Author Archive | Russ Knight

Elite Fitness 6th golf day

Elite Fitness 6th golf day

Golf day

On Friday 3rd of September, we held our 6th Elite Fitness Golf Day at Thornbury Golf course.

We had another great turnout this time around, with 15 people in total.

Congratulations to Reg Purchase, who took home his second golf day trophy with a very impressive score of 43 points, which was just enough to win on countback.

Thank you to everyone who took part, and hopefully everyone had an enjoyable day.

Our next golf day is on Friday 18th March 2022, and if you want to sign up you can do here. We look forward to hopefully seeing some of you there.

If you would like to join us for our next event, check out our timetable below.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation, click the logo below.

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Tough Mudder 2021

Tough Mudder 201

Tough Mudder 2021

What a muddy day!

On Sunday 22nd August we once again returned to the Badminton Estate to take part in the annual Tough Mudder.

It was quite a shock for some of our team who hadn’t taken part before. I think the photos tell their own story!

If you would like to join us next year you can purchase your pass below:

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Dominica 2021

Dominica 2021

Before I start …

I’d like to introduce you to the two charities I am raising money for. It’s difficult to ask for your hard earned money for each event that I/we do, so if you feel inspired by the story of the charities, hopefully that is motivation enough to make a donation and change a life.


The first charity is Made a Mark. You can make a donation here.

The charity was founded in 2018 in memory of Mark Knapp, a much-loved husband and father of 2 young children, who died very suddenly and unexpectedly. Mark made such a positive impact on so many lives that we felt driven to set up this charity to honour his memory and to improve support for those so will follow in our footsteps. Made a Mark is registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales and is a no-salary charity, run solely by volunteers for the public benefit.


If a child loses a parent or sibling, we want to help professionals offer opportunities to capture precious memories and initial support. We provide memory boxes and resources to many settings including acute hospitals, hospices and schools to help them better support children following the death of a close loved one. This box contains books, a journal and a pair of soft toys, as well as a kit to take a handprint and a lock of hair. This can be used to capture precious memories in the moment and added to in the difficult times ahead.


The second charity is the Charlie Froud Foundation. You can make a donation here.

The Charlie Froud Foundation’ has been set up in memory of Charlie, a 14 year-old boy who died in October 2008 when the light aircraft he was travelling in, crashed in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. He was on his way to stay in the holiday home of his good friend Ayman and his parents, all of whom were with Charlie on the plane and died with him.

By Charlie’s mum, Heather:

When Charlie died David, Georgia and I were shocked and devastated. Completely unexpectedly our lives had been changed for ever and we had a gaping hole where Charlie used to be.

The Charlie Froud Foundation started from a need to say thank you to the people who searched tirelessly for, and discovered the plane. They then had the awful task of dealing both with the human tragedy they found, and the removal of the plane from the mountain. Our friendship with The Glen of Imaal Mountain rescue volunteers began!

Over the years since that fateful day, the Charlie Froud Foundation has grown to be a registered charity that supports a variety of good causes and has brought many people together through events and challenges. Many of Charlie’s friends are involved to this day and take a leading role in some of the adventures to raise funds.


Dominica:

For me, this was a step outside my comfort zone. Although I’ve done a few events before, I haven’t done many multi-day events and the challenge both intrigued and excited me. I signed up for the 2020 trip which was only cancelled in May 2020 due to the Covid situation. The event was delayed for 12 months but still wasn’t a certainty until about 3/4 weeks before departure. This made it difficult to train for but I felt amply prepared for the adventure.

It’s important to note that this was a “test pilot” trip and the plan is always likely to change. The plan was to attempt to traverse Dominica from the southernmost point to the northernmost along the Waitukubuli National Trail. The WNT is split into 14 segments and we would be attempting to complete the 100 miles (approx) in 6 days.

Our test pilot team comprised of myself and Ann (the two “participants”); then four members of the Rat Race Team. Allie (Chief Test Pilot), Abbi (Expedition Leader), Leo (Photograher) and Rachel (Graphic and Web Designer). I didn’t know anybody personally before meeting on this trip. I had only spoken over the phone and online to get everything organised in advance.

The Start:

2.7.21 – Strava Stats Day 1

After having a few days to absorb the breath-taking landscape and scenery it was time to get started! Unfortunately I woke up with an upset stomach and at 4am had a tough episode! We had to get up for 5am to get ready, so  felt pretty awful going into day one. We started at Scott’s head at the southernmost tip of the island. We took a few photos and drone shots of the descent off Scott’s Head. It was a beautiful start to the day and the weather seemed like it would be manageable. As we entered the first village we put our masks on to walk through and then picked up the Waitukubuli Trail. It was hard going, steep walking up and down for a few hours.

We had been warned about a potential tropical storm which was turning into hurricane Elsa. We had departed Barbados only two days earlier which had now been hit hard. It had made its way across the Caribbean and was now facing us as we were half way through our day.  We got to the top of our first big climb and I got my phone out to take some pictures, put it back in my pocket and the heavens opened. We were soaked from head to toe and my trekking trousers started to chafe. We carried on and completed segment one and two of the Waitukubuli Trail. We covered over 12 miles and 8000ft of climbing. We then headed back to Jungle Bay to rest and recover.

The chaffing was a real problem, I had worn two big red holes in my inner thighs and the skin layers were peeling off – tough lesson to learn from especially with 5 more days of walking ahead of me. Luckily Abbi had some miracle cream and lube which I applied to my legs overnight in the hope the pain would ease off for day 2.

3.7.21 – Strava Stats Day 2

Another early start 5am. Legs were sore and in pieces but a combination of the creams and wearing legging style trousers under a pair of shorts eased the pain and made it more than manageable to walk and get going again. We headed back to Scott’s Head to reshoot the drone footage coming down from the start line, then we were back in the van and onto the start of segment three.

It became quite apparent that we wouldn’t complete what we attempted within the first two days. We climbed almost 5oooft and the paths were too overgrown and in places hard to pass, it really slowed us down. There were many trees that had come down in the previous two days in Hurricane Elsa. We still covered some good distance and elevation but it was another long, tough day. At the end of the day we were dropped at our new location for the next two days – Harmony Villa.

4.7.21 – Strava Stats Day 3

It was again an early start to give us a chance to make up some lost distance. The schedule for the day included much less elevation but it was hard to maintain a strong pace as we did a lot of river walking and it was tricky under foot. The hurricane has also passed and the full force of the sun was back in play and we needed to ensure we took on enough food and water as we navigated our way through.

The cumulative effect of two long days, new foods that I wasn’t very keen on were starting to take its toll for me personally. From before the event starting, I was interested to see where my breaking point might be. I found it at the lunch break of day 3 after 9 miles. I found it tough and I was struggling to eat any food during the first half of the day and when we got to lunch, I still didn’t feel like eating and I felt like I would become more of a problem to the rest of the team as the day went on if I continued to trek with them. It was suggested I stay with the van at the lunch break and be taken ahead to our rest point and miss the afternoon’s trek. This was the right decision for me and I was hoping the extra rest and chance to get some fluids and food on board would give me a good chance of starting day 4 strongly.

I settled into the shack at Hibiscus and got some sleep.

5.7.21 – Strava Stats Day 4

The excitement for most of the trail is that we didn’t know what to expect each day. Day four had been proposed as a relatively flat beach running day of around 9-10 miles. This sounded like welcome relief to trying to scale anymore of the island’s mountains. In reality this day was a coastal seaweed trudge! The whole coast was covered in sargassum seaweed which had been washed in from the tides. It was deep and thick and tough to walk on. We had a new local guide (Nigel) with us for the first time, he was an interesting character and introduced us to much of the island’s flora and fauna.  Some sections became very technical and it did slow us down somewhat. But on the whole this was a fun and enjoyable day with lots of interesting view points.

We finished at Pointe Baptiste and stayed at the chocolate factory which has stayed in the same family for many years. It was a beautiful spot to finish the day and we had a few hours to enjoy the sun going down and to swim in the calm sea.

6.7.21 – Strava Stats Day 5

Our day five target was to get to the coast and our final hotel location of the beach at Portsmouth around 9 miles away. After an initial bit of climbing, much of the rest of the day was a technical descent down the mountain. We were again with Nigel who showed us how to open a coconut, almond and other fruits on the trees we passed. We knew day 6 was due to be a bit harder so to have a shorter day here was a welcome relief.

7.7.21 – Strava Stats Day 6

The last day. The target is to get to the northernmost point today at Cana Heritage Park. England also have their semi final of the Euros against Denmark at 3pm local time so I’m hoping we could get done in time to watch a bit of that!

