Isidora and Guy work collaboratively to ensure that their classes complement each other. All programming is carefully planned out in month-long cycles in response to the interests of our members. People often point out that our classes feel more like “group personal training” than other classes available, most likely because both are highly-qualified personal trainers in their own right!
Guy Lochhead – he/his
I started Bristol Co-operative Gym in 2016 to offer an alternative environment to train in. There are big problems in the culture of fitness, from exploitative profiteering to under-representation of marginalised communities to body-shaming, and the cost of this is the exclusion of loads of people who could be enjoying being more active. I believe a not-for-profit, co-operative gym model could counter many of those issues.
I am fascinated by how this culture has developed – where does it come from? Who does it serve? Who does it leave out? How could it be better? I love reading historical ideas about training and the body, as well as updating my knowledge with the most recent strength and conditioning research.
I take a person-centred approach to coaching, not assuming anything about why someone might want to train, and try to co-create their own culture of fitness, drawing on a global history of approaches to support their unique interests and intentions.
I do this through Personal Training, in my classes at the co-op gym, and with workshops, presentations and articles. It’s hugely rewarding and I’m grateful to everyone I get to work with.
I also make a podcast called The Good Gym Guide (website | facebook page) in which I talk to other people on the fringes of the fitness industry about the problems they see in the mainstream gym model.
In my ideal fitness future, the co-op gym is just one of many options in a rich pluricultural mix of exciting, diverse and welcoming training environments.
Isidora Vlachou – she/her
Only one year after moving to the UK from Greece, I was lucky enough to find out about the position of a coach in Bristol Co-operative Gym. Working in BCG has been a great chance for me to grow as a coach. I’ve never felt judged and my coaching was never blurred by insecurity. It was always a dream to be able to work in a project like this, away from all commercial, image-centered stereotypes that we usually encounter in big gym chains.
I’ve been a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for the last 6 years, combining weightlifting, bodyweight strength and mobility training techniques. I can describe myself as dedicated to move in all possible ways. I believe every rep is a chance for us to connect with our bodies and become aware of their endless ability to overcome pain, injury or disfunction.
My approach to movement and strength is holistic and functional. My goal is to help you experience a functional, pain-free and balanced life through a positive and progressive approach to movement and exercise. I want to contribute as much as I can into your awareness and understanding of your body.
My main concern is to help you love the process, not the result. Together we will try to shift your intentions into a positive mindset about movement that doesn’t go along with self- judging or image-centered stereotypes.
Together we can see training as a time to play, experiment and get challenged!
Charlie Bones – she/her
Charlie runs the legendary X-Ray Spexercise Punk Aerobics classes in East Bristol.
Her workouts pair classic punk culture with simple aerobic exercises to share the benefits of physical activity with people who can’t stand gyms and gym playlists.
As a coach, Charlie creates an environment where we can feel okay to make mistakes, get sweaty, and look silly, all while getting a good workout and enjoying some decent music.
Millie Morfitt – she/her
Hey! My name is Millie Morfitt, creator of Morfittness. I have been a qualified Personal Trainer for 4 years and I want my sessions to feel like a safe, welcoming and fun place for everyone that I train.
I specialise in supporting LGBTQ+ people to find joy in exercise in movement and ensuring that people I train feel able to come as they are, without the need to change their bodies or who they are.
Zoe Banks Gross – she/her
I’ve come to fitness instruction via a meandering path: when I started a family cycling group in 2014, I also undertook the Local Health Champion Training and became aware of the health inequalities in Bristol. I became a cycle instructor so that I could teach women who didn’t learn how to cycle as kids. It surprised me how much I enjoyed this, and then I completed the Community Sports Leadership Award and began to lead Couch to 5 km running groups, which I did 3 or 4 times per year until Covid hit. Although I am not into competitive running, I really enjoy running regularly and sharing my love of it with others.
Recently I completed my Fitness Instructor qualification and I’m adding more of these feathers to my hat. Spending time in greenspace, running, cycling or doing other activities like HIIT, helps me stay physically and mentally fit. Being part of others’ journey to being more physically active brings me joy.