THE owner of Cumbria's Best Gym says its the members and staff which have ensured it claimed its new title.

It was a hotly-contested prize, voted for by readers of the News & Star, and was awarded to Workington-based Xtreme Fitness.

Commenting on the award, owner Lee Butterworth said it was "pretty good" to hear.

"I was expecting to do okay because we have got passionate members. About 90 per cent are new starters so we have sort of started their journey in the fitness world," he said.

"We have brand new equipment, the gym is immaculate, spacious and fully equipped but it’s the members and the staff that make this the best gym in Cumbria."

The gym, based at Dobies Business Park, Lilyhall, has been open for almost seven years and has just under 1,000 members.

Lee thinks its size and the more personalised customer service is favoured by members.

"At a lot of commercial gyms you are just a number, whereas [members] know we value them. Myself and all the staff go above and beyond to try and make them happy," he said.

The gym offers regular classes including bootcamps, boxfit, spinning, strength and conditioning. There are flexible membership options including senior citizens and student discounts and single session gym passes. Personal training options are also available to members.

Lee, 41, of Whitehaven, who has trained for 27 years, previously worked as a software engineer and then project manager at West Lakes Science Park, but now enjoys the freedom his work brings him.

"I love transforming people's lives," he said. "It's very rewarding. I loved my last job project managing but it wasn't as rewarding as this."

Xtreme Fitness, which nominated for the BECBC's Start-up Business Award in its early days, also runs an online eight-week transformation programme which sees about 100 new sign-ups a month and is growing fast.

It was up against DW Sports Fitness First in Carlisle, and other independent gyms including iCan Health & Fitness in Denton Holme and The Fitness Studio in Brampton.