Today, Leo and Allie were off around the island getting some more shots for camera that we hadn’t managed to get on the trail. It certainly made a difference to the feel of the day missing two of the members who had been there all the way through. We were planning to meet up with them again at the finish line so we could arrive at the tip of the island together.

The island still had a few more big climbs for us to navigate and difficult downhill sections which were again overgrown and it felt very much like day one and two again! Ann was unfortunately struggling with a shin issue which she finally succumbed to after marching on it bravely for a few days. She was missed on the last day and it didn’t feel the same.

We came out from the trail and joined a road which was also very undulating. The key difference being the road offered no shade and it was a hot stomp towards our lunch stop. We maintained a good pace and pushed on to get to the finish at 3.30pm as planned.

We reconvened with Allie, Leo and Ann at the finish point and got some shots of us reaching the finish together. It was a great relief and gave us time to absorb the distance we had covered and sights we had seen. We covered over 65 miles in the 6 days with over 22,000ft of climbing. A new milestone for myself personally.

The end.

Thank you to the team:

I was paired up with Ann for the shared accommodation and she was great fun from the start and little did I realise how much of a badass she is! She’s signed up for many of Rat Race’s big upcoming adventures and was a huge inspiration with her calm and friendly approach to everything. She was very organised and had every cream, spray and bit of kit you could possibly need on a trip like this, I learned a lot from her.

Allie is just incredible, she’s a real fighter and she pushed the team on every day. She’s a professional fitness maniac and I love her passion to explore. It was from reading one of her blogs two years ago that I was inspired to sign up for this event and I’ve never looked back or regretted the journey I’ve found myself on. Allie was my point of contact through the training and sign up process and was always available to talk to if I needed to ask anything about the trip. In real life, from the moment we met at Heathrow she made it all “real” and it didn’t feel like I was travelling with a business/corporation, it felt like traveling with real people. Thank you Allie.

Abbi had travelled to Dominica directly from Exuma (another Rat Race test pilot trip) so was already “warmed up!” She was again the model professional and had all the fixes to any issues we encountered. Thank you for saving my legs with your miracle creams Abbi! Her calm and measured approach to everything and attention to detail with all the admin and planning helped to make the trip run as smoothly as possible. There were all sorts of Covid restrictions imposed on our travelling to and from Dominica including PCR testing for the whole team. This was all dealt with to give us minimal disruption to our adventure.

Also joining us on the trip was Rachel, she works in the Rat Race office normally dealing with graphics and website related details, but she could easily pass as a trip leader too. She was so strong and completed every day with no fuss at all … apart from some of the things we tried to eat on the trail perhaps! Thanks for being there Rachel and being fun to talk to to keep our minds off the mountains ahead.

Finally thanks to Leo who was there to take all the shots. He basically had to do the trip whilst also carrying the heavy camera and drone equipment each day. I didn’t envy him with that task!

Highlight reel:

 

The whole journey was exciting and very much an unchartered adventure. The whole Rat Race team were great to travel with and I will definitely be signing up to something else on their calendar in the near future. They offer lots of UK based activities as well as an exploding worldwide list of adventures off the typical tourist trail.

You can check them out here.

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Snowdon August 2021

Snowdon August 2021

We made it!

This trip to Snowdon has been on the cards for a while but for lots of reasons had been delayed and delayed.

As we approached the weekend the weather forecast was not looking favourable. However, we all decided to travel up even with the possbility that we wouldn’t be able to get any climbing/walking done if the conditions were not safe.

In the 24 hours before the walk was due to commence the clouds and forecast cleared somewhat and there was a sensible window of opportunity to get ourselves safely up and down the mountain in one hit. As you can see from the photos below there were some wet moments, especially on the way down! But everyone was dressed appropriately and we got back in time for the bus … sort of!

Overall we had 11 people and one strong dog (George) summit on the Saturday with 8 people getting to the top for the first time. It was in fact George’s first birthday and it was an impressive effort.

It was such a good weekend and I want to thank everyone for commiting to the event and making it worthwhile to organise.

Russ

 

If you would like to join us for our next event, check out our timetable below.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Caroline Westoby

Hi Russell & Team, thank you for all your support this past year in helping me lose weight and tone up. Your gym staff are so supportive and helpful, it’s an absolute pleasure attending your gym – I only wish I had joined sooner!

Because I move around a lot, I’ve joined a number of gyms. Unlike all the others I’ve joined, yours is extremely welcoming – I actually look forward to working out!  Your personal trainers greet by name and are genuinely interested in how I’m doing and have always supported and assisted me in meeting my goal of weight loss.

Your gym members are just as friendly. The best is, I don’t feel awkward working out in my “fat” gym clothes (I can now fit into my “thin” gym clothes! Yay), because everyone is so supportive and kind.

Unfortunately, I’ve moved yet again and am very sad to say goodbye to you and your wonderful team.

Please keep up the good work and I wish you all the best for the future. If you ever need to use me as a reference, please feel free to give them my number.

With much love and appreciation.

Caroline Westoby


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Denver Smith

I’ve been personal training with Will for around 9 months. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. He teaches you all there is to know about how to look after your body and the right way to eat to help that. His results speak for themselves. I started with Will and in 9 months of having him for personal training I lost 4 stone. He keeps you very motivated, and hitting the gym or going to his sessions never seemed like a drag. I would fully recommend Will to anyone. Whether you’re looking to keep fit, trying to find ways to get fitter, or like me realised something had to be done and needed to lose weight fast but effectively.

Denver Smith


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Carole Vincent

I had suffered with back and hip problems for a long time. MyPhysio recommended that I see Will, the plan was to build my strength up in the gym. I hadn’t taken on anything like this before but I needn’t have worried. Initially I was a little concerned being a mature lady but Will was very approachable and had already talked to MyPhysio about the problem. He tailored my program to fit around my problem. I see Will twice a week and if I tell him about a problem, he works around it to fit my needs that day. I would highly recommend him as a personal trainer. Never thought I would look forward to going to the gym!

Carole Vincent


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Becca Lane

I’ve been personal training with Will on and off over the past 3 years. I have learnt so much about training and what my body can do, and he has given me a better understanding of this. Not just pushing me to my limits, but also knowing how much my body can be pushed. I would highly recommend Will as he has always made me feel comfortable in the gym. He also helped me achieve the goals I’ve wanted to!

Becca Lane


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Yannis Kakisis

I have been personal training with Will for 3 years now. He is a fantastic PT, very knowledgeable and accommodating. He always puts me at ease with his friendly manner. I would highly recommend him. I am extremely happy with the results I have achieved with the help of Will.

Yannis Kakisis

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Henry Savage

Will is helping me to realise my fitness goals in the gym. His persistence has helped me see a marked difference in my strength, and definition. He helps remind me that fitness is an ongoing target, and offers tips to prolong my improvements.

Henry Savage


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Karen Keen

At 57yrs old I thought the gym was going to be a daunting place to visit, my personal trainer Will made me feel at ease, making exercise enjoyable and rewarding.

Karen Keen


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Charlotte Lane

I have been having personal training with Will for a few months now and it’s been great! It’s because he pushes you and challenges your limits (we all set our ‘limit’ way too low…) – by constantly encouraging and helping you to better yourself. Will is professional, friendly and approachable which is why I’d highly recommend him as a personal trainer to anyone. I used to hate the gym and now I look forward to going. I always enjoy my personal training sessions with Will!

Charlotte Lane


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Terrie Brewer

I’ve had personal training with Will for over a year now and can honestly say I enjoy every session. I’ve tried everything, from TRX training to boxercise with kettle bell exercises, weights, cardio and everything else in between. I find Will very kind and caring. He will never push you into anything you do not want to do but will encourage you to try new things. Before you know it you’re attempting things you never thought you would have before. If you’re thinking of personal training for the first time and maybe feeling a bit nervous or self conscious, then I would definitely recommend Will.

Terrie Brewer


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Elena Papantoniou

My experience since joining Elite Fitness gym, has been great!! I have the best personal trainer, Will. He has really helped me get fit and healthy and also help reach my potential. I highly recommend Elite Fitness.

Elena Papntoniou


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Sarah Thompson

I have been personal training with Will for a couple of years and he is always energetic and enthusiastic. He is a delight to work with and has helped me considerably with a long term knee problem. He works closely with MyPhysio to adapt my training in a way that has resulted in huge improvements.

Sarah Thompson


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Indoor climbing at Bloc

Indoor climbing at Bloc

Every two weeks on Fridays we take a group of members (and friends of members) down to the indoor climbing centre at Bloc in Bristol. As a member of Elite Fitness, you will be entitled to half price entry. Please pay for your entry at Bloc Reception and email us to claim your 50% back as a credit (it will save us time to get climbing.)

