Suffolk gyms reopen — for what they hope will be the last time
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Gym-goers got back to training on Monday — as health and fitness clubs reopened under the latest stage of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
Leisure clubs have been able to maintain some remote coaching services during lockdown.
However, many customers have been limited by their facilities and equipment at home.
And while shoppers were seen queueing early for stores like Primark and Debenhams, exercise fans like Matthew Cossey were quick to get in the gym — after getting up at 6am for a haircut first — saying: "Trim, gym and then the pub."
Ben Gray, owner of Suffolk Strength Academy on Ipswich's Ransomes Industrial Estate, said it was "really great to see everyone so happy just to be back again".
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He added: "We've had people booked in for our morning slots, lunchtime and after work — we're hoping this is it and we're able to continue moving forward.
"We're here to help rebuild people's fitness, and help them fall back in love with fitness.
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"People were doing the best they could with what they had for home workouts.
"But in the last few weeks, as gyms are about to reopen, they've lost interest because they're looking forward to getting back to proper equipment."
Many people campaigned for gyms to stay open during the national lockdown, saying the mental and physical benefits were essential.
Under the previous tiered system, English gyms were allowed to stay open while pubs and restaurants closed.
Mr Gray added: "There's no point opening up with the attitude that we might be closing down again, but we've only really been open for 10 months out of the last 13.
"For me, it's now about rebuilding our members' relationship with fitness, our relationships with our members and we have got a lot of new people starting too.
"I have a genuine hope that people will value their health more after this and stop thinking of exercise as a punishment, but more something they actually enjoy."