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ISSUE 53 // AUGUST 2020



















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Welcome... to the August issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. We cannot believe August is upon us already?! What a year it’s been and it’s not even over yet! It has certainly been an emotional ‘coronacoaster’ (stolen from the internet). The gyms are now open in parts of the UK, but for how long? A second strain may be on the cards, but let’s not put a strain on the remainder of the summer! We are turning up the heat with retention expert, founder of GG Fit and this months cover star and Big Interview, Guy Griffiths on page 16. We continue our support for inclusive training for those with disabilities, with CEO Tommy Cawston from the Matt Hampson Foundation with their ‘get busy living’ motto on page 36 and Clare Vale from Sign Solutions talking about accessibility for the deaf community post lockdown on page 42. Still thirsty for more? We have avant-garde gym designer, Cuoco Black talking fit tech failures on page 46. 4U Fitness founder, Daniel Nyiri talks niche marketing on page 48. Still not ready to cool down, we have Escape Fitness’ very own Ben Hackney Williams on moving forward with your members on page 52. And we have Adapt to Perform founder, Ben Clark on finding your niche on page 58 and Amy Dutfield on the rise of online learning on page 63, and much, much more! Did we forget to mention that you can subscribe for free? Visit www.gymownermonthly.co.uk Train safe.

The GOMM Team




Jane Grandena

Janine Edwards

Paul Wood



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

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

 @GymOwnerMonthly  gym-owner-monthly-magazine

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COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Guy Griffiths © 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.



Contents Covid-19

Supporting your blind and partially sighted members

As lockdown begins to ease, RNIB and partners have shared a few tips with the sports and leisure sector to support a positive experience for blind and partially sighted participants.

Be aware



Changes to the environment

Not all blind and partially sighted people “look blind” (wear dark glasses, use a cane or a guide dog), so be mindful that sight loss may not always be obvious.





If someone usually requires “traditional” guiding, and there is no safe alternative, verbal guidance may need to be considered when participating in an activity. But be aware some may wish to attend with their own guide or carer in order to participate.

Social distancing

Members and participants with sight loss will find it difficult to maintain social distancing, so keep this in mind when you’re in the gym or sports facility.

To keep everyone safe, please highlight to your blind and partially sighted members how and where they can sterilise their hands and equipment… don’t assume everyone knows where it is. Make sure your members with sight loss are aware of changes within the facility, such as floor indicators, protective screens and temporary barriers. Ensure any temporary signage is at least size 14 font – hand-written notes are difficult for everyone to read. But, where you can, verbalise these changes to your members.

Covid-19: Supporting your blind and partially sighted members and participants In partnership with

Introduce yourself


If you think that someone needs help, introduce yourself as not everyone will see your uniform - a simple: “Hi I’m Steve, your Duty Manager, is there anything I can do to help today?” can go a long way. For more information refer to RNIB’s “Helping you to help your others” resource.

© RNIB registered charity in England and Wales (226227), Scotland (SC039316), Isle of Man (1226). Also operating in Northern Ireland.

20 24


Sports and leisure sector guidance In partnership with

26 6 10 13 16 20 24 4

28 Kevin Yates, CEO of TRIB3 International talks about preparing for a new future

This month’s International Gym is People Fitness in the Baltics

Gym Owner of the Month with Ed Shaw & David Gainford

36 26 28 32 36 38 40


Introducing this month’s boutique gym

MissFit Studio - Ellesmere Port

PT Viewpoint Forming Habits And Loving The Long Game by Rachel Boddington

Fitkit this month’s round-up of equipment

The Big Interview with Guy Griffiths founder of GGFit talks data, motivation, bridging the gap between exercise and technology, and recovery

RNIB, British Blind Sport, Metro Blind Sport and Visionary issue guidance for leisure operators to support the return of blind and partially sighted people

PT of the month

featuring Josh Jackson


Tommy Cawston Chief Executive Officer of The Matt Hampson Foundation gives us an insight into the charity

Who ate all the pies? By Taz Dunstan

Exercise at home with WheelPower, British Wheelchair Sport





46 48


56 42


60 63 56 58 60 63 64


How to make gyms more accessible to the Deaf community post-lockdown by Clare Vale

44 46 48 52

Physical exercise and Mental Health by Samantha Walters

The Empty Bravado of Fitness Tech by Cuoco Black

Do you have a Niche Market!? By Daniel Nyiri

It's time to move on. Take your people with you

Should fitness courses supply ongoing business support?

by Colin Lee Berry – Street Defence Director & Founder

Finding your niche and dominating it by Ben Clark

Getting back with your Ex… members by Guy Griffiths

‘The Rise of Online Learning’ by Amy Dutfield

Ask the Expert Life as a Gym manager by Adam Powell

by Ben Hackney-Williams

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

pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk AUGUST 2020



Re o p e nin g , re - e va luatin g an d re tur n in g to g r e atn es s Kevin Yates, CEO of TRIB3 International talks about preparing for a new future and navigating a new set of consumer values and behaviours.

COVID-19 has had a dichotomous impact. It has both physically divided us, seeing many of us isolate for weeks on end, but it has also brought us together as we collectively shared the experience of lockdown and how this impacted our personal, professional and financial circumstances. Gyms owners and operators across the sector have shared the worries, the work and the waiting across a lockdown that transpired to last almost four months. Finally, our sector was allowed to reopen on 25.07.20. Here’s how my team have prepared for this new, unchartered future and the key lessons we’ve been learning along the way.

The agile plan It’s all about planning but also knowing that that plan needs to be agile and adaptable to change because the one thing that’s been 6


consistent throughout this crisis is that things change quickly and often without much warning. Many of us had a strong feeling closure was coming as the situation globally was upgraded to ‘Pandemic’ status. TRIB3 has stores in five countries globally, including Spain, which was a couple of weeks ahead of the UK in terms of the containment measures so we’d already been managing the temporary closures of our Madrid studios. There were the immediate closure efforts – communicating, cleaning, closing up the physical buildings– then came insight. If you haven’t done this already, gather as much analysis and as many legitimate statistics as you can. This is still hugely relevant. Number one, because consumer behaviours and the longer-term financial impact is still evolving and number two because we’re not done with this crisis yet.

For us, insight came from our customers, in a multi-phased set of surveys and forums, and from numerous reputable research reports that considered the wider landscape and the short and longterm considerations of the crisis. My team mobilised quickly on a strategic response and we set out a strategy in three pillars: o Resilience and agility: our ability to react, protect and diversify. o Courage and greatness: redeploying resource and time to innovative and relevant business change. o Kindness and community: remaining a purpose-oriented brand that gives back to society.


actions and communications for your members but for your team as well. Making sure they feel continuously safe, supported and understood will be critical to successfully operating and retaining your talent.

Safety first

Why am I telling you this now? Because we continually revisit this strategic response and hold ourselves to account for making it real and delivering on the tangible actions. It’s kept us focused and within the right lane for the brand. If your strategy is there but you’re not revisiting whether you’ve actioned it and stuck with it, it becomes just words on a page.

sustainability and giving back to the community at large. For TRIB3, we’re a hugely community-focused brand, bringing people together is our core purpose and giving back is in our DNA so we were able to extend and adapt this narrative through lockdown and as we come out of it. This included consistent, considered communications, charity initiatives and outreach into local communities.

Forget what you know

Likewise, the same is true of your employees; your people. They’re human beings too and will have also navigated a whole spectrum of emotions and shifting priorities over lockdown. You don’t just need to reconsider the relevance of your

The crisis has seen established consumer trends broken down and rebuilt into entirely new values and behaviours so it’s important that you re-evaluate what matters to your customers and try to be relevant to these new ways of thinking and acting. This is important commercially but also for your brand directly – if your customers feel like you’re losing touch with what they need and how they feel, that’s a dangerous place to be.

Building and communicating your operational plan to reopen has no doubt been paramount for all of us – I’ve spoken a lot, publicly, about our shared responsibility to get this right. Our sector was, frustratingly, one of the last in the country to get the green light to reopen; a decision that shone a light on the fact that the fitness industry is misunderstood by our government and not as well heard as it needs to be. We’ve all made hugely robust plans – that’s evident from the great video content out there walking members from all types of facilities and brands through the plethora of changes and adaptations necessary to be ‘covid-secure’ – but delivering consistently on these changes is now the key. Don’t relax on distancing, on cleaning, on education. For example, at TRIB3, we’ve augmented our studio layouts, removing kit from our three zones, Treadmills, Resistance & Intensity (Air Bikes), to ensure there is 2m between each spot and customers have a clear, delineated training area – we have not dropped immediately to 1m despite the relaxing of distancing guidelines overall. For us, and for our customers, it was important to know we could

There’s a lot to think about here. Is your pricing model accessible enough when many people have felt the impact of redundancy or reduced income? Will your members consume in the way they did before or likely will where they’re working, when they’re working and new habits they formed over lockdown play a huge, transformational role here? How have their priorities changed? We hear and see a lot more a renewed focus on wellbeing, family, AUGUST 2020



deliver a safe but next-level workout experience at this distance before we considered increasing capacity. We’re going to learn and qualify then move forward at the right time. Seek feedback! Get evidence and tangible data from your customers on the emotional impact of the changes you’ve made because this impact will be seen on your commercial line. How do they feel? Is there more you could be doing? What is their propensity now to refer and recommend? If a big chunk of your new business came from your base, often the case particularly in the boutique fitness side of the industry in which TRIB3 operates, then understanding how this is going to look and how you can imbue this type of trust is absolutely critical.

