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ISSUE 53 // November 2020

EXCLUSIVE SAMANTHA WALTERS THE

WE INTERVIEW

OWNER OF

“IF I CAN DO IT! SO CAN YOU"

MISSFIT STUDIO

BY ASIF ALI

WHY HIIT TRAINING? BY STACY WIG

STRONG LIFE FITNESS RETREATS

SARAH DENNIS – OUR STORY

THIS MONTH’S INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH IS

HITIO,

A GYM FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

INTRODUCING

BEN STAPLETON OUR GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH

FINDING RESILIENCE:

SMALL GYMS IN THE PANDEMIC

BY AMY DUTFIELD

F I S I K A L // F U N X T I O N // E GY M // M AT R I X

JUNE 2019

1


Welcome... to the November issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. A second lockdown may be upon us, but as a magazine, we continue to support the industry as always by bringing you the best tips and advice for surviving Lockdown 2.0. We’d also like to say a special thank you to our contributors and our readers for your continued support of the magazine throughout what has been a very challenging year for all. Enough of the fluffy stuff, let’s get down to business! We bring you the myths and the facts on wearing a face mask on page 6, an exclusive interview with this months cover star Samantha Walter and owner of female fitness studio MissFit Studio on page 8. Adam Powell is taking us through a day in the life of being a PT on page 20. Fisikal are future-proofing your fitness business on page 22, David Vaux on training for an older generation on page 30 and Matrix continue to forge partnerships to strengthen their brand on page 36. Clare Vale continues her series on inclusivity for the deaf on page 52, whilst Ben Hackney-Williams on rising to the challenge of serving people on page 54. We have retention expert Guy Griffiths on page 56 taking you through the importance of knowing your numbers. Amy Dutfield of SO51 Fitness talks about the importance of showing resilience during a pandemic on page 62 and former Royal Marine Pete Howe is our Ketosis King on page 66. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a contributor contact pw@ gymownermonthly.co.uk and don’t forget our downloads and subscriptions remain free and can be found at www.gymownermonthly.co.uk Train safe.

The GOMM Team

HEAD OF SOCIAL MEDIA:

EDITOR:

PUBLISHING DIRECTOR:

Jane Grandena

Janine Edwards

Paul Wood

jg@gymownermonthly.co.uk

je@gymownermonthly.co.uk

pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk Tel: +44 7858487357 +34 642572963

 www.gymownermonthly.co.uk  @GymOwnerMonthly  gymownermonthly

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Keep up to date

COVER PHOTO CREDIT: SAMANTHA WALTERS © Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2016-2020 Gym Owner Monthly Magazine is published by PW Media. Gym Owner Monthly Magazine is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by Gym Owner Monthly Magazine, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. We cannot accept responsibility for any mistakes or misprints. Unsolicited material cannot be returned. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Please note that we reserve the right to use all supplied photographs/images elsewhere in the publication or on our social media channels.

November 2020

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Contents 20

6 8 24 6 8 12 16 20 22 4

12

16 32

28 30 Wearing a Mask Myths and Fact The Exclusive interview

This month with chat with SAMANTHA WALTERS owner of MissFit Studio

This month’s international gym of the month is HITIO, a gym for the whole family Introducing Ben Stapleton Our Gym Owner of the Month

PT Viewpoint

Life of a PT by Adam Powell

FISIKAL HELPS FRAME FITNESS STUDIOS FUTURE-PROOF THEIR DIGITAL BUSINESS

November 2020

22 36

24 28 30 32 36 38 42

Fitkit

Not all gloves are the same & best fitness accessories 2020

“IF I CAN DO IT! SO CAN YOU" By Asif Ali

Training an older generation for the long game By David Vaux

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST KETTLEBELLS MATRIX FITNESS

Join The Partnership

The latest in smartwatches 2020 Ernst De Neef, CEO at funXtion explains WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIGITALISATION

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42

52 44

48

50

54

58 56 44 48 50 52

Why HIIT Training? By Stacy Wig

EGYM CREDITED WITH IMPRESSIVE BOUNCEBACK AT BLACKPOOL SPORTS CENTRE Body Sculpting Seduction By Taz Dunstan

Inclusivity for Deaf clients in gyms – the importance of ondemand interpreters By Clare Vale

54 56

Rise to the challenge of serving people By Ben Hackney-Williams

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS explained By Guy Griffiths

62 58 62 64 66

64

66

Tech giants are vying for a slice of the fitness market pie. Are you prepared? FINDING RESILIENCE: Small gyms in the pandemic By Amy Dutfield

Strong Life Fitness Retreats, Sarah Dennis – Our Story Ask the Expert - What is Ketosis? By Pete Howe

We're always seeking contributors, if you're interested in writing for us then please contact:

pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk

November 2020

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EDITORIAL FEATURE

WEARING A MASK:

s t c a F d n a Myths

It's no myth: It not only matters if you wear a mask but also how you wear it. Wearing a mask to protect against

coronavirus has become part of daily life

DISCOVER THE FACTS BEHIND THE MYTHS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS MASKS

for many if not all around the world.

Mask Safety and Effectiveness

Though wearing a mask is one of the most

Myth: Cloth masks don't protect you.

important things you can do to prevent coronavirus infection, there are still many

Fact: Cloth face masks are effective. They

misunderstandings about:

create a barrier between your mouth and

• How safe and effective masks are

more difficult for the droplets that spread

nose and those around you. This makes it

• How to use them properly

coronavirus through coughs, sneezes and

• When and where masks are needed

talking to reach other people.

Cloth masks mainly keep you from unknowingly spreading the disease to others, but some studies indicate that they may help protect you from large droplets and serve as an indirect reminder to avoid touching your face. This is why wearing a cloth mask inside all retail stores and public transportation has been mandatory since April 2020. And as more services such as getting a haircut or eating in a restaurant are being allowed, it is as important as ever to continue wearing a mask. We're all in this together. Myth: Other masks are more effective than cloth masks. Fact: Different types of masks serve different purposes, but cloth masks are highly effective for the general public. The average person who is not working in a medical environment with COVID-19 patients should wear a cloth mask to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers. 6

November 2020


EDITORIAL FEATURE

Myth: Masks can cause carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up. Fact: Some people have suggested that carbon dioxide from exhaling gets trapped under the cloth and can make you sick. This isn't true. Properly fitted masks offer adequate airflow while still covering your nose and mouth. This makes the accumulation of carbon dioxide impossible. However, people with breathing problems, children under age 2, and those who can't remove the mask without assistance should not wear one.

How to Wear Masks Myth: The way you wear a mask is not important. Fact: Wearing a mask correctly is the key to making it effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, a cloth face mask needs to have the following to be effective:

suggest that many people who have

in public unless they have breathing

coronavirus are asymptomatic, meaning

problems, are under age two, or can't

• Cover both your nose and mouth

they show no symptoms. You may have

remove the mask without assistance.

• Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face

others, including those with underlying

• Be secured with ties or ear loops • Have multiple layers of fabric • Allow for unrestricted breathing • Able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or shape changes

Where and When to Wear a Mask Myth: You only need to wear a mask if you feel sick. Fact: According to the CDC, studies

the disease and unknowingly spread it to conditions who have a higher coronavirus

Myth: You don't need to wear a mask outside.

risk and are more vulnerable to severe

Fact: At this time, being outside

illness. Asymptomatic carriers can

is generally considered safer than

increase the disease's spread if they aren't taking proper precautions, including wearing a mask, washing their

being inside. When taking a stroll or participating in other outdoor activities by yourself or with people you live with, a

hands frequently and social distancing.

mask isn't required.

Myth: If you're home, you don't need to

However, when you find it difficult to

wear a mask.

maintain at least six feet of distance

Fact: In most cases, this is true. However,

as exercising on a sidewalk or eating out

if you do feel sick, have mild symptoms,

from people you don't live with – such at a restaurant – it's important to have

and live with others, it's important to wear

your mask on. You should always have

a mask to protect them.

your mask on hand when you leave your

Do not leave your home. Try to isolate

home.

yourself from healthy people you live

Myth: If I'm wearing a mask, I don't need

with. Be sure to wear a mask if you leave

to stay home.

your quarantine room or if they enter the room you're quarantining in.

Fact:As we each make decisions about going out safely, masks are just

Myth: If you've had coronavirus, you

one strategy in a toolbox of different

don't need a mask.

prevention measures.

Fact: If you've had a coronavirus before or had an antibody test come up positive,

Wearing a mask is highly effective

you may believe that you don't need to

and can make your daily life safer

wear a mask. Unfortunately, at this time,

for those around you, but it's not

there is no way to know whether having

a permission slip to "return to

coronavirus once provides immunity from

normal."

the virus again or how long that your immunity might last. This means that you could potentially catch the disease again and spread it to others. Everyone should wear a cloth mask when

It's important to stay home when you can and continue practising other coronavirus prevention measures like social distancing to help reduce the spread. November 2020

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THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

e v i s u l c Ex w e i v r e t In THIS MONTH WE CHAT WITH SAMANTHA WALTERS OWNER OF MISSFIT STUDIO

How did you get into the fitness industry?

after a workout and pushing myself.

I haven’t always been big into fitness

training and in particular, bodybuilding.

myself. Even though I have always enjoyed sports through school, but from

I then met my partner, who was very knowledgeable and passionate about It was him who taught me much of what I know, and as the years went on, the

a young age, I knew I wanted to work

more I trained, the more I learned and

with children. After having my daughter

developed along the way.

I decided to go to University and get a teaching degree, and I qualified as an early years specialist primary school teacher. I really enjoyed working with children and was passionate about teaching and seeing children grow and learn under my influence, it’s such a rewarding job! It was during this time that I joined a gym and started a little

After graduating, I was offered a job teaching in Italy, an amazing opportunity for anyone, so jumped at the chance and went along with my young daughter to start a new life in a new country, a pretty bold and scary move! This, I found was very challenging. Being away from my family, my partner, my friends, I really struggled at times to keep positive, so

my emotions. Exercise really does help with mental health and struggles, and can be a purpose or escape for some when they face challenging points in their lives. Because my focus at this point on fitness was strong, I entered myself into my first fitness competition to give myself something to work towards, and also as

weight training, although I didn’t really

I started using fitness as a focus, and it

a distraction from missing home, as the

understand much of what I was doing, I

helped me mentally so much! I do think

way I saw it, if I was busy in the gym

enjoyed pushing myself, seeing myself

at times that I wouldn’t have made it

when I wasn’t working, that would mean

improve physically and I always felt

through some of the difficult times if I

less time sat around thinking about those

mentally positive and more productive

hadn't had that focus and way to channel

I was missing back home.

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November 2020


THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

reviews and results came in, my client base grew fast! Women were coming to me mainly to learn about weight training, it was clear there was a great demand and interest, but in general, they didn’t feel confident to walk into a gym and try themselves. This made me want to create a space where women could come to feel happy and confident while working on their goals. Fast forward two years of my career change to January this year, things have been going really well so I signed an agreement to a property and opened my own fitness studio for my clients named MissFit Studio.

Tell us more about your gym MissFit Studio is a ladies only training facility used for my own clients. Alongside Eventually, my contract came to an end

training in your average woman, and

PT sessions, we also offer classes and boot

and instead of renewing I decided to

women didn’t feel so confident walking into a gym and picking up a pair of

camps. As mentioned before, I wanted

return home. I loved my job in Italy, and when I came back I felt like teaching here

dumbbells to workout, and I knew this

wasn’t the same, I didn’t enjoy it as much,

was something I wanted to help change.

so I knew it was time for a change. With

Upon receiving my qualification, I

place where they can give their workouts

started personal training by advertising

100% effort and achieve amazing results.

how much fitness helped me mentally, my passion had shifted from working with

to create a place for women to come and train where they feel comfortable with no anxieties or feelings of intimidation, a

availability online, and I was quite lucky

The studio is kitted out with free weights

children to fitness, so I decided to study

with how well my fitness career took

and functional equipment rather than

for my personal training qualification so

off. I enjoyed what I was doing, and

cardiovascular and resistance machines to

I could also help others. One thing I had

found my teaching skills were useful in

make the best use of the available space.

learned over the years is how in general,

helping others learn about training and

The décor is bright and bold with graffiti

there was little knowledge of weight

basic fitness fundamentals. As the client

artwork and quotes aimed at strong November 2020

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THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

effect across the community. There is also

looming, especially with the situation in the north-west at the moment and gyms across the Wirral and Liverpool being closed. I can only imagine the stress this is having on not just the gym owners for their businesses, but the clients also that use fitness as a focus and for positive mental health. It is amazing how the north-west have united together though to fight this, and we are all eagerly anticipating the government’s decision

the threat of lockdown which is always

with regards to the petition.

women covering the walls and doors, this

appointments, dog walking services,

helps to create an inspiring atmosphere

pt sessions, for example, may need to

where the ladies who come can feel

be dropped. This in turn both directly

motivated to work hard.

and indirectly affects each business, because if I have a lot of clients who are

What sets MissFit Studio apart from its competitors?

for example beauty professionals and

MissFit Studio is a small and intimate

fitness classes, there is a kind of domino

setting. In the local and surrounding area, there are a lot of commercial gyms where clients can get lost and become ‘just a number’, but because we are a small studio and work personally with every lady who walks through the door on a 1:1 basis, we have strong relationships with each client; you get to know everyone on such a personal level! The groups we hold are also capped at small numbers, so the ladies get to build up relationships with others in the same group who have similar interests and likes and usually, they become good friends. A lot of the ladies from my groups even meet outside of the gym setting now which is always lovely to see, it's such a supportive community feel, we call it our little fitness family.

What are your biggest challenges you face in your business? At the moment, the biggest challenge I would say (as is the same for most businesses) is the threat and repercussions of the Covid pandemic. With a lot of people having reduced hours or facing redundancy, there are also a lot of people who are struggling or left unemployed which will, of course, have a knock-on affect across all businesses; people are tightening their belts and being more careful with what they earn, so some extra luxuries such as beauty 10

November 2020

they aren’t earning as much, they won't be able to afford paying for PT services or


THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

with safety and social distancing, it is important as a business owner to keep up to-date as much as possible which what is expected and best practices to keep our clients, our staff members and of course ourselves safe. I personally think a gym setting is one of the safest places a person can visit at the moment, with stringent measures on disinfecting equipment before and after each use, hand washing and sanitising stations and social distancing in place, limit the chance of catching or spreading very low, as the government statistics actually show. At MissFit Studio and as I’m sure all gyms do, we also make sure clients have booked in so everyone is accounted for with track and trace, and have the scan code on the notice board for those using the NHS app. The main thing is to make sure we are sticking to best practices and keeping everyone safe to ensure our place open and available for all clients to attend through this difficult time

What’s the most valuable lesson you've learned from the fitness industry?

What’s next for MissFit Studio?

No two people are the same! Each client

I want to work towards having bigger

is completely individual and amazingly different in their own way. They are all there for personal reasons and have their own lifestyle needs and also battles to

I would like to be in a position to expand within the next couple of years. Ideally, premises with more equipment and staff members so I can offer memberships where women can come and train at their convenience, alone or with their friends rather than with myself or in one of

overcome. Even a client’s likes and dislikes

the classes. I still want to keep working

will come into account into a programme

with women and helping them build up

and must be integrated into working with

confidence in the gym setting so keeping

them, for example, a client wouldn’t get

to a ladies-only facility will definitely be

great results by doing something they

the plan.

didn’t enjoy, as they wouldn’t put a lot

commercial gym). You can’t give everyone

What have you put in place with the current situation highlighted by the British Government and how has this affected your business?

the same programme, because no two

With the Covid pandemic and ever-

clients will get the same results.

changing guidelines from the Government

of effort in or stick to it long term. You need to listen and engage with them and let them know they aren’t just a generic number (like you can be at a larger

November 2020

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INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH

m y G l a n o i t a Intern

OF THE MONTH HITIO GYM

A GYM FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY 12

November 2020

What is HITIO Gym? A few years ago, an inspired idea was launched. On one side, you have gyms and traditional studio training. On the other, you have (martial arts) centres.  The idea was simple, but not self-evident. Why not combine the two? And so, a new concept was born.


INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH

The combination of traditional gym and

memberships; only gym, gym & martial

martial arts training for the whole family

arts or a family membership. No other

stood out as a clear alternative to other

player in the market has entered this

gyms in the market. This revolutionary

niche.

concept allows for a large customer base; children from five years up to adults of all ages. It gives parents the possibility

How did it all start?

to train at the same time and place as

The concept began in Norway in 1998

their children, whilst offering flexible

and trades under the name MUDO Gym, November 2020

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INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH

HITIO Gym is the international name used

A technologically highly-developed

outside of this country.

country with high-quality standards. A

MUDO Gym was established in 1998, with three small taekwondo centres. Over the years, the franchise chain grew steadily.

country with the highest rate of health club members in Europe, which obviously implies the toughest competition.

