Crop tops are banned and menopause chat encouraged at a boomingly popular gym for older ladies.

Jaine Alderson set up Abfabfit last April and has already persuaded 130 ladies to sign up

The 53-year-old previously worked in a private school for sixteen years while where she set about keeping her colleagues fit and healthy.

She said: “I began by hiring out a hall in Stonard Hill by Jack Silley Pavilion in Epping to do weekly fitness classes.

“But I soon realised once a week was not enough to keep people fit and maintain classes, so I bit the bullet and rented some space, quit my job and retained in personal fitness and nutrition.

“I cannot believe it. It’s changed my life. I work here all day every day. It’s turned my life upside down.”

After the council denied her request for more space, Ms Alderson discovered two units had become available at Esgors Farm in November.

“We have completely turned it around,” she explained. “We have knocked through the main wall to make one big unit. We created an office space and having new changing rooms being installed.”

New members begin on an eight-week course consisting of at least three classes a week, from weightlifting to circuit training, before they decide whether to continue.

Not only does the gym have a wide variety of exercise facilities, meal plans cooked by chefs are available for those wanting nutritional support.

Central to Ms Alderson’s philosophy is that the gym should be a non-judgmental zone.

“We have no mirrors in the room, “ she said. “So many women say they get so intimidated by the younger girls in the other gyms.

“We say there should be a no crop-top policy as that is not what we are about.

“We talk about things we are going through like the menopause. It’s not a taboo subject to talk about and we can have a laugh.”

Ms Alderson’s main goal is to prevent her clients developing osteoporosis, a condition which causes bones to become weak.

Regular attendees Carol Dawson from Harlow and Ann-Marie Walsh from Woodford Green praised Jaine’s hard work and commitment.

Ms Dawson said: “She is an inspiration, there is no other word.

“The dedication, warmth and will for you wanting to do well and achieve is genuine, she so wants you to do well.”

Ms Walsh added: “I had not exercised for years until I had heard about this club due to lots of spinal injuries and the level of care you receive, exercises can be adapted for you and still feel part of the group.”

To help with Abfabfit’s increasing popularity, Ms Alderson’s husband Mark quit his job in October as an account director to help Jaine run classes.

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