by Girl Behind the Lens – Daiyu Tang
My dear reader, I have it under good authority that you might think that GBTL just goes to venues that serve alcohol in order to get a free cocktail? Well, you’d only be PARTIALLY RIGHT! I am quite fond of a free drink, what student wouldn’t be? However, for those of you who know me, I can be found on the yoga mat and also, less frequently due to the lack of partners, in my judogi preparing to ‘kiotsuke’ and practice my movements. While I can shortcut this review and say that Fit Box doesn’t have a dojo to practice in, it does have quite a lot of strength and cardio equipment that can be beneficial to citizens of Hathian looking to get fit, get strong and possibly get personally trained.
So, on with the review… Will Fit Box come out on top, or will the CU Gym, Garage Gym, the Hathian Fight Club’s gym or somewhere else get crowned ‘king of the ring’?
First Impressions & Meeting the Owner
I biked up to Fit Box in order to get some photos and begin the pre-review stage. Normally, what I like to do is take photos when the venue is fairly empty so that I can have junior staff show me around or sometimes be unaccompanied so that I can see the ‘real side’. As I parked, I thought I was in luck, Fit Box was quiet with only the ((NPC)) reception staff available. I’d brought my camera equipment and my gym clothes and thought it was going to be a good chance to take pictures through the extensive glass frontage before perhaps getting some exercise in.
However, as I was beginning to setup, I saw strolling out of the changing room, Eleri Pentewyn, the owner and face of Fit Box. A Hathian fitness celebrity with other fascinating aspects, she had recently launched Fit Box with a professional Twitter campaign and other advertising.
This seemed like a good opportunity to get the inside scoop and probably get permission for photos inside, rather than just use the public sidewalk. So, entering through the wide glass doors I managed to get some time with Eleri after she jumped into the ring and undertook a boxing routine. Getting out the trust notebook, I made notes as we talked about her business, services and motivation. If we’d had more time I’d have loved to talk more about what got her into running, including her State wins, but Eleri is busy, not just with this business so politely ended the interview after a while but not before allowing some additional photos inside, which I took while trying out the equipment.
GBTL – Daiyu Tang: “Good morning Eleri, as I was explaining I’m doing the round of Hathian gyms to find a place to workout and thought I’d do a business review here as well at the same time. Thank you for taking the time out of your session to speak with me, I’ll just ask a few questions and then take a few photos if that works? I guess I’d start by asking for the basics and perhaps your take on the competition? Garage Gym, that kinda place…”
Eleri: “So, ok, why don’t I start with the basics, the business fundamentals; our prices are currently at twenty-five dollars a month, or two hundred dollars a year… I can’t promise I won’t raise them, but that’s what we’re starting with. You mentioned the other gyms around, CU Campus, Garage Gym and so on as well as the Fight Club, I don’t think I compete with the fight club… and the CU gym is for students and woefully underequipped. Garage Gym? Well…”
I could tell that Eleri wasn’t impressed with the competition around Hathian. While it was true that the CU place was small, the Garage Gym was quite large, but having been there earlier it didn’t have the same modern lines and clean, refreshed equipment as what I saw around Fit Box. the Fight Club was interesting, a huge building with a ring in the middle, and then a small gym out the back in containers, it just seemed a bit rough and ready and to be honest, seeing Eleri and the clean nature of her place, felt safer, something any beginners might want to take into account.
GBTL – Daiyu: “So, ok… good prices and looking around, it’s good equipment, perhaps a little light on cardio, but I know you told me you’re looking to invest in more once you find the right stuff. Maybe you can you tell me about the training you offer? I understand you can teach, perhaps maybe tell me what you’d train a complete beginner, someone maybe transitioning from a martial art and then someone who was perhaps advanced? Would you for example teach defence against knives, that kinda thing?”
Eleri: “I’m a self defense instructor Daiyu, I deal with grapples and holds just as much as I deal with kicks and punches. If not more so. Most of the time when you get attacked on the street, you want to know how to minimize damage to yourself, not necessarily how to maximize damage to the enemy, and grappling plays a large part in that.” She paused for a moment. “I’m not here to kick people’ asses. I’m here to teach them to survive the streets of Hathian. Whatever it takes.”