When the gym & martial arts concept

Growth possibilities far outreach those

was developed in 2010, there were 21

in Norway, where it all began. Newly

gyms in the franchise. Today there are 69

franchised HITIO Gyms can grow through

franchise territories in four countries and

a concept that is already proven and is

growing rapidly.

one that stands out from other gyms. Relatively speaking, little investment

A concept for Europe The HITIO Gym concept has great potential in Europe, especially as there are no other performers in this niche.

14

November 2020

capital is needed. All sorts of people can afford to become part of the future with HITIO Gym, and a background in the physical training industry is not a requirement; hard work and dedication

Per Christian Pedersen says “If it works

are what it takes. Locations don’t need

in Norway, it will work anywhere.” Not a

many members to get up and going. A

given fact, but a sound theory. However,

few hundred members and HITIO Gym

the concept has been a success in a

franchisees are on their way to a new

country with fewer people per square mile

livelihood. They can rest assured that

than almost anywhere else in Europe.

this is not some transient affair; health


INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH

and training will never go out of fashion.

in the first two months of reopening. The

Fitness, exercise, and quality family time

UK based senior team are at hand, every

is a market for the future.

step of the way and HITIO Gym genuinely believes that its people are at the core

Success in the UK To date HITIO Gym has hit the ground running, fresh new franchisees are rolling in and this is testament to the quality of the brand and our vision. The first HITIO Gym in the UK is based at Hoxton and

of everything it does. The expansion plans are big, and why shouldn’t they be! Combining a traditional training technique to build resilience and respect in a gym environment for family and friends to enjoy together is a niche that is

has seen a huge success. With COVID it

exploding, and now is the time to focus on

was always going to be tough for every

the true meaning of activity. From health

operator, however, Hoxton smashed

benefits and mental training combining

that theory and from reopening after

the theories of martial arts is now a

lockdown saw a 40% increase in members

proven successful combination.

"It gives parents the possibility to train at the same time and place as their children, whilst offering flexible memberships"

November 2020

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GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH

Gym r e n w O OF THE MONTH

Ben Stapleton GYM NAME: Aptitude Fitness ADDRESS: Aptitude Fitness HQ, The Cottage, Audley End Business Centre, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JL EMAIL: aptitudefitness@hotmail.com TEL: 07540 659 018 WEB www.aptitude-fitness.co.uk # OF MEMBERS: 30+ personal training clients

YOUR NAME(S):

How did you become a gym owner? I have been in the industry for over a decade starting as a staff member on the gym floor, building up to managing the gym and then going onto being a freelance personal trainer. However, when we were forced into a nation lockdown due to COVID-19 I had to take on a second job in order to cover outgoing costs before being granted my selfemployed grant. Due to the additional job, my Government grant and the disposable cost of living being less I was able to 16

November 2020


GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH

How many staff do you employ? Aptitude Fitness is currently a one man band but the hope is to develop the company and watch it grow into a team of trainers. The aim is to work together to help a wider range of clients not just locally to the gym but across the country via online services like programming and video training.

How important are PTs to your business? Throughout my career I have been able to train a range of clients and have seen them develop to new heights. This is not just because of the knowledge and skills a combine the extra money I had leftover to

to change the use of the building.

personal trainer is able to provide but also

provide myself with a real opportunity to

Ordering the equipment proved tricky

the support and guidance you are able to

take my career to the next level.

due to COVID-19 which in turn, delayed

How many gyms do you own/operate? I have worked in two different gyms before now, but this is the first gym I have ever owned. I always wanted to own my own gym but over the past couple of years

sourcing and delivering of the equipment. Internally the property needed some alterations as well as some decorating and this also took time.

have always seen myself as a hard worker and motivated, so having a place which is 100% reliant on yourself and the hard work you put in, is well suited for me.

Aside from the gym, what other facilities do you offer your members e.g. cafe, classes, creche etc.? The gym is specifically a personal training

How long has your gym(s) been operating for? I opened my gym officially at the beginning of September but do not be

personal trainers I believe a large amount of people would either not be confidant enough to enter and stay at a gym, or would give up shortly into their fitness journey. I feel that this might be because they haven't got that person who not only

I have been more interested in owning my own personal training gym instead. I

give during their fitness journey. Without

gym based around 1 to 1 or couples training. However, when developing the gym, I was successful in creating a link with a very well known and established

believes in them but can provide them with the support they need.

How do you motivate/ incentivise your (CLIENTS)? I base my training around enhancing my clients confidence in themselves when exercising but also having confidence in myself as their trainer. If they trust you then they will also trust themselves.

fooled- the hard working and planning

sports therapist. The therapist will be

has been since May 2020. It took quite

based above the gym allowing for a great

has at some point given me that look of

a while to get planning permission

referral platform across both businesses.

‘Are you sure I can do this?’ but if that

Every client I have ever worked with,

November 2020

17


GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH

client trusts you, then they will have the

and arranging the gym as I wanted to

believe in what you want to achieve then

confidence that they can do whatever you

make sure I was able to get the most out

trust your gut and do it. Just remember

throw at them, both in the gym and in the

of the space I had. The Aptitude Fitness

Rome wasn't built in a day.

kitchen when focusing on their nutrition.

HQ is unique as it offers the modern underground clean/cut look which is a smaller more personal size. This allows

What are the biggest challenges facing your business today?

clients to get that 1-2-1 training in a

Making sure everyone knows my gym is

comfortable environment but also have

here! Getting the news out that you have

During lockdown I decided I wanted to

a gym they can be proud of and want to

started a gym nearby can sometimes be

further my knowledge and provide my

show off to their friends and family.

hard. Making sure you focus on all the

Do you provide any financial assistance for your staff with

very popular in the big city gyms but in

regards to their training & development?

different types of advertising so that

clients with a high quality all round

no-one is missed, which can be hard. So

the grounds of nutrition. I enjoyed the

What advice would you give to other gym owners just starting out?

refresher and look forward to completing

I would say that it is better to regret the

important thing. I am a firm believer that

more courses like this in the future.

things you did, than the things you didn't

if you walk through my gym doors you

do. Starting a gym during lockdown might

will love it, but I just need to get you to the

What makes your gym unique?

of been a weird thing to do in a lot of

doors!

When designing my gym I focused on

time, and when you know you know.

offering my clients with all the benefits

I have spent 12 years building up my

of a large commercial gym but in a more

knowledge and experience to the point

personal smaller setting. I researched

where I knew what I wanted and how I

What significant changes have you seen within the industry over the past 3 years?

for months when it came to equipment

would achieve it. So I would say, if you

I feel social media has had many positive

service. I took on a nutrition development course to help provide my clients with a more in-depth way of educating them on

18

November 2020

regular work on publicising your business through social media, papers, flyers and many other methods is the most

peoples eyes but for me it was the right


GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH

effects on the industry but it has also had a lot of negative ones too. I do feel a lot of people are now more self-conscious when exercising because they are comparing themselves against others online. I feel my personal training gym now allows people to train in a more comfortable and enjoyable environment.

How do you retain your members? I have still got some of my first ever clients from 11-12 years ago. I really focus on building up a connection with my clients and making sure they know that when it comes to their fitness journey, they are not alone. 95% of my client base has been with me for years rather than months,

How do you engage with your members? I make sure I am in regular contact with

meaning we have grown together and kept on moving forward.

messages, emails or via their online

How are you promoting your brand and marketing your gym?

account. But more recently I have set up a

I do a lot of regular posting on social

my clients, if it is via phone calls, text

private online social media group to allow

media, not just offering motivational

clients to not only speak to me but also to

quotes but also workout ideas and

other clients. This allows them to receive

technique support. I have also started

answers to questions which come from

to get out into the local towns and

people who are in the same situation as

villages and show my face/ greet the

themselves. Building a team of people who

locals. Having a personal trainer is very

can help each other grow in confidence is a

‘personal’ so it is key for people to feel

key thing for me, as everyone should know

comfortable around you. So the more I can

that they are not alone.

get my face out there the better.

What is your biggest success story? It would be easy to talk about the clients who have lost the most weight or dropped the biggest waist line but for me it is the clients who came to me because they wanted to build their self- esteem and self-love. There is nothing better than seeing someone come out of their own shell and feel confident, not only in the gym but with how they look. No-one should feel scared or not worthy when it comes to exercising, so to see someone walk into your gym with a big smile on their face is priceless. Finally, if there was one thing you could change in the industry, what would it be? For everyone to understand there is not just one typical body type/ person you should look up to or idolise, but instead remember everyone is different and being the best version of yourself is the most important thing.

November 2020

19


PT VIEWPOINT

Life

OF A PT

T

BY ADAM POWELL

here is a certain sense of irony that never before has it been so easy to qualify as a PT and yet, once qualified you will need to learn and gain more skills than the PTs who qualified several years ago.

One thing I always say about the fitness

I remember when I launched my first

industry is “you can always learn

PT business in 2005. I was ahead of the

something new.” I have been a PT for 17

game by creating a website. This along

years and even with all the experience

with some local media coverage and

and knowledge I have gained in that time I

recognising the benefits of client referrals

can meet someone who is newly qualified

and recommendations was more than

and they show me a variation of an

enough to create a successful business.

These days it is not enough to have a

have an ego and think you know it all, you

likeable personality with good anatomy

will not be successful. Be open to learning,

and exercise knowledge. You have to

study what others are doing, embrace any

be a technology master, social media

change, this year has been an exceptional

influencer, psychologist, entrepreneur,

challenge in that it has forced us all to

nutritionist, business savvy and more!

adapt to change.

exercise I had not thought of before. If you

Social media didn’t really exist. Does anyone remember MySpace? Facebook was in its infancy. Instagram, Twitter, TikTok etc. hadn’t even been created. The good thing is for anyone in their twenties and thirties who are looking to become a PT, you would have grown up using social media so you should be able to create a business profile and content quickly. If you are in your forties or older and looking to get into the fitness game, make sure you learn about all social media and the new skills you will need to succeed. Technology is awesome now and changing our industry rapidly. I remember getting my first Blackberry and running emails through that device, it was a gamechanger in that I could respond quicker. The problem was most of my clients still called to book their sessions or arrange a consultation. Now you can use your phone to easily run your entire business. There is an app for everything. From accountancy software to scan your receipts, send invoices and track your mileage when driving. Updating your website and social media in between sessions, filming some good quality content during a session that showcases your client’s progression. Organise your work and personal diary that can sync with other apps. Track your client’s activities and nutrition. Talking of apps... Who has their own app now? During lockdown, we were all forced to look at digital solutions once the gyms and PT studios were closed. You can get a personalised app for your business that

20

November 2020


PT VIEWPOINT

can organise your client booking system, post live group exercise sessions, handle payments, post blogs, and update your social media and way more. Pretty quickly we all mastered Zoom and FaceTime live workouts and PT sessions. It has been really impressive to see how polished and professional the content some PTs are posting these days. From back in March

"One thing I always say about the fitness industry is “you can always learn something new."

when it was poorly lit, heads and legs were off-screen so you could not see the exercise properly. To now very clear, good quality content that educates your clients and engages your followers. One thing that will never change and I think is becoming more important is the psychology of working with clients. With mental health now (and rightly so) being given so much media coverage and finally, we are recognising it is okay to discuss any problems we might be having. Personally, I can remember many times when clients have broken down in tears during a session and not because I have told them they have one more set of burpees and Ergo intervals to go! I always say we develop a business friendship with our clients. We get to know them very well and become part of their lifestyles. Clients will entrust you with their physical and mental wellbeing. I have know clients lose their jobs, which is quite relevant in the current recession we live in, have family and loved ones die, had serious accidents or illnesses that have changed how they

you continue to learn and adapt so you

marketing and sales, social media,

live their lives. You will need to be able

can be the best version of yourself.

networking, how to structure your

to be there for your client and help them through these stages in their lives.

Each issue I will be covering a certain

sessions, online coaching/PT and more.

aspect of running a PT business and

If you have any questions or there is

We all became PTs because we want to

explaining how to make yours a success.

something you would like to see in this

help our clients reach their goals and earn

Everything from basic business skills,

article you can contact me via email

a good salary whilst doing so. Make sure

communication, podcasts and education,

contact@cotswoldpt.com

November 2020

21


ADVERTISING FEATURE

FISIKAL HELPS FRAME FITNESS STUDIOS FUTURE-PROOF THEIR DIGITAL BUSINESS

W

e speak to Pip Black and Joan Murphy, founders of FRAME the feel-good fitness brand about adapting to Covid-19, digitalisation and functionalities of their new website powered by Fisikal What key factors drove you to enhance your digital offering? We had been considering venturing into the online space for quite some

How has integrations from Fisikal aided your digital business?

to innovate and working with Fisikal has

digitalisation quickly. Being disruptors

We can now have our studio, on-demand

functionality in the future.

in the fitness industry 11 years ago

and live-stream classes all in one

Thanks to Fisikal integration, we have

meant our technology had become a ‘filo

place, providing a much more seamless

streamlined our payments and bookings

pastry’ of multiple layers and ‘add-ons’

experience for members. It also allows us

through one solution, instead of using

so simplifying this was a huge priority

to have hybrid pricing and subscriptions

several plug-in options, which has

before our next stage of growth. We also

which gives more flexibility to members in

provided significant savings, both in

wanted to be able to give studio managers

these uncertain times. Being a consumer-

software and professional fees.

the technology to run their own studios

centric brand, it’s important to be able to

without as much input from Head Office.

meet our Framers where they are. We like

time and when lockdown hit, that was the catalyst for making the leap to

given us much more scope for additional

Did Fisikal develop any bespoke functionalities for you? The team have a fantastic, can-do attitude and worked with us on bespoke development including dynamic pricing of our pre-paid member ‘Frame Cards’ and top-up options via the member portal. The engaging option for members to tag classes by moods has also proved hugely popular, plus a waterfall filtration system enabling members to find specific classes based on filters, to name just a few. Overall, Fisikal has helped to future-proof our business. All of our data is now in one place for easier, real-time reporting and provides more control to studio managers, enabling them to analyse trends and demands of members at individual sites.

22

November 2020


ADVERTISING FEATURE

in the studio with others. In-studio classes will always be our core offer, but CV19 has shown that we can give a digital experience, where our amazing instructors can shine through the screen. Digital options allow us to reach more people, in the UK and globally. Our mission has always been to get more people moving, more often in a way that makes them feel great. The digital offering is here to stay and will be an important part of our brand moving forwards.

DIGITAL FRAME WORKOUTS IN NUMBERS • 82,560 on-demand workouts watched • 10,235 live classes attended • 2749 new Framers joined as digitalonly members How did Frame members respond to an increased digital offering during lockdown?

Have you seen many digital members upgrade to try some studio classes?

We had an overwhelming response

Yes! People who have followed us on

from our Framers! We have had so much

social media but never managed to

feedback to say how our digital classes

actually get to a studio started engaging

got members through some really dark

with us through our online classes and

days of lockdown. Dance classes were

we’ve seen a conversion from this to

particularly popular as they offered a slice

studio bookings. Going digital gave us the

of fun and escapism.

ability to reach a new network of Framers,

With all of our data now in one place, we can provide a more meaningful and targeted communication to our members

*stats from Lockdown to 13 September

Find out how Fisikal could help your digital business. Contact the team at info@fisikal.com or visit: www.fisikal.com

but also to reconnect with Framers who have moved away from London to other parts of the UK or even abroad!

based on their behaviour. This ensures we serve them the most in-demand content.

Did you see any obvious trends emerging through your online workout offering?

Do you see your digital offering becoming as important as your in-studio experience? We believe it’s impossible to replicate the feeling you get from exercising

=80’s Aerobics and Dance Cardio are definitely the most popular, especially so in the early days of lockdown. Framers wanted a workout that would lift their mood. We had members tell us that their husbands and family members had even joined in. They would never have dared come to one of the studios in person, but are now hooked on the feel-good endorphins that these classes release, all in the comfort of their own homes! Week on week, we have continued to see positive growth in response to our digital offering. People seem to be really enjoying the variety of classes and have loved the way they can still feel connected to the club and other members, even remotely. November 2020

23


FIT KIT

Kit

FIT

THIS MONTH’S ROUND-UP OF KIT, PRODUCTS AND EXTRAS YOU CAN STOCK FOR YOUR MEMBERS – BOOST LOYALTY, RETENTION AND YOUR REVENUE!

THE BEST FITNESS ACCESSORIES OF 2020 POLAR: VANTAGE M SPORT WATCH

MIRROR

An all-in-one multi-sport watch with

fitness system hiding in plain sight. Enjoy

advanced heart rate for goal-oriented

cardio, strength, yoga, boxing, pilates,

athletes, featuring proprietary Precision

barre and more in your own home. Live

Prime™ wrist-based heart rate fusion

and also on-demand classes. All fitness

technology. There is also a waterproof,

levels. Workouts on your schedule.

GPS-enabled and featuring an always-

However, you want.

