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Weight and see: 'I'm taking it handy in gym after lockdown'

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Strong: Clarence Allen at Tranquillity Leisure and Spa, at the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes

Strong: Clarence Allen at Tranquillity Leisure and Spa, at the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes

Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

Strong: Clarence Allen at Tranquillity Leisure and Spa, at the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes

After three months of cocooning, Clarence Allen (73) was among the first back through the door of his local gym.

Mr Allen, from Monivea, Co Galway has been a member of Tranquility Leisure and Spa at the Raheen Woods Hotel, Athenry, for the last six years.

While he exercised at home during lockdown, he didn't feel it was of the same benefit.

"I bought barbells and dumbbells and have been exercising with those and walking every day but it's nice to be back here. This is where I would rather be. It's much harder and that's the whole idea.

"I've been really looking forward to coming back to the gym and we are going to a restaurant this afternoon so it's a great day.

"Lockdown wasn't too bad, but we live in the middle of the country and most of my neighbours are cows.

"My wife has always worked from home, so in that way it wasn't too different but I found I was pottering around the house a lot. So now that the gym is open it will be great for my routine."

Diarmaid Tuohy (17) from Derrydonnell, Co Galway, is overjoyed to be back at the gym.

"I was waiting for this for the last three months. I missed the gym. Lockdown was hard. At the start, it wasn't too bad but I got awful sick of it.

"I was taking it handy today, I didn't want to go too mad after such a long break. But I'm looking forward to getting back into it properly and seeing results."

Manager Tim Rabbitt said the leisure centre has reopened on a phased basis.

"We opened the doors at 6.30am and had people through the door straight away. There has been a constant flow of people in and out. The phone is hopping all day too.

"We are delighted to reopen, it has been a long road to get everything in place and ensure the proper hygiene and health and safety regulations.

"We have a booking system in place for both the gym and pool and that helps us regulate our numbers and enforce social distancing.

"It's really important that gyms instil confidence in the consumer. They have to feel safe and enjoy their leisure experience.

"It will take a bit of time but that's our focus over the next few weeks.

"We are very lucky in that our customers are loyal and we haven't been getting mass cancellations of memberships. People have stood by us.

"We won't be fully going until we have our full timetable of classes and our kids area is reopened, but we are definitely off to a strong start.

"We have an on-site creche where parents can drop their kids when they want to go to classes. We are hoping to reopen that next week."

Irish Independent