Flash fitness

What goes up must come down – it’s not only a law of nature, it’s a good principle. After the sensual over indulgence of Christmas and New Year January is the time of ‘coming down’ with the first month of the year often a big fat reality check in more ways than one. Not only are credit card statements greeted with incredulity, fate often plays a cruel hand at holiday time bizarrely and inexplicably shrinking clothes which had formerly fitted well.

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It’s unsurprisingly then that across the world the most common New Year’s resolutions are all health-related: eat better, lose weight, exercise more, drink less alcohol and quit smoking. So if these are yours too you are in good company. And don’t let anyone mock your resolutions because such promises have a long and honourable history. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year assuring them that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. In the Medieval era knights took the ‘peacock vow’ at the end of the Christmas season’s revelries which re-affirmed their commitment to chivalry and honourable deeds in the coming year.

If you are going to transform your health and improve your physical well-being this year the most stylish inner city fitness facility is located right here in the West End, Balance City. Housed in the former Hunter Water Board head office the building is grand, from its exquisite stone façade and intricate iron work to its magnificent dark timber. Everything about the building hints that it has had a grand past and the building still has the kind of civic presence that NSW Public Works Department buildings are known for.

It opened in 1916 and the Hunter Water Board logo in frosted glass still adorns the foyer entry. The building also played a part in the defense of Newcastle during World War 11; in 1942 a key control post for the State War Effort Coordination Committee was established here. It is now owned by the McCloy Group and leased by Wests as Balance City Gym.

All three floors of the building are occupied by the gym and with so many levels there is a wealth fitness services: cardio studio, weights, all-new functional training zone, pin-loaded alleyway and release zone plus cardio and resistance zones. You can take part in the many group classes on offer, do your own workout or hire a personal trainer to design a program for your specific needs. If you aren’t a nine-to-fiver it can be frustrating getting to a gym, but Balance City has the option of a 24/7 membership which gives round-the-clock access and comes with an onsite security guard for peace of mind.

The gym is also fitted with a ladies only zone where women are able to exercise in private and it is equipped with a variety of cardio equipment, pin-loaded weights, stretch cage and free weights to maximise their workouts. Balance City also has luxurious change rooms fitted with iron and ironing board, hair straighteners, hair dryers, long lockers and full-length mirrors.

If you don’t want to sweat but Zen out you can renew your mind and body in the lifestyle studio where yoga, Pilates, relaxation and Pilates Reformer classes are held. For parents there is a large crèche, a fun-filled activity centre designed for kids 6 weeks to 12 years. This safe, air-conditioned environment has a special baby’s room with a cot and change facilities and is run by qualified staff who entertain the children in their care with activities, games and craft.

Adjacent to Balance is Stella Café which makes the serious claim of having ‘the best coffee in Newcastle’, it certainly is perfectly located to get a caffeine pick-me-up after a workout or large enough to have a social gathering with workout buddies. Out on the café’s alfresco seating area the mundane car park view is redeemed by two large funky murals on the brick wall opposite.

But back to those New Year’s resolutions – where will you be in 12 months’ time? To be effective a good New Year’s resolution has to be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and timely and I suspect this involves putting down the remote, putting more leafy greens on your plate and putting on your walking shoes.  Go sweat!

Balance City, 593 Hunter Street, Newcastle West. Phone: 4907 6600. Open: Monday to Friday 5.00am–10.00pm, Saturday and Sunday 7.00am–6.00pm. Crèche open: Monday to Friday 9.00am–1.00pm, Saturday 8.00am-12noon. Balance Health Clubs can be found on Facebook and Instagram #balancehealth and online at: www.balancehealth.com.au


Kimberly O’Sullivan

Have you chosen the West End as your home or as the perfect place to run your business? Do you have a West End tale which deserves a wider audience? What inspires and infuriates you about the West End? If you have a story to tell I would love to talk to you! Here’s how to find me: kimberly@netspace.net.au; 0413 250 155.


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