14 September 2020

Haagon East and Sue Richard are two very familiar faces around PROACTIVE24. Buying the gym in the October of 2007, the fitness industry stalwarts have built their empire through a vast combined knowledge and wealth of experience in the field of health and wellbeing. The dynamic duo decided to sell PROACTIVE24 in January 2020 to free up some time and focus more deeply on their other business baby – TRIBE Team Training®, a team training model that is now being offered right across the world.

Sue Richard has been passionate about health and fitness her entire life. After finishing her Bachelor of Physical Education in Sport Science in Canada, she decided the time was right to travel. After working in the fitness industry throughout her studies, it was natural for her to look for work in the same sector upon arriving in the land of the long white cloud.

“It was an industry that I was passionate about and wanted to continue working in. I was hired at Les Mills Dunedin and from there my career took off,” she says. “In my 13 year career with Les Mills I held many leadership roles and management positions. It was a working history I am forever grateful for.”

Sue met her husband Haagon 25 years ago; a university graduate with a Bachelor of Physical Education from Otago University. The two travelled up and down the country working for Les Mills and supporting their various clubs. They were also learning the secret recipe to working alongside your life partner every day. When their children came along, the family moved from Auckland to Dunedin to manage Les Mills Dunedin, spending many a weekend and holiday in Wanaka. They decided to make the move permanent in 2007; purchasing PROACTIVE 24 and pouring their love and energy into the fitness centre, before choosing to redirect some of their unwavering energy on the TRIBE Team Training® element this year.

“We love every day in Wanaka and most importantly at PROACTIVE24. It is such an honour and privilege to be a part of this amazing community - we have met friends that will last a lifetime and are so proud that our kids have grown up here,” Sue says. “As any business owner will know, we need to be working ‘on’ the business, not so much ‘in’ the business. Because of my passion of wanting to stay connected with the members through teaching classes, personal training and coaching TRIBE, it was quite a simple decision; we wanted to work ‘in’ the business of PROACTIVE24 and ‘on’ the business of TRIBE Team Training®. By selling PROACTIVE24 after 12 years of working ‘on’ the business, it has now allowed me to work ‘in’ the business of PROACTIVE24 - essentially coming back to my passion and my roots.”


Th research behind the TRIBE training model is simple - most individuals attain far greater results working in a team than working on their own. Sue believes it is the team momentum of TRIBE Team Training® that creates a dynamic environment for individual success. With small, personal sessions of no more than 10 participants, run by astute, experienced coaches, each TRIBE offering – be it TribeFIT™, TribeLIFE™, TribeCORE™, TribePUNCH™ or TribeKIDS™ - offers a series of exercises across six week seasons with guaranteed results.

“TRIBE offers you safe, effective, progressive training that guarantees results no matter what fitness level or exercise history, allowing you to outperform any given one-off workout anytime,” Sue says. “Team members will visibly see their results at the end of every six-week cycle. They are measured in cardiovascular fitness, strength, and mobility gains. For example, our team members know they become fitter and stronger because they will complete the same session from six weeks prior - called our benchmark measure - and they will see improved times or an increase in rep counts at the completion of the season. They can expect to see a measured increase in strength, such as an increase in load of equipment with the ability to maintain form. They can also expect to see an overall increase in range of motion in any given plane of motion, which is an improvement in mobility. There is also a myriad of ‘feel good’ results, such as team members who are now in a routine and have created exercise consistency; no more stop starts. They gain a sense of belonging, accountability, accomplishment, community and friendships.”


Clubs all around the world are now offering TRIBE Team Training®, with memberships in New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan, England, and Australia. In these unprecedented times, there is greater demand for intimate, bespoke training models that offer a sense of connectedness as well as fitness results.

“Research tells us that now more than ever, people around the world are seeking real social connection that doesn’t involve exercising through a screen. They’re looking forward to coming back together and exercising together in a safe environment,” Sue says. “TRIBE can offer all of this in any club around the world. With a limited number of team members - no more than six to 10 per team, per season - members are loving the social interaction, the benefits, the results, and that they are exercising safely in a controlled, clean environment.”