Recognise the opportunities Store closures are not easy – they bring huge financial implications and massive worry, but lockdown has presented opportunities. You just need to know where to look and be able to mobilise quickly and effectively. At TRIB3, the second pillar of our strategy was ‘Courage and Greatness’, and for us, this meant looking for new growth vectors and expediting business transformation, particularly in the digital space. TRIB3 retails experience, not just a workout, so we looked at ways to bring that experience virtually to our customers while they couldn’t physically be with us. That meant we expedited the launch of our custom heart rate monitor, the SWEAT BAND 1.0, and the SWEAT app which allows you to track and record your workout data anytime, anywhere. This allowed us a platform to reignite engagement around at-home workouts, which naturally lost a bit of traction over the course of four months, but also to create a platform to transform our in-studio experience giving customers even more reason to come back. We completed a full CRM system migration to the Glofox platform too which, amongst many other benefits, offers a next-level booking experience across our website and a new branded app. This type of transformational change doesn’t need to be reserved just for lockdown – the opportunities are going to be far reaching as the industry starts to understand what these 8


evolved consumer behaviours are going to mean for us operationally so stay close to this. The second thing for us was about building future opportunities for growth. TRIB3 is a franchise business and we had a huge database of prospective franchise partners as well as new ones who were already signed up and preparing to fit out and open when lockdown hit. While we naturally faced some delays with people choosing to pause on their journey and see how the crisis was to play out, we continued preparing to open planned franchised outlets and looking

at creative ways to continuing opening new stores ourselves – we have +5 opening in the coming months. We knew it was vital that we showed resilience and confidence in the future. We also know that franchising generally shows an upswing in popularity following periods of economic pressure – again this was about looking for the opportunities. As we’d review our pricing and accessibility for our customers at the stores, we did the same for franchisees, evolving our model so that is now more accessible than ever with the option to build a different size of store, depending on location and available


shared the experience of adapting to our surroundings and improvising to stay active and stay connected. But, if you are thinking about retaining virtually in your proposition, this is something that takes care and consideration. At TRIB3, we have been preparing a virtual offering, TRIB3 Live, for months now and will only launch when we have finalised a topclass and truly differentiated product that connects our experience across all platforms. In order to monetise this type of service and ensure it is a relevant extension of your brand you must take the time to understand where you want to play and how you will execute to ensure a great end-toend customer experience. My advice: don’t rush it, do it well and keep a very close eye on how this market is going to move.

About Kevin Yates, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

capital, while still retaining the core workout experience we’re known for. What this means is we’ve been able to come out of lockdown with a model that’s more relevant than ever before and requires less upfront investment for what we know will be a captive audience.

Innovating in the fitness industry has been a motivation for TRIB3’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin, for decades. Since the mid-nineties, he’s been working with and developing disruptive concepts in the health and leisure sector, creating winning cultures and developing highperforming teams. The culmination of this experience was the creation of TRIB3 in 2016, a natural next step after being on the founding board of

high-end boutique brand 1Rebel. TRIB3 was born from Kevin’s innate vision to deliver a unique and next-level workout experience that would bring people together globally. Kevin’s energy and dedication run right through the business, from the experience customers receive, to the supportive and dedicated growth model that’s attracting franchisees the world over. His leadership and vision for the business, and its strategic direction, are what make TRIB3 truly unique.

About TRIB3 TRIB3 offers the ultimate group workout experience in luxe industrial settings. An effective one-studio model with three zones, customers train across Treadmills, Resistance and Intensity (TRI) for a full-body 45-minute HIIT workout. Built around effort-level, not ability, to guarantee results no matter your fitness level, and underpinned by the custom TRIB3 Heart Rate System, it’s arguably the most inclusive group workout in the world. TRIB3 was created to bring people together and its global family already spans five countries including Spain, Finland, Russia and the UK. Find out more about TRIB3 at trib3. co.uk or, if you are considering franchising with TRIB3, visit trib3. co.uk/franchise

Virtual is here to stay In one of our customer surveys a key trend that emerged was what role virtual fitness would play in and out of lockdown – trends which have been echoed by an abundance of other researchers and operators. Over 40% of our respondents told us that they would continue to include live and on-demand fitness content in their workout routines even as studios and gyms reopened. This is not something to be afraid but it’s also something to get right. The majority of us mobilised quickly to deliver at-home content in some guise as our facilities closed – and there was a certain camaraderie to our trainers and coaches opening their homes to workout with our customers in their living room and gardens. We AUGUST 2020


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People Fitness in the Baltics By Stephan Tarasov

People Fitness is a nextgeneration fitness club chain. The low price of 19.95EUR is combined with professional Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment, and high-quality furbishment, following world industry standards in the premium budget (high volume low price) segment. Clubs work 24/7, and access is controlled by fingerprint, with potential to expand into the use of FaceID. Security is ensured by remote video surveillance, and only registered users are allowed to visit the club.

The first club was opened in March 2016 in Riga (Latvia) and after 9 months it reached 95% occupancy. The break-even point was reached on the 6th month of operation. The second club in Riga reached a breakeven point following 3 months of operation, and after 5 months had 3,000 clients, which corresponds to a 75% occupancy rate. The chain’s clubs are also located in Tallinn (Estonia) and Vilnius (Lithuania), all of which follow the same concept and design. The backend managements is carried out via an exclusive, personalised, modern software solution and club app for visitors. People Fitness customers can use any club in the network by activating the multi-club service in the app in 2 clicks, as well as buy additional services, such as visiting Les Mills Live Lessons or Yanga unlimited sports water. All sales of new contracts are automated and do not require the participation of a company employee. 70% of sales of contracts take place on the website (www.peoplefitness. eu), and 30% through the app (Apple/ Google). After purchase, the client independently registers his fingerprint, which is converted into an 8-bit code for further visits to the club. Registration assistance can of course be provided during the club

administrator's office hours, which are optimised to reduce operating costs. But the sales processes on the website and in the app are so simple that everyone can handle the purchase on their own. Each club has a co-working area with free Wi-Fi, vending machines with snacks and coffee. Additionally, exclusive sports water is provided by Yanga.

How are you different from your competitors? What is your advantage? In addition to the high quality of fitness clubs and a very affordable price, we are the first to provide the opportunity to work with personal trainers using the fitness-uber approach. This means that any certified personal trainer can provide his services to our clients, without registration in the company staff and without paying rent. They just buy the pro contract, visit the club like everyone else and train customers without hidden fees. We provide personal trainers the opportunity to use professional equipment, as well as other facilities, in a seamless solution that helps them grow their business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Should they wish, personal trainers are also able to gather mini-groups and access specialised studios within our clubs during times when they are free from the primary club schedule. These range from boxing, martial arts to personalised coaching sessions brought by our certified coaches. In combination, all this is representative of our company ethos - effortless, accessible and value for money.

How has the COVID-19 crisis affected you? The Baltic countries halted fitness clubs from working in a synchronised manner - so all of our clubs were closed at almost the exact same times. We suspended all withdrawals from 10


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customer cards and were in a state of zero cash flow for almost 3 months, but we survived. We have now restored operational activity, closely following regulation, and have weathered the storm with our small team - a feat which makes us proud in what is otherwise a very tormented year. During quarantine, all costs were cut, staff took temporary leave and many negotiations took place with our landlords to reduce rent or eliminate it during the pandemic. Many were very willing to meet us, which allowed us to survive the crisis.

What is the state of the customer base after the pandemic? It’s probably a little easier for us than most as we are working in the premium-budget segment, and since people changed their consumption habits, many contracts were terminated for the sake of saving money. Fortunately, our consumers are more inelastic when compared to the industry average. It’s also noticeable

that people have grown accustomed to online training and outdoor activities, and it is difficult to return them to the club in the summer which tends to be the off-season anyways. In terms of indicators, we see a 13% decline from the same period last year, which seems to be quite adequate in the current circumstances.  But we also see that the demand for group programs has begun to increase, which is pleasing since we offer group programs of our design, for example, Rounds (HIIT with boxing elements) and LesMills, for an additional fee.

What technologies are you using? We are proud of our development of the People Fitness App and our own backend management software. The application tallows customers to not only buy contracts, additional services, and book visits to group classes but also see in real-time the number of customers in the club as well as view the social profiles (or direct message)

other customers, which they may have met in a lobby or group class. People Fitness App also features a marketplace, where customers can order and instantly pay for various products from sports nutrition and accessories to clothing and cosmetics. We motivate clients to participate in various challenges; burning calories, visiting a club, attending group classes, compete with each other as well as other events.You can also arrange a personal training session, make an appointment with a nutritionist, and book a massage through the app that connects the club's clients with the wellness industry specialists registered with the club. The club management platform, which the chain finished in quarantine is due to undergo testing and will be available for licensing to other chains. USPs range from multi-user access (shareholder accounts, team accounts, administrator accounts), advanced client metrics and trend analysis provided by AI and ML, and more. Communication with customers mainly AUGUST 2020


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takes place through the People Fitness App, but we are also active on Facebook and Instagram, in Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, English, and Russian.

What do you expect from the new time, after the pandemic? We hope to return to the previously seen client base growth rate, whilst being careful to maintain and perhaps even decrease operating expenses, since the aftermath of the crisis enforces various regulations. However, the lockdown has also opened a door on a new way of operating for our team which will contribute to saving cash flow and



decreasing operating expenses. We plan to introduce new fitness programs of our own making, mainly aimed at retaining new customers, as well as more advanced and specialized workout routines for experienced customers. The first step, beginning this month, is offering a ‘BASE’ program for all new clients (it used to cost 65 euros per person), which runs for 3 weeks, and fitness industry experts tell and show newcomers how to use the equipment correctly, walk them through the training process, adjust nutritional regimen to achieve desired results, test group programs and provide general

recommendations to improve training efficiency and naturally retain clients for as long as possible.

