British adventurer and tv presenter Bear Grylls is set to launch his own training programme and fitness studios, based on a method he's developed with personal trainer, Natalie Summers.
The BG Epic Training workouts are based on the principals of enhanced interval training and typically involve the use of alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. The programme will be delivered via group exercise classes in 'no frills' BG Epic studios across the UK.
1Rebel co-founder James Balfour and Jungle Town director Sarah Grimsdick have both recently joined the BG Epic team, ahead of the planned launch of BG EPIC adult fitness studios and BG Kids franchises in October.
Here Bear Grylls speaks to Leisure Management about the inspiration for the new venture.
How has 2015 been for you so far?
2015 has been a big year for us as a team. I never thought I’d see the day I was on the cover of GQ, taking the US President on an adventure or winning a BAFTA, but I have learnt to be ready for the unexpected!
Programming wise, it’s been a busy one for sure, with our first big primetime ITV series Mission Survive airing, plus a second season of The Island on Ch 4.
In the US we've just finished airing the US version of The Island, as well as season 2 of NBC’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls. The highlight of this was receiving a personal request from the White House to take Barack Obama to Alaska on a mini adventure. It was such a special time together and was a privilege to help champion his climate change ambitions along the way.
I also released my first adult fiction thriller novel, Ghost Flight, based on the discovery that my grandfather commanded on one of WW2’s most clandestine military units.
When and where did you get the inspiration for BG EPIC training?
When I was training with the military, although very physical, it was mostly about endurance and building mental resolve. After that it was climbing stuff, which was all endurance again, and then I did that classic male thing where I went to the gym but never actually got very fit!
Then four years ago I started training with Natalie Summers and learning a new style of training. Since then, I’ve totally changed in shape, in fitness level, leanness and flexibility. It's quite counterculture to find myself fitter at 40 years old than when I was 25, but the reason for this is the innovative style of high intensity, functional strength workouts that we do. And the best bit is that we do it all in around 25-30minutes. So many people started asking about the new type of training we were doing because they saw the results. From this the BG EPIC concept was born.
Can you sum up the aims of BG EPIC training workouts?
BG EPIC workouts are results-driven, fun, challenging, functional workouts that guarantee you maximum results in minimum time.
Can you briefly describe the BG EPIC training exercise programme?
The EPIC workouts are based on the proven and recognised principles of high intensity interval training. Our EPIC workouts are made up of a variety of short intense blocks of exercises that promote excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Put simply, this type of novel training means our bodies will burns calories long after our workouts.
The blocks of actual exercises are inspired from myself and Natalie’s functional training approach, and vary from body weight, kettle bells and power stretches. Every workout targets the whole body, with an emphasis on posterior chain and core work.
I like to think there are three main things that make us different: firstly, our unique BG EPIC no frills studio experience, secondly our community-focused customer service, and finally great results in a group exercise environment. EPIC is also one of the only group fitness studios that specialise in express, 30-minute workouts.
What stage are you at with the project?
Phase one has been all about testing the products and setting up our BG EPIC training academy and concept studio. There's been a lot of testing, researching and refining both as a business and while writing the programmes. We are confident we now have a unique product and business that will empower fitness entrepreneurs to build their own businesses while also helping change people's lives for the fitter and better. We all want to be fitter, stronger, leaner, more flexible versions of ourselves, and what better way to do it than while building a fun business with like-minded people?
Natalie and I were keen to expand our team after phase one and have taken the time to bring on the right expertise to transition to phase two – developing the business franchise model. I'm excited to say we have two new key additions to our EPIC team to help achieve this growth. James Balfour (1Rebel) and Sarah Grimsdick (Jungle Town), both bring a wealth of experience. I'm excited to see BG EPIC really starting to gain traction as the team prepares for the launch of BG EPIC adult fitness studios and BG Kids franchises in October.
What's the most exciting thing about this project, for you?
Changing lives and seeing the results people experience is so exciting. Our goal as a team is to empower people to be healthier, happier and fitter, and to achieve it in a short, fun 30 minutes, a few times a week.
There is nothing more humbling than receiving letters and tweets about how EPIC is improving individuals' self esteem, reducing body fat and weight and giving people confidence to go out and live healthier lives. We've had so many of these already, both through Natalie and my book Your Life Train for It, as well as through the BG EPIC test studio.
My three young boys also love EPIC and have helped design the choreography and moves for the kids' workouts. In the latest version, Huckleberry – our youngest – inspired the Eagle poses for the children’s power stretch; at six he is already a strong natural athlete and he thrives in our BG Kids workouts. That’s very fun to see.
What are the plans for BG Epic Training over the next 12 months? And the longer term?
The next 12 months will see the UK roll out of our EPIC studios with a longer term timescale of taking the EPIC concept global.
How do you keep fit?
I plan 5x 30 minute BG EPIC express workouts a week – including a mix of kettlebells, power stretch/yoga, and bodyweight sessions. The great thing is with these short, highly effective workouts, I can fit it around my schedule and family time… at 30 minutes a day, there are no excuses!
How would you set about tackling the obesity epidemic?
By educating individuals to be able to take responsibility for their own health, fitness and food choices, on a daily basis. It’s about instilling the idea that you are the only person who can look after your body, fuel it correctly and get it moving. BG EPIC and BG Kids can genuinely change lives for the better. It just takes a great team of motivated individuals to build the franchises out across the country.
What drives you?
The 5 Fs: Family, friends, fun, faith and following dreams.