It’s the members that keep Sue bouncing out of bed in the morning, ready to tackle the new day. “We all know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and how important it is to our mental and physical health. My passion comes from our members and the courage it takes to make the decision to live a healthy lifestyle,” she says. “Everyone has a different background and a different story, however the one thing we all have in common is that we seek results or a ‘better’ life. These results are all relative to the individual and it is a total privilege to be welcomed into their inner circle to help them achieve these goals.”





17 August 2020

Steve Cockram

Many members will know the smiling face of PROACTIVE24 Manager, Steve Cockram, either from behind the front desk, out in the gym with one of his personal training clients or sweating through an RPM group exercise class. Here, Steve walks us through how he came to live in New Zealand from sunny England and how he utilises SMART goal setting to get results.

Since starting out in the fitness industry at the age of 17, Steve has continually developed his knowledge and career. As well as being an instructor, trainer and coach, the PROACTIVE24 gym manager has also trained and educated others to become fitness instructors and personal trainers.

“My passion for personal training and coaching stems from my enjoyment and satisfaction in helping clients to achieve goals, exceed their potential and change their lives and lifestyle for the better and for their future,” Steve says. “Working with a number of professional athletes from different sporting fields in specialised rehabilitation, nutritional and pre/post competition programmes have allowed me not only to immensely enjoy my continuing exercise and fitness journey, but to work with some amazing professionals.”

Known for his easy grin and enthusiasm when it comes to all things health and wellbeing, Steve loves using plyometric training (also known as jump training, increasing power by using muscles at maximum force in short intervals of time) and calisthenics (body-weight workouts) alongside strength training to create exercise programs rich in variety.

The trainer moved to Wanaka in 2018 from the United Kingdom, to take over management at PROACTIVE24. It was a big move for the fitness enthusiast, who had previously been managing the health club for London’s premier private sports club, Roehampton Club for six years. With 5000 members, it was a big change to move to the snow-capped peaks of Otago, but a challenge readily accepted.

“I wanted a new environment and challenge, and to work and live in New Zealand was a brand-new experience, with a chance for me to love what I’m doing and where I’m doing it,” Steve says. “Before working at Roehampton Club, I had managed gyms and health clubs in Devon and the south west and always kept my PT clients as a passion.”

Using SMART Goals to achieve more

Steve is a big believer in working smarter, as well as harder. Working with Steve always starts with a sit down to uncover the following goals and their moving parts.

S – Specific: Includes individual, small and targeted goals that come from an overall larger goal broken down into specifics

M – Measurable: How do you know when you achieve the goal/s? What are these measured against or what does success look like?

A – Achievable/Attainable: Is it within your power to accomplish these goals?

R – Realistic: Are these goals realistic to be achieved or do you/we need to reduce/increase the goal?

T – Timebound: When do you, the client want to achieve this by?

“I implement these into training and clients’ PT sessions by having regular conversations and revisiting these goals on a constant basis, as well as continual visual and physical analysis of exercises, mobility, strength, flexibility or whatever the goals may relate to,” Steve says. “SMART goals keep the clients accountable in their lives outside of the gym and whilst working out, they give the client focus, purpose, sense of achievement and also a staged progress report almost every session or week. These goals also keep the trainer accountable for giving the client everything they need in terms of the platform, the programme and exercises; the encouragement, the positivity, the analysis and the results obviously!”

Five steps to health

Steve has five key tips to instigating an improvement in health, which are easily adopted in everyone’s lifestyles as a way to keep in fine fettle. This is more important now than ever, with the stress of a changing world and COVID-19 nudging habits into daily life which can negatively impact health.

“Exercise for 30 minutes, at least four times a week with an activity that raises your heart rate to 70 to 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate,” Steve says. “I know it’s also common knowledge, but it’s always a good to be reminded to drink up to three-litres of water per day and get enough sleep! Ideally seven to eight hours per night. Set a routine for electronics to be put away or switched off, lights out and waking up at the same time.”

