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We’re back! Online classes start this week! 🌼

Hello everyone,

We think we’ve found the best way for us to move our classes online. After considering a bunch of options, we think we’ve got a format that meets our requirements of:

  • Getting live follow-along classes to you in a way that’s easy to access
  • Integrating with our usual booking system and Move GB
  • Being reasonably priced
  • Including new class types rather than repeating sessions
  • Recording and archiving all our live classes so you can do them whenever you’d like
  • Keeping us connected and able to chat between sessions

It’s taken a little longer than we expected to adapt to all these changes but we are ready to start again on Monday!!!!! 🌱🌱🌱🌱

New online classes four evenings a week

Strength Training A-Z
18:00-19:00 on Mondays

Guy coaches you through an effective whole-body workout requiring no equipment. The programming is periodised in month-long blocks so you can maintain or even develop your strength during at home, and each week the sessions are alphabetically themed around a different aspect of the history of training. We’ll start with Akharas and see how far we get…
(Similar to our Strength Circuit classes)

Low-Impact Strength Training Online
19:00-20:00 on Tuesdays

Isidora adapts our usual Low-Impact Strength Training class to a home setting, leading you through a series of gently-challenging bodyweight exercises to develop mobility and strength.
(Similar to our Low-Impact Strength Training classes)

HIIT From Home
19:00-20:00 on Wednesdays

Develop your fitness through short bursts of activities mixed with periods of rest. The exercises Guy programs use minimal space and no equipment, so you can follow along wherever you are.
(Similar to our Functional HIIT classes)

Stretch and Relax
18:00-19:00 on Thursdays

Isidora leads us in a sequence of calming movements aimed at restoring mobility and reducing stress at this challenging time. Using breath and working towards passive and active flexibility, we will relax into new ranges of motion.
(A new class!)

You can book onto the classes in all our usual ways – pay-as-you-go, with a subscription, or via Move GB.

Book the classes through TeamUp

Or find them on MoveGB

We will be using Zoom to stream our classes. Once booked on, you will be sent a link shortly before the class starts to join the scheduled call. The coach will go online 10 minutes before the session starts, to welcome you in and make sure everything’s working okay, and then the class will begin as normal at the start time.

It feels a bit odd initially but it’s surprising how quickly you get used to it, and then it’s good fun. We’re really looking forward to training with you again.

None of the classes require any equipment, though you might want something soft to lie on.

All of the live classes will be recorded and then uploaded so you can watch them at times that suit you better or repeat sessions in the week to construct your own training schedule.

A new £15 membership

We have added a cheaper subscription option – Qwop, named after the eponymous runner in this ridiculous athletics game – but you can book onto classes and access the archive with any of the usual subscriptions too. We have left our previous subscriptions up as “solidarity options” because some of you have very kindly said you’ll stay on your current sub to pay a little extra in support 🥰

Video archive and discussion forum

We have created a Slack Workspace with Channels for each of the classes. Links to the recorded sessions will be posted, and you can ask questions and discuss the sessions in the feeds below. Our coaches and co-op members will be active on there, so we can hopefully provide answers, iron out any technical hitches, and keep each other company at this strange time.

The link will be sent to all co-op members and subscribers, and posted in the livestream chat for all attendees. You’ll be automatically added to the most important channels but can add or remove yourself from whichever you’d like to engage as much or as little as you’d like.

At the end of the week, we’ll also e-mail out the previous week’s videos to all co-op members and those with active subscriptions.

Workout mixtape exchange

We hope we can use Slack in other ways too. For example, in the spirit of pre-Internet approaches to staying in touch with people you can’t see IRL, and in keeping with our shared Spotify playlists, we thought we could set up a Workout Mixtape Exchange!

In our Slack, there’s a #mixtape-exchange channel (linked from the #staying-connected channel) which you can join and post your playlist and a description of the tracks. Guy’s posted his to get things started – have a listen and slate his music taste, and then post your own! If you don’t use Spotify, just post a tracklist and then we can turn that into a playlist and link to it.
 

Lawn Bowls workshop is cancelled

Sadly, all this means we’ve got to cancel the Introduction to Lawn Bowls workshop, of course. We were looking forward to it and will aim to re-schedule when this has passed.
 

Online workshops

Related to that, we thought it would still be possible to host some workshops online instead. Let us know if there are any topics you’d like to explore and we’ll try to work something out!


Okay, that’s everything. Thanks so much for your patience. We’re really looking forward to starting training with you again this week!

Suspending Sessions

Hello again…

Things really are moving fast… A few hours after we sent out yesterday’s update about our session plans in response to the C19 outbreak, the government guidance changed to recommend that everyone minimise social contact as much as possible.

As a members-first health and wellness community business, this is obviously something we are taking very seriously. With all that in mind we have decided to suspend our group classes for the time being.

We do, however, intend to support you to stay fit and healthy, physically and mentally, at this unusual time. Here’s how:
 

Multiple Weekly Training Videos 

Each week, Isidora and Guy will provide a strength training and HIIT session for you to do at home with no equipment, so you’ll have four options for training each week. 

