WATCH: Surprises in store as fundraising challenge returns in County Derry

Fitness Factor will come to Magherafelt for the second consecutive year.

A County Derry gym owner has promised to bring a new dimension to a fitness fundraiser kicking off at his gym later this month.

Keith Bigger, of RE: Academy, Magherafelt, will be delivering the latest Cancer Focus NI Fitness Factor challenge, and says participants can look forward to a few surprises.

“We're big into taking people out of their comfort zones, taking them to the beach and putting them through what we call 'Battle PT,” he told the County Derry Post.

“We like to keep everything as flexible as possible so it fits around people's lifestyles. There are busy parents who might have to run the kids to sports and stuff in the evenings, for example.

“You can come to whatever class you want. We're big into taking people out of their comfort zones, taking them to the beach and putting them through what we call 'Battle PT'.

“There might even be a wee trip to Davagh. It'll give people stories to tell. A weekend well spent brings a week of content.”

Emma McCann, local Fundraising Officer for Cancer Focus NI, said she had first-hand experience of Keith's programmes.

“I have done some of Keith's online virtual challenges and they really do push you. I thoroughly enjoyed them and they create a very positive mindset,” she said.

“Over the six weeks, we're trying to help people create new habits, so they will see the benefit of a healthy lifestyle, better eating, better sleep and an active lifestyle.

“When they see the benefits of the six weeks, they will continue that healthy mindset on and long-term, help to prevent certain preventable cancers associated with a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

“In these uncertain times, it hasn't stopped people becoming diagnosed with cancer, and it hasn't stopped because of Covid.

“More than ever, it's important to help us and other charities provide their services, so that would be the main impetus that I'm trying to push in this fitness challenge.”

The programme, which will run for six weeks from October 26, is free of charge, with participants asked to raise money for Cancer Focus NI during their challenge.

Each participant will take part in three free sessions per week, with the programme open to anyone who wishes to take part, regardless of their fitness level.

“If you've never even trained before, that's something we specialise in here at RE: Academy,” said Keith.

“We like to bring people in from every walk of life and get them comfortable within a gym environment.

“At the end of the day, we're trying to emphasise that fitness can be fun and getting healthy isn't going to cost much, because this is all free.”

You don't have to be a super-fit person,” added Emma. “Sometimes, coming through the front door is usually the hardest bit of coming to a gym. It won't be the last time that you want to come through this door.”

To sign up for the Fitness Factor challenge, call Emma (07731375022) or Keith (07597629248), email Emma on emmamccann@ or contact the RE: Academy Facebook page.

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