My hubby and I were on our way to do a run by the Maidenhead riverside one morning this January, when a sign pointing towards ‘Wild Training Gym’ caught my sight as we drove past the business park in Loudwater. I was pretty sure I had not seen the signage before, so I decided to do some investigating to satisfy my curiousity… A race banner or a new gym never escapes my eagle-eyes!
With so many gyms and fitness clubs mushrooming everywhere these days, I was keen to find out if the Wild Training Gym is able to offer anything different or better from the big commercial gyms in the area. Upon browsing the Internet, I discovered that the Wild Training Gym were having a launch day event on the 14th January. Therefore I decided that the best way to find out more is by trying a few of their classes, chatting to some members about their experiences, and meeting the two founding members, Hannah Camden and James Griffiths.
My Wild Weekend
I started my ‘wild weekend’ by attending a circuit style class called Fit Squared. (It is funny how ‘having a wild weekend’ can take on a whole new meaning as you get older:-)) This is one of their staple classes focussing on strengthening, conditioning and toning the whole body. I have to say, I was pretty surprised how intense this 45 minute class was, using only 4 pieces of equipment. Sandbag burpees, skipping, bench toe taps and jump-overs, pushups and tuck holds on the paralette bars kept my heart racing all along, topped with a finisher to work on those sixpacks as well.
After a short break, I headed to my next class, which was Wild Strong aka Strongman Training. This took place just outside the gym, under the large arch of the motorway crossing over Loudwater. A setting worthy of a James Bond movie! I initially felt a bit self-conscious as all the ladies seemed to be disappearing into the yoga class, leaving me to represent #girlpower… However, to my relief, the situation improved later on with some other ladies showing up as well. Phew!
I have to admit that I was completely unprepared for what came next, despite having done quite a few Modified Strongman Training classes in a different gym. In fact, my legs started to turn into jelly when I recognised some of the equipment from a Netflix documentary I had recently seen about Eddie Hall (the UK’s Strongest Man). My prospects of escaping quietly diminished as we launched into a brisk warmup. In a matter of a few minutes, I found myself flipping giant truck tyres being taller than me; lifting log bars the same size as me, and carrying an iron yoke almost the size of my own bed at home. This was ‘Strongman Training reloaded’, completely taking me out of my comfort zone, whilst being so much fun! Fortunately, Hannah and James were at hand to supervise our technique to ensure we handled the heavy stuff safely.
To celebrate the official launch of the gym, some people brought in healthy snacks, and we were offered smoothies to help wash down those energy balls and Primal Pantry bars. I had a really good chat with some of the members and staff in the little kitchenette/lounge. This place in particular appears to be the ‘heart’ of the gym where people gather to socialise before or after their classes.
What became really clear to me right at the beginning is their genuine love for the place. Some of the members started when all the classes were done in the local park. Some others were originally members of a different gym which was housed in the same building but they decided to stay on because they grew to enjoy the new gym so much. Later on, I was given a short building tour to see the rest of the facilities: the upper classroom with a giant climbing wall and spinning bikes; the changing rooms, and the physio room where you can book some sports massage to soothe those aching muscles.
Hannah and James’ passion and pride behind building the gym and fostering a community spirit amongst the members and staff became very evident when I looked at the bootcamp and class pictures on the wall which surround the giant staircase leading into the upper levels of the building. James very kindly agreed to be interviewed for my fitness blog and share more about the “wild story” behind the gym.
Living a Wild Life
James lives by his motto #LiveAWildLife, and it penetrates the way the gym operates. It even led to attempting to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World records! When I asked him what this motto personally meant for him, he said “it is about not wasting a second. I make loads of mistakes but at least I’m doing something about moving towards where I want to be or pushing myself to better understand what I am physically and mentally capable of. I’ve some pretty silly challenges but performing the highest altitude workout ever recorded on top of Kilimanjaro is the dumbest/proudest. Nearly ended me but raised a lot of money for Hope for children and showed me how far I can go. I love exercise. I’ve learned as much as possible about all of it and really don’t have a speciality. I’m an open minded person so will try everything to better understand what it can deliver for me and my clients. For me my values are the Wild values: Make it Fun, Keep it Effective and Include Everyone.”
The 4 Claws of Wild Training
I also asked James to share with me what makes Wild Training unique. He shared his four values which are the drivers of Wild Training:-
- “Love – Love people. Love caring. Love what you do in every moment of your life. Then you will love your life.
