Top trainers join the battle of the bulge

Business Central Fitness Studio

THERAPY: Left to right, Dan Leonard, John Harrison and Laura Walker.

A FITNESS expert who helped a North Yorkshire mum realise her dream of becoming Britain’s strongest woman and a former athlete who represented England as a schoolgirl have joined a leading workplace wellbeing and fitness group.

Dan Leonard helped train Catterick mum-of-two, Donna Moore, when she began a fitness program which culminated in her lifting the title of Britain’s strongest woman in 2014.

And Laura Walker represented her country at the UK School Games where she competed in the 200 metres and the 100 metres relay.

Both have joined Darlington’s newest fitness studio which opened for business a few months ago.

Dan worked with Donna when she was starting out on her quest to become the country’s strongest woman.

And although most of us don’t dream of lifting 180kg tractor tyres or carrying a 50kg beer keg for 20 metres, Dan said his experience of working with professional athletes has helped him become a better trainer.

The 28-year-old also works with boxers, mixed martial arts fighters and professional rugby players.

He said: “Working with Donna, and other elite athletes, helped me see how hard professionals push their bodies. When you are pushing the envelope, training full-time every day, the likelihood of sports injuries is far greater.”

Corporate Personal FitnessHowever, Dan, who has a level five diploma in sports therapy, said: “I quickly realised that my treatment and rehabilitation techniques could be applied to everyone, regardless of their fitness and skill level.”

Dan, whose oldest client is a sprightly 77-years-old, explained: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete, or just someone who wants to do the gardening without suffering aches and pains, the basic assessment and treatments are the same.

“People think sports therapy must be for elite athletes but it isn’t – we all need a helping hand from time-to-time.”

Dan’s new sports injuries clinic is based at the recently opened Corporate Personal Fitness (CPF) studio in Darlington’s Business Central. He runs sessions seven days a week.

Laura will be joining Dan as part of the CPF family, holding sports therapy clinics on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The 23-year-old, from Willington, originally considered a career as an elite athlete after her success in the UK School Games which saw her competing for England in the 200 metres and 100 metres relay.

The Games were held over five days in Cardiff and Laura said: “It was a fantastic experience. For all the competitors; it was like going to the Olympics. The atmosphere was unbelievable.”

Ultimately, Laura decided to set aside dreams of Olympic gold in favour of a new career helping people recover from sports-related injury. After earning a BSC in sports therapy at Teesside University she is looking forward to helping clients at CPF.

John Harrison, director of CPF said: “We are delighted to welcome both Dan and Laura to CPF. Their expertise is the perfect complement our talented team of health and fitness professionals.”

If you want to learn more about how Sports Therapy can help you, regardless of how active you are, please call 01325 401110 or email

And if you hold a private healthcare policy, you may be able to claim either the full amount or a contribution toward your treatment.