What are your priorities for the near future? The company sees its goal to provide not only high-quality and affordable fitness services but also the development of IT services, such as a club management system and an application for the end-user. Development is planned in Europe and the CIS countries with the provision of all the necessary documentation, consulting, and software for potential partners.

G sY po M tO l iWgNh EtR O F T H E M O N T H

Your name(s):

Ed Shaw & David Gainford

Gym name:

Peak Fitness And Lifestyle Ltd


The Old Smokery, Far Peak, Northleach, Gloucestershire, Gl54 3jl







How many gyms do you own/operate? We currently own one venue which opened in February 2020, just 6 weeks before lockdown. It has been a labour of love and we’ve created something pretty special, so reopening next week couldn’t come soon enough.

How did you become a gym owner? Having been intrinsically involved in a few corresponding fitness and health businesses over the last 15 years now was the right time to start afresh using a blank canvass to create the venue we wanted for our members and clients. You build experience and ideals over time, learning from ‘mentors’ along the way so that you can offer what you feel you are best suited for. All gyms are different because of who runs them, so ours is unique to us and we love what we do. David and I work so well together because we complement each other’s strengths perfectly David works hard and trains hard, making sure his clients are pushed to their limits. Ed has a more relaxed approach to training, with a focus on movement-based rehabilitation. This creates a rare symbiosis for people of all physical abilities, from Olympic prospective to chronic health issues, members here feel like they’re in ‘their gym’.

How many staff will you employ? As owners, we offer PT and run the gym floor with an additional three PTs who work on a self-employed basis.

How important are PTs to your business? Our PTs rent space which contributes to the business model. More importantly, our PTs are the ‘shop window’. We are lucky to have a team AUGUST 2020


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of professional and approachable PTs who help us welcome new clients and keep the gym operational.

How do you motivate/ incentivise your staff members? Most important to the success of our business is that we retain our team! For a lot of gyms, staff turnover is quite rapid, we plan to keep our team together so that we can keep things familiar for our members. Our team get appropriate referrals in exchange for support with opening and closing the gym, it works really well that we can help them and they help us.

Will you provide any financial assistance to your staff with regards their training? We fully support the professional development of our team. With the different qualifications that are available to fitness professionals now, we encourage our team to develop and maintain up to date qualifications and experience.

What will make your gym unique? We are fortunate to be situated within 24 acres of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where our on-site neighbours offer outdoor climbing, bouldering, camping, cycling routes, and many other outdoor pursuits. This enables us to give a more holistic approach to fitness and wellbeing. It also gives us a unique opportunity to offer outdoor pursuits in a safe environment to our less able clients, perhaps those with Parkinson’s or who have had strokes. Our indoor set up brings together those who want to sweat it out, as well as those who want to rehab from injury or illness. We have a carefully selected wealth of equipment, including an antigravity treadmill, a coordination dynamics therapy device, Easyline circuits and everything else you would hope to find in a gym. We are also fortunate to work closely with select physios, neurophysios, university research groups and other professionals who enhance our member's ability to exercise at their optimum level. We use the 24 acres of green land here to offer an outdoor woodland gym and circuit classes. With the current pandemic at the forefront of everyone’s minds, this outdoor space allows us the privilege to offer exercise options to those who are perhaps more nervous of the indoor space, or even just to someone who wants to make the most of the sunshine while its lasts.

growth model took a big hit. We have been well supported by the government and our landlord, but have suffered financially. I believe we will recover and grow in the coming months, especially as we can offer what a lot of facilities cannot in terms of security and instilling a feeling of safety for both our members and team. We will all be waiting to see how the COVID pandemic evolves, hopefully, the whole fitness industry will continue to thrive in the coming months, as we all know health is essential to wellbeing. Had we not had this national interruption and things had continued to grow as it started back in February, then I believe our only challenges would be not having enough hours in the day!

How will you engage with your members?

What are the biggest challenges facing your business today?

Social media has enabled us to keep interacting with our members over the last few months, as well as frequent email updates. With the relaunch imminent we will continue with social media emails, however, we will also keep time available for ‘drop-in’ chats so that we can keep up to date with everyone’s training progress.

For us personally, we were only trading for six weeks pre lockdown, so our business

I imagine only a few years ago, things would have been very different. But we can now use social



media like Facebook and Instagram to interact with members (and prospective members)!

How will you retain your membership? We are currently saying thank you to our members for supporting us through these months by offering free PT for every month we have been closed. This is a small gesture of thanks, but it will also be a great way to reconnect with clients to and get them back into the swing of regular exercise. With the amount of time people will have had off regular exercise, or on lighter duties, it is sensible to make sure everyone eases back into it at a sensible pace. We had planned lots of social interaction with our members, physical challenges, team activities and fun events. These have been postponed but will now need to be tweaked to fit social distancing guidelines. Having said that, we are launching a fun event in August, which will involve our members, social media interaction and a team event at the end. We want our members to enjoy our gym, so if we have interactive plans to complement their basic exercise time then I think this will help with retention.

G sY po M tO l iWgNh EtR O F T H E M O N T H

What else will your gym offer? We are able to emphasise the importance of exercise, lifestyle and wellbeing because our venue supports that. With this in mind, we are in the initial stages of providing a community garden. We hope this will become an outdoor space for members to pre or post-workout! It will also enhance the social aspect of the venue. There is a great deal of research suggesting this sort of facility will aid health maintenance for people living with chronic health issues. Alongside this, we are working on a research

project with a local university and various charities. This is exciting as we can contribute to steer future exercise and rehabilitation methods whilst also benefitting our clientele.

With such fantastic support, we were able to rely upon word of mouth to widen our client base, but we are now using social media to reach prospective clients of all physical abilities.

Just as importantly, we want to have a Friday evening ‘PT and a Pint’ just to reinforce that we’re just normal guys too!

We had some larger promotional events planned that will need to take a back seat for now. In the short term, we will rely on local magazines and social media to spread the word.

How are you promoting your brand and marketing your gym?

What do you hope for the future of your business?

We were fortunate to have an existing client base that has supported us with our dream.

Success! We want a facility that delivers what it promises and has a happy and loyal staff and clientele that love being at our gym!



Ts Hp Eo tB lI iGg IhNt T E R V I E W

Guy Griffiths of GGFit talks data motivation bridging the gap between exercise and technology and recovery How did you get into the fitness industry? My mission is to help operators to support their members’ health and wellbeing. After 12 years as a consultant and ultimately as director of sales and marketing for a banking software firm, I was looking for something more meaningful. I wanted to help people to be healthier and fitter, rather than help banks to make more money. I had always been a regular gym member, and knew retention was an issue, but that exercise data was under-used. I talked to staff at the clubs where I was a member, and other clubs around London, and built connections with a few suppliers. I networked relentlessly online and at events like the FIA (ukactive) conferences, LIW (Leisure Industry Week), and SIBEC. I supported and presented at the IOU (Independent Operators Unite) events at LIW. Without the experience or biases of working from the ground up, I think from a member’s perspective, often questioning the status quo. When the 16


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answer is “because we’ve always done it like that”, it is usually time for change.

Tell us more about GGFit I founded GGFit in 2008 to help clubs get more from their data, and improve member and staff motivation. As well as data analysis, we help staff to understand and get the most out of the systems and processes they are using. We are system agnostic, our job is often to ‘sell’ the system to staff, by demonstrating the benefits to them and their members. Early projects included working with the UK’s first budget chain, FitSpace, on monthly membership reports. These were presented graphically to club managers and directors to show trends and highlight good performance or areas for improvement across a number of key performance indicators (KPIs). We also helped Technogym to develop their wellness system (now mywellness) dashboards, for clubs to easily monitor their KPIs. In 2012, I wrote my book; Stick Around – Strategies To Keep Your Gym Members Motivated, which has sold over 500 copies to date. It is a guide to the pillars of good member retention; systems, processes and people, and includes member journeys from joining through to leaving and ex-member re-engagement. While a lot has changed since 2012, it still receives good reviews; readers say it is straightforward, uncomplicated, with ideas that are easy to understand and implement.

What sets GGFit apart from its competitors? An unusual combination of crunching data into meaningful visualisations, and soft skills to understand and motivate people. We don’t just display the data, we help people to understand the insights, develop an action plan and follow-up to get results. For example, we send bespoke communications on behalf of clients to their members; SMS, email, letters, and phone calls. Triggering communications is only the first part, reporting on

the outcome is more significant. How many members return after an absentee message? Or how many members feedback on their induction appointment? Crow Wood Leisure is a long-term client and independent family owned club in Burnley. They were initially shocked to discover over 20% of their members became “Absent 21” each month over the summer. But after receiving one or more messages, 76% of absentees returned within 10 days. SMS is usually the most effective return channel. Working with people is as important as working with data. We ran monthly retention forums with Stevenage Leisure for three years, bringing together fitness and centre managers to redefine and measure the member journey. By facilitating the meetings, we worked with staff and the senior management team on buy-in and processes. Introducing mystery joiners helped the qualitative measures, and the front of house system provided quantitative

metrics. We increased new member step 1 (induction) bookings from 55% to 83%, which increased DD revenue by £94k per annum across 14 sites.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your business? GGFit’s biggest challenge is one of the industry’s biggest issues, an inexplicable focus on sales rather than retention. It costs up to 7 times more to recruit a new member than retain an existing one, but clubs continue to pour resources into new membership sales, instead of working on existing member engagement. We’ve worked hard to change this, with some success, but there’s more to do. The COVID-19 pandemic will shift this focus. Increased competition means some clubs will be fighting for survival, and member engagement will become critical. There are more ways than ever to keep in touch with members. AUGUST 2020


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Another challenge we have worked hard to overcome is the fear of contacting absentees. Club owners worry that they might cancel, but we’ve demonstrated that most come back if contacted in a timely and appropriate manner. Right now, many members have been absent for months, and we need to know if they are coming back or not. No contact is not an option.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from the fitness industry? Collaboration is key, and openness is best. Most of our work has come through partnerships, referrals, or through speaking at conferences and events. Sharing knowledge helps the world go round. It is no good keeping ideas to yourself, particularly if someone can help spread the word, or pick up the ball and run with it. Working with a variety of clients is also important, both from a security and an interest perspective. Some people still hate budget gyms, but they have shaken up the industry, created opportunities and new ways of working that have been adopted across other sectors. There is always something new to learn.