- Passion – Passion is an unstoppable energy. Find yours, hold on to it, and use it every day. Do that and even when any rational person would give up, you will be able to keep going.
- Courage – Be fearless. Believe in yourself absolutely. Never stop trying. Never, ever let someone else devalue, or try to take your dream away. Remember that the people that judge you for trying harder than they try, will be forgotten about.
- Spark – The most important bit. Without spark, without taking initiative, taking something you think about, or something you talk about and making it something you do, nothing happens. Without spark nothing becomes reality. Being first is the easiest way to win… at anything. Don’t watch other people win, and do things you thought about doing because you lacked spark.
Attack life with Spark every day and make stuff happen. Use courage and passion to see it through, and always use love to make it great. Use your Claws!”
Next, I picked James’ brain about how he started his venture and what inspired him on this journey. He told me that “Wild Training started in 2010 out of a demand to deliver more effective and better value training for our clients. We started with group outdoor training, bringing innovative equipment, some of which we made ourselves to enable us to deliver more exciting training that would deliver results for people of different fitness levels. It worked so well we launched a franchise for other personal trainers to learn our systems and to help them achieve the same success we experienced.
Our inspiration came from everywhere, as we do nothing but live active lifestyles and train every day. Mostly the Wild Training concepts came from our own creativity. Years of programming, equipment design and an endless amount of energy to have fun. The systems evolved over years and we started to realise what we were delivering was skill. Showing people how to get the most out of their bodies. The new gym has been built with that value at it’s core. Space and versatile equipment is all we need to deliver the best training for any type of person, and have fun while we do it.
It’s a unique set up but if the launch weekend is anything to go by I think people really get what we are trying to do and are excited about a gym that genuinely has a different approach to the main stream fitness centres. “
How is Wild Training different?
Talking about taking a different approach to the big, commercial gyms, I wanted to find out from James what Wild Training can offer to members which they would not find somewhere else.
James responded that it’s “real interaction that members don’t have to ask for. It’s offered every time they come through the door. No joining fee but we include 10 hours of structured training when they join to ensure they are confident with how to use the facility with confidence. We spend one hour on each bit of our key equipment, talking about what it’s good for and what it’s limitations are, and we show them our ‘get started with’ programs which are 30 minute workouts built around the 6 best exercises to get started with for each bit of kit.
Then we spend an hour on physique training, exercise to tone, cardio exercise and finally an hour on warm ups, cool downs and posture correction. I’ve worked in a lot of gyms and no one has ever come close to that sort of support for a new member starting out there fitness journey.
The support doesn’t stop there. We run a free workshop every hour the gym is open, so at some point the trainers will invite every member in the building to join in a workshop on a specific bit of kit or type of training for 15 minutes. Our members don’t have to ask for help because our staff readily provide it. This stops our gym from the culture where trainers don’t talk to members and help them with their training.
The diversity to our group exercise timetable is unreal as well. Strongman training, Aerial silks classes, Pole fitness, Capoeira based classes, Wild In The Park, all our functional training classes and specialist workshops we run on things like sports performance and Olympic lifting. No one could ever get bored in our gym!”
Can This Get Any Wilder??
Finally, James talked about his vision for the gym this year and revealed what new classes members can expect. This includes “the brand new Wild MMA which is a non-contact, mixed martial arts class. Wild Aerials launches [in this class you work with two lengths of fabric rigged from the ceiling, climbing and wrapping your body into the silks for some holds, to help you build body awareness, functional strength and flexibility]. Wild Strong and our inclusive strong man classes. Rock Conditioning which are our Rock climbing wall HIIT classes. Groove and Grind Step classes [which are high energy classes to help you burn fat and shape your body fast]. No stopping us! We only create new programs when we find something that matches our values. Fun, effective, inclusive. There will be lots more Wild Training sites this year, thanks to a very exciting partnership we have created.”
After all, the question really is: Are YOU ready to use your claws? If you ask me, I think you should haul your butt down to the Wild Training Gym on Treadway Hill right now! You can also visit their website where you can discover more about their classes, services and membership types including a flexible one month trial option.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated to write this article and I am not affiliated with The Wild Training Gym at the time of writing this article. All views and experiences expressed are mine.
Photo credits: the first picture used in this article is from The Bucks Free Press, the rest are from the Wild Training website and Facebook page.