St Andrews welcomes the opening of a new gym in town

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CrossFit Program on Camp SlayerThe new year has seen the opening of a new business in St Andrews, with the Functional Fitness St Andrews Gym opening on Largo Road. It first opened its doors on January 9th to the people of the town, taking over the premises formerly used by an auction firm. It has proved a hit with locals, with several joining in its first few weeks.

The owners of the gym, Sam Rowlands, Graham McCann and Jonny Crowe all participate as coaches at the gym as well, which could produce (if carried off well) a pleasant community feel when compared to larger gyms. Its presence fills a geographic niche in the market, positioning itself directly between East Sands Leisure Centre and the University Sports Centre. Which gym shall prove most popular amongst the students now that a new player has entered the fold remains to be seen.

Their timing of opening could not have been better, with a common New Year’s resolution being to get in shape and Functional Fitness offering the chance to do just that. With separate areas for working out independently and taking one of heir many classes, it is accessible for all the locals and offers an alternative to students (who may not wish to use the Sports Centre whilst it undergoes refurbishment). The number of people who have already signed up highlights that the market for the gym was there and that people are more than prepared to take advantage of its presence.

One of the key features of the gym is that it offers Crossfit, a fitness programme that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Just to give a bit of history on the workoutstyle, Crossfit began in 2000 and was the brainchild of Americans Gregg Glassman and Lauren Jenai. It is a high intensity programe and incorporates interval training, plyometrics, weightlifting and strongman. This eclectic mix supposedly offers a more well-rounded workout and develops your muscles more comprehensively than other methods. This is a class that the University Sports Centre does not currently offer, meaning that this gym will be an interest addition to the town’s facilities for students. It also has the potential to improve town and gown relations as student and local interract in the same classes. Of interest to see will be whether students see this as a positive, or whether they prefer the University bubble offered by the Sports Centre (which tends to cater to more students than locals).

Having attended one of their sessions myself I can honestly say that my first impressions of the gym were positive. It was friendly and the staff were helpful, offering detailed and effective workout tips, whilst the gym itself has a clean, community feel to it. The coaching offered is good and highlights one of the best features of the gym. It is accessible for all ability levels, something that is a positive for many looking to join a gym at this time of year.

Many large sports centres are often full of those in amazing shape, already set in their workout patterns. This is something admirable but can be intimidating for those completely new to it. Functional Fitness however is completely accessible for everyone, regardless of shape, condition or experience, and those taking part in the session had great camaraderie, team spirit and most importantly looked as though they were enjoying it. That is something undoubtedly produced by the nature of the town and a key reason for the owners wanting to bring a gym to the town.

Whilst Functional Fitness may share a name with a gym in Dundee, they are not linked; giving the business located on Largo Road a further sense of independence as it attempts to make its way firmly into the St Andrews community, and onto the student radar, despite being in its infancy. Whatever your preferred gym, another place to keep fit in town cannot be a bad thing, and also represents the growth of local business; something that is a pleasant indicator of a growing economy. By providing a great alternative to the Sports Centre for students, all should welcome it even if they do not intend to join, because it will surely free up space in the other gyms located around town.

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