What’s next for GGFit? I’m excited to have formed the Collective with Alina Cooper from



FitLinks to help the industry collaborate, share and grow. There is a plethora of expert content and debate on our facebook group. We are hosting regular online networking sessions for gym owners, personal trainers, bootcamp and studio operators to share their wins and issues and help each other out. There are no sales pitches, just a safe, trusted environment to support each other and collaborate. Search The Collective on facebook to find out more.

facilities, some of which may struggle

I’m also working with two friends and industry veterans, Ray Algar and Adam Campbell. Together, we are Newton: The Movement Architects. We are using behavioural science, digital tools, and strategic thinking to help people to choose and maintain active habits.

reduced commuting and working from

As for GGFit, we’re helping our clients to recover their members following lockdown. Some are looking at new models of membership, building and blending physical and digital journeys to improve engagement and create stronger connections with their members for the future.

gym sector will thrive. There are over

In your opinion, what is the current state of the UK’s fitness industry?

While the shift to digital fitness will

The global fitness industry has taken a massive hit from the pandemic, and it will be a long hard road to recovery. In the UK, I worry about the public sector

to reaching more new members. This

to re-open due to financial pressure on the leisure trust model. It is imperative that we support these communities. They look after the majority of UK gym members, but deliver so much more to the nation, from kids swimming to elderly wellbeing, casual users to team and elite sports. Big box chains and boutiques appeal to fitness enthusiasts. They will be affected by new ways of working; home. However, they should be able to ride it out with their ability to invest, particularly in new digital models. On a positive note, there is a bigger appetite for health alongside fitness, and this is where the independent 4,500 privately owned facilities in the UK, which epitomise the definition of a club; a collection of people that come together for a common purpose. A club is not the building or the equipment, but the members, staff, community, and a common cause. continue to develop, this personal support and community is the answer is how we will help more people to be healthier and fitter, rather than make banks more money.


RNIB, British Blind Sport, Metro Blind Sport and V i s i o n a r y i s s u e g u i da n c e f o r l e i s u r e o p e r ato r s to support the return of blind a n d pa r t i a l ly s i g h t e d p e o p l e In preparation for the reopening of leisure and sport facilities, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), British Blind Sport (BBS), Metro Blind Sport and Visionary have been working together to provide practical guidance to support the return of blind and partially sighted people to physical activity. Research conducted by RNIB has found that two thirds (66 per cent) of blind and partially sighted people feel less independent now compared to before lockdown, demonstrating that social distancing measures, as brought in to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, are incredibly difficult for many people living with sight loss. In addition, inaccessible signage and fear about how the public will react to them if they are unable to follow the guidelines is causing increased stress and worry. In response to these anxieties, RNIB, BBS, Metro and Visionary have created practical guidance which will help leisure operators and sport providers prepare for welcoming people back to physical activity, with the least amount of stress and difficulty. The guidance provides simple considerations that will make the return more straightforward and encourages the wider public to be mindful that sight loss may not always be obvious. The guidance demonstrates how to communicate clearly any changes to the facilities, particularly floor indicators or arrows, protective screens and temporary barriers. Marc Powell, Strategic Accessibility Lead at RNIB, said: “The findings from RNIB’s survey clearly show how much of a significant impact social distancing measures are having on the lives of blind 20


Covid-19: Supporting your blind and partially sighted members and participants Sports and leisure sector guidance In partnership with

and partially sighted people. As lockdown restrictions ease, we’ve increasingly heard from people with sight loss who are incredibly anxious about how to manage the situation. By creating clear, implementable guidance for leisure operators, we hope that some pressure and stress will be relieved for blind and partially sighted people, and that we will make the general public more aware of the challenges being faced by our community during this time.” Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive at BBS, said “During the pandemic, blind and partially sighted people have been facing specific and unique challenges that have had an enormous impact on everyday independence. We have been interested to learn about the issues that people with sight loss have faced due to social distancing particularly visual cues in public places. To ensure that these issues are not repeated in the sporting environment, together we have created clear and easy to follow guidance that can be put into place for safe return to play. This guidance will make a huge difference to people who want to return to living independent

lives and will offer additional assistance to the organisations who provide inclusive physical activity opportunities.” Martin Symcox, Chief Executive at Metro Blind Sport, said: “People with sight loss have faced significant difficulties in observing social distancing since lockdown has been in place and again since it has been relaxed. Many individuals have told us that they are worried about returning to physical activity without any clear guidance in place and are unsure of the new barriers that they may face. We hope that we have made it simple and cost effective for our suggested measures to be implemented before facilities reopen and that this will give blind and partially sighted people the confidence and reassurance they need to return to the activities that they enjoy.” Please click here to read the new Sport and Leisure Sector Guidance For more information on this guidance, please contact Marc Powell on ExternalAccessibilityEnquiries@rnib. org.uk



Supporting your blind and partially sighted members As lockdown begins to ease, RNIB and partners have shared a few tips with the sports and leisure sector to support a positive experience for blind and partially sighted participants.

Be aware



Changes to the environment

Not all blind and partially sighted people “look blind” (wear dark glasses, use a cane or a guide dog), so be mindful that sight loss may not always be obvious. If someone usually requires “traditional” guiding, and there is no safe alternative, verbal guidance may need to be considered when participating in an activity. But be aware some may wish to attend with their own guide or carer in order to participate.

Social distancing

Members and participants with sight loss will find it difficult to maintain social distancing, so keep this in mind when you’re in the gym or sports facility.

To keep everyone safe, please highlight to your blind and partially sighted members how and where they can sterilise their hands and equipment… don’t assume everyone knows where it is. Make sure your members with sight loss are aware of changes within the facility, such as floor indicators, protective screens and temporary barriers. Ensure any temporary signage is at least size 14 font – hand-written notes are difficult for everyone to read. But, where you can, verbalise these changes to your members. In partnership with

Introduce yourself


If you think that someone needs help, introduce yourself as not everyone will see your uniform - a simple: “Hi I’m Steve, your Duty Manager, is there anything I can do to help today?” can go a long way. For more information refer to RNIB’s “Helping you to help your others” resource.

© RNIB registered charity in England and Wales (226227), Scotland (SC039316), Isle of Man (1226). Also operating in Northern Ireland. AUGUST 2020



Sight loss:

Helping you to help others during coronavirus Here are a few quick tips to help you feel confident in supporting people with sight loss during this time. Be aware

Not all blind and partially sighted people “look blind” (wear dark glasses, use a cane or a guide dog), so be mindful that it may not always be obvious.

Social distancing

People living with sight loss will find it difficult to maintain social distancing, so keep this in mind when you’re interacting with them.

Introduce yourself

If you think that someone needs help, just introduce yourself – a simple: “Hi I’m Steve, is there anything I can assist you with?” can go a long way.

Use verbal communication

Saying “Go over there” while pointing means very little to someone who can’t see where “there” is. Try and be specific, for example “Your glass is at 2 o’clock”, or “The card machine is above your right hand”.

Sight loss is a spectrum

We all see differently, so get to know the people you’re working with; some might need help reading things, while others just want guiding – for those with very low vision, you may need to say when you’re leaving so they know you’ve not just gone quiet! Remember, we’re all individuals.

Don’t make assumptions

If someone does need help, let them tell you what they need – don’t assume they’re trying to cross the road when they’re actually wanting directions. Just ask.


If someone usually requires “traditional” guiding, have an open conversation about safe alternatives.

Talk naturally


Don’t be afraid of using “visual language” like “nice to see you” – just relax and be yourself – you’ll feel awkward if you try to censor yourself.


For further information, visit rnib.org.uk

© RNIB registered charity in England and Wales (226227), Scotland (SC039316), Isle of Man (1226). Also operating in Northern Ireland. AUGUST 2020


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s Pp T oOt Fl i TgHhEt M O N T H

Your name:

Josh Jackson


Level 3 Personal Trainer & BA Sports Development & Coaching

# years as a qualified PT: 2

Where you work (town/city): Stoke-on-Trent

Your Facebook:


Your Instagram:


How did you become a PT? I’ve always loved learning about how the body works, moves and how it can adapt to certain types of training, so I pursued a career in personal training.

What was your experience of the training/qualification process? I’ve always been coaching sports teams and chosen sports qualifications where possible through college and university and when I was 17 I started my journey towards my level 3 PT qualification. Gaining my qualification was easy because I had already done some research into anatomy and physiology and already had an understanding of resistance training.

Do you (or do you intend to) specialise in a particular type of fitness? I prefer to specialise in resistance training, focusing on training longevity rather than quick fixes.

