly walk 200m before needing a rest but a few months later I was walk-jogging a 4.5km Rocky Bay loop, with several steep inclines. But through this time I battled daily with depression which at times was crippling. I got to a point where I could find little reason to be. In truth I had many reasons, but when you’re that low, you just don’t see the sun beyond the mountains. I also lost my dad mid way through the year which gives you pause to reflect on what life’s all about. At the same time as his passing I started getting severe abdominal pain which would leave me curled up in a heap on the floor writhing in agony. This was eventually diagnosed as a gallbladder condition and culminated in me being rushed from camping in Whangamata to Auckland Hospital, where I had a gangrenous gallbladder removed. 17 days later after recovering from surgery and returning to our holiday I collapsed again in Hot Water Beach and had to be flown back to Auckland. This time I was diagnosed with severe Pancreatitis, which quickly culminated in liver failure, kidney damage, a partially collapsed lung and pneumonia. I almost died. I was also diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic. I had crazy water retention and bloating and at one point my weight was 142kgs! I spent close to three weeks in hospital and when I was released I could barely walk 20m without needing to rest. Three weeks of 24/7 bed confinement resulted in all the muscle mass I’d built up prior, wasting away. This was the start of a long journey to recovery. I started by walking to the letterbox, then 50m then 80m and so on. Eventually I made it back to the gym – only able to do short sessions and many were missed due to fatigue or medication side effects. But the gym has been the place that held my hope, not only of recovery, but to attain the goals I had set 1 and a half years earlier.
It’s now July and I’m stoked to weigh 105kgs, down 37 from when I was in hospital. Thanks to Waiheke Workout and my PT Rachel, I’m now able to do 5k walk/runs and recently cycled almost 5k in 10mins. Slow for some people I know, but for me it’s an achievement I thought wasn’t going to be achievable when I was at my physical and mental low point.
I’m also now no longer on antidepressants having kicked depression to touch and my next goal is to kick the insulin to the same touch line. All in good time. For now I’m just happy that I’m on a track that’s sustainable and I know will take me to my wellness goals.
Thanks so much for your support and your warm, caring spirits. I’m really looking forward to smashing more goals in the coming year. I can tell you honestly that if I’d tried to do this at my previous gyms, I would have given up a long time ago. You’ve made me feel welcome and supported and it means the world to me.


What is your achievement?
maintaining my fitness and ability to rehabilitate from medical setbacks (staying alive)
My background and my challenges:
-Have been battling prostate cancer for past 6/7 years

-Have undergone a variety of treatments
-During this period have experienced a heart attack (insertion of 3 stents)
-Also suffered from a broken hip and replacement.
-have had two hospitalizations caused by adverse reactions to various medications
-the above experiences have meant many absences from the gym
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Richard has played an important role in adapting programes to address needs at different times.
What is your advice? from the start my advice to myself was to keep attending my gym sessions as I always feel    better after every session.


Achievement(s) is something that creeps up on you (or sneaks!) when it comes to fitness….It’s very much been the way with me.
From the build up of endorphins helping drive motivation, to exercise periods that draw out, the reduction of heart palpitations, the realisation that the hill climb wasn’t so noticeable, even the feeling of walking more upright, all aid the feeling of ‘Betterment’ within Oneself ( and the 8-10kg weight loss!)
At the beginning it probably was a sense of being lost, stressed and frustrated, all things that beat away at Motivation.
Now I am really starting to feel a lot of the benefits, and that in turn has helped drive Motivation.
The biggest challenge has been to overcome the fear in Atrial Fibrillation and increased Heart Rate as a hindrance to exercise.
Those at Waiheke Workout have all played a part in My Journey….. from Denisa and others welcoming Everyone…to Jaque commenting on my ability to do a Hamstring Stretch…”Yeah, I am actually stretching now!!”….And to Gus and his huge help in training and overall wellness!
Advice to share: probably Patience, not to rush or become frustrated…Thanks for the Wellness and Results so far!! To the Future…!

