By Mark Devlin
It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on a range of businesses. Many were forced to close their doors for good, while others were subject to constant, strict government guidelines. Two Birds Fitness, a Glasgow-based gym, had to follow the rules like everyone else. Owner Danny Stevenson, along with personal trainer Katy Ivory, believe that the pandemic has only further highlighted the importance of fitness for people’s health and wellbeing.
Two Birds started in March 2019, with Danny Stevenson and his family eager to get involved in the fitness industry:
I’ve always been right into sports such as boxing and basketball. The whole idea came about as me, my dad and my brother wanted to get into business together. Initially we actually looked at getting into the franchise gym stuff, but realised we didn’t want to go down that route as there’s so many of them.
We realised there was a gap in the market for a real community-orientated, boutique gym and found our home about a year-and-a-half later here at Two Birds.Danny Henderson, Two Birds Fitness owner.
Danny knows that when it comes to a tight-knit group of fitness lovers, Two Birds is top of the tree:
We’re like a wee family. Our community is really supportive of each other in terms of doing stuff out-with the gym to help with our mental health. We’ve got that holistic approach to fitness, where our members do yoga once or twice a week, are encouraged to climb munros and have one-to-one personal training sessions.
The fitness fanatic believes that health is the priority, with the coronavirus pandemic only highlighting this message:
It should be top of the agenda, absolutely. The fact that people have been locked-down for so long, it’s really affected their mental health and I’ve seen that with lots of our members.
Danny and his colleagues had to come up with ways to motivate their members throughout the pandemic, and so took their fitness classes to some interesting locations when it was safe to do so:
We’re a bit relentless in terms of finding ways to keep people moving. My car was full of weights, so we did some sessions in Kelvingrove Park and Glasgow Green. We even had sessions on the roof of Two Birds when there was about eight inches of snow outside, people taking their dogs along and joining in. It was hard at the beginning, but the support and funding we had in place from members was brilliant.
Katy Ivory, a personal trainer at Two Birds, had to alter her teaching methods when the pandemic hit by instructing members via online platforms. Like Danny, she knows the importance exercise can have for your physical and mental health:
I took my clients for classes through Zoom, as well as running some bootcamps in the park. In-person classes can be a lot more hands-on and personal, but Zoom was a good way to keep the community vibe up during what was quite a hard time.
The reason I got into personal training was because fitness really helped me throughout lockdown, then the opportunity arose for me to do my course. It really helped my mental health and motivated me to focus on my physical goals. It was a challenging time to start, but what bigger challenge to take on?!
Katy already knows of the warm and friendly atmosphere at the Washington Street gym:
We’re a big, massive family here. Everyone is so welcoming, no matter where you’re from or if you’re into fitness or not, these doors are always opened. The sessions have so much energy and the clients just keep progressing. The community vibe is great, as well as the horrendous workouts you’re put through!