Two former Royal Marines commandos are on a tough mission to help their community keep fit in mind and body.
Adam White and Dan Harrison have just opened their new fitness centre in Rhos-on-Sea which is packed with over £100,000 worth of state-of-the art equipment to ensure they meet their objective.
CXF Wellbeing, which is housed in a Grade II listed former municipal pump house in Cysgod y Bryn, has just been given a fanfare opening when scores of people from the surrounding area turned up to offer their congratulations.
The two friends are already famous in the area for running fitness boot camps on Colwyn Bay beach at which around 3,000 people, from teenagers to retirees, have got themselves into shape thanks to their military expertise over the past six years.
They have now fulfilled a long-standing dream of taking their finely-honed wellness techniques indoors as well as outdoors by opening their stylish new centre.
And one of Adam and Dan’s regular boot campers is so impressed with the physical and psychological turn-around they have helped her achieve that she has become the main sponsor of their not-for-profit community interest company.
Adam, who is 46 and originally from Leicester, joined the Royal Marines as a teenager in 1993 and served 21 years with the corps.
After leaving the service as a physical training instructor he settled with his young family in Glasgow where he started up a successful fitness business.
He later moved to north Wales and now lives just around the corner from his new venture in Rhos-on-Sea.
Adam said: “I started up the fitness classes on Colwyn Bay Beach in 2015 and the number of my regulars gradually grew. Over the years we must have helped around 3,000 people towards fitness.
“Dan turned up at one of my Saturday morning classes and I quickly realised he shared the same visions and passions as me. When he told me he was a former Royal Marine like me I just knew I couldn’t have a better partner for my business.
“I also discovered that as a young recruit he must have been one of those I helped get into shape.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to have a place like the new wellbeing centre. I first saw the old pumping house building when I ran past it one morning in 2015 and just knew it was the right place for what I had in mind.
“It took some time to acquire the lease and then to do the high-quality conversion work but now it’s a real credit to everyone who helped us to achieve that dream.”
He added: “We intend to create a positive, inclusive environment for the local community.
“As a not-for-profit organisation we want to support all the people of the area around us. Whatever their lifestyle or disability we will offer them friendship and support and that is one of our biggest passions.
“We also want to share our learning and the fact that it doesn’t matter how you move as long as you move and that this has positive effects on your mindset and wellbeing.
“We believe that everyone should have the right to create the best version of themself.”
Adam’s 37-year-old business partner Dan, who is originally from Portland in Dorset and served for ten years in the Royal Marines, said: “The Pump House is more than a gym – we focus on the whole person and their wellbeing is essential. “
“We think that helping people’s mindset is far more important than simply working on their biceps and abs. Health & fitness is about the whole person as physical and mental health go hand in hand.
“Trying to do a project of this size during the pandemic was nerving as no one knew how the industry was going to be affected long-term or how people would feel about training indoors, but actually it has helped us as a business as it has highlighted the importance of exercise and being sociable, which can easily be conducted in a safe manner here at our facility.
“The facility is set over two levels which has a plaque on the wall showing it dates from 1900. It is a fabulous old building with tons of character with the period redbrick and huge steel beams holding things up.
“On the ground floor, off the reception area, we have strength & conditioning Olympic equipment plus machines and free-weights that will cater for people of all abilities from absolute beginners to body builders and athletes.
“Upstairs there’s a cardio-vascular area which include rowing machines, assault bikes, Ski-Ergs & treadmills, plus a range of functional equipment This area can be sectioned off to deliver classes such as yoga, boxing, circuits training & HIIT (high-intensity interval training).”
“I am beyond excited for the years ahead and so proud of our team to be where we are today.
The positive CXF Wellbeing message has certainly been true in the case of Heather Powell, founder and head of service of the North Wales Music Co-operative, an award-winning, not-for-profit organisation providing quality music tuition across the Denbighshire and Wrexham local authority areas and for which CXF has run a highly successful series of school summer workshops for vulnerable children.
Heather believes that thanks to the coaching and help she has received from Adam and Dan her whole life has been transformed and that is why she has arranged for her organisation to become the main sponsor for their company.
Heather, 40, said: “Four years ago I was overweight and struggling with stress and anxiety. I met Adam and he invited me along to one of their boot camps on the beach.
“It took me six months to actually get round to going but eventually I did go and I’ll never regret it.
“The camaraderie and support I found in class was just terrific. I started going along five times a week, which I’m still doing, and I’ve now lost 4st. It’s completely changed my life and the way I feel about life and work.
“Dan’s firm support, encouragement and often humour has helped me continue to achieve a level of fitness I never thought possible.”
The centre is also being sponsored by Tony Palframan, managing director of St Asaph-based Phoenix Optical technologies, who signed up to CFX this years and was so impressed by the difference it made to his mental health and wellbeing that he jumped at the chance to support the facility so that other people in the community could benefit from it.
Also impressed with the service provided by CXF Wellbeing is Mark Young, a leading councillor in Denbighshire and chair of the North Wales Music Co-operative, who was among VIPs at the fitness centre’s grand opening.
He said: “This ticks all the boxes for me. I’ve seen and been extremely impressed by their work with schools and, through my work on the board of the charity MIND in north Wales, I can see how their concentration on fitness for the mind as well as the body is so vital.
“Adam and Dan are bringing their years of experience and training with the Royal Marines to bear in their business and, particularly as ex-service people, they are extremely worthy of support.
“They have clearly put an enormous amount of work into this new centre which shows their passion and vision for keeping people well through fitness and I wish them every success with their venture which will benefit the whole community.”
Four of the company’s original boot campers, Bharat Mistry, his wife Kaush, Karen Guest and Maggie Williams, were invited to cut the tape on the new fitness centre to the cheers of scores of those the beach classes have helped and well-wishers from the local community.