It’s official – Breeze’s Gym in Aberdare, Wales is the winner of this years Best Local Gym Award!
In a public vote, Breeze’s gym beat off stiff competition from over 60 other gyms from across the UK to claim top spot.
It’s easy to see why you all love Breeze’s. Split over three stories in a converted historic church, this quirky gym is the largest free weights facility in Wales. Not to mention the super accomplished owners.
Michaela represented Team GB at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and again at the 2008 games in Beijing. She also won gold at two of the three Commonwealth Games she competed in. In 2011 she was awarded an MBE for her ‘Services to Weightlifting’.
Sinead was a Northern Ireland U21 Netballer, she also took Silver at the 2008 European FENA Championships.
Michaela told us: “Supplement Centre is going over and above by creating recognition of gyms across the country with awards such as this. For a small gym in the heart of the Welsh Valleys, it really is a big deal.”
We caught up with Michaela to find out a bit more about Breeze’s Gym…
So, how does it feel to win?
What a great award to receive on behalf of Breeze’s members. We as a team have worked hard since we opened in December 2012 to create a personable, interactive and friendly training environment for our members. I believe this is reflected by winning this prestigious award. Thank you.
How did you and Sinead end up creating Breeze’s Gym?
Sinead played Netball for Northern Ireland and had to undergo hip surgery for a nasty injury. I was there to support her through her rehab.
We worked together on an ‘Elite Sports’ Programme where we supported local young talented athletes using both of our knowledge and experience as elite athletes.
We felt held back with our ambitions and so decided to set up Breeze’s Gym and develop our own business model. Being our own bosses means we can develop our ideas as far as we dare dream, without being held back by anyone. I also want to give something back to the sport that has afforded so many opportunities and in doing so, we have created a centre of excellence for weightlifting in Wales.
In just 18 months, I have coached 7 athletes to International Honours. One of whom has qualified for this years Commonwealth Games in Glasgow together with myself.
What does Breeze’s Gym stand for?
We want to make a real difference to the health and well being of our local community in the heart of the Welsh Valleys. An area which is quite deprived with little opportunities for youngsters, I am now developing my own weightlifting academy where we will find stars of the future.
Have you always wanted to own a gym?
No! I was a secondary PE teacher at a school in Devon for 11 years and thought that was where I would continue my career.
Since retiring from International sport, I felt under challenged in my role and Sinead and I sat down and brain stormed all the skills and qualifications we had, and what we enjoyed. The list was long and included; coaching, personal training, nutritional guidance, psychology, sports massage, commentary, public speaking.
We soon came up with the idea of being our own bosses and running a gym, which in turn would enable us both the flexibility to pursue all of our interests, passions and skills.
Were there any mishaps along the way?
From brainstorming the name for the gym, to finding the correct location, the right facility, the renovation of the church to creating a gym and then the kitting out. There simply isn’t sufficient space to list all of the mishaps and challenges we have faced!
All I can say is it has been, and continues to be, the most incredible journey and the steepest learning curve we have ever faced.
How does it feel to own the gym?
The challenges and demands on us are endless and the pressure is very high, but we love it! We love working with some incredibly motivated and dedicated staff and we love interacting with our members and really making a positive difference to their lives and to the local community.
What do you think are the key ingredients of a great gym?
Passionate staff who really care and want to make a difference to members. As well as choosing an area where the gym will be appreciated. Quality equipment and staff expertise to support members in achieving their goals.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m now out of retirement for the Commonwealth Games this summer in Glasgow. Saturday 26th July, watch this space!