A new gym has opened in Barnard Castle and The Northern Echo headed down to take a look.

Keep Fit Barnard Castle was a year in the making after owner, Martin Clinton, had the idea to set up a new gym following the success of the Darlington branch.

Barnard Castle was chosen as the location because after some market research, Martin there was just one other option for fitness-lovers in the town, Teesdale Leisure Centre.

Priding himself on offering a fun, laid-back gym experience with a personal touch, Martin wanted to take some of the success of Keep Fit Darlington across the county.

The Northern Echo: Keep Fit Barnard Castle has been open for two weeksKeep Fit Barnard Castle has been open for two weeks (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

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Managing everything from day-today running of the business, to personal training, Martin said: “We’re an exclusive gym, there’s a capped membership so we’re not interested in just getting hundreds of people signing up for the sake of it.

“We have a nice atmosphere and we cater to all fitness levels, abilities and ages and we really want people to feel comfortable coming here because for some people, going to a gym for the first time is an intimidating experience and it shouldn’t be like that.

“I do think it’s important to have the personal touch. Although I’m the owner, I’m pretty hands on and I know each of our members and I’m still a personal trainer as well. I’m not just one of these people who sets up gyms and then you never actually see them.”

The Northern Echo: Martin Clinton, owner of Keep Fit Barnard CastleMartin Clinton, owner of Keep Fit Barnard Castle (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

The gym uses low lighting to ensure gym-goers feel comfortable and not too exposed under harsh lighting.

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For those who prefer to exercise in a group for extra support, classes include; Dance Fit, Step, Boxersize, Circuits, Spinning and Martin hinted that he would like to introduce Pilates and yoga classes.

In the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, Martin said he wanted to make it easier for those wanting to exercise but not have to travel out of their local area and so Barnard Castle seemed an obvious choice for a town lacking different options to keep fit.

The Northern Echo:

Martin said: “It’s been a bit of a hard slog the past year getting this place ready to open but I’m really proud of my team and myself because I do think we’re providing something that people want and need.”

The Northern Echo: Gym interiorGym interior (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

Based at DL12, 8, Barnard Castle, in an industrial estate, the interior has been decorated to give it a calming, relaxing atmosphere.

There are various membership deals starting with a one-month member ship fee of £55 and members can use both branches; Darlington and Barnard Castle.

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