There aren't many gyms out there that genuinely make us want to kick our fitness into gear except maybe one - 98 Riley St Gym. Located in the heart of Darlinghurst, Sydney and home to where some of Sydney's It gals love to train, it's a business that's as big on social media as it is in real life; and without a doubt you've probably seen it pop up somewhere on your feed. Heck, you may have even been!
It provides a fully stocked gym area outside and a functional training area inside and comes with some of the best trainers in the biz, Chris Feather is one of them.
As a founder and gym manager of 98 Riley St Gym and owner of Chris Feather Training his own personal business on the side, his businesses have grown by word of mouth, clients seeing results and people generally enjoying their workouts. Chris values fitness and health over appearance (despite having the likes of babes like Jesinta Campbell and Pip Edwards train at his gym) and says he wouldn't have "any of his clients do anything he hasn't done," which is a little scary considering he once did a marathon on a rowing machine HA.
Chris has trained and travelled with the likes of Russell Crowe and despite his fitness being on another level of human he is very humble about it all. He is also hands down one of the nicest people you'll meet (unless he says "let's row a marathon today!") Anyway, we sat down with Chris this week to chat about 98 Riley St Gym, his personal business and how he's made them grow. We've also asked him to share his philosophy on living a fit and healthy life because....
Spring is around the corner you guys!
How would you describe your title/work that you do?
Where did you start your personal training career? Did you always want to own your own business?
I actually started it here at 98. I played professional Rugby League in the UK for 11 years. When I moved here it seemed like a great opportunity to use what I had learned over my professional sports career and get involved in Australia's fitness industry.
When did you decide to take the leap and work for yourself? Did you find it hard?
I actually work for 98 as a manager and run my own PT business separately. I decided as soon as I retired I wanted to work for myself. My dad has always run his own business and been very happy at work. I wanted to try and follow his lead. He always said ‘If you like what you do you will never work a day in your life’ I agree.
How would you describe your philosophy re. to being fit and healthy?
I guess a sentence that sums up how I feel about being fit and healthy comes from my mentors at Gym Jones. It is ‘We value actual fitness over the appearance,’ and I couldn’t agree more. I feel there is way too much emphasis put on the aesthetics of fitness and not enough put on the actual performance and health of your body.
How did you build up your clientele? Did you use advertising? Word of mouth? How do you keep your clients?
To be honest my business was initially built through word of mouth, as was the gym. I feel like if you are doing a good job, people are seeing results and enjoy the time they spend with you they have no reason to leave. I also feel like it is very important a PT should lead by example. I try to do that. I wouldn’t expect anyone to do something I wouldn’t or haven’t already done.
You train some major celebs in the Syd world, can you tell us who some of they are? Why do they train with you?
I suppose the biggest jobs I have had would be in film. I have trained actors such as Russell Crowe, Jai Courtney and the full cast of The Water Diviner. These jobs are to get them ‘film ready’ The role may entail bulking up, trimming down or just being generally fit.
How important is social media to your brand? Do you think it should be an integral part to businesses today?
When I started 98 and CFT I didn’t have any form of business related social media. My wife actually got me on to Instagram in 2011 while working on the movie Noah in Iceland. Since then it has definitely become an integral part of both business. I try and ensure something goes up on both accounts each day. This along with word of mouth have been our two best marketing assets.
What's the one mantra you can't live without?
You are what you do, not what you say you will do.
When you're having a sh!tty unmotivated day where do you find your mojo/inspiration?
I am lucky to work alongside some of the best trainers and for some of the most successful business people in Australia. If I’m not 'feeling it' There is always one of them who is! Its a prime example being a product of your environment.
How can somebody make a workout count for themselves and their goals?
In my opinion I think it is important to firstly set a goal. It is important to know what you are working towards. Having numbers to look at has always helped me. Whether it is working towards a new 2000m row personal record or hitting a weekly number of steps, there is a number on what you want to achieve. Once you have achieved it, you alter that number and start again! It is not enough to simply ‘tick the gym box’ You must work while you are there.
And finally, can you share with us your wisdom on how we can all be living a healthy and fit life!
Very cliche, but I believe in balance. Life needs to be enjoyed. Just be aware that if you overindulge at the weekend then you must overindulge in the gym through the week. Too much of either offsets the balance. This is only my opinion but something I live by.
Tell us, do you have any fitness motivation tips and tricks you want to share?