Leeds man 'excited to reopen' popular gym in Garforth after huge renovations in lockdown
A Garforth man is getting ready to reopen his popular gym after the Government announced plans to ease lockdown just in time for his ten-year anniversary.
Jamie Wheatley bought the unit for his gym Premier World Fitness in April 2011 when he was just 20-years-old after initially training as a joiner.
A trip to Australia inspired him to pursue his dream, so he continued to work his full time job while doing renovations on the unit, before opening in 2012.
At first he found himself sleeping in a bedroom he made at the back of the gym so he could work 100 hour weeks, but since then, he's gone from having just six pieces of equipment to expanding four times in the last decade and employing five other personal trainers.
Jamie, now 30, said: “I was nervous when I first opened but I was excited too.
“I didn’t think much of it aside from what I needed to do.
“I’d never set up a business before and I didn’t know anything so I’ve definitely had a lot to learn over the years.
“When I first opened, I put up a banner and held an open day and 50 people signed up in one day and by the end of the weekend, I had 100 signed up.
“It pretty much stayed around that mark for a long time and once I’d built up enough to have revenue coming in, I started expanding.”
Jamie said the Garforth community really rallied around the gym, which is in the New Hold Industrial Estate, and he has now trained people from all walks of life and his clients include everyone from members of the local golf club to the local fish and chip shop owner.
The recent addition of an in-gym cafe has also proved popular with locals, with people popping in for a slice of cake and a chat without setting foot on a treadmill.
Jamie, who now lives in Wetherby, said: “I have had members that have stuck who have with me since day one, when I only had a few bits of equipment.
“Now I’ve got more than 60 pieces of equipment, changing rooms, shower facilities and even a cafe, so it’s become a bit like a health club.
“There’s a whole mix of people that come too, from teenagers who are starting out to fantastic clients like Harry and Maureen, who are both 85-year-old and come every single day.
“They couldn't even walk before they came before they came and saw me and now they're both you know, walking 10 miles and doing all-sorts.
“Everyone just knows everyone. When you walk in everyone knows your name and has a chat.
“We host events too and it’s become a real community hub.”
Jamie is currently renovating the gym in preparation for reopening, after the Government set a provisional date of April 12.
He hopes to be able to hold some sort of event to celebrate the upcoming anniversary but is more excited about seeing his clients once again.
Jamie said: “Since lockdown, a lot of people have been getting in touch to say they miss the gym and are finding it hard without that routine.
“It's been tough to hear about how much it is impacting people's mental health.
“When the Government announced that we could reopen, I was flooded with messages from people who are really excited to get those exercise endorphins back - and plenty of people who are excited for the coffee shop and to see the renovation changes.
“Hopefully I can host some sort of event to celebrate the ten years I have been open and get people back to feeling good.”
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.