Monday morning 9am, and I’ve just pitched up at Eastside Body Transformation Studio in Parnell to throw my body at the mercy of owner Wendy Bobsien. It’s a grey day and I’m feeling a little off-colour myself. Inside I find the warm aroma of essential oils and a welcoming Wendy, pottering around chatting to a client who has her legs and feet gently jiggling on a softly vibrating Power Plate, enjoying an end-of-workout massage. Eighties pop cheats Milli Vanilli are crooning on Spotify at client’s request. It’s a relaxing, even soothing scene, and suddenly my day is looking a lot brighter.
In fact, visiting Wendy’s studio on Parnell Rd is more like stepping into a spa experience than a trip to the gym.
‘It has got to be fun to keep people coming though the door,’ she says. ‘It’s their time and it shouldn’t be a chore.’
Wendy is all about putting the personal back into personal training. The fitness trend pendulum has recently swung away from expensive gym memberships — with even more expensive personal trainers attached to them — to the boutique gym concept.
‘I’m trying to get 40-plus women back into movement in a more holistic way,’ says Wendy. ‘I provide a private, safe, effective and, most importantly, fun way to do that.’ Wendy’s not into fad diets or training regimes. ‘My goal is to help clients reach their personal health and fitness goals,’ she says. ‘Whether it’s recovering from injury, helping bring down high blood pressure, losing weight…or all of the above!’
It’s soon time for this 40-plus woman to put down her delicious T2 lemon and ginger tea and start moving. Wendy has already established my fitness level, desires and limitations. She does this for every client, in a free one-hour consultation that happens before you even struggle into your lycra. Given my arthritic knees, she has chosen to use the Power Plate with me today. I’m excited, having already witnessed the massage I can look forward to at the end.
We start with a gentle five minutes warming up on the stationary bike, followed by a good five minutes of stretching. Then it’s onto the Power Plate.
This is such a weirdly fun experience. It takes an ordinary workout and peps it right up. I did one-leg balances (no easy feat whilst vibrating in three directions) push ups, back and front lunges, squats, step ups, bicep curls, side pulls…you name it, that machine is very versatile. Wendy is standing by me the whole time to demonstrate, tweak and support me through each movement.
Wendy can ramp it up into a high-intensity workout or dial it down depending on the needs of her client. Whilst her focus is on one-on-one training she also works with mother-and-daughter combos, husband-and-wife teams or just two friends wanting to train together.
It’s clear that Wendy is caring, knowledgeable and deeply engaged in her clients’ successes. She is also highly accountable — you know exactly who to turn to if the programme isn’t working for you. And if she feels she cannot help, she will ‘pass you forward’. In fact she has four specialists in other fields, including nutrition and massage, who come into the studio space on certain days of the week.
I‘ve had a great workout and a lot of laughs. I finish my session with some cardio, stretching, a little Power Plate massage and then an infrared sauna — another high tech offering at the studio. My advice is to check out her website — www.eastsidestudio.co.nz — for more information and then treat yourself with a visit to Wendy herself.
Words: Suzy Fraser
Mandy Beverley (happy client):
‘I find it very easy to talk myself out of going to exercise, but if I know I have an appointment with Wendy and she’s expecting me and I’ve paid for it, then I will go. For me it’s about accountability and taking my goals seriously.
‘It’s too easy to do a half-baked job in the gym by myself. Wendy is very knowledgeable and adaptable and structures my workout just for me. Basically she does all the hard work and I don’t have to think about it! All three of my daughters have been here and they love it too.’