'You feel part of a team' - owner's vision for mental health focus at new boutique gym
PUBLISHED: 15:06 28 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 28 April 2019
The owner of a new boutique gym in north Norfolk has spoken about his vision for boosting mental health through fitness.
NR12 Fitness opened its doors in Wroxham three months ago.
It now has 110 members and offers everything from pilates and barre workouts to weight training.
Owner Michael Sommerfield, 27, described the venture, which he has launched with business partner Mike Oliver, as “a personal investment”.
Mr Sommerfield, who grew up in Wroxham, said: “What makes us different is the atmosphere when you walk in - the gym is very chilled out but hard working.
“We know everyone's name when they walk in the door. We're a community here in Wroxham and we want to be a part of that.
“I've invested a lot in the team I've got - it's a personal investment as well as financial.”
And the gym owner, who is also a former football player for the Los Angeles Blues soccer team, hopes the gym can be a place for clients to improve their mental health as well as their physical fitness.
“I see the positive impact that makes,” he said.
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“You feel part of something, and part of a team even though you may not have felt that before.
“We're all working for the same goal and there's a great sense of achievement.
“As soon as you complete a certain exercise confidence comes from that - you do feel good.”
The gym offers personal training to clients who suffer from mental health issues, including with self-employed trainer Tessa Beecroft, a former lawyer who gave up her corporate career after suffering from depression and anxiety.
Miss Beecroft, 32, said: “My mental health started to suffer. I was developing severe anxiety and depression.
“I decided to retrain in personal training and want to promote mental health in the community.
“Sometimes people feel really intimidated in busy gyms.”
The trainer, who grew up in the middle east before moving to Norfolk in 1997, said her approach focused on working with rather than against her client's changes in mood.
“I want to help my clients discover that they are capable of so much more than they think they are,” she said.
“NR12 Fitness is the perfect environment for them to do that and it's great to be part of the team.”