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A champion female bodybuilder is backing a new gym which is focused on being more accessible and tackling obesity.
Frances Amies-Winter has started using Fitness and Physique – formerly Lifestyles – in Chatham as she believes it is an athlete’s responsibility to help others learn.
The mum-of-two said: “A lot of other bodybuilders do not go back to their local gyms, but we do. We go down there and train and answer any questions.
“It is a way to give a little bit back to the community which as an athlete I believe is important.
“As a champion bodybuilder you want to be in there inspiring the next generation. I think athletes of all sports have the responsibility to be in their local gyms, to be a role model and inspiration.”
Frances, from Barming, near Maidstone, runs Minster of Muscle Coaching alongside her husband and coach Steve.
The duo have started running sessions at the facility in The Links as they agree with owner Luke Treeby’s aim to make gyms more accessible – particularly to women and disabled people – and to fight the obesity crisis.
The British bodybuilder champion said: “I want people to get into the gym without it being intimidating, women in particular. A lot of girls have a very bad body image with the pressures of social media but sitting down and explaining how to use the gym, you start seeing a positive change in people.
“I think when we are looking at the next generation with obesity, Covid and the lockdown [had a part to play as] people were not able to be as active as they could.
“I think a lot of the younger generation were potentially falling into the habit of video games and the virtual world and then they find it extremely difficult to be in reality.
“The main thing with Covid is you have to keep yourself healthy we do not know what is around the corner and obesity is the biggest killer which is not really being tackled. Especially when you look at more deprived areas it never seems to be a priority.
“Not only are there huge physical benefits to training but psychologically too so it ticks every box. This is what we believe and the ethos shared by Luke as well.”
Mr Treeby took over Lifestyles a few weeks ago and will be changing its name to Fitness and Physique in the coming days.
The 36-year-old said: “This is the only gym where I got into any type of shape so that is what I would like to carry on. You could be in a massive gym with millions of pounds of equipment and not get anywhere. We want to help people.
“You do find with some people, particularly girls, just look about for a few weeks but here I want everyone to feel like they can ask questions and help others get into it.”
Luke said he wanted the revamped sporting facility to be less intimating as he hopes to welcome new users. He added: “I am trying to make it what it is meant to be. I want it to be a gym for everyone. It is not very big so people can come in and be comfortable.
“I want it to be like a family, you find a lot of gyms like that. You get to know everyone in there.”
It will be focused on weights and fitness and is still undergoing the revamp – which has already cost around £30,000 – while remaining open.
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