We might even do these as online live broadcasts so it can feel more social… We’re working on the exact form – let us know if you have any suggestions.
 

A New, Online-Only Subscription

The online sessions will be available to all co-op members and people who pay monthly subscriptions. We will set up a new subscription level that reflects the changing costs of providing session content online instead of at a venue. The exact price for this is being decided and we’ll have it in place by next week.

Because of the way we are paid through Move GB and other pay-as-you-go attendees, we can’t offer the online sessions directly to you. We invite you instead to join the new online-only subscription or to choose one of the co-operative membership options.

Whether you change to the new subs level is entirely up to you. This is going to be a tough period for the gym and we obviously appreciate any financial support to help us make it out the other side, but we are also aware that you may be dramatically affected yourself and don’t want that to restrict you from staying active in the coming weeks / months. 

We haven’t made any changes to your existing subscription or membership because we want to leave that decision up to you and some people have already kindly e-mailed to say they will be continuing their usual payments despite the change in service. Whatever you choose to do, you can manage your subscription through your TeamUp profile.

If you choose to cancel your subscription and would like a refund for the rest of the month, please get in touch.
 

Online Community

We are setting up a Slack workspace as a place to ask questions about the videos as they come out, and to generally support each other in staying active, healthy and not too bored…

Slack is a cross-platform instant messaging service (that also does lots of other things). You can access it through your browser or an app on your phone. If you haven’t used it before, there are tons of tutorial videos on YouTube and quite a bit of guidance within the app.

We will send out a separate invitation to everyone with subscriptions / memberships once everything is ready.

Other Options

We are open to new and inventive ways of providing sessions and support – do reply if you have any thoughts or suggestions about anything else we can be doing.

2020 Co-operative Memberships

This is not related to the virus but we need to e-mail round to announce that co-operative memberships for 2020 are now available.

You may remember that at the start of the year we announced our “bridging” memberships from January – March 2020 so that we could align membership dates with our financial year. We’re now ready to offer the full-year membership, which is on a sliding scale of £10-£50. You can buy these through TeamUp or via the Membership page on our website.
 

🏋

️️️️


Take care. We’ll miss you! It’s a real shame not to get to meet up and train together, especially at such a stressful time, but this seems like the best thing to do. Do join us online for workouts and related distractions.

See you there!

❤

Big Winter Update – Closing Dates, Socials, T-shirts, Workshops and more!

The end of the year is fast approaching and it’s strange to think that we are already in the second week of our final five-week block of 2019. There are a few things we wanted to let you know about.

Dates of Closure Over the New Year

We will have our last session of the year on Thursday 19th December and will re-open on Monday 6th January.

Have a fantastic break!

Winter Socials

To celebrate a fantastic year, we’d love you to join us for two activities:

  • A drink after training at The Plough on Wednesday 18th December, from 19:00/20:00 onwards. Monday and Thursday folks, please do come and join us!
  • A wintery walk from All Hallows at 11:00 on Saturday 21st December. We’ll go up to Greenbank Cemetery / Eastville Park and end up somewhere for lunch, if anyone would like to stay for that.

Change of LIST Class Timing

Monday’s Low-Intensity Strength Training class will now run from 19:00-20:00 rather than 19:15-20:15, starting this coming week (Monday 2nd December).

T-Shirts

Our first t-shirt

YES, we are taking pre-orders for our first-ever, limited run of BCG shirts!!

The design, by Guy, shows two hands raised in celebration with letters spelling the name of our gym scattered above.

Printed in white water-based ink on high-quality black 100% organic cotton Stanley Stella shirts by the mighty eco-friendly printers I Dress Myself in Frome, the shirts and all production processes are vegan, non-toxic, fair-labour, carbon-neutral, and done with minimal use of plastic.

They come in a non-gendered fit and a wide range of sizes. A good way to get the right size is to measure a t-shirt you know you like the fit of.

Orders will close on the evening of Sunday 1st December, and we won’t be printing any more after that. We should have delivery of the shirts by w/c 16th December and they will be ready to be collect from sessions in that last week before we close for the winter break.

We aren’t offering postage so if you live elsewhere it’s probably best to contact a Bristol-based friend and ask them to get yours.

You can place orders the same way you book sessions through TeamUp – just click on Store. Or go here.

Our Coaches’ Other Classes and Workshops

Both Isidora and Guy offer classes and workshops outside of the gym. Here’s what’s coming up:

  • Isidora’s weekly Animal Movement class at Hamilton House on Saturdays, 12:15-13:15, gives the opportunity to practice the sorts of mobility and strength training she introduced to us in her workshop earlier in the year. Weightlifting, body-weight, strength and mobility training are combined with a holistic approach that starts from the breath’s awareness and reaches the ‘false’ movement patterns we establish with our everyday mentality, choices and emotions. It is the only class of its sort in Bristol. You can book through Move GB or by getting in touch with her directly.
  • Guy has two workshops coming up on Sunday 8th December and Sunday 26th January titled ‘New Year, New Fitness Culture‘. Designed as an antithesis to the January body-shaming fitness frenzy, come and learn how to dismantle the assumptions and practices of the fitness industry and then build your own unique, super-effective exercise practice in their place. Find out more and book on through his website.