Trade your gym for The Mirror, the home

on colour touch screen display, the most accurate data across 130+ sport profiles and an ultra-long battery life with up to 30 hours of continuous training. You can also switch up the colour style. 

FIGHTCAMP: A FULL STUDIO BOXING GYM IN YOUR HOME The FightCamp Gym puts the best elements of a world-class boxing gym directly into your home. It’s also compact and mobile, taking up just 8’ x 4’ of living space and can be adjusted down to 6’ x 4. There are 120+ workouts in the app led by past and former professional fighters with 4+ new workouts released every week! 

24

November 2020


FIT KIT

FOCAL: LISTEN WIRELESS HEADPHONES Premium wireless portable closed circumaural headphones ideal for hours of intense listening pleasure. These amazing headphones include: “Clear Voice Capture” double microphone system for maximum intelligibility of speech during phone calls, heat-sensitive memory foam ear cushions for maximum comfort, and more. 

SCOSCHE: RHYTHM24 HEART RATE MONITOR Waterproof, hyper-accurate armband heart rate monitor that provides performance-enhancing precision biometrics to outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. With five changeable

TAP

training/use zones/modes and two multi-modes (designed for biathletes

Tap is a unique wearable that allows

and triathletes training and activities).

you to send texts and commands to your

However, we enjoy the look of it the most.

devices just by tapping your fingers on any surface. It works with any Bluetoothenabled device such as smartphones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, as well as smart TVs and VR/AR headsets. Users can also compose text, play games, point, click and scroll using just about any available surface. 

APPLE WATCH 5 This is the most advanced Apple Watch yet, featuring the Always-On Retina display, the ECG app, international emergency calling, fall detection, and a builtin compass. It’s incredibly easy to use, and also a feast for the eyes. 

NOT ALL GLOVES ARE THE SAME KEY CONSIDERATIONS Material Weight lifting gloves are typically made of a breathable fabric plus either leather

with minimal padding. That way, you have a layer of protection against friction, but the glove won't interfere with your movements.

or silica gel pads to increase grip. If grip

Wrist Protection

is your top priority, leather usually holds

Not all weight lifting gloves are designed

up better over time, though gel provides

to protect your wrists. If wrist support is

greater flexibility.

a top priority, select a glove with built-in

Padding

wrist wraps. You'll find gloves that wrap

The amount of padding varies based

just below the wrist joint to wraps up

on your needs. If calluses are a major

to 18 inches in length. The longer the

problem, it's best to find a glove with a

wrap, the greater the support. But, if you

thicker layer of gel padding to protect

don't need wrist support or if the added

your skin and make your workout pain

material makes your hands sweat too

free. If you need a large range of motion

much, you can find weight lifting gloves

in your hands and fingers, choose a glove

that don't touch the wrists at all. November 2020 25


FIT KIT

EVO 2 WEIGHTLIFTING GLOVES needs at a reasonable price making it

HARBINGER POWER NON-WRIST WRAP WEIGHTLIFTING GLOVES

our best overall suggestion. The simple

Harbinger is a well-loved name in

design provides grip, coverage, and

the fitness world and these gloves

support in higher quality materials than

are no exception. The stretchy fabric

The Evo 2 gloves have everything a lifter

provides a perfectly comfortable fit

many competitors. Few weight lifting

and they breathe beautifully to keep

gloves combine fit, durability, padding,

your palm dry for your entire workout.

wrist support, and anti-slip technology

Though the price point is very low, these

like the Evo 2s. The wide range of sizes

Harbinger gloves have double-layered

and advanced palm and finger protection make these gloves ideal for almost any gym-goer.

leather palms for added grip. Without a

NORDIC LIFTING GLOVES

wrist wrap, these gloves are extremely

These Nordic lifting gloves come in at

expensive gloves, these may not stand

a close second to our top pick. The fine

up to years of tough workouts but are a

materials and comfortable fit make

perfect choice for a beginning lifter or

these a great choice for a wide variety

someone new to weight lifting gloves.

portable and light, though they don't offer any wrist stabilization. Unlike other more

of lifters. Made for any type of workout, these weight lifting gloves are perfect for anyone who likes to switch up their gym routine. Made from high-quality leather with double stitching, these gloves are made to last and stay looking good all along the way. The thin padding makes the workout more comfortable without getting in the way while the 12-inch wrap keeps your wrists safe and pain-free. If you're looking for a leather glove, the Nordic Lifting pair is hard to beat.

CONTRABAND BLACK LABEL 5050 The price point is hard to beat with the Contraband Black Label Basic Weight Lifting Gloves. These simple gloves give you all the necessary basics: a good fit, palm protection and relief from friction. The stretch mesh is incredibly breathable and the moisture-wicking inner makes sure your hands stay dry. Though the price is low, Contraband still provides a quality leather palm for ultimate grip. If you haven't used weight lifting gloves before and want a basic, simple pair, these are the perfect gloves to try.

PROFITNESS CROSS TRAINING GLOVES The open design for the ProFitness Cross Training gloves provides freedom of movement and support in one simple package. The open back keeps your hands incredibly cool while the thick wrist strap gives your wrists added support and stability. The silicone padding in the palm adds comfort while the flexible neoprene lets you move as though you're not wearing gloves at all.

26

November 2020


November 2020

27


EDITORIAL FEATURE

“IF I CAN DO IT! SO CAN YOU” BY ASIF ALI

A

sif Ali is a disability life coach, motivational speaker, and author. Asif is a global leader who believes your

disability is your superpower. His mission is to innovate and impact people's minds to bring out the best version of them. Through Asif's journey and hardships, he has created some amazing life coaching courses for men and women with disabilities to improve their lives and live up to their dreams. Asif is a confident, deep thinking, and fun individual that likes

months with no reasonable answers to

Nottingham that deals with paediatric

what caused Asif to feel like this, she

renal patients where they immediately

demanded a second opinion from the

operated to insert a peritoneal line into

hospital, which by this time Asif was 7

his stomach as well as inserting a feeding

years old.

peg tube.

The doctors carried out investigations,

This is where Asif’s journey on dialysis

and then all Asif could hear was his mum

started. He did peritoneal dialysis for

and grandad crying around him as the

about 1 ½ years at home. During that

doctors said: “Unfortunately Mrs Ali but we have noticed that Asif’s kidneys have failed and he will have to go on dialysis". At this point, everyone’s heart sank to the ground but Asif didn’t even know what

time, he was referred to the transplant team and it was explained thoroughly how a transplant would change his life. When he got the call, Asif and his family zoomed up the motorway with a

to share knowledge and empower

was going on.

the human race. Within Asif's

Not long after Asif and his parents made

to the hospital for that kidney as soon

motivational speaking career, he goes

their way up to a specialist hospital in

as possible. After 6hrs on the operating

to schools, universities, events, and seminars to help awaken and educate people to create a new vision for happiness and success. But Asif has been on a very challenging journey to get to where he has today. 28 years ago, Asif was born with cleft lip and palate and a growth deficiency which meant he couldn’t grow much, as well as speech issues due to his cleft palate. Life carried on until the age of 6 when suddenly out of nowhere he felt awful and lost an awful lot of weight as well as turning so pale and yellow just like a lemon. After many trips back and forth to the GP, Asif's mother started to feel very frustrated and angry due to the fact that Asif wasn’t getting any better. After 28

November 2020

police siren accompanying them to get


EDITORIAL FEATURE

years as he lost not only his mother but

During Asif’s first couple of years, he was

his grandparents a year before his mother

also diagnosed with chronic heart failure

died, as well as losing his kidney at the

as well as being rejected permanently

same time.

for a multi-organ transplant due to his

Asif was having a huge problem with his

complex medical history. This news was

fluid restriction which he was placed on as

hard as he now was thinking he would

well as the renal diet that comes with this

never have a normal life, and that dialysis

condition. He would inevitably compare

had beaten him.

himself to his friends who could eat or drink what they wanted. Asif could only drink 600mls a day. A few months later, Asif got transferred to the adult renal unit to which he was overwhelmed by and scared as he faced

Even though Asif faced all these hardships there was light at the end of the tunnel. Asif’s passion for disability life coaching and motivational speaking emerged through all the challenges he faced.

this new world on his own. However, he

His brain is seriously deep thinking and

found out he wasn’t on his own, as he

his ability to help others is more powerful

had an amazing set of nurses constantly

than ever before. He is born to transform

keeping an eye out for him, encouraging

people with disabilities to encourage them

him to get involved in his dialysis care which he kept refusing to, but they persevered and never did he imagine it would give him a huge confidence boost as well as his independence.

to stand proud and be themselves. We all deserve a great life and sometimes it takes a leader to pave the way! Instagram as @asif_dialysis_king

table, the first thing Asif longed for was a bottle of coke, he was thirsty. Finally, Asif had another chance at life with a gift that cannot be repayable. Asif went to school full time, went on trips with school, and even had full attendance at last. But just as Asif got used to the normal life without dialysis his kidney started fighting the antibodies. However, on top of that Asif’s mother was also fighting breast cancer, and sadly on the 16th January 2004, Asif lost his soldier, his rock, his mother. Not long after that Asif’s kidney gave up too. It was like a huge wave had come in and taken the one most important person in Asif’s life, as well as taking one of the most important organs which were keeping Asif alive. Asif was around 12yrs old and he had had enough at this point. Anyway, at this stage, he was told to go in hemodialysis but it would mean sacrificing part of his freedom which he was not ready to give up so he then decided to go back on peritoneal dialysis but only for 1yr. Unfortunately, he got peritonitis which resulted in him going on to hemodialysis at the hospital 3 days every week which increased by an hour and increased by the day. Due to this Asif was doing his schooling at the hospital, including his SATS and GCSE’s. Between the ages of 11 and 16 yrs old were the hardest and the most painful November 2020 29


EDITORIAL FEATURE

Training an older n o i t a r e n e g

FOR THE LONG GAME FIGHTING SARCOPENIA WITH STRENGTH TRAINING BY DAVID VAUX

T

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW

green shoots of change in the fitness

Frailty isn’t just about an older person

elderly. However, there needs to be an

strength leading to loss of function

being weak from lack of strength. In many

industry-wide change for meaningful

and frailty. Its severity varies across

cases, their underlying loss of skeletal

growth of membership in these groups, to

individuals, but we can all expect to

muscle defines their quality of life. They

enable them to seek strength throughout

experience some level of decrease

are less able to move. They are more likely

a lifetime.

in strength as we age. However, we

to have osteoporosis with subsequent

he ancient Greeks called it the poverty of flesh. Simply put, sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass and

would be wrong to think that frailty is inevitable.

proprioceptive feedback from skeletal muscle leads to balance issues.

Promoting benefits to strength training

fight an infection that would otherwise have been mild, and the loss of quality

cure waiting in the wings: strength training throughout life (Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, 2016).

November 2020

market for strength-training within the

BENEFITS OF HEALTHY SKELETAL MUSCLE

fracture if they fall. They are less able to

The good news is that we have a miracle

30

industry, acknowledging the untapped

is perhaps the best starting point for the fitness industry. Strength training is not just about better ageing or retaining independence – although that is a key foundation. For some years now, there

The fitness industry can do a lot to help all

has been a growing body of evidence

generations understand how to maximise

suggesting that skeletal muscle is

strength throughout their lifetime. In my

an immunological organ in its own

clinical practice, and through promoting

right. Among others, the Institute for

exercise for Arthritis Action, I have seen

Inflammation and Ageing (2019) suggested


EDITORIAL FEATURE

that maintaining skeletal muscle via exercise is beneficial to immune function. Since the pandemic hit, emerging data has further shed light on to the importance of avoiding obesity to improve health outcomes if infected with the virus. Whatever activity, class or sport you choose for this, it is essential to improve the muscles that we rely on to pull, push and leverage our bodies into movement. Strong skeletal muscle is the key to any movement. At this point in history, we need to accept that the majority of the population do not think that strength training is relevant to them. It seems as though the younger generation is the only generation for which it is relevant or socially acceptable in the UK. Sport England (2018) estimates that approximately 28% of 55-74 year olds, 47% of 75-84 year olds, and a staggering 70% of the over 85s are classed as inactive. These numbers are even higher should you suffer from a mobility issue. And yet, it is the middle age and older whose health stands to benefit most from strength training or lose the most from lack of it.

STRENGTH DOES NOT HAVE TO DROP SHARPLY One of the things that we all need to accept is that our strength decline starts at around middle age. However, much can be achieved by working hard to minimise this decline. This helps to avoid the double whammy of this natural decline combined with inactivity-related decline in one’s strength.

Skeletal muscle strength and healthy BMI are two modifiable factors we have the most control over. They seem to interact in such a way that an obese individual is less able to absorb proteins and on a cellular level, by creating a toxic environment to skeletal muscle cells once again accelerating sarcopenic changes. Bottom line, with some small adaptations in focus, gyms can become the experts in building strength, improving independence, and also help members fight infections and recover physically. Think of it like training an athlete for a long event, or a boxer putting in the work for a fight. They have to build up their personal reserves. In Osteopathy we call this our ‘reservoir of compensation’. If your reservoir is empty due to illness or deconditioning, you have very little ability for a normal response to a health crisis. The better the skeletal muscle and percentage of fat, the more resilient that person will be in ‘going long’. In this example, the challenge might be bouncing back from an injury, infection or fall. The bottom line is: if a challenging episode happens to an elderly person who has been inactive and lost strength, then the reality is that they will most likely not regain their former level of independence.

In terms of pain and joint-related problems, we also see the majority of patients reporting less pain if they strengthen the muscles around a joint, irrespective of any underlying conditions. So strength training really is ‘win-win-win’ in terms of pain levels, avoiding loss of independence, decreasing frailty, and maintaining healthy immunity.

LET’S NOT FORGET AGAIN! Pre-COVID-19, Chris Witty admitted that strength training seems to have been ‘forgotten’ in public health advice regarding activity promotion (UK Active 2019). It’s time to invest understanding of the ageing process and normalise strength training in multi-generational gym settings. In doing so, fitness brands can create a more sensitive membership index, with relevant language or proposed benefits to that demographic, based on both age and ability. This nation can’t afford to ignore this discussion. As an industry, the fitness world can position themselves as the experts on ‘going long’ by helping us all in the fight against sarcopenia. Because every one of us will have this fight.

LESSONS FROM ELITE SPORT ‘PREHAB’ In the past, I have successfully worked in decreasing injury rates in international athletes via programs developed for sportspecific strength movement, or Prehab. The sports team in question enjoyed a significant drop in injury and were more able to sustain performance through their season. I believe that such lessons, learnt from elite sport, are just as relevant when applied to the ageing individual. If we can help improve the strength of the middle-aged and older population, then they stand a better chance of coming

(Adapted from Hickson 2015. Imperial

through long periods of inactivity due to

College Healthcare)

illness or an injury.

David splits his time between his clinical work as an Osteopath and as Therapies and Exercise lead for UK charity Arthritis Action. He is a former international sports team conditioning coach and medical team member. Hi sits on several health focused steering groups and Think tanks advising on exercise for the elderly.

REFERENCES • Academy of Medical royal colleges. Exercise: Miracle cure and the role of the Doctor. www.aomrc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Exercise_the_Miracle_Cure_0215.pdf • Active Lives Survey, Sport England, November 2017/18. • UK Active 2019 https://www.ukactive.com/blog/muscle-strengthening-was-the-forgotten-guideline-

November 2020

31


EDITORIAL FEATURE

How To Choose

THE BEST

KETTLEBELLS G

etting in shape requires a commitment, but making it to the gym every day can be tough.

Home fitness equipment provides an effective workout and certainly makes sticking to your exercise goals a little easier – and kettlebells definitely have a place in your home workout regimen. Unlike a treadmill or elliptical, kettlebells probably aren’t going to become an eyesore in the corner of your bedroom and still provide a few heart-pounding workouts. They’re more versatile than the same old hand weights, though, so you can create an exercise regime that’s tailored to your specific fitness goals. Buying a kettlebell probably doesn’t seem that difficult, but many factors affect how well this equipment fits into your workout routine. Finding the right model means knowing what materials to look for, what type of handles best meet your needs, and the proper weight to give you the best workout. With so many options available, choosing the ideal kettlebell can definitely be a challenge.

32

November 2020


EDITORIAL FEATURE

that are filled with another material. When this is the case, the bell doesn’t precisely match the weight measurement indicated. Construction materials Kettlebells are typically made in two ways: via a one-piece casting or a two-piece assembly. With a one-piece casting, the handle and ball of the kettlebell are actually one continuous piece. That means you don’t have to worry about the ball falling off as you swing the kettlebell around. With a two-piece assembly, the handle is a separate piece, attached to the kettlebell’s ball. As a result, the handle isn’t as secure as

BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELLS

KETTLEBELL CONSIDERATIONS

If you haven’t worked out with kettlebells

Materials

before, you may not know what all the fuss

When purchasing kettlebells, you usually

is about. There’s good reason why they’ve

have to choose between two materials:

become such a popular workout tool in recent years. First of all, kettlebells can provide an incredible workout. When you swing them, you can elevate your heart rate quickly and burn up to 20 calories per minute, which is often more than you’d do in a cardio class at the gym. Best of all, they actually combine

cast-iron and vinyl. As their name implies, cast-iron kettlebells are made from solid cast-iron. Because

in a one-piece assembly, which means it’s possible the handle could snap or break off. One-piece cast kettlebells are more durable than two-piece assemblies, as the juncture between the ball and handle is solid and more resistant to cracking.