What’s it like working with gym owners? Working in a smaller, independent gym means that I get to see the owners more often and they’re more like friends. We get to train together and they’re more focused on creating an amazing gym and looking after staff and members, rather than sales like some of the big chain gyms.

What is your opinion of CPD? I think they are great ways to extend your knowledge and improve yourself, to ensure 24


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you are providing the latest information to your clients, so they can get the best results and learn from you rather than just following what you say.

You spend your working hours motivating others, how do you motivate yourself?

teach people everything you know.

What are the biggest challenges facing your business today? We’ve just come out of a pandemic so the gym and personal training is luxury, but I'm ready for the challenge and to get back to work.

I chose this profession because I love the job and everything about it, so I can easily stay motivated to learn more and improve my service.

How do you engage with your clients (active and inactive)?

What advice would you give to other PTs just starting out in the business?

Talking to them in the gym or messaging them, making sure they know they can contact me whenever.

Learn as much as you can, focusing on how the body works, but be critical, see things from both points of view, don't just believe everything you see on the internet. Other than that just put yourself out there, talk to as many people as you can, be heard and

How do you promote your services? Talking to members of the gym and trying to post as much useful information on social media, making sure it's relevant to the public and their needs.

How often do you train yourself? I usually train weights 6-7 times a week and try to get some form of cardio in, 2-3 times a week extra.

If there was one thing you could radically change within the industry, what is it? Help people understand that fitness doesn't have to be a quick fix they can start for a holiday, but if they continue to train after it could radically improve their life staying fit year-round.

Do you see yourself still working as a PT in 10 years time? I see myself still training people in 10 years times, but in different ways I’d love to teach everyone and give everyone the ability to exercise, removing the barriers stopping them from participating.

What is your biggest success story? My biggest success is starting and maintaining my own business doing what I love, so many people start but fail and I'm happy that I can continue to help and educate people. AUGUST 2020 25



MissFit Studio - Ellesmere Port


Cheshire MissFit Studio is one of many local gyms in the area, but there is one thing that differentiates MissFit Studio from all of the others, MissFit Studio is a private training facility, designed by women, for women!

What is Our Vision? The main objective when planning and designing MissFit Studio was to create a place where women can train and feel comfortable, without the fear of ‘gymtimidation’, a place where she can leave all anxieties at the door and focus solely on her workout, on pushing to her limits, on taking one stride closer to achieving her personal goal! We all understand how daunting it can be for a woman to walk into a gym confidently and pick up some weights for her workout, there are so many variables that give women the ‘gym fear’, men lifting heavy, others watching, not feeling fit enough, and also, not actually understanding how to train with weights properly! So with this in mind, it was clear we needed a safe space for women to come and learn how to train in a place they feel



comfortable, motivated and where they feel accomplished with their workout and progression. MissFit Studio was designed and created by Samantha Walters, a Personal Trainer and competitive bikini fitness athlete with a passion for helping introduce women to weight training within the gym setting, to teach them how to utilise weight training properly to improve their health and physique, and to squash the stigma that comes along with women and lifting weights. The classes are run by team member Louise Jones, a local fitness instructor who brings her own style, crazy energy and a huge amount of fun into the session with their forever growing team of girls. With a lot of commercial gyms being quite generic in style, Samantha wanted to go for a completely different look to

create a real motivating atmosphere for her clients, so decided on a graffiti style for the gym décor. Samantha worked with talented artist Andy Birch to design the style which he then created to an amazing standard! With a lot of graffiti work in gyms being more male dominant, the focus was to show strength in a more feminine, attractive and empowering way. The main wall is designed with the gym name MissFit separated by the portrait of an inspirational lady training with a dumbbell in hand. LED lights surrounding the artwork make it stand out even more, giving the painting extra emphasis and being the focal point of the whole gym! With the LED lights it is also easy to play around with different mood settings, having the gym bright and active, having a grungy feel, or giving it a more relaxed aura.


carefully to ensure that it isn’t too intimidating to a beginner, but of course, so that each workout can be strenuous enough for all abilities. Nutritional advice, coffee and supplements are also available for women at the studio. Samantha Works with brand 10Xathletics, a reputable, animal and eco-friendly brand offering a range for her clients, including the increasingly popular vegan population, so ladies who use the gym can also enjoy a coffee or pre-workout drink to fuel their sessions, or grab a protein shake and an extra opportunity to chat with others and be sociable post-workout! Benefits all around!

MissFit Family

Another focal point for the artwork is the #SELFIE mirrored wall in the gym. We all know with the power of Social Media for advertising and growing business, and the current selfie climate we live in, it is a great way to share posts of clients in the gym during classes and in their own sessions. The Wall is covered in several motivational quotes aimed solely at women, such as ‘Train like a beast to look like a beauty’, and also painting the #MissFit around the mirror, it is an attractive, bright and colourful feature which invites use and creates a reach and intrigue for new potential clients.

something and how it is working, other than just being told what exercises to do and how many, the aim is to create independence and confidence with training so the client can then independently train in a confident and safe manner. Boot camps and Circuit classes also run in the gym and make use of fun equipment such as the battle ropes, ladders or tyres for flips to make sure everyone is accommodated for. The equipment has been chosen

Because the gym is small and is run by a close team, the clients that attend really get to feel a sense of community within the gym. Groups are kept small so that each client isn’t lost as just a number, each individual is made to feel important, is made to feel like they are being focused on thoroughly in their sessions, even in their classes. The groups of women who meet through the gym often become good friends and are able to enjoy the social side of exercise as well as just the physical benefits! If you are a woman looking to possibly join a community of strong, supportive and encouraging women then check out the Facebook page @missfitstudiocheshire for more information on how to get involved in the new movement of strong women, created by women, for women!

Personalised weight plates have been created for the ladies in the studio by the company ProPlates. The Plates come in different weights and sizes and display the MissFit logo for that extra personal and feminine touch! The gym floor is a spacious area to be able to accommodate for fitness classes, with the main focus of equipment being free weights or resistance machines. The studio Personal Training sessions have a structured focus of a lesson, women come to learn how to train and understand why they are doing AUGUST 2020


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Forming Habits And Loving The Long Game by RACHEL Boddington

It’s such an honour to go through this process with people and I feel very lucky to meet so many fantastic people along the way. Health and fitness mean different things to different people, and in my experience, as a personal trainer, no one journey is the same.

A little about me, my name is Rachel, I’m a mum, a wife and a Personal Trainer. My passion is helping people enjoy exercise, love their body, have a fantastic relationship with food and become the very best version of themselves. The services I offer include face to face coaching within the gym, online coaching and face to face home training. I want to make exercise and the happiness that comes with it available to all, but I feel the most important element of my role is coaching. This means I am here to support and guide and educate you to unlock your full potential. I achieve this by listening, getting to know you so that you can trust me and let me into your life. 28


Social media and the press often portray fitness transformations over an 8,12 or 14 week period, where people seem to completely transform their body and their mindset in a short space of time. Of course, this is possible, but the question I ask is what do people think happens after these 8,12 or 14 weeks? Does the client just forget everything and maintain their physique? Or do they have to keep working hard and have to have formed positive habits over longer periods to do this? A habit is defined as ‘a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly’ and tends to occur subconsciously, making it difficult to give up. Forming habits that are beneficial to your goal and where you want to be in your life are essential to enable you to maintain changes and to continue to progress. For example, how often have I been asked as a Personal Trainer, how many exercise sessions will it take a week and for how many weeks to change my body? There is no magic formula or specific time frame, but what is necessary is to create these habits of exercise, activity and good nutritional behaviours and be consistent with them over long periods.

Changing your life and your body isn't about a 12 week diet or training program, it’s a new lifestyle and mindset that becomes permanent. There is a basic structure behind every habit that we create. CUE - the trigger from the environment that tells your brain to go into autopilot and which habit to use. ROUTINE - the mental or physical action you take whenever presented with the cue. REWARD - what you get at the end. Creating positive habits and removing a few bad habits can be a great key to success towards your goals. For health and fitness here are some examples of some good habits that could be created. • Walking 10,000 steps a day, or at least tracking your activity and increasing this over time. • Eat protein with every meal. • Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. • Get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night. • Form an exercise program that you enjoy and can progress through. • Base hobbies around being active, swim, walk, cycle. Of course, there will be days where something happens which may not be beneficial to our health and fitness, it’s

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dream of the possibilities ahead. My role as a trainer isn't just about exercise instruction and meal plans, it's coaching in so many more areas, exercise, food, habits, mindset, support network and more. Coaching is helping a person change in the ways that they wish, via a method that is suitable for them and their lifestyle. In order to do this, your coach needs to get to know you, to listen and to really understand your ‘WHY’. To ensure I really know my clients ‘WHY’, I ask them the following questions; • What are your goals and why do you want to achieve them? • Have you tried to do this before? • Where have struggled and where have you succeeded? • What are your barriers stopping you from achieving this? • Who do you have to support you through this and who else will benefit? Trainers should know as much as they can about their client to enable them to design a journey that is suitable and made for success.

when these become habitual rather than occasional that we may have to take a look at why. To change your habits, you first need to identify the loop of where they come from, what are your cues for the habits you have created? In order to remove bad habits, you need to disrupt these cues and modify your behaviour. For example, I always snack when I sit down to watch tv! When you feel the need to snack, get up and do something, go for a walk, read a book, play a game with your family, create a new positive activity which takes your mind off the snacking. To create new positive habits, start small to make sure you create success. Another example, if someone currently has 3 sugars in their coffee and would like to reduce this due to

caloric reasons, rather than cut it out completely, try just making a reduction, succeed at making this a new habit and then reduce further. Often people try to change too much too quickly because they want instant results, thinking a complete overhaul in exercise and eating will be ok, but this can often be unsustainable or unachievable. Changes take time. Think of the long game, imagine where you will be in 6 months to a year's time if you commit to something. That will be your reward. When talking to my clients and discussing progress and timeframes, it is so important to look at how far you have come and where this will take you in the future. Think about the changes you have made over the last 3 months and how this has impacted your life and then imagine how you will feel in a year's time. Let yourself

