Meet Gretchen Masters, 29, a fitness guru who recently launched Spring Fitness – a 30 day Feel Good Fitness program, an initiative to get Aussies active and raise funds for the Black Dog Institute – an organisation that conducts research into depression and helps families with mental disorders.
Gretchen grew up with a loved one who suffered from bipolar disorder and began volunteering for the research organisation. She was invited to the release of study findings that reported exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants to helping those with such mental disorders from mild to moderate cases of depression.
“We all know exercise is good for us,” says Gretchen. “But it’s great to know that it can be an effective alternative for mild to moderate cases and some can work their way out of the disorder.”
Gretchen decided to incorporate her love for fitness and the cause by organising her very own fund raising event, Spring Fitness.
Spring Fitness takes place for the 30 days during the month of September every year. All you pay is $30; exercise for 30 minutes a day, for 30 days and funds raised is donated to the Black Dog Institute. Upon signing up the great initiative, participants have the choice to select three training plans, available at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. All participants access 30 simple & effective training plans provided with easy-to-make, healthy recipes, videos and tips that support the daily plans. Participants can also track their mood before and after training each day and the Spring Fitness trainers are only a chatterbox away.
“I trialled the concept in 2010 with our current outdoor clients to see if it would be viable and I received a lot of great feedback and decided to go large as of September 2011,” says Gretchen.
To date, over 750 people have joined the cause. Close to $49,000 has been raised for the Black Dog Institute, where all proceeds go into helping research and treating depression.
“Fitness is a job that I love and now I can add a social and community benefit to it,” she says. “I feel like I’m educating people and breaking down the barriers about mental health.”