Total Fitness Cessnock celebrates 25th anniversary

ANNIVERSARY: The Rohrs - Brett and Jake at the back, and Amy and Alayne at the front - are celebrating 25 years since opening Total Fitness.
ANNIVERSARY: The Rohrs - Brett and Jake at the back, and Amy and Alayne at the front - are celebrating 25 years since opening Total Fitness.

When Alayne and Brett Rohr started Total Fitness in 1994, the gym had no treadmills and bodybuilding was all the rage.

The gym had two squash courts and there was no other fitness centre in town.

"There was no iPods or phones or Fitbits," Alayne said. "We got excited when pedometers became a thing!"

Fast-forward through two kids, several upgrades and the arrival of at least half a dozen other gyms across Cessnock and Kurri, and the Rohrs will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Total Fitness.

The gym was built in 1980 before the pair took over on July 17, 1994.

Alayne said they soon introduced the first treadmills in Cessnock, as well as Les Mills and spin classes.

There has been plenty of other changes between then and now including a pool, which was removed after the Pasha Bulker storm in 2007, more functional training equipment and an outdoor space with tyres, a vertical rope and a rock climbing wall.

"Everything evolves in the industry," Alayne said.

The family also lived on site for three years in a space that has since been converted into meeting rooms and a massage studio.

There was no iPods or phones or Fitbits. We got excited when pedometers became a thing!

Alayne Rohr

But one thing that hasn't changed is the family's passion for health and fitness.

"We love the industry," Alayne said. "And Cessnock is just a nice place.

"People say bad things but we've really enjoyed being here. There's such nice people."

And the members love the gym too. One woman in her 80s has been a continual member for the whole 25 years.

"We've had some really good members," Alayne said.

"And really good staff, one trainer has been here for 20 years."

Alayne said it had been amazing to see some of the transformations over the years - particularly those who take part in the gym's regular challenges.

"It's been very rewarding," she said. "Some of the transformations have been quite remarkable."

But gym ownership hasn't been without its challenges.

"When Anytime Fitness came, we lost 70 per cent of our membership," Alayne said. "We really had to re-evaluate what we were doing."

But she believes they've been able to survive by offering a good service and always having trainers on the gym floor to help.