A former customer who discovered a passion for bodybuilding has taken over FitUnion gym in Birchington.
Ben Blade, 22, had an apprenticeship at FitUnion five years ago and says the confidence the gym gave him “completely changed my life.”
The former King Ethelbert’s student then went on to complete a plumbing apprenticeship but says he was drawn back to the gym when he found out it was for sale.
He said: “When I came to the gym I wasn’t made to feel like an idiot, it was very structured and you were always told if you were doing something good or you had got something wrong. There was always help there.
“I worked there five years ago but left, it wasn’t the right time for me, I still needed to do a bit of growing up.”
The news that the gym was being sold on so then-owner Tony could spend more time with family reignited Ben’s interest and with savings and some help from family he decided to use his personal trainer qualification and previous experience to take on the business.
He said: “I want to be a body builder and doing this allows me to follow my passion, make a living for myself and help other people. It isn’t about the money, it’s about following my dream.
“When I started I was insecure and it completely changed my life. This is a gym for everyone.
“I want to improve the gym as much as I can and change some of the equipment around. I’d also love to put an extension on the back if the opportunity presents itself.”
An official opening weekend will be held this weekend (January 29-20) with Councillor George Kup, who is Cabinet member for youth engagement, doing the honours on Saturday at 10am.
FitUnion will be open from 9am to 5pm both days, offering free training both days.
The gym, at 3 Surrey Gardens, is open 7am-10pm weekdays and 9am to 5pm at weekends.