HANDLES

they only contain one material, they

Handle Seam

tend to provide the most accurate weight

When the iron is cast for the kettlebells, a

measurements. Cast-iron models are also

seam is left across the centre of the handle’s

extremely durable, so you can trust that

underside. If the seam isn’t treated, it can

your equipment will last for years.

be uncomfortable to grip the handle.

workout so you never have to choose

Vinyl kettlebells also feature cast-iron, but

Higher-end brands will file down the

between the two again.

the metal is coated with a layer of vinyl

If you have issues with achy joints,

to keep the weight from damaging your

the best of a cardio and strength training

kettlebells also tend to be easier on the body.

floor if it falls. However, the vinyl coating

The workouts utilise smooth, swinging

is prone to cracking and peeling, and the

transitions so your shoulders, elbows, and

weight of the kettlebells is often inaccurate

knees don’t take as much of a beating as

because the iron beneath may contain holes

seam to create a smooth, even surface. Inexpensive kettlebells often don’t have this seam removed, which leaves a sharp edge that can cut your skin when you grip the handle. Always feel along the underside of the

they would with jump training. Kettlebells can be worked into a variety of exercise forms, too, so you can use them with strength and power training, as well as with traditional cardio workouts such as running. Best of all, kettlebells don’t take up much space in your home. You don’t need to make room for a bench or barbell set in your home or shove your treadmill in a corner of your guest room. You can easily stash your kettlebells in a closet or under the bed, and still, get the same intense workout you’d get from a five-minute sprint. TIPS • Be aware that vinyl-coated kettlebell handles tend to crack. • Feel the underside of the handle to ensure there isn’t a seam that will irritate or hurt your hands. • Of the different types of handle coating, bare iron and powder coating provide the most secure grip. November 2020

33


EDITORIAL FEATURE

considering a kettlebell’s handle diameter. The larger your hands, the larger you need the diameter to be. Pay attention to the width of the handle too, though. Some exercises may require placing both of your hands around the handle, so you don’t want the fit to be too tight or uncomfortable. Most kettlebells increase the width of the handles as the weight goes up, but you can find some bells that have handles which extend past the ball in a

of finishes, including bare iron, enamel, powder coating, and vinyl.

The size of a kettlebell’s handle can make a

answer is what size to get. Kettlebells are available in weights ranging from 2 to 40 kilos. The appropriate size for you depends on your fitness level and what type of workouts you’ll be doing.

very active should start at 4 to 6 kilos. A

are available in several different types

Diameter and Width

you prefer, the most important question to

hands, look for this type of kettlebell.

or vinyl-coated cast-iron, their handles

another model.

material, construction, and handles that

In general, a woman who is older or not

While most kettlebells are made of cast-iron

you feel a rough, raised seam, it’s best to try

Once you’ve chosen a kettlebell with the

V-shape for smaller models. If you have large

Handle Finish

handle before you purchase a kettlebell. If

KETTLEBELL WEIGHT

Bare iron handles are what most competition kettlebells have, so they’re the standard. Bare iron provides a good grip, so you don’t have to worry about the equipment flying out of your hands.

man in a similar condition should opt for an 8 kilo kettlebell. For women in average shape, with some weight training experience, it’s best to start with a 6 to 8 kilos size. A man in average shape should choose a kettlebell between 8 and 12 kilos. A woman who is extremely fit should purchase a kettlebell between 8 to 12 kilos. For an extremely fit man, kettlebells from 12 to 20 kilos should work well.

big difference in how comfortable it is to hold.

Powder coating has an even rougher

DID YOU KNOW?

In general, the diameter of a kettlebell’s

texture, so this type of finish is a good option if you find that your hands get very

• Kettlebells originated in Russia in the

handle will increase as the weight goes up. For example, a 13 pound kettlebell will have

sweaty during workouts.

a handle with a smaller diameter than a 16

Enamel handles have a smoother finish, but

pound kettlebell. Smaller bells will typically

they still work well.

have a diameter of about 30 mm. Heavier bells will have diameters of approximately 38 mm. Use the size of your hands as a guide when

34

November 2020

18th century as a means to weigh crops and dry goods for market. • Russian kettlebells are traditionally measured by poods. A pood equals 16.37

Vinyl handles are best avoided because

kilos. A handy tip as many kettlebells

they don’t offer a good grip and have a

in the market have weight markings in

tendency to crack and peel.

poods.


EDITORIAL FEATURE

FAQ Q. How many kettlebells do I need?

• A 15 minute workout on an elliptical usually burns between 50 and 125 calories, while a 15 minute workout with kettlebells can burn about 300 calories. • Ancient Greeks had a kettlebell-like exercise tool. It consisted of a large rock with a handle attached so it could be used for strength training. • For exercise, the Shaolin Monks in China

model that’s approximately £45 for 26kg to £75 for 32kg depending on your budget If you are just starting with kettlebells and aren’t sure that you’re going to like the workout, start with an inexpensive option, one that comes in at about £25 and upgrade once you know that you’re committed to the exercise routine.

lifted large padlocks that were very

Exercisers experience an average heart

similar to modern kettlebells

rate of 93% maximum during a kettlebell

• Kettlebells were originally called kettleballs because they were hollow.

KETTLEBELL PRICING WILL VARY ON WHAT BRAND AND TYPE OF MATERIAL

workout. TIPS • There are plenty of single-kettlebell exercises. Start with one, then work your way up to two-kettlebell exercises. • While kettlebells can provide effective aerobic exercise during a workout,

When it comes to fitness equipment,

they also cause a prolonged anaerobic

kettlebells are one of the more budget-

burn after you’ve completed your

friendly options around. In general, they

routine.

range from £25 for 4kg to £35 for 6kg

• A kettlebell workout usually burns

If you want an extremely well-made

approximately 20 calories per minute,

kettlebell that’s comfortable to grip and

which is the equivalent of running at a

will stand up to intense workouts, opt for a

six-minute mile pace.

A. If you’re just starting out with kettlebell workouts, it’s best to stick to a single bell at a time. Once you master exercises that utilise a single kettlebell, you can progress to those that require two of the same weight. However, it’s a good idea to have kettlebells in a couple of different weights so you can scale your workout up or down, depending on your goals. Q. What muscles can you work out with a kettlebell routine? A. From a weight training perspective, kettlebells can target most of the major muscle groups. Depending on your routine, you can work out your back, shoulders, arms, abs, hips, glutes, oblique’s and legs. Q. How often should you work out with a kettlebell? A. The frequency of your routine will depend on the intensity of your workout, so it’s a good idea to consult with a trainer or fitness expert for advice. However, because the kettlebell can work out the entire body, it’s important to rest so your body has time to recover. In general, working out every other day is a good average intensity program for beginners. November 2020 35


ADVERTISING FEATURE

MATRIX FITNESS JOIN THE PARTNERSHIP W

hen a gym, studio or sports team chooses Matrix Fitness, they get more than premium performance equipment, innovative design, connected technology and durability that stands up to the toughest usage. They get an ongoing partnership geared for success.

relevant for all the team personnel, not

Here we take a look at some of the

equipment including cardiovascular

long-standing partnerships from Matrix

equipment from their leading 7xi Series

Fitness…

and products from Matrix’ Magnum and

just the drivers. Our Human Performance Center (HPC) is arguably one of the best facilities of its kind in Formula 1 and we’re continuing to work with Matrix to ensure it remains the very best, showing the tangible benefits it brings to our team’s performance.” The partnership involves continued support of the teams’ HPC; a purposebuilt training and sports science facility wherein Matrix have supplied fitness

Ultra strength ranges. Latest instalments

RENAULT F1 RACING TEAM

include the new Matrix S-Drive and

Having signed the original official supplier

CXP Indoor Training Cycles and Connected

agreement with the Renault F1® Team in 2006, Matrix Fitness renewal of this partnership makes it the longest standing partnership that Matrix holds within its current portfolio. Daryl Coombes, HPC Manager at Renault F1 Team, adds: “Health and fitness is such a vital aspect of our sport, and is

S-Force Performance Trainers, the Matrix Solutions, which include an in-built

Give riders the kind of experience they’ll come back for with a cycle designed to track personalised training metrics. High-performance, low-maintenance engineering includes Target Training LED colour wrap, intuitive console operation, extensive training programs, repeatable magnetic resistance, optimised ergonomics and intuitive four-way adjustment with quicktouch operation.

WASPS RUGBY

trainer portal.

Wasps Rugby and Matrix Fitness UK have

Formula One is a team sport, and as well as the drivers, the Pit Crew have to be incredibly fit; moving at a rapid pace, they are expected to perform pit-stops in little more than two seconds, lifting tyres and temperature environment. The whole team works like an engine, all elements have a vital input and therefore must all be performing at their optimum. Commenting on the renewal of the contract, Matt Pengelly, Managing Director at Johnson Health Tech UK, said: “This has been an extremely successful, collaborative partnership for us. We understand the physical demands that F1 drivers face and are proud to provide

renewed their partnership as official gym equipment supplier first signed in 2016 for a further four years. Through the partnership, Matrix have supplied an extensive range of fitness equipment to the clubs’ state of the art, elite gym facility. Chris Bell, Head of Partnerships at Wasps Rugby Club, comments: “Matrix have provided equipment that allows our players to develop and prepare for the demands of professional Rugby.” Current equipment installed includes the Matrix Magnum plate loaded racks, 7xi treadmills, the Climb-mill, the Matrix S-Drive and S-Force Performance Trainers as well as the new Matrix CXP Indoor Training cycles.

them with the equipment to enable them

Bell adds: “Matrix equipment is used

to train to meet the physical demands of

as a key component of the strength

their job.” November 2020

Matrix CXP Indoor Training Cycle

workout tracking network and personal

equipment under pressure and in a high-

36

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT:

and conditioning programme to aid the


ADVERTISING FEATURE

there are four Magnum series mega racks, two Magnum half racks with cables and several Magnum posterior chain machines. There are also isolated Aura stack machines, free weights, treadmills and bikes from the Matrix 7xi range, S-drive and S-force Performance Trainers and Matrix rowers. “We’re really pleased with the gym; I think it is on par with any of the facilities I’ve seen in professional sport,” Johnson adds. “The equipment is used consistently throughout the season. In pre-season, we’re doing around eight resistance sessions a week so the kit can really take a hammering – another reason we need to rely on the quality and durability that Matrix offers.”

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Matrix S-Force Performance Trainer athletic development of our players. The versatility of the equipment allows our rehabbing players to strengthen affected areas alongside our fit players.”

WIGAN WARRIORS Matrix Fitness has been a proud partner of the Wigan Warriors team for over five years, providing fitness equipment for the

Dan Baugh, Head of Strength and

Club’s world-class training facility, and

Conditioning at Wasps, adds: "Matrix are

have recently renewed this relationship

leaders in their field and continually look

for a further five years.

to innovate and improve their equipment to support athletic development. Importantly, the versatility of the Matrix equipment allows our rehabbing players to strengthen affected areas alongside our fit players. We pride ourselves on partnering with organisations that are best-in-class,

The S-Force Performance Trainer combines a specifically designed motion and a magnetic resistance system to take high-intensity interval training to

Paul Johnson, Wigan Warriors Head of

the next level. As

Strength and Conditioning, comments:

members move

“Matrix have been accommodating

through a user-

throughout the course of the partnership and

defined path that fits

have always catered exactly to our needs.

their individual stride,

They have fitted out our gym twice now and

resistance automatically increases the

their service has always been first-class.”

harder they work. This means even HIIT enthusiasts are pushed to their limit.

innovative and offer unique concepts for

The new gym facility is much bigger and

our club. Matrix is a welcome addition to

includes an increased variety of fitness

this family."

equipment, allowing the coaches more

To find out more visit

versatility. For strength and conditioning,

www.matrixfitness.com/en

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Matrix S-Drive Performance Trainer Ideal for maximising athletic speed and explosiveness, S-Drive Power combines a user-driven treadmill, weighted sled, resistance parachute and harness system in one space-saving footprint. Our Target Training Display offers precision metric tracking, sled-push watts tracking and an LED colour wrap to gauge intensity, plus integrated interval and Sprint 8 programming.

November 2020

37


EDITORIAL FEATURE

h c t a w t mar SWEARABLE TECHNOLOGY FEATURE

Upcoming smartwatches 2020: Exciting devices still to be released

T

he smartwatch world is hotting up as we approach the business end of 2020, and there's set to be so many new devices on the market, choosing will be incredibly difficult. The big names all have brand new smartwatches, with the Apple Watch Series 6 and  Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 all inbound. And we'll have new Fitbit smartwatches as well. And there's a big influx of cheaper smartwatch options too, with really strong devices from Huawei, Oppo and TicWatch. That's going to put pressure on the traditional smartwatch companies – especially the likes of Fossil, which we anticipate might also be prepping new watches too.  Here's what we're expecting from the rest of 2020.

38

November 2020

APPLE WATCH SERIES 6 The Apple Watch Series 6 is official, and while it's not a massive upgrade, there's plenty here to keep it ahead of the growing pack of upcoming smartwatches. It's getting new colours, with blue, graphite, red, space grey, black, silver and gold.. The big change is the SpO2 sensor, which allows blood oxygen tracking for the first time. Users can take a spot check and you can have blood oxygen monitored during sleep. Always-on display is now 2.5x brighter outside, and there’s an always-on altimeter for altitude tracking. There are also new altimeter watch faces showing your altitude, aimed at hikers. And the Apple Watch Series 6 will now charge in 1.5 hours, and means those using for sleep tracking can charge more after waking up and before leaving the house. Cost £379 upwards.


EDITORIAL FEATURE

FITBIT SENSE The Fitbit Sense is the company's first health watch, and substantially ups the level of advanced stats. And it's also one of the most complete health devices we’ve seen to date. The Fitbit Sense adds ECG for the first time on a Fitbit, with AFib detection and high/low heart rate alerts.

APPLE WATCH SE The Apple Watch SE was tipped to launch at the Time Flies event and we weren’t disappointed The Apple Watch SE offers people the chance to get an Apple Watch for less – but without making as many sacrifices as the Series 3. It uses the newer shape with the larger 40/44mm display, which is much better looking than the boxy old Series 3. The Apple Watch SE uses the previous generation S5 chip and uses the same line-up of accelerometer and altimeter as Series 6, which means it retains fall detection, altitude tracking and heart rate. 

But there's also temperature tracking, which alongside data on breathing rate, heart rate variability, resting HR and blood oxygen, which can act as an early warning system for infections such as Covid-19. An electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) reads stress responses from the skin to produce a daily stress score, which is augmented with input about your mood. And there's a big focus on mindfulness and guided meditation designed to alleviate symptoms. In addition the Fitbit Sense brings across standard Fitbit smartwatch features such as notifications, fitness tracking, sleep monitoring music playback and control, GPS and tracking of 20 sports and Fitbit Pay. The Fitbit Sense costs £299.99.

But you don't get health features like SpO2 and ECG, or the always on display. Cost £269, making it more expensive than Series 3 which stays at £199.

XIAOMI MI WATCH FITBIT VERSA 3 Fitbit also announced a new version of its Fitbit Versa smartwatch, with a few important upgrades, and crucially, the same price. The new Versa 3 smartwatch adds GPS, which is something we've called for since the first version. It gets a larger AMOLED display than its predecessor. And the Versa 3 also gets the same PurePulse 2.0 tech as the Fitbit Sense, which promises to be more accurate than previous devices. Users can now choose between Alexa and Google Assistant on the wrist, and there's fast charging, which will offer a full day extra battery life with just 12 minutes worth of juice. The Fitbit Versa 3 costs £199.99. Read our in-depth look at the Fitbit Versa 3.

ETA: "Soon" A totally different beast to the Xiaomi Mi Watch that launched in China, the global edition brings a round face, big specs and a super-aggressive €99 (roughly £90) price tag. Boasting a 1.39-inch round AMOLED, we believe it will offer a 454x454 resolution – it's a serious piece of kit. It’s packed with sensors too. Heart rate, GPS and blood oxygen join 117 exercise profiles. It uses a custom OS not the MIUI operating system, which is based on Wear OS. That means less chance of usable third party apps, but you are getting a 16 day battery life. November 2020

39


EDITORIAL FEATURE

OPPO WATCH ETA: Sept (41mm) / October (46mm) The Oppo Watch is now officially available outside of China, but there have been changes. Yes, it still looks just like the Apple Watch Series 5, and it's available in two sizes. There are 46mm and 41mm, which feature (enormous) 1.91-inch and 1.6-inch AMOLED displays. That's thanks to the curved glass, which allows for more screen realestate than equivalently sized rivals.

HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 PRO ETA: 5 October 2020

Wear OS is the operating system on board, which means access to third party apps. But the move to Wear OS hasn't negatively impacted battery life.

The new Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro joins the GT2 and Watch GT2e by adding more premium materials, with a titanium case and ceramic back.

The Oppo Watch manages two day battery life (better than most Wear OS devices and the Apple Watch), and brings some clever power management.

It comes with a 47mm oversized case with a bright 454 x 454 AMOLED display.

A power saver mode extends battery life to 21 days, and it can still carry on with basic fitness tracking. What's more, you can fast charge and get 16 hours of juice in just 15 minutes. Impressive stuff.

You also get a whopping 14 day battery life and over 100 sports profiles, with GPS for accurate outdoor workout tracking. Huawei has also added new golf and skiing tracking modes, and there's a new focus on outdoor tracking with weather system tracking and tide times, as well as back-to-start navigation Thanks to those materials it will be on sale for around £299.99, making it around double the price of the Watch GT2e. Read our full Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro review for first impressions and close up pictures.

But there's also an availability issue. Oppo isn't launching its smartwatch in the US – although we're sure it will arrive via resellers. Therefore we don't have a US price, but in the UK the 46mm LTE version will be £329 ($400ish) – so it's not cheap. The 41mm is £229 ($300-ish). The smaller 41mm will be available in September and the 46mm LTE will follow in October. There's also been an OPPO Watch ECG launched in China but we can't see that getting a wider release anytime soon.

TICWATCH GTX Mobvoi has launched the Ticwatch GTX, a new entry-level smartwatch which will cost just £54.99. Mobvoi usually opts for Wear OS but the new Ticwatch GTX uses a custom OS. The downside of that is a lack of Wear OS apps, but you do get a 7 day battery life that rises to 10 days with power saving modes.  You get 14 fitness modes, including running, swimming and yoga. You get activity tracking and naturally there’s a heart rate monitor, but one sacrifice of the price is a lack of GPS chip. It's entry level and while the design looks pretty smart, the large bulky case might not look so premium up close. But at that price, it's going to be a contender.

40

November 2020


EDITORIAL FEATURE

HUBLOT BIG BANG E The Big Bang E comes packed into a 42mm case, down from a whopping 49mm on the 2018 edition. It runs Google Wear OS and is powered by a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. At 42mm it's pretty compact compared to the megaliths we’ve seen out of Switzerland in the past, such as the Tag Heuer Connected and Alpina X Alive. There will be two versions, one with a titanium case and the other in ceramic. The Big Bang Referee 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia was the last outing from Hublot, and there were rumours that its successor would focus on Euro 2020. But the Big Bang E is gimmick free, and undeniably classy. But it will cost you. The titanium edition is going for $5,200 and you'll need $5,800 for the ceramic.

AMAZFIT X ETA: Ships October 2020 We have to say the Amazfit X excites us a bit – not because we believe it will be a groundbreaking device – but we're excited to see how powerful this crowdfunding one-shot can be. Bringing advanced smartwatch and wellness smarts into a cufflike band, the Amazfit X features a 2.07-inch curved AMOLED display, with a totally button free design, that makes use of the generous touchscreen. It has a super bright 400nit screen with a 206 x 640 resolution, and takes a 22mm strap.

AMAZFIT ARES ETA outside China: TBC A surprise new addition to the Amazfit range, the Amazfit Ares is a tough outdoor-friendly sports watch, with a big spec sheet and sub-$100 price tag. It's already available in China at just CNY499 – which is about $70, so we're confident it will stay on the right side of $100 when it hits Western shores. It boasts a 1.28-inch, 206 x 640 display, and 5ATM water resistance, with 70 sports tracking profiles including running, cycling, swimming and, curiously, dance.

It’s no slouch in terms of heart rate tracking either, with an optical sensor which also features an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen tracking. That’s backed up by GPS with GLONASS support for outdoor workout tracking. The Amazfit X has 9 profiles for sports tracking, from running and cycling to open water swimming and treadmill tracking. Amazfit knows this won't be for everyone, so it's gone to Indiegogo rather than selling through online stores. It's more about demonstrating the engineering power of Huami, which should be scaring the likes of Fitbit and Garmin with its powerful devices and incredible prices. It raised well over $1 million and is tipped to ship a month later than originally stated before it also jump up to a full retail price of $329. It might be worth that to get hold of a true wearable curiosity.

There’s a heart rate sensor, as you’d imagine – and sports analysis goes a step further than the Amazfit T-Rex. It uses the PAI score to rate your weekly activity and ensure you’re getting your full quota of exercise, at elevated heart rates. Firstbeat has chipped in with its VO2 Max and heart rate variability metrics too, such as Recovery Time, Training Load and Training Effect, which means it can be compared to Garmin watches in terms of sports stats. Battery life looks to be around 14 days with 20 hours of GPS tracking - and after the Amazfit T-Rex and Amazfit GTS both reviewed well with our experts, this is certainly a budget option to watch.

November 2020

41


ADVERTISING FEATURE

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIGITALISATION D uring such uncertain times for the fitness industry, gyms are asking one question essential to their survival – how can we digitalise our business to ensure it offers an effective, user-friendly solution that keeps us future-proofed. Here, Ernst De Neef, CEO at FunXtion, experts in digital, interactive fitness experiences, explains what they have learnt during these times of uncertainty, what digital solutions have been most in-demand and the best way to digitalise your business.

1) Has the Covid-19 crisis increased demand for your services?

virtual classes, as well as operators looking for advice on how to develop their digital strategy, so we have also stepped in to provide a consultancy service.

Yes, it most definitely has. However, our primary focus has been and remains on ensuring that our current customers can adjust their offerings and support their members outside of the club. We have seen a rise in requests for branded apps and content integrations, mainly in the form of

2) What have you learned of the global market during the crisis?

are for branded apps, and these requests are mainly coming in from larger chains and small PT training studios. We see a demand for virtual classes, streaming, and content integration – coming in from organisations

remains clear, gyms and keeping people

that want to enhance an existing digital

physically and mentally fit is more

offering. Overall, more companies are

care is becoming much more important and it’s clear that a new, hybrid approach is essential. During this pandemic,

thinking about digital wrap-around services that meet the member at every point along the member’s fitness journey.

important providing the right digital

4) What challenges do clubs have in transitioning to digital platforms?

fitness solution is. Clubs understand the

Firstly, its key to have the right digital

we’ve seen that clubs with robust digital offerings have been able to remain a ‘hub’ to members. This highlights how

need to be future-ready and, a big part

November 2020

The majority of requests we see at FunXtion

During these uncertain times, one thing

important than ever. Digital wrap-around

42

3) What FunXtion service or product were most in demand as clubs reopened?

partner by your side. A partner who can

of this is incorporating a solid digital

think with you to enhance and enrich an

strategy into future planning.

offering, whilst helping you build a solid


ADVERTISING FEATURE

effects can also be added through the Workout Creator. These workouts can be scheduled or stored on the FunXtion Experience Station, or FunXtion Functional and Virtual Players for members or trainers to press and play when they would like as well as being recreated into training plans in the app.

9) Is your content accessible via an app, browser, email link, or a combination? All our content is delivered to the customer in a variety of ways; either through a FunXtion app, a club-branded app (White Label), integrated into an existing app, streamed through a browser but also in the club through the FunXtion Experience Stations, Players and MultiScreen solution. foundation on which to prepare for the future. As technology is evolving so rapidly, defining a strategy and vision at the outset is essential. It’s also important to take member journey assessment into account at an early enough stage in planning, not devoting time to defining the touchpoints can create more challenges in the long run.

6) How can digital services impact retention? By being available to members whenever, wherever they need you, they are more likely to reach goals, grow brand loyalty and feel connected with your community. Digital services like ours give the club increased contact points with the member. When clubs add automated motivation,

5) In your experience, what are common issues or misconceptions that club operators have about digital platforms?

automated contact moments, chat options,

Mainly, we see that people who do not have

extend its services outside its four walls.

the in-house knowledge underestimate

FunXtion’s digital solutions bridge the

digitisation. We also see clubs that have

notifications or online coaching, every one of these options increases engagements between the club and its members. It provides a more personal, wrap-around approach to fitness, allowing clubs to

world inside the club to the daily life of the

not accounted for the entire digital journey

member. This merging of the two worlds

and evaluated what platforms should

removes barriers making members more

be speaking to each other - leadership is

likely to get in their workout through better

required here to ensure you are meeting

planning.

10) With your in-club services, do you provide the hardware and screens for clubs? We supply the hardware – a FunXtion Experience Stations (a host player - the FunXtion Experience Station 22i, FunXtion Virtual Player or The FunXtion Functional Player) which is a touchscreen powered by a media player that can be used independently or connected to any screen output the club wishes. The newest of these solutions for clubs are the Virtual Players which are small tablets (13”) – suitable for workout studios or functional areas on the gym floor. This player can connect to a larger screen in the studio. The Virtual Classes Player offers the club an exciting option upon re-opening – allowing them to run more regular classes for fewer people without the need of an instructor. www.funxtion.com

your members’ needs along with the club’s. It’s also a mistake when clubs opt for an offthe-shelf solution that is limited, ultimately this is not helping their businesses prepare for the future. A lack of understanding can lead to none or the wrong digital solution. Either way, it’s bad for business.

8) Can clubs add their own programming to your platform? The FunXtion in-club solution includes the FunXtion Workout Creator. This online software allows clubs to create any kind

Our best advice for clubs is to start by

of workout they want. Depending on

creating their ideal member journey and

their solution, they can create a single

then to fill in the areas that bring that

zone workout or, through the use of the

journey to life with content and software

MultiScreen solution, create a multiple zone

providers.

workout experience. Music and lighting November 2020 43


EDITORIAL FEATURE

WHY

? G N I N I A R T T HII BY STACY WIG

H

igh-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercising and we incorporate this technique

both in Wig Athletics and Fitco Wellness. As a coach, it is important to me that my clients improve in EVERY area of fitness …muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, power, flexibility, and functional movement. We all have those days that we are slammed and have no time to put ourselves first. On those days, what if you could get a workout done in 10-30 minutes?? HIIT is simply defined as alternating between short periods of high-intensity work intervals and low-intensity recovery intervals. A HIIT session typically lasts between 10-30 minutes and can be done with a variety of activities. This can be used to replace a traditional cardio workout, like jogging, where moderate-intensity exercises are performed for 30 minutes or more.

Here are 11 research-backed reasons to have HIIT in your fitness regimen.

•  It reduces the risk of diabetes, heart

• It’s great for busy people

•  It suppresses your appetite

•  It's very effective for fat loss

•  You will see results faster than

(especially abdominal fat) •  It stimulates powerful anti-aging hormones •  It builds endurance faster than traditional cardio •  It is superior to traditional cardio in preventing and controlling high 44

November 2020

blood pressure disease and stroke

traditional cardio •  It boosts your metabolism •  It helps you lose fat while preserving muscle •  It is great for people with a short attention span (I call them ADD certified!!)


EDITORIAL FEATURE

work periods followed by less

As you can see, HIIT offers a plethora

should not be able to talk during HIIT

of benefits! I offer 30-40 min virtual

work intervals, muscles should burn, and

workouts throughout the week so

you should always be breathless during

•  Work periods are short

using HIIT along with some traditional

the recovery intervals.

•  HIIT workouts should be under 30

strength work is key!! When combined with heavy weightlifting you will be able to meet and exceed almost any fitness goal you may have. It is important to note that HIIT only works when the Intensity Intervals are actually a very high intensity. How do you know if you are doing it right? You

intense recovery periods

minutes

All too often High-Intensity Interval Training is mistaken for just plain intervals. Here are some guidelines for HIIT: •  Intensity is near maximal (90% unless new to fitness) during the

•  HIIT workouts should have at least 24 hours between sessions •  Ideally 2-4 days a week with 4 being only for athletes with a high fitness level Typical HIIT ratios are 1:1 or 1:2 for aerobic fitness so 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 30 seconds or a minute of lower intensity. To train anaerobically for power and explosiveness, rest intervals are often longer to allow for a more maximal effort like a 1:5 ratio (20 seconds followed by 100 seconds). Tabata training is a form of HIIT. This includes 20 seconds of all-out work with 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds. Here are some examples of Tabata we like: 20 seconds of squat hops or just squats if you are not jumping due to limitations •  10 seconds rest •  20 seconds of push-ups •  10 seconds of rest •  20 seconds of sit-ups •  10 seconds rest •  20 seconds of burpees •  10 seconds of rest •  Repeat November 2020 45


EDITORIAL FEATURE

• Battle Rope Blast: Use a rope that challenges you.

8 minutes of total workout time. I like

8-minute rowing assault. You have

to use this type of bodyweight workout

30 seconds to burn 15 calories. If

right after a warm-up when the person

you complete the calories, you and

is fresh. Most of my clients are pretty

your partner get to rest. If you don’t,

fit so we follow the 8 minutes with

your partner does a squat, burpee,

Do alternating slams for 20 seconds – 20 seconds squats paced moderately- 20 seconds rest

strength training.

or whatever you choose for every

Repeat

calorie missed. Then your partner

Do double slams for 20 seconds- 20 seconds static lunge right moderate – 20 seconds rest

Some other examples of general HIIT workouts: •  Treadmill or Track Attack: Jog for 3 minutes then increase

hops on and has to burn 17 calories because each time you switch, you add two calories. You will complete 8 rounds each.

speed so you are sprinting as fast

• Hit the Hills:

as you can for 20 seconds, then

Find a hill and sprint up the hill

walk or jog at a slow pace for a

for 20-30 seconds then walk back

minute- repeat 10x

down (10 rounds)

• Bike or Rower Rough Repeats:

• Sled Deadman’s Push:

Same as above but for 30 seconds

The sled helps improve anaerobic

with 1 min recovery (10-20 rounds) • Partner Push: Find a partner and get ready for an

conditioning, letting you battle through sprints that are over quickly. Load the sled 70-85% of your max pushing capacity- push as hard and as fast as you can until you can barely move it (if you choose the right weight this will be over in seconds. Rest for 3 minutes and repeat for 4-5 rounds • 100s: Choose a cardio machine (Treadmill, step mill, Ski Erg, rower, air dyne) and set it for a 100-meter sprint. Blast through that distance as fast as possible, then rest until your heart rate drops below 120. Do this for 8 minutes. • Rowing Ab Beatdown: Set rower for 2000 meters. Row for 1 min and get off. Do hollow rocks and get back on for another min. row until 2:00 then off and hollow rocks - repeat for 2000 meters

46

November 2020

Repeat with a left lunge Do outs and ins with the rope 20 seconds - 20 seconds skaters - 20 seconds rest-repeat Do side to side slams 20 seconds - 20 seconds side to side hops - 20 seconds rest There are endless ways to make your workouts fun and get the most bang for your time!! Be sure to add some HIIT to your training and experience all it's added benefits! HAVE FUN!


