Colata Turns Passion into Business
A pastime passion, developed through hours of gym routines at uni, has turned into a fulltime business for former Marist Brother’s High School student, James Colata. Since opening Ultimate Fitness, a by-appointment-only gym tucked on Nokonoko Road, Laucala Beach, the 30 year old from Rakiraki, Yale, Kadavu, has been burning the candle at both ends, juggling his personal life with his business schedule. It all started a few years ago, when Colata attended the University of the South Pacific to do undergraduate studies in Computing Science and Information Systems. While completing the programme he developed a strong passion for gym training. A friend at the USP gym, after seeing the commitment he put into his training, approached him for a possible joint venture – to open their very own gym. “I loved training. While studying, Ian (friend and business partner) and I would often cross paths at the gym. We became close friends and later put our heads together to set up a gym.” Which was exactly what the pair did and today their health and fitness business boasts a concept other gyms don’t have. It’s now six years down the line, and their business is fast building a reputation and taking in ardent clients who have begun experiencing great health benefits. “One of the things we had to do at first was work hard to get ourselves certified in the United States,” Colata said. “So in 2014, I went to the US to get my CrossFit Level One Certification and specialised certifications in Movement and Mobility, Endurance Training, Olympic style Weightlifting, Gymnastics and Speed and Agility,” Colata said. To further boost his knowledge and skills he went back in 2016 to complete his CrossFit Level Two Certification and attended a one-week training camp hosted by American Olympic level weightlifters and gymnasts. The camp involved intensive training in weightlifting and gymnastics. “After getting certified we spent time looking for space. In Suva this can be quite difficult, especially trying to locate one with ample parking space to suit a gym set up.” “But once we found the current place (Fortech Warehouse near the Bailey Bridge along Nokonoko, Laucala Beach) we approached FDB for a loan, which they gave us and we just went on from there.” Ultimate Fitness boasts having the best range of equipment from Australian premium gym equipment suppliers Raw Fitness and Alpha Fit and US brand Rogue Fitness, the official sponsors of many crossfit, ironman, weightlifting and powerlifting competitions. “Our gym is not a walk-in where you pay a monthly fee to use the facility,” Colata explained. “Here, in order to use the facility, you have to make prior appointment. If slots are available and it suits your schedule, then we book you in for training.” Each training slot is two hours with a maximum of five people per class. There are two gym instructors so at any given time, a maximum of 10 people can be in the gym. Payment methods vary. People can pay before or straight after each session or pay for slots in advance, a method Colata encourages because it gives an indication of the level of commitment. One of the things that set Ultimate Fitness apart is its tailored training programme. “They are made to suit each individual. We try and get as much information as possible on health status, past injuries, family sicknesses, age and fitness goals, among other things.” Colata said having two-hour training blocks allow trainers ample time to work and interact with clients to undo the effects of lifestyle choices that have affected their health. The sessions focus on improving mobility, coordination, agility and strength, which many people often lack as a result of prolonged sedentary lifestyles. “Walking into a gym can be quite intimidating, especially when there are a lot of people around and you are worried about who is looking or who is lifting more weight.
“Because sessions here are by appointment we provide some privacy and there are only a few people at a time. We know each other well and there is a level of comfort. Because training routines are tailored to individuals, anybody can join from any level of fitness. Colata said most people went to the gym to satisfy a particular need or meet a certain expectation, such as losing weight or having a great shape. “I like to help individuals improve overall. That means that your training in the gym must complement and assist you in your everyday work and lifestyle. Training should transfer to work, school or the playing field if you are sporty. “You may just want to lose weight but what about your lower back problem? My job is to strengthen you, make you healthier, improve your mobility and help you undo what you haven’t been doing in the past few years and for many, decades. “We want you to be fit overall, from head right down to your toes.” Ultimate Fitness is open as early as 5am and as late as 10pm.
STILL GOING STRONG AT 61
Corporate executive, Ram Bajekal, who started training with James Colata while at the USP gym six months ago, is reaping the benefits of a consistent and effective training routine. Last year, his wife complained he was losing muscle strength with age and was not able to do simple things like opening a bottle or lifting objects off the ground. Today, the FMF Foods Limited Managing Director is impressed with his transformation over the past few months and the strength he has regained. “I’m very fond of sports and I am diabetic as well. One of the things I need to do every day is to have a workout. So I play outdoor sports like hockey, cricket, golf and racket games such as tennis, squash and badminton,” Bajekal said. “Before I had the stamina but because I did not have the strength I didn’t play sports well. Also, after every game I played, I would have body aches and pain.” With his wife’s coaxing, Bajekal took up training with Colata. “I’ve enjoyed it ever since because of two main things. It has built a lot of strength in me and elongated my sports career; and I don’t wake up anymore with aches and pain. “I have a hockey game this evening but I will also be ready for the league tomorrow afternoon. That’s how fit and strong I am now.” Bajekal never really fancied going to the gym, thinking it was rather boring. That thinking has changed. “My current training is different. The main difference is I don’t do anything unnatural. I do things I would normally do in my day-to-day life. From stretches to workouts, everything is related to things like pulling, pushing, lifting and grasping…. the very things I do at home.” “One of the most important things I’ve realised is that most of the ailments, aches and pain we have are the result of weak muscles.” Bajekal’s advice is to “start now” without delay and never compare oneself to another person. “When I look back, I realise I should have started this years ago. You can prolong your active life without having to complain about aches and pain. “To those who are facing health problems, start now! To those that are my age, start now! You should have started earlier but it is never too late.”
ATECA TACKLES HER ASTHMA
Many people do not know television personality, Ateca Ledua, has been asthmatic since she was a child. Not too long ago, her asthma had reached danger levels. She was averaging about 20 inhaler puffs a day, which was unhealthy. Worried about her overall health and the wellbeing of her children, she decided to take up training with Colata. After six months of training, Fiji One’s Get Set host now has a new lease of life. “With my previous training I noticed changes in my body but I wasn’t strong and my asthma didn’t improve. So I joined Colata in the hope that the training offered would improve my breathing capacity. Ledua said after six months she was now happy with the results of her training programme. “Now I hardly touch my inhaler. I can go to the market and don’t have to hire a ‘bara boy’.” “I’m able to carry things I never used to carry; a full cylinder of gas. Before I had to rely on male members of my family.” Ledua said one of the many advantages of her training programme was its relevance and applicability. She said she was not only keeping fit and strong but applying her training skills in her daily life. She has a hectic daily schedule with two jobs, study and is a single mum with two girls –“a teenager and one going on 10, who keep her on her feet.” Ledua said getting professional help improve people’s quality of life and for older people, it would increase life expectancy. “Why not? Be strong, be fit and have a good life!”