There’s something about the onset of spring that makes many of us feel like we literally need to step up a gear, when it comes to exercise.
But experts say a gentler approach is more likely to contribute to lasting health habits — and fewer injuries.
We talk to three new fitness studios about how they’re helping people get back into their fitness groove.
Peak Performance Institute
Moving away from fashionable fitness and trend-driven spaces, Peak Performance Institute is an allied health center that aims to give clients the foundation to achieve their desired goals, regardless of age or ability.
The West Leederville center combines a traditional gym with clinics for physiotherapy, chiropractic, podiatry, massage, occupational therapy, naturopathy, exercise physiology and psychology, as well as ice baths, infrared saunas and group classes.
Visitors can access unique treatments, but the real magic happens when services are combined through a membership, according to co-owner and chief physical therapist Mark Maddison.
“We wanted to move away from this reactive approach, where you rely heavily on quick fixes and dealing with pain and symptoms,” says Maddison.
“We wanted to go further in the area of preventive care, well-being and education. We want to redefine a holistic approach to health and wellness.
To find the best starting point, clinicians can use the VALD suite, which is the world’s most advanced objective assessment system and is used by elite international teams in the NBA and NFL.
“Being able to use these systems not just with elite athletes, but with the general population, is something that I love,” says Maddison.
“I’m excited to know where this could go because no one in Australia is actually doing what we’re doing.
“We work with everyone from kids to parents and people who want to squeeze more juice out of their tank to become better performers. That’s what Peak Performance is all about: taking people from all walks of life to the next level.
Maddison emphasizes the importance of focusing on an overall better life, rather than seeking instant results from exercise.
“We don’t just want to help people, not just day to day or until the end of the summer,” he says.
“We want to have a permanent impact on people’s lives, in the long term.”
Perth’s newest yoga studio has a ‘come as you are’ approach, inviting students to show up and practice in whatever way suits them best.
Yoga Folk owners Sam Murphy and Sam Rodarte have based community at the heart of their offering, with a space designed to make everyone who walks through the doors feel comfortable and safe.
The program includes a diverse range of teachers and class styles from all ends of the yogic spectrum, including strong vinyasa, gentle flow, yin, foundations, meditation, breathwork, and mindful movement.
“Our philosophy and vision is quite simple – we’re very passionate about yoga and we really want to share that in an authentic way,” Murphy says.
“We’ve created a space that fosters a community and we’ve chosen teachers whose practice we believe truly comes from the heart.”
While yoga can improve mobility, balance and strength, Rodarte says the benefits go far beyond the body.
“Yoga is not a seasonal trend suited for the ‘perfect’ physique,” she says.
“Yoga is a practice that will teach you to have compassion for your mind and body, regardless of your physical appearance.”
Murphy says the studio views yoga as a spiritual practice and encourages students to experience classes at their own pace.
“It’s not about coming to a practice to nail a pose and then doing even better next time,” she says.
“It’s about taking everything your body needs physically and mentally into each class. Some days you may be able to go the extra mile physically, then some days you may not feel like pushing the limits and instead want to ease into the breath.
Niche Physio & Pilates
Here, everything is in the name.
Rather than large studio classes, Niche at Mt Hawthorn focuses on intimate sessions with qualified physiotherapists to give Pilates a more personalized approach.
In their clinical classes, there are no more than three participants, while reformer classes are capped at six.
Owners Alexia Catenacci and Carly Macfarlane say the physiotherapists have advanced injury knowledge, which allows them to offer a more personalized approach to Pilates compared to a traditional studio.
“Every body is different, so if you offer a cookie-cutter approach to a group, not everyone will experience the same benefits,” Macfarlane says.
“A lot of injuries are caused by overloading or not having that gradual progression to exercise. You definitely see people saying, ‘Summer is coming, I have to get out and do a bunch of things.’
“We try to look at the individual and target what they need.”
Catenacci adds, “That’s what makes our niche – few physiotherapy clinics have the training or the equipment that we have, so it opens up a range of different exercises.”
For those who may have been away from exercise for a while, Pilates can be an ideal vehicle to get moving again.
“The good thing about Pilates is that anyone can do it, whether they’re eight or 90,” says Catenacci.
“It’s low load, can be adjusted with different attachments or springs, and made easy or hard depending on the individual.
“If someone is coming back from an injury or surgery and they’re not ready to do things in the gym, that’s a good stepping stone to get them back in. A lot of times people start out with that state of mind. spirit, but they fall in love with it.”