Supersized gym sets up in Hamilton
A gym that takes inspiration from the latest training concepts in North America has set up in Hamilton.
The new BEAST gym at the eastern end of Dundonald Street is spread over two floors and has been attracting users of all abilities, even though its official opening is not until tomorrow.
Its open-plan spaces stretch to 12,000 sq ft on the main floor, and 4,000 sq ft in the basement level. That allows team training and group training sessions to be easily accommodated.
A wide variety of equipment is available, from traditional cardio workout machines including treadmills — both motorised and manual — to free weights and a centrally placed multi-purpose rack structure. The extensive artificial turf floor covering allows for a variety of sled-based training options on both floors.
There is a separate pole performance area for pole fitness classes, and the basement level features a boxing ring and related training equipment.
The gym is a second location for BEAST, which is acronym of Bermuda Elite Athletic Strength Training. The original, smaller gym is towards the western end of Dundonald Street and has been open for two years.
Co-owner of the new gym is Phillip Parsons. He said the facility takes some inspiration from the gyms he experienced during his university years in North America.
Mr Parsons has played for a variety of the island's football teams. He studied at Bucknell University and Dalhousie University, in the US and Canada respectively, and played football for both. It was while at those universities that he encountered the concept of team training facilities, something that is widespread in North America.
When he returned to the island he joined the original BEAST gym, on the first-floor space of what was formerly The Olympic Club. It caters for clients who prefer a smaller setting, or more personalised training, and also office workers who work in the neighbourhood.
Mr Parsons became friends with owner and well-known trainer Muhsin Nasir. Mr Nasir is the island's first and only male International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness pro-physique athlete, and has worked with a number of Bermudian champions, and Nahki Wells, the English Premier League footballer.
The success of the first BEAST gym led Mr Nasir to look for a way to add a second location.
“It was growing so rapidly that he needed more space,” said Mr Parsons.
A suitable venue was found at 62 Dundonald Street, just around the corner from Union Square, in what was once a Co-op store. Mr Parsons and Mr Nasir jointly invested to set up the new gym.
Mr Parsons said the original idea was to create a team training space, but the concept evolved to include group and individual training opportunities.
The gym's official opening by David Burt, the Premier, is tomorrow. There is an open house from 10am to 1pm.
However, the gym is already being used after an open-house event in December resulted in clients signing up on the spot.
“People came to see the facility and wanted to start working out immediately. The feedback has been great and membership has exploded,” Mr Parsons said.
He believes part of the reason for the high level of interest is that the gym offers something fresh.
“The industry has been a bit stagnant in Bermuda. A lot of gyms are very similar. This is newer, more modern and it's like something people who travel will have experienced in metropolitan areas,” he said.
The gym is open to allcomers, from those looking to gently improve their fitness, to serious athletes and bodybuilders. Personal trainers are also available.
The boxing ring in the basement level caters for those interested in combat sports. Mr Parsons said: “We have people asking about boxing and kick-boxing, and with all the success in boxing Bermuda has, including Nikki Bascome, it is surprising there are not more boxing facilities on offer at gyms.”
During the week the gym is open from 5am to 8pm, with varied hours at the weekend. There is an option for 24-hour access for an additional fee. The monthly cost is $100 (reductions available for students) and annual membership is $999.
BEAST gym has a website at www.bermudaelitegym.com/