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Co Armagh gyms picks up top gongs at Health and Fitness Awards

Maeve Madden presents Aimee Oliver from Bodyfit Mums (left) with the Innovation Award. Best Medium Sized Gym winner - Bubba's Project Gym

There were top gongs for gyms in Armagh, Newry and Portadown at the recent NI Health & Fitness Awards 2022.

Bubba’s Project Gym, established by Armagh’s Bubba Ali, has scooped two big awards at the recent NI Health & Fitness Awards 2022.

Bubba Ali was named Covid Champion / Lockdown Legend for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including his 24 hour fitness event which raised over £15,000 for PIPs Charity and PIPS Hope and Support.

The gym itself also picked up the award for Best Medium Sized Gym, one of the most hotly contested awards of the night.

Bodyfit Mums in Portadown picked up the Innovation Award while Light Bite Protein Snacks in Newry won the Health and Fitness Retailer / Product of the Year.

Over 400 gym owners, personal trainers and fitness professionals gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in South Belfast where business and individuals were awarded through various categories, including Health & Fitness Service of the Year, Breakthrough Personal Trainer, Gym Team of the Year and Community Engagement of the Year.

Billy Murray was awarded the top award of the night, Outstanding Contribution to the Industry, nominated by the judging panel who said; “for the past 30 years, Billy Murray has been providing a place of sanctuary for hundreds of people, young and old, throughout the community, which is more than a gym or a place to get fit. They’ve gained confidence and purpose, and have had the chance to learn and grow through Billy’s grit and determination.”

The judging panel was made up of Coach and online fitness expert Ian Young; diabetic muscle and fitness author, podcaster and educator, Phil Graham; SAS: Who Dares Wins winner and Fit ID co-founder, Connor Smyth; former Irish Rugby Union player, Stephen Ferris and best-selling author and fitness influencer Maeve Madden, who also took care of hosting duties alongside Q Radio’s Ibe Sesay.

In a nod to the industry’s tenacity in surviving the past two years, moving classes online and ensuring their gyms were safe according to regulations and restrictions, organisers brought the awards back with a special Covid Champion / Lockdown Legend Award, which was won by Bubba Ali of Bubba’s Project Gym in Armagh.

Covid Champion Lockdown Legend winner Bubba Ali with Pamela Ballantine

Ian Young, who has been on the judging panel of the Awards since 2018 said: “The calibre of winners this year has been absolutely outstanding, we have brought back the Health and Fitness Awards with a bang. we have a collection of inspired, trusted and motivated individuals and teams who are pushing the boundaries of the industry here. They are meeting challenges head on, they are innovating and they are inspiring a whole new level of health and fitness goals to make well-balanced lives more accessible to all.

“I am particularly proud of Billy Murray picking up the Outstanding Contribution the Industry Award. He has tirelessly provided a safe place in east Belfast for young people to come and learn so much more than kick boxing and fitness, and his new facility will just continue that legacy for years to come. Well done to all the highly commended and winning businesses and individuals on the night, I’m very proud of our industry!”

The 2022 Health and Fitness Awards are supported by media partner, Q Radio, and event partners CleanCo, Quorn Foods, Linwoods, Fibrus, Crowne Plaza, Belfast, Meaghers Pharmacy, Symprove, Design NI, Polished London, Gym Plus Coffee and event organisers and founders, Weir Events.

Excellence in Rehabilitation

WINNER: All Active Pilates

Yoga class of the Year

WINNER: Connect Yoga Belfast

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Stacey Murtagh Coaching

Pilates class of the Year

WINNER: North Coast Pilates & Physiotherapy


Fitness class of the Year

WINNER: Gary Milligan, Fitness Belfast – Kickass Bootcamp

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Heather Hacking PT, Sunrise Strength & Conditioning Session

Healthy Food Provider of the Year

WINNER: Slim’s Healthy Kitchen


Best Small Studio Gym

WINNER: Geraldine McAleenan, The Menopause Coach

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Heather Hacking, the Bod Box

Best Medium Sized Gym

WINNER: Bubba’s Project Gym


Best Large Gym

WINNER: Lifestyle Fitness Ballymena

Gym Team of the Year

WINNER: Pure Wellness Gym, Ballymena

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Bodyscape Health Club

Client / Member Transformation of the Year

WINNER: Female Fitness Studio, client: Charlotte McCully

HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Gym Guru, Client: Rosie Duffy

Female Personal Trainer of the Year

WINNER: Natasha Daryaie, The Gym Guru

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Talitha Watson, Talithafit

Male Personal Trainer of the Year

WINNER: Pauric Grimes, Level Up Home of Coaching

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Scott McGimpsey, Bend, Don’t Break/ Bodyscape Health Club

Online Personal Trainer / Coach of the Year

WINNER: Jonny Pierce, Average To Unstoppable By JP Coaching

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Geraldine McAleenan, The Menopause Coach (Newry)

Breakthrough Personal Trainer

WINNER: Stephanie Clarke, SHEEfit

Innovation Award

WINNER: Bodyfit Mums (Portadown)

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Community Sports Network

Covid Champion / Lockdown Legend

WINNER: Bubba Ali, Bubba’s Project Gym


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