SABA (THE BOTTOM) —It was a proud moment for owner James Granger when his new F3 Fun Free Fitness Center opened in The Bottom on Saturday, January 22. For Saba, the new fitness center is a very welcome addition to the healthy lifestyle that many residents have adopted.
Present to perform the official opening together with Granger, was Public Health and Sports Commissioner Rolando Wilson. Located in the newly renovated building that used to house the Artisan Foundation, F3 Fun Free Fitness Center has a wide variety of state-of-the-art equipment from China.
On behalf of the Public Entity Saba, Wilson congratulated Granger, a son of the soil on this milestone and encouraged everyone with a vision and a goal to go for it. “Saba is on the move. Welcome to a new facility where you can come to improve your health at your own time and leisure. Coming to this gym will surely be something to look forward to,” he said in his opening remarks.
Wilson explained that some two years ago Granger approached him with a request to start a fitness center. “He came to me with three thick folders containing his ideas and suggested equipment. He had a small space that he was already using as a gym, but as more people approached him who were seriously interested in getting fit, he had to expand,” the Commissioner said.
Wilson said he was glad that the Public Entity Saba could reach an agreement with Granger to assist him with this project. “He worked diligently on this project, he persevered, waited patiently for the long-awaited equipment to arrive. And today he has accomplished his goal. He can now reap the benefits of a dream turned to reality,” said Wilson, who immediately signed up to become a member of the fitness center. Saba-born entrepreneur and sports professional Granger (32) returned to Saba from Bonaire in 2019. During his studies ‘Sport en Bewegen level 4’ on Bonaire, Granger worked at the Bon Bida fitness center for two years. “My study field has brought me great experiences towards my professional success,” he said.
Granger started F3 Fun Free Fitness in 2019 with just one client: a family member in the backyard of his mother’s house. “We then moved to a small room under my aunt’s house a space holding no more than three clients per workout session. This was manageable until the client-base grow. I knew a bigger location/facility was to come sooner or later.” After a six-month process to study, select and order the equipment, the products were ready for transport from China to Saba with a Dutch shipping company. Granger said that the transport has been a “bit stressful” due to the big worldwide backlog of shipping. “I am very happy that everything has arrived and is up and ready for the community to enjoy and work towards their health and fitness goals,” he said.
Granger’s dream was to return to his island of birth and to set up a fitness center where Sabans could exercise and work on their overall fitness and health in general. “Opening a fitness center was one of my goals since 2015. Returning back to Saba in 2019 it was time to prepare myself to take on my goal I had set out to accomplish. All my life I have been a part of sports. As I got older, I turned to fitness, adapting my mindset towards healthy living.”
Granger is a successful athlete. Since 2018 he has taken part in various running events of different distances in several islands/countries, including the Bonaire Budget Marina Triathlon run, the Curaçao Half Marathon 21km run, the Saba Triathlon run, the Rotterdam 42km marathon, the Bonaire Guardian Group 8km run, the Aruba Half Marathon 21km run, three Saba Bizzy B 5k runs, the St. Maarten Coors Light Marathon 10km run, the St. Maarten Boardwalk Triathlon run and the St. Maarten 10km Holidays Run.
The building in which the F3 Fun Free Fitness Center is located used to house the Artisan Foundation, a non-profit organization that specialized in printing t-shirts, dresses and curtains, and where hand-made souvenirs were sold. The building, owned by the Public Entity Saba, suffered damage during Hurricane Irma early September 2017. Since its reconstruction, part of the building is used by the Saba Reach Foundation. The other part of the building now houses the F3 Fun Free Fitness.
The new gym fits well in the healthy lifestyle that the Public Entity Saba has been actively promoting with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport VWS. Together with the different sports organizations and stakeholders, multiple sports events and initiatives are being organized such as the Bizzy B 5K race, the Sea to Scenery, the Saba Triathlon, Fit with Lee classes and other events.
F3 Fun Free Fitness Center has a range from cardio, strength training and basic fitness levels. The center is opened from Monday to Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. F3 Fun Free Fitness Center has customer service during the opening hours in the day. Persons, both residents and visitors, can walk in for information. A fitness instructor is at hand for members who want to receive instructions and guidance throughout the fitness center. The front desk is available for questions and sign ups of future members.