Health & Fitness

Inside Sh50 a day gym

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Maggie Mido, Potter's Gym owner with her husband Fred Mido and instructor Morris Mugwe (C) at the low cost gym in Bahati on May 11, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • Gym membership in Nairobi usually costs about Sh1,000 to Sh500 a day, while others prefer monthly subscriptions averaging Sh6,000.
  • The gym, although not fancy and lacking the expensive fitness machines and latest technologies that have been installed in most gyms in affluent neighbourhoods, has adequate machines that allow one to exercise well.
  • Gym membership in Kenya has grown over the years but reduced gradually during the pandemic following job losses and salary cuts.

Twenty-one years ago, Margret Mido was not happy with her body. The mother of six also saw many overweight men and women walking in the estate in Nairobi, and saw an opportunity to open a fitness centre. But one that would be affordable to many.

Maggie, as she is fondly called by her clients, together with her husband Fred Mido opened Potters Gym Aerobics and Fitness Centre, charging their customers Sh50 a day.

Gym membership in Nairobi usually costs about Sh1,000 to Sh500 a day, while others prefer monthly subscriptions averaging Sh6,000. She says the concept behind the low price was to allow everyone to become fit.

“Joining a gym is an expensive venture but we came in to demystify that notion by opening a gym that allows everyone to train regardless of their financial status,” said Maggie. Gym-goers who prefer to pay monthly are charged Sh1,000.

The gym, although not fancy and lacking the expensive fitness machines and latest technologies that have been installed in most gyms in affluent neighbourhoods, has adequate machines that allow one to exercise well.

It has indoor stationary bicycles, skipping ropes, barbell weight plates, rubber aerobic steppers, barbells, and tyres, among other items.

“We have all the required weights and other key equipment that enable our clients to do all the exercises that they need,” Maggie said.

Quinto Sikono, a fitness enthusiast, has been training at the gym for the last two months after years of searching for a pocket-friendly place.

“At Sh50, I wouldn’t have found a place so convenient than this one. It is not only pocket friendly but also equipped for proper training,” says Mr Sikono.

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Maggie Mido, Potter's Gym owner with husband Fred Mido (2R), instructor Morris Mugwe (R) and trainer Edwin Mugwimi (L) at the low cost gym in Bahati on May 11, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Gym membership in Kenya has grown over the years but reduced gradually during the pandemic following job losses and salary cuts.

Although fitness enthusiasts have resumed, some gym owners say the number of attendees has not reached pre-pandemic times. To blame is the high cost of training fees. Some have been forced to lower prices or offer incentives.

Proper diet

At 51, Maggie exercises every day. She has been at it for about 30 years now, adding that discipline is key if one wants to achieve the desired results.

“Working out is not enough, especially for those who want to lose weight, eating well plays an integral part,” she said.

Now an aerobics trainer, she adds that some people exercise for ages but they do not lose weight because of the type and quantities of food that they eat after leaving the gym.

“There was a lady who exercised here for a year but she never lost weight. She was bitter at me as to why she was seeing the results despite her frequent visits to the gym. After some days I realised that she was eating lots of bhajia after leaving the gym,” she said.

Mr Mido is also into physical fitness. He has been exercising for over 20 years and has been a professional player footballer with teams such as Blue Triangle, Reunion, Shell, and AFC Leopard, which was his last team.

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