8. KAT

Achievement: Getting my life, my confidence and my self-worth back
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your journey: Utterly broken! After an unhealthy 7 year relationship and 5 years of unsuccessful fertility treatment, I had completely lost myself. At the end of 2020, my marriage ended painfully just weeks after I suffered another miscarriage and was grieving the loss of a baby boy. I lost my home and my family, friends I thought I could trust, Covid had impacted my business and I felt totally overwhelmed. I have dealt with stress-triggered alopecia on and off since childhood and my weight had skyrocketed throughout all of the fertility treatment – My self-worth and self-esteem were on the floor and I had no idea who I was, or how to get back up.
How do you describe yourself now: Happier, rejuvenated, and safer in my own skin.  Comfortable with progress not perfection!
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Coming to terms with all of the loss, grief and trauma in such a short space of time, as well as all of the practicalities that come with navigating all that change was overwhelming. But I also had a business to run and I was scared if I stopped trying to juggle everything and just keep going, I’d completely fall apart and never recover. I needed a safe space to be able to stop and just breathe.
What / who played an important role in achieving your goal/change? I was lucky enough to find out who my true friends were throughout all of this and some incredible people really showed up for me.  They reminded me who and how capable I was before all of this, that there were people who truly loved and cared for me, and they taught me it was ok to put myself first.  I also took myself away to a health, wellbeing and weightloss retreat and it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. That retreat and the support of amazing friends truly brought me back to life.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? It has given me that safe space to slow down, to look after myself and create new positive habits. I’ve met some fantastic people who have really helped me to see my worth, to find fun in life again and to know I don’t have to be defined by what’s happened. Denisa and Nydia have been incredible – They’ve checked in on me regularly and have always been encouraging but never put any pressure on me to do more than I’ve felt able to.  It’s given me a place to laugh again and be around people who instinctively want to support each other with no hidden agendas. I’m so much happier and more confident to do more and try new things – I’m no longer embarrassed or feel the need to hide the things that are simply a part of who I am. They’ve also helped me to realise overall health and wellbeing is what’s important – I don’t need to just obsess about overnight weightloss results and I can take everything at my own pace.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started this journey? So many things!!

  • You are so much more capable than they wanted you to believe.
  • Love yourself, look after yourself and know that it’s not selfish to put you first.
  • You are worth so much more than giving yourself away seeking validation from people who don’t want to support you or see you shine.

The days you don’t feel like going to the gym or that class, are the days you really should go – it will help you feel better!


Initially my goal was to get fit so I joined the gym on the 2nd of August last year. That very same afternoon I slipped down one of Waiheke’s infamous driveways and completely f&*$#ed my right knee. After a quick ride in an ambulance, a ferry and another ambulance it was discovered that I had indeed completely f&*$#ed my knee and that it would need surgery to fix. I put my gym membership on hold for a few weeks.
The pre surgery medical advice I got was to get my knee as strong as possible before surgery. I took my gym membership off hold and had a PT session with Gus who had to get creative with a plan that would strengthen my core and arms without hurting my knee or my back (an old injury). I couldn’t kneel either so I was a very tricky customer. Gus rose to the challenge though and created a workout that worked and didn’t aggravate my injuries. For a couple of months I was coming down to the gym every other day and on a good week every day a) to build strength and fitness prior to surgery and b) to use the sauna to help manage pain. I was also cycling at least 24km a day doing a loop around the island to build strength.
I got a partial knee replacement on the 31st October last year. ‘Partial’ seems not so bad but having half of your patella and the top of your femur bone sawn off and replaced with plastic and cobalt is incredibly major, I don’t recommend it! (unless it is absolutely necessary.) I had to stay with friends off island for the first 6 weeks post surgery so again put my membership on hold while I was away.
Goal 2: Remobilising my right leg after knee replacement surgery. When I returned to the Island I used Waiheke workout to do my daily physio exercises and again use the sauna to help with reducing inflammation and pain. (during the second lock down when the gym had to close for 2 weeks, I had to start taking pain relief again so I really do swear by saunas for pain management). The team at Waiheke workout have been such a great help in my recovery. The gym has a great vibe and I always feel welcome, I actually love going there. Denisa will send me a text when she thinks of a class that might be useful for my knee (aquafit – she was right, I highly recommend water based exercise for rehabilitation). The friendly staff were always happy to help check my form and ensure I was using the equipment properly for the exercises given to me by my physio. They helped keep my spirits up and motivation high when I hit the wall occasionally. They shared in my delight when breaking through barriers like getting my butt cheek onto my heel in a sitting kneel or when I finally got my leg functionally straight again after months of intensive physio. Recovering from knee replacement surgery has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. I have had a wonderful medical team supporting my recovery and the team and facilities at Waiheke workout have been an amazing complement to this, ensuring my successful recovery. Now 8 months post surgery I am back at work fulltime, I’m back on my bike everyday and I’ve even been out dancing a few times. I still have strength work to do but I have remobilised my knee beyond what I thought possible. Thanks so much team!
My photos: Crossing my legs was a major break through (I am a Kindy teacher so no more circles of children sitting with their leg sticking out to the side in imitation of their teacher)
At WW admiring my nice straight legs + The bruising that ‘bloomed’ 2 weeks post surgery.


