St Albans gym becomes last tenant to leave former industrial works site

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 February 2016

Body Limits owner Abs Bichri and manager Peter Wilkins in the gym which has been forced to move premises due to their lease not being renewed

Body Limits owner Abs Bichri and manager Peter Wilkins in the gym which has been forced to move premises due to their lease not being renewed

Archant

After three decades of toning physiques - including that of a former Mr Universe - a St Albans gym has had to vacate a historic building earmarked for redevelopment.

Organiser Suby Ali, More Than Nutrition owner Amir Hezareh, bodybuilder Chris Aceto, owner Liam Smith, bodybuilder Shawn Roden, fitness model Charlayne EverhartOrganiser Suby Ali, More Than Nutrition owner Amir Hezareh, bodybuilder Chris Aceto, owner Liam Smith, bodybuilder Shawn Roden, fitness model Charlayne Everhart

Body Limit Gym is the final organisation to leave the Beaumont Works in Sutton Road, Fleetville.

Last week the business, which has over 1,200 members, relocated to a unit in the St Albans Road industrial estate.

Other occupiers of Beaumont Works - which in its heyday had about 10 organisations based in the former clothing factory - have been steadily moving out over the past year, and Body Limit was the last to leave.

The current landlord, Watford-based Steelcraft Construction, is understood to be pursuing plans to turn the building, which dates from the Edwardian period, into flats.

Abs Bichri, who has been operating the family-run gym for 15 years, said: “It was very sad to leave. I used to go there when I was 18, and I’m 46 years old now.”

He added: “The gym had become something of a fixture in the area, as well as part of the local community and so, as with any move, there are mixed feelings among members about being uprooted from this well established location.

“We always felt that our gym filled a gap in the market - although the Sutton Road premises were not ‘state of the art’ and we did not compete with more modern facilities, of which there are several in St Albans.”

Abs said that throughout its history, Body Limit has been the training ground of some of the great names in the sport of bodybuilding, and has been considered the home of some significant names including that of Charles Clairmonte, the former Mr Universe and International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB) Pro, who competed on the international circuit and graced the Mr Olympia stage no less than seven times.

A big name in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and well-respected by today’s gym-goers, the bodybuilder works as a personal trainer at Body Limit.

Abs said: “Others who have trained here include Daniel Lewis, the three times-British Brazilian Ju Jitsu champion, who has represented England on the international circuit, and Karlos Vemola, a mixed martial arts fighter who held middle weight and light heavy weight titles.

“We have always been proud of the varied demographic profile of our members, which ranges from 12 years up, and includes PE students from a number of local schools.

“In addition, we have members of Verulamians and Saracens rugby clubs training.”

• ‘Legends’ in the bodybuilding industry Shawn Rhoden and Chris Aceto recently made an appearance at St Albans’ More Than Nutrition store in Catherine Street.

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