If you’re looking for André Crews, you’d better check the gym first because he’s probably in there squatting 400lbs like it’s nothing.
Meet André Crews, the owner and head coach of 150 BayFit in Jersey City, New York. He also was named fittest trainer by Men’s Health Magazine in 2017. You may know André from our recent ad for The Groove Belt.
André lives with his wife Sinead, who works as a director of school counseling in New York. They have two Golden Retrievers - 4-year-old Holly, and a 5-month-old puppy named Jersey.
André Crews graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in finance, with the intention of learning what it would take to run a business. Not being the kind of person who is content to settle into a 9-5 job forever, André knew when he started working in corporate banking that it was not an end goal. He says, “I don’t think anybody, as a kid, thinks ‘When I grow up, I want to be a corporate banker.’”
What he did not expect was the anxiety that this job would cause. “Towards the end of my time at the bank, it was bad,” André says. “I would physically get ill on my way into work because I was so unhappy. I would have stomach pains and feel nauseous.”
Finally, fed up with this unhealthy cycle and armed with some encouragement from his future wife Sinead, André decided to leave corporate banking in August of 2010. “I quit,” André says. “I didn’t have a back-up plan. I didn’t even know what I was going to be doing. I just knew that I didn’t want to do that anymore.”
André didn’t want to have a one-sentence life story. He wanted to live a life full of purpose.
Most people wouldn’t consider stepping away from a stable, high-paying job without a backup plan, but André did and he is living the life of his dreams. How did he do it?
We asked André to share what that process looked like. While it wasn’t simple, André didn’t act on impulse. He took measured steps to reach his end goal, and you can, too.
Here’s what we can learn from his action plan of success:
André followed a winding path to reach the destination of gym owner and head coach of 150 BayFit. He considered owning his own restaurant and even acted in a few movies before landing on the career that fit his vision as a whole. With each step, André gave himself enough time to learn if it was something he was passionate enough to pursue, and he gave every option a good chance.
The dream career isn’t born in a day. André looked first at his vision for the future - what he wanted his life to look like - before he decided which path would take him there. His desire to create a life that aligned with his wife’s schedule turned him away from opening a restaurant and toward a final destination of fitness. “My wife, then-girlfriend, was in education, and if I was to open up a restaurant, I would never see her because she would work mornings and I’d work nights,” André says. “So I decided that was not the kind of lifestyle I wanted to live.”
While André was working at a bar and planning to open up his own restaurant, he was serving alcohol and fried food - pretty far from his current fitness recommendations.
“People come to the bar - drink, eat fried food five days a week - it’s not great,” he says.
“They’re getting less healthy. That’s not the kind of impact that I necessarily want to leave on the world.”
“I attribute one of the reasons why I left the bank to my wife Sinead,” André says. “She showed me that there were more fun, good, and positive things in life than just working at the bank and making money.” André’s future mother-in-law also added some trusted advice. André says, “My girlfriend’s mom, who would become my mother-in-law, said ‘You’re in good shape. Why don’t you look into personal training as a side gig to make a little extra money?’ I didn’t think that I would like it… but I decided to try it out. I got certified and started training and then fell in love with it immediately.”
Once André started working as a personal trainer, he knew he was doing what he loved most, and it was worth a slow start.
“I started working at an LA Fitness in New Jersey and I made $9 for a half-hour session. If I wasn’t training anybody, I wasn’t making any money. I had to hustle my a$$ off to get clients.”
One of the things André loved about personal training was the people-centered focus. He spent each day helping others grow into their best selves.
“I’ve always liked interacting with people. This was the opposite of the role of a bartender. When you’re a bartender, people who come and see you every day get a little heavier, a little less healthy. When someone is coming and training with me 2-5 times a week, they’re getting in better shape. Their life is getting better. I’m literally changing people’s lives.”
André remembers one moment that especially stands out. One day, he was training a girl who he had worked with for about a year. In the middle of a workout, she stopped and started crying. André says, “I asked her if everything was okay. I was having her run up and down the stairs with a 25lb plate. She said, ‘I’m crying because this weight I’m holding is the amount I’ve lost since working with you. This is how heavy I used to be. No wonder everything was so much harder.’” They were able to celebrate her ability to put down that weight at the end of her workout and walk away free. “That kind of stuff just fires me up! I love being able to make a positive impact in people’s lives. And it’s not just the weight loss stuff,” André says. “It’s also the functional aspect of it. I have a lot of people I work with who are in the military or first responders. If I can make them healthier people, they can do their job to protect us better. That is the way that I can give back to society and make it a better place.”
After a while, André transitioned into working at an Equinox club in Manhattan until 2015 when he started coaching classes at CrossFit Union Square.
In the beginning of 2016, André received an email from a business owner in Jersey City. After some consideration, they decided to open a gym together.
This year, 150 BayFit will cross the three-year mark! Since COVID-19 threw a curveball for gyms around the world, André and his crew at 150 BayFit are hosting online workouts for all of their members until they can open again.
In addition to his role as owner and head coach of 150 BayFit, André recently launched his own workout app, Health is Wealth. This app includes 100+ free daily workouts that can be completed from home. He adds new workouts a few times a week! You can download the app by searching for “Health is Wealth by André Crews.”