If you would like to join us for this experience, click the “book your place here” button, or if you would like more information, use the form below to contact one of the team.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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The Wave 2021

The Wave 2021

On Sunday 18th July 2021 we took a group of members and friends down to The Wave in Easter Compton. What a day to pick! It was 30 degrees and was a welcome relief to get in the water.

We did the 90 minute beginners course and after a brief on land lesson, we were in the water for an hour of fun.

Some people took to the board immediately and it was great to see people of all ages and abilities giving it a go and trying to get to their feet.

Everyone had a great day and we plan to do this again before the end of the summer – watch this space!

If you would like to join us for our next event, check out our timetable below.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

No contract, no joining fee

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Elite Fitness 5th golf day

Elite Fitness 5th golf day

On Friday 11th June 2021 we held our 5th golf day at Thornbury Golf Club. This was an open invite for all members and friends to join us. We had a great turnout of 25 golfers, which made for a very close competition.

Last minute putting practice

Last minute putting practice


I remember my first round of golf

I remember my first round of golf

Conditions were a bit breezy, but overall the sun stayed shining for most of the day.

Trying to put Dave off

Trying to put Dave off

There were some very competitive scores across the whole field. Everyone managed a decent score, but it was long-time member Jim Gusterson who took the crown on the day with a brilliant score of 46 points. 

The Champion

The Champion

Big thanks to everyone who turned for our most attended golf day yet, hopefully the next one is even better!

Our next golf day is on Friday September 11th 2021 and you can book your place here.

We also managed to raise over £100 from the golf day going towards Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click here.

To read more about Thornbury Golf Club you can click here.

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Brecons 10 mile hike

Brecons 10 mile hike

On Sunday the 27th June 2021, we took a group of 13 members and friends (and one dog), to join us for what was a very enjoyable 10 mile hike through the Brecon Beacons.

The weather wasn’t too kind to us, with the wind blowing, and fog masking what would have been great views, but everyone enjoyed themselves nonetheless.

We managed to make it to the peak of Pen y Fan, which at 886 metres high was a great effort from all of us.

Thank you to everyone who joined us, we had a lot of laughs along the way. Hopefully next years will be even better!

We have a lot of other group events coming up, which you can read more on by clicking here.

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Dominica 100 miles

Dominica 100 miles

In July 2021 Russell is heading off to Dominica to attempt to traverse the island with a group of pioneers aiming to complete the task in 6-8 days as “test pilots” for a new venture being designed for the team at Rat Race. Rat Race operate phenomenal events around the world that belong firmly on many peoples’ bucket list.

Due to the event being postponed from 2020, the 2022 event in Dominica is already on sale to the general public. You can sign up directly here.

You can whet your whistle and take a look at all the events on offer by following the link below.

Russell has taken part in similar events before, the latest being the Coast to Coast experience in Scotland in 2019. You can read about the event here.

If you want to take part in events like this but don’t know where to start, leave a message below and Russell will be in touch.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Elite Fitness 4th golf day

On Friday 11th September 2020 we held our 4th golf day at Thornbury Golf Club. This was an open invite for all members and friends to join us.

We had 16 golfers out with us which made an even four teams of four with all three former champions taking part.

Conditions were kind and everyone managed to turn in a respectible stableford score over 24 points. However, on debut at our event, the winner of the fourth Elite Fitness golf day was Nick Wytchard with 41 points.

Thanks to everyone who took part, it was a great day and we look forward to the next one in the spring.

We also managed to raise over £200 from the golf day going towards Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click here.

If you would like to join us for one of our golf days in the future, please leave a message below and one of the team will be in touch to add you to our list

If you would like to join Elite Fitness you can do so online here.

To read more about Thornbury Golf Club you can click here.

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Kayaking on The Wye 2021

Kayaking on The Wye 2021

We are taking a group to The Wye Valley for a day of kayaking in September 2021.

Awesome trip with time for lunch on route…

The 11am 3/4 day trip from Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat West is the shortest trip we do but with the most time to complete it, you can relax and chill out, stop for lunch or just take your time, ideal for the first time paddler or for children, and can be done self-guided between the months of March to November. After booking your Canoe, Kayak or Paddleboard online you meet us at Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch, HR95QT (unfortunately we are not currently running our normal shuttle service due to social distancing, we are running the drivers of cars back to collect the cars after your trip) there is a small pay and display car park to leave your car in, we fill out paperwork, kit you out with buoyancy aids, paddles and dry barrels and give you a safety briefing, you will have the small launch fee to pay to the owners of the launch site if self-guided (£2 per craft and they take cards).  You will paddle through Bishopswood and down to Lower Lydbrook where you can stop for lunch, at Lydbrook there are public toilets and places to buy food and drink (open in the main season). After Lydbrook you will pass by the Wye Valley YHA and the lovely Church at Welsh Bicknor and under the old disused railway bridge that forms part of the Wye Valley Walk. The river meanders down towards and under the famous Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint, where you may be able to spot peregrine falcons and other birds of prey. After passing Yat Rock you paddle for a further hour through stunning scenery into Symonds Yat and back to Symonds Yat West and your finish next to the Paddocks Hotel. Along the way you can see a variety of wildlife from otters, mink, swans, geese, deer, wild boar, peregrine falcons and plenty more.
The distance of about seven miles of this trip can be enough for the first time paddler and is perfect to enjoy the fantastic surroundings and stunning vistas the area has to offer.

Things to look out for on this trip!

  1. Coppett Hill – After launching at Kerne Bridge you will paddle alongside beautiful heather clad Coppett Hill on your right, a local nature reserve of over 100 acres, it’s a mixture of woodland and open hillside and is a great place for butterflies, deer, bird life and fungi. There is a lovely guided walk along Coppett Hill which will show you the route of the river through the gorge as it winds around the hill itself.
  2. After the island at Lower Lydbrook you will pass through Welsh Bicknor which despite its name is in Herefordshire, and past the Wye Valley YHA with St Margaret’s church beside it.
  3. Another disused railway bridge, last used in the 1960′s, now used as a footbridge and part of the Wye Valley Walk.
  4. Approximately half way through your trip Cliffs rise up in front of you, this Coldwell rocks and caves and Symonds Yat Rock where finds suggest iron age activity, but are probably more notable for the nesting Peregrine falcons and Symonds Yat Rock the view point some 500 ft above you on the left, easily identified by the union flag.
  5. Now you have looped around and you are paddling the other side of Coppett Hill, you will go under Huntsham Bridge, a green iron road bridge that links the two sides of the River Wye.
  6. You are entering Symonds Yat area when you see the old parish church of St Dubricius on your right hand side. Its foundations date from the 9th century and the oldest part the 13th century. St Dubricius lived in Herefordshire in the 6th century and founded monasteries which were centres of learning.

Your landing point is not far away now, as you round a right hand bend you will see our sign on a beach on the inside of a right hand bend indicating our private launch and landing site.

All you have to do now is carefully exit the river, remove your boat and carry it to the flag then find a member of the Wye Canoes/Wye Adventures team to take your equipment from you.

Activity Information Facts:

  • Minimum Age – 4 Years Old
  • Fitness Level – Easy/Moderate
  • Difficulty – Easy, suitable for novices, you will be required to carry your 34kg canoe between you and your paddling partner (we can assist groups with young children), we can sometimes help at the launch stage but if you capsize on route you will have to recover your boat yourselves as we are not there with you! you will also need to remove the canoe from the river at the end of the day.
  • Stops on route – 30 mins into your trip is the public area of Lower Lydbrook which has public toilets, picnic area, Forge Hammer Pub and a few hundred metres further downstream is the Wye Valley YHA which also sells food and drink. (Please bear in mind that we don’t allow anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs to paddle our boats for obvious safety reasons, people under the influence or seen drinking alcohol whist in the boats will be removed from the river without refund and possibly without transport back to their cars).
  • Meeting time – 11am
  • Meeting place – Kerne Bridge Canoe Launch, HR9 5QT
  • On river time – 30 mins after meeting time
  • Duration – 4.5 hours (3 hours journeying)
  • Off water time – 4pm at latest
  • Location – Lower Wye Valley
  • Adult:Child Ratio Unguided, 4-9 yr olds 1:1 adult to child ratio, 10-18 yr olds 1 adult:2 youths

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Weston half marathon 2021

Weston half marathon 2021

On Sunday 17th October 2021 we will again be taking a team of runners down to the Weston-super-Mare half marathon. This will be a mixture of staff and members of mixed ability. At Elite Fitness we have bespoke running guides written for individuals working towards their target time. It may be a target to just complete your first half marathon or run a particular time, we can help build a realistic schedule for any individual.

