with Josh, Head Trainer
Meet one of Outrivals’ greatest assets and all around good guy, Josh Ward.
Read on to see how he found Outrivals, achieved the role of Head Trainer, and what exactly it is he does at Outrivals (other than throw around weights).
Fail to Succeed
After coming back from the Army, Josh entered the world of corporate desk jobs but was never able to adjust properly to the environment. The companies he found himself in were very corporate and micromanage-y, while he himself is independent and flexible.
“It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong, it’s just that I wasn’t following the chain of command and they didn’t like it. So they basically found a way to get rid of me.“
Despite his affection for the positions he had tried out, Josh used this phase of rejection to be a directional tool in the search for his career.
When he had left the army, Josh had gotten a qualification in Personal Training. He began giving Personal Training sessions part-time around work but his services never really gained traction until he moved to London. He tried out the aforementioned office jobs and when that didn’t work out he still had his Personal Training qualification to fall back on. He began first in mobile Personal Training where he was training people anywhere from parks to offices to gardens. After doing that for around a year, Josh moved into a studio doing mostly 1-on-1 training. It was in his third year of Personal Training, however, that Josh discovered Outrivals and decided to make the change to do more class based training.
“I’d done 1-to-1’s for 2 years and I wanted to try something different.“
After sending his resume to countless gyms, Outrivals was one of only 2 gyms that replied with an offer. After auditioning and taking positions at both gyms, Josh found himself in a stable position within the fitness industry. But as soon as he started to get more involved with Outrivals, he knew where he wanted to concentrate his efforts. Josh decided to dedicate all of his time to Outrivals, where he has now assumed the position of Head Trainer.
Honesty is the Best Policy
“I think I was very honest from the beginning about what I wanted.“
When Josh first met Matt and auditioned to become a trainer at Outrivals, he was blatant with what he hoped for his future. He wanted a place to grow and generate his own ideas. Josh wanted to be able to think and act independently, and his sheer drive to implement and execute is what made him a perfect match with the brand.
From there, Josh began with one Small Group Training class a week to gain experience and know-how. He then progressed to 2 classes a week, and then 4, and in the span of 4-5 months, Josh was enrolled in a head trainer training program.
“3 months later, I’m in the role I’m in now and I look back and it’s been a hell of a journey. I still see it as the beginning because I know we’ve got a lot more to do.“
Josh believes that Matt took a risk with him. He saw a quality in Josh and potential for growth, and today Josh is a leader in the Outrivals community with new and exciting ideas for the future.
“I think Matt took a risk with me and saw something he must have liked. I’d like to think so far the risk has paid off…“
Josh’s role as head trainer encompasses many responsibilities, but they can be easily divided into 3 areas.
“I’d say the main thing that I like really doing is making sure the team is good and making sure everyone’s happy…“
First, is what Josh calls “people management” or “people welfare”. In essence, Josh is a one-man Human Resources team. In this role, he ensures the Outrivals team members are all pleased with schedules, classes, timetables, and clients. He leaves his line open for contact to maintain the satisfaction of team members, which he finds to be a priority in order to sustain the quality of the gym.
This is his second area of responsibility: quality control. Every week, Josh evaluates the quality of classes, personally examining 10-12 out of the 60-70 classes that Outrivals has. His key points of evaluation are maintaining the same standard of training across classes, staying up to date and ahead of the curve, and keeping the classes a personal and 1-on-1 fitness style. By doing so, Outrivals is able to continuously add new elements to keep the classes fresh and exciting.
Josh’s final role is administrative; scheduling timetables, holidays, cover, etc. Recently, Josh has taken on more corporate work.
“We’re trying to get with more businesses at the minute so I’ve got some presentations coming in the next couple of months.“
In addition to these presentations, Outrivals is extending an initiative for youth volunteer work with the Hackney council that Outrivals is a part of.
Josh has found his role as head trainer at Outrivals to be a massively progressive role, with a job description that changes month-to-month. But the core stuff, like trainer welfare, classes, and class management, remains to be a priority and will continue to be so as long as Josh fills the role.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
What is Josh’s least favorite part of Outrivals?
“That’s a really hard one because this is the one place where I haven’t really found an issue with work.“
The most frustrating part of Josh’s job is his ambition for growth and expansion for the Outrivals brand.
“I suppose the most frustrating thing is wanting to grow and wanting to get the next site up and running.“
For the past year, Matt and Josh have been working non-stop to open a second location for Outrivals. But this doesn’t happen overnight. As the saying goes, “all good things to those who wait.” In accordance with this, Josh believes that like all things, the second site will happen when the time is ready. As long as the current gym and brand remain as good as it is and continues to be a good place for people to train, Josh is willing to wait a bit more for the next gym to open.
Getting the Timing Juuust Right
Last spring, Outrivals and Josh faced one of their biggest hurdles since company doors opened. During that time, Outrivals completely revamped the structure and execution of the Small Group Training classes.
Rather than class types being scattered throughout the week, each day of the week had a specific class type. For example, Monday became leg & shoulder day whereas prior to this change, you’d have leg & shoulder at 6, upper-body & core at 6:45, something else after, and maybe a met-con class after that.
“It was just very like, ‘let’s just put whatever anywhere in terms of classes.’“
Before the change, every trainer came into the gym to teach any class they wanted as long as the exercises matched the title of the class. Josh and Matt found that the problem with this is that people would be doing the same exercises day after day, really, because everyone thinks generally in the same direction when it comes to exercise. There’s a squat movement, a hinge movement, and a push-up movement. So in terms of the delivery of the classes, they weren’t structured or uniform in the slightest.
After identifying this problem, Josh and Matt did a massive overhaul on the timetable and times of classes, as well as the actual class structures themselves. This project began in only the second month of Josh’s head trainer training and, at the time, it took him 3 weeks to write the entire program for every class type. Now, it only takes him a couple of hours.
The biggest stress is making this drastic change to Outrivals programming and the class structure was the reaction risk. Who knew how the members would react? This kept Josh and Matt on edge throughout the month of April, but as it got to the end of the month, the scheduling settled in.
Power to the People
“And, I mean, the smoothies are pretty good.“
While at Outrivals, Josh has found the key asset of the brand and his favorite part to be the relationships he has created with both members and trainers.
In many other big name gyms, it’s hard to create a community feel. Trainers can be hard to approach, members can be big-headed and judgemental, and focus can be misdirected on facilities and showmanship rather than getting a good workout. Josh has found that Outrivals is the most real and down-to-earth fitness-based establishment he has ever been to, while also maintaining a welcoming atmosphere and a high standard for training.