What is your achievement? Self improvement
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Young, active & motivated
How do you describe yourself now? Still young, still very active & still very motivated but I gained interior peace and maturity far away of my lovely mother country France
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? My food controlling, I would say that I’ve been raised by an amazing mama, with a terrible food control. We were always sharing snacks together and she inspired me to became Chef as she is the best Malagasy chef of the family. So it made my appetite loving more comfort food than healthy food. Today, my mindset has changed and improved, a huge step has been take since I’m living my dream here in New Zealand specially down here, Waiheke Island
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change?
My mother had a surgery and it gave me enough courage to start as soon as I could to get a membership in a gym club in France additionally to my active job as a chef. I mostly get help by my lovely partner Axel, who succeed to help myself at eating healthy since we met each other.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey?
It has been a huge step but necessary when I popped in to get a membership, I knew nobody as we were freshly arrived on the rock in 2017, then I decided to reconnect with my inner self and convinced myself to getting back in a gym club to continue what I’ve started. Thank you Richard, Denisa, Jaque, Nydia, Mika, Gus, Heidi and all the others WW members I did forgot. You all did a really important part of this journey, in this beautiful country where I’m feeling home.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey?
Stay consistent. Accept who you truly are it will always benefit you. Stay strong and focused on the main goal. We can do everything if we are really determined. Time is a MVP, never underestimate it. Of course, love yourself enough.
Is there anything else you would like to share? Life is beautiful. Peace & Aroha


What is your achievement?  My health results were laid bare on the table early this year when test results showed internal liver damage. My body was unable to get rid of Iron, the levels was so high that it was damaging my liver quickly and badly.  Recent tests have shown all of the damage has reversed. No more trips away to blood let.  I get to watch my boys grow up.  This achievement alone gives me happy tears.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey?  Broken.  Broken inside and out.  I walked around with my head down and shoulders slumped.  Such a shy, lost sad sack!
How do you describe yourself now? Alive, grateful, motivated, mindful, disciplined and a work in progress.  My posture is better, my clothes don’t fit & I smile more.   I play with my kids rather than watch them play.  Living life as one would say.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far?  Placing myself first and walking through the doors at the gym to sign up.  When you are a parent naturally you’ll wire your brain to place yourself last.  It’s the worst thing you can do.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change?  Brian & Candice. They believed in me when I couldn’t, and got me to pluck up the courage to get myself sorted. However, the biggest & important role has been Jaque. There is more to it than just using the equipment, you have to get the basics right! Eating correctly, rest, body recovery, pushing limits at the right pace. There is so much science to the human body. Jaque has taught me about my body and for this I have thanked him for saving my life, he has given me the gift of time. The doctors couldn’t work out why everything has sorted itself but I know it was because of him. So in my eyes, the title of Personal trainer barely cuts the mustard.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? You guys are so friendly!! It feels like home, and it makes for a great escape when life is hectic.  More than ever I wish I had done this sooner!
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Drink water, eat well, sleep well & stretch more.
Is there anything else you would like to share? That everyday above ground is a gift, don’t waste it.  And the ladies toilet seat slides on occasion for everyone, it is not fat shaming you.

12. ZEN 

What is your achievement?  after a severe back injury in 2018 that caused chronic pain and immobility for almost 2 YEARS, I have rehabilitated, strengthened and recovered even stronger than before. In addition, I am (currently) overcoming VERTIGO caused by a virus in my inner ear/balance system by strengthening my body and willpower to STRENGTHEN and support my vestibular system.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey?
excited but cautious due to the PAIN I had experienced from my injury. 

How do you describe yourself now?  More confident and connected to my physical body, it’s potential to be strong and resilient.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? making workouts a priority with a busy schedule
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change?Gus has been an inspiration and an excellent teacher
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? has enabled more discipline with regular workouts
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? “First, take it easy getting used to the weights and knowing your (body) is safe, then start to push your limits and challenges
Is there anything else you would like to share? I enjoy the ‘state’ I get into at the gym, getting into my own space and feeling empowered when I walk out the door!