Forming habits and loving the long game is the way we make our health and fitness goals an enjoyable part of our life so that we never again have to endure a diet we hate, an exercise program that feels brutal and leaves you in agony. Every day is a new challenge to become better than you were yesterday and we should all embrace that opportunity. Establish trust and communication with your trainer, open up to them, let them be a part of your life. Your diet and your activity do not need a complete overhaul so that you don't even recognise it anymore, instead, you just need to adapt to what you already have. Start Small. Create success. Feel motivated. And don’t forget to enjoy this loop as it takes you on an incredible journey towards your goals that you will maintain forever. AUGUST 2020 29

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Now more than ever your members will be looking for facilities with the very latest equipment with new clean and hygienic spaces in which to train. The best way to ensure you are ready and can assure your members, is refurbishment and updating all your equipment. Spreading the cost of the investment by leasing is the best option in these difficult times. Our ‘finance2fit’ product can offer bespoke finance solutions tailored to fit all businesses. We offer a wide range of options to suit all and will tailor a finance arrangement to many budgets.

The benefits:

LET US TAKE THE WEIGHT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS There are many ways in which your business can invest in essential requirements. Cash purchase, obtaining a bank loan, credit card or obtaining a Lease. Each of these options has its own pros and cons, but maybe none as simple and efficient as Leasing. With technology evolving each day why invest your capital in any piece of equipment which will be out of date tomorrow? With a finance lease at any point throughout the lease period you can upgrade any equipment, ensuring your business isn’t falling behind competitors and technological advances. We can even offer refinance on existing equipment you may have recently purchased! 30


4 Valuable tax benefits when leasing 4 Flexible repayment terms over 12 to 72 months using direct debit payments 4 Finance2Fit payment deferral subject to credit approval. Obtain the equipment you want today but start paying later! 4 Spreading the cost of your gym equipment makes it easier to obtain higher specification equipment 4 Purchasing outright ties up capital, whereas leasing maintains cash within the business for future growth 4 Unlike bank overdraft facilities, leasing provides fixed interest rates for the entire duration of the agreement

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Fit Kit This month’s round-up of kit, products and extras you can stock for your members – boost loyalty, retention and your revenue!

Sole F85 treadmill Sole Fitness describes their F85 as “The Best Folding Treadmill on the Planet.” Their top-of-the-line folding treadmill is understandably a best seller year after year. It has everything a serious runner or power walker could expect for effective indoor training: a powerful motor, a spacious workout area, great cushioning, and an automated incline.

This model has a 10.1-inch graphic workout display, a secure tablet holder, and a Bluetooth connection that lets a tablet serve as the workout monitor and share session data through wireless apps. The Sole F85’s sale price includes a fiveyear warranty on parts and electronics.

The F85 is the most advanced Sole folding treadmill in terms of tech as well.

NordicTrack Commercial X22i NordicTrack named their high-powered incline trainer treadmill the X22i after its super-sized 22-inch wide touch screen. The HD display supports immersive training experiences with customised workout programming. Users can enjoy HD augmented reality to virtually tour the world via immersive Google Street Views or access iFit video workouts designed and led by famous personal trainers in fitness studios around the globe. There’s more to the machine than the screen though. HD programming won’t complete your workout for you, so thankfully the X22i delivers plenty of options for users of all ability levels, wherever you’re at in your fitness journey. Like all NordicTrack Incline Trainers, the X22i has a maximum incline of 40%, as well as a power tilt down to a maximum of 6%. Through the various incline and decline settings,



treadmill training can prepare you for outdoor activity by working your muscles in different ways for rapid improvements in strength and tone. Incline training is ideal for weight loss as well. By walking or running on the most extreme incline setting, you can burn calories at about five times your usual rate. To keep you entertained through the burn, the track will change incline in sync with the program or Google Street View workout you choose to view on-screen. One of the most cutting-edge treadmills on the market, the NordicTrack X22i also features 50 onboard workout programs for you to enjoy, dual AutoBreeze™ workout fans to keep you cool, and many other amenities. The X22i also comes with an iFit Bluetooth chest strap so you can keep on top of your workout stats accurately and comfortably.


Rogue Assault Airbike Finally, a heavy-duty exercise bike designed directly from the feedback of athletes and coaches. The Assault AirBike reinvents and retools nearly every component of the traditional fan bike, from the frame construction to the crank, pedals, monitor and more. The series is designed and tested in the USA by the experienced team at LifeCORE Fitness in Carlsbad, California. Using air resistance, the Assault AirBike scales automatically to how hard you want to work. The harder you pedal, the greater the resistance. It's simple physics with big benefits. Twenty Sealed Ball Bearings throughout the frame and pivot points to provide a smooth and durable feel.

Unlimited Resistance for upper and lower body extremities based on Air Resistance; Get a complete Cross-Fit Workout Computer features motivational programs providing many programs (Tabata, Intervals, Watts, Heart Rate) to accomplish your fitness goals. Maximum user weight: 350 pounds. Twenty Five inch diameter steel fan delivers maximum resistance, with six-way adjustable seat fore and aft, up and down and tilt. Square-tapered design. Set a calorie, distance, or time target goal with the advanced computer display; Integrated messaging to help inspire you keeps the workout fresh.

Xebex Fitness Air Bikes Xebex Fitness is the cardio equipment brand for functional training applications. Backed by 20+ year’s experience in designing, developing, and manufacturing traditional cardio equipment, Xebex Fitness operates under the same company as Get RXd and currently offers Rowers, Air Bikes, Spin Bikes, Exercise Bikes, and Treadmills The Xebex Air Bike features increased durability by using higher quality parts throughout the frame. The frame weighs more than comparable models which leads to more stability and also uses longer-lasting moving parts. We've also a universal linkage joint and a water bottle holder that bolts onto the frame. Our heavy-duty handlebar and frame construction also produces a more intense workout in shorter periods of time! Competition Ready: The Xebex Air Bike comes everything you're accustomed to and more! Start pedalling and the

console immediately tracks Distance, Time, Speed, Calories, Watts, and Heart Rate. The console also allows for switching between units of measurement: Meters or Miles and measures to the tenth of a Calorie so you know your exact progress. We've also included the ability to SET or TARGET distance, calories, and time while the console counts down from your targeted goal so you know just how much longer to work for. There are multiple pre-set interval programs as well as the ability to custom program your desired interval or work/rest periods. The console measures distance, watts, speed, and calories with the same identical formula to what was used in the 2015 Crossfit® Games The Xebex Air Bike comes with 2 wheels located at the front of the frame. Simply tilt the bike and roll out of the way for storage



F sI p T oKtI lT i g h t

Xebex Air rower

Have the comfort and ease of getting into and out of a machine that's "dining chair height." The 20" seat height makes it simple to sit in and sit out after a long workout, if your knees don't bend like they once did, or from a wheelchair. Xebex Air Rowers fold in half taking up less than 50% of original footprint!. Only 3' long x 20" wide footprint when folded. Folding and transporting takes less than 5 seconds: pull the Pull Pin until the rail touches the ground. Lift the rail upwards until it clicks into position (no tools required) - and that's it! Now that it's folded, you're able to roll the Xebex Air Rower on 4 wheels out of the way and into storage with just 1 hand. You are in control of your output and resistance at all times. The amount of work you do is directly calculated by how hard you row. Row harder to go faster, row easier to go slower. The spiral damper allows you to quickly adjust the airflow to the flywheel from little drag at Setting 1 to max drag at Setting 10. This is much like rowing with little drag or shallow paddle depth at 1, to max drag with deep paddle depth at 10. You can change the feel of the stroke to suit your preference. The flywheel design produces a smooth feel and minimises noise. The seats feature extra-padded, highdensity foam ergonomically designed for maximum comfort while rowing.

The uniquely designed fan to utilise air resistance allows the user to enjoy a smoother, more comfortable rowing experience that maintains momentum immediately from your initial pull. They are known for their durability and construction. The nearly 100lb base provides a stable foundation for nearly any user weight. Metal and steel are used where others don't and the stainless steel chain is designed to last with minimal maintenance required. The Xebex Air Rower comes with an easy-to-use console display that gets straight to the point. Simply begin pulling and the console will begin tracking Time Rowed, Time/500M, Watts, Pulse (when connected to a heart rate monitor), Meters/Distance, Strokes Per Minute, Calories, and Total Strokes.  You can also toggle between 8 other performance measurements to display in large text/graphics in the middle window: average 500m pace, average meters per stroke, max heart rate, calories per hour, force curve, max watt, watt chart, average watt.  Access pre-built programs from the main menu: Quick Start, Competition Racing, Interval/Tabata, Target Time, Target Distance, Target Calories, Target Heart Rate, and Target Strokes. Select your program and parameters, press Start, and begin rowing.

NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i Folding Elliptical Cross Trainer: The best folding cross trainer You’re not sacrificing anything in the way of features with the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i. It has a 46cm stride length, 22 levels of resistance, and the incline can be adjusted up to eight degrees. There are also 24 built-in workouts to follow guided by the 5in display, with 12 of those sessions based around burning calories and 12 designed to improve performance. If you have an iFit account you can



link the app to the SE7i via a tablet or phone and then use the many workouts on iFit and even follow Google Maps routes anywhere in the world during your session. Once you’re done with your workout, you can fold the handles and console down on this machine and then store it upright in a cupboard, making it an attractive option for those struggling for floor space.


