AJ Akande, when you first meet him, certainly cuts an impressive figure. At 6ft 5 and imposing, it’s easy to imagine him in a ring, kicking two bells of shit out of some poor sod. And that’s exactly what he used to do.
This former-MMA fighter‘s new venture down near Victoria Train Station – THE OLYMPUS PROJECTS is his very own gym – one which is the result of many years’ hard graft both in the ring and out of it.
A regular presence “on the doors” whilst studying at university, AJ has always trained hard, and after graduating he began his journey as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, whilst also participating in the head-banging world of MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts to those of you who’ve never heard of it.
His newest venture is The Olympus Projects, a brand-new training centre and gym opened up in August last year but has ridden the rocky trail of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ever since. It’s fair to say that AJ is very much looking forward to Monday 12th April by this point.
During the lockdown period, he’s been training his members at home over Zoom, as well as hosting the occasional one-on-one PT session with members in his spacious, dedicated outdoor area just under the arches of Victoria.
After more than half a decade of planning, The Olympus Projects will be ready to fling their doors wide open this April and it’s something AJ is looking forward to immensely. “Yeah, we opened in August and since then it’s been a struggle with just a few weeks in which we’ve been able to get members in – but hopefully it’ll all be over in a few weeks!”
Over it will be, and we can all look to start losing the lockdown weight that we’ve piled on over the past few months. Limited exercise, drinking too much and scoffing Mini Eggs in front of Netflix – it all adds up and if we’re all going to look great for when the clubs open on June 21st – we’re going to have to get back to it.
The Olympus Projects is, as the name may suggest, a rather unusual concept – one that revolves around Ancient Greek training and methods, with classes ranging from functional to combat-based to strength and recovery – all designed to help you ‘Master Your Might’.
So you’ll find yourself in the HERCULEAN TRIALS; a conditioning class focusing on core and full body exercises that challenge you in different planes of movement – it’s goal – “the sculpted body, explosiveness and power of a Greek god or goddess.”
Or there’s LABOURS OF ATLAS – Zeus’ most violent opponent in the Olympian’s war against the Titans who was punished by being forced to hold up the sky for all eternity. So as the name implies – the class is intended to create strength and steadfastness, using a variety of compound, push and pull exercises over a 6 week cycle.
But why the Ancient Greek ‘theme’? Well, AJ tells me that he’s “always had a healthy interest in both the history of the period and the myths surrounding the gods and demi-gods”.
“I grew up reading the the stories of the trials of Hercules and Jason, Athena strategically guiding adventurers, Atlanta besting males and Zeus smiting mortals down.”
“From this I’ve always looked to tie this rich folklore into the training atmosphere I was so comfortable with, as a way to create an uplifting and competitive environment, where, from the moment you step into The Olympus Projects, you’re not just Jim, Kate or Abdul anymore, you’re a Spartan goddess or Hercules himself, about to smash your own personal best, whilst in a fun place you can escape into, whilst still hitting all of your goals”
So at The Olympus Projects you’ll work on different aspects and areas of fitness each session. Included in this is your mental wellbeing and nutrition all through the “setting of goals every 6 weeks – so that people have something to work towards and are motivated to beat their personal bests.”
As 12th April looms, AJ is getting ready to welcome members once again – and if I’m being honest – I reckon I should probably get myself down there too – this belly isn’t going to shift itself!
The Olympus Projects offers flexible and diverse membership options, starting from the £65pcm ‘Arcadian’ membership from home, right up to the £150pcm ‘Athenian’ option with unlimited gym access, fitness plans, personal nutrition plans.
AJ is also soon to launch a more personalised Premium Strength Package that caters to busy (but dedicated) professionals to ensure their transformative developments are guaranteed through smaller group PT sessions, daily meal prep. and supplementary weekly classes.
Head on over to The Olympus Projects website for more info…