The battle against the bulge is a First World problem which spawned a fitness and diet industry worth billions.

The industry is now entering a new phase as a raft of boutique micro gyms specialising in discrete weight-loss and elite training methods muscle in on the big-box corporate gyms which for years have dominated the way we sweat.

Businesses specialising in bikram yoga, mixed martial arts, extreme spin classes, Pilates, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and cross-fit are competing with each other and against the likes of Good Life gyms.

The entrepreneurs behind this health revolution are profiled in the latest edition of WestBusiness’ specialist small business magazine, Big Deal.

For veteran Perth gym owner and former police trainer Steve Walton, today’s ferocious competition is a good thing.

“With more and more gyms popping up in every suburb, gym owners have to catch your attention and convince you to take action by calling their number or walking in the door, ” said Mr Walton, who currently runs M1FC in Joondalup.

“Look back 10 to 20 years, a large number of the guys in the gym would follow a bodybuilder training plan to increase muscle and get big. And the ladies would often stick to the cardio area or an aerobic class to burn body fat.

“We are now seeing a big change in how people perceive fitness.”

Fitness Australia spokesman Andrew McCullan said the “young” fitness industry was maturing.

“But you do see different offerings emerging, ” he said.

“Previously, it might have been ladies-only gyms becoming very popular five to six years ago. Since then, it’s gone to 24-hour gyms and now you’ve seen a lot more cross-fit gyms as well.”


PHOTO: Former police trainer Steve Walton


© The West Australian

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