Positive vibes and changing lives

BACK FOR GOOD: Remix Fitness Studio co-owner operator Gary Nepe pictured during a morning workout. Gary and wife Keriana moved home to Gisborne last year and opened Remix in March. Picture by Paul Rickard

Gisborne’s newest gym is “remixing” fitness.

Last year Gary and Keriana Nepe decided after a decade away, it was time to move home.

The pair had been living all over New Zealand and Australia. Mr Nepe spent that time perfecting his one-on-one personal training sessions, after gaining his Level 3/4 Certificate in Health & Fitness from the New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness. Mrs Nepe had just graduated from Auckland University medical school, ready to take up the mantle as a house officer at Gisborne Hospital.

Moving back to Tairawhiti to be with whanau meant one-on-one wasn’t going to cut it any more. To have the biggest influence on the place they love, the Nepes set about creating their own group fitness gym.

The result was Remix Fitness Studio. They currently have six different classes, and bring out a new-release update each quarter. BOSU balance trainers are their signature apparatus, paired with battle ropes and resistance bands for high-intensity interval training.

They also run four to six-week challenges, with an all-encompassing approach to health.

Since opening in March, Remix has grown from new kid on the whenua to having more than 100 members on the books.

“We wanted to create a place with positive vibes that makes a real impact on people’s lives — a place people leave feeling better and don’t dread coming back to,” says Mr Nepe.

“The gym can be an intimidating experience, so we try to make sure we are constructive and encouraging only. People feel comfortable going at their own pace, as they build their fitness up.”

As a modern gym, Remix takes an integrated approach to technology. Patrons can view and book classes via the Remix GymMaster app, with classes themselves aided by televisions anchored on the gym’s ceiling.

Mrs Nepe and her sisters are the fitness models, with exercises created by Mr Nepe. The videos exemplify each circuit workout, while trainers man the floor helping and encouraging the group.

“The positive changes we have seen in people are amazing. You see them come in and they are a little bit daunted, and then a week later they are just pumping.”

Members aren’t shy about showing off their “changes” either. Check the Remix Fitness Studio Facebook and Instagram pages and you’ll see transformation posts, from more-than-satisfied customers who have lost weight and toned up.

The transformations are so impressive, Mr Nepe says social media has been the only marketing tool needed — especially when it comes to the gym’s challenges.

“A lot of it is mindset. Keriana and I run a goal-setting session at the start and in the middle of each challenge, and to see that sense of achievement build is unreal.

“We also go over nutrition, meal planning and things that work hand-in-hand with Remix training, like weightlifting and yoga.”

Challenge participants also communicate via private Facebook groups, where they post healthy meal ideas and awhi each other along.

Remix is located upstairs next to Crazy Caterpillars. It’s a large, loft-type space with a children’s play area — whanau focus is key — and large chalkboards for attendance tallies.

“Each time they complete a session they add a mark. We have a separate wall for those taking part in challenges too. It’s about consistency, and we see people get addicted to putting that tick up.”

Mr Nepe says they have had a few helping hands from the community, including economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti.

For starters Mr Nepe attended Pop Up Business School Tairawhiti, funded by Activate, in June.

“At the time we were plateauing a bit and Pop Up helped us to look at different approaches to networking. It was great to be in an environment where everything was so optimistic.”

Mr Nepe has also been using Activate’s voucher system via the NZ Trade and Enterprise Regional Business Partner (RBP) Programme.

“We have used the vouchers to go through Xero and business growth training with HPY. It has been good to have that support, a lot more services become available that way.”

Activate’s RBP voucher system gives local businesses access to 50 percent off relevant services, if they meet certain criteria. Since July 2018, $150,000 worth of vouchers for training have been issued to over 60 Tairawhiti businesses. All training is administered by registered service providers.

“Working with Activate has been awesome,” says Mr Nepe. “Business can be a lonely game and having an agency there to connect you to the right people and avenues is huge.”

All the business training in the world won’t matter unless your product is competitive in its industry — a fact that is not lost on the Nepes.

“We are about changing lives for the better and we believe that if people are taking time out of their day to come here, then we have to deliver an awesome session — whether it’s two people or 25.

“We know we’ve done our job when we see people walk out the door with their heads held high.”

Another indicator of a job well done is the gym’s return rate, evident on the members’ tally wall — more than 20 have hit 100 Remix sessions since March.

When the Nepes put together their business plan last year, they included a plan to scale up.

“Our dream is to have Remix Fitness Studios all around Aotearoa, that is our ultimate goal.”

For now, the husband and wife duo are excited to head into a Tairawhiti summer as successful local business owners.