CLICK HERE to see all Performance Improvement entries


What is your achievement? Strength – 240kg leg press, 40 kg bench press
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Not in good shape, injured and committed to improvement!
How do you describe yourself now? Stronger mentally, emotionally and physically
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Believing I could be strong and confident enough to push 240 kg! Bench press is still a mental challenge
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Jaque
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke Workout is my Happy Place – I want to show up to the gym and classes. I love the friendship of such wonderful people.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? no matter how you feel now, relax, exercise is for life, so love it


What is your achievement? Since working with Personal Trainer Gus for 2.5 months, I have lost weight, I’m happier with my body, and I’m stronger. Here are my stats: Waist and Hips -2.5cm
Total Strength Improvement: DB Chest press: 33% Increase, Seated Cable Row: 53% Increase, Bulgarian Split Squat: 32.5% Increase
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? I was a reluctant gym member and would do the same routine each time. I was stuck in a rut and wasn’t making any progress. I’d put on a few kg in lockdown and was struggling to lose it.
How do you describe yourself now? I like the challenge and have amazed myself at what I’m capable of. I’ve got more energy and personal training has forced me to address eating and drinking habits that work against me.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? I suffer from migraines which disrupt all areas of my life. But sometimes I’ve come to the gym and just done some cardio rather than doing nothing. I’ve also had an ongoing Achilles injury but this is improving with the strength training.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Gus of course but all the gym staff have been encouraging.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? I love the friendliness and the banter with the staff. It’s a welcoming gym and I don’t feel intimidated or self conscious like I have at other gyms.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Just do it! There’s no change without effort and you’re capable of anything, even with health limitations.


What is your achievement? Substantially improving my strength and flexibility and I’m very close to my goal, which is to be able to do one proper push up!
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey?
Weak! Especially my upper body.
How do you describe yourself now? Much, much stronger in my upper body.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Mental strength and attitude. I have had to learn that it’s the journey and hitting goals can take longer than expected. Trying not to get frustrated!
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Gus is a legend! My children, Ruby and Mac have given me a lot of encouragement and enthusiasm as have many friends and family!
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? A phenomenal gym and atmosphere to work out – always friendly and super encouraging and supportive. Love this gym’s vibe for all its clients
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? It’s the journey. Acknowledge your bad/down day, but keep going, don’t give up
Is there anything else you would like to share? Just a simple, but very big thank you!


What is your achievement? Significant improvement of my fitness level as measured by my score on the The Harvard Step Test
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey?
I was going to the gym a few times per week but was not very motivated and had a persistent back injury that caused a great deal of discomfort. As a result my fitness and strength were slowly reducing. Gus saw me struggling and offered to test my fitness. That was a sobering experience managing only half the maximum 5 minutes stepping up and down this half meter high box. We then set specific goals and he wrote a program for me to improve both my fitness and strength. Encouraged by these goals and keen to improve on my embarrassing test score I started to train more seriously.
How do you describe yourself now?
4 weeks later I managed to do the full 5 minutes stepping on and off the box. Plus my recovery afterwards was better than previously after 2.5 minutes. And my back issues seemed a lot better. I am now more motivated than I was previously.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far?
Biggest challenge is to keep on refining the goals. In the beginning you see your biggest change in performance but after a while it gets harder and harder to keep improving.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change?
Gus was instrumental in getting me back on track. He wrote my exercise plan and came up with the exercises that reduced my back issues. Thanks Gus, without you I would not have done it!!
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke Workout is a great place for your workout. It has a lot of equipment, very friendly staff and is welcoming to people from all walks of life and with all fitness levels.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? have a fitness goal and you will achieve more. (WW comment: we love how it rhymes Frank!)

