Alex Shoebridge (left) and Martin Shyvers with their award

TONBRIDGE is set to be one of the fittest towns in the UK – or at least it should be – as it shakes off the excesses of the festive season.

A rash of new gyms are opening in the town, while one of its existing fitness centres has received countrywide recognition again.

The Strength & Conditioning Institute [SCI] on Crabapple Road has been named Functional Training Gym of the Year at the 2017 National Fitness Awards, the second time it has received the accolade in three years.

The SCI was a finalist in five categories: Regional Gym of the Year (South), Customer Service Award, Member Achievement Award and Gym Based Personal Trainer of the Year.

Co-owner and Director Martin Shyvers said: “We are the first company ever to be -nominated in five categories, and we came second for our customer service.”

He explained: “Functional training can help you in everyday life, rather than more specific training like bodybuilding.

“So these are exercises that can be transferred into real life. If you are going into hospital for an operation you can strengthen that area, which means you can recover much more quickly from the surgery.”

The judging panel, which included top personal trainer Richard Callender, said: “Their professionalism and enthusiasm for fitness and functional training has not gone unnoticed. The SCI will certainly be ones to watch for the future.”

Fellow SCI owner Alex Shoebridge, said: “The breadth of categories in which The SCI was a finalist for at this year’s National Fitness Awards was -staggering, and a huge compliment to the business.

“We never rest on our laurels, and are continually honing not just the facility and our services, but our own professional -development. We live by our mantra of being ‘no ordinary gym’, and we’re thrilled that the judges saw and -appreciated this.”

Meanwhile a 24-hour gym, Snap Fitness, has opened at Jump In -Trampoline Park on Morley Road, and another round-the-clock gym, Pure, is coming to Avebury Avenue.

And Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has beefed up its training programme with a new £200,000 free weights gym in the Angel Centre, which opened on Christmas Eve. The changing rooms have also been refurbished.