‘YOU ARE NOT YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP.'
The statement I spent so long reiterating to myself, that it became a mantra.
Then it became something more, an identity.
Running a business in an industry where 90 plus hour weeks 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, 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 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 this can have on 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 has 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. I’ve also accrued a good set of tools to help me over the course of time, 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 a bit like a carpenter telling you to just ‘build your own furniture’, easy for him to say.
Then Bulldog stepped in.
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.
You’ll build your own arsenal by adding one new piece of kit each month, for less than the cost of the average UK gym membership, with Bulldog offering a discount on any tools necessary for disciples of the program.
Then? Execute the programming wherever you need to.
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.
Kicking off with the kettlebell, the ‘cannonball with a handle’ from Mother Russia.
In my opinion one of the most versatile pieces of resistance kit available, narrowly pipping out the humble dumbbell, thanks to it’s quirky centre of mass adding a little extra bang for your buck.
Complete these sessions in the order listed, each week- but don’t sweat the structure of the week, tick them off as you can and let the ‘off’ days fall where they may, life happens.
There is a glossary of terms included, but for any further support, contact me via social media ( @TheAndrew.Tracey ) and leave a comment with any questions on a post and I’ll endeavour to get back to you ASAP.
I’ll also be answering questions and adding videos to a ‘story highlight’, so keep up to date with that if there’s anything you’re unsure of.
Beyond that, it’s a ‘simple’ case of execution.
The ball’s in your court now, ready to burn the barriers?