Pat Riley has been involved with Healthy Life Fitness Centre since before day one, all the way over from the good old U S of A he settled in Perth WA. I say before day one as Pat was a bricklayer by trade & so was one of the many workmen on site prior to the club’s opening. So again we see a creator of this long standing club remain loyal to the very building he also helped construct, just like current member Paddy Backsai who also played his part – great.
Pat & his wife Sandy were the original recipients of the club’s ‘lifetime memberships’ from the founder Ray Pitcher. In the 1970’s & early 1980’s the club was not coed so men attended on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays while women were welcomed on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays & the club was closed on Sundays.
Then Sundays opened to both men & women & as Pat says the strange point to that was that the men complained & the women actually wanted mixed training! Pat says many an embarrassing moment occurred between spa, sauna & changing room on Sundays as the members forgot other people’s wives & daughters or husbands & sons would also be using the club that day.
In the early days the gym was actually downstairs & was adjacent to the pool area which remains in its original location. The squash courts were upstairs & Pat taught both his children to swim & play squash in this club, Patrick is now 27 & Breedge is 24 & still a member. The only reason Patrick junior left is that he moved too far away from Hillarys to attend. The family visited the gym as a regular outing all together mum, dad & 2 children throughout the 1990’s.
Breedge remembers coming to the gym with her folks as a toddler & swimming while playing around until she was 16 when she could join in her own right. Breedge recalls far fewer classes in those days but prefers the business schedule now & is presently training hard to look even sharper for her wedding day later this year.
Through the 1980’s men wanted more weights & the women wanted aerobics as group fitness was known then, they wanted to feel the Jane Fonda burn. The first ever aerobics classes were taught in the crèche by men for men & the original 6 guys took turns in instructing while their mates followed suit. Looking at group fitness in 2011 one may well ask, how is that for evolution? The guys finally asked a lady to lead them & the group fitness at Healthy Life Fitness Centre has grown ever since. Apparently a group of aerobic girls at the squash club all trained themselves up & entered one of the first ever state aerobic championships & actually won a trophy!
At the same time as aerobics was taking off one of the squash courts was taken out & a proper weights room was set up there & so the beginnings of a gym which has steadily grown into the larger facility that it is today.
The last Friday of every month was a club-booze-up back in the good old days & members brought their own grog & socialized in the club until their heart was content or at least they could not take anymore alcohol. Health & fitness, not to mention licensing laws have moved on some way since the good old days & so perhaps that particular luxury will not return to Healthy Life.
Pat, Sandy, Patrick & Breedge have been here throughout the many changes, developments & alterations as the old squash club has slowly but surely turned into a fully bona-fide health club in the 21st century. We, as a club in its’ latest stage of redevelopment & improvement are very proud to have so many founding members & it is great to have people like the Riley’s still keeping happy, healthy & fit within these four walls, the same four walls that Pat Riley actually helped construct himself, we can all thank Pat for the contribution he made back at the beginning & his & his family’s loyalty to their local health club ever since.