November 2020 47


EDITORIAL FEATURE

egym CREDITED WITH

IMPRESSIVE BOUNCEBACK

AT BLACKPOOL SPORTS CENTRE

D

espite the challenges of managing a sports centre gym during the pandemic, the membership club live at

Blackpool Sports Centre is currently

pre-pandemic projections by as many as

training. These benefits are well

707,266,931.

documented, yet strength training with

In Blackpool, during lockdown, the Council team worked incredibly hard to create a

traditional equipment appeals to a smaller population percentage than we would like”

Covid safe environment so the community

“We wanted to break down barriers,

would feel confident to resume their in-

creating an environment where everyone

gym training once facilities were able to

would feel comfortable regardless of

reopen, including in their EGYM circuit.

experience or ability. However, we did

8-station EGYM Smart Strength

In September 2019, Martin Cardwell,

circuit is being credited as a major

General Manager at Blackpool Sports

wanted a solution that enabled non-

contributor to the post lockdown

Centre, oversaw the installation of an 8

bounce back.

piece EGYM Smart Strength circuit, situated

only 5% lower than pre lockdown levels and is continuing to grow steadily. With 66% of members engaged with the product, the

On 23 March 2020, leisure facilities were forced to close with an uncertain future. During lockdown, the Covid-19 Impact Report commissioned by ukactive

in its own dedicated area on the main gym floor. The area was branded “Express Fitness” due to the circuit requiring only 30 minutes per session to complete.

not want an “easy” exercise solution. We experienced users to train safely and effectively, utilising the latest sports science. EGYM provides that solution”. Everybody who joins the gym is inducted on the EGYM equipment. The automated set up and pre-installed programmes apply the optimal mix of intensity and

estimated that, with restrictions in

Commenting on the install, Cardwell

repetition to meet specified goals. This

place for 6 months, Covid-19 could result

says, “The aim was to engage a broader

ensures that anybody, even with no

in national gym visits falling short of

demographic in the benefits of strength

previous gym experience, is able to self-manage their sessions safely and effectively on every visit. EGYM’s intelligent solution also provides regular performance feedback. Features such as BioAge, which calculates an individual’s biological age based on their achievement on a single repetition strength test, benchmarks performance, providing ongoing motivation to train. Blackpool Council also employs the use of EGYM Digital, a Branded Member Training App, which all members are encouraged to download. This assisted engagement with members during lockdown, ensuring that even though members were unable to use the EGYM equipment, they were able to access EGYM’s extensive ‘at home’ workout library to continue to train outside the gym. Blackpool Council were

48

November 2020


EDITORIAL FEATURE

introduction of the strength circuit, the Council have expanded the EGYM offering by recently installing EGYM’s Smart Flex and Smart Cardio equipment. The Council also plans to introduce health referrals onto EGYM’s connected solutions in the New Year. Leisure Services are finding that our community are increasingly motivated to train for their sustained current and future health rather than for aesthetics, and EGYM’s range of Smart training programmes make the brand a perfect partner in assisting us to engage our community in healthier lifestyles”.    Martin Cardwell

For more information about EGYM visit: egym.com/uk

also able to set workout challenges and link to exercise classes on the Council’s Youtube channel via the app. Cllr Maria Kirkland, Cabinet Member for Community Cohesion and Leisure at Blackpool Council says: “EGYM has extended our appeal within the community, assisting in the commercial resilience of the Leisure offering during

"We wanted to break down barriers, creating an environment where everyone would feel comfortable"

the pandemic. Following the successful November 2020 49


EDITORIAL FEATURE

BODY SCULPTING

Seduction BY TAZ DUNSTAN

W

ho doesn't want to be dipped in chocolate and coated in crystals? The growing seduction of the

entry requirements. Regardless of the

description. Basically, the aim of athletes

process to get to stage is extreme and it

gracing a body sculpting stage, depending

is important to know before you embark

on the judging criteria determined by

on that journey that NO ONE CAN LOOK

any federation, is to dry out as much as

body sculpting world and what it is

LIKE THAT ALL THE TIME! (*Read that

possible to allow your muscles to “pop” on

doing to women's mental health and

again) Even the professional athletes

stage. Your goal is, in essence, to become

body image.

who compete for a living can only have

space food while maintaining sufficient

What is not to love about the bright lights and glamour of a body sculpting stage? It’s easy to be seduced by the flawless images of gorgeous women with immaculate hair, nails and makeup, striking poses

those bodies for 4-5 days a year max and that is because it is impossible to maintain a “peak” of constant depletion and dehydration for an extended period of time.

energy to eloquently execute quarter turns and strike poses to wow the judges. It is impossible to be depleted for an extended period of time and retain muscle definition. It is important to know that

in glitzy bikinis looking phenomenal.

To achieve the shredded look required for

everything you are working for is a body

Angel Competition Bikinis have taken

stage several processes are undertaken

that is just for a moment in time, at any

this to the next level with their crystal

all of which involve depletion in some

given time.

radiance designs and customized suits for all federations. It is the embodiment of perfection for so many women. Who wouldn’t want to challenge themselves to achieve that at least once in their lives? That’s the trap. The body sculpting scene used to be an elite minority of athletes devoting their lives to creating a physique that put most marvel comic figures to shame. Progressively the body sculpting world has become trendier and more accessible with several federations acknowledging the revenue capabilities. They have responded accordingly by expanding their categories and relaxing their judging criteria for greater volume of entrants.  This has been good for the accessibility of the sport and the profitability of that niche expansion for event organizers, professionals, tanners, make-up artists, suit manufacturers and posing coaches. It has also undoubtedly diluted the quality of the entrants due to the more relaxed 50

November 2020


EDITORIAL FEATURE

prepping for a comp to make an informed decision as to whether it is right for you. Are you changing your body to please judges for a subjective sport or are you designing a body you are proud of regardless of your placing on stage? No trophy, medal or placing is worth your happiness or health. https://books.google.co.nz/books/ about/Slaying_The_Dragon. html?id=JlFuDwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y  At XL Personal Training/ @xl_personal_ training, we specialize in body sculpting and transformations to empower clients to achieve competitive physiques with a focus on holistic health and sustainable lifestyles. https://www.tazxlpt.com.au 

This gives rise to the social media trend

same body you watch disappear daily as

of comp spam VS comp life is the ultimate

you rehydrate, you see it bloat and you

“Goals VS reality” cliché in the sense

agonize over each 100g forcing yourself

that those comp day images are only

to avoid scales but try and maintain some

approximately 1% of what is actually

level of “accountability” for your weight

involved in preparing for a competition

and overall condition. This is an extreme

and could easily be classed as false

case but a reality for most first-time

advertising for what really goes on behind

competitors. This is one of the reasons

the scenes. What you don’t see are the

body sculpting is addictive. It is easy to get

hundreds of hours that go into emotional,

hooked on that comp prep high and stay in

mental and physical strain, at times

a cycle of “on and off seasons” for purpose.

exhaustion. The calorie counting, food weighing, countless hours of training, cardio and mastering poses that aim to distort the body beautifully at the expense of extreme lower back pain. [The hard and fast rule for posing is: “If it’s hurting you know you’re doing it right.”]

It’s a huge challenge to switch from a strict comp mindset of monitoring calories, weighing food and typically killing yourself with cardio to a more socially accepted “normal lifestyle”

Comp prep is a gruelling process, harder on the mind than the body and one that anyone who has never gone through it can really understand. Is the sacrifice worth it for the sense of accomplishment at the end? That depends how you measure your success and what you gain from it, also how quickly you recover from it. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself “Can I afford to do this?” Not just financially but physically, mentally and emotionally? Photo credit: Rob Cavan Athlete: Taz Dunstan Training and nutrition: XL Personal Training Bikini Sponsor Angel Competition bikinis TAZXLPT10 2020 comp in palmerston North @ICNnz

while trying to maintain a body you are happy with. The external and internal

Not many discuss the topic of “post comp

pressures associated with competition

blues” which is something that needs

prep are arguably more prominent after

to be spoken about more openly before

a competition and this is where athletes

people partake in the process. This is

are at the highest risk of serious issues

an actual phenomenon involving the

such as body dysmorphia, depression,

grief of an event being over and feeling

anxiety as well as eating disorders like

that loss compounded with additional

anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and

pressures of a requirement to reprogram

hormonal and metabolic damage as the

your mind to disengage comp prep mode

result of poor nutritional guidance and

and attempt to reintegrate to a more

extreme approaches. NO title is worth

“socially accepted” lifestyle which still

your health and wellbeing. This is not

allows you to maintain a body you are

just for enhanced athletes this is for all

happy with. Imagine everything you’ve

athletes. If you are considering competing

trained for over the past few months if

please do solid research and employ the

not years is finally over. You’ve had your

services of qualified, experienced and

moment and suddenly, it’s gone. From

reputable coaches/ trainers. This myth of

the highest of highs, you come crashing

1200 calories a day coupled with 2 hours

down to this directionless state of “What

of cardio a day, as a cookie cut program of

now?” These feelings of depression,

DIY comp prep has to stop. It is misleading

anxiety and confusion are then amplified

and harmful. I wrote a book in 2018

by you adapting to this new body, the

called “Slaying the Dragon” outlining

dream body you’ve always wanted. The

several key factors to consider when November 2020

51


EDITORIAL FEATURE

Inclusivity for Deaf clients in gyms t h e i m p o r ta n c e o f o n demand interpreters BY CLARE VALE

A

s gyms across the country are reopening under new guidance, many people have started to make a return to indoor exercise. Some will be feeling a sense of anxiety about returning to the gym where infection can be easily spread, and this will only be exacerbated for the deaf community, who face communication challenges daily at the best of times, not to mention in the current environment. One gym chain has made face masks compulsory at its establishments, except while exercising, which will further exclude deaf clients, many of whom rely on lipreading, facial expressions and other physical gestures to communicate. As such, now more than ever it’s crucial for gym owners to understand the needs of existing and prospective deaf clients and the importance of offering on-demand British Sign Language [BSL] interpreters to address and break down communication barriers.

BSL is a visual language which uses the

Most BSL/English interpreting takes place

movement of the hands and body, as well

simultaneously, and BSL interpreter will

as facial expressions and lip patterns,

also translate from written text to BSL

and has its own syntax and grammar.

when required, such as when a deaf BSL

Recognised by the UK Government as a

user is taking a written test, or when

language in its own right in 2013, BSL is distinct from English and also differs from Irish, American, French and other national sign languages.

WHAT IS BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE [BSL]?

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A BSL INTERPRETER?

In the UK, people who are deaf use

BSL interpreters provide the indispensable

requested to sign a consent form, for example, to start a gym membership and use equipment.

HOW CAN GYMS USE BSL INTERPRETERS EFFECTIVELY? If you have little or no experience of using BSL interpreters at your gym, you may worry that an interpreter will get in the

various methods of communication, and

service of facilitating communication

British Sign Language [BSL] is the most

between deaf and hearing people and

deaf client[s]. However, if you choose the

widely used, with an estimated 50,000

ensure it is a smooth process. Interpreting

right professional and make the correct

to 70,000 deaf people choosing it as their

is complex and requires a good knowledge

arrangements for the interpreting, this

preferred language.

of both languages and cultures.

will not be the case.

52

November 2020

way or be distracting for you and/or your


EDITORIAL FEATURE

If you want to be with your client and need an interpreter for a short interaction, for example, an induction, instruction, results of an assessment, etc., a reputable BSL interpretation support company can enable you to access qualified interpreters on-demand via video. If you are offering virtual classes during the pandemic, you can also work with a BSL video interpreter to enhance accessibility for your deaf client[s] and help them reach their goals. For example, Sign Solutions can bring interpreters into any video platform of you or your client’s choosing via the ‘InterpretersLive!’ service. Powered by Starleaf, InterpretersLive! delivers realtime access to qualified and registered BSL

"As such, now more than ever it’s crucial for gym owners to understand the needs of existing and prospective deaf clients" BSL interpretation support companies can

communicate in basic BSL could go a long

also provide deaf awareness training for

way in helping your deaf client[s] feel

key staff members at your gym to teach

more accepted.

them about the deaf community, the challenges they face and best practice for communicating with them. Organisations like Sign Solutions can provide this in person or online via e-learning to help you and your staff feel more confident in how to approach and get the best out of deaf client[s].

Communicating with new and existing members is one of the most proactive ways to keep them engaged during the current pandemic, and deaf clients are no exception. By prioritising their needs and working with BSL interpreters to aid communication, you can show them they

interpreters using a secure encrypted and

Our deaf awareness training can also

ISO27001 accredited, HD quality video

include a lesson in basic BSL to put you at

platform. The platform has millions of

ease when greeting your deaf client[s],

users worldwide and is already familiar to

asking how they are etc. Whilst you do

Clare Vale is managing director of Sign

the deaf community in the UK.

not need to be fluent, having the ability to

Solutions

are a vital part of your community, and their health and safety is your priority.

November 2020 53


BUSINESS

RISE TO THE CHALLENGE OF

e l p o e P g n i v r e S WHETHER IT'S IN-CLUB, ONLINE, OR IN OUR OWN BUSINESSES, WE NEED TO BE LOOKING AFTER PEOPLE WHEREVER THEY ARE.

BY BEN HACKNEY-WILLIAMS, HEAD OF CONTENT AT ESCAPE FITNESS

R

ecent events may have proved that nobody knows what the future holds, but there are still the same ways to leverage that can predict how things are going to go. Never before has it been more important to use this information for a positivity and performance boost, as well as the planning that's to be expected.

For those [gym owners] that are in those lower percentage areas, you know, you have to really keep pushing hard, working with the local state authorities and saving the city authorities to get deemed as essential. “There is a path that we've seen in every market coming back in a similar way. It's just the timing. So have faith, you know, things are gonna work out if you can have the resilience and keep your cash.”

Escape Your Limits podcast host and

“We have over 120,000 connected pieces

SECTOR SPLITS AND FAITH IN RECOVERY.

co-founder of Escape Fitness, Matthew

of cardio around the world,” explains Rob.

“If you look at different types of clubs

Januszek, speaks to the president

“And each piece of cardio gets about 23

at 42%, versus last year multifamily

of Precor, Rob Barker, about COVID

minutes average workout time on it. There

is at 49%. That's not surprising, that's

predictions from cardio machines, agility

are literally billions of workout minutes

higher. Hospitality is at 37% education at

as a business, and what the future holds

that we get to track live. So I went into the

32%. And corporates the lowest at 18%

for bricks and mortar.

system and had a look.

because, of course, most people aren't

CONNECTED FITNESS FOR CONNECTIVE THINKING. In the era of attention, data dominates the currency stakes. But Rob has collated

“Compared to last year, current workouts North America are at 41%. EMEA is at 64% of last year. Asia Pacific is at 54%. That's real-time of what's going on in facilities, and that includes verticals like hotels and hospitality.

cardio stats from around the world to

“When you look at North America, a third

show the state of nations' gym uptakes

of the population are in four states...

and offer some promising trends about

California is a 13% versus last year.

recovery times for businesses.

Florida, 55%. Texas 50%. New York, 30%.

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BUSINESS

willing to work places. Still, there are some great stories here... “China's over 100% so we've got more people working out in China than we did this time last year. Germany is at 97%. So Germany is almost there. And what

FUELLED BY THE CHALLENGE.

the leaders right now. We better get this

“If you choose to be a leader, you can't

at Precor, who are great, by the way. I get

only lead in the sunny days. That's easily

a lot of energy from them.”

during the tough times. It can't be that you'll just do it anyway. You have to be

is when the end consumers are coming

energized and lead.

rightly gets a bit more confidence.

And hopefully, that rubs off for the people

said, but the follow-through is not easy

we can see obviously on the supplier side back the exercises then the operator quite

thing done now. So it gives me energy.

“Even though I wish we weren't going through this as an industry, I wake up

“I want people to know, it's hard, but don't

with more energy feeling stronger than I

worry. Hang on in there because we can

did before COVID. Now, we are the leaders

see it coming back.”

whether the industry likes it or not... We're

COMPETING WITH THE BIG NEW PLAYERS IN FITNESS. “We certainly have to start with the consumer and say: 'OK, we're going to look after you wherever you are.' The best possible service and the best possible experience is going to be in a facility. “I think there's something like business Judo where you don't take the weight of the attacker and just try and push back on them. So if you've got someone who's much stronger than you, like Peloton or someone like that, what you have to do is understand what can you be the best at. “I've been in the industry for a long time. We know there's nothing better than going into a facility, having someone smile, hopefully, say your name... And you get the world's best equipment and services all in front of you. You can go on elliptical one day, go in the studio in the next, if you're lucky, maybe go in the pool. You can do everything, and it's like a third home or your third space. “So the club becomes the hub and the services we put out there, depending on your model, you either charge for, or you build it into your price. “We should just power into that, but let's not forget the reality of serving people.”

Ben Hackney-Williams (@_BenHW) is head of content at Escape Fitness and has been a journalist for over a decade. He has worked in the fitness industry as a consumer-facing content creator for international bodybuilding and MMA publications, driven engagement in supply-side gym design and equipment manufacturing, and helped produce over 150 episodes of the Escape Your Limits podcast.

November 2020 55


BUSINESS

K now Your

NUMBERS BY GUY GRIFFITHS, AUTHOR OF STICK AROUND (STRATEGIES TO KEEP YOUR GYM MEMBERS MOTIVATED)

A

n old saying goes “If you want to improve something, you have to measure it”. Yet very few fitness businesses really know their numbers. This is an industry-wide issue, not just related to independent gym owners. Systems and dashboards help some clubs, but you need to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) and use them to know your business better and drive it forwards.

KPIs is important. These are 5-10 key metrics

There is a wealth of data available to

help you to get more insight and take

businesses today, which is why the ‘key’ in

action to grow your business.

that allow you to understand the state of your business. Some will be a combination of other figures, and you may need to drilldown into the detail, but these key metrics give you a performance headline. These numbers are absolutely critical to running your club, showing what is working, and what, where, or who you need to pay more attention to. Without accurate numbers, you’re driving blind, basing decisions on guesswork and intuition. Let us look at three linked areas you should consider, and then how KPIs can

MEMBERS Headline member numbers are a must. If you do not have an accurate handle of total live members at your club today, at least know the live member count at the start of the month. In addition to total members, new members and leavers allow you to calculate net growth and attrition each month. If you also measure conversions from leads to prospects and to new members, you can refine your sales process. Average length of membership, and 12-month retention are important measures, but won’t change significantly every month. Breakdown of membership types, or payment methods are a good example of a drill-down, which will also tie into financials, but it’s less likely to be a headline KPI. 56

November 2020


BUSINESS

club with other similar businesses. If you also have the opportunity to learn what others are doing differently, you can get better results for yourself. Very few initiatives are new, but many clubs are willing to share insights and help each other, particularly given the current economic and social climate. Trend analysis shows how your KPIs change over time, and how your actions help you to grow. For example, if your active member percentage is low, focus more on engaging absentees, or take a look at improving your new member journey interactions. If attrition is up, concentrate on leaver surveys to try to discover the reasons members are leaving. If PT sales are in decline, consider new remote PT offerings, or run a competition to win PT sessions, with runner’s up

VISITS

Linking back to members will bring a focus

One of the positives of the pandemic is that clubs now have much better visit data. Knowing your total monthly visits is a great KPI. In addition, the number of unique visitors each month or week allows you to calculate your active member percentage.

as well as average member yield and who

It is not all about club visits going forwards though. Think about how you measure your members activity or engagement. If they are exercising outside the club, and logging it on your app, count them above

of membership, or net promoter score. The

those who are totally in-active.

