Subiaco has plenty of gyms ready to turn you into the best version of yourself so Gail Williams pulls on the Lorna Janes and goes in search of some of the best.
If you’ve noticed a spring in the step of Subiaco locals it could have something to do with the number of gyms dotted around the suburb.
Look no further than your street corner to find a personal trainer, a pilates studio, a gymnasium or a group training class. Now there’s no excuse not to get fit or hot and sweaty as we head into spring. Subiaco residents can be spotted pounding the pavement, discovering their endorphins and putting themselves through punishing regimes to get match fit for the warmer weather. Here we meet some of the Subi personalities doing their best to enable us all to achieve our personal best.
Clark Keltie from The Fitness Hub
2/224 Rokeby Road
Clark Keltie and his fiancée, Bella Arhjoua, might just be Subiaco’s version of Posh and Becks.
And it’s not just because of their immaculate styling, classic good looks and ability to draw a crowd.
Heads turn when they stride down Rokeby Road to Community Coffee, one of their favourite Saturday morning hangouts. Keltie often stops for some banter on the way, jokingly admonishing his clients –a diverse demographic including winemaker Larry Cherubino and Bob, the 76-year old Vietnam Vet – if he catches them enjoying a sugary guilty pleasure with their coffee.
It’s all part of Keltie’s day job – keeping Subi people fit, happy and leading a well balanced lifestyle. And it’s one he takes very seriously.
Born in Newcastle-Upon Tyne, Keltie became a professional UK soccer player as a Darlington midfielder at age 17 and went on to become the youngest captain in the club’s history.
Since moving to Perth in 2013 under offer with the Perth Soccer Club he has discovered another three loves besides soccer – 1. a passion for personal training. 2. his fiancée, Bella and 3. Subiaco people. And not necessarily in that order.
All three come together in harmony at the Fitness Hub, the personal training business that Keltie opened in Rokeby Road last year when he was stood down from his job during COVID. Arhjoua does the accounts which she fits in around her full-time job at the Town of Victoria Park and her international affairs studies.
Currently training around 80 Subiaco locals he says many have become good friends over the past eight years he has lived in Perth.
“It was due to my loyal base of clients who came with me (when I started my own business), stood by me and supported me,” he says.
“We were training in parks – Lake Jualbup, Lake Monger, Subi Oval – I would take my equipment down there and do circuit classes, group training and one-on-one boxing.”
When a studio space became available alongside Elite Physiotherapy with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, the clients began pouring in.
He’s obviously proud of his success stories – which range from training beginners to run their first marathons to helping them bounce back to fitness after having children and transforming aching bodies to living pain-free.
Louise, a woman in her 60s, had been a client for five years when she had a cancer health scare.
“She went through chemo for 12 weeks last year and wanted to keep coming,” he says. “Some days she wasn’t able to do much so we would walk around Subiaco together and it was really just so I could be there for her, a shoulder to lean on.”
Bob, the Vietnam Vet and Subi character, is another favourite.
“When he came to us he was 109kg and, quite frankly, not happy in himself. We sat down and mapped out a 10-week program together which would mean sacrifices to his daily routines. The goal was to lose 1kg per week following a structured personal training program. Ten weeks later he is now down to 99kg. This has given him a better quality of life, a better sleeping pattern and reduced the inflammation in his body.”
Keltie says he gets as much out of the personal relationships as his clients do and takes a holistic approach with his programs, especially during COVID times.
“It is paramount now to be tuned into any mental health issues people might be having,” he says. “Training is as much about mental well being as it is about physical. I encourage them to share any personal issues they may be having.”
His secret to longevity is a three-pronged approach: exercise, good diet, and ice baths.
“A lot of people think if I go to the gym that allows me to live the life I want elsewhere, going out and eating and drinking. But that just counteracts all the good work. We do have to have a work/play balance.”
But Keltie is not a complete wowser. He and Arjhoua enjoy the odd tipple and love their food. Their Subiaco favourites are Cherubino City Cellar, Lulu La Delizia, Lady of Ro and Storehouse. For a long black they head to Little Rokeby.
Iain Hennessy and Carrie Hatherly from Lords Recreation Centre
5 Wembley Close
There are certain Lords’ members who set their alarms every night for 6pm. That’s when online bookings open for a 6am Pump or RPM group class with instructors Iain Hennessy or Carrie Hatherly.
They’re the married couple who met at Lords in 2008, when Hennessy – who has been an instructor there for 16 years – started training Hatherly in the Les Mills group fitness program.
When they married last year a throng of regulars were among the wedding guests, indicating how close-knit the Lords family is.
And just like most families these members have their idiosyncrasies. They’ll ring to check on each other if one of them doesn’t turn up for class.
