Busybodys Fitness, Lawford

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Busybodys Fitness, Lawford

Sport/Activity: Gym & Fitness - 4b Causeway End, Station Road, Lawford CO11 2LH

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Review of "Busybodys Fitness, Lawford"

published 14/04/2017 | sandemp
Member since : 21/10/2002
Reviews : 770
Members who trust : 223
About me :
Mum to four adult children and two little monsters. A very special and different six year old and cleverclogs of a two year old. Starting a series of weight loss themed reviews.
Pro Friendly, great atmosphere, great support, local (to me)
Cons Some outdated (but functional equipment)
Value for Money
Is it part of a chain?

"Getting A Better Body at Busybody's"

Deadlifting in Busybody's

Deadlifting in Busybody's

Located in the heart of beautiful Constable Country, Busybody's Fitness (Ltd), is a small, family run gym, that houses free weights, weight machines, basic cardio equipment, steam room, sauna and a floor area which is often used for various exercise classes. So that's the spiel, and if you add the fact that I've now been a patron of Busybody's for 16 months, I'm sure you can guess that I would recommend it for those that are within reasonable travelling distance. But let's get in to a little more detail.


Busybody's is rather well placed as a local gym, being located on the main road between Manningtree Train Station and Manningtree Town Centre within Lawford Industrial Park. I actually walk there and back and the only real issue is probably the fact that no matter which of the two roads out of Manningtree I use still have to walk up a 10% hill to get home. For those that use cars there is a small car park on site, with free parking but this does get full at busy times. There is also a rail to lock bicycles to and the Clacton bus goes past every two hours (with another going to Colchester from Manningtree High Street, up that hill, every half hour during the weekday). For me, personally, location gets 10/10 but I couldn't imagine travelling more than five or so miles to get here.

Opening Times

While many big box (chain) gyms are open 24/7, Busybody's certainly are not, the opening hours aren't bad but I would like them extended at the weekend as I can't make mornings but can evenings. Monday to Thursday the gym is open from 9am-9.15pm, Friday 9am-8.30pm, Saturday/Sunday 9am-12.30pm and weekend hours on bank holidays. So still not bad for a smaller gym and I'd give 8/10 for opening hours.

The Facilities

There are plenty of lockers available and you won't need your own padlock. Each locker operates via a refundable pound coin (old type only) and you can then attach the key to your clothing via a safety pin affair. If you don't have a quid available then you can ask for the loan of a trolley token, which works just as well. While the lockers aren't the largest, I can generally manage to stuff my coat, backpack, lifting belt and outdoor shoes in one.

While I personally get changed at home, there are two changing rooms (one make one female) with showers, although it has to be noted that in the women's changing room at least, both changing area and showers are communal. I think I only used the changing room once and it just reminded me too much of being at school and attempting to get changed without showing anything to the rest of the class. There are people that do use the changing room and showers regularly so I assume the showers work. Within an alcove in the changing room there is a hair dryer that takes, wait for it, old 10p pieces, that you can collect from the desk. Having never personally used the dryer I can't say whether it works or how well it works.

There are (obviously) toilets on site, with a disabled cubicle along with those for males and females. Being female I have never used the male toilets, but there are two stalls within the female toilets, that always seem clean, with there being plenty of hot water, soap and paper towels available for hand washing along with toilet paper in the stalls.

The Equipment

Now before I go in to detail here I do need to make a couple of points, Firstly over the last nine months Busybody's has seen a big change in ethos, with lots of new equipment appearing and this modernisation will most likely be continuing for some time to come. Next it has to be said that if you are looking for a gym with a cardio focus, then this isn't the gym for you, neither is it the gym for you if you want fancy, gimmicky equipment, sorry you just will not find it here. I will now break the equipment down in to three categories, cardio, strength and functional fitness.