“Enjoy the physical activities that you do; enjoyment means that you look forward to exercise, not feel like you have to do it or don’t want to do it,” he continues. “Think about the calories that you ingest to the calories that you exert per day. Once you have a good idea of this, your eating habits can be tailored around what your body requires and not what your mind craves!”



Stay Fit in Ski Season - Brendon Fox

8 July 2020

Skiing into winter

Living in Wanaka means a natural love of the mountains. From many a window, we’re lucky to be able to gaze up at the snow draped mountains, anticipating that first run of the season and the woosh woosh of skis through fresh powder.

With the slopes now open for business, many of us will be strapping on our boots and heading to the hills the first chance we get. But in the worst-case scenario, the outing can be marred with the niggle of an old injury or worse yet, coming off the mountain in worse shape than when you first arrived. PROACTIVE24 Personal Trainer, Brendon Fox is a keen skier and boarder, and knows all too well the frustration of being kept off the chairs or tied to the piste because of injury or fear of a fall. Here, the experienced trainer shares his tips for a top season.

Growing up in Dunedin, Brendon attended Otago Boys’ High and Otago University, where he studied commerce. Training as a chef in his early 20s, Brendon then moved to Sydney in 2000, starting his long career in personal training, initially qualifying with a Cert 3 in PT and then Cert 4 soon after. “I also studied Thai massage, Paul Chek, foam roller and myofascial release among many other things along the journey,” Brendon says. “I moved back to New Zealand when the kids were young, as I didn’t want them to be Wallabies supporters. I took a break from PT and bought an HRV franchise in the North Island, but Wanaka was calling and so was the fitness industry.”

Among his sessions, Brendon loves to share his knowledge of nutrition, cooking, motivation techniques and training. Having skied up until 2000, Brendon considered himself a die-hard Treble Cone man until he found the freedom of boarding. With two kids in tow; 16-year-old Vale (a skier) and 10-year-old Tane (a boarder) as well as skier wife, Sarah, being on the slopes in winter is a whole family affair.

“Some of the most common - and avoidable - injuries on the slopes that we see back in the gym include knee injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries and wrist injuries,” Brendon says. “Many of these can be avoided, or if injury occurs, the recovery can be sped up by training specifically for your chosen snow sport. Motivation to train is really important. If you break your year into easily manageable parts and organise your training around key events like ski season or summer sports, then it’s easier to stay focused on your general health and wellbeing.”

Brendon says that whether you’re a professional on the slopes or a weekend punter, a snow specific training program is essential. “Ideally, you’d start least 12 weeks out,” he says. “This includes six weeks of balance, stability, coordination and postural alignment, followed by six weeks of strength training.” However, if you’ve left it too late for this season’s run, there’s always more you can do. “In season I like to work on my explosive power with targeted plyometrics and power lifting. You can always be stronger and more able to adapt to conditions.”

Some of the most important aspects of fitness that can help avoid injuries include strong legs. “This includes lunges, squats, leg press - you name it, do it and do it hard. The stronger you are leading in, the better prepared you are for injury prevention,” he says. “Number two is a strong back. Deadlifts, bent row and seated rows are just an example. The third most important thing is to stay lean. If you’re 20kg overweight, then that can hurt when you’re tumbling down a hill. Train like a professional and have more fun.”

Brendon says while the PROACTIVE24 team is always ready to assist, some of the greatest ways to prepare for a winter season is available to all locals for free. “Walk or run the mountains,” he says. “Not only is it good for Mario fitness, I love how it works my legs and challenges my balance and stability; you might also see me squatting on a stability ball from time to time.”

As for his favourite local runs, Brendon isn’t too prejudiced. “I don't really have a favourite run; it’s all about who you’re with. I can have just as much fun on a green run with a good mate as I can on a double black run,” he says. “I love the vibe at Cardrona; the staff are super friendly and it’s a fun place to hang. As I’m a non-drinker I don't really go out much. I’m a fan of Big Fig for lunch, but I can’t go past a spa at home followed by a home cooked meal and some friend and family time.”

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