5. KAY

Again, Kay falls under more than one category! She has recovered from her injury, has had amazing body transformation already but we are entering her in the performance category since she put all her energy into the recovery, overcame her fears of not being able to participate in the same fitness activities as before and now after being bedridden for weeks she is hiking again and leg pressing some good weight!
What is your achievement?
Rebuilding muscles and strengthening my left leg from a tibial plateau fracture injury so I can use it properly.  Able to strengthen my core and tone my stomach muscles after having a hysterectomy, due to being an endometriosis sufferer for most of my life. To gain more energy and to be able to sleep a decent 8 hours and to return to the sea to regain my confidence to swim again.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Totally scared, anxious and having the fear that I would snap my leg again and that there would be no alternative fitness for me to participate in any physical exercise again.
How do you describe yourself now: To achieve my goals, I had to challenge myself mentally, physically and believe in myself that I can do the given exercises to strengthen my weak areas that I had to heal slowly before I could do any intense exercise. Achieving some milestones was able to get back on the leg press and push 80kgs and learning new skills to put pressure through  my feet evenly through both legs, so I could learn not to let all the exercise to be for my right leg. Able to activate my core muscles again without feeling pain with my internal organs.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Unable to kneel or stay on my knee for long periods.  Rebuilding muscle back into my left leg and learning to balance my weight through my whole body when doing exercises.  Alternate both legs when going down/up stairs without hesitation or just depending on my right leg to do all the work.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Self-motivation & having a positive attitude to life helped me get through to the next step in achieving goals in my fitness journey & meeting positive people at Waiheke Workout makes me enjoy my sessions.  To acknowledge wins when you get them even the little goals is worth celebrating too.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey?  Listening to my goals, giving me a go at all the exercises instead of ruling them out and letting me decide if I am unable to do it.  Its also great that I am given an alternative exercise, but still make it challenging so I can push myself to achieve goals.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? My parents would always say, “its mind over matter”.  I can do anything if I set my mind to it and drive myself to achieve.
Is there anything else you would like to share?  So I have set myself a goal to do the Waiheke Walking Festival so I can see the wonderful world of Waiheke Island.


Leisa falls into all 4 categories, no doubt, but we decided to put her entry under the Performance Improvement, since her story covers her “life” performance improvement. She is now confident performing movements and exercises she didn’t think she could easily do again.

What is your achievement? A.) body transformation: Working out for a year and keeping at it before I saw big changes with weight loss B.)health improvement: Learning to retrain my body and start slow as post-natal and my pelvic floor issues C.)performance improvement: Overcoming my fear that I couldn’t do the same exercises because of my pelvic floor issues and neck problems.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey?Emotionally and physically depleted. Prior to having baby I worked out right up until 3 weeks before I was about to give birth and I felt great, fit and healthy. Then COVID19 hit being stuck at home with new baby and no stamina was hard I really missed my exercise and feeling strong. I started out slowly doing the online classes 20 minutes as I couldn’t get through the full class and then went to one class per week and now I am doing several classes a week and yoga and walking, if my family schedule allowed I would be in the gym everyday as I love it.
How do you describe yourself now? I feel like I am in my happy place, I have lost a lot of my post pregnancy weight and doing classes like Pump and lifting heavier weights in the gym. I feel fit and healthy and feel confident enough to try any of the classes and not worry if I’m not good at the beginning as I know that if I keep doing it I will improve over time.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Fitting in my workouts around my children and my husband’s schedule. Learning how to exercise again after my baby was born and gradually building up my strength again and then going backwards as I had pelvic floor issues so having to modify my workouts and intensity so I could still exercise. Not being able to do some of my favourite exercises especially anything with jumping movements was hard, anyone with an injury knows how hard it is when you love exercising and after an injury its like starting again from the beginning.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? So many of the trainers at the gym have helped me with exercise modifications so I can still do the classes I love. Rahman in Step and Pump class helping with lower intensity modifications. Gus Functional fitness for helping me build up my strength again and for correcting bad techniques that I have picked up along the way. Denisa for helping me achieve my fitness and weight lose goals and for always being positive even when the scales weren’t showing success in the beginning.
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Waiheke Workout has played a massive part of my weight loss journey after having my second baby but most importantly being able to build up my strength and performance so that I can lift weights I never thought I could do. I also used to have neck issues when doing crunches but now I’ve build my core strength I can do these exercises again. I have recently started pump class which I love but with a weak pelvic floor I have had to be really conscious about my body and I am grateful I can do these classes and change some of the moves to lower impact. I love the new classes that have been recently introduced and the Waiheke workout family is always approachable and so supportive of my fitness goals.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey The journey is a ride you wont get there straight away it can take time but if you keep doing what you are doing and make slight modifications. Next thing you know you will be reaching your goals, and there is no limit to what you can achieve with perseverance and support.
Is there anything else you would like to share? I quite often hear people say to me I have no co-ordination I can’t do that class or I have an injury I can’t go to the gym. I say yes you can I was like that in the beginning but if you practise and keep trying eventually you will see improvement. The instructors are there to provide support and modifications so that anyone can achieve their goals. You won’t know what you can achieve until you actually try and start.