To sign up for this event, click the “book your place here” button in the top right.

If you would like to enquire about joining us for the run, please leave a message below and one of the team will be in touch.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Festive night

On Friday 17th December 2021 we will be hosting our annual festive night down at Hawkes House to celebrate the end of the year. It is always a great occasion for staff and members to socialise and talk about what’s been achieved over the year and what the plans are for 2021!

If you would like to join us for the event, leave us a message below and one of the team will be in touch.

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Indoor skiing

On Sunday 13th February 2022, we will be taking a team of members and friends to the Snowdome in Birmingham for a day of skiing!

The session will last 2 hours, and it doesn’t matter if you are an experienced skiier, or completely new to it, everyone can get involved.

If you would like to join us for this experience, click the “Book your place here” button, or if you would like more information, get in touch by emailing info@elite-fitness.co.uk.

If you would like to see what it’s all about you can follow the link below.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Elite Fitness 7th golf day

Elite Fitness 7th golf day

On Friday 18th March 2022 we will be holding our 7th golf day at Thornbury Golf Club. This is an open invite for all members and friends to join us.

Tea, coffee and a bite to eat are provided at 8.15am with the first tee offs at 9am. Prizes will also be dished out after everyone has got back to the clubhouse.

If you would like to join us for this event, click the “Book your place here” button, or if you would like more information, get in touch by emailing info@elite-fitness.co.uk.

Any excess money raised from the golf day will go towards Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Brecons Hike 2022

Brecons Hike 2022

We are taking a group to the Brecon Beacons on April 24th 2022 for a 10 mile hike.

There will be mixed abilities so don’t feel like you have to keep up with everyone on the trek. The route is around 10 miles and shouldn’t take longer than 5-6 hours. We will be meeting at the Neuadd car park at 9am ready to depart no later than 9.15am.

This is a challenging upland mountain walk that takes you into the heart of the Brecon Beacons. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views if the weather is good! Come prepared for unpredictable weather. We will be doing this as a group and nobody will be left alone. Waterproof and windproof outer layers are recommended. Snacks and water will be provided for you to carry before we start the trek.

If you would like to join us for the hike, please get in touch on info@elite-fitness.co.uk so that we can prepare and ensure there is enough support for you all.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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The Wave 2022

On Sunday 3rd July we will be taking a group of friends and members to the Wave for a day of surfing!

The Wave is the first inland-surfing destination of its kind, and can generate waves of up to 6 feet. The session will be an open water, 60 minute session which is suitable for all levels of experience.

If you would like to join us for this event, click the “Book your place here” button, or if you would like more information, get in touch by emailing info@elite-fitness.co.uk.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Snowdon 2022

We are taking a group of members and friends of Elite Fitness to Snowdonia for the weekend of the 5th-7th of August 2022. We plan to summit Mount Snowdon on one of the days. There will be mixed abilities so don’t feel like you have to keep up a certain pace in fear of being left behind.

This is a challenging upland mountain walk that takes you to the summit of the highest mountain in Wales. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views if the weather is good!

If you would like to join us for this event, click the “Book your place here” button, or if you would like more information, get in touch by emailing info@elite-fitness.co.uk.

Our chosen charity is Made a Mark. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation click the logo below.

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Carole Pearcey

After many years of using a gym, I decided to engage the expertise of a personal trainer to improve my upper body strength. Using encouragement and in-depth knowledge, Will has provided excellent support and an exercise programme to help me achieve my aims.

Carole Pearcey


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David Jeckells

I have been personal training with Russell since 2007 and the results have been excellent. He manages to motivate & keep me going, gradually improving my fitness level & also assisting in my weight loss programme. I would not hesitate in recommending him, the personal training touch certainly brings the desired results!

David Jeckells


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Mr Pearson

I recently decided to join a gym but with no set programme and little knowledge, I saw very few results. As a keen footballer with a summer holiday coming up, I wanted to bulk up in the shortest possible time. I had always thought personal training was only for developing fitness rather than muscle mass but I was quickly proven wrong. With a set regime to suit my current levels of fitness and with realistic targets developed around my current lifestyle I was soon able me to make the most out of the time I spend at the gym in Thornbury. With great nutritional, information and advice on techniques, the programmes never get boring. This personal approach has really helped me to become motivated and for once actually start seeing results.

Mr Pearson


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Mrs Clarke

Over the years I have often tried the gym, but with limited success. From the start Russell has made a real difference, and I have been seeing him now since 2008. He devised a realistic personal training programme taking into account my age, general fitness and personal goals. He has always kept the programme interesting by monitoring my progress and making adjustments. This has resulted for the first time in a definite improvement in my overall fitness levels. I have always found him to be well-organised, conscientious and motivational.

Mrs Clarke


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Anon, Thornbury

I have tried many forms of exercise classes over the years, including using the gym. I have never been able to keep these going more than a couple of months. With Russell as my personal trainer I have found the recipe for success. Being able to exercise in the privacy of my own home and not the gym, with Russell recording my progress and encouraging me I have been able to stick with it for over 8 years. If I get bored, Russell always comes up with a new routine to keep the interest level high. I feel healthier, more flexible and younger than I have felt for years. I would recommend Russell whole heartedly!

Anon


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Julie Derham

Before Russell became my personal trainer I had been going to the gym in Thornbury for about eight months. Whilst I felt I was improving my fitness in reality I was only managing a ‘gentle’ workout on only the equipment that I found easy and I rarely got out of my comfort zone. Since I started working with Russell he has helped me achieve a greatly improved fitness level and made me believe that I can achieve my goals. With Russell’s motivation most weeks I am able to improve my levels of performance in the gym. I no longer wander aimlessly around the gym and now leave each session with a huge feeling of achievement. The benefit to my health and well being makes all the pain worthwhile! Thanks Russell.

Julie Derham


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Jon Pullin

Over the years trying to motivate myself to attend the gym has resulted in many failures. Having worked with Russell on a weekly basis I have not missed a personal training session for years. The sessions are interesting, challenging and suited to your personal needs and goals. I’m fitter as a result and now look forward to attending the sessions. Russell works hard to make you achieve greater standards at every session.

Jon Pullin


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Amanda Sherwood

I rather foolishly signed up for the Bristol half marathon and was aware that if I was to achieve this I needed some help! Russell had been recommended to me so I signed up for a series of personal training sessions. I soon realised that I was not particularly fit and that I had some serious work to do, but Russell has helped me tremendously in a sympathetic and encouraging manner. If I was to sum up Russell’s qualities in a few words they would be professional, knowledgeable, organised, reliable and enthusiastic. So there’s no excuse now, it’s just down to me to turn up to the personal training sessions and do it. Thank you Russell!

Amanda Sherwood


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Mike Rowen

Following years of playing sport and suffering numerous injuries, I found it very difficult to keep fit on my own. I had been a member of various gyms over the years but had not made best use of them. When Russell suggested an initial session I was skeptical that this different approach would solve the problem. I was right – he’s pushed me further than any gym membership alone would have. He’s made me sweat gallons over the past 10 years, he’s made me throw up, he’s prolonged a cricket career which I never really enjoyed. He has also made it necessary for me to buy quite a lot of new clothes as nothing fits.

Oh, and he’s even nearly got me running the Bristol half marathon! So if you want him to change your life, ruin your spare time, cost you loads of money in new clothes and make it possible to get involved in new hobbies which seemed impossible before, book some gym sessions!!

Mike Rowen


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Miss Walker

Since using Russell for personal training, I have lost 2 stones in weight. I’ve also increased my fitness levels beyond what I ever thought possible. I have never been a sporty person or enjoyed exercise at all. He has really motivated me to work hard and better myself. He is always extremely flexible and and endeavours to fit his personal training sessions around me, and has tailored our time together to incorporate exercises which I find interesting, as well as encouraging me to take part in ever ambitious events – something I would never do on my own. Two of my friends are now seeing him after seeing the results I have achieved and I would absolutely recommend him to anybody.

Miss Walker


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Jenny Lambert

I have been a regular gym member for years, but recently I had lost interest and motivation. I asked Russell for help and booked a course of personal training sessions. Russell has got me back on track with an assortment of gym programmes that I can do on my own and he has set me goals that are achievable. Having a session once a week, means that Russell pushes me that bit extra and keeps tabs on my progress. He is also able to pinpoint my downfalls. I would not hesitate to recommend Russell to anyone.

