All many people wanted for Christmas was their gym back. And, yes, BigBox Leisure Club – the former Total Fitness gym in Waterloo – WILL be completed for Christmas 2023!

The countdown is on to the opening of BigBox, a state-of-the-art leisure club which will be the biggest in Kirklees.

The finishing touches are now being put to the £4 million gym on the Tandem Industrial Estate and work will be completed by the Christmas shutdown next week.

The first members are already booked in for their induction from 8am on Wednesday December 27. The gym will open officially on Thursday January 4 with facilities opened in phases to ease pressure on staff.

Total Fitness ran for over 20 years and was hugely popular. It closed at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and never re-opened.

Despite several false dawns, the gym has been re-born as BigBox, run by experienced and successful gym and leisure club operators, Jamie Lyne and Simon Ryan.

Teams of contractors are still swarming over the building but the work left to do is all cosmetic. The swimming pool is ready, the changing rooms are complete, flooring is down and £1 million-worth of exercise equipment is on site.

Jamie said: “It’s been hard work bringing it all together and we had some unforeseen drainage and electrical issues to overcome.

“We had to spend more money on things we didn’t know about but we are approaching break even membership numbers at opening, which is great, because it means we can invest.

“We have a week or so to get finished and then we can have a quiet Christmas. There’s various little bits of touching up and snagging but nothing that the customer will notice. We’re now in a good place and really excited to get it open.”

Such was the early demand, the initial opening membership offer was so popular it caused the system to crash.

There’s an open weekend this weekend and members who have already looked round have been so excited and emotional they’ve shed a few tears.

“The reaction we’ve had from members has been ‘fantastic, can’t wait.’ We’ve had tears because people have missed it so much,” said Jamie.

“Many have said ‘you’ll never be ready for January’ but we’ve been here before with big projects and we know what we are doing. We’ll be ready.”

BigBox will have a staff of around 50 with another 40 freelancers coming in to take classes.

“We’ve been really surprised,” said Jamie. “We didn’t need to advertise for staff and we’ve got some great people. We had a recruitment inbox with thousands of emails.”

BigBox will have a 25-metre swimming pool and thermal spa with hydrotherapy pool, sauna and ice plunge pool; a main gym, a ladies-only gym and a supervised teen gym. There’s also a boot camp room, boxing workout and a bouldering wall.