What is your achievement? Strengthening my inner core and balance and strengthening my back and neck which were causing me a lot of pain at times and leaving me feeling stiff
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? My balance was really bad, at times I was fearful of falling and I was having a lot of back and neck pain
How do you describe yourself now? My balance is so much better and I do not have any pain in my back, although there is still work to be done as I feel it is still needs more and my neck pain is so much better. I feel more confident with my body strength
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Turning up! Honestly If I did not have Macarena supporting and encouraging me I would struggle to come even though I feel so much better and can see the results
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? Richard and Macarena, they are both so supportive and encouraging. Also friends and family who can the difference
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? Everyone at WW has helped me by their kindness and support. Its great they work together, Jaque trains a couple of people that have hashimotos like myself and shared his research with Macarena which is great teamwork
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? Don’t give up, don’t make excuses
Is there anything else you would like to share? I started back at the gym because my Osteopath recommended I do some stretching and strengthening to help my back pain and I remembered how I felt when I was attending the gym a few years ago. I was the fittest I had ever been which helped immeasurably when I had my open-heart surgery, I couldn’t have been in better shape, I had been coming along to the gym for eighteen months. I have had so many accidents in my life and my body has been through so much, as it ages I need to help it, I need to keep it strong, not only for playing with my granddaughter but also to continue performing.  I absolutely love my grandchildren, my family and performing and want to be able to enjoy them for as long as I can

8. ROB

What is your achievement? My achievement is sticking to my goal. I wanted to make the most of waking up early and instead of lying-in bed for two hours I wanted to start going the gym first thing every morning Monday to Friday.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? At the beginning of my journey I was lazy, unmotivated and always tired. My back hurt and I never really felt like I was accomplishing anything, just dragging myself through life.
How do you describe yourself now? Since joining the gym I have had more energy, I have been in a better mood, walking with my head held higher (in part thanks to my posture correcting workouts). I am proud of myself for not only not missing a single day (five days a week) but also for putting the work in when I am at the gym and not giving up halfway through.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? My biggest challenge so far has been remembering that my fitness journey is a long-term lifestyle change and not a quick fix to get skinny.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? The Waiheke Workout staff have all been great! From Denisa motivating me to join back up during a chat in the supermarket and then being so nice, helpful and supportive when I came in to join up. Gus, my trainer, has been awesome! From the first consultation he was understanding and really cared about my goals and really took the time to make a program that is going to help me in a variety of ways. He also has been happy to help me with tips and answers whenever I have asked him. The rest of the staff have been awesome too, some which I haven’t met, say hi to me by name every time which is so welcoming and it blows me away that they even know my name.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey? The advice I would give myself would just to be to start and get into the routine because it is an awesome way to start the day. Anything is possible if you just take it a day at a time.

9. SUE

Sue has been at the gym for few years now and we have seen her achieve variety of goals, from putting on muscle mass and gaining the desired weight, working around her injuries to strengthening her body. So it was hard to choose which category she should be in. Sue should really have her own one! But we decided to put her under PERFORMANCE category! since she put on a good show with her poem, that perfectly describes her: witty, cheerful and genuine! Don’t have other poems to judge the improvement on, but definitely can tell her performance at the gym keeps improving as the time passes! 






There once was a woman
with a body so skinny
from working and walking
and maybe one wine too many

So on her big birthday
her friend said “ hey Sue”
I’ve got you a present
a life change for you

7 days at the gym
It’s a special surprise
this friend wasn’t older
but she sure was wise

Because once back in time
before babies and stuff
the woman lifted weights
and her body was buff

She taught all sorts of fitness
for fifteen good years
her true place in life
free from worries and cares

Fast forward 30 months
and happy self has returned
the wine has been swapped
for hard out muscle burn

She looks forward to mornings
working out at the gym
where people are happy, smiling
full of vigour and vim

Her body is still skinny
but there’s a slight bicep bump
some abs, quads, pecs, and lats
and a far more lifted rump

But mostly it’s the friendship
and unconditional support
that is “Team Waiheke Workout”
whoever would have thought ….

So who is this mystery woman….
the name will give you a clue
she is my past and my present
and she is all of you too….