Jenny Lambert


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Nicky

I have what I consider a job that does not allow me to go to the gym under my own discipline. So when someone suggested Russell as my personal trainer I thought long and hard about taking this on. Initially I had visions of someone who would expect miracles and push me by any means with aggression and bullying, once I met and started working with Russell the reality was far from my original thoughts. I found that Russell gets the most out of me without any aggression and has improved my fitness and weight problems through a gym programme which he controls and regulates as he sees best. If anyone were to ask me about a personal trainer I would without doubt recommend this man due to his commitment and the trust I have in him.

Nicky


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Alison Makepeace

Starting a regular personal training programme was very daunting and difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle. Russell has made a real difference to my fitness and motivation. He has devised a realistic training programme and monitors me to work harder each session but is also happy to make adjustments to keep my interest. He is well-organised, professional and encouraging. ‘No pain, no gain’, but with Russell the pain does result in improved overall fitness and strength, good motivation to exercise and assists in losing weight! Thank you.

Alison Makepeace


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Sue Evans

I first met Russell over two years ago when I felt I needed to do something for myself. After the first few personal training sessions with Russell, I dropped a dress size, even though I hadn’t lost any weight. I wasn’t exercising to lose weight but to get fit.

Since having Russell as my personal trainer at the gym in Thornbury for the past three months, I have never felt so good and my muscles have really toned up. So much so that I’m beginning to like my body.  I’m constantly being told that I look like I’ve lost weight. I’m starting another three month block of sessions in a week’s time, I can’t wait to see the results!

Sue Evans


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Claire Jaggard

Never in a million years did I think I would find myself personal training. I don’t even like exercise! However, the extra weight I blame on two babies is refusing to disappear all by itself. So when Russell challenged me to two months of training, I couldn’t think of a good enough excuse not to. When he suggested we aim for a four mile run, I began to wonder if I’d done the right thing.

It was at my first session that I realised the target of a four mile run wasn’t going to be something theoretical that might happen at the end of two months. Russell actually intended me to take part in the Oldbury Fun Run, just four weeks away. I hadn’t run in public since school, and was quite sure he had lost his marbles.

There were many days when, left to my own devices, I would never have made it to the gym. It’s so easy to come up with excuses, but when you’ve made an appointment, you force yourself to go. Once I’d started the session, I was always glad I’d made the effort. An hour personal training with Russell goes much faster than an hour on your own, and you feel terribly virtuous when it’s over.

Russell didn’t push me further than I wanted or was able to go. It was simply that stubbornness kicks in when there’s someone recording your progress. His feedback and encouragement, showing me the progress I was making, was a big incentive too. When you know you’re getting better, and the numbers show it, you do want to carry on.

So the day of the Oldbury Fun Run arrived and I was more nervous than I had expected but Russell was there to reassure me and I prepared myself mentally for the rather daunting task ahead of me. It wasn’t until I crossed the final mile marker that I realised there was a chance I might actually complete this, and began to relax and enjoy myself. Crossing the line was a huge surprise and relief.

Just a few weeks previously I had thought this would be impossible, but here I was, and it was all credit to Russell. I started to feel the benefits of Russell’s workouts in my daily life too; little things that had been challenging before, such as the uphill bike ride to our local shop, were suddenly much easier.

Claire Jaggard


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Claire

I have been personal training with Russell in Thornbury since 2008. So far it has been a very successful and rewarding experience. I found that Russell listened carefully when we first met. Through assessing my lifestyle, including a food analysis, he has helped me find a manageable way to achieve my goals. He has managed to find the right level of encouragement at all times and I never feel embarrassed. He has used his knowledge and experience creatively to keep me interested in the next challenge.

Claire


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Shelley Bateman

I have been personal training with Russell for almost 1 year now and the results have been amazing. Whilst my weight has not reduced greatly my body shape has changed considerably. My muscle tone, particularly in my problem areas (tum, bum & thighs) has improved significantly and I now feel relaxed and comfortable in my clothes.

On a recent shopping trip to Cabot Circus I was pleasantly surprised by my reflection in the changing-room mirrors. The ones that generally manage to accentuate all your flaws! For once I actually enjoyed trying on dresses and trousers and feeling that my body did them justice; needless to say it was an expensive trip!

The worst thing I did was stop my personal training sessions for 6 weeks over Christmas. Rather than feel like I was treating myself by skiving my sessions, I felt sluggish, tired, unmotivated and was much more prone to head to the biscuit tin. I was also convinced that even over such a short break the change in my muscle tone & fitness level was noticeable. I was relieved to get back into it in the New Year.

Several months ago, my mum commented that my hourly session with a personal trainer was an extravagant luxury. I work harder in 1 hour a week with Russell than I would ever workout under my own steam. It’s completely different, you push your body to the limit and that is how you get results – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

My Mum recently signed up with Russ for some personal training and now thanks me she goes every week. 10 weeks in she is starting to reap the benefits and is surprised by the change in her shape and by how much more energised she feels. She’s 25 years my senior, but is as fit as fiddle!

I cannot recommend Russell highly enough. He pushes you without making you feel uncomfortable and happily adapts the workout to suit your needs. The packages are flexible, comprehensive and worth every penny. If I could find the time, I would definitely go more frequently.

Shelley Bateman


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Mark, Bristol

I had been thinking of trying to up my gym training for sometime but not done anything about it. After an excessive holiday and an impending wedding I knew that this was the time to give it a shot!

Russ helped in setting goals with a weekly session at the gym in Thornbury. With some ‘homework’ also set and I improved every week. This provided me with confidence and determination to push myself every session. I didn’t want to let myself or Russ down and continue setting new boundaries.

The personal training sessions which Russ devised were different every week and imaginative, in all fairness I am the type of person who needs to be and enjoys to be pushed in training sessions and therefore these were of great benefit.

I also have an old injury which Russ took into consideration when setting exercises and if ever there was a niggle or a twinge, the session was adapted to suit.

The help of keeping a food diary for Russ to comment upon was great. Russ was also able to provide tips and advice on all forms of dietary and fitness questions which I found useful and have passed on to numerous friends and family members.

I recommend Russell’s services to any friend or family member looking for a personal trainer. Or indeed if they need their training ‘spiced up’ to push themselves that little bit further.

Mark


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Elaine

I was invited on a walking holiday last November and I knew it was time to get fit. I broke my leg a few years ago and decided that was no longer an excuse. My friend Anne was already seeing Russell for personal training and introduced me. Russell asked me my requirements, I wanted to build up my stamina, drop a dress size, feel and look fitter. With Russell’s gentle encouragement this is happening.

On my weekly personal training sessions, Russell puts me through my paces. Each week I am improving on the last. My shape is changing, (confirmed by my friends), I have more energy, feel and look fitter and my stamina has increased. What a result in less than 6 months. Hooray.

Elaine


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Janine

I have learnt that I need exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy in my busy life. The difficulty is remaining disciplined which is where Russell’s personal training is the answer for me. It keeps me committed to going to the gym in Thornbury regularly and ensures I maximize the time spent there.

I have a reoccurring neck problem and Russell is able to tailor my personal training sessions to ensure I do not aggravate this along with his support to do all the exercises correctly.

Janine


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Ian Curtis

I have been personal training with Russell for a while now, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Personal training with Russell has not only been fantastic but he has become someone who I would be proud to call a friend. With Russell, you will find someone who is very knowledgeable, very courteous, very friendly and very very good at what he does!

The key thing with Russell for me, is that he listens to what you as a client wants, then puts 100% into trying to achieve your goals. He doesn’t only concentrate on the fitness side of things either, he is willing to listen to other issues you may have and offer advice about them too. All in all you get the whole package! I would have no hesitation in recommending Russell Knight for personal training to anyone!

Ian Curtis


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Karen and Jim

I went to Russell Knight to start personal training in 2010 after many failed attempts to get and stay fit – seeking some new motivation but a little wary as to what to expect. After a full assessment we started to find out what I could do and Russell focused me on making small improvements each week. It wasn’t very long before I began to see real gains and after several months it was great to see how much more I could do compared to when I started.

I enjoyed the personal training sessions so much that my husband (a previous gym-phobic) decided to start seeing Russell for personal training sessions himself, which he also has found really suited him. Russell is always keen to keep the focus on improving and switches around the routines so we don’t get bored. Both of us work full time and Russell has been really flexible in making changes to our times when work commitments mean we’re not available for a particular session. Because of this, despite our busy lives, we’ve still managed to maintain two sessions each week.

