Sport & Leisure

With a thriving community of fitness fanatics, CrossFit Altrincham reveals plans for second gym

By Phil Weller at

With fitness classes for kids and plans for a second gym opening later this year well under way, CrossFit Altrincham is growing.

The community driven gym, which nestles in the middle ground between fitness classes and personalised training, has gone from strength to strength since opening in late 2015.

Founded by personal trainers and fitness fanatics Callum Stewart and Nikki Harrison, who together boast 10 years’ experience in the industry, the gym centres around the fast-rising CrossFit craze.

“It’s a mix of aerobic-based movements like running and rowing, gymnastic movements like press-ups, pull-ups and weightlifting. You mash it all up together and you get a programme that we make specifically for the clientele at our gym,” said Nikki.

“It works a treat because it’s a mixture of so much it targets lots of different areas of the body,” Callum added.

Inside CrossFit Altrincham on Draybank Road

Inside CrossFit Altrincham on Draybank Road

However, this isn’t just another gym cashing in on a body-conscious society. Callum and Nikki are dedicated to their members and helping each individual improve their own levels of strength, fitness and, most importantly, enjoyment.

“We work on a more one-to-one basis and give you some structure to follow, ideas of how to personally improve,” added Nikki. “We want people to feel they’ve either learnt something new or improved on something.”

Callum added: “We can help people focus on all the major things each member needs to improve but do it in a smaller, more community based environment. The members help encourage each other and end up doing stuff they’d never dare doing in other gyms.”

With classes running from 6am to 9pm everyday, Nikki says he is sacrificing sleep to provide a gym that caters for each person’s work and family commitments. With the upcoming launch of a new gym half a mile down the road – the exact location is not yet secured – it seems he won’t be catching up on his kip anytime soon either.

But it stands as credence to their hard work; they’ve carved out a niche in the market and turned it into a thriving community of like-minded individuals, where social events, from pizza nights to breakfast clubs, are just as important as breaking a sweat.

Mid-workout at CrossFit Altrincham

Mid-workout at CrossFit Altrincham

“Last year we had six or seven people on our Christmas night out. This year we had over 60 friendly and welcoming members come along. Having that community benefits you in getting out of bed and coming in, especially if you are feeling the effects of the night before, because you talk to each other and encourage each other. Little groups are forming but on a night out everyone is eager to introduce themselves and its great that people can come together like that.”

CrossFit aside, this is a bustling gym. There are yoga classes on a Monday, weekend weightlifting, rowing classes, personal trainers, an on-site sports therapist and a Bitesize Bootcamp.

Run by former primary school teacher Ruth McShane, the latter invites children aged 4-plus to get active.

And with all that, the opening of a second gym, to work in tandem with its older brother, is a logical, evolutionary step for Cal and Nikki.

Nikki Harrison and Callum Stewart, the founders of CrossFit Altrincham

Nikki Harrison and Callum Stewart, the founders of CrossFit Altrincham

“The new unit will be slightly bigger. It’ll have a slightly different USP aiming towards, but not exclusive to, intermediate to advanced level CrossFit sessions. That means we can use ropes and do higher level gymnastic exercises that, in this current space, we don’t have the room to execute in an efficient manner.

“But we won’t treat you like an advanced athlete if you’re at the second gym but are only a beginner; the style of training you’ll receive will still be tailored to your own capabilities and all members will be free to use both facilities.

Yet, while all this may seem like cold, hard business on the surface, the transparency with which Nikki and Cal work shows why there is such a buzz here. They talk to their members openly and together they develop their ideas into something inclusively beneficial.

“We want to grow the community as we grow the business,” says Cal with a smile. Expect a mid-late 2017 opening for the second gym.

The growing CrossFit Altrincham community

The growing CrossFit Altrincham community