City gym wins top national award

It was the fastest sit-up Tash Columbus had ever done.

When the #teamtash Dunedin Training Studio owner heard the announcer say her women’s-only gym had won the supreme national fitness studio award at the Exercise New Zealand Awards at the weekend, it made her sit bolt upright.

"You should have seen our faces. It was like, what? Us? I was in shock — I was not expecting this at all.

"We were up against big gym chains which are massive.

"The really cool thing is, this is the first time that a women’s-only facility has won the supreme award."

Earlier at the awards ceremony in Auckland, the studio also won the studio facility of the year award.

"It’s just unbelievable for a little old place in Dunedin. To not only take out our category, but the supreme facility of the country ..."

Celebrating their major win in the Exercise New Zealand Awards are #teamtash Dunedin Training...
Celebrating their major win in the Exercise New Zealand Awards are #teamtash Dunedin Training Studio coaches (clockwise, from bottom) Charlotte McKay, Tash Columbus, Kristen Wingham and Lara Liesbeth. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Ms Columbus said the facility opened only six years ago, but it already had about 280 members.

"To be the best in New Zealand in such a short time is a really big deal."

The secret to the gym’s success was it was "not like a normal gym".

"We’re really focused on community.

"Our coaches know all our members by name. We know their children’s names; we know what’s going on in their life.

"We leave our egos and whatever happened during the day at the door and just focus on ourselves."

Contrary to their usual work ethic, she and the coaches had decided to take it easy this week and revel in the achievement.

"We just need to take a breath and enjoy the moment."