Training and Your Pelvic Floor

Last year we hosted a Pelvic Floor Health Café with Helen Hodder, a physiotherapist specialising in pelvic floor function. Below is a write-up of the notes our coach Guy made during the workshop.

What are the pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles form a sort of “trampoline” at the base of your pelvis, stretching between your tailbone (at the back), pubic bone (at the front), and sit bones (the sides):

What do they do?

It’s important to think of the pelvic floor muscles as being multifunctional. They don’t just hold everything in. As with any other muscle, it is just as important that they are able to relax as contract.

They:

  1. Control the pelvic openings (anus, vagina, urethra) and help prevent incontinence
  2. Support all the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, vagina, prostate, small and large intestine) and help to prevent prolapse
  3. Help with sexual arousal and sexual function
  4. Help stabilise the joints in your pelvis

Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect people of all genders and stages of life, though pregnancy and birth present particularly gnarly challenges to the pelvic floor.

Read more…

Co-operative Memberships Now Available For 2019!

We are proud to be the first co-operative gym in the UK. We believe that our not-for-profit multi-stakeholder co-operative model (meaning coaches and gym users work together to create a space that improves their health and wellbeing) has so much potential for working against the cynical business practices of big gyms, and for getting more people enjoying their strength and fitness, and feeling better.

Read more…

Our Story So Far

Our coach Guy was invited to speak at the Bristol Radical Herbal Gathering on the theme of collective approaches to wellbeing, alongside excellent Bristol projects like Countering Colston, ACORN and Kiki.

It was a good chance to lay out the reasons for setting up the gym and why we feel there is a need for a co-operative model within the fitness industry. The full text is below.

Read more…

New Coach Call-out!

We are looking for another self-employed strength coach!

About us

We are the inclusive, body-positive gym that’s run by its members.

We offer expertly-delivered strength training and HIIT sessions in a supportive, open environment where people can feel comfortable to train and progress free from judgements about who they are and what they can lift.

We are a co-operative, meaning decisions about the running of the gym are made collectively by our coaches and members. We seem to be the only gym that runs like this in the country, and we’re excited to demonstrate how this alternative gym model can work.

You read more about the reasons we set up in our Aims & Objectives.

About the job

We are looking for someone to join our coaching team who will:

  • Revel in our members’ successes and support them through their challenges.
  • Lead by example to create an environment of excitement and respect in every class.
  • Give new members a warm welcome and introduce them to the class when they arrive
  • Make sure all members are signed-in before midnight
  • Plan and deliver safe, effective, fun workouts, with appropriate modifications to accommodate injuries and abilities
  • Be present for members’ questions before and after classes
  • Actively listen and reflect on how future sessions can be made even better
  • Have a nationally-accredited trainer certification, insurance and Emergency First Aid
  • Become a member of our co-operative and help us shape our alternative gym future

You will be required to lead classes on some weekday lunchtimes and evenings. Currently, our timetable includes classes on:

  • Monday 13:00-14:00, 17:30-19:00
  • Wednesday 13:00-14:00, 17:30-19:00, 19:00-20:00
  • Thursday 17:30-18:30, 18:30-20:00

Ideally, you would be able to cover all of these in the period between 17th and 23rd September, while our other coach is on holiday.

Usually, the classes would be split between both coaches. The times may change in future, and classes may be added or removed, but this would be decided co-operatively to suit you, the other coach, and our members.

In exchange, you would be paid £20-30 / hour and have access to All Hallows Hall and the gym’s equipment to run Personal Training sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 06:00-12:00 for £12.50 / hour (or less, if you’re training at the same time as another coach and can split the rent).

We want to demonstrate that an alternative gym model is possible. If you would like to be a part of this, please write to us at mail[at]bristolcooperativegym.org before 17th August, explaining why you’ll be a great fit.

We are particularly interested to hear from people who are under-represented in the fitness industry.

Thank you!

If You Can’t Sit Less, Sit Differently

In the UK, adults of working age sit down for an average of 9.5 hours each day. As we get older, this increases (source). We’ve all heard how sitting down is terribly bad for us, but what can we really do about that? Most of us are employed in ways that involve being sedentary and wouldn’t be willing or able to quit our jobs just so we can sit less. Read more…

If You Have To, Which Protein Bar?

"Wake up, Homer! Those bars are just junk! They're made out of apple cores and Chinese newspapers!"
“Wake up, Homer! Those bars are just junk! They’re made out of apple cores and Chinese newspapers!”

Recently I have been experimenting with what I eat. As is my way, I have really gone to town on it and have been tracking my calories, protein, fat, carbs etc.. I’ve been enjoying the way that feels and what it’s taught me about food and my body but I want to say right at the start of this post that tracking and getting weird about food like this is absolutely not necessary.

To pay my bills and fund my impulse purchases (most recently, this), I do support work at a university. I only work term-time and this week is my first week back. This is the first year where I have been paying this much attention to what I eat, so before going back I wanted to get a plan together for how I was going to continue to meet my calorie, protein, fat etc. targets while not spending loads of money and with minimal faff. Read more…