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New Colchester gym for budding ninjas

PUBLISHED: 10:06 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 17 January 2018

Gymfinity Colchester manager Greg Hamner. Picture: Mark Edwards

Gymfinity Colchester manager Greg Hamner. Picture: Mark Edwards

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Behind Gymfinity Colchester’s fun playground for budding ninjas and gymnasts is a serious effort to build fitness, mobility and agility in our young generation.

Kai, who is also a competitive artistic gymnast, performs a hand stand on the vaulting board. Picture: Mark EdwardsKai, who is also a competitive artistic gymnast, performs a hand stand on the vaulting board. Picture: Mark Edwards

A new kind of gym in Colchester is sure to have adventurous children falling head over heels for it.

Gymfinity, which officially opened its doors on January 8, offers coach-led classes for budding young ninjas, aged from pre-schoolers to 15-years-old, with a gym of fun obstacles to test out their new warrior skills. The Colchester branch, at Grove House, in Severalls Industrial Estate, the chain’s second in the UK, also offers UK Gymnastics affiliated coaching for the same age groups for beginners to competition level.

Greg Hamner, 34, is the manager of the Colchester branch and sees the training as instilling fundamental, but often neglected, movement skills which will have a far-reaching effect on a young person’s sporting abilities and overall health.

He says: “Our classes teach kids how to move and to love the potential of what they can do with their bodies. The basic skills of agility, balance and coordination we give them will transfer to other activities so they can really excel in their chosen sports.”

Gymfinity Colchester full-time gymnastic instructor Kai Filby on the bars. Picture: Mark EdwardsGymfinity Colchester full-time gymnastic instructor Kai Filby on the bars. Picture: Mark Edwards

It certainly worked for Greg, who drew on the body strength, balance and agility childhood gymnastics classes gave him to become a competitive Greco-Roman wrestler.

After an early career involving adult gym management and working as a personal trainer, Greg, who has a three-year-old son is delighted to be “teaching fitness from the roots up” at Gymfinity.

He heads a team of UK Gymnastics qualified coaches who take the classes, instructing and helping to broaden each child’s skill set.

The inflatables, climbing ropes, tube tunnels and trampolines in the gym may make the gym look like the coolest playground you have ever seen, but it is clear there is plenty of curricular learning amid the fun. Gymfinity has its own awards scheme with 10 levels to achieve in gymnastics and 12 in ninja skills.

Gymfinity Colchester, on the Severalls Industrial Estate, is a playground for budding ninjas. Picture Mark EdwardsGymfinity Colchester, on the Severalls Industrial Estate, is a playground for budding ninjas. Picture Mark Edwards

Greg says: “The awards scheme is a real incentive for the kids. It ensures the children are always trying to improve, but in a safe way.

“With Ninjago, Ninja Turtles and Ultimate Ninja UK on TV, children want to try out these moves. Or perhaps they see their mums or dads entering obstacle races and they want to have a go. Here they can try out the moves in a safe environment with expert tuition. It is certainly much safer than trying out some YouTube moves in the park.

“Every child in the classes will get an Award Scheme Achievement Book – either a Ninja or a Gymnastics Pathway. It’s great to see every time they go up a level.”

If there are skills any child is struggling to master Gymfinity also holds open gym sessions, scheduled around the classes, in which they can come in and focus on their weak points in coach-led sessions.

So beginners will learn to how to run, jump and hurdle and how to break their falls. They will also build strength to be able to support their own bodyweight. Once these foundation skills are learned it opens the way to all manner of impressive physical feats such as somersaults, rope swings and bar skills.

Whether they opt for the gymnastics or ninja classes, and there is the opportunity to swap should you change your mind mid-course, every child will feel the health benefits. There are so many sedentary pursuits for young people in the age of tablets, games consoles and smart phones, but, says Greg, the classes “are a release for the body. We were designed to move and at Gymfinity you are using your body as it was intended.”

As well as the classes, weekends at Gymfinity can be booked for parties with coach-led games and activities with food laid on for refuelling.

To find out more about booking a party as well as how to sign up for a free trail for one of the classes, beginners to advanced, visit here or call 01206 986420. Opening hours are 10am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 6pm at the weekends. Classes start at £4.99 per session.

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