Ben Brown, Owner and Founder of Ben Brown Fitness, Gortnafleur Business Park, was delighted to reopen for business on the June Bank Holiday Monday.
Slowly but surely the country took another tentative step on its way to a full recovery on Monday last when gyms nationwide opened for the first time since the end of last year.
For one Clonmel gym owner, Ben Brown, who operates at the Gortnafleur Business Park on the eastern side of the town, it was a very welcome development after the almost continual disruption to his business since March 2020.
The 26-year-old University of Limerick qualified Exercise and Fitness Instructor, now in his fourth year of operation at his state of the art gym facility, is really looking forward to getting back to business after a tough 15 months or so of forced closure.
For now at least, gyms will operate on a one-to-one individual training only basis, with social distancing and with instructor / trainer wearing a mask at all times.
Speaking prior to the Bank Holiday Monday reopening Ben said: “Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it now. I have a very busy day ahead of me on Monday next. And my clients are equally looking forward to it also. They are mad to get back at it in a safe environment. While a lot of them have been tipping away with their ‘home work,’ so to speak, they are all looking forward to the personal interaction of a session also.
Ben Brown exercises on one of the machines at his state of the art gym facility at Gortnafleur Business Park, Clonmel.
“There is only so much walking and running around the block people can do so understandably people want choices and variety and with gyms reopening again they get that. Plus having a conversation, talking about your day, that’s important too. As well as the physical workout, the mental benefit of exercise can never be overstated,” added Ben.
For young self-employed entrepreneur Ben “the lockdown put such a pause on my business, on its development and growth and it’s a huge relief to get back working. My only supports during the period were the PUP and the CRSS - and, I must add a very fair landlord - but the bills do continue, such as electricity, so, 100%, it’s great to be up and running again,” he said.
The Clonmel native, who plays with Commercials in Gaelic and who this year will also tog out for Clonmel Town in soccer, specialises in one-to-one training.
“My niche is the one-to-one personal service, and I cater for everyone. My clients are young and not-so-young , from complete beginners to the experienced and elite athletes, including some top sports people like inter-county hurlers Seamie Callanan, Paudie Maher, Kieran Bergin who have all come to me in the past for personal training. I have people coming to me at 75 years of age and teenagers from 15 and 16 years of age.
“And while the likes of the elite athlete will be trying to up their game an extra bit with varied sessions, I get a broad range of clients coming to me, for weight loss, improving mobility, general fitness,” added Ben.
Gyms it seems multiplied greatly in numbers in recent years about Clonmel so I asked Ben for his opinion.
“Yes they did but every gym has its own niche and clients choose depending on what they want to achieve. While there are many gyms in Clonmel I think every gym in town is different in their own special way. There is a gym right next door to me and there’s a gym a few doors further down so there’s three in this business park alone and there were four or five here at one stage,” he added.
“There are probably not as many gyms in Clonmel as there were going back a few years - not very long ago there would have been up to 20 gyms - but you must remember Clonmel is a very sportingly active town.
“Besides the gyms themselves there is a great demand out there now for people to be fit and healthy and active. People are a lot more aware of their health and fitness, and more so since Covid struck. Even looking at public facilities like the Blueway it is always busy and full of people, the public are getting out for walks, cycles, etc., and perhaps it will be a positive legacy of Covid-19 that people will appreciate their fitness and health even more in the future,” said Ben.
While thankful to be back on the treadmill so to speak, Ben stayed busy over lockdown and used the time to the maximum benefit.
“During lockdown I began a further online course on Strength and Conditioning but more importantly if one good thing came out of it all for me it was that it gave me great time with my daughter, Raiya and my partner Aoife. And I will be conscious also now to manage my hours better and to spend more time with them in the future, not the 5.45 am starts or the 10 o’clock night-time finishes anymore,” hopefully, Ben concluded.
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