A DETERMINED gym member with severe hearing and sight loss is now inspiring others after losing nine stone since joining the Metrodome Leisure Complex.
56 year old Huw Davies, who lives in Hoyland, has been attending the Metrodome, which is operated by leisure trust BPL, since 2012 and trains there three times a week; enjoying sessions in the gym with a dedicated personal trainer and swimming in the pool.
When he first started attending the centre, Huw was 23 stone, but thanks to his own hard work and support from staff there, he has lost weight, as well as increasing his fitness, strength and confidence levels.
He explained: “It has made such a difference to my lifestyle. Being 23 stone, I wasn’t active enough; now I usually come three times a week and do more walking with my dog.”
Huw has lived with severe hearing loss since birth and wears a hearing aid in both ears. His sight started deteriorating in his mid thirties due to a hereditary condition and now he can only tell the difference between light and dark; meaning he is totally reliant on his guide dog Hunter.
When training in the pool or in the gym, he depends on support from Metrodome staff and during his gym sessions, Huw is with a trainer at all times; using their shoulder to guide him around while Hunter accompanies them in the gym.
For swimming, Hunter is allowed to wait in one of the staff offices and a trainer takes Huw, who has to remove his hearing aids, to the pool where he uses the rope as a guide for lane swimming.
He added: “In the gym, I am totally dependent on the trainers. I trust them completely, which makes it so much easier. We work together as a team and I always enjoy coming.”
Huw and Hunter are now familiar faces around the gym and as he’s been attending for several years, he’s become more familiar with the machines, gym layout and environment, as well as the journey from his home to the Metrodome, which he completes by train from Elsecar to Barnsley and then walking up from the train station.
He added: “When I first came, I thought I might be too much of a burden and the staff wouldn’t have time for me, but they do. They work with me and my needs and look after me really well.”
Fitness Flex facility manager at the Metrodome Michael Cutts has followed Huw’s fitness journey and how he has become an inspiration to other members and staff.
He added: “Huw is very inspirational, very friendly and staff love spending time with him.
“For someone to swim up and down in a lane, cut off from communication, is tremendous and in the gym, he’s very keen not to just do basic exercises. He always wants to progress and advance his training.
“It’s great to be a part of his journey and for us to be able to support him. As an operator, if we are able to help people add value to their quality of life, that’s the ultimate goal for us.”
Huw Davies working hard at Fitness Flex, BPL Metrodome