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Joanne Bannatyne opens gym near ex-husband's health club

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Duncan Bannatyne's ex-wife has expanded her growing chain of CrossFit-affiliated gyms with the opening of CrossFit Jacana in Durham, less than a mile from one of Duncan’s health clubs.

Joanne Bannatyne, who divorced the entrepreneur and TV personality last year and was also managing director of Bannatyne’s Fitness, has opened the Belmont Industrial Estate club with business partner Lee Howe.

The move has generated press headlines as it comes a few months after Joanne Bannatyne took out a large advert near her former husband’s Darlington offices, to promote her CrossFit DL2 gym with the slogan “Welcome Your New Neighbours”.

But she says the new opening is purely about business, with CrossFit Jacana fitting the brand’s industrial setting profile and being ideally located to attract new members.

“Given who she was married to, there is always going to be interest in Joanne’s activities, but she’s just focusing on the gyms and building the business,” says Joanne Bannatyne’s spokesperson.

“For us it was all about finding the best site in an industrial setting to open Durham’s second CrossFit gym – the fact Bannatyne’s is nearby didn’t even come in to it.”

Like Joanne Bannatyne’s three other gyms in the northeast, the 5,000sq ft (465sq m) club operates under the CrossFit banner – for which affiliates must pay $3,000 a year – with a focus on weight lifting, cardio-respiratory endurance and gymnastics, which are combined to form the ever-changing WOD (workout of the day).

The gym, which features Again Faster equipment and Wolverson competition kettlebells, offers a range of high intensity CrossFit classes in addition to open gym sessions.

The £55-a-month no-contract facility opened at the beginning of January and aims to cater for between 250-300 members.

Head Coach Chris Mason – a semi-professional footballer with Spennymoor Town – says the functional fitness offered by CrossFit workouts, helps the concept appeal to a wide audience.

“We’ve had lots of different fitness abilities coming to check out the gym so far and there’s definitely a growing demand for high intensity classes right now,” he says.

“It certainly helps with my football fitness and several teammates have been down for a trial after noticing my performances on the pitch!”

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Duncan Bannatyne's ex-wife has expanded her growing chain of CrossFit- affiliated gyms with the opening of CrossFit Jacana in Durham, less than a mile from one of Duncan’s health clubs.
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