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Social media helps gym Norwich Fitness Academy get off to a strong start

Norwich Fitness Academy in action. Picture: Norwich Fitness Academy.

Norwich Fitness Academy in action. Picture: Norwich Fitness Academy.

Norwich Fitness Academy

Using their strength on social media and experience in fitness a couple have launched a gym and personal training service.

James Bradshaw and Katharine Appleton, founders of Norwich Fitness Academy. Picture: Norwich Fitness AcademyJames Bradshaw and Katharine Appleton, founders of Norwich Fitness Academy. Picture: Norwich Fitness Academy

Katharine Appleton and James Bradshaw set up Norwich Fitness Academy, on Guardian Road on the edge of the ring road.

The business went live in March and from the outset the pair had 95% of places on their opening day filled thanks to a Facebook following of more than 1,000 people.

“The main feeling was one of relief,” Miss Appleton said. “We gained more than 1,000 followers on our Facebook page before we had opened our doors.

“This showed that what we were offering was unique and interesting to those based in and around Norwich.”

The firm offers personal training sessions and bootcamps and aims to offer a friendly and relaxed environment.

Miss Appleton said: “A lot of people can find conventional gyms and bootcamps to be quite intimidating.

“Here at The Norwich Fitness Academy, we cater for all abilities and have a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

“Our aim is to encourage and guide our members, in order to get the best out of their workouts, not shout at them.

“Our club is a social hub as much as it is a fitness centre.

“Our members walk through our door as strangers and leave as friends.”

Miss Appleton has a background as a competitive sprinter and bodybuilder while Mr Bradshaw first came to Norfolk as an aircraft technician in the RAF.

The pair have been supported to start the business by enterprise agency NWES, with business adviser Paul Walmsley helping them to understand the technical aspects of launching a business.

He helped them to develop their business plan and financial forecasts and arranged for them to take part in free workshops to enhance their skills in business, finance, and marketing.

Miss Appleton said: “Paul not only helped us with our business plan, financials and booking us onto courses, but he also instilled confidence into us that our business was going to be a success. It was the first time we’d heard that from someone who wasn’t a friend or a family member. I remember leaving his office for the first time with more determination than ever to make our business a reality.”

Mr Bradshaw said the process had been stressful but worht it and advised others to take the plunge whent hey felt ready.

He said: “We made sure we were in a position, not only financially but mentally, to pursue the goal of opening the gym.

“The whole process was stressful and time consuming – but worth it. The stress is only short term.”

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