You have seen our enthusiasm for fitness, sport, and weightlifting in particular. From boasting about our deadlift PBs, and showing off our baby biceps, the Force team love the physical and mental benefits that come from a serious workout. Even more than that, we love seeing other women who share our passion. So we were stoked to get the chance to chat with Amy, founder of the Warrior Programme, an independent gym, specialising in women’s strength training. Joining our love of exercise and female entrepreneurship, everyone wanted to be the one to check out the cargo container outside Bristol Temple Meads train station.

Amy Newton foudner of the Warrior Programme
Amy, Founder of The Warrior Programme and all-round badass

Amy Newton began The Warrior Programme four years ago, before moving to their current location, using funds loaned to them by clients. Yes, that’s right, clients loved Amy and her programme so much, they invested in its current premises. Amy borrowed this money on the promise all loans would be paid back within three years, and remarkably, was able to repay everyone within six months. What makes this different from other gyms is this personability, it’s Amy and her trainers, all of whom love the work they do and want to impart their skills and enjoyment to others. It’s all about one-on-one work, with only enough room in the gym for two trainers and two clients at the same time. It’s tailored training, based on the goals you want to achieve, be it losing weight, gaining strength, or completely overhauling your lifestyle.

Upon entering the gym, what impresses me the most, is the wall of client photographs, where everyone has written their achievements on a whiteboard. Not a single board bragged about weight loss, none said they’d met their goals and were now done, they all proudly displayed pistol squats, pull-ups, and the ability to deadlift 100kg. Real, measurable, continuing goals that made everyone step inside the gym feel as proud of themselves as Amy and her trainers are of them.

What is the ratio of men and women who train at The Warrior Programme?
95% of our clients are women, we do have six men who train here. We believe in strength beyond bodybuilding, a strength on themselves, which is beneficial for men as well as women.

What is the most efficient exercise for the greatest outcome for someone who is short on time, or unable to get out to a gym on a regular basis?
TRX suspension is safe, affordable and easy to do. You can throw it up at home or take it away with you. My personal favourite is Olympic rings, if you can stretch to those.

What would you say to someone who is nervous about starting weightlifting?
We see people every day who feel like that. We want to bring you into the fold, and help you overcome gym intimidation. We want you to understand that all the things you think people think about you aren’t true, because everyone started at the beginning. If you’ve never learned something, how can you be good at it?

What inspired you to start The Warrior Programme?
Seeing my own mental transformation. I used to work in finance, doing something I didn’t enjoy, going to networking events and feeling anxious. Lifting weights helped build up my confidence. I was able to figure out how to do things and see how that translated into running the business.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in this endeavour?
VAT! VAT is a nightmare. But honestly, marketing and communication. It’s hard to convey change and results from what we do without the cliche before and after photos. It’s hard to show an improvement in strength and compete to be seen amongst all the before and after photos on Instagram, because that’s the content people want to see and engage with. Users like to see models showing off their big bums and Gym Shark leggings, and that’s not what we do.

Do you have any simple nutrition advice?
If you think you’re eating enough protein, you’re probably not. High protein foods must have 10g per 100, a lot of food labelled “high protein” does not actually have this much.

The Warrior Programme cargo container gym
The Warrior Programme lives in a cargo container near Bristol Temple Meads station

What do you think is the biggest hindrance for women participating in regular exercise and do you have advice for overcoming this?
Confidence. Get a trainer who understands your goals and is capable of doing it themselves. If they say they can, they can’t, make sure you know they can. If you want to do a pull-up, make sure your trainer can do a pull-up. I’m always working on my own goals and trying to improve what I can do. Do not buy an online programme, meet face to face, you need someone you can connect with. We do not discuss money until we chat to a potential client, we don’t want to people to pick us just because we work in their budget, we want them to come to us for the right reasons. But we also need to meet them to ensure we’re happy to work with them too.

What should someone look for in a trainer?
Look at what they’re doing, if it’s not what you want, find someone else. You have to be able to trust they want to help you achieve what you want to achieve.

What has been your proudest moment?
Opening this place and being successful so quickly. My clients believed in me so much they were able to raise my finance. I promised I’d repay them in three years, and we were so successful so quickly that I was able to do it in six months.

What skills do you think you have that helped you succeed?
Being willing to invest- time, money, effort. Also, knowing when to ask for help is vital, I never would have known what I needed to do if I hadn’t sought business coaching.

Just big enough for two, it’s perfect for people who don’t enjoy the big commercial gym experience

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Being stressed out won’t help accelerate what you’re doing.

Do you have any strategies for staying motivated?
Set a goal and a purpose for an activity. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how it’ll get you what you want.

Do you have a particularly inspirational story?
My second ever client had breast cancer 20 years ago before reconstruction was a thing. She had a double mastectomy. She starting training to make sure she was strong enough to cope with the procedure, which took 14 hours and two teams to complete. She could deadlift 95kg. Her recovery was so good, it was written about in a surgical paper. She’s awesome, she always works so hard.

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