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Fitness shines in the sun

WATCHING Grant Hackett and Kieren Perkins thrash it out in the 1500m freestyle during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was an emotional and inspiring 15 minutes for many Australians.

While we all wonder how it would feel to stand on top of the podium to have the gold placed around our necks, for most it is an unlikely dream.

The thought that “It could have been me if I just attended some of those swimming carnivals in high school” is usually settled by a cold beer or a glass of wine and a “Good on you mate” whispered towards the bottom of the glass.

There was, however, a quiet irony in the watching of the Games.

While most pubs showing the Games in the city found themselves overrun, many gyms and health clubs found their weights unlifted and their stair masters stagnant.

City Centre Fitness Club owner-manager Lynette Margolius said even the most loyal clients were absent.

“We actually had a slow down during those two weeks,” Ms Margolius said.

“We rely on the stockbrokers and the lawyers in the city. At lunchtime they were apparently all down the pub!

“In fact we hardly saw anything of clients who religiously attended three to five times a week.”

So while many conversations along the lines of “Gee I really should get fit,” took place while watching the likes of Thorpe and Freeman, how many of us really meant it?

CBD Health Spa general manager Tino Lena has been involved in the fitness industry for more than 12 years and said every Olympic Games brought a mini-boom of about 10-20 per cent.

“Every time it has been massive,” Mr Lena said.

“The Commonwealth Games also increases the number of inquiries.”

While the Olympics seems to have inspired city folk heading of to the CBD Health Spa in Perth, other gyms experienced little or no change.

Kellie Durrant, the sales and marketing manager of Lords Sports Club in Subiaco, said she had never noticed a change in the 10 years she has worked there.

“They might be motivated intrinsically, but I haven’t noticed any more people coming in because of the Olympics or people training harder,” Ms Durrant said.

“The beginning of summer is what really inspires people.”

So are we more motivated at the thought of slipping into a bikini, or showing our winter bellies to the world in a pair of shorts, than we are by the swelling pride created by watching our Aussie swimmers take gold?

“I think so. When the fine weather comes out, we tend to get really busy,” Ms Durrant said.

Ms Margolius said when it came to getting physical the sun outstripped a gold medal any day.

“People tend to think, ‘Well the summers coming on and I have to get into cossies and shorts – fright, horror, horror and shock – off to the gym’,” she said.

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