Sporty users are impressed with gym equipment
LEADING local sports stars have welcomed the newly-refurbished fitness suite at Wincanton Sports Centre.
The centre, off West Hill, has recently upgraded its fitness suite with new cardiovascular and strength machines.
The equipment has in-built Virtual Active software which allows athletes to immerse themselves into landscapes ranging from the Grand Canyon to Hawaii as they exercise.
Users can feel gradual terrain changes underfoot, hear ambient sounds through their headphones and watch videos while exercising.
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The revamped fitness suite received praise from Grand National-winning jockey Daryl Jacob, who rides for trainer Paul Nicholls.
Mr Jacob, who lives in Wincanton, said: "I have used the sports centre for the last three years, usually when I'm trying to make a weight before a race. The new Matrix equipment is perfect for me as I can plug my iPod directly into the machines or I can watch television on the built-in screens.
"If I fancy a change I can even use the virtual active option and have a run round the Rocky Mountains."
Great Britain archery coach Gloria Meads has also used the sports centre for the last four years with Mere Archers.
She said: "I'm really enjoying using the gym now. The equipment is so simple to use and the staff are very friendly."
Wincanton Sports Centre first opened in May 2001 at a cost of £3.3 million.
Nick Mitchell, health and fitness manager at the centre, said he hoped the new equipment would catch the imagination of existing and potential new customers.
"We also know that Matrix fitness kits out a number of 24-hour gyms across the country, so its products are clearly able to cope with heavy usage.
"This is really important in a relatively small gym such as ours, as just one treadmill being out of action could mean a 25 per cent reduction in available machines," he said.
To celebrate the arrival of the new equipment and keep the "Inspire a Generation" ambition of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the sports centre recently gave 14 "gifted and talented" athletes at King Arthur's School free access to the facilities.
Centre manager Lisa Vyner said: "We wanted to continue the Olympic message and help give our young athletes an edge. We want to support the people of Wincanton, especially in this current economic climate, and these facilities will be of huge benefit to all of our current members."
The centre is offering Western Gazette readers a free induction during its open week. See page 18.