Ex-Para launches new fitness programme to get Sunderland fit

Karen Williamson with instructor Andrew Harrison during a Cross Hiit training programme at the Olympian Gym.
Karen Williamson with instructor Andrew Harrison during a Cross Hiit training programme at the Olympian Gym.
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A FORMER gym trainer is aiming to register a big hit with his new fitness programme.

Andrew Harris, who served in the Parachute Regiment and Physical Training Corps, developed Cross HIIT, which he said mixes high intensity interval training with other exercise, to improve fitness and help people lose body fat.

Middlesbrough FC reserve player Andre Bennett – son of Sunderland legend Gary Bennett – is among those using the new regime as is mum-of-two Karen Williamson, who hopes to get fit for a charity walk.

The 42-year-old bank manager, from Ryhope, is planning a 130-mile walk in aid of the Percy Hedley Foundation.

She said: “It’s helped me build my endurance. I’m a lot stronger, and my recovery time is much better.”

Andrew, who was a trainer at Virgin Active Health Club, Doxford Park, now runs the programme, which he has trademarked and hopes to franchise, from The Olympian Gym, Ryhope.

“The classes were getting so big, I had to start doing them on the tennis courts instead of the studio,” he said. “There were about 50 people doing them. I’ve moved about 15 people across to The Olympian now, and expect about 40 in the next few weeks.”