The strength to give back to the local community in Fife

Gary Paterson, owner of the newly opened Arena gym (Pic by David Cruickshanks)
Gary Paterson, owner of the newly opened Arena gym (Pic by David Cruickshanks)

A new Fife gym has been giving back to the community by offering free time to local teams.

Arena Strength and Conditioning Gym recently opened its doors in the Mitchelston Industrial Estate in Kirkcaldy and owner Gary Paterson said he wanted to do his bit for the town as the business steadily grows.

He said: “We’re a new business and we’re going in the right direction. We’ve only been open three months now so I think that there are a lot of people who don’t realise that we’re here just yet.

“What I decided to do was give free classes to the Fife Flyers, Raith Ladies Football Club and the Kirkcaldy Hockey, whether we’re making money or not.

“I think that they’re rising stars locally and it’s just my way of giving a wee bit back.”

Born in bred in Kirkcaldy Gary moved away from the Kingdom for a few years and lived up north where he opened his first gym and also took part in sport competitively.

“I grew up in Templehall and then we moved to Aberdeen when I was 10,” he said, “I had a gym up there which I sold a few years ago and decided to come back to Fife.

“I’ve trained really from the age of five! I was a boxer for 12 years and up until four years ago I was still competing internationally in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

“My last competition was in Rome. Shortly after my mother passed away and I lost a bit of interest in everything so I came back because I still have a lot of family here.”

It was then that Gary opened up a health and safety company before deciding to expand.

“The chance to take this place over came up when Fitness Factor closed down so I thought, well I’ve got my buzz back and decided to get this place up and running, so that’s what I did.”

Gary said that the new business has already met the targets he set when opening and not only that, but as a former graphic artist he has put his undoubted talent to good use by painting murals on the gym walls.

“Yes, at the end of the day we all need to make a pound, but it’s not just about that,” he said.

“The best class I’ve got in here is the age 10-12 hockey side. I’ll tell you, they put everything in to it and every week I try and boost them a little bit more and they take everything.

Last week I gave them a wee challenge with tricep push-ups. I said if every one of you can do this, you’ll get a fiver each – bear in mind that it’s a class of 20!

“They were always going to get their fiver anyway, but they came in and I just wanted to see if they pushed themselves and they did.

“It’s all about team work and to see the little guys and come up through the ranks it’s amazing. It really is rewarding.

“It’s 10 classes a week and it takes time but it’s good to devote to it.”

Gary says he has plans for next year for the gym and will also continue to work with the three teams.

“I genuinely think if you give somebody something and don’t expect anything in return it tends to work out,” he said.