Alex Dickens’s passion for getting people active is infectious.
At only 23 he started the AFKD Fitness Group last year and is hoping to get as many people active as he can.
“I have always been into fitness and want to share that passion with others from children up to the elderly who want to keep moving,” says Alex.
When the gym he worked at closed, he decided that rather than go back to jobs he hated he wanted to continue doing what made him happy and launched the AFKD Fitness Group.
“I took what clients I had and we would work out at a park near where I live,” the Chichester resident reveals.
Now he arranges a number of classes for people to take part in from yoga to circuits to a newly launched zumba, and classes have about 13 to 16 people taking part.
The majority of the classes are held at FitJoy Fitness Studio above Chichester Football Club.
Alex’s ethos is ‘progress not perfection’ and he is keen to include as many people as he can.
“My worst nightmare would be for someone to not come back to a class because they felt nervous or intimidated,” he says.
“I want people to come and chat to the person next to them, not feel they have to compete with them. The classes are about doing what you can in your fitness level and if you feel like you can push it a bit more than great but I don’t want people to burn out.”
He was also keen to keep the pricing simple, classes are £5 pay as you go.
“Some people sign up to a block and then after a couple of weeks can’t go again or feel achy or don’t want to go, I want to take the pressure off so they want to come back and enjoy it,” he says.
Alex also holds classes at St Richard’s Hospital for staff as part of Wellbeing Wednesdays. He also works with charity City Hearts which helps get people who suffer from alcoholism and drug abuse get back up on their feet.
“Tom who started the charity used to bring guys to the gym I worked at so when it closed I reached out to him and said I would do classes for free for the people they help,” says Alex.
“It can be intimidating for people to come to classes, so being able to provide a space with other people going through the same thing was important to me, and they can forge links and talk to each other about what they do.
“It is about giving them a safe space to workout.”
Alongside his passion to get people active Alex has another reason for wanting to help people.
“In my teens and early 20s I would say I had depression which even ended up with me going to hospital,” reveals Alex.
“It is why I do the classes at St Richards. It isn’t about ‘giving back’ as that sounds like something on a grand scale but it is just to say thank you.
“I wouldn’t say exercise was a way out for me as it is something I have always done but I found fitness a way to escape and I want to be able to provide that for others if they feel it will help.”
Alex is involved with an event taking place on March 2 called Rethink Mental Health at Chichester Football Club.
“When I heard about the event, I got talking to the organisers and said I wanted to sponsor it because of my own personal experience with mental health,” he says.
“I’m 100 per cent behind it and excited to be doing it.”
Talking to Alex, his passion is evident and makes you want to sign up for his next class, I know I wanted to, which can only be a good thing getting people fit and healthy and going back to classes time and time again.