The benefits of our sessions have extended in to all aspects of our lives with our 13 year old daughter – we’ve all become so much more active. I’ve dropped a dress size without dieting and am looking forward to my new running challenges. My husband has re-gained flexibility in his legs and shoulder he thought he’d lost forever. We are both in our mid-forties but feel healthier and fitter now than we did in our thirties … maybe even our twenties! I would recommend Russell’s personal training sessions to anyone – give it a go and you’ll be surprised how great you feel.

Karen and Jim


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Janne Preiss

I’ve never been a runner and was very unfit before I started personal training with Russell. He got me into shape very fast, took me through the difficult process of gradually improving my fitness, and best of all – I learned to love running. With only four months of personal training with Russell I completed the Bristol 10K. I am now looking forward to running the half marathon in the near future. I have no doubt that I would never have been able to achieve this on my own.

Janne Preiss


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Rachael Arrivabene

Russell Knight was recommended to me by a friend who had had personal training sessions with him and achieved excellent results. At the point of contacting Russell, I was not exercising at all. After having two children found myself to be overweight and unfit. Clothes shopping was an unhappy, nightmare experience. Often resulting in my not wanting to go on nights out with friends and swimming was avoided at all costs!!

Russell and I discussed what I wanted to achieve from our sessions. He took in to account my lifestyle and planned sessions with me that were enjoyable. He offered encouragement and challenged me when required.

When I first started personal training sessions, I disliked running and actually was so unfit that I couldn’t run for more than a minute or two. Last week I signed up for the Bristol Half Marathon. Something I never imagined doing. It’s going to be one of my biggest achievements and there is no way I’d be doing it if it wasn’t for my personal training sessions with Russell.

I have continued my sessions for two years and am still improving my fitness every single week. I no longer need to lose weight. Clothes shopping is no longer a source of misery and I’m very much looking forward to my summer holiday (and bikini) this year!

I genuinely couldn’t recommend anybody higher than Russell.

Rachael Arrivabene


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H

I am in my early fifties and was unhappy at how my body was changing. I started going to the gym on my own but for me this was not enough. I did not push myself and certainly did not appreciate what I was capable of achieving. Then I met Russell at the gym; everything changed! He encouraged me to use different equipment which included some weights in interesting and varied routines.

Without realising it I had soon found myself motivated to do a little more each time and Russell was always there to guide me. My body shape has changed, I am more toned, I have lost body fat and feel much better for it. Initially I found hour long sessions challenging to complete but Russell was flexible and allowed me to split my hour into two 30 minute sessions which I found more beneficial.

Thanks to Russell I am a lot happier, look and feel so much better and could not have done it without his support and encouragement.

It’s never too late!

H


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Annie M, Alveston

As a personal trainer – he’s good. I thoroughly recommend him! He helped me return to the gym after surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer. He does not use “pseudo-science” but as a professional, bases his fitness programmes around evidence based research which of course is much safer and produces good results.

Here I am way down the line and why do I keep going … I like his style! He keeps me fit, sets realistic and achievable goals, varies the gym sessions and is flexible particularly when life and work get in the way. He has a quietly confident and encouraging manner. Most of all he smiles through and takes absolutely no notice of my endless whingeing and STILL I improve. Great technique.

I never thought that at 61 yrs old I would ever use the phrase “shan’t be long, just going for a run” Russell has helped me achieve that; well done Russell.

Annie M


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Simon Hunt

Without question, I would not have improved as much on my own in the gym. Russ takes time to understand what you want to achieve and gets you there. His help has benefited all areas of my life and physical health. Weight is down, heart rate has improved, fat percentage is down – general fitness has improved.

I have booked Russ for 2 platinum packages and an Abs package – it has been worth every penny. If I could have a personal trainer for the rest of my life, I would pick Russ every time. I have already lined up another Platinum package for next year, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

Thank you for all your help Russ, it is appreciated.

Simon Hunt


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Sue and Mark

After muttering to my partner Mark that I really should try and get a bit fitter and slimmer, I was horrified when he bought me a ‘present’ of gym membership plus personal trainer as it was only a throw-away comment! I have tried every diet going over the years, and whilst successful short term it all crept on again.

When I first met Russ I was really impressed that he talked to me at length about my day-to-day life. We discussed what I wanted to realistically achieve and how I could do this. Most importantly he explained how going on another diet with a bit of Zumba thrown in wasn’t going to work. A ‘lifestyle change’ was needed. I had a goal in mind as we had a big family holiday planned in 5-months time.

In five months I have lost the 1.5 stone that I was aiming for without being on a diet. I have totally changed my eating habits and attitude towards health and fitness. Every session with Russ is worthwhile and motivating. I also felt a huge sense of achievement at the end of each session. He will always tailor a programme to suit you personally, and will vary this as needed.

My partner Mark also signed up with Russell and is due to run a half-marathon soon. He’s achieved brilliant fitness results in only 5-months. We can now go away on our holiday slimmer and fitter than we have been for years, and this is all down to Russ who has been an inspiration to us.

We are already booked in to carry on when we get back, and looking forward to seeing what the next 5-months will bring! Both of us would highly recommend Russ to anyone, and whatever level of fitness, size or shape you are we guarantee Russ will be able to help you.

Sue and Mark


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James Marchant

Russell Knight was recommended to me for personal training by my chiropracter just before Christmas 2014. I had an ongoing problem with my lower back which was not only painful but also restricted my movement. It also hindered my ability to participate in regular sport. I was also unhappy with my weight and general level of fitness so decided to take the plunge. I signed up for an initial course of personal training which I have never experienced before.

Russ and his team are an extremely friendly and supportive group. This gave me the confidence to sign up for a training programme. Within a matter of only a few weeks my back condition was much improved due to the stretching exercises that are built into my exercise program. My range of movement has improved significantly and I am virtually pain free. I have also been able to play badminton and cricket which I was struggling to do before starting personal training. In addition to this I have lost 8lbs in weight and whilst I haven’t reached my target yet, I am confident that I will do so in the next few months.

In summary, working with a personal trainer keeps me focused. I have two sessions every week and these have become part of my weekly routine. I am delighted with the results I have achieved so far and can’t recommend Russell and his team highly enough to anyone who wants to get fit, recover from an injury or a combination of both.

James Marchant


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Sue

I first met Russell 18 months ago in the gym when my fitness was so low I could only manage 10 minutes on the treadmill. Slowly, with a lot of encouragement and patience from Russell, I am now able to complete a half hour session. Russell understands that when I have a bad day medically, I can only exercise for a short time. There is no pressure from him to complete the half hour.

He manages to work towards keeping me on track without making me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I cannot complete the session but that’s fine. We have over the years worked towards completing a marathon on the treadmill and an Ironman triathlon by using the cycles, treadmill and rowing. I certainly will be carrying on when this block of sessions has finished, as my confidence has grown along with weight loss, as an added bonus.

Sue


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Dave Price

Russell is an excellent personal trainer. He listened to what my goals were and devised the appropriate gym workouts in order to achieve my goals. Having been enthusiastic about the gym for 7 months I have now lost 5 and a half stone. Starting from 17 and a half stone, this has made me feel much fitter and like a new man. I am very grateful to Russell and his team in helping me achieve this along with my new diet which Russell has helped me with.

Dave Price


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Malcolm R

I’ve been with Russell and his personal training team since 2010. They are a great bunch to work with: energetic, engaging, supportive and challenging in turn. And they really are a team, it doesn’t matter who you work with. They have the same approach and the handover from one to another when necessary to fit my ever-changing schedule is seamless.

My initial health assessment threw up a health issue of which I would have remained ignorant without their attention to detail. It’s now back under control – thanks to Russell’s professional approach.

I went to the Elite Fitness personal training team on personal recommendation. I finally could no longer escape from my increasing girth, decreasing flexibility – and the comments of a frustratingly naturally thin wife! As a sixty-something (no need to go into more detail) who had never explicitly exercised in his life (I’d even bunked off games at school) I was daunted at the prospect of setting foot in a gym to be faced by ultra-fit youngsters attacking frightening looking equipment with excessive gusto.

Russell’s calm and pragmatic approach has worked for me. I have more energy, more stamina and more enthusiasm than I’ve had for years. A lot of the old aches and pains that I thought were just signs of aging have gone – and I can now take the stairs instead of the escalator without fear, or breathlessness.

Malcolm R


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Paula Knight

I have been personal training with Russell since 2006. He is an excellent personal trainer who always brings out the best in me! And no matter how I am feeling after a long day at work he always finds me a programme to suit the day! If you are looking for someone who understands you and your needs look no further!

Paula


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Festive night at Hawkes House 2019

On Friday 20th December 2019 we held our annual festive night down at Hawkes House to celebrate the end of the year. It was a great occasion for staff and members to socialise and talk about what’s been achieved in 2019 and what the plans are for 2020!

