The Story of Workout Bristol
Workout Bristol opened the doors to our Ashton club on Monday 3rd of January 2011 and the journey has been epic.
The beginning of the adventure actually started in February 2010 when my business partners Darren, Alex & myself set out on our search for the right property, in the right area, of the right size and at the right price.... that cant be that difficult to find surely, I naively thought to myself.
After many months of searching, we stumbled upon Brewery Court in September of that year by sheer chance while I was doing my daily rounds of walking the streets of Ashton, Southville & Bedminster, desperately hoping that I'd find something that we've previously missed. We very nearly settled for 'Almost Perfect' on many occasions but something kept holding us back from signing on the dotted line... it almost seemed as though the universe was on our side!
I was walking past the Tobacco Factory on my way home one night and I had a call from one my partners who said that someone had just contacted him to say that there was an empty building that was previously part of the old brewery many years ago and it may be of interest. When he described where it was I couldn't believe it, I was standing pretty much opposite it at the time, and had completely missed it!!
15 minutes later I met the agent at the site and within 30 seconds of walking around the building I knew we'd found 'The One'. I was straight back on the phone to my partners telling them to get down there quick!
The building was a complete mess and hadn't been used in many years, but we all knew that it was perfect straight away. Some thought we were mad as the building was so run down, but we saw past the mess and got to work almost immediately, with the intention of getting the club open for January.
Those four months were really tough and we all practically lived on-site, trying desperately to get it finished, Christmas was simply not on the agenda for any of us in 2010.
After a lot of hard work from everyone we managed to get the club ready for opening, thanks to the help of all our family and friends that chipped in until the early hours of Sunday 2nd January.... and finally Workout Bristol was born!
The early years were completely exhausting but extremely rewarding, we were working 18 hour days, 7 days a week because at the time we couldn't afford many other team members. I was personally teaching 5-7 classes a day, doing reception shifts, writing programs, personal training, cleaning and marketing.... you name it and I/we did it. I pretty much lived at the club for the first 4 years, but loved every minute of it.
A few years ago an opportunity came up for us to convert another building locally into brand new exercise studios which would further increase the capacity of the club, and we have continued to grow ever since, with the club becoming what I feel to be the best community club in Bristol with a friendly, welcoming and judgement free environment that can not be matched.
At the beginning of 2017 I found out that the old Welshback club (Then operating as VIVO Sports) was in trouble and there was a chance of the club closing if something wasn't done quickly. The club had been in Bristol for over 30 years and after many visits and meetings we felt that even though the timing wasn't great for us, it would have been a real shame for the site to close as it has been such an iconic part of Bristol's health club history, so with that we all agreed to step in and continue the story of Workout Bristol with another great turnaround.
Again we found ourselves plunged into a huge project with the odds stacked against us, but thankfully we managed to find our way through it and created Workout Harbourside, a thriving city centre site with not only the gym and exercise studios but also a world class squash club and a cafe/bar.
The last 9 years have been such a great journey with ups, downs, highs and lows and not to mention a number huge learning curves and issues to overcome along the way.... but I wouldn't change a thing, it has truly been an adventure.
I am so proud of what we have all achieved and continue to achieve at Workout Bristol, and none of this could have been done without the continued and dedicated support from you, our members, our community...Thank you all so much.
Craig Stevens, Co-Owner / Manager Workout Bristol