MP Fit in Birstall was taken over by Gareth Senior and his son-in-law Nic Kittlety in January, along with a second site in Brighouse. The pair, with the help of Gareth’s daughter Jenny, have worked hard over the last eight months to widen the gym’s clientele.
And the hard work is now paying off, with 350 new members since they took over and a near five-star rating on Google reviews.
Gareth, 53, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It was an opportunity to buy into two gyms that were already established, with a strong membership. But we felt there was a massive opportunity to change it and develop it - and change people’s views on MP Fit.
“It had a reputation going back many years as a weightlifter’s gym, as just a place where the big lads go. We’ve worked really hard on changing that image.”
MP Fit now offers female-only classes, including yoga and pilates, and has tweaked the experience for all members - from introducing recycling and a community notice board to starting a suggestion box and upping the cleaning regime.
Gareth said: “We’re trying to be as socially responsible as we can and people have said those little changes have made a big difference. We do our utmost to make sure someone says hello to every single person who walks in, and says goodbye and thank you to every person that walks out.
“It’s about listening to our members and trying to give them what they want from the gym, as much as we possibly can.
“You’ll never be able to please everybody - it’s an expensive venture and we don’t always have the money knocking about. But we’ve listened - we’ve refreshed a lot of the kit, bought new kit in, and we’ve seen our Google reviews fly up.”
Thanks to their first aid training, Gareth’s team in Brighouse recently helped to save a man’s life when he suffered a cardiac arrest due to an undiagnosed heart issue.
Gareth said: “His partner and his family came in and told us they felt like they'd won the lottery. That’s amazing, it makes you proud to say the team did that. He’s back home and he’ll be forever grateful those people were there that day.”
Just off the M62 and minutes away from Morley, Gareth said the Birstall site is popular with the south Leeds community - where he was born and raised. One vocal supporter of MP Fit is Leeds businessman Terry George, who Gareth said is a “great advocate” for the gym.
MP Fit also hosted free boxing classes from Josh Warrington earlier this year, and the community recently raised more than £4,000 for the Rob Burrow Centre for MND Appeal.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved this year,” Gareth added. “I’ve never run a business like this before. The difference with us is that we’re a real family affair.
“I get to spend more time with my daughter and son-in-law which I enjoy, and we’ve all got the common goal of making the business successful. Hopefully it’s something that we can continue to run and will be an investment for our family.”