Proform 7.0 Elliptical Cross Trainer If you want to push your heart rate through the roof and burn scarcelycredible amounts of calories in short bursts on your cross trainer, you should get a stepper-style machine. In fact, you should get this stepper-style machine, because the Preform Cardio HIIT is all about raising the intensity of your workouts.

terrifying 24%.

The more vertical movement of a stepper cross trainer works wonders on your leg muscles and on the Proform Cardio HIIT; the range of resistance runs from 1% to a

7in display shows all your stats clearly,

This sturdy, quiet machine provides 22 levels of magnetic resistance and an incline range of 0-20in, both of which come into play for the excellent 29 preset workout programmes, some of which check that you're working hard enough using the hand heart rate sensors. The and there's also a tablet holder on the top of the machine so you can line up some entertainment for your training.

Harison E3800 Elliptical & Cross Trainer: Most Expensive Elliptical This machine looks like it means business right away. It’s a top-notch elliptical in essentially every way, with some added green technology, to boot. Its self-generator means there are no batteries to install and no cord to plug in. A self-powering elliptical! No matter how you slice it, that is awesome. This beast is also super durable, with a max weight limit of up to 330lbs. It’s known to be incredibly quiet and smooth, partially due to its heavy flywheel and magnetic resistance.The E3800 just

offers a great riding experience. Belt Force & Magnetic Resistance for Quiet Workout. Tracking Time, Distance, calorie, pace, resistance, watt, pulse. This one isn’t cheap. That’s putting it lightly — the price is out of this world, but it’s one of the best commercial options around. It also weighs over 300 pounds so you’ll most likely need to spring for in-home shipping and possibly expert assembly.

AUGUST 2020 35


T h e M at t Hampson F o u n dat i o n By Tommy Cawston Chief Executive Officer The Matt Hampson Foundation is a unique and truly dynamic charity which is driven by the ‘Get Busy Living’ mantra of its founder. This philosophy underpins the charity’s ethos as it supports its beneficiaries to adopt a positive mindset focusing on what they can achieve rather than what they can’t. The focus this year has been on establishing The Get Busy Living Centre and it has quickly become the beating heart of the Foundation and is now a focal point for everyone involved in the Foundation’s activity. It is a truly inspiring place which welcomes beneficiaries and their families from all over the UK, providing access to the kind of holistic support that is key in helping them to overcome the challenges they face.  The Centre has a state-of-the-art gym and a specialist disability Personal Trainer is on hand to put beneficiaries through their paces. Highly experienced physiotherapists provide beneficiaries with physical rehabilitation and there’s always a home-cooked lunch being prepared in the specially adapted kitchen. Matt and other seasoned beneficiaries provide the kind of advice that can only really be given by those who have 36


lived through a life-changing injury. This focus on enhancing the mental well-being of individuals as well as their close family is what makes the Centre such a unique place. It’s no exaggeration to say that amazing things happen at the Get Busy Living Centre on a daily basis. Building a sense of community is key to the MHF’s core values and mission. In the aftermath of an incident which leads to a life-changing injury, most individuals and their families feel very isolated with an overwhelming sense of loss due to what has been taken away from them.

By joining our family and becoming part of our community beneficiaries are able to draw on the experience and knowledge of people who have been along the same journey. By spending time at the Centre beneficiaries begin to develop the tools and skills they need to move on as they are able to call upon other Foundation beneficiaries and staff to talk things through as they start to rebuild their lives. The Foundation becomes the place where they can feel normal again and be a part of a strong and active social scene as they retrain their mindset in order to focus on what they can do and not what they can’t.


Eventually, beneficiaries progress to the point where they become the ones providing support to others. This in itself is a huge part of their rehabilitation and being able to help others provides a sense of purpose and identity.

Plans for the future The Foundation has big plans to increase the provision of support we offer our beneficiaries and have plans in place for both the addition of accommodation and a hydrotherapy pool to be built on-site at the Get Busy Living Centre.  These plans may have to be put on hold as we navigate our way through the Coronavirus pandemic and the many challenges that we will be faced with. Our priority is and

always will be our beneficiaries and the support we can offer them to allow them to Get Busy Living again after a life-altering injury.

Corona Virus Since the outbreak of the CoronaVirus pandemic, the work of the Foundation has become even more essential in supporting both the physical and mental health of our beneficiaries. Having taken the early and decisive decision to close the centre, to protect both Matt and its regular users, the focus has shifted to finding creative solutions to the provision of remote support. We have delivered essential rehab kits and gym equipment to the homes of beneficiaries, launched a

new App, posted work out sessions on Youtube and provided live one to one physio and PT sessions. There’s no doubt that there will be many challenges to face over the coming months. Despite this, we are confident that the community spirit created at the centre can continue to bring people together even when they are apart and will support all of our beneficiaries and staff through this unprecedented period of time. Tommy Cawston Chief Executive Officer  tommy@hambo.co.uk  07899 915701  www.matthampsonfoundation.org AUGUST 2020



Who ate all the pies? Taz Dunstan from XL Personal Training Life happens. It's not always easy and that's okay. Just because you have a bad day or feel challenged does not mean it is okay for you to give up on your health, your happiness or your self-worth. August is all about getting back in the zone of optimal nutrition and celebrating food as medicine for the mind, body and soul. Let's all serve up a generous portion of a little less feigning ignorance and a little more honesty and accountability. People have an unusual habit of feasting and famine -ing. In circumstances of scarcity, a common response is to overindulge as a method of comfort which results in the inevitable situation of exhaustion of

resources - cue the panic and insatiable hunger for the consumption of anything and everything. We as a society in the western world have learned to develop a love-hate relationship with food where we see eating as something to feel guilty about. We all eat but we do it reluctantly, or nervously for fear we don't know what to eat, we don't know how much to eat and then we criticise ourselves and others for it. That stops now. 1. Eating is essential, the same as drinking water and breathing air. 2. No one can know about "optimal nutrition" unless they study it (not spending hours upon hours soaking up magazine articles and googling)

that does not mean we can pretend we don't know how we feel when we eat fresh food over processed junk food. 3. The more you stress about food the more negative your experiences with it will be. 4. Food is cause for celebration. If you have it,enjoy it and be honest to yourself about what you are eating and why. STOP TELLING YOURSELF AND OTHERS THAT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT FOOD IS "GOOD" FOR YOU WHILE YOU'RE STUFFING YOUR FACE WITH PIES, ICED COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE CAKE PRETENDING YOU DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER. 5. Start cooking, start growing and start appreciating what you have. During lockdown, I ended up in Auckland, New Zealand in some truly remarkable company. For the first 8 weeks, I was taken in by a beautiful, kind-hearted couple, Kay and Roger who cook almost everything they eat from scratch. They have a garden full of produce including; carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, silverbeet, leeks, rhubarb, parsley, basil and three types of lettuce! The meals that came out of that kitchen were nothing short of masterpieces and the best part of it was that it was 100% guilt-free eating. Everything was fresh, made from homegrown or local ingredients and as delicious as it was nutritious. Some of the most memorable recipes were the "impossible quiche" (impossible because




it has no pastry so it is impossible to get wrong) "Feijoa strudel", "clam fritters" Asian noodle stir fry, and any legumebased soup with between 7-9 fresh vegetables, a winter essential! Worth noting that every garden salad had a fruit addition, whether that be grapes, apples, oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit or other. Such a simple addition but completely transformational for the nutritional properties, taste and presentation of the dish. The two easiest home "cooked" creations I made while I was there were: bread in the bread maker and Greek yoghurt in the yoghurt maker. Prep time less than 10 minutes then the machines did the work and hey presto, easy, nutritious food that did not require leaving the house or agonising over the "best choice". In

cooking often the best approach is the simplest approach - my best advice for this remains: "stress less, enjoy more." I then migrated further south to Dunedin in the south island of New Zealand and found myself in another home cooking heaven with a garden full of monster carrots, beetroots, potatoes, lettuce, leeks, tomatoes and strawberries. A friend of mine, Kelly Sein, is also a keen cookie and we spent every opportunity cooking up a storm in her kitchen from clean treats to smoothie bowls, doughnuts, vegetable muffins and numerous slices. We embraced these cook-ups with excitement and invited friends to a high tea of clean treats to share the experience of enjoying good food in good company free from any guilt or comment of portions. The thing

about eating healthy food is that your body naturally portion controls this over time. When you eat the food that nourishes your body you do not crave more, unlike eating an abundance of nutrient-deficient food that does not fuel your body with anything substantial beyond fats and sugars.Â

Some great recipes I highly recommend include: Macro mics vegan protein doughnuts and vegan chocolate brownies purchased from Asn Neutral Bay who ship worldwide https://www.facebook. com/asnneutralbay/ The clean treats created by Kelly Sein can be seen on her facebook page:Â https://www.facebook.com/ KellysArbonne30 Here's to a guilt free winter not wasted, making the same mistakes as countless winters gone by, adorning winter coats of arterial fat stores and playing "victim" to the cold or ignorance. Instead, let's spend more time being smarter and more responsible with the choices we make, especially in the kitchen and at the supermarkets. AUGUST 2020



