IN APRIL 2021, BODIES BY RYAN CELEBRATED FOUR YEARS SINCE OPENING THE DOORS TO WHAT WE NOW KNOW AS OUR HIIT GYM AT CLAREMONT SHOWGROUNDS. THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS OVER THIS HALLOWED GROUND AND THERE IS A SHED LOAD TO BE PROUD OF. WE TAKE A LOOK BACK IN TIME TO WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN 2017, THE HURDLES OWNER RYAN DEVEREUX HAD TO OVERCOME AND THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BACKED HIM ALONG THE WAY. IT’S A BIT NOSTALGIC AND JUST A TAD INSPIRATIONAL TO HEAR HOW A FORMER TRADIE NOW RUNS A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS THAT HAS CHANGED HUNDREDS OF LIVES FOR THE BETTER. HERE’S BBR’S STORY SO FAR…
Let’s start before the beginning! What drove you to create your own gym and what did you dream it would look like then?
I’ve always wanted to own/run my own gym. Even before I was a personal trainer, I opened a shared bank account with a mate and we’d deposit money weekly to one day open a gym. That never eventuated but even back in 2010, I was thinking about it and starting to plan for it. I’ve just always loved fitness and being in gyms and wanted to create a community with a high vibe. There was no clear vision back then, but I was extremely driven to make it happen.
Tell us the story behind why you chose to name it Bodies by Ryan?
Bodies by Ryan came about because it was my Instagram handle @bodies_by_ryan. When I opened my first gym on Government Road, Nedlands, I didn’t officially have a name and I had people calling or sending me text messages asking if I was Bodies by Ryan, haha. So I just ran with it! To be honest, I don’t really like the name because there is more than one person that makes BBR what it is.
You had a few false starts… give us a brief overview of those and please share whether there were times you considered giving up? Or were you always completely resolute in your vision of BBR?
Yes, my first gym was shut down by the council the day I opened it. We had a complaint from another business on the street, which saw us receive a letter stating we had 30-days notice to close the business and move out. This was a pretty stressful time as I had just spent all my savings on equipment and put down 20K for the lease and bond, which I lost.
30 days isn’t a long time to try and relocate a new business with no capital. A few sleepless nights throughout that time trying every avenue I could think of to try and get BBR up and running. On the 29th day, I had a client give me a number of someone from Claremont Showgrounds that handled the properties and the leases here. I signed the lease that same day for our first gym which is now what we call our HIIT gym. The only issue then was I had no money, so for the next three months, I was working around 20 hours on weekends as a tradie until we built up enough members to cover the rent.
Can you remember what you felt when you did your first session in the showgrounds? What was it like?
Yeah, it was an awesome feeling, it was such a relief that I had a place to train my clients. I’ll never forget setting all the equipment up, particularly helping the guys build the leg press.
At what point did you realise you’d created something special, that BBR was a success and you’d made the right call to make it happen?
It all feels like everything happened just at the right time, bringing our first trainer on around nine months in made it feel more like a business rather than just me training clients. Opening our second gym, our strength gym, felt like it was another step in the right direction and meant I could program exactly how I like and offer both HIIT and strength training to our members.
There was no real point I felt it was finally a success, more that I feel successful whenever we deliver results to our members. That’s what really makes me smile, especially as the results are all different. When mums see their abs for the first time in their life after having kids. When members send messages telling me they went kite surfing with their son for the first time in 10 years, because their fitness has come back. Seeing our members train with their kids and partners is always pretty cool as well.
Reading some of our BBR success stories makes me feel like we’re doing something right and I’ve received a few cards following challenges thanking me with some extremely kind words that made me look like I had been cutting lots of onions. That’s what I feel like success is to our business.
What are the biggest highlights, what moments stick out for you over the past four years?
There are so many, the Bali retreats come to mind first as they were so much fun and the location at Komune is next level. Bringing new trainers on and seeing them develop is really rewarding. The BBR awards nights are always a night to remember and always great fun.
But if I have to name the biggest highlight, it’s seeing members faces when I show them the transformation photos. It’s an epic feeling to coach someone through the process and then show them the results you both produced as a team over the 6 or 8 weeks.
What sacrifices have you made throughout the journey?
I don’t really feel like I’ve sacrificed much starting and building BBR. It does take a lot of my time as we want to offer a unique service and create an environment that people look forward to coming to every day. We want all of our members to be continually challenged and have the opportunity to be the best version of themselves and I know that it takes time to create that.
How different is the gym and the BBR business today from what you imagined four years ago?
They are similar in some ways as I feel my values haven’t changed since opening, but the programming and coaching have come a long way. Sometimes I’ll read old programs that we had when we started and I just think why did people keep coming back here! However, I think we always made our sessions challenging and we always had fun along the way which is super important.
