Alex Ross and Whitney Jones, aka A&W, are the best friends you never knew you had — they even say so on their website. And with friends like these two IFBB Pro athletes, who else would a fitness beginner turn to for training instruction and motivation?
The Arizona-based bodybuilding BFFs want to help ease the uneasiness some may feel when entering a crowded fitness center. Though it may be hard to envision, especially when you look at both Jones, the two-time Ms. Fitness Olympia winner, and Ross a top Olympia Bikini contender and winner of the 2020 Chicago Pro Bikini — they too had their own bouts of “gymtimidation” — the fear of exercising in a gym — when they began their fitness journey bumbling and stumbling their way through a testosterone-infused local gym.
Those early awkward gym moments — which over time evolved into a successful careers as both fitness athletes and trainers — helped inspire them to create their A&W Fitness app, in which they hope inspire others to reach their fitness goals in a no-judgment environment that makes them comfortable. These days, when they aren’t in the gym preparing for October’s Olympia Weekend, or busy engaging with social media followers with thought-provoking challenges and activities, Ross and Jones are creating easy-to-follow but challenging workouts that can be done at fully-equipped gyms or at your home gyms with minimal equipment.
“Looking back, we both wish we were able to confidently go into a gym and execute a training program instead of pretending like we knew what we were doing,” Ross recalls. “We remember what it was like to be a beginner and not know a thing about proper form, reps and sets, recovery. It can be both overwhelming and discouraging. It’s a big part of why we were inspired to create this app.”
Jones, who won Ms. Fitness Olympia titles in 2018 and 2019, remembers the days in which every crowded gym with cable machine and squat rack looked so difficult to navigate, let alone the added burden of putting together a logical training program. She kept it simple to avoid embarrassment. “It was mostly guys on the gym floor which made me even more intimidated because I didn’t wanna look like a fool,” she says. “So I would just stick to cardio.”
Gymtimidation exists, with one poll in 2019 suggesting that as much as 50% of gymgoers suffer from some sort of uneasiness about working out in a gym surrounded by others. Reasons vary from lack of knowledge, unsure of how to use equipment or the ability to plan and execute their own workout.
The workouts, which the two have used in their own training programs at various stages, vary in intensity and complexity, but they can be done by either the newest of fitness enthusiasts or seasoned gym rats. Some of A&W’s six-week programs include at-home toning workouts, and total-body workouts that can be performed the gym. And of course, what app would be complete without an Olympia-quality glute workout, like the one the pair shared below.
“Our mission is to make sure our subscribers can go into the gym or home gym with a plan, can properly and confidently execute it, start feeling and looking their best, and connect with us along with other users to celebrate their successes, no matter how big or small,” Ross says.
Making people more at ease with their training. the pair have added a monthly Connection conference, in which Jones and Ross will conduct Q&As, share training stories, offer advice and challenges. And most important, build community among its group of newly formed best friends.
“We saw this app as a huge blessing and opportunity to connect and help a much larger group outside our online client base,” Ross says. It gives Whitney and myself a way to help others reach their health and fitness goals, expand our fitness community, and ultimately build a huge circle where users feel supported by us and by other subscribers. We want our subscribers to stay motivated, create friendships, and have outside support — things we didn’t necessarily have when we started our fitness journey.”
A&W Glute Force Workout
Banded Monster Walk
Banded Standing Side Lateral Walk
12 each direction*
Banded Smith Squat
Banded Hip Thrust
Cable Bench Kickback
12 each leg
* Keep tension in band throughout exercise
** Increase weight each set
A&W Fitness is currently offering 25% off all subscription costs! The normal yearly rate of $119.99 can be had right now for $89.99. For more information, go to www.aandwfitness.com/ or trybe.do/awfitness.