This is something Hathian needs, someone out there giving skill-based training so that some of our Hathian monsters don’t have such an easy ride or win with cheap shots. I hadn’t seen offers for personal training elsewhere, so this was one of the factors that was setting Fit Box apart.
Eleri: “A complete beginner would start with core concepts of martial arts. Triangle of victimization, conflict resolution, maintaining the distance and basic technique to avoid damage. If I have someone more experienced, I will first try to figure out their strengths and weaknesses and work a personal plan from there. Someone coming from a martial art might not be used to real fighting for example, so I’d look to get them into full-contact sparring. You can’t learn to fight effectively before you learn to take a punch and keep going. I do teach techniques of how to defend against weapons, but I also make sure my students understand that going against someone with a knife is just generally a bad idea, if there is any way to avoid it.”
GBTL – Daiyu: “Sounds like you’ve got this all sussed out, but I guess if you were confident to open a business, you’d be sure to have a plan on how to run it.”
Eleri: “Yeah. I didn’t go into this without a plan. I do also offer personal training. Outside of the self defense. Dietary and exercise guidance and all that. In fact, that is what my main focus is on. Oh and if you or any of your readers do decide to join, we’re open all day every day for members. You get a keycard which gives you security while you workout. Hopefully I can install a sauna in here too sometime soon. So, lots of improvements to come as well.”
GBTL – Daiyu: “Oh, I should ask, whether there’s anything in your background that made you want to do this, nothing too personal, just some kind of illustrative story… why you’re into this and what it means to you?”
Eleri: “I’ve always been into track and field. I was the state champion in both one hundred and two hundred meter sprints twice. So I guess staying fit became a lifestyle for me. As for the self defense… I’ve always lived in Hathian, it’s a rough place. My father made sure I was trained to be able to fend off any threats. Either way, when it came to real fights, I found out I wasn’t quite prepared to take a punch, even if I had the skills and strength required. So I went to train under Kaliyah Niat, who gave me the confidence and taught me to take a punch. Sometimes by literally kicking my ass… But I guess I just want to pay that forward. Carry on giving people the tools to survive these streets.”
We ended the interview there, and I thought that was pretty inspiring. The prices were low for membership and the opportunity to learn more if you want was pretty good. Paying it forward is a concept Readers that I can really get with, you know what I’m saying? Good deeds deserve further good, which grows and can be nurtured even in Hathian.
So, after that I changed in the clean changing rooms (although it should be noted that while the showers are private cubicles, the locker area is not gender segregated… I’m not quite sure about this, but I guess for (most?) of my readers, you can change in the cubical if squeamish!
So, what was there in the gym? The boxing ring, with sparring equipment such as a punching bag, a good selection of exercise bikes as well as a lot of weightlifting equipment, some of which I was kicking myself for not asking Eleri what they were. There were also some more gymnastic items, which I was able to use fairly easily.
So overall, I think this is a great gym. I think that having the owner be so invested is what makes the key difference. Of course, the equipment is good, and the place is clean, but some of this can be round in different places around Hathian, however nowhere else that I saw offered training, training with a compelling backstory and also plans for further enhancements. If it was me, I’d be poking Eleri for an elliptical as well as probably a vending machine for Lucozade or other such stuff, but overall these are minor quibbles especially in light of her expansion plans. A sauna? Hell Yes!.
So I guess readers, if you’re looking for somewhere safe (that keycard entry thing makes a big difference vs. the open sided containers at the Fight Club), somewhere clean and somewhere with a big personality to guide you through, subject to your bank balance of course, then I’d rank Fit Box as number 1 in Hathian. Sure, I’d like a martial arts dojo, but that’s a different market and one which perhaps, in time, Eleri can expand into if you become her patrons at Fit Box.
Would I get in the ring with her? Well… for all the training I’ve done, she is at another level, so the answer, must be yes, if I, or you are serious to increase our own skills. Too often people are stuck in what they’ve done in the past, or worse, think they don’t need to learn more, you dodged a Hopper knife reader? Doesn’t mean you will each and every time. Think of that and then perhaps give the gym a call!
Wishing you a happy day in Hathian, if you have any comments or other suggestions for business review(s), do leave them below!
GBTL – Daiyu