GT Fitness: Small Town, Big Changes
Uttoxeter is small place in the middle of the UK. Best known for JCB and its proximity to Alton Towers - really, it’s no surprise that it could fly under the radar.
But what you might not know about the Staffordshire Market Town, is that there is a thriving community of fitness. At the heart of this movement is GT Fitness. The gym has been open for two years but the evolution has been something spectacular.
Not only has the growth of the community been special, but the people in attendance make GT truly unique. Over 60% of their members are female with a wide range of ages in frequent attendance.
That stat is amazing on its own with fitness being a male dominated area, let alone functional fitness. But stepping into GT Fitness for just one class and it is obvious, the spirit of a tight-knit community is all around - with every member supporting each other.
That’s why Bulldog Gear wanted to delve into how and why a small gym like GT Fitness have been able to make such big changes in their local community.
The two founders first met when they were coaching at another gym, and they decided it was their turn to go into ownership - GT Fitness was born.
Tom tells Bulldog Gear “Uttoxeter didn't have anything of the sort when we were looking to set-up. It was a gap we needed, and a service the town could definitely benefit from.”
“We [Tom and Georgina], despite having very different backgrounds and approaches, both value quality of movement to create a well rounded level of fitness, and both see fitness as an integral part of a larger healthy lifestyle quest..”
While for ‘Georgie’, it’s a little bit closer to home “I grew up in Uttoxeter and have always had a passion for movement. Back in the day I ran boot camps and a mobile personal training business in town. It was always my dream from day one to have my own space!”
In 2016, they got the keys to their gym. Located next to a big supermarket, GT Fitness is in the corner of a small industrial estate. The space has that industrial feel that we have become accustomed to within the realms of functional fitness - housed inside a corrugated outer shell with a blue shutter door.
Step inside and the gym is filled with kit to cater for its versatile programming.
However, like most gyms, it has not always been this way. Georgie tells Bulldog Gear the brutal truth about opening a gym and pursuing a dream - “We didn’t pay ourselves for the best part of a year to make sure we got it right and the gym was where we wanted it for our members.”
The vision and the dream has paid off, though, “We have gone from 6 barbells, 12 kettlebells, a few pull-up bars and about 400kg of weights, to enough to cater for 12 people per class, and 2 rigs.
Fast forward to now, “We have 3 power racks, and a wide selection of weights. bars and equipment. Reinvesting in our equipment has been a high priority since day one, and we purchased our first equipment upgrades only a month into trading.”
When asked about their greatest achievements as a gym so far, both owners and coaches were quick to highlight the members that make their gym.
For Georgie, “Our greatest achievement to date is all the members we have that keep coming back because they love what we do and stand for and it has in some way or another had a great impact on their lives. To know you have positively changed the lives of other is a pretty special feeling.”
Tom reiterates his co-owners thoughts too, “We have helped many members achieve significant weight loss - to the point it has been life changing. Whilst I'm always both proud and happy when someone sets a new record, nothing will top the feeling of seeing someone change their life for the better.”
However, the growth of the box has not been the only landmark that GT Fitness have achieved in their two years - last September they opened up a second unit dedicated to Yoga, mobility and movement.
After practicing Yoga for 11 years and gaining her qualification in Morocco, this has been a particular milestone for Georgie.
GT Fitness continue to embrace the diversity of their members, catering their Yoga for everyone. Now, their ever popular ‘Broga’ invites all members, with a variety of interests to ensure they are stretching and moving properly - that Yoga can be for anyone.
Back to that unique community we have mentioned, Tom tells us that they are unsure of how “Over 60% of our community are female, although we have never encouraged this. We have ages 16-73 as regular customers, and everyone in between. We have promising, extremely strong young athletes, and older adults looking to retain functional independence”
But the owner believes it’s a fundamental part of GT Fitness, “We're proud of the diversity of our community, and this is echoed through the ranks of our coaches and teachers. I would go so far as to say it's the main reason for our success so far.”
The future for GT is certainly bright - their aim is to be a place where, regardless of age, ability or goals, you can be correctly taught and coached along the path that best fits your needs. We want to build a fit, healthy community that in turn can influence and improve the wider community, all through the vehicle of fitness.
Is it true that I need to get protein in immediately after I train? Is a post-workout shake really that important? Our fitness editor Andrew Tracey puts the so-called 'anabolic window' to the test.