Talks fitness, fatherhood and mental health.
The Difference of a Decade
Ten years ago, Terroll Lewis was in a very different position to where he is now. Fresh out of prison and hitting a roadblock at the simple task of visiting the gym – an idea sparked that would be the beginning of a promising venture for the London native. Sitting down in his now renowned gym, PAUSE caught up with Terroll on all things business, grooming, fitness, mental health and the ups and downs of modern day life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name’s Terroll Lewis, I’m from Brixton, South London. Coming from a very troubled background, troubled upbringing, but it’s moulded me into who I am today. I started this block workout, which I’m doing now which is Brixton Street gym, about 10 years ago, in August.
Is this your gym?
Yeah, this is my gym. So 10 years since I’ve started this whole idea of using your environment to train, not only just relying on the commercial gym or weights or machines but using your environment, using exercise not only for the physical but for the mental as well. This is my meditation and it’s definitely been part of my growth as the days and weeks and months have gone by.
Give us three tips to workout losing weight this summer?
Short, sharp interval training, I do a lot of sprints so sprints, then walking, sprints, then walking, 30-second sprints, 1-minute walk, people do that around the park you can do that with your headphones in and just stay away from all the bullshit they got out here.
I don’t eat pork, I stay away from the red meat, but then I also stay away from a lot of the vegan products, there are a lot of processed vegan products. It’s just about learning what’s right for your body, every body’s different, but one thing I will say is to stay hydrated, that plays a massive part.
Drink a lot of water and put the right stuff in your body and feed yourself the right stuff in your mind as well. It’s not just physical stuff like what you eat but it’s also what you listen to, the conversations you have, the people you hang around with, what you do on a day to day basis, so it’s definitely important to work on both, the mind and body. That’s how you’re going to lose weight.
Is that a no or a yes?
You never know, you never know what could happen but right now, my vlogs are about all the progress that we’re making, all the positive stuff that we’re doing. There’s a lot more important stuff than just focusing on one thing, there’s so much stuff that we’re doing, got my little girl coming, she’s going to be on my vlogs, you’re going to see her, you’re going to see some really good stuff man.
This is your first one?
Yeah this is my first one, I’m excited to learn and I’m excited to grow as a person, so I’m looking forward to it.
Do you think it’s changed you bit already, has it made you grow as a man?
It saved my life, there were suicide thoughts in my head, like literally sitting there looking on my phone for the nearest train station. And I remembered in that week I got that phone call, “you’re having a baby” Like wow. It was just like everything changed, my ‘why’ changed, my ‘why’ to wake up in the morning changed, my ‘why’ on life changed, and those suicide thoughts or that depression, anxiety thoughts became so like, they were just a dark cloud that came out of nowhere.
Where do you think that was mainly coming from?
Past. Not dealing with certain things in the past in my mind. And a lot of stuff like literally bullsh*t that I didn’t heal from, as a person. Even being on the streets, I lost a lot of friends, I lost a lot of family members, and me just coming from where I’m coming from, I pushed that stuff under the carpet, and it affected me in the long run. As well as these army vets need their counselling, our young boys from the street need counselling as well.
So important. Especially with young black men they think you’re already strong so you don’t need support, but everyone is human and everyone goes through the same emotions. How do you think we can all help each other online to improve mental health?
Support more in general, support genuine organisations that really, really, really want to see a change and an impact. There’s a lot of organisations that haven’t got the social platform, which is sad because a lot of them are doing some amazing work, but they’re just not getting recognised, they haven’t got the charity status, they haven’t got the direction or mentoring that a company needs to have.
From starting my own charity, we work with youth who are in crime and gang members, working with them trying to steer them away from the streets before they get into the streets, and we’re working with full-blown gang members who are in the street, so it wasn’t overnight, there were so many hurdles that I had to jump, so many blocks that came in my way, like the council and government going “what’s going on here?” They didn’t know what I was doing.
I was getting 100 young boys in a park around 3 pull up bars, they didn’t understand what that was but now they’re all supporting everything that we do. We just signed a new lease for the building which is just across the road there, and that’s three times bigger than this place, it’s got showers, changing rooms, we’re going to have studio rooms, spin classes, we’re going to have spin classes in Brixton, that doesn’t even make sense, we’re changing the game, we’re hood friendly.
This gym is a blessing it’s changed so many lives, it’s made such an impact not just in Brixton but in the whole of the world, we’ve got people from all over the world coming here, we’ve got people coming on holiday and then saying they have to do the Brixton Street Gym. This place is an iconic place now, they do tours in Brixton now, and they always come in, they take out their phones, it’s sick. This place, it’s breaking barriers, in this gym we’re all one. If you’re white, you’re black, you’re Asian, we’re all one. It’s breaking all of that down, we’re all human beings, we’re all growing, we’re all on a path of growth, this is home, this is home. Literally.
Any last pieces of advice for people out there struggling with their mental health?
Meaningful conversations. Opening up to the right people. Training, working out and having a juice after. Have a Naked Juice, trust me it helps, after a workout. Trust me, try it out.
Try and identify the trigger points. Soon as you feel like there’s something – there’s been points on my life where a certain feeling has come over me, and I literally just start running, literally just start running. By the time I do that, up Crystal Palace, round Crystal Palace, wherever, that sorts out my head. I’m racing against the white guy that’s running with all his gear and I’m in my Nike trackies but I can do this as well we’re gonna ride it together. It’s stimulating my mind, sometimes you just got to go and do it.