Brett Toia (19) gets a boxing lesson from Dunedin Training
Centre fitness programme co-ordinator Hannah Grills. Photo
by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
A fitness course pioneered by the Dunedin Training Centre
could help troubled youth get their lives on track.
The idea came from personal trainer Hannah Grills, who
started at the Dunedin Training Centre about a year and
She began running tri-weekly voluntary fitness sessions for
pupils of the training centre, with the goal of increasing
their motivation and positivity along with their physical
The pupils learn a combination of boxing, cardio, core, and
yoga which is always varied to keep things interesting.
Exercise had both physical and mental benefits, Ms Grills
''It improves your whole way of thinking and gives you
motivation to do stuff. If you commit to exercise you can
have shifts in your perception.''
A Dunedin local, Ms Grills has a bachelor's degree in
neuroscience, has taken psychology papers at Lotus College
and is a qualified physical trainer.
She is studying public health at the University of Otago in
addition to running the fitness sessions.
Dunedin Training Centre manager Callum Hayde said about 50 of
the centre's 90 pupils had taken part in the courses so far,
and already positivity and attitudes around the place had
Many of the pupils had negative experiences in their past and
thought they were not smart because they had not done well in
the classroom, but being exposed to Ms Grill's bright and
bubbly personality helped improve their outlook on life, he
The programme is to be incorporated into the South Dunedin
Trial (Base) and Ms Grills is to start running further
courses for Dunedin 16 to 18-year-olds not in education or
Once the physical fitness aspect of the course was developed,
Ms Grills planned to mix in learning about self awareness,
nutrition, and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Ms Grills has been running the course on a limited budget and
is looking for sponsorship to get more gear including bikes,
medicine balls, mirrors, and mats.
She hoped the equipment would eventually benefit all users of
the Dunedin City Council-owned Caledonian Gym where the
courses were held.