Some take protective ownership of their exercise bikes, jealously guard their territory on the exercise floor and request favourite workout songs which leave them on a high for the rest of the day.
Like many Lords devotees their memberships go back decades and they have the long-term friendships to prove it, having shared some lows along with the many highs.
Sue Piperis joined the club back in 1983 when Lords – which dates back to 1970 but has been run by the City of Subiaco since 2009 – was a vastly different place to the spacious premises now.
She too met her late husband, John, there and the couple made dozens of like-minded friends as they socialised and exercised together. He was well known for his cheeky banter, his Ricky Martin song requests and his insistence on using a particular bike.
When he passed away from cancer last year the members couldn’t attend the funeral because of COVID restrictions but they arranged for his exercise bike to be in a prominent place at the service.
Says Piperis: “That was such a beautiful thing to see and meant that our Lords friends, who couldn’t be there were somehow there with me. It was a symbol of his passion for fitness and his love for chatting with his gym junkie friends during and after classes. Those friendships kept his spirits high through his long battle.”
That, says Hennessy, sums up Lords perfectly.
“Lords has a feel that it’s here for the people,” he says. “It provides something for people at different stages of their lives from pregnant mums to new mums with the creche, to the elderly with the aqua aerobics and gold circuit classes. It feels like it was set up for the people as opposed to a business.”
Hennessy says the couple need the clients as much as they need them.
“During COVID it wasn’t the same when Lords was closed down,” he says. “We did our exercise routine but we really do thrive on the interaction and the banter. There’s George in his 80s and Ralph who was here until his 90s.”
Both fit their instructing commitments at Lords around their full time jobs – Hennessy as a chiropractor with his own practice Vivify Health & Chiropractic and Hatherly as a town planner with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.
The couple share a home nearby Lords with their two children – and two rainbow lorikeets.
The lorikeets, Monkey and Otis, are as much a part of Lords' life to regular members as the two instructors with Hennessy working stories about them into his patter.
“They have heard how I rescued Monkey, an injured baby lorikeet, in Perry Lakes one day and nursed him back to health over three months. Then another one came along and I take them both to work everyday,” he says.
“Now people who come across an injured bird will call me and ask my advice.”
And the couple really do love Subiaco. Their favourite outdoor places to exercise are in Subi Centro where there are plenty of steps to go up and down and Mabel Talbot Park or just running through Kings Park.
“It’s a lovely community,” says Hennessy. “There’s so much diversity, people are down-to-earth, the streets are tree-lined and there are so many beautiful old houses. I also love the fact that we are close to the centre of the city.”
TC Lee from Get Results Personal Training Studio
28 Townshend Road
You won’t find TC Lee’s clients having a leisurely coffee after their workouts. And that doesn’t mean that TC is not on the most friendly terms with them.
It’s just that he specialises in time-poor clients – around 40 of them who are busy western suburbs doctors, business owners, hard working Mums with stressful day jobs.
They each get a 30-minute personalised one-on-one workout with Lee who has a degree in Human Movement and has been a personal trainer for 17 years.
For eight years he has operated from a five-sqm studio in Townshend Road where he guides clients through circuit training with kettle drums, weights and using habit-based coaching, science and encouragement to get the best results.
“I do develop a relationship with my clients” says Singaporean born Lee. “You must have some empathy and listen to their struggles. Some are embarrassed about what they look like at the beginning and some feel they only do this training because they have to. People come to me for all different types of reasons. Some want to lose weight, some want more flexibility and some come because they want to ward off hip or shoulder surgery.”
And, as a father of two children – aged four and six – Lee is a busy man himself with little time to explore Subi gems.
“My day starts at 5am and finishes at 9pm,” he says. “I’m usually exhausted but I do have some Subi favourites – Whisk Creamery, Blacklist Cafe and Nando’s.”
Where to work out? Find a place near you.
Intense Health Subiaco
11/3 Centro Avenue
Specialists in two 20-minute workouts per week for busy people who want to lose weight. And they offer a money back guarantee if there are no results.
Goodlife Health Club
The Colonnade 388 Hay Street
This user-friendly gym is open 24/7 and offers group fitness classes, a cycle studio, cardio equipment, free parking and sauna and steam rooms.
7/531 Hay Street
Members not only get to choose the music here with a crowd DJ kiosk on site 24/7 but they can choose the time to do their workout class by joining one of 16 virtual workout sessions. There’s also in-person master class group fitness sessions, weight training, yoga and boxing classes.
335 Churchill Avenue
Co-founders Faye Sheridan and Tony Merrick decry the gym, pilates and yoga studio tag preferring to say they are a movement. It’s a movement that involves personal training, reformer pilates, yoga, meditation, lifestyle coaching, online training and physiotherapy and rehab – all under one roof.