I’ve also had some good business coaches along the way. For the first two years at BBR, I invested heavily into personal development coaches and business coaches which I took a lot away from. Some coaches would really challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone, I remember it took me about 20 minutes one day before I could bring myself to do my first Facebook live video. I couldn’t stand hearing or watching myself on Facebook, but now it’s just like writing an email. I still always make sure I’m doing some type of program or doing a new course to keep sharpening the sword.
It’s not a gig for the faint-hearted… getting up in the 3 or 4ams most days, completing a physically demanding line up of coaching sessions (let alone the emotional side of helping people change their lives!)… how do you maintain positive energy day in day out?
Ah, I just really like helping people. That’s probably the easiest way to put it.
For so many years, I was too scared to reach out and ask for help in my commitment to being fit, healthy and strong. Throughout my teenage years and early 20s, I would run all the time trying to get lean, go on stupid diets that didn’t work and I really thought it was unachievable. I always wanted to have arms and a chest like the guys in the magazines but it almost seemed impossible. Knowing what I know now, the confidence and happiness you can feel through diet and training is something everyone should feel day to day and I really love giving people that tool.
What advice would you give yourself if you could wind back the clock four years?
There’s no substitute for hard work.
Review, plan, execute, accomplish, refocus.
DO THE WORK!
While BBR could not be what it is without you… Who could you have not done all of this without?
Firstly our members, I really feel that everyone that has trained at BBR over the years has helped shape it into what it is.
Jay, She sacrifices her time so I can work and achieve what I need to on a daily/weekly basis. I am grateful every day for what she allows me to do. From her comments on Facebook pages to helping with admin to cooking my lunches – it all allows me to spend more time on BBR.
There were lots of people helping me at the start of BBR, especially one of our members, Andrew Thomas. I have always had a lot of time and respect for Andrew. So,when he offered to catch up for a coffee in the early days to discuss BBR’s potential, I was excited to hear what he had to say but I think our first conversation went like this..
Andrew: “BBR seems to be pumping at the moment mate, well done, are you registered for GST?”
Me: “Ahhh I think so…….what’s GST again?”
That’s the level I was starting at, haha!
He’s been great mate/mentor/sounding board for me over the years so he’s at the top of the list.
The BBR Army, which I’ve given this name because they are the people who always put their hand up to help around the place, without even asking me like when Noel Buckland rocks up with his high-pressure hose to wash down the outside of the gym.
Brenda Bardinet, Michelle Smith, Tyra Pederson and our amazing blog writer Lisa O’neill all play a big part in putting the shine on BBR. From the gentle text messages to remind me I’ve spelt something incorrectly or helping out at award events, they all chip in and help out with so much. Our member and accountant James Newcombe who has really helped us over the last two years and always has the business’s best interest at heart. Sophie Raven has been an amazing friend and given BBR hours of her time behind the scenes as well as hosing multiple awards nights at her house, I’ve always been extremely grateful for her time as I know how busy she is with her own work.
We have our BBR weapons as well which I could seriously name 100+ people here but to the crew that rock up day in and day out bringing good vibes, and welcome new members – that all means so much. Freddy, Chantal, Anissa, Cherie, Janelle, Paul & Tiff just to roll out a few names. Watching some members inspire others like Wendy Mitchell in the 7:15 classes and Simone in the last challenge, and then A-Team training buddies like, Fiona and Jen who really look after each other.
The trainers are phenomenal at BBR as we all know and I can’t thank Geno and Justine for their commitment since joining BBR. They continue to grow and go above and beyond every week.
Looking back, an old member Steph Mair went out of her way for months as she took on the Mind Body and admin role. It was a very tough gig training at a gym and also doing its admin, so massive shout out to Steph. To our first trainer Ayrton who became my partner in crime in his time at BBR we made some memories that will last a lifetime.
I could go on and on and thank so many people, one of our newer members Pam who has connected me with our yoga instructor and has done a few Reiki sessions on me has helped enormously. And, of course, Helena Parker who has become our spreadsheet and analysis queen since joining last year.
I know it sounds super corny and cliche but it feels like we all work as a team at BBR and we genuinely want the best for each other.
As I mentioned earlier, I always wanted to create a space where no one felt judged, everyone could be themselves where age, gender, background doesn’t matter. We all just come together to have fun as we’re all on the same journey to become better versions of ourselves.
For too long there has been a stigma around bodybuilding and changing your physique that it has to be a solo journey and you have to suffer. I think we can all achieve our goals, have fun and connect with new, like-minded people along the way. That’s what BBR is all about.