Although the focus of Busybody's is certainly not cardio, there is a variety of different cardio options available for warm up and cool down. There are a couple of treadmills, which while of an older style are perfectly functional. To be honest they could probably do with being updated to a newer, more technically advanced models, but they do the job. It's easy enough to vary speed and incline on them and they can display either in miles or kilometres, but there is no way to program them. The longest I've stayed on the treadmill for is 40 minutes during my half marathon training and it was still going when the next person used it. I was also well in excess of 250lb when I first used them and unlike most home treadmills it was able to take my weight, even though I couldn't actually swing my arms as I was so wide.

The pair of elliptical machines are similarly outdated but functional. I have to say I seem to be one of those strange creatures that finds ellipticals a seriously uncomfortable way of burning Calories and so I tend to keep away. OK, so I have used them and they work, but maybe because I've only got little legs I find them too uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time.

Moving upstairs, there is a row of exercise bikes, six if memory serves including a rather posh spin bike. Again they all work fine, but if I want to cycle I'll do it outside on the real thing. There are also four steppers and let me tell you these work fine and raise my heart rate rather quickly. The final cardio machines are a set of four rowing machines, all of the Concept 2 brand and my favourite method of cooling down.

As I've said while it has probably seen better days, the cardio equipment is all perfectly functional and fit for purpose, if your purpose is simply warming up and cooling down. As with anything mechanical there are occasional break downs which are then repaired as quickly as possible.


When I first joined Busybody's as far as strength training goes the focus was very much on machines and those machines are still there. There is a leg press, a pair of cable machines, couple of lat pull downs, a weight stack, chess press, shoulder press, standing shoulder press, leg extension. You get the idea, basically everything you would need if you wanted a machine based strength work out. Then there are the machines you add free weights to, seated rows, hack squat and some I have no idea what they are called along with an assisted pull up machine and Smith machine (only good for invert rows in my opinion). All these machines work fine, some are newer than others but they are all fit for purpose, when I started out I used most of them and I still use a few now. If you want to strength train but find free weights intimating then you should be able to progress for some time using the machines.

There is also a good variety of dumbbells available, from 1kg up to, well I'm not sure how high they go but I'm sure it's over 50kg. There has been an occasion or two when I wished there was more than one set of each weight available, but from experience most gyms only have one set at each weight.

As I said when I first joined Busybody's weight training was very much machine focussed, but around the middle of last year a power rack was installed, followed by another. So there are now two power racks available for squatting, benching and other free weight strength work. There are also a variety of bars available, from 7.5kg 1” right up to 20kg Olympic bars, with a good selection of plates for both diameters. As well as standard metal plates for the Olympic bars, bumper plates are a recent addition and I have to say I love them as I my dead-lift warm up sets are below 60kg which did mean using smaller plates and having to bend too far.
Functional Fitness

Again this is an area where there have been great improvements over the last few months as new equipment has been brought in. When not being used for classes the floor area is where this equipment lives. There are the basic skipping ropes, fitness balls, steps and mats then there are a few more fun pieces of equipment. I love the battle ropes, there are two a smaller one and the longer one (someone made the mistake of calling the smaller ropes ladies, grrr). Then there's the punching bag and gloves, I'm not very good at this yet, but still it's a great addition to a workout. There's a full set of kettle-bells, there are weighted balls and weighted bags (great for squats and walking lunges). There's still a few other pieces of equipment that I'd like to see (TRX, sled, tyre) but I have to say that the new equipment has breathed new life in to my workout.

The Classes

There are a variety of classes held throughout the week, both during the day and the evening. While there are Pilates and Yoga classes on a Thursday I have to say that I've never tried them, but I have glanced over and they are tough. Personally I prefer the high energy classes run by Stef from Stefit (that's whole other review), which include Zumba, Insanity, Legs bums and tums and Circuits. Prices for classes range from £3-£4 for members and £3.50-£5 for non-members which include use of sauna and steam room.

