It’s boom time for Ballarat gyms, as a major Australian franchise eyes off floor space on of the city’s busiest roads.
A planning application submitted in December shows a Fernwood gym could be destined for the south side of 110-114 Creswick Road, if approved by City of Ballarat. The property is still for lease through real estate agent Colliers Ballarat.
The planning application comes as Ballarat shifts to a gym-based fitness focus, with the popular F45 franchise now moving into a prominent Mair Street building.
Plans for the Creswick Road property show two gym floors, a group fitness room, a spin cycling room and a wellness centre across the two-level, 1,348 square metre space. A new pedestrian bridge will be constructed from Creswick Road to the first floor of the facility.
Fernwood declined to comment directly on the planning application.
Fernwood Ballarat currently has 1500 members, and according to owner Lee Squires, it’s been “steady and consistent” growth since she started the gym in 2003.
“I can't say Ballarat's unique to growth in health and well-being, it’s been a general trend across the world,” she said.
“Our industry will always follow the Americans, and this boom was predicted and anticipated many years ago. Here there’s plenty of boutique gyms, which give people choice.
“We’re strong because we stand alone in our product offering; we serve women. It’s more like a community and a home for women in Ballarat, particularly if they've just moved here.”
City of Ballarat’s Active Women and Girls Strategy reported last year gym workouts are more popular with women than men, with 17 per cent of women reporting they visit the gym, compared to 10 per cent of men.
F45 Training Ballarat is preparing to move from their Armstrong Street South digs to take up residence at 8 Mair Street, formerly the Mercedes Benz building.
Trainer Lee Brady told The Courier F45 Training were moving to a “bigger and better facility” after two years of success, having outgrown their current space.
Started in 2011 in Sydney’s trendy, upmarket suburb of Paddington, F45 provides ‘functional’ training. Reportedly the fastest growing gym franchise internationally, it now has 1500 studios across 40 different countries.
“It’s going to be a bigger and improved space and we’re going to have updated equipment, so we think it will be really good for members,” Mr Brady said.
“There’s plenty of successful gyms popping up.
“The rise in gyms (in Ballarat) means that there’s more people working out and getting fit. It’s great because the most important thing is the individual finding something that suits them and they can stick to.”
Ballarat has higher rates of obesity when compared to Geelong, Bendigo and the Victorian average, according to a sport participation profile by City of Ballarat. But the city also has lower rates of people who reported they were physically inactive, and fewer people sitting for at least seven hours a day.