Homerton businessman on why his start-up WeGym is the future of personal training
PUBLISHED: 13:56 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:56 21 August 2018
As students picked up A-level results at BSix College, one former pupil was on hand to inspire those that weren’t in a celebratory mood.
Homerton’s Joshua Uwadiae, 24, studied tech at the Upper Clapton college after being kicked out of Cardinal Pole during what he calls a “bad boy phase”.
He’s now a successful entrepreneur with his own start-up, WeGym, which aims to make personal training more accessible. It cuts out the gym, with sessions run at people’s homes or in parks in groups. Costs can be shared and people can tailor their workouts.
“My ambition is to make personal training an accessible product,” he told the Gazette. “At the moment it’s a luxury, it’s not designed for every day people who work jobs because it costs £400 a month.”
Joshua was at BSix to chat to students about apprenticeships, like the one he did with Ecourier after getting a BTec.
Speaking about his journey, he said: “I played football for Victoria Park Rangers, didn’t make pro and then went down a bad boy phase. I was kicked out of school and it wasn’t until I was rehabilitated that I came to BSix.
“Then I worked as an apprentice and it was a transformative experience, I stayed on and was doing stuff with Microsoft and was flown to Seattle and New York.
“Where I came from people didn’t believe it was possible. I went to the House of Commons. I was 19, I’d just come off the roadside.”
Joshua set up his own apprenticeship firm and quit his job at ECourier, before realising he hated what his new company had become. He was fed up, and one day he watched a YouTube video of Richard Branson discussing how to start a business.
“I was fat, but I’d started working out six months earlier,” Joshua continued. “So I incorporated WeGym on my birthday in 2015. I was trying to build a tinder for gym buddies, but it didn’t work. It was putting people in an awkward position when they were sweating and vulnerable. And there was no sex.
“Everybody wanted a personal trainer, but there were barriers. People either couldn’t afford them or felt they were too intimidating, so we changed.”
An Accelerator grant helped Joshua set up, by now on his own, but by October 2016 the money was almost gone due to the change of business model.
“I would print off 100 posters at the place I had an office and go around pinning them up on a Sunday night around east London,” he said. “I paid £2 for the cellotape and at the time I remember being like: ‘F***’ – because we had no money! I would put them up on bus stops so people on a Monday morning would see them after having a naughty weekend.
“We had like three people at the first session, two friends and a girl off my Facebook. The next week two more people turned up. It was instant gratification and gave me confidence.
“I would literally sit around phoning people up who had emailed, it was like a call centre.”
Eighteen months on and Joshua has 100 members and is now plotting a new idea he believes will be the future of personal training.
He explained: “We’re creating something where you can pay £50 a month to have one session with a PT, who can then help you train on your own. PTs are no longer trading money for time. As opposed to seeing them eight times a month you are with them every day by WhatsApp. And you can pick a personal trainer who is perfect for you.”
Check out the website here.