In 2015 I had the pleasure of being introduced to the founders of Essex Boot Camp, arguably the most successful fitness bootcamp operation in the UK.
They currently operate over 500 sessions a month, from 26 locations and provide their invigorating and challenging bootcamps to over 6000 members.
With several ways of people to get fit these days it didn’t take me long to understand, after spending a few hours with the unlikely business partner combination of a sports scientist and royal marine commando why they have attracted the membership base they have.
Prior to getting into the mindset of these inspirational chaps James Sweeney and Glynn Roberts I just wanted to give you a little background on them – they have quite the story.
Glynn now father to one and a half Mia (4) and baby bump (0), grew up in a broken home. In his teens his parents went through a nasty divorce which led him to rebel. He found himself getting into karate in which he ended up competing for England, this helped him with coming out of his rebellious stage and learning discipline. When he turned 15 he went to the careers office at school and learnt that the Royal Marines have a very high failure rate – Glynn saw this as a challenge, he eventually joined the marines at 18 and despite his friend backing out that he was going to do it with Glynn was determined to earn his green beret.
For those of you that don’t know the Royal Marines is the UK’s elite infantry and as such have an incredibly intense training programme, regarded as the worlds longest and toughest. Glynn sure felt the pain of the training, so much so by the time he got to 19 years old he had hit breaking point, he called his mum in tears as he couldn’t get anything right – not something which a determined ex national athlete takes to very well. He vividly remembers, having been up all night doing drills, whilst in the press up position with a 100 pound bergen on his back his corporal screaming in his face ‘I can’t make you pregnant’ implying anything else they wanted to do to them they had the ability to. I can imagine that’s not the nicest of feelings.
Months later Glynn had earn’t his green beret and was on his way to his first tour in Afghanistan. On his first mission out there he remembers flying 15,000 ft up in a chinook (helicopter) and walking off a mountain where american special forces (Delta Forces) had been killed in a taliban strong hold. In Glynn’s words ‘that was an eye opener!’ he then returned to operate out of a armed forces careers office in Ipswich and two years later Glynn was deployed again, this time into Iraq where he did a 6 month stint.
James, now dad of two Ella (8) and Charlie (2) left school and studied for a sports science degree. From leaving university, he worked as a personal trainer in a gym however wasn’t happy with what was expected of him to deliver by the gym that employed him. James remembers a new member joining the gym in his 70’s who had recently had a heart operation – a double bypass and the old man saying ‘can you guarantee to get me fit?’ the gym salesman’s answer – yes, James’s answer – no. The truth was this chap just expected to have a personal trainer and become fit. It was at this point James started to realise there was a need for an unconventional way of people getting fit and didn’t involve just turning up to the local David Lloyd and getting on a tread mill for 40 minutes 3 times a week.
Tragically in 2006 one of Glynn and James’s best friends had died at the age of 23. While at the funeral mourning their friend the two spoke about how they wanted to do something which engaged others to grown mentally using physical exercise as a vehicle, and that was the conception of what started as ‘Bootcamp’. See below one of their first ever flyers.
However the start for these guys wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
These days the guys have fleets of smartly sign written vans, packed with the latest equipment you would expect to see at a fitness centre, for the first two years these guys grafted, hard.
They ran 56 sessions a week from two locations, working every morning, noon and night. They would be at locations at 6am in the pouring rain when no members turned up. They started with Glynn’s car, a set of cones and a old car tyre. In the early days Glynn had to sleep in the car as he couldn’t afford the petrol to get from the location to home and back again in the morning.
For the first two years they each earn’t £400 a month between them. James vividly remembers calling Glynn in their second December of business at Christmas with huge excitement having been told by the accountant that they could split £600, £300 each. Not great sums for operating 56 sessions during the month!
I asked James, what was his why – why did he continue to push on throughout those difficult times, for him it was easy ‘As a kid I wasn’t confident in my own ability, I didn’t believe in myself and as a result I felt I could do more. I don’t want anyone else to have to do through life knowing they could having given more and here at Essex Boot Camp we push them to their limits knowing is will have a positive profound effect on their lives.’
In year 1 they had two locations Chelmsford and Braintree running 56 session a month. Year 3 5 locations and 150+ sessions, Year 5 13 locations and 350+ sessions and now thanks to mountains of hard work, determination and patience it paid off for the boys. Their message has spread and people had finally seen what they were striving towards – people being able to achieve what they are capable of and now ten years on 26 locations and over 500+ sessions a month with over 6000 members.
If you would like to explore what the EBC movement is all about for yourself you can sign up for a free 7 day trial by clicking here.
I asked each of them individually when you started what was the vision?
Glynn ‘To get people to step out of their comfort zone having seen what the human body in capable of from being in the marines’
James ‘Seeing people use a modal that wasn’t working for 50/60% of people and create something that inspires and motivates people to actually achieve the results they want’
Essentially what these guys wanted to create was a support network for people with the ‘right’ mindset. The right mindset being a mindset of growth and willing to embrace hard work to change and grow for the better.
The boys agreed that ultimately there are 3 main things that made the difference to their success when others have failed.
Commitment to their purpose
Having it taken 10 years of hard work I was particularly interested in what would they have done differently. For Glynn and James it was easy, they would have identified and aligned them self with people that saw the bigger picture in what they were setting out to do earlier than they did. I think there is a worth while lesson there – not just in business but in life.
The foundation of their business is mindset. Something which I too have an incredible fascination with.
If theres something I can tell you from spending many occasions now with these to successful individuals is their determination and passion towards their cause is immense, if you were to apply those two aspects and the boys 3 things that made the difference to their success, commitment, consistency and belief to your goals it might just change your life.
Until next time… make it happen.
p.s. Have you downloaded my free ebook Staying Positive: 10 Simple Tips to Staying Positive? Click here to download it now!