by Helen Martin
Born in West Auckland and with links to Helensville through the Glavish family, who settled here from Yugoslavia in the early 1900s and made their mark since in public roles, Richard Price has an action-packed background which includes travel to many parts of the world, three years’ frontline service in the British Royal Navy as a helicopter mechanic in Afghanistan and Norway and three years’ service as a member of the navy’s boxing team whose goal was to promote the military and support charities. Added to that, he has a title-winning track record in Muay Thay boxing and Taekwondo.
On his return home, Richard settled in Glorit and during Queen’s Birthday Weekend this year took on ownership of Helensville Fitness Centre, setting himself the task of rebranding and refurbishing the business to make good on his dream of helping the people of Helensville reach their personal goals for health, strength and fitness. He and an army of volunteers have spent many hours giving the newly-branded Forge Fitness a fresh, new look, repainting it vibrant orange on the outside and orange and two complementary shades of grey in the interior. While the original bikes, rowing machines, cross trainers and treadmills remain, after long negotiations with Anytime Fitness in Hamilton Richard has replaced the exercise machines with high-end, heavy grade steel by Life Fitness & Hammer Strength equipment, with each machine having a specific purpose. “For the size of the gym and the population of the town we’re one of the best-equipped gyms in the country,” he says. One piece he is particularly proud of is the Life Fitness Synrgyfunctional trainerwhich is like a jungle gym for adults. The Synrgyhas a number of stations, including a punch bag, TRX bands, adjustable dips & plyometric jump platform, and is great for people wanting to get in shape by working around a small circuit. The gym, which is on two levels, is also equipped with enough swiss balls, weights, mats and gear designed for strength and conditioning to suit any exercise programme. “I’ve always been obsessed with equipment,“ Richard explains. “I’m an unashamed gear geek and, as well as providing a full range, I’m meticulous in keeping it oiled and well maintained.”
Forge Fitness operates 24/7 and is staffed at set times each day. As well as use of a comprehensive range of equipment, members are offered a free programme to suit their individual needs when they join and personal trainers Yvette Amadia and Joshua Taitimu-Moore are available for hire for those wanting continued expert assistance in setting and reaching specific goals. Currently a high intensityclass called Fatigue runs on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6.30pm and more classes, such as Pilates, as well as six- and eight-week challenges, are in the pipeline for next year.
Already known in the area for having taught boxing at Te Awaroa Youth Club and Helensville Fitness Centre, Richard is also making big plans to bring in what he learned overseas by setting up a boxing gym in a separate building in Helensville. “It will be an Australasian first to have both a 24/7 fitness gym and specialized boxing gym within five minutes’ walk of each other. The boxing gym will be geared towards promoting fitness and boxing competition, and will have the ultimate goal of raising the national standard to Olympic level. Essentially it will be run along the concepts of what I learned in Europe, where the standard is very high.”
Evidence that he has the community at heart can be seen in the fact that, rather than sell off the old gym equipment to offset some of the cost of the new, Richard donated it to Puatahi Marae, from where Richard Nahi shared it out among the marae, Wellsford Youth Club and a new gym in Pukekohe. Richard is grateful for the help he’s received while making changes to the gym (Richard Nahi and his whanau helped move the equipment, for example) and also for the patience clients have shown during the process. He enjoys the fact that members are of all ages and levels of fitness and that there’s a great feeling of camaraderie and a community feel among gym users.
“Not all gyms are equal,” says Richard. “Please come and have a chat, try us out. We’re constantly evolving and basically, we want people who come here to have a good time.”
by Helen Martin