Cougars should be fighting fit when they begin pre-season training after embarking on regular lung-bursting sessions with club conditioner Paul Royston.
Royston owns the Workouts gyms in Keighley and Shipley, with player-coach Paul March and up to a dozen other players having started pumping iron in readiness for the 2013 campaign.
New recruit Ross Peltier, March, Neil Cherryholme, Jamaine Wray and Andy Shickell have begun training at Work-outs in Shipley.
James Feather, Ben Sagar, Brendon Rawlins and Ollie Pursglove are training regularly at the Keighley branch, along with youngsters Matt Bailey, a close-season rec-ruit from Brad-ford Bulls, Danny Snowden, Jack Copperwaite and Josh Lynam.
Royston, who is on duty at every Cougars game, said: “The players need to be fit and ready for pre-season because we train very intensely, so if they haven’t done some close-season work they can find themselves a long way behind.
“It makes sense to stay in shape during the off-season and come back raring to go.
“There are a few of the lads, including Paul March, regularly training at Workouts in Shipley and a lot of the local lads using the Keighley gym.”
Royston (pictured), who is entering the fourth year of his second spell as Cougars’ conditioner following a previous stint between 2002 and 2005, says the hard work during the off-season will benefit the squad massively.
He said: “What we find now is that after a couple of weeks off is that the players don’t want to be fall too far behind in their fitness.
“It can be hard to play catch-up when pre-season starts on November 6th.
“Matt Bailey, for example, is a Keighley lad who I’ve known since he was about 14 due to him coming into the gym.
“The players will often come in to train together in groups of two or three and train to an intense level.
“It keeps them motivated to train together but, above all, it keeps them fit and ready for the rigours of pre-season.
“We’ve had quite a few of the Bulls players in the gym down the years – Joe Vagana and Stuart Fielden used to come in regularly.”
Royston will be assisted by Oakworth-based Jamie Chambers at Cougar Park this year.
Chambers has just spent a one-year internship working with newly-crowned Super League champions Leeds Rhinos.
“Jamie has had 12 months at the highest level and his expertise is a welcome addition to the club,” said Royston.
“Jason Demetriou helped to raise standards during his two years at the club and hopefully we can continue progressing next season.”