Thank you so much ❤️

P.S When someone now says I’m skinny
in “that tone” that I almost hate
I just stand there and flex up my biceps
and say “take a feel of that mate”


My achievement is the confidence in going to the gym after many years being anxious about it. I now really enjoy going and actually look forward to it, it’s often the highlight of my day which is crazy because for years I feared the gym.
At the beginning of my fitness journey I lacked self confidence, didn’t like how I looked, didn’t know how to use any of the equipment, couldn’t run 2 kms without struggling to breathe. I now describe myself as feeling really happy. I wasn’t motivated by looking different, I just wanted to feel different and I really do now. I feel fitter, healthier. I feel like I’m 33 whereas before I felt 43.
My biggest challenge was turning up to the gym to workout alone. I train twice a week with Gus, which is great because he motivates me and guides me. My fear was that going alone I’d struggle with the equipment and not know how to use it properly. Now, thanks to Gus I can turn up on my own and just do the routine he’s set me. I know how to use the machines and I can slip in and out whenever.
Brad, my husband played the most important role because he got Gus to call me to make the appointment, I never would have done that. Then secondly it’s Gus, he’s been awesome teaching me how to work out and stretch etc, if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t know what I was doing and I’d probably never turn up on my own.
Waiheke Workout isn’t a gym. It’s a group of friends who make you feel so good when you’re there that you really want to go back. The team is amazing.
Attached is a picture of me running. On the day I met Gus for coffee he asked me what I wanted to achieve. I told him that six years ago I could run 13kms a day but, as that began to stop, my fitness had really depreciated. I’d tried to run a few times over the years but I’d get to 2kms and have to give up because I couldn’t run any further. That really de-motivated me and so I found myself not trying to get better and giving it up altogether. I used to really love running for my mental health too. I’ve been going to the gym now for two months 3 times per week. The photo attached was taken this weekend when I ran 5kms in 40 minutes. I’m not back at 13kms yet, that’s a long way away but I’ll get there. I’m not in a rush to get there, this is a new lifestyle for me and I’m really enjoying it.
My advice to my previous self would be: don’t be scared! You’ll love it!
Thankfully we have Waiheke Workout in the community to look forward to!



CLICK HERE to see all Class Junkie entries


Emma could easily fit in most of the categories but we decided to put her under class junkie as she sometimes trains twice a day and her name is often on a class list of attendees. As she describes her now as a gym junkie, she definitely falls into this category the best!
What is your achievement?
Commitment and motivation to get fit and healthy.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? I was a little apprehensive when I first started as my fitness level wasn’t great. I had joined gyms in the past and not seen results.
How do you describe yourself now?
So excited about turning up to the gym mostly everyday and sometimes twice a day. Seeing the results as the months have gone on has turned me into a gym junkie
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Getting through the first couple of months when I was building up my fitness and starting new classes. Now I have the hang of most of it but there are new things to learn all the time.
What/Who played important role in achieving your goal/change? My cousin Gus is the reason behind why my husband and I started exercising. We first started outside the gym at home with PT sessions twice a week. We then joined the gym and haven’t looked back!!! Love it
What role has Waiheke Workout had in your journey? The gym plays a major part in my journey especially in winter when it’s so much harder to exercise outside. I have always enjoyed all of the many walks we have on Waiheke but my fitness never really improved the way it has coming to the gym. I am well on my way to a lifetime goal of all round health and fitness and I definitely owe a lot of that to Waiheke Workout.
What is a piece of advice your current self would tell yourself when you started your fitness journey?
Just hang in there Emma. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.
Is there anything else you would like to share? It’s such a joy arriving at the gym where there is always someone there to greet you with a smile. It’s definitely the best gym I have belonged to.


The definition of junkie is a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something. I don’t think I am a junkie just a fan :)
I love classes but within reason. I do four classes most weeks, two Pump and two Power Step, and I do Zumba on a Sunday. I give them my full effort. Once the music starts I’m off! I really like to have structured classes with excellent teachers and well thought out routines that fit the music. This is what we get with Rahman and Heidi in the classes that attend. I enjoy every class. They change the routines frequently so we do not get bored and our muscles don’t get lazy. I have attended classes in gyms for most of my adult life. They have kept me fit and given me my own time away from family and career concerns. Fitness classes have provided an opportunity for social interaction with people from all walks of life and generally led to social occasions outside the gym. Now that I am retired, classes provide some structure to my day and some fun social contacts with like-minded people.
I joined Waiheke Workout about 10 years ago when I was already 65. I am now 75 and still able to do most of the exercise that I could at 65, which I think is because I am consistent in my attendance and because of the care and attention of the knowledgeable instructors. They provide new challenges but also alternatives for permanent or temporary health issues without making anybody feel embarrassed. I am now content to be able to participate at the same level without feeling the need to increase my weights or be more vigorous. Long may it last.