“It is scary starting something and knowing you might fail. The real measure of success for us has been people walking in the door for their first session as strangers and then coming back again and again, as whanau.”

Gisborne’s newest gym is “remixing” fitness.

Last year Gary and Keriana Nepe decided after a decade away, it was time to move home.

The pair had been living all over New Zealand and Australia. Mr Nepe spent that time perfecting his one-on-one personal training sessions, after gaining his Level 3/4 Certificate in Health & Fitness from the New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness. Mrs Nepe had just graduated from Auckland University medical school, ready to take up the mantle as a house officer at Gisborne Hospital.

Moving back to Tairawhiti to be with whanau meant one-on-one wasn’t going to cut it any more. To have the biggest influence on the place they love, the Nepes set about creating their own group fitness gym.

The result was Remix Fitness Studio. They currently have six different classes, and bring out a new-release update each quarter. BOSU balance trainers are their signature apparatus, paired with battle ropes and resistance bands for high-intensity interval training.

They also run four to six-week challenges, with an all-encompassing approach to health.

Since opening in March, Remix has grown from new kid on the whenua to having more than 100 members on the books.

“We wanted to create a place with positive vibes that makes a real impact on people’s lives — a place people leave feeling better and don’t dread coming back to,” says Mr Nepe.

“The gym can be an intimidating experience, so we try to make sure we are constructive and encouraging only. People feel comfortable going at their own pace, as they build their fitness up.”

As a modern gym, Remix takes an integrated approach to technology. Patrons can view and book classes via the Remix GymMaster app, with classes themselves aided by televisions anchored on the gym’s ceiling.

Mrs Nepe and her sisters are the fitness models, with exercises created by Mr Nepe. The videos exemplify each circuit workout, while trainers man the floor helping and encouraging the group.

“The positive changes we have seen in people are amazing. You see them come in and they are a little bit daunted, and then a week later they are just pumping.”

Members aren’t shy about showing off their “changes” either. Check the Remix Fitness Studio Facebook and Instagram pages and you’ll see transformation posts, from more-than-satisfied customers who have lost weight and toned up.

The transformations are so impressive, Mr Nepe says social media has been the only marketing tool needed — especially when it comes to the gym’s challenges.

“A lot of it is mindset. Keriana and I run a goal-setting session at the start and in the middle of each challenge, and to see that sense of achievement build is unreal.

“We also go over nutrition, meal planning and things that work hand-in-hand with Remix training, like weightlifting and yoga.”

Challenge participants also communicate via private Facebook groups, where they post healthy meal ideas and awhi each other along.

Remix is located upstairs next to Crazy Caterpillars. It’s a large, loft-type space with a children’s play area — whanau focus is key — and large chalkboards for attendance tallies.

“Each time they complete a session they add a mark. We have a separate wall for those taking part in challenges too. It’s about consistency, and we see people get addicted to putting that tick up.”

Mr Nepe says they have had a few helping hands from the community, including economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti.

For starters Mr Nepe attended Pop Up Business School Tairawhiti, funded by Activate, in June.

“At the time we were plateauing a bit and Pop Up helped us to look at different approaches to networking. It was great to be in an environment where everything was so optimistic.”

Mr Nepe has also been using Activate’s voucher system via the NZ Trade and Enterprise Regional Business Partner (RBP) Programme.

“We have used the vouchers to go through Xero and business growth training with HPY. It has been good to have that support, a lot more services become available that way.”

Activate’s RBP voucher system gives local businesses access to 50 percent off relevant services, if they meet certain criteria. Since July 2018, $150,000 worth of vouchers for training have been issued to over 60 Tairawhiti businesses. All training is administered by registered service providers.

“Working with Activate has been awesome,” says Mr Nepe. “Business can be a lonely game and having an agency there to connect you to the right people and avenues is huge.”

All the business training in the world won’t matter unless your product is competitive in its industry — a fact that is not lost on the Nepes.

“We are about changing lives for the better and we believe that if people are taking time out of their day to come here, then we have to deliver an awesome session — whether it’s two people or 25.

“We know we’ve done our job when we see people walk out the door with their heads held high.”

Another indicator of a job well done is the gym’s return rate, evident on the members’ tally wall — more than 20 have hit 100 Remix sessions since March.

When the Nepes put together their business plan last year, they included a plan to scale up.

“Our dream is to have Remix Fitness Studios all around Aotearoa, that is our ultimate goal.”

For now, the husband and wife duo are excited to head into a Tairawhiti summer as successful local business owners.

“It is scary starting something and knowing you might fail. The real measure of success for us has been people walking in the door for their first session as strangers and then coming back again and again, as whanau.”

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