YOU ARE NOT YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP: The How, What and Why?
“‘YOU ARE NOT YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP’ - A statement I spent so long reiterating to myself that it became a mantra. Quickly becoming something more... an identity.”
Andrew Tracey discusses how he teamed up with Bulldog Gear to turn his lifestyle into something tangible and accessible for everyone.
Ad hoc, Nomadic Training
Running a business in an industry where 90+ hours per week are not uncommon, not returning home for weeks on end is a given and you’re far more likely to work 5-9 than you are 9-5, ‘fitness’ became problematic. Gyms were not open before I started work in the morning, and most would be long closed after I’d finished, that’s if I could find one near me at all while traipsing across the country. I just gave up on the idea of training, really. I’d gone from working in some of the best health clubs in the world with a lot of free time, to this - training just wasn’t on the cards.
But this couldn’t continue, I’d been a trainer and coach for years, fitness was still a huge, burning passion of mine and I loathed the thought of being ‘out of shape’.
I started performing basic but taxing bodyweight circuits, built around hypertrophy principles. I also started carrying a kettlebell, back then I’d lug a 28kg bell across London to meet for pick ups, this allowed me to load my lower body with at least some resistance.
I realised pretty soon that stripping the kit list back to the bear bones leaves you nowhere to hide, the workouts were short, sharp, brutal... but effective, effective enough to get the attention of Men’s Fitness, landing me a front cover and years worth of double page features, detailing the type of training I performed, all without stepping foot in a gym.
Eventually, even in the times when the ‘necessity’ for the sentiment was diminished, or gone altogether, it still echoed.
I began to see how relying on a gym or a health club to solve 100% of your fitness problems, at all times, could possibly become a serious liability. You’re outsourcing your health and fitness to an entity that isn’t entirely in your control and has a potentially small window of availability.
If you ‘define’ your fitness as an hour, four times per week in a health club, then it only takes one late night at work, some traffic, a family emergency or anything of the sort that throws a proverbial spanner into your scheduled works… And you’ve ‘lost’ 25% of your ‘fitness’ for that week. Life happens sometimes, and it’s completely understandable that the first thing you’d chop away at would be something that is essentially ‘leisure time’.
That’s before you factor in the supplementary costs of parking, hydration and fuel, the invaluable time you expend on top of your actual ‘work’ time and the knock on the effects that can have in the rest of your life.
And of course, we’re completely discounting the fact that some people just don’t like the gym.
But it’s easy for me to sit here and point out the potential pitfalls of solely relying on a fitness franchise to facilitate your physical wellbeing. I’m an experienced coach who’s been in and around the fitness industry for over a decade, I SHOULD know how to create multi-factored, adaptive programs, it’s my job. Over time I’ve accrued a good set of tools to help me, tools you may not have yet, you may not even know where to start even if you’re interested in creating your own ‘tool shed’- this is akin to a carpenter telling you to just ‘build your own furniture’, easy for him to say.
Creating the toolbox
Over the last few years I’ve accrued and experimented with a decent array of equipment, in an attempt to build the most effective mobile workout solution. Obviously this is not applicable to those of you who don’t travel the width and breadth of the country for work, but one thing I’ve discovered, is that you can get pretty close to maximising your potential with no more than you can fit into a small van; beyond those key items, anything else you may fill out the space with, in say a home or garage gym, is a welcome luxury (although I’m not sure that’s the most apt way to describe an air bike).
Over this period of time, working with the obvious space constraints, and observing the results I’ve seen, I’ve given a LOT of thought to how I would best streamline the process if I were to start over from scratch:
- What would I avoid?
- What would I implement sooner?
- How could I make this ‘tool box’ more cost effective?
I was constantly trying to strike a balance between what is realistic and economical, and what is truly ‘optimal’.
Somewhere during this rumination process, I struck up a relationship with the team at Bulldog. I’d purchased a Bulldog Gear weight vest as they were the only people on the market producing a high quality product that went up to 20kg (better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it), and after seeing a few pictures of weighted pull-ups in dreary Yorkshire service station car parks, we began a dialogue.
Tangible and Actionable
I think it’s pretty easy to differentiate between content that’s ‘informative marketing’, and when a company wants to make genuine resources to add value to their brand and ‘give something back’ to their followers and customers.
Bulldog felt like the latter and after working with them for a substantial period of time, I can attest to the fact that they unequivocally are.
We spoke about this concept I had, of streamlining the ‘You Are Not Your Gym Membership’ philosophy, into something that was not just tangible, but actionable.
Bulldog obviously brought absolutely invaluable market knowledge to this conversation, and together we were able to figure out exactly what this process should look like, how it should be distributed and more importantly, a concrete structure of how to make this forward momentum affordable.
In fact, the answer to the final question was fairly simple, there’s an entire industry built upon a foundation of just how much you’re willing to pay to facilitate your training, the gym and health club industry, our figures were right here, they just needed to be collated and a magic, ‘mean’ figure discovered.
The team at Bulldog went over the data with a fine toothed comb to produce numbers that we could work with, we then began the process of looking at just how much ‘bang for your buck’ you could get each month in terms of equipment purchase, how to efficiently prioritise the equipment’s acquisition and how to create a dastardly effective programme based around these parameters… All for the average cost of a monthly UK gym membership.
What could you do in 3, 6 even 9 months if you were to commit the same amount on average, you’d allocate to a monthly gym fee? What type of toolbox could you build?
The best thing about this was, whatever the answer- it was yours to keep.
The Bulldog x AT programme took shape.
It’s central tenet, taking complete ownership of your fitness.
One month at a time.
We wanted to created a blueprint, a comprehensive yet not overwhelming project, that will steadily take you from where you are now, to being in a position to be completely independent of ‘fitness-incorporated’, whilst avoiding any pitfalls I’ve encountered, and having professional programming to make the journey as beneficial as possible and ensure you’re still training optimally.
Bulldog supplying the highest quality tools, and myself supplying the instructions, sent weekly, directly to your inbox in an easily digestible and effortlessly ‘shareable’, format.
The training itself, designed to be the absolute best usage of the equipment available month in, month out. Combining elements of strength training, simple bodyweight movements, bodybuilding and fast paced, effective conditioning protocols, designed to be extremely time savvy and formatted to build a solid ‘all round’ program. That, with appropriate effort in the execution, will yield strength, performance and aesthetic improvements across the board.
These are the same type of workouts that I’ve used to facilitate everything from competing in functional fitness competitions, strongman events, endurance races to rendering more aesthetically based outcomes, including being featured (both the workouts in print, and the trainees) in international fitness magazines, all from grafting away in a car park, with a kettlebell.
Even if you love the gym (I do, I help to run one), this gear and knowledge will mean you don’t have to RELY on it, you can train on your own terms.
The gym is no longer the landlord of your training, you own your fitness outright, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit.
Twelve weeks of ‘fun’ and relentless self improvement with nothing more than your bodyweight and three pieces of kit, while we deliver more of the same progressive programming, giving you the resources for optimising your human performance from wherever you choose.
Previous weeks’ training will be archived for late comers, but signing up guarantees those workouts each week.
Even if you don’t need them right now, they’re a resource that might well be worth having tucked in the back pocket, for future reference.
We’ve done the hard work, now all you have to do is the hard work.
If you like the idea of 'You Are Not Your Gym Membership' and want to join our journey, sign up now to receive weekly workouts written by The Andrew Tracey himself.
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Link: Glossary of Terms
The handstand push-up or ‘HSPU’ is a seriously impressive calisthenics movement that allows you to unlock vertical pressing into your training repertoire, using only your bodyweight. Follow these simple regressions and you’ll be inverted in no time.