• Deborah Alois

A Passion for Health and Fitness - Florence N Daple & William D Moaina

We’ve known of Florence N Daple and William Moaina separately and at different times over the last 7 years. We went to university with Florence and followed William on social media because of our shared interest in aviation. In fact, it was on social media in 2017 that we witnessed the genesis of Florence and William’s now successful gym, East Street Fitness. Both Florence and William come from physically active backgrounds: Florence is a Papua New Guinean gold medalist in women’s softball at the 2015 Pacific Games, and William is a qualified master personal trainer who graduated from the Australian Institute of Fitness. They have really come full circle, from meeting each other for the first time in a gym to owning a gym of their own and training others. Here, Florence and William share with us their passion for health and fitness and how they turned an empty office space into Papua New Guinea’s first privately-owned, 24-hour gym service.

When did you realize health and fitness was a shared passion and how did you decide on starting your own gym?

We first met at a gym so the shared passion for health and fitness was present from the very beginning. The idea to start our own gym came from realizing the need for a safe space to help Papua New Guineans maintain active lifestyles. A lot of our people want to be more fit, but they don’t know where and how to start.

How did you manage the initial costs of building the gym and other challenges of starting your own business?

Because we made the personal choice of not acquiring a business loan, the initial cost to build the gym really came out of our savings.

We were blessed to have clients well before we had the gym. These were people we crossed paths with in public as well as family and friends who needed help creating and maintaining the healthy lifestyles they wanted. However, other challenges were inevitable. We’ve questioned ourselves when the gym was empty on some days, we’ve doubted our future in financial struggles, but we never gave up. We believe in our vision and have learnt never to fear failure.

How has your business changed from when you started till now?

East Street Fitness has flourished over the years. It was just an empty office space when we started. As we grew, we filled the space with gym equipment and created a community we call family. Today, we have good flow of people coming and going, an increase in gym membership, and more people connecting with us on social media.

Tell us more about the equipment you have at East Street Fitness, your instructors, and clients

We have a range of different equipment in our gym - benches, free weights (dumbbells and plates weights), barbells, medicine balls, weighted balls, treadmills, row machine, exercise bikes, resistance bands, ropes, sled and weighted tyres. At the moment, we have a total of three trainers, including ourselves. And a good number of clients from gym members to personal training clients and group training clients.

What makes your gym different from others in Port Moresby and PNG?

Firstly, what sets us apart from the others, is why we do what we do. We have seen firsthand the suffering lifestyle diseases cause in Papua New Guinean families. It is upsetting to see a parent physically unable to do certain things anymore, or have a sibling pass on suddenly from a heart attack. It’s difficult to accept this as our reality, because it is, but it is never too late to make a difference. East Street Fitness is for everyone who wants to better themselves and live a long life for not only themselves, but also for their loved ones.

And secondly, we are a privately-owned, 24-hour gym service: the first of its kind outside of hotels and apartments in the city and the country. We see ourselves expanding and placing 24-hour gyms all over Port Moresby in the near future so people can safely and conveniently access our facilities in their own time.

Why is maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle important for Papua New Guineans?

We want every Papua New Guinean to understand that a gym is not only about lifting weights. We feel this is the main reason why most of our people do not go to the gym or feel intimidated to start their fitness journey. A gym is simply a house of fitness, a safe space. There are different components of fitness that can benefit us all in one way or the other. It’s all about doing the simple things: start with what you can do and work toward a goal, smash it and then improve upon that goal.

Exercising is one of the most effective and therapeutic ways to build your mental strength, increase your life span, improve your functional movements, your immune system, and boost self-esteem. Personal fitness is an industry that’s still new in Papua New Guinea, and though more people know about it, many still need a reason to do it. Our aim is not to force anyone into doing it: you personally have to be ready and willing to start your health and fitness journey.

One thing a lot of Papua New Guineans express is that it’s difficult to find work-life balance today. But we feel differently: you do have a lot time, but you do not realize it until it’s too late. So, continue to do your afternoon walks, drink plenty of water, eat your greens, and though you do not see your progress now, you will realize its value later on. Make time for your personal health and fitness because one day, you will be grateful for it.

Check out East Street Fitness on Social Media and website: www.esfpng.com

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