The history behind the best gym in Staines
Scrubbing our dirty laundry in public once again
By Paul Elliott-Smith, Gym Owner & Coach
The Wrong Gym
The first gym I worked in was Foxhills Health Club & Spa. This is a beautiful gym set in lovely grounds and one of the most expensive health clubs in the area. The clientele who frequent Foxhills are typically slightly older (and richer) than your typical gym goer and the gym facility itself is predominately CV and fixed machines with a small free-weight area.
There’s nothing wrong with Foxhills Health Club & Spa it’s very clean (cleaned top to bottom twice-a-day), the gyms users are nice and polite and it’s one of the nicest health clubs in the area but I didn’t want nice. I wanted somewhere to tap into a little darkness. I wanted some where to train. Somewhere more old school where I could rid myself from demons; so I abandoned ship…
The BIZ Chertsey (Boxing Inclusion Zone)
I live just across the road from the Runnymede Centre which back in the day used to be home to ‘The Boxing Inclusion Zone’ or ‘The BIZ’ as it was known which was a runnymede police community run initiative. I wanted to help the BIZ and also further my career. I approached the BIZ’s chairman and pitched an idea to him. The BIZ was closed during the day and only opened at night, the whole facility was empty the majority of the time. The Runnymede Boxing Club rented the facility from the BIZ to run their boxing club most nights. I could see that there was a lot of CV equipment and punch bags but there wasn’t any strength training equipment.
My idea was simple and it went as so…
I would buy strength training equipment and loan this equipment to the BIZ free of charge for everyone to use. I would then open the BIZ during the day free of charge and manage the daily operation. To fund this new daytime opening I would do PT sessions so I earned some money but also give the BIZ a percentage of my earnings. I would also volunteer at the BIZ to help them run some of the BoxFit session that they operated in the evening.
So the BIZ would get new strength training equipment, new daytime opening hours, an extra volunteer and much more revenue to keep the place afloat. I in turn would have a base to work from just across the road from my house. It would be gym that had a more ‘spit and sawdust’ feel. I felt like I belonged here.
After working and volunteering at the BIZ it became obvious that The BIZ had badly lost direction so I suggested that we pioneered an new youth project to revitalise the building. My idea was CrossFit Kids. A broad and inclusive fitness programme that we could push to local schools that I would personally fund to get off the ground. I would then phase out my daytime PT and work solely for the CrossFit Kids project if I could earn enough money from the project to make my efforts worthwhile.
CrossFit Chertsey – Est. 2013
Within 18 months I had put everything in place to push the CrossFit Kids project forward. I had completed the Crossfit LVL1 coaches course, the CrossFit Kids coaches course and affiliated the gym as CrossFit Chertsey at my own expense. I started running four group sessions at the BIZ, two CrossFit sessions (CrossFit Thursday, TFI Friday), the infamous Strongman Sunday sessions and the first Olympic Weightlifting sessions in the area. We piloted a couple of the CrossFit Kids sessions and feedback was very positive. I was ready to go but things were about to come to a very swift end.
There was always conflict and aggravation from the head coach of the Runnymede Boxing Club to my presence within the building and it became apparent that the Chairman of the BIZ seemed to be stalling any attempts at progressing the CrossFit Kids project and the Runnymede Boxing Club’s growth as well. No-one could get on. There was stalemate and it became a time of extreme stress. So as I was the last man in I took the decision that it was time to leave and move on and set up my own facility.
White Noise CrossFit Staines – Est. 2014
Very quickly I found a small room in a warehouse on Tims Boat Yard in Staines-Upon-Thames in Surrey. I called in any free labour that I could (that turned out to be quite a lot) and we quickly set about creating a small space that we could train in. As a group we had been using CrossFit WOD’s and as I still had the ‘CrossFit Chertsey’ affiliation I called Crossfit HQ in the USA and changed the name to ‘White Noise Crossfit Staines’.
Within six weeks we had completely renovated the industrial unit and we had ourselves a small gym, in fact what we had was Staines-upon-Thames’s first CrossFit box! The new project was a gym where we could carry on our CrossFit group sessions and where I could further my PT business. It was small, but perfect and everything felt like at last things were coming together.
The operation of White Noise CrossFit Staines was tricky to acclimatise to. I wasn’t sure what direction to take the facility; would be operate better as a small gym (something I’d never operated), a PT studio or a CrossFit Box. Time would tell and in a short period of time I had an answer.
White Noise CrossFit Staines seemed to run very well for small group training and 1:1 PT. It didn’t operate very well as a traditional gym because we didn’t have the machinery, creature comforts and long opening hours ‘normal’ gym goers expected. What we had was a small room, one toilet and a lot of free weights that regular gym goers had no idea how to use properly.
We also had a small community of dedicated members who loved the atmosphere and intensive coaching of the one hour group sessions. We put on between one or two group sessions per day that people enjoyed and filled the rest of the day the gym was open with 1:1 PT. The 1:1 PT was popular because the gym was closed to normal gym goers so clients who were nervous or preferred to train in private could do so. It’s something that we have kept going to this day.
Staines Weightlifting Club – Est. 2015
After the first year we decided to pause our affiliation with CrossFit for one year and focus on building a Weightlifting Club at the gym. But I had one problem, the floor in our 1st floor unit was being destroyed by dropped Atlas Stones, barbell dumping was also an issue. I needed to move again, more stress…
…Luckily another unit became available on Tims Boat Yard and within one month we had moved from our small first floor unit to a bigger ground floor unit with massive double doors that open out onto the River Thames in Staines. We had the perfect venue so we approached Runnymede BC with our plans for the future.
White Noise Weightlifting Club was founded with Kristian McPhee, champion weightlifter as the head coach. We now run high quality Weightlifting sessions weekly and they have proved to be very popular with his expert coaching and relaxed attitude.
CrossFit Staines Reborn 2016
White Noise Gym now is the hosts to not one but two fantastic clubs. Staines Weightlifting Club affiliated with British Weightlifting and CrossFit Staines affiliated with Crossfit HQ in the USA.
We have five coaches and usually two qualified coaches in the room at anyone time during a session. The group sessions are a superb blend of CrossFit & Gym Jones methods of training fused with olympic weightlifting and strongman, giving White Noise Gym one of the best and most interesting strength and conditioning programmes in the area.
We offer the best sessions money can buy and the friendliest welcome. Please contact us for a FREE trial session.
CrossFit in Staines has never been so good 😉
“The standard of the coaching here is very high.”
“Great guy, great fun, great results”
“Hard work… Intense…. and great fun! Definitely worth it!!”