It all began in a scout hall in the Southside of Glasgow back in 2013.
Ross rented the hall three mornings per week and put his bootcampers to task with nothing but their body weight, a few resistance bands, and borrowed set of kettlebells.
A core group of around ten fitness-fearing exercise newcomers showed up week in, week out and achieved amazing success with Ross’ simple methods.
Show up, sweat and smile.
The ethos that stood the bootcamp in such good stead is still our motto today.
After creating a cult of people in the Southside, between the Clarkston Scout Hall and Future Fitness in Shawlands, Ross set about building a small team of like-minded trainers to help him with the task of educating and training the cult.
In April 2015, we took a massive leap of faith and signed our first lease 15 minutes along the road in Tradeston.
We named the facility RSF: Improve in what turned out to be our first step towards a total rebrand to Improve Glasgow a year or two later.
The gameplan in 2015 was simple:
Fill the space with squat racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells, because we knew (and know) those are the tools that best serve us humans when it comes to improving our shape.
We wanted to create a welcoming, friendly and fun environment where people could feel safe working toward their goals without fear of judgment or ridicule.
We started off offering a combination of 1-to-1 Personal Training and large group, bootcamp-style sessions as those were what we were familiar with at the time.
However, one of our goals when opening our first facility back in 2015 was to move to a small group Personal Training model.
We knew that the quality of coaching in 1-to-1 Personal Training was high and we knew the energy and banter in bootcamp was high, but we also knew that they both had their flaws.
1-to-1 can get pricey quickly and it’s easy to get lost in the bootcamp crowd.
So we made the switch to small groups of up to 4 people per coach and we never looked back.
Small group PT allowed us to bring the cost of our memberships down, compared to 1-to-1, and allowed us to sky-rocket our attention to detail and individualisation, compared to bootcamp.
Our small cult became a moderately sized army and Improve Glasgow 1.0 was fit to burst.
After 4 years in ‘version 1’, we decided it was time to take another leap and in September 2018 we signed another lease at 97 Kingston Street – just a few streets away – so that we could more than double the size of our facility.
After a helluva lot of red tape, delays, and work, we finally opened ‘Improve Glasgow 2.0’ in March 2019.
The fitness industry changed dramatically in the space of the four years we were in Tradeston Street.
The old, grungey, industrial-style gym that was all there really was in the independent gym world when we opened had been blown out of the water by the bright and shiny boutique operations.
Our goal with 2.0 was to bring some of the London and New York swagger to Glasgow, in terms of the look and feel of the place, whilst staying true to the working-class values of our home town.
Improve Glasgow was intended to be (and has indeed become) a place you can walk into and feel like you’ve hopped on a plane to a city far further ahead than ours and then be brought crashing back down to earth with a healthy dose of the unmistakable Glaswegian banter.
We serve up complimentary coffee from our friends at the Good Coffee Cartel; we’ve got Cloud9 hairdryers and straighteners in our changing room’s vanity area; our members have access to both MYZONE, which is the fitness industry’s leading heart rate monitoring system, and our Inbody 270, which is the industry’s gold standard body composition analysis machine.
Most importantly, we deliver award-winning, empathetic and fun Personal Training and large group training sessions on a daily basis.
Our aim is to change the way the people of Glasgow see fitness and we’d love you to be the next beneficiary of our simple, tried and tested philosophy.
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