Fitness fanatics worship at Lewisham’s Commando Temple


Commando Temple owner Rob Blair flipping a tyre with Mayyah Shalchi. Pic: Frances Rankin

“I’d say that I’m an enthusiastic disciple of wanting to make these mitts as powerful as possible”, says the founder of Commando Temple, Rob Blair, prior to defending his World’s Strongest Hands title this weekend (May 14).

Blair started Commando Temple, a strength and fitness training space three years ago. The gym specialises in calisthenics, powerlifting, Strongwoman and body conditioning.

The Temple opened following Blair’s eight years in the Royal Marines. “My time in the Marines changed me from being a boy to a man,” he says. “Some people know me as being a bit of a taskmaster – and that’s probably what the military has helped give me.

“With me, you know what you see is what you get. But the truth is I give people what they need. I’ll give people a hug if they really need one, but you see Rob Blair because he can really give you results.”

Weights at the Commando Temple. Pic: Frances Rankin

Weights at the Commando Temple. Pic: Frances Rankin

Blair was “over the bloody moon” when Commando Temple won the Best New Business award in Lewisham last year for its commitment to the community and Strongwoman initiative. Mayyah Shalchi, Operations Manager and award-winning Strongwoman said: “Making women powerful and independent and able to do things for themselves is only a positive thing.”

Her Strongwoman class every Wednesday inspires women to achieve more rather than simply diet and lose weight. “You give them an actual, tangible result to go for, such as lifting more or doing better,” she says.

“These are things they can actually apply to everyday life, such as picking up their suitcase and they don’t need to ask a guy to help them, or opening a jar by themselves.”

People are drawn to Commando Temple because of its close-knit community and supportive environment. “They share this bond of being done away with convention and decide they’re going to do something for themselves and meet like-minded people,” Shalchi says about the Temple’s loyal members.

Entry into their Fight Club. Pic: Frances Rankin

Entry into their Fight Club. Pic: Frances Rankin

Among other, less mainstream methods, Commando Temple has a fight club, multiple martial arts classes, and steel bending coaching. All of the staff are highly qualified and many are world and national record holders in grip sport, powerlifting, and Strongwoman competitions.

Partners, Blair and Shalchi met five years ago while she was working at a fitness education company. The power couple, along with their dedicated team, continue to use unusual and intense methods to train and motivate people in the Lewisham community.

Reported by Fran Rankin and Alex Wilson .




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