THEY are the small gym that didn't let lockdown dampen their community spirit.

DMF: Evolve was opened four years ago by Dan Mitchell in Chandler's Ford, which as grown over the years.

Two years ago, the gym was expanded in order to take on more members due to popular demand.

Dan, a father-of-one, used to work in the IT sector but soon realised that the computer world was not for him and followed his dreams into fitness.

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Becky Attwood, a DMF team member, said that fitness has always been important to Dan, focusing on both is mental health and his physical health.

Dan focuses on teaching hsi gym members about portion control, having a good "food environment" at home and make sure people are as active as possible.

Becky said: "He urges people against 'fad diets' such as keto.

"He teaches he members about portion control, having a good 'food environment' at home and making sure you move as much as you can - walking, gardening - as well as exercising in a gym."

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During lockdown when the gyms were forced to close, Dan took his sessions online.

He held group training sessions via zoom and lent out his equipment from the gym to members so they could work out at home.

Each member was assigned a personal coach form his team so they could keep checking in and ask any fitness and nutrition questions.

He spent around £20k refurbishing the gym during lockdown so when it was able to reopen members could socially distance at all times.

Dan has no help from the government in the form of grants or funding and it was touch and go whether DMF would survive.

Despite all this, the team were still able to put other first and held a range of challenges to raise money for Southampton Hospital Charity.

The team took part in the Move in May Meps Challenge to help the NHS while keeping themselves fit and healthy during lockdown.

They were able to raise just over £1,600 for the charity.

Becky said: "DMF: Evolve isn't like a normal gym. The group sessions make the atmosphere more like a team. Everyone is working out to their own ability and towards their own goals, but because we are all together in the gym, people have fun, make jokes and experience a sense of camaraderie.

"Unlike many PTs in the fitness world, Dan speak plainly about food and nutrition.

"He does not advise his members to cut carbs or give up drinking. He believes portion control, a good food environment at home and making sure a person moves as much as possible are the most important things. He does not believe in 'blasting' yourself in the gym seven days a week.

"He says training two to three times a week alongside walking as much as you can will get desired results alongside a balanced diet. above all he is about consistency - if you practice good habits, you will see results."