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Elite Fitness 3rd Golf Day

We held our 3rd Elite Fitness Golf Day at Thornbury Golf Club on Friday 20th September 2019. We again had a good bunch of players in attendance but with neither former champion available, there would be a new name on the trophy!

We again held a stableford format competition, with the outright winner being Reg Purchase on this occasion.

We again had generous donations from the participants to our chosen charity ‘Made a Mark’. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation Click Here.

Our 4th Elite Fitness Golf Day will be on Friday 20th March 2020, if you would like to join us, send us a message

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Coast to Coast 2019

In September 2019 I took part in the Rat Race Adventure Sports Coast to Coast event in Scotland.

I’ve taken part in a few events like this over the years. Since getting injured 13 years ago, I’ve always struggled with short, sharp movements but found that I could “move the goalposts” to create new challenges and new ways to test myself both physically and mentally.

I started running, mainly half marathons and smaller distances but it always felt inevitable that I would have to take part in a marathon at some stage just to “tick that box”. In 2013, spurred on by friends also looking for a challenge I signed up for the Wales Ironman in Tenby. This was a big step up from half marathons but with a bit of planning and dedication, I completed the training and survived the day and it felt great to be able to put that medal in a drawer and have that box ticked.

Since then, I’ve only completed smaller events, always with a feeling that I would again try and take on a challenge one day. I found the Rat Race brand and they have many events throughout the UK and the World. I opted for the Coast to Coast event in Scotland for 2019.

This is an A to B race starting in Nairn on the northern coast of Scotland and finishes 105 miles away on the southern side of Loch Leven at The Isles of Glencoe Hotel. It consists of a seven mile cross country run from Nairn to Cawdor Castle, 48 mile road cycle to Fort Augustus, 21 mile off road cycle and 13.5 mile road cycle to Fort William. Then a 14 mile trail/trek through Glen Nevis to the northern shore of Loch Leven and a final one mile kayak across the loch to the finish line at The Isles of Glencoe Hotel.

Although I had around a year to prepare, I never felt fully convinced that I could complete this event. It was a tough undertaking with a lot of unknowns. There is a one day option and a two day option, I’d opted for the one day option and had spent the last year mulling over that decision. It is possible to take part in this event on your own, Rat Race will transport you and your equipment around Scotland so that you are reunited with your stuff and end up where you started. Alternatively you could have someone with you who can drive from the start to the finish and collect you and your things there, luckily for me, I had my one man support crew Jamie, so when I got to the finish, I knew he would be there and we were checked into the hotel at the finish line and I could collapse and relax and not worry about getting back to Nairn to get my car etc.

One of the biggest decisions and much debated amongst the Rat Race community was which type of bike to use. The 21 mile off road section is rather uneven and was a bit of an unknown quantity for me, the other 62 miles of cycling is on roads. I opted for my slick 23mm road tyres and I was just going to hope for the best along the off road section. I reasoned that it was only 25% of the ride and I’d benefit more for the 75% of the cycling. When I arrived in Scotland and saw everyone else’s bikes, I spent a lot of time looking closely at the bike choices and I was definitely in the minority with many opting for a cyclocross style and quite a few with fat-tyred mountain bikes, so that played on my mind for the 24 hours prior to the start of the race.

I arrived in Cawdor Castle the day before the race and went through all the registration procedures and left my bike and rucksack with the team ready for me to reunite with after the initial 7 mile run from Nairn the following morning. The registration locations are always a bustling place where lots of worried looking people are milling around checking they have everything, thinking things through over and over to make sure they’ve not made any silly mistakes. One chap had driven from London with his bike, only to realise on arrival that he hadn’t put the chain back on his bike – luckily I was a tad more prepared than this. Rat Race place a heavy emphasis on safety and there was certain mandatory kit you had to have with you at all times to ensure if you got into trouble, you could get yourself out of trouble again. I had all my gear, left it there and headed to Nairn for the evening to relax, eat some food and prepare for the 6.45am start, still thinking about my bike choice.

The Scottish weather is always something that’s hard to predict, it has the ability to change the face of any outside activity undertaken and this type of event is no different. Especially with the direction of travel consistent. So, if we had a wind behind us from North to South it could really help (although potentially rather cold). Alternatively if we had weather from the South which is more likely, it meant we would be heading into it for the majority of the day. The long range forecast for the weekend had been generally good but as the time got closer, it was clear that there would be a spell of bad weather coming through Scotland from South to North. As it turned out that would be from about 9am on the day of the event until late evening. Pretty much the entirety of the race. Fun.

This forecast only confounded my thoughts that it would be a tough challenge to just get to the end, let alone aim for a strong ‘time’. There were strict “cut-off” times at the end of the cycling/start of Glen Nevis (4pm in Fort William) and again at the end of Glen Nevis/start of the kayak section (7.30pm) for safety reasons, to ensure participants aren’t stranded in a section of the event where they are unlikely to finish in daylight hours. I knew what sort of speeds I was capable of and knew it could be tight, especially with a headwind and with my bike choice potentially letting me down on the off road section.

I woke up to almost perfect weather conditions, no rain or wind, cool and calm and didn’t need many layers on to stay warm. Could the forecast be wrong or will it all miss us entirely? We shall see …

I started the event with a bunch of people who all looked like they knew what they were doing, every bit of kit you could imagine, did I have too much? not enough? Only time would tell but it was too late to change my mind or back out now.

The first part was the 7 mile cross country run back to the registration point at Cawdor Castle where my bike, rucksack and food was waiting for me. The terrain was a bit wet from overnight rain and I tried my best to avoid landing in wet sticky puddles because I wanted to keep my trainers dry for the run stage through Glen Nevis later on that day and knew if my feet got cold and wet, it could only make things worse. I managed to negotiate the 7 miles relatively dry and got to Cawdor Castle around my expected time, had a few snacks and started to drink from my rucksack bag and was ready to take on the cycling.

Within about 5 minutes of being on the bike, a fellow competitor came up alongside me, took a look at my bike and kindly said “bit brave isn’t it, those tyres will be interesting on the off road section later” – A great little confidence booster that I had made the right choice. I was now anticipating a scenario where I would be off my bike, walking it through rough terrain with my SPD bike shoes on, but that would be a problem for later in the day, for now, I had 48 miles of decent surface to make good time and get to Fort Augustus for a pit stop before taking on the off road section.

I still had my waterproof jacket and trousers in my rucksack, I didn’t need them and didn’t want them on unnecessarily as I wanted to feel unrestricted and able to cool down whilst cycling whilst I could. Within an hour of cycling the wind had picked up and I was starting to drop below a pace that I was aiming to maintain, there wasn’t much I could do apart from keep going and focus on getting to Fort William before the 4pm cut-off. There were around 270 participants aiming to complete the course in one day, I knew I was somewhere in the middle after the first run. As a few of them came past me on the bike, it was a good opportunity to tuck in behind a few riders to “draft” along with and stay out of the increasing headwind. These moments were great and I started to feel that if I could spend some miles in a group then my pace may increase enough and I could conserve energy and that I could get to the cut-off in time.

As it was, there was no chance to hide from the incoming weather for any of us for the entirety of the road section and the rain soon joined the sideways wind directly into my face. I found myself pedalling hard even when I was on a down slope just to keep my momentum going. There were some very exposed sections on this road and it was difficult to maintain balance yet alone speed on the bike, I was being blown left and right and fought with my bike to stay close to edge of the road to allow cars to pass. The whole route was open to the public so I had to remain vigilant and aware of my surroundings as well as the conditions we were being dealt.

There were 2 or 3 moments along this road section I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to finish, I was already preparing what I would say to family and friends about the terrible conditions and I just didn’t have enough in the tank. I was nearing my way to Fort Augustus where the 2-day eventers would be sleeping for the night and where I could have a break, quick snack and drink and crack on with the final push off road and back on the road to Fort William. I knew I’d get to Fort Augustus and I knew I would pedal on to Fort William irrespective of the timing but felt quite sure I’d get there with a steward informing me, my race was over and I couldn’t do the mountain section of Glen Nevis.

With around 5 miles to Fort Augustus, the wind and rain beat me. I hopped off my bike, had a quick snack and needed to walk up the remainder of the biggest climb on an exposed section of road where I felt that I would probably be moving faster on foot than if I stay pedalling on my bike into the wind. At least at the top I could sit back on the bike and cruise down the hill to the pit stop. Of course there was a photographer near the top of the hill who was all too ready to take a pic …

Capturing the face of someone being beaten by the weather. I got to the top, clipped back into the bike, and cruised down the next 5 miles to Fort Augustus. My hands were too cold to change gears and pull the brakes comfortably. I was starting to think the half way point would be the end of my race.