FINANCIALS Total income is the headline here. It could be split into membership income versus other income, which you could expand to PT, secondary spend, rental, food and beverage, etc.

onto bounced DDs, members on freeze, has a higher secondary spend.

SCORECARD There are plenty more numbers to consider, such as outgoing financials, average length ‘key’ is to decide on the handful you will use to make your scorecard which will help get a handle on your business and define

prizes for all entrants.

DON’T DRIVE BLIND You would not get far driving a car without a dashboard. It might be fun for a short while, but you would soon run out of fuel, get stopped for speeding, or ruin the engine due to overheating or lack of oil.

KNOW YOUR BUSINESS BETTER

your actions and activity.

Knowing your numbers cuts through any

USING NUMBERS TO IMPROVE

Key Performance Indicators create

Once you have your KPIs, you can either

and competition amongst team members.

compare your business with others, or measure trends over time. Benchmarking is useful to compare your

doubt about the state of your business. accountability for you and your team, and will also create some clarity, commitment,

Like your members, if you measure your numbers, you will get more results, and likely get them faster. Guy Griffiths is a coach to independent gym owners, and a member retention specialist. He works with clubs on processes, systems, and strategies to improve member engagement, and therefore revenue. His mission is to help your club to understand and engage with as many of your members as possible and get them to stick around longer. Find out how GGFit’s independent gym owner coaching could help you at ggfit. com/gom November 2020

57


BUSINESS

Tech giants are vying for a slice of the fitness market pie.

Are you prepared? WHILST GYM OWNERS CONTINUE TO BATTLE AGAINST THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19, ANOTHER THREAT IS LOOMING. TECH GIANTS OF SILICON VALLEY HAVE BEEN AWAKENED TO OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED BY FITNESS AND ARE STARTING TO FLEX SERIOUS MUSCLE IN THIS SPACE.

H

ere, Kerstin Obenauer, Country Director, EGYM UK, explores how gym owners can optimise their biggest assets – the bricks and mortar that holds their local health and fitness community together.

Few would dispute that Covid-19 has changed the fitness landscape forever. A mass consumer appetite for working out at home during lockdown has shone a light on fitness and aroused the interest

In the last few weeks, Sky has entered the fitness market, announcing a deal with Fiit to stream fitness content to its 3.6 million Sky Q subscribers and Apple has

WHAT CAN GYM OWNERS DO TO FIGHT BACK?

unveiled Fitness+, a personalised workout

Stay calm. Do not panic. We’ve got this.

subscription service streaming bespoke

Gym owners may not be able to compete

workouts to iPhones and Apple Watches.

with tech giants on brand or budget but

Similarly, Amazon has launched Halo a fitness band and App, whilst Facebook has announced a focus on further development of its streaming services. Last month, Peloton slashed the price of its popular stationary bike by 15 per

that is OK because what they do have is a valuable asset that these non-fitness specific tech giants are not yet able to match – an ability to create an outstanding in-person training experience in a real, physical space.

cent in an aggressive move to tempt more

The physical training space is the golden

consumers into their saddle. Meanwhile,

ticket to success for gym owners. It is

Samsung has added a dedicated fitness

important that, with all the focus on

that connect global audiences, big budgets

app to its new, smart televisions. The

digital provision, gym owners do not lose

and an ambition to capitalise on the

scramble for the consumer’s fitness and

sight of their most valuable asset – the

upward demand for digital fitness.

wellbeing pound is well and truly on.

physical training space.

of Silicon Valley. These large, tech giants have intelligent digital infrastructures

58

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BUSINESS

distancing requirements throughout. In addition, the EGYM Smart Strength Series and Members Brand App, both automatically display prompts to remind members to comply with the hygiene regulations. There is also functionality to collect hygiene feedback directly from the member via the app, again helping to reinforce the gym’s commitment to the provision of a safe environment.

CREATE AN INCLUSIVE IN-PERSON ENVIRONMENT THAT SERVICES ‘THE EVERYONE’ Whilst digital fitness solutions can support an exercise regime, many health-seekers will be exercise novices. It is possible that, through their

Human beings are social creatures and

This market segment will welcome an

digital solutions, tech giants will draw

we enjoy human contact. As more people

opportunity to work out in a dedicated,

physical activity engagement from a

work from home for extended periods,

safe and controlled environment,

new audience, helping to drive more

with limited access to hospitality venues

supported by professional equipment

individuals into physical facilities. Many

the craving for human contact is set to

and exercise professionals. Gyms offer

of the new solutions launching to market

grow. Gym owners need to continue to

the perfect solution, provided they are

help consumers monitor health, not just

focus on creating physically connected

adequately equipped.

fitness. A significant percentage of these

communities. This can also extend beyond

individuals are likely to be new to exercise

the gym floor into the café and social

as a means of promoting good mental and

areas, creating opportunities for in-

physical health and are likely to seek out

person interventions in a safe, controlled

face to face support to achieve desired

environment. However engaging remote

outcomes. This creates a new opportunity

digital content, this can not deliver the

for gym owners ready and able to service

social impact of in-person training.

Most health-seekers may be able to achieve their cardiovascular daily quota by simply donning their trainers and going for a walk or getting in the saddle of their bicycle. However, selfadministering an effective, safe and

a new wave of ‘health-seekers’. Savvy gym owners will focus on marrying an outstanding in-person, communitybased experience with a digital support service that enables person-centred, wraparound care, 24 hours a day. This new hybrid offer will provide consumers with ‘the best of both worlds’ something the likes of Apple and Amazon are unable to compete with right now. So, what are the factors gym owners need to consider?

SOCIALISATION Whilst thousands of consumers got involved in digital at-home workouts

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE It is likely that Covid-19 is going to mean varying degrees of restriction for the foreseeable future with an underlying recommendation that, to stop the spread of the virus, we need to limit close contact with others. As time passes, more people are venturing into our gyms but we will need to work hard to create an environment where people feel safe and protected from the virus. This means, for most evidence of heightened hygiene procedures and physical distancing.

during lockdown, there is no substitute

To support operators EGYM Digital has

for training alongside others and being

launched a number of tools to help gyms

able to tap into in-person coaching and

maintain a safe environment and build

expertise of professional trainers. When

consumer confidence. For example,

questioned in lockdown by Leisure-net,

mobile training slot booking, available

46 per cent of consumers said the number

via the EGYM Branded Member App,

one factor they missed from visiting a

have been developed to enable members

physical training facility was interaction

to remotely book training slots. This

with a trainer and second, at 31 per cent

helps gym owners manage facility and

was socialising with other members.

activity capacity, helping maintain social November 2020 59


BUSINESS

progressive strength training programme

motivational coaching and member

is much more challenging, and potentially

engagement. This contact time helps

dangerous. For this, most will benefit

develop a strong bond between the gym,

from the expertise of a trainer and use of

the trainer and the member in a way that

professional equipment. Is your business

remote services will struggle to match,

fit to service this requirement?

keeping members focus and training

This is where EGYM, can be instrumental in helping operators create an environment that delivers a highly personal experience for each and every member, focused on the achievement of bespoke health outcomes. Our Smart Strength Series is software-driven. Following an induction, equipment set up is all automated with scientifically based programmes pre-set to deliver

towards their goals.

SUPPORT ANYTIME, ANYWHERE Any digital experience needs to reflect the personality, ethos and values of the in-gym experience, creating a bespoke wraparound service. This creates a unique support environment that competitors –

optimal performance on every visit,

whether from Silicon Valley or 100 yards

steering users towards specified health

down the road, will find it difficult to mirror.

goals. Performance is monitored, feeding

EGYM has always embraced partnerships,

back progress to users, keeping them motivated and engaged.

building our digital ecosystem on an open platform to make it as easy as possible

Using this method of training enables

for third party providers to integrate with

gym floor trainers to prescribe complex

our provision. For the consumer, this

training programmes that drive specific

means when they visit a facility powered

health outcomes. For example, our new

by EGYM Digital, data collected from a

Immunity Boost programme prescribes

variety of external fitness trackers, health

the optimal mix of intensity, rest and

monitors and body analysers, can all be

cadence to strengthen the body’s defence

housed in the EGYM cloud, creating a

against many types of infection, including

single location for all health-related data.

Covid-19, without activating the negative

As we move into an increasingly digital

effects of overtraining. This means

world, this ability to combine sources

trainers do not need to understand the

of information will become crucial in

intricate science behind the programming

our ambition to help consumers better

and can instead spend their time on

manage their own health and wellbeing.

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November 2020

CLOSING THOUGHT Growing the overall fitness market creates opportunity for all. Investment in products and services by the deep pockets of Silicon Valley will raise awareness amongst consumers of the many health benefits an active lifestyle can deliver. Gym owners should embrace this as an opportunity to create a physical environment that fully caters for a wide array of health needs, supported by a person-centred, digital provision that is reflective of the in-gym provision. For more information about EGYM’s Smart in-club and digital solutions, visit: https://egym.com/uk


BUSINESS

Gym-goers are now Healthseekers. #READY to meet the challenge of changed member expectations and goals? Click here to learn more!

www.egym.com November 2020

61


Finding e c n e i l i Res BUSINESS

SMALL GYMS IN THE PANDEMIC BY AMY DUTFIELD

R

unning a “normal gym” already seems like a lifetime ago

Here we are approaching Christmas - a time when we are all usually planning to cash in on the Christmas over-indulgence and subsequent influx of people who join—yet right now it’s pretty difficult to plan anything! Like all other operators across the UK, SO51Fitness was tipped on its head

completely for 4 months, getting to grips with Zoom in record time to flip an entire timetable online, to creating an “outdoor” wing of the business….. like many others, I did what I could so that my business could survive. While we independents may have had the advantage with a more personal customer service and more manageable membership numbers, we had no central expertise or support to fall back on. Unsurprisingly (but no less heartbreakingly), not all gyms have been

when lockdown was first announced

able to reopen.

back in March. From being forced to close

Our SO51Fitness reopening in July was a moment to rejoice. I organised a socialdistanced “Welcome back” event for all those who had paid their membership dues throughout lockdown. This comprised of a sit-down meal with a drink on arrival at the venue I’d been using for boot camps all summer. Sounds expensive, right? ...but in fact, I’d struck it lucky with a new menu launch and a friendly chef who had kindly agreed to provide my members with a tasting menu whilst using them as a focus group. It worked well and was a tribute to the business community here in Romsey and the partnerships that have developed, even during a very tense and difficult period.

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November 2020

different - and still do over three months later. Members now arrive at reception and are immediately asked to scan our unique barcode for the NHS app on their phones. This creates a venue check-in, and the app logs other nearby users. If any of those users later test positive for coronavirus, the user will receive an alert from the NHS with advice. However, knowing that not everyone has installed the app, we are backing that up with our own in-house track-and trace. SO51Fitness members also text their name and “IN” to the club

The joy at reopening was tempered by

mobile: at the end of the day, I compile all

the fact that things looked and felt very

the data. This of course has allowed me


BUSINESS

allowed to continue scaring the public and I personally feel people should be promoting the positives result of regular exercise…an industry which aids in reducing the burden on a stretched NHS, helps with obesity, self-confidence and mental health should be fully supported from both a promotional and fiscal point of view.” Craig went on to express concern about profitability, with increased ventilation and cleaning requirements due to become difficult once zero business rates and deferred VAT policies end. Even with the growing conviction that fitness is key to the UK’s Covid defence, worries about the future are far from over.   At SO51Fitness one thing is for sure: I feel prepared for more uncertainty. But the lockdown has left me better equipped with strategies to develop the business to monitor gym usage closely. So far we

professionals: We are part of the solution

haven’t needed to require pre-booking

in the fight against Covid. There have

from our members, but I’m poised with

been numerous campaigns about keeping

a ready-built booking system for gym

gyms open throughout any new localised

sessions should we reach capacity

lockdowns, and notably, the gyms in

according to UKActive guidelines.

Liverpool were allowed to reopen after

Members assist us in preventing infection by sanitising hands on arrival and departure, and we have clearly marked out training bays on the gym floor as a reminder to us all to keep a safe distance from each other. Even if I see a member come in most days, I still insist they remind themselves of the club rules on the big blackboard. This includes the use of sweat towels and the rules

the government bowed to pressure. But yet another government U-turn has done little to restore confidence within our industry, even though it is an industry committed to keeping this country healthy, and current government advice on gym use is unclear on whether gyms can remain functional under further restrictions. In researching this article, I talked to other small fitness businesses

surrounding equipment cleaning. After an

about the future.

unexpectedly high cleaning bill at the end

Linzi Noble of LivFit Training Academy

of the first few weeks after reopening, I made the switch from buckets of singleuse eco wipes to bottles of spray and reusable microfibre cloths. This not only sits better with our sustainable ethos but has also helped with keeping costs down.

training is currently at an all-time high, and I’m confident that there will be plenty of interest in personal fitness in the coming months and years. Hopefully, with the right support, we will be able to continue our mission of supporting our communities throughout the pandemic and beyond, and helping people build and maintain the physical and mental resilience they need.

which is so extremely sad.” She added

situation to relieve stress and have an

were able to bounce back faster than the

outlet for anxiety. We are a solution for

larger chains – we are more flexible and

mental health across the board and we are

adaptable, and we tend to have stronger

a solution to help people strengthen their

relationships with our members, meaning

immune systems to help fight Covid.”

prepared for more turbulence ahead.

pre-Covid times but demand for personal

situation and suicides have rocketed

cause a direct threat to the ongoing Covid

have hit us all hard and we need to be

build the membership base back up to

in the UK is in crisis with the current

gratifying to feel that smaller operators

lockdown and the subsequent restrictions

means to them. It’s taking me a while to

noting that “the state of mental health

that gyms “are a safe place that doesn’t

businesses. But there’s no doubt that the

existing members and what the gym

of gyms for mental health, in particular,

owners is still a little uncertain. It was

when things need to change within our

It has also helped me to appreciate our

in Scotland, pointed out the importance

The future for us independent gym

they too will adapt and evolve with us

creatively in the face of new challenges.

Meanwhile Craig Bernhardt, owner of 2 B! Health & Fitness gyms (Dorset and Devon) commented on the differing response from age categories to the pandemic and the need for clear information and reassurance: “with an older average age

One thing certainly remains clear

in the Dorset Club, where perhaps there

in our collective message as fitness

is more apprehension felt. The media are November 2020

63


BUSINESS

Sarah Dennis

Our Story STRONG LIFE FITNESS R E T R E AT S

A

s a Personal Trainer and a business owner, my aim is to always look for ways to provide different and unique services and products in the fitness industry, to stand out and ‘be different’.

In 2019 my, ‘now’ business partner Stephanie Abbott, another ambitious female trainer, contacted me through social media. This amazing idea of starting up a female-only fitness retreat came to our attention. An opportunity we simply could not turn down. We originally met through competing in bodybuilding shows in 2016 but had not spoken since. I knew there were going to be risks, but risk-taking is all part of growing to reach

to stay in Europe looking at locations in

From the research and planning we had

your full potential. So with retreats

Ibiza, Marbella, Portugal, Croatia and

undertaken, there was nothing that came

coming in all shapes and sizes, we had

Greece, and we knew that our prices were

close to Strong Life Fitness Retreat in

no problem in deciding what type of

going to be unbeatable for the amount

hosting a unique fitness holiday. We found

retreat this was going to be, it was going

we were offering throughout the stay. So

a gap in the market and the demand for a

to be fun with different activities and

that set-in-stone we researched our first

motivating female-only fitness holiday.

with a different daily itinerary covering

destination being Talamanca in Ibiza.

pretty much everything except yoga as there seemed to be a lot of yoga retreats about. Then the following months were used, planning, prepping, advertising and researching. We knew we were going

being sold out so quickly and we made

awesome duo. Being complete opposites

a fast decision to get over to the villa

with how we run our businesses, myself

in Ibiza to start further planning,

running a small private gym, training

viewing and creating content for this

both male and female, ages between 20 to 80, and Stephanie running female-only, personal training, boot camps and online programs for young women looking to

the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, quarantines and flying restrictions in place, we knew this was going to be a very tricky and yet stressful year for us both.

lot off each other. I knew in time, we would

It's safe to say our physical and mental

have our first fitness retreat planned and

health is one of, if not, the most important

ready to launch for October 2020.

priorities in the current situation and our

spaces sold out in under a week of launching! It was a no brainer really, with the competitive prices offered and both our experiences together as trainers. November 2020

amazing experience. However, with

gain confidence; we bounced and learnt a

Before we knew it, our Ibiza 2020 retreat

64

Our spirits were high, with the retreat

With our expertise, we would make an

retreats provide all the tools to focus on one’s health and well-being. We stayed positive throughout this uncertainty and so did our clients. For it to be successful, we had to research


BUSINESS

fitness journey. Our main goal at Strong Life Fitness Retreat, is to have our guests leaving feeling positive, empowered and stronger, mentally and physically.