I have been a member of Waiheke Workout since 2018 and I spent the first couple of years working out at the gym. As Waiheke Workout progressively added classes I have eagerly leapt at the opportunity to participate in more and more classes, particularly those that are passive due to cardiac issues. I attend five classes a week on a regular basis: Yin Yoga with Lynette, Stronger for Longer with Corinne (2 x week), Pilates with Macarena and Mindfulness Yoga with Michelle. Unfortunately I have had to pass on Nydia’s fun Aquafit classes this Summer because of an injury.
In September last year I fractured my wrist which required the insertion of a metal plate. Unfortunately I had an inappropriate immune response, known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which is extremely painful and caused swelling and severe stiffness in the joints of my fingers and wrist. My wrist was extremely weak. Waiheke Workout kindly suspended my membership until it was considered I had sufficient strength in my wrist to return to the gym in late November.
The challenge: to achieve enough strength in my left wrist to allow me to perform a Downward Dog and Plank without assistance. Performing upper body weight exercises in Corinne’s classes strengthened my wrist. In Macarena’s Pilates classes and Michelle’s Yoga classes I slowly graduated from performing a partial Downward Dog and Plank by resting my left elbow on a Pilates block (instead of my wrist). These classes enabled me to progressively gain the strength to fully support my weight with both of my hands, without props, and ultimately achieve my goal. Yin Yoga, with its focus on releasing connective tissue has been an amazing complement and also contributed to my success.
Being a class junkie has also enabled me to settle very quickly on this wonderful island. I have loads of fun, continually meet new people and I have made lots of new friends by being a Waiheke Workout regular.
Finally a special thank you to my trainers: Corinne, Lynnette, Macarena and Michelle, and to Denisa for her warmth, encouragement and care, and to all the trainers I have been lucky enough to connect with. You are all wonderful people. Thank you Richard for providing this facility. I feel very lucky.


What is your achievement? Pushing myself to try new things. Becoming physically stronger & gaining more stamina. Allocating sufficient time for exercise in my life to make real positive changes.
How would you describe yourself at the beginning of your fitness journey? Honestly, I didn’t realise how unfit I was, until I got fitter! I was oblivious to how much my body was suffering. I was constantly fatigued & unmotivated at home, I felt stagnant, bored & frustrated working out alone in the gym.
How do you describe yourself now? Now, I have a healthy routine & I have swapped gym sessions for as many classes as I can cram into a week. I have gained more stamina & endurance from Spin, more flexibility & focus through yoga & have improved my strength at pump! I now feel energized from an active lifestyle, motivated & so much happier.
What was your biggest challenge through your journey so far? Hands down motivation & self control.
Motivation – Classes have offered me more structure to my week – because they are at set times, I can’t ‘put off’ my workout until the following day otherwise I miss out.
Self control – Over summer, I had an ice-cream addiction & now winter is here, it’s apple crumble & chocolate. My partner recently asked if I was ‘back on the bars’ referring to Whittakers!
What/who played an important role in achieving your goal/change? The community that attend Waiheke Workout. I absolutely LOVE that this is a gym for the people! Being surrounded by a diverse range of people that are all independently striving for their own goals is infectious. Seeing the older generations crushing it day after day is inspirational. The community at Waiheke workout is second to none. It’s like one big family. You really feel supported in reaching your goals. Ultimately, it is a place I want to be, which means it is never a chore to go the gym…..that’s saying something!
What is a piece of advise that your current self would tell yourself when you started the journey?
If you get bored, mix it up, get out of your comfort zone & try new things. Learning new skills is what keeps life interesting. If you get too comfortable sat in a groove, how can you truly make change happen?!
Is there anything else you would like to share? I would like to say a massive thank you to all the guys at Waiheke Workout for creating such an epic community at a local gym. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.


To describe myself at the beginning of my fitness journey i would sum it up in one word: Depression.
My darling sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the whole world seemed to fall apart.
I did not want to take antidepressants so thought exercise was a very good option. Went to join up and had a good talk to Denisa who was amazing and  played an important role in achieving my goal. I would have to say all the instructors. I started off working out in the gym but once the yoga classes started I went and realised the gym classes, all of them,  were where I needed to be. Mixing with people was so good for me. Now i am doing 7 to 8 classes a week and feel great. Thank you Waiheke Workout you have been a life saver.