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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…

Going to a Normal Gym as Someone Who Has Never Gone to the Gym Before

Our member Steph shares her experience of going to a “normal gym” after attending our Strength Circuit sessions. Thank you, Steph!

Never would I have imagined that I would willingly, and with enjoyment, be going to a local gym before joining the co-operative gym! I think that is such an amazing thing. Everything you get from going to the co-op gym is so transferable – it’s a gateway to all sorts of things you could do with your body that you didn’t know yet.

I think the main barrier I had about going to the gym regularly by myself was a lack of knowledge and motivation. Going to regular gyms often means (though not necessarily) trying to ignore certain elements of macho bullshit which a gym space seems to fuel. Going to the co-op gym means that you learn technique in a really nice, supportive and unpatronising way. Also, the sharing and teaching of your fellow lifters means that you learn certain cues like ‘spread your toes’ even better. And knowledge equals power! I kind of imagine this a little bit like becoming my own coach – though it’s good to check with others on technique!

The kind of coaches you might come across regularly can seem intimidating… There is a whole load of language to learn. There are people who spew it at you like you’re an idiot for not knowing. There are people who actually use “come on you girl” as an insult. Trying to deadlift after hearing that is hard! Trying to ignore the screaming in your head is hard! I don’t want my gym session to instead turn into righting the wrongs of gross people. I want to lift!

What I am practicing at the moment is overcoming that and concentrating on what I would like to learn and get better at, and I am enjoying practicing this before starting work in the morning. This is where knowing the technique comes in. Knowing what to focus on simply means you focus on it. Learning the technique means you know what you alone are doing, and you can get on with it. Nevermind that you are the only woman in the room, nevermind that – omg why are they counting out loud, you are throwing me off pal! But then there are nice things, like noticing other little exercises people are doing, or noticing when someone is on the same ‘push’ and ‘deadlift’ day as you!

A little trick I have when walking into the weight room, maybe a little intimidated trying to find a spot in a busy room, is to put my shoulders back and pretend I am a man and deserve to take up space. But politely! Hey, if going to the gym teaches you anything it’s where to put your shoulders, so you might as well use it.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that knowing how to do stuff is empowering and so is feeling strong, so hurrah to the co-op gym for giving us that!

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!

On Being A Co-op Member

I started coming to the gym and I quite liked it. The more I came, the more I liked it. Then I noticed on the website there was a ‘become a member’ option. Hmm, a co-op member, that sounds kind of cool. I wonder what that means. I suppose if it means I get to be more ‘part’ of the gym, that would be nice. I’ll give it a go. So I pressed join. Read more…

Floating: My Experience Of Sensory Deprivation Therapy

Doing nothing really does something
Doing nothing really does something

At the bottom of Park Street is the back shop, Back In Action. You may have passed it on your walk up to the museum, perhaps trying to figure out how to sit on the unusual furniture in the window. I am here to use their Flotation Centre. Read more…

Understanding Protein

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When I joined the BCG, I started having conversations with people about nutrition and training, although it was probably less of a conversation and more me rambling at whoever was in earshot at the time.

One of the nicest things about the BCG is how it encourages beginners to get into training who maybe have never been in contact with a barbell before. I wrote this article originally for the BCG Facebook group to cover some of the basics of protein and how it relates to training, with the hope that it may be a nice and accessible intro for members who hadn’t had cause to think about nutrition before, and its relation their training, and also to cut through a lot of myths and misinformation that is present in so much training literature (protein powder companies being the worst for pushing this). Read more…

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…