From playground workouts to a fitness phenomenon
When Terroll Lewis was released after 11 months in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, he didn’t want to return to the gang lifestyle which he had grown up in. With time on his hands and without the means to join an expensive gym, he started his own workouts in the local playground, building on the routines he had developed in his cell. These outdoor workouts gave him the focus he needed to avoid turning back to the streets and gangs that had gotten him in trouble in the first place.
When he casually videoed one of his workouts one day, the social media buzz that followed was unreal. He soon had huge numbers of local young people turning up to join him, and that’s where BlockWorkOut began.
We grew up on the block and that’s where we were working out – the name stuck, you know?”
Terroll Lewis, Founder
In 2010 Block WorkOut was born and Terroll started delivering community sessions in Kennington Park. The sessions were extremely popular, and Terroll’s work centred around helping young people by equipping them with a determination to get and stay fit. He also offered them support in education, training and employment as well as providing informal mentoring. Since starting Block WorkOut has worked with over 800 people from communities across Lambeth and surrounding areas.
Block WorkOut Foundation has been set up to embed Block WorkOut within the local community and ensure that every young person needing support, someone to believe in them, something to keep them active or just somewhere to go, can get involved and change their life for the better. Block WorkOut is more than a workout – it’s a lifestyle, a mind-set. We aim to give the young people we work with the mind-set of a champion, someone who can overcome issues in life and conquer every mountain that stands in front of a successful future.
I prefer this to any other gym–you don’t need machinery. It teaches you the basics. And it’s a lot cheaper than any other. I was just sitting at home playing on the Xbox all day. I wasn’t happy, and I knew I could do better for myself. I saw a video online and thought I’d try it out. I was scared to come at first because I was so overweight, but this place was really welcoming. I’m a lot more confident now. I’m here every day now.
There’s a whole family here, loads of people from different backgrounds. And it’s so motivating and having all these personal trainers everywhere. Before this I was starting my GCSEs and I was getting Cs. But Terroll taught me about putting your mind over matter. I started applying myself to my exams and I got Bs in the end. I was so happy, just running around shouting. I even met a careers adviser here and he helped me sort out my CV.”
Jermal, 17, College Student