When Gizelle met Chaz, she was a ballet teacher and couldn’t do a single push-up, she laughs. “He’s the reason I got hooked on gym, and went from ballerina to weightlifter.”
Chaz had always been into fitness, enjoying it to the point that he decided to turn it into a career. He moved to the Lowveld from Durban in 2006 and started working at Virgin Active in Mbombela. While learning the ropes, he studied personal training through correspondence with Health and Fitness Professionals Academy. “I was actually born in this region, and my dad still lived here, so I wanted to come back. It was familiar to me, my second home,” says Chaz.
It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Lowveld-born Gizelle, and convinced her that she just might love personal training as much as him.
“My passion was to dance, but being a ballet teacher wasn’t the same as being a dancer. I tried personal training and I haven’t looked back since. It’s great that we do this together as we work on the same schedule. It makes things much easier,” she says.
What gives this power couple the edge is that even though they are both qualified personal trainers, they also did add-on specialist courses.
They describe their time working at Virgin Active as absolutely wonderful, but always shared a dream to open a gym of their own. Chaz’s family own a piece of picturesque property on the Kaapsehoop Road, 6km outside Mbombela. This spot had always been kept in mind for when they would finally build their gym.
Gizelle says it took many years of planning to get to where they are now, but last June they finally achieved their dream: Core 360 Foundation of Fitness opened its doors.
Looking over the Gladespruit River, they have managed to achieve a perfect medium of an indoor and outdoor fitness experience. “People in the Lowveld love being outside. This has proved to be an ideal location as clients can really make use of the premises. We even offer a running track along the river,” she says.
How does it work?
Core 360 doesn’t offer clients a contract, but rather works on a month-to-month basis. Each person needs to be trained by either Chaz or Gizelle for a minimum of two to three sessions a week, which are paid in advance.
By doing this, the gym is available for clients to use at their own discretion at any other time, at no extra cost. Each member is given an eating plan and a recommended training programme. “We don’t just train them and leave it at that, we help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, and give them the guidelines for a sustainable diet,” she explains.
The gym offers exclusivity and state-of-the-art machinery. Here, they focus on core, strength and functional goal-oriented training. “Everything you do comes from your core. We aim to get the foundation strong first,” Gizelle states.
The outdoor training area and obstacle course draw many people to help them get fit for the popular Warrior races that have taken South Africa by storm.
Men and women are trained separately, and rates vary depending on the group size. Divine Illy coffee is offered, as well as protein shakes, and other drinks and healthy snacks.
“I also sell fitness attire, Fit Fashion in Training, which I get from a supplier in Cape Town. The fabric is imported from Brazil, and I never order more than one of the same item. I want to give women that individuality,” says Gizelle.
“Our members enjoy coming here; they can walk in after a long day and feel special. It’s not a commercial gym where there are hundreds of people and you can’t get to a machine or the showers after a workout. They pay for exclusivity and we give them that,” she elaborates.
Chaz explains how they came up with the name. “We called it Core 360 Foundation of Fitness because it’s all-round fitness. We try to create a balance between strength and fitness. Plus, we constantly set goals for our clients, so they have a constant challenge to improve themselves.”
He says people don’t always work out with them to lose weight, but rather to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to relieve stress. “We try to create a positive environment. It’s personalised and our clients feel part of something. We give them the motivation to continue their health journey.”
The couple say members really switch off when they come to Core 360, and enjoy the view. On some mornings he does training outside on the deck overlooking the river.
“I have clients who have been with me since I started over seven years ago. They have been committed for such a long time and it’s amazing to see the transformation. It’s so rewarding when you make a difference in people’s lives. It makes you want to try even harder for them,” Gizelle beams.
Being healthy is a way of life, they emphasise. “We know that people get caught up in the day-to-day things, and life tends to get in the way, but you need to make a decision, what’s important? Health is a big factor.”
We ask Chaz to give us his number-one health tip; he laughs, “It’s 80% diet, and 20% exercise, but the latter is beneficial in the long run.
They say you don’t need to exercise, but if you look like a pear and you diet, you’re just going to look like a smaller pear.
“Although it’s only 20%, it will change the look and shape of your body. You cannot out-train a bad diet; if you are not eating well you won’t get results.”
Get in touch
Chaz on 072-987-4928 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Gizelle on 072-216-3777 or
Open from 5am- 6pm daily