EASY MAGAZINE: Steve Mason takes it to the X-Treme
Steven Mason is someone who never dreads going to work. He likes to feel the intensity of an adrenalin rush, he told EASY magazine. The feeling of excitement from fitness challenges or sports brings him ultimate happiness. And most of all, he likes to work up a sweat.
Mason is a personal trainer and was into track and field and ball sports from the time he was a teen. He liked the competitive nature of games and never turned down the opportunity to outwit and outlast an opponent.
When he left the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School he studied carpentry and joinery at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and then computer-aided design in the United States. When he came back to Barbados he decided it was time to build a career in fitness. He left the National Housing Corporation and took his time developing his passion into a career.
“Ten years ago the thought came about to open my own gym,” he said. “I did a survey and I realised there wasn’t a gym this side of St Philip. Every evening I came home and worked on this; I built the gym from scratch and it took me two years to complete.
At first I opened it as a community gym but I have expanded and the feeling is unbelievable. I can’t ask for nothing else, I am extremely happy.
“At first 90 per cent of the people came from the surrounding area but now it’s a mixture of people from St James, Christ Church, St John and St George and we cater to a wide age group – 15 to 75.”
Mason described X-treme Body Mechanix Fitness Centre as a family gym where the members “like bashment soca especially for soca aerobics”. The gym is celebrating its fifth year with a list of events planned through the year and recently they held a fun day at Princess Margaret Secondary School where they invited the public to take part in a number of activities.
He added that they regularly host events such as organising hikes, fitness challenges, marathons, fitness summer camps, community outreach programme, church services and a sports day.
The sports day is a huge event as gym members are split into houses.
“Sports day means a lot to me because on that day I honour my mum, Elrita Mason . . . also known as Beryle. She died at 80 years old on Christmas Day and she is my idol.
“So I have to put her in this part of my life and I also have a trophy in her honour.
The day is spent at King George V Park with activities such as athletics, the egg and spoon race, cricket ball throw, the sack race and jockey race.
“This year it is going to be more special since my family members overseas promised to attend and Blue House wants to regain the title from Red.”
The officials for the sports day also take part in the event.
“It is a way for them to get competitive in the kitchen,” said Mason. “Sometimes Mac Fingall attends and gives assistance.”
Mason has busy days and is also training a group of young people for Ninja Throwdown Barbados 2017 and for that he added a fiery workout session to the gym’s programme.
“Battlefield is great for anyone who wants to compete in Ninja Throwdown.
“I am in the process of finishing the obstacle course but so far we have the monkey bars, agility ladder, pull up ropes and battling ropes.
“Last year the gym entered three competitors – Kyle, Justin and Janine. Although they did not place, I thought they did the guys here proud and this year we hope to do better.”
The saying goes no pain, no gain, and Mason attested to this while explaining how he built the grass roots gym from the
“I was never deterred,” he said, “The community was my driving force. Every night until 11 I was building the gym. It was just myself out in the night and my father always gave me a word of encouragement when I needed it most. I knew I had the responsibility to provide a fitness centre for the people in the area and neighbouring community so I did not want to quit. I took my time and saved money and bought construction material,” said the father of nine-year-old Elania Mason and 24-year-old Shomari Harrison.
“I grew up in a time where community spirit was strong, and my mum taught me the value of sharing and caring for your brother and sister. That feeling is something she left in her village shop and I am proud to say that it also flows through the gym.”
Some days life isn’t a bed or roses for the 48-year-old.
“Some mornings I get up and say: “Steven, you ought to be happy for yourself.”
“My neighbours have been extremely nice to me and they have allowed me to use a piece of their land as a parking lot. The owners of The East Point Grill assists us when we have limes and parties and the outreach children’s programme has been doing good work, in terms of providing regular donations to less fortunate children.
“I think I am blessed with good people who frequent the gym. I can rest assured that if someone needs help that the training coaches Allan, Mark and Mackie would assist them.” (SB)