I got to the Fort Augustus pit stop, pulled in, put my bike down and tried to shelter from the wind. The pit stop was a bloke with a van full of crisps, nuts and flapjacks and a coffee urn. What I ‘liked’ about this event was that it was designed to be tough, it was designed to be relatively self-sufficient. There were no little luxuries to help, there was no base camp to dry off, no community hall to rest and recompose yourself. The idea was to stop for a short period of time and just get going again. I used my time here to get my weatherproof jacket on and my thick gloves that I had brought to use for the trek section. It took longer than it should, my hands were already too cold to comply with simple instructions. I struggled but I managed, wiggled them on bit by bit, strapped the cuffs around them and immediately felt better. Emptied my lucozade from my drinks bottle on my bike and replaced it with hot coffee. Warmth was what I needed more than anything right now and I had plenty of energy in the food I was carrying. After a few minutes here I was ready to get going again and attack the next section, the off road 21 miles.

It started relatively well, the track was a firm gravel path alongside a canal. The bike rolled well and I thought if it stays like this we could be more than ok. The biggest benefit in this section was that now, the route was sheltered by trees and the wind was no longer holding me up like it was on the exposed roads. Within 5 miles I had cycled past 3 competitors who were fixing their bike, presumably these were punctured tyres from the rough ground, I was taking extra care to avoid ruts and big stones. It was going to take a fair bit of luck and judgement to get through this 21 miles without having to deal with a puncture.

The miles were ticking away and as it turned out there were only 2 small parts of the off road section where I had to unclip my feet and walk up short, sharp gravel sections where the tyres were just spinning through the surface. Once past these, the bike coped fine and I was soon back on the road with just 13.5 miles to go to Fort William. According to my watch, things were looking good, I had nearly two and half hours to get there before the 4pm cut off. Perhaps I could complete this whole thing after all.

I rolled into Fort William with the rain still lashing down, it was coming up to 3pm so I knew I’d be allowed up the mountain to make a start. I got off my bike, packed up anything I didn’t need and left it with the support crew. I now put my water proof trousers on and put my “dry” running shoes back on ready to walk/run/shuffle my way to the finish. I was just about to start when I heard my name being called, it was Jamie. He’d managed to find the remote car park and it gave me a boost knowing he’d made it down to here through the difficult driving conditions and that we weren’t far away from getting to the finish.

I started to shuffle along the gravel track, legs were not agreeing with me but I wanted to make a start. Just up the road was the final pit stop where again it was similar to Fort Augustus, a few snacks and small kettles on the go providing a quick warm cup of tea and a little booster to carry me along the final section. I asked the steward if we were likely to make the 7.30pm cut off for the start of the kayak section and he said the kayak had been cancelled due to the weather – two foot waves on a loch were not ideal conditions to have 270 out on the water in poor visibility. I was disappointed, I wanted to complete the course as it was designed but the lack of a kayak finish was replaced with a different route on the trek and so it would still be a tough effort and we could only do what was in front of us.

I wasn’t completely confident with my footwear choice either, I was back in my running shoes that I started the day in, they were dry but this wouldn’t last long. Much of the trek had become a stream and my feet were about to spend 8 out of the 14 miles consistently underwater so keeping them dry hadn’t made much difference. Everyone around me had trail shoes on which looked much more suitable, but they were comfy for now and felt a lot better than my SPD bike shoes.

With the amount of rain that had been falling, the scenery had come alive. The Glen on both sides of the valley were pouring with waterfalls running down to the valley below and often crossing the path we were on. These waterfalls often started tracking along the path we were on before rerouting back down towards the basin below. My feet were cold and wet but it was manageable. There were sporadic moments where I could see a marshall up ahead – I thought one of them would just say “that’s it, the race is done, it’s too dangerous ahead and we’re taking you all to the finish from here”. But no, each time I passed a marshall, they just told me how much further there was to go … it was kind of reassuring to think that no matter what, we would be heading to that finish and would overcome these adverse conditions. Each person that passed me or I passed made a comment about the conditions. There were certainly not many from the general public up here for a walk today.

With a few miles to go there was a strong waterfall that had gained in strength across our route. There was a fence across this point and we needed to brace ourselves against the fence to prevent being swept down the falls. Luckily there was a marshall there with a stick who could point to the best route to head through.

Just past this point we started to head down off the Glen and into Kinlochleven, our new finishing point. The trail was wet but safe to descend at a decent speed. I got back down to firm ground and shuffled along the road for the last mile looking for the finish. The last marshall pointed me around the corner and said “that’s your finish over there”. I kept going and made it to the back of a building where a lady was waiting with a clipboard to mark me off and take my tracker from me. I was glad to be finishing but it felt rather anticlimatic. I wasn’t expecting a fanfare but the original finish line is laid out on the banks of Loch Leven and I’d been aiming for this from the start. I walked inside, grabbed a hot drink and was told to wait at one end of the building and a minibus would take the next batch of 8 competitors back to the Isle of Glencoe Hotel – our original finishing line.

And so that was it. Done. I thought about those choosing the 2 day option, they were 50 miles back up North tucked in a tent with basic provisions and had to get the rest of this done tomorrow. As it turned out the weather made a U turn and the next day was delightful and I spent the day sat in the hotel with my feet up, watching the 700 two day competitors kayak across the lake in glorious conditions to the finish line.

I spent a few days recovering and felt myself yearning for the next thing, the next event to challenge me. I ended up on a few blogs and websites linked to Rat Race. I read a few stories and adventures and saw an open invite for something in July 2020. I made my enquiries and decided quite quickly I wanted to do this.

I’m heading to Dominica to cover 115 miles on foot over 4 days. Jamie has also agreed to come on this trip and take part this time. I will talk about our training and how we prepare and complete this next challenge throughout the next 10 months.

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Tough Mudder 2019

Tough Mudder 2019

Tough Mudder 2019

On Sunday 18th August 2019 we took a team of brave members and staff to the Badminton edition of Tough Mudder.

It was exactly what it says on the tin. It was a tough day out, covering 8-10 miles with 25 obstacles in the way and it was very muddy.

Everyone made it around and had a go at all (or most!) of the obstacles. It was again a great way to do something else active away from the gym and give everyone a different challenge to focus on with their training.

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Elite Fitness 2nd Golf Day

We held our 2nd Elite Fitness Golf Day on Friday 12th April 2019. With many of the same faces from our first one, plus a few new additions there was always going to be stiff competition for the championship. The defending champion John Hartnoll wasn’t available to retain his title so there was a chance for a new name on the trophy.

We again held a stableford format competition, with the first prize going to Karen Gusterson. Karen is relatively new to the sport and has clearly taken to it very well. Karen has found that it’s been a great way to stay active in between her tough sessions that she put in at the gym. There was even a rumour she’s offering her husband a few golfing lessons to give him a chance at the next event.

We again had generous donations from the participants to our chosen charity ‘Made a Mark’. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation Click Here.

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Weston Super Half Marathon 2019

We took a team of runners down to the Weston Super Mare Half Marathon for 2019. This was a mixture of staff and members and it was a good test for all. We had a mixture of experience level with a few people participating in their first half marathon. At Elite Fitness we have bespoke running guides written for individuals working towards their target time. It may be a target to just complete it or run a particular time, we can help build a realistic schedule for any individual.

Here’s some of the team that took part and helped raise money for ‘Made a Mark’. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation Click Here.

We will be taking part in more of these events in the future, if you would like to join us or want help planning your training for a similar event, send us a message.

 

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Festive night at Hawkes House 2018

To celebrate the end of the year we hosted a night at Hawkes House in Thornbury for members and staff to talk to each other away from the gym. It proved to be a very successful night with many members taking the time to come and join in.

It was a great way to share stories and talk about plans for the gym going forward in an informal way.

We also managed to raise some more funds for our chosen charity ‘Made a Mark’. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation Click Here.

We will be holding this event again on Friday 20th December 2019 at Hawkes House. If you would like to join us, send us a message

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Elite Fitness 1st Golf Day

We held our inaugural Elite Fitness Golf Day at Thornbury Golf Club on Friday 30th November 2018. We had a mixture of 20 members, staff and friends battle it out to be crowned champion.

We held a stableford format for the individual competition which was won by John Hartnoll with 42 points.

We also managed to raise £135 for our chosen charity ‘Made a Mark’. A local charity helping bereaved children treasure old memories and make new ones. If you would like to find out more or make a donation Click Here.

We look forward to holding more of these events in the future, if you would like to join us, send us a message

 

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