Revolutionary Training For Warriors Edinburgh is saving lives, say gym duo

The owners of a newly-reopened Edinburgh gym say their revolutionary approach to keeping fit and healthy is saving lives.

By David Mclean
Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 11:37 pm

Business partners Judi Fuller and Sarah Potter have recently taken over the Edinburgh branch of Training For Warriors (TFW), an existing gym that was set up three years ago.

Branding their Jane Street premises a “dojo” rather than a gym, the pair are adamant this is more than just a fresh start with new owners.

“It’s a dojo, not a gym,” says Judi, 63, “It’s a place of enlightenment - you’re students, not gym members. It’s about supporting one another and that’s one of the hardest parts to get across to people.”

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Judi Fuller (left) and Sarah Potter have recently taken over the running of Training For Warriors Edinburgh. Picture: TFW Edinburgh

The Training For Warriors franchise was devised by New Jersey-born athlete and fitness addict Martin Rooney in the early 2000s.

Rooney’s “familia” of TFW affiliates is now almost 300-strong and spread throughout more than 20 countries worldwide.

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Prior to signing the dojo’s lease, former NHS Lothian phlebotomist Judi attended the TFW summit in Utah earlier this year, where she learned the Leith premises were not being run properly according to the principles set out by Martin Rooney.

The Leith dojo currently has around 25 members. Picture: TFW Edinburgh

Judi, who hails from New Zealand but now lives in Bonnyrigg, said: “When I was in Utah, that was the beginning of me realising what we could have here.

“I heard a lot about how things should be done and what wasn’t being done here and that freaked me out.

“This is Training For Warriors the way it should be run.”

While the pair, who are both co-owners and coaches at the dojo, admit TFW is not cheap compared to traditional branded gyms, Judi and Sarah insist they are offering a revolutionary service where members can truly reap the rewards, both physically and mentally.

“We’re warriors because we’re on the battle of life,” said Judi, “It’s the resistance, the resistance against disease. It’s all about health, a holistic approach.

“Every session has a motivational component, a nutritional component and an exercise component. You’re not just coming in to lift X amount of weight.

“It’s not cheap. We’re charging £100 a month when you can get a £10 a month deal elsewhere, but the point is we are offering the service.”

Sarah's success story

Involved with TFW Edinburgh since it started, Judi and Sarah say joining the dojo has turned around the lives of its members with individual success stories mounting up by the day.

Treating members as more than just numbers, the “familia” helped Sarah, 40, to get her own life back on track after a major health setback brought her previous career to an end.

“I used to be a police officer,” she says, “but I got injured and had to take early retirement.

“My mental health was deteriorating quite badly, but I saw a friend had signed up for the eight-week challenge and I knew that was something that I needed to do.”

This year Sarah gave birth to a baby boy, Finlay; a delightful addition to her life she says was made possible by the health benefits engendered by TFW.

She added: “TFW has massively changed my life. Medically, they never thought I’d have a child but I’ve managed it since joining up.

“Physically, I’m as fit now as when I first joined the police.”

At the moment, the Jane Street dojo has around 25 members, but that number is rapidly increasing.

Judi and Sarah say the dojo is open to anyone over the age of 16 who wants to improve their physical and mental health.

Judi added: “I joined because I turned 60 and it was a case of either get old or get a life - walking the dog wasn’t cutting it!

“The benefits are not just physical. People have come in who have been on anti-depressants and have come off them.

“Training For Warriors is literally saving lives around the world.”

Judi and Sarah will host TFW Edinburgh’s grand opening on Saturday with a charity event to raise money for the Citadel Youth Centre.