Fitness centre's unbelievable offer to Ipswich veterans
TRAINERS at one of Ipswich's newest gyms help lift the weight off veterans shoulders, literally.
BlissFitness was opened by Ipswich's own commando and Michelle Bridges, former soldiers Jessi and Josh Bliss.
The private fitness studio, broken into a cardio or high-intensity area and a weights room, is built for one-on-one personal training or small groups of two or three.
"It's going well so far, we've got about 60 members," Mr Bliss said.
"There are no walk ins, there are two personal trainers who write up your training and nutrition.
"We have clients from both the ADF and civilian population."
The trainers, who have been married for three years, met each other while serving.
"I was a forward observer so I called in the air strikes and my wife was in transport," Mr Bliss said.
"I was medically discharged after three tours of duty due to injuries and PTSD.
"It took me a year to bounce back. After training my fitness improved and health and it saved my life.
"I've gone from being a mushroom, hiding in dark rooms at home, to engaging with people again and it's completely changed me. That's why I want to do this."
Mr Bliss said it was the high suicide rate for veterans that made him want to start training other soldiers like himself, free of charge.
The trainers now offer free fitness sessions for anyone who has served with the ADF.
"We started as trainers in the park and we slowly went from one to two right up to a group of 60 now," Mr Bliss said.
"We are teaming up with Mates4Mates shortly to reach out to more veterans in the Ipswich region to bring more veterans in for social and fitness support."
The personal trainer said he had also had a lot of success in civilian clients.
"I met a lady who was 60-years-old who couldn't do anything. Now I just took her through the 10km Tough Mudder and she can do 60 push ups in two minutes whereas when I first met her she couldn't even do one," he said.
"Some of our clients you just wouldn't believe. One man lost 40kg and another woman dropped 35kg."
His advice for his fellow veterans?
"I would tell people to have a bit of trust and just try it," Mr Bliss said. "It's amazing, the stigma of big commercial gyms where get your jocks in the mirror staring you down (can deter veterans).
"This fitness studio is private and the confidence you get back in yourself in worth it."
The studio is located at 102 Brisbane St.