05:00PM, Thursday 16 September 2021
Four personal trainers have taken over a gym at Maidenhead Rugby Club to ensure the facility stays open and offer people an affordable alternative to mainstream exercise.
Sami Al-Zaid, Chris Lee, Tikki Patel and Eddie Johnson are also in the middle of giving the gym an extensive makeover, complete with mural art created by local artist James Maddison.
The gym is located at Maidenhead Rugby Club, in Braywick Road, and Sami explained how the group took it over when it looked like the facility may be on its last legs following the closure of the old Magnet Leisure Centre.
He said: “Originally the gym was part of the Magnet and was relinquished to the rugby club, which was good for them – but they did not know how to run a gym.
“As they are a rugby club, they have a season to look after as well so they have their priorities, which is understandable.
“They knew there was a lot of experience between the four of us and just said they want as much help as they can – and that’s where we came in.”
Named Magenta Gym, the facility offers people a cheaper, rolling contract of £25, with free personal training consultations available.
Sami, Chris, Tikki and Eddie also receive no wage and rely entirely on their members for income.
“Last year it was constant open and close, and we were struggling to get 20 members in total,” Sami added. Now we have about 60 people, and that is from when we opened in April.
“I am loving it, because I never really took on responsibility and kind of shied away from it. Because I enjoy this, I am loving it. We all are.”
On what the future vision is for the new gym, Sami said he wants it to become an area where people can train comfortably, and put anxieties or worries to one side.
“We want to be a gym that people can come to and feel comfortable,” he said. “We all carry insecurities and that stops you going to places like the gym. We want to be the place people aren’t afraid to work out.
“The four of us also have different personalities and we realise we can’t compete with leisure centres and health clubs – we can only compete with ourselves.”
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