The Staff

The staff are all friendly and knowledgeable, ready to help me master new exercises or cheer me on and film me as I attempt a new personal best. There are P.T.s available, should that be your thing and they appear to be motivating.

The Clientèle

There is a wide range of clientèle from overweight mums (me), to the older generation to teens, with there being just a wide range of abilities. One thing everyone has in common is how friendly and welcoming they are, I admit I was in awe of some of the body-builders when I first started (I still am at how much they can lift), but they are genuinely nice people who encourage me to push myself a little further. Now my one issue with the other clientèle is that a few seem to have trouble tidying up after themselves and seem to forget how to count when putting (or not putting in some cases) the weight plates away after themselves. Now I'm no weakling but there's no way I'm going to attempt to remove a 20kg plate from a bar that's above my head. Similarly it's rather annoying to have to move the 25kg plates to get at the 10kg, I'm a short, fat 40+ year old woman and I can always manage to put the plates away in order after me, so it annoys me when the strapping 6foot lads can't. As for just how busy the gym gets, well that depends on the time a day, when I train in the mornings I'm often the only one in the free weight area and rarely have to wait for equipment. However, when I return for classes in the evening the gym is fair buzzing and almost every piece of equipment is in use.

My Story

I've nearly finished now, I promise but just in case you are in the Manningtree area and looking for a gym then my actual story may help you decide whether Busybody's is for you.

Way back on the first of January 2016 after losing the first 20lb and getting down to around 260lb I decided it was time to join a gym. At the time I could barely walk across the room without crutches and was extremely unfit, but I phoned up Busybody's and made an appointment for an induction (which was free). During my induction Andy took my round the various pieces of equipment, spoke to me about my issues (hypermobility) and worked out a programme for me to follow over the next few months. As I continued to attend Busybody's twice a week, I steadily lost weight and became stronger, adding new machines and exercises in to my routine.

When the first rack was installed I decided I wanted to change my focus to free weights and compound strength exercises. To help me do this Andy worked with me and taught me the correct way (form) to do squats, bench press, overhead press and dead-lifts. This took me several weeks of learning and then I started adding weight, only to be set back by discovering a hernia had been hiding under all the fat. After having that repaired, I had to start again and it's a sign of how good the staff are that they made sure I didn't push myself too fast and yet still helped me celebrate every gain.

I now almost completely concentrate on heavy strength work, with some functional fitness and high intensity classes thrown in. I love the atmosphere in Busybody's and the way that they support me in my goals and celebrate my triumphs. If I need a spot I just have to ask and if I fail a lift there's always someone to remind me just how far I've come.


I have to say that Busybody's is rather more expensive than some of the chains that are within a bus or train ride with a single session costing £5, a monthly membership £35 and yearly membership £320. But when I take bus or train fares in to account, for me at least, the prices are comparable, plus I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get anywhere nearly the same atmosphere or level of support in a chain gym.

Final Words

While there is no way you could say it houses the fanciest, up to the minute equipment, Busybody's Fitness Ltd is my favourite gym by far (I have tried a couple of chain gyms but stuck with Busybody's). All the basic equipment I might need to lose weight and get stronger is there and the newer additions to the equipment are fabulous at enhancing my workout. As for star rating I think the fact that I'm still attending three times a week (sometimes more) sixteen months after first joining says it all. If I'm truthful I don't thing I'd have got nearly as far in to this weight loss, strength training journey as I have without their support. I may even try the sauna and steam room out one day.

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Comments on this review

  • CGholy published 04/10/2017
    very good
  • jb0077 published 06/05/2017
  • Secre published 30/04/2017
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Product Information : Busybodys Fitness, Lawford

Manufacturer's product description

Sport/Activity: Gym & Fitness - 4b Causeway End, Station Road, Lawford CO11 2LH

Product Details

Country: England

Type: Gym & Fitness

Address: 4b Causeway End, Station Road, Lawford CO11 2LH

City: Lawford

Continent: Europe


Listed on Ciao since: 21/08/2016