HERE IS A TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF A DAILY ITINERARY AND AND WHAT TO EXPECT: 7.00 AM

We would like to say that our retreats

EARLY RISE

are going to be the ultimate tailor-made

BEACH STRETCH/ANIMAL FLOW

fitness package around, being suitable for

9.00 AM

anyone regardless of age and fitness level. Our first retreat age group will range from early 20s to mid 50s. With this in mind, we both decided that hosting workshops on our retreats is a great way to educate and teach as well as train our girls. On our workshops we touch upon the subject of female hormones and how to manage

BREAKFAST IS SERVED BY OUR INHOUSE CHEFS 10.00 AM ORGANISED HIKE OR DOWNTIME BY US INSTRUCTORS 1.30 PM LUNCH IS SERVED BY OUR IN-HOUSE

your health and fitness around these,

CHEFS

covering PCOS which Stephanie herself

3.00 PM

our destination thoroughly to create an

and a couple of girls on the retreat suffer

OPTIONAL 1:1 TRAINING OR DOWNTIME

amazing experience for our guests, with

with, as well as menopause. Performance

all the content we gathered from our

and fitness-based nutrition is also a

6.00 PM

Ibiza venue, we were able to promote our

subject that is covered in our workshops.

retreat in a variety of ways and keep all

FUNCTIONAL/STRENGTH SESSION AT THE VILLA

Our invigorating training schedule alone

7.30 PM

is what excited the girls to come on board

DINNER IS SERVED BY OUR IN-HOUSE

Our Retreats specialise in supporting

Strong Life Fitness Retreats. As trainers

CHEFS

and guiding every individual on their

with many years of experience, the programme has been designed to improve

9.00 PM

journey, to make sure they receive all the benefits as well as providing an

on your overall health and fitness, using

amazing opportunity to share, support

a variety of training disciplines Including

and empower other females. Our primary

strength training, animal flow, circuit

focus is to establish a long-lasting positive

based, pad-work and functional high-

our guests in the loop and excited.

effect on their health and lifestyle. We didn't want the girls that had booked on a five-star retreat, feel pressured in any way to get weighed each day and calorie count throughout the 5-day fitness holiday. Instead, we wanted to educate

Q&A OR WORKSHOP HELD BY OUR INSTRUCTORS 10.30 PM LIGHTS OUT DOWNTIME

intensity workouts. The all-inclusive programme puts our guests in a controlled environment where they won’t have the temptations of normal life around them. All within the comfort of a luxury 5* villa still providing you with a relaxing

them about making better lifestyle

luxurious environment to unwind.

choices, that improves mentality towards

The nutrition and food during the stay will

health and fitness. We didn't want anyone

be a combination of nutritionally dense and

to feel intimidated by strict diets and

exceptional tasty meals, freshly prepared

intense boot camp classes. While these

by our chef and the chef assistant within

types of retreats do exist, they are not

the villa. Another important aim of ours

the majority, but the best retreats are the

is to educate and teach our guests the

ones that remind you to enjoy yourself

importance of eating properly to fuel their

while working on your own health and

daily activities and to get results.

With October 2020 passing and the restrictions held for travelling, our first sold-out retreat has regrettably been postponed to 2021. We both stayed calm throughout the process with everyone being very understanding. However, the path that this year has taken, has hyped people to look more into this type of experience in the near future. bringing in loads of enquiries and interest from both male and female retreats and couples, so with that in mind, it has opened up some other exciting paths. Offering all-inclusive, intensive, focussed, results-driven fitness holidays that will kick start afresh. November 2020 65


EXPERIENCE

Ask the EXPERT BY PETE HOWE

meet that demand, the body starts increasing its ketone levels. By restricting carbohydrate consumption, the body will increase ketone levels in the blood. These deeper levels of ketosis offer many positive effects throughout the body, these effects that are experienced are the safest and healthiest way to diet. However, most people are rarely achieving the state of nutritional ketosis and therefore will never experience its benefits because the average person consumes excess amounts of carbs (sugars). The body prefers to use sugar as its primary fuel source, especially if plenty of carbs and protein are provided by the diet. This doesn’t mean we need to consume carbohydrates, there is no such thing as essential carbohydrates, (unlike essential fats, and essential amino acids), but more on that later.

WHAT IS KETOSIS?

optimum results. Ketosis is a process that

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M NOT IN KETOSIS?

the body goes through on an everyday

Your body adapts to what is put in it,

Ketosis is a state the body goes into when

basis, regardless of the number of carbs

processing different types of nutrients

it breaks down body fat for fuel (energy).

you eat. This is because this process

into the energy that it needs. Proteins,

The body utilises ketones for fuel, rather

provides us with energy from ketones

fats, and carbs can all be converted into

than the glucose (sugars).

whenever sugar is not readily available.

fuel using various metabolic processes.

Understanding how ketosis works is a vital

Whenever the need for energy increases

When you eat high-carbohydrate foods or

part of the process if you want to achieve

and carbohydrates aren’t available to

excessive amounts of protein, your body

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November 2020


EXPERIENCE

will break it down into a simple sugar called glucose. This happens because glucose provides the cells with the quickest source of ATP, which is the primary energy molecule needed to fuel almost everything that goes on in the body. In other words, more ATP means more cellular energy and more calories lead to more ATP. However, too many calories and the body will simply store them for later use. The body saves energy for the future in two ways: • Glycogenesis. During this process, excess glucose is converted to glycogen (the body’s stored form of sugar) and stored in the liver and muscles. The body stores approximately 2000 calories in the form of muscle and liver glycogen. Depending on the person, this means that glycogen levels will be depleted within 6-24 hours when no other calories are consumed. Luckily, we have an alternative method of energy storage that can help sustain us when glycogen levels are low — lipogenesis. • Lipogenesis. If there’s already

called ketones. These ketones are

brain and body that cannot be met by

synthesized after the body breakdowns

ketones, the liver uses a process called

fat into fatty acids and glycerol.

Gluconeogenesis

Although the fatty acids and glycerol

Amino acids from proteins and lactate

enough glycogen in your muscles

can be directly turned into fuel in many

from the muscles can be converted into

and liver, any extra glucose will be

cells throughout the body, they are not

sugar as well.

converted into fats and stored via a

used as energy by brain cells. The brain

process called lipogenesis. In contrast

is greedy and very demanding, it wants

to our limited glycogen stores, our fat stores are virtually unlimited. They provide us with the ability to sustain ourselves for weeks to months without adequate food.

fuel for energy now. Sugar tends to be the primary source of fuel for the brain. Surprisingly, this also helps us understand why we produce ketones.

glycogenolysis and lipolysis take their

HOW KETONES ARE FORMED: THE PROCESS

place, freeing energy from glycogen and

The body breaks down fat into fatty acids

fat stores.

and glycerol, which can be used for fuel

When food carbohydrates or calories are restricted, glycogenesis and lipogenesis are no longer active. Instead,

However, something unexpected happens to you once your body has no more glucose or glycogen? Fat is used as fuel, but an alternative fuel source called ketones is produced as well.

in the cells directly but not by the brain. To meet the needs of your brain, the fatty acids and the glycerol enter the liver where they are converted into sugar and ketones. GLUCOGEONOSIS is the process which

By converting amino acids, glycerol, and lactate into sugar, the liver is able to meet the glucose needs of the body and brain during times of fasting and carbohydrate restriction. This is why there is no essential requirement for carbohydrates in the diet. Your liver will, in most cases, make sure you have enough glucose in the bloodstream for your cells to survive. Stage 1 The glycogen depletion phase — 6 to 24 hours of fasting Energy is provided by glycogen. At this point, hormone levels are shifting, causing increases in gluconeogenesis and fat burning, but ketone production is not

As a result, ketosis happens.

converts glycerol into sugar, while

WHY KETOSIS HAPPENS

ketone bodies during a process called

When your body has no access to food,

During this phase, glycogen is fully

following the Ketogenic diet and lifestyle,

THE IMPORTANCE OF GLUCONEOGENESIS

the body will convert some of its stored

Your cells will need glucose to survive,

are starting to be produced, but at lower

fat to highly efficient energy molecules

to meet the energy needs of the

levels. You may notice that you have

like when you are sleeping, fasting, or

the fatty acids are converted into ketogenesis.

active yet. Stage 2 The gluconeogenic phase — 2 to 10 days of fasting

depleted, and gluconeogenesis takes over to provide the body with energy. Ketones

November 2020

67


EXPERIENCE

keto breath and are urinating more often because of increased acetone levels in your blood. Stage 3 The ketogenic phase — after 2 days of fasting or more This phase is characterized by a decrease in protein breakdown for energy and an increase in fat and ketone use. At this point, you will definitely be in ketosis.

KETOSIS AND NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS Alzheimer’s decease, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Migraines.

neurological symptoms.

lifestyle factors, their activity levels, and

children, where results in the literature

how many times they fasted/restricted

are astoundingly positive. Now, the uses for ketosis achieved

The ketosis that you experience on the

through a ketogenic diet seem to have

ketogenic diet is much safer and healthier

potentially endless applications for health

the protein in your muscles to glucose. This causes rapid muscle loss, Yes, you lose weight in starvation; your body will

to changes in the brain, including but not limited to inflammation, altered neurotransmitters.

based data to support the decrease in

treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in

has no food sources, so it starts converting

depression and anxiety are also linked

gene expression, and an imbalance of

different rates depending on genetic and

fasting. While you are fasting, your body

Like many other neurological conditions,

ketosis have provided us with fact-

Ketogenic diets were long prescribed as a

than the ketosis you get into as a result of

has become unbalanced.

The neurological benefits of being in

Each person will enter this stage at

carbs before.

metabolism and neurotransmitter release

and disease. The brain can’t use fat for energy because fat can’t cross the blood-brain barrier; it can use glucose and ketone bodies, Ketones, however, can access the brain.

Parkinson’s disease: Ketosis may improve brain energy metabolism and lead to increased tremor control and mood. Alzheimer’s Disease: Ketones can reduce oxidative stress in the brain and have shown to increase cognitive and behavioural performance. Epilepsy: Ketosis stabilizes neurotransmitters in the brain and has been shown to reduce seizures. Mood and Migraines: Ketones can reduce anxiety and depression-like behaviours.

glucose metabolism.

KETOSIS AND METABOLIC CONDITIONS

provides us with the safest and healthiest

This alternate pathway might offer

The obesity epidemic seems to only be

way to experience the benefits of ketosis.

several benefits, including reduced

getting larger.

Why? Because restricting carbohydrates

oxidative stress, lower inflammation,

while maintaining adequate caloric intake

and an alteration of certain brain

from fat and protein allows the ketogenic

neurotransmitters involved in health

process to preserve muscle tissue by using

and disease. It’s an enticing theory that

ketosis and the ketone bodies we create

a lower reliance on glucose metabolism

for fuel, and therefore maintaining you’re

in the brain offers several advantages,

your hard-earne

especially in conditions where fuel

still convert the fat from your fat cells into energy to survive. But this is not healthy. The ketogenic diet, on the other hand,

Once inside, ketones undergo metabolism through a process distinct from that of

While the exact causes aren’t agreed upon, it’s probably a combination of low physical activity, poor diet, epigenetics, and an all-around society encouraging overconsumption. Regular dieting has produced poor results for many. Restricting calories for a long time isn’t any fun, and many find this strategy unfeasible. For this reason, lowcarbohydrate ketogenic diets have become more popular as a way to boost fat loss and improve health. The high-fat and restricted-carbohydrate nature a KD causes a slew of hormonal and metabolic changes which directly and indirectly might contribute to weight loss and weight loss maintenance. On the one hand, a low intake of carbohydrates means a lower secretion of insulin. This increases the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue, lowers fat synthesis (lipogenesis) and decreases fat storage. The result is a higher “fatburning” capacity, where your body starts to rely on fat oxidation for energy rather than glucose. On top of this, ketogenic diets may increase metabolic rate by decreasing mitochondrial efficiency. More heat is lost this way, and more calories are burned. This, along with the fact that low-

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EXPERIENCE

use of ketogenic diets or some aspects of sport performance, particularly those involving endurance exercise.

up excessively in the blood. By restricting carbs, however, healthy individuals and people with diabetes can

Why dismiss long-held nutritional

keep their blood sugar levels under control

dogma? Well, some sports requiring

and experience the benefits of using

high endurance (think, ultramarathons)

ketones for fuel.

make the athlete likely to run out of

whose body is adapted to fat burning and

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

using ketones for fuel will have virtually

When you restrict carbohydrates, your

“unlimited” fuel stores to call upon.

liver uses two processes to fuel your cells

stored muscle glycogen. In this case, a more metabolically efficient athlete, one

In sports relying on body composition, carbohydrate diets often contain larger amounts of protein, contribute to what is known as the “metabolic advantage” of low-carb and ketogenic diets. This means that compared to traditional higher carbohydrate diets, they lead to increased metabolic rate and weight loss when the two diets are matched for calories.

such as martial arts, gymnastics, and

Ketogenesis takes fatty acids from stored

competitive lifting, ketogenic diets might

fat and dietary fat and converts them into

be a great way for some to get lean.

ketones. The ketones are then released

Others wishing to improve recovery

into the blood to fuel cells like our brain and

or just eat healthier might also see

muscle cells. The process by which the body

substantial benefits and enjoyment from

burns ketones for fuel is called ketosis.

transitioning to a ketogenic diet.

watching the clock for your next meal.

KETOACIDOSIS: THE BAD SIDE OF KETOSIS

Ketone bodies might have a direct

Ketoacidosis is a potentially lethal

appetite-suppressing effect. The infusion

state that occurs when excess ketones

of BHB has been shown to reduce food

accumulate in the blood. Some doctors

intake and body weight in animals, change

may advise against raising your ketone

levels of hunger regulating hormones in

levels using the ketogenic diet because

the brain, and reduce appetite.

they fear you may go into ketoacidosis.

Weight Loss: Ketosis can lead to great

These fears, however, are misguided. The

result in weight loss by the body’s ability

process of ketosis is closely regulated by

to use fat stores for energy.

the liver, and the body rarely produces more

Ketogenic diets are also satiating, making you feel full and satisfied rather than

Diabetes: Ketosis can improve blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Cancer: Being in nutritional ketosis has shown to have anti-cancer and tumour suppressing properties. Gut Microbiome: Ketosis can enhance beneficial gut bacteria and help achieve balanced levels of regulating hormones.

KETOSIS AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

— ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis.

ketones then it needs for fuel. This is why the ketogenic diet is so safe and effective. Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, will most likely occur in type 1 and type 2 diabetics that don’t have their blood sugar levels under control.

However, this does not mean that every cell in the body can survive on ketones. Some cells always need to use sugar for energy. To meet the energy demands that can’t be met by ketones, your liver uses a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is like a magic trick that the liver uses to convert non-sugar substrates like glycerol from fatty acids, amino acids from protein, and lactate from muscles into sugar. Together, ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis create the ketones and sugar that meet all of the body’s energy needs when food isn’t available or when carbohydrates are restricted. Although ketones are most well-known for being an alternative fuel source, they provide us with many unique benefits as well. The most effective and safest way to get all of the benefits of ketosis is by

The combination of insulin deficiency and

following the ketogenic diet. By doing so,

high blood sugar levels that are commonly

you won’t run the risk of losing precious

found in people with diabetes create a

muscle mass or entering the potentially

vicious cycle that causes ketones to build

lethally state of ketoacidosis.

Any training regimen requires proper nutrition and a recovery strategy.  What you put in your body is just as (if not more) important than the training you put it through. For athletes, most

For more information visit:

guidelines like the guidelines created by

@petehowe79 on Instagram

the American College of Sports Medicine

https://www.facebook.com/pete.

still support the idea that carbohydrates

howe.37

are king when it comes to fuelling highintensity performance.

http://linkedin.com/in/peter-howe9558883a

However, a new interest is growing in the November 2020

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SUPPLIER DIRECTORY FITNESS EQUIPMENT

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Gym Owner Monthly November Issue 2020  

The UK's No.1 Digital Magazine for Gym Owners & Fitness Professionals.

Gym Owner Monthly November Issue 2020  

The UK's No.1 Digital Magazine for Gym Owners & Fitness Professionals.