The West

Green joins gym owner brigade

Standing in the cavernous interior of what will soon be his new gym, Danny Green says a step into Perth's booming fitness industry is a natural one.

"You can't be a professional fighter for ever, as much as I'd like to be," the former world champion tells _The Weekend West _.

"I'm more than happy being out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to focus on a business that I cared about going forward."

Set to open at the Warwick Shopping Centre next month, GreenZone Fitness will enter an increasingly competitive independent gym market in WA.

While established franchises such as Fitness First have dominated, high fees, a boom in alternative training styles and growing concerns over obesity are prompting people to increasingly opt for boutique gyms and health clubs.

Green is aware his public profile could be a potential double-edged sword when attracting clients.

"This isn't just a gym for fighters and elite athletes, we don't want to create Arnold Schwarzeneggers here," he says. "We want people to come here so they can make a difference to their lives."

He faces stiff competition, with gyms increasingly pitching a wide variety of specialised services.

Newcastle Street gym SpeedFit, for instance, will hook you up to an electrode-lined bodysuit that stimulates your muscles while you work out.

Owner Roland Safar said the German technology was used in more than 1000 gyms in Europe, but locals were sceptical.

"I tell them to try it once before they make up their minds," he says.

While the 20-minute workouts cater for the time-poor, Safar says an increasing number of his clients are put off by the traditional gym environment and lack of assistance from busy staff.

"Exercise is a very personal thing, people often don't like being watched," he says.

With a second gym set to open in Claremont, Safar says his focus will continue to remain on customer comfort, right down to the private showers and supplied gym gear.

The atmosphere could not be more different at Live Fitness in Northbridge.

Co-owner Jody Robson says boxing has always been a major focus during their 10 years in business, but not their sole appeal.

"We find the people who train here want service," she says. "It's the complete opposite to a 24-hour gym, where there are limited staff and you're on your own if you don't know what you are doing."

A core group of senior trainers have been a constant presence at the gym along with Robson and her husband Tony, with some clients staying with the same trainer for nearly a decade.

Specialist programs on weight loss and nutrition have also proved popular.

"There's so much more to it than just pushing weights," Robson says. "There's the social aspect, the music, your friends, all of that stuff."

The West Australian

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