A DUKINFIELD gym has become more than a place to go for a fitter, healthier body.
With lockdown taking its toll on people’s mental as well as physical health, Mark Council and Steven Whittaker – co-founders of Platform PT Gym – have extended the help available at their Park Road facility.
And while the gym over two floors is a private members club, public walk-in sessions are available at the adjacent Ocean Health and Well-being Centre opened in March 2021.
With an adjoining shop providing relaxation products and nutritious food and drink offerings, the business has every angled covered to help Tamesiders face life’s challenges in the best shape possible.
“Because we have created an open, friendly environment at Platform, lots of members started to open up about their mental health,” explained university graduate Mark, a qualified strength and conditioning coach.
“They told us that since coming to the gym, they have come off anti-depressants and found a new purpose to life.
“But it got to a point where, because we are not trained in mental health, we weren’t professionally able to deal with their problems. All we could do was listen.
“That’s where Ocean comes in so people can talk to someone trained in mental health. It’s like you are going to a gym but for the mind.“You don’t have to come with mental health conditions; it is best if you come fit and healthy and we can help you stay that way.
“By the end of the session, you have untangled your mind, invigorated it and leave in a far more peaceful state of mind.”
Maria Thorp – Steven’s mother – now runs Ocean’s sessions designed to help you cope with day-to-day stresses.
With a bank of knowledge from 15 years in the mental health field, Maria welcomes adults and children.
You can attend a one-off 45-minute session or enrol for a 30-day relaxation programme. Ocean also receive referrals from the Health and Wellbeing College in Ashton.But if it something more strenuous you fancy then Platform PT Gym can help burn off the calories and excess energy.
Opened in 2017, demand ensured a second floor was added in 2019. Despite the challenges of lockdown, Platform’s membership numbers are as healthy as their customers.
And even with the stresses of running a business and looking after 11 staff, Mark, a 29-year-old amateur boxer, doesn’t regret stepping out of his previous roles in the sports industry.
“I found the atmosphere toxic and I got to a stage where I was at the crossroads wondering if I should find a different career,” he explained.
“I went on holiday and realised I enjoyed the job and training people but it was the environment I didn’t enjoy.
“Steve and I had known each other for a long while and he was due to start working in nutrition. We talked about starting our own gym and for me it ensured I could control the environment we worked in.”
Platform opens six days a week from 6am until 9pm, apart from between 1pm-3pm when the gym is closed for cleaning.
It is now hosting the Tameside Health and Fitness Expo on August 28 and 29.
“People want help with health and wellbeing so the more ways they can get access to it the better,” added Mark. “Don’t suffer in silence.
“We want to showcase what is available in the area so we have around 16 brands coming down who will holding workshops, seminars and show casing what they offer.”
There will be a pop-up barbers, photographers, face-painting for the youngsters, giveaways and plenty more.
“We feel the area needed something like this and that people want help with their health and fitness. The more ways we can connect with people the better.
“Plus we want to help other businesses who have struggled with covid connect with customers again and get their name out there.”
• For more details visit the website: www.platformpt.co.uk/tamesideexpo