FIND A GOOD COACH WHO WILL:
André says, “Find a way to benchmark your success besides the scale or what your clothes feel like, especially when you are first starting.”
HAVE A REASONABLE GOAL.
André is passionate about equipping people to hit their goals, but sometimes, when people are starting out, those goals can be a little too high.
In our interview, André shared a big dose of encouragement for those who are just getting into fitness training for the first time.
“No one in the real world is sustainably going to lose like you see in Biggest Loser,” André says. “All of those people lose a bunch of weight and then, on average, gain it back. Anyone who is secluded from work, life, and daily responsibilities, working out 8 hours a day with people cooking for you, would have drastic weight loss. But that is neither sustainable nor is it realistic for anyone to do outside of the confines of that program.”
André went on to add, “For anyone starting off, if your weight-loss goal is 20lbs, know that it will take you about five months. What is safe and sustainable is losing 1lb per week. That is it. Period. One pound per week is something that you CAN do. If you follow a solid, functional-fitness program, focus on eating well, and gradually lose weight, your body is going to look and feel much better and you are going to be much less likely to gain the weight back in the long run, because you did it in a more realistic way.”
“Be okay with the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady will win the race overall in your fitness journey.”
EAT HEALTHY, BUT STAY BALANCED.
“Don’t eat like an a$$hole. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be paleo, no-carbs, etc. Just make better decisions about your food,” André says. “You can still have tasty things. It’s all about balance. If you’re at the beginning of your journey, just know that you’re going to have a little bit less flexibility in your diet. But I think everyone - whether you want to lose 5 lbs or 50 lbs - can have one meal a week that you can eat whatever you want. I don’t think that a cheat day is good for most people, but a solid cheat meal is a good way to mentally and physically reward your body for the things that you have done.”
“If you eat well and reward yourself a couple of times a week, I think you’ll be successful.”
WHAT ARE ANDRÉ CREWS’ SIMPLE, BEGINNER WORKOUT RECOMMENDATIONS?
“Everyone should be doing full-body functional movements. Everyone should be squatting and doing deadlifts. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to squat or deadlift hundreds of pounds. My 80-year-old grandmother needs to sit down into a chair and then stand up. As soon as you lose the ability to sit down and stand up on your own, you’re going into a retirement home.”
André recently created a fitness app to support people who don’t have the time or money to make it to the gym every week.
“I started Health and Wealth because I wanted to make it possible for those who don’t follow me on Instagram, or don’t even have Instagram accounts, to just pull up their phone and get a little bit of inspiration… so that their lives can become a little bit better.
André intentionally keeps his workouts short and simple. He says, “My Health and Wealth videos are - for the most part - all short. On average, they are less than 15 minutes. Go into your living room, garage, or backyard and just spend 15 minutes on yourself… that’s all you’ve got to do.”
“Don’t compare your Chapter 1 with someone else’s Chapter 20. It’s very easy with social media and the internet for anyone to think ‘I’m never going to be as strong as that guy, I’m never going to be as fit as that person.’ Either someone has worked their a$$ off for years, or they have a really good doctor. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Just focus on yourself.”
The lifestyle of a fitness coach and gym owner requires a lot of hands-on work! As you can imagine, wearing a metal ring during a workout would be uncomfortable and even endanger the fingers.
André confessed that he doesn’t even wear a traditional ring anymore. He says, “I actually lost my original wedding ring doing muscle-ups on a tree on a farm. I haven’t gotten a replacement wedding ring. I’ve just been wearing Groove Rings ever since. Thankfully, I have enough colors that I can put on a Zeus ring in black and it looks like a nice wedding ring when we go out to weddings, dinner, or someplace nice.”
André first started wearing a Groove Ring after losing his Qalo silicone ring in the ocean on a vacation with his wife. He decided to try out one of our rings and the rest is history.
“Immediately, I thought ‘Man, these are awesome!’”
Unlike other silicone rings, the Groove Ring is so comfortable that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it.
André says, “When I wear it, I forget that I have it on. With the Qalo ring, it was always digging into my fingers, it was never comfortable. I never liked wearing it.”
After we met André in person on set for a recent video, we knew that we had to get him involved in more Groove Life projects. His energy and personality are contagious and his story is inspiring. We invited him down to play a unique part in one of the recent ads for The Groove Belt.
“With everyone that I met at Groove, it felt like I was hanging out with my family,” André says. “It was a lot of fun. I have done a fair amount of video shoots and photoshoots… this was the most fun I have ever had. Some of the most genuine, fun, down-to-earth people I have ever met. I felt like I had known them for my whole life.”
André also laughed about how many friends and family have recognized him in the ad on YouTube. He says, “I can’t tell you how many random people on Instagram or even people I haven’t talked to in a handful of years just texted me and said, “I was watching YouTube and just saw your face in this commercial!”
If you’re looking for a good workout to do from your home, check out André’s app Health is Wealth. You can find the app on your Android or Apple device by searching for “Health is Wealth by André Crews.” Or, you can simply visit his website, here.
In André’s own words, he is here to inspire people and make a difference.
“My mission in the world is to try to help people become the best versions of themselves. I want to challenge, motivate, and inspire people.” I left a high-paying corporate job and I was way happier at LA Fitness than I was at any given day at the bank. This is truly my passion and I’m just trying to help the world become a fitter, healthier place.”
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