E x e r c i s e at Home with WheelPower Since the pioneering work by WheelPower’s founder, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, in the 1940’s WheelPower has been providing opportunities for disabled people to play sport and lead healthy active lives from the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire. Through the hosting of our annual events such as the Inter Spinal Unit Games, the National Junior Games and the increasingly popular Sports Camps across the UK, WheelPower was able to engage 62,099 disabled people in sport and physical activity during 2019. So fast forward to 2020 and the new challenges that the Covid-19 lockdown brought to the charity and the disabled people we support. With the Stadium facilities closing down, events postponed and fundraising challenges such as the London Marathon cancelled, WheelPower was facing a crisis. “Unfortunately like so many charities across the UK, WheelPower has been hugely impacted by the cancellation of fundraising events due to COVID-19 and we expect our fundraising to reduce by more than 50% because of the virus.” says Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive of WheelPower. Our charitable mission is to transform lives through sport and physical activity, and this mission wasn’t going to change because of the lockdown, so WheelPower set in motion plans to create new and exciting digital content 40


that would allow disabled people to stay active from their homes throughout this extended period of isolation. Our first Exercise at Home video launched in March 2020 which introduced disabled people to Adaptive Yoga. The three online Yoga classes starring Nina Boswell-Brown from Sitting Fit Yoga have been a huge success and to date have been watched by over 8,500 people on YouTube. During the early stages of lockdown Sport England had launched the campaign #StayInWorkOut that was encouraging everyone to remain active from their homes and WheelPower were providing new content and opportunities for disabled people to do just that and “Join the Movement”. “Our data has shown us that thousands of disabled people have benefited from our Exercise at Home videos, not only in the United Kingdom

but around the world! The feedback has been very positive and we are delighted with the service we have provided to maintain and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of disabled people during this unprecedented time with COVID-19” comments Pasan Kularatne, Head of Sport and Physical Activity. WheelPower also launched a programme during lockdown to gift FREE resistance bands to help disabled people stay active at this time. After going public with the campaign the 150 sets of bands from the first round of funding were snapped up online and have benefited people throughout the UK. After the popularity of the programme WheelPower are now able to announce that we will be extending the bands programme to help even more disabled people to stay active over the coming months.


Another recent addition to the WheelPower lockdown calendar has been the Online Sports Café. Every Thursday we are joined by a personal trainer who delivers a live workout for our guests. “WheelPower’s Online Café is another initiative that we launched to engage with disabled people to take part in a cardio and strength workout or relaxing yoga session. This is a very informal and friendly session and an opportunity to have the social connection and interaction with peers, friends or making new connections which they are missing due to isolation, shielding and social distancing.” Pasan Kularatne, Head of Sport and Physical Activity. The Café has been a great success so far and we intend to continue to provide this opportunity for our community to join in these fun live sessions for the remainder of the summer months. Martin McElhatton OBE, Chief Executive of WheelPower comments “In response to Covid-19 WheelPower has focussed on supporting disabled people who have been isolated at home through our Exercise at Home programme.  We have produced new on-line resources including Yoga and Fitness films and provided equipment, advice and support as well as a weekly live Café which has had a fantastic impact.  It has been wonderful to see how the help we have provided has enabled disabled people to maintain their physical and mental health during the crisis.”

About WheelPower

WheelPower have been providing opportunities for people with physical impairments to take part in sport for nearly 70 years. Based in Stoke Mandeville, the home of the Paralympic movement, WheelPower is at the heart of wheelchair sport. From first-timers to Paralympic medallists, we support and promote participation at all levels. We have seen how playing sport can enrich lives, offering tremendous physical and psychological benefits, whatever your age or ability. During the current crisis WheelPower has continued to offer new opportunities for disabled people to get active and stay active through a range of events and resources that include our popular ‘Exercise at Home’ fitness films. WheelPower also provides equipment that enables disabled people to get active and support for a range of wheelchair sports associations. Website: www.wheelpower.org.uk

Social media:

WheelPower can be found on all channels so please do tag us into your posts using the following: @wheelchairsport (Facebook) @ wheelpower (twitter) @wheelpower_official (Instagram)


Matthew French, Marketing, Communication and Engagement Officer Email: matthew.french@wheelpower.org.uk Tel: 01296 395995




How to make gyms more accessible to the Deaf community post-lockdown by Clare Vale, managing director at Sign Solutions Following four months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, gyms have now reopened and fitness fanatics across the country are eager to get back to their usual routines. Whilst Deaf people make up a proportion of the fitness community, many are hesitant to visit the gym due to lack of accessibility, and a nervousness that their communication needs will not be met. In fact, previous monitoring figures from the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) show that Deaf and hard of hearing people across the impairment groups have the lowest membership and participation figures. During this period of significant adjustment post-lockdown, gym owners should look to improve their communication to be more inclusive and accessible to Deaf clients. Here are some of the main things they can do to implement a positive change.

and the adjustments required will largely depend on your Deaf client(s) individual needs. It is important to understand that not every Deaf person has the same needs and you should never make

Find out your clients’ accessibility requirements All gyms are covered by the Equality Act 2010 and must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure their facilities are inclusive. This applies to both paid-for and free services (including free trials). The term ‘reasonable adjustment’ is open to interpretation, 42


assumptions about their requirements. Instead, take the time from the outset to discuss what they feel would make their gym experience more optimal and enjoyable, and check-in with them regularly to ensure their needs are being met, as well as to identify any additional changes that may need to be put in place.

Learn basic BSL Consider enrolling all front of house staff onto a Deaf awareness training course. This will help raise awareness about the communication needs of Deaf members, as well as teaching staff what Deafness is, how to cope with communication difficulties and the best way to interact with Deaf individuals. It also includes a lesson in basic British Sign Language (BSL), which can have a hugely positive impact on Deaf gym-goers’ experiences. Something as simple as being greeted by a member of staff in BSL can go a long way in helping them feel more at ease.


Provide physical demonstrations

Optimise the gym environment

One of the main concerns for Deaf people about visiting the gym is not knowing how to perform exercises properly and the inability to ask for help. Not all Deaf people can lip read, and many rely on physical movement and gestures to communicate. Therefore, it is crucial that you provide physical demonstrations to reinforce what needs to be done and proper techniques to limit any risk of injury.

There are some alterations you can make to the gym environment to make it more accessible to Deaf clients. For example, a profoundly Deaf person will not be able to hear music, but they may feel the vibrations through the floor, so playing music with a strong base will help them to feel more immersed in the atmosphere.

Hearing loss commonly does not modify the exercise response to any form of physical activity, as there are no physical limitations directly associated with hearing impairments. Therefore, if they are given clear instructions, Deaf individuals should be able to carry out most exercises without any special considerations.

You should also include subtitles on televisions and consider having screens next to any particularly complicated equipment with video demonstrations of how they should be used. In addition, for group exercise classes, make sure the room is not too dark as this could prevent the Deaf individual from seeing the instructor properly, and reserve a space for them at the front of the class so they can have better access to lip reading and other physical gestures. Communicate using an Interpreter

To make the experience welcoming for Deaf people, consider utilising the services of an Interpreter to aid communication with your Deaf client for gym inductions and consultations. They can attend in person or accessed remotely via a mobile device. It has been noted in many reports that Deaf and hard of hearing people feel marginalised because of their communication requirements, and the need to encourage physical fitness by making classes and the gym more accessible has never been so great. Whilst it could take some time to see lasting change across the industry, by following these steps, you can play your individual part in creating equality for Deaf clients and encourage better overall health and wellbeing for the community. Clare Vale is managing director at Sign Solutions AUGUST 2020 43


Physical exercise and Mental Health by Samantha Walters There are many benefits of physical exercise on the body, as fitness professionals, I am sure we are aware of many of these, some of which include a healthier heart, bones, joints and muscular development. Exercise also helps massively with decreasing blood pressure, increasing libido, improving sleep and also longevity. As I briefly touched upon in my previous article, physical activity is also beneficial to your mental health and well being! (1). This is being understood more by medical professionals, with physical activity and exercise being encouraged to those who do suffer from mental health problems. With the current pandemic and lockdown taking place, subsequent gym and fitness centres or studios closing, the activity levels of the nation have taken a bit of a dive, and this has also contributed to the mental struggle people are feeling with the current situation. Without focusing too much on facts and statistics, it is important to note that 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year, (2) and worldwide, a whopping 729 million people are affected by mental health issues. (3) These statistics hopefully help us to understand that we are not alone in our struggles, although at times it can feel this way, mental health problems are a lot more common than you may think. In fact, in England, Mental health is the second-largest source of burden of disease and is longer lasting and more impactful than other health conditions (4). 44


When we exercise, our brains release endorphins, (the happy chemical) which help contribute to a positive feeling and sense of well being. With this in mind, and understanding the benefits of exercise on mental health, it is our job as professionals to promote daily physical activities and help encourage the nation to participate in a form of activity that they can enjoy. The great thing about physical activity and exercise is that there is something for everyone; we are not limited with our options or choices, so each person can find something that they enjoy. When we think of exercise, we can

often picture in our heads running away for long periods of time on the treadmill, or picking up a set of heavy dumbbells and pushing some weights around, and these forms of exercise are great if you enjoy them, but there are also so many other options available! Exercise can be a form of transportation, walking, cycling or jogging to your destination rather than driving to increase your activity levels; they could be in the form of play, unstructured activities done for fun and enjoyment, they could also be in the form of sport, structured and competitive games such as tennis, athletics, swimming and keep fit classes, or they can be


new goals. Sit down and think about what your barriers are, make a list of what is stopping you, and how you can overcome this; for example, if it is money for a gym membership, get yourself outdoors walking! If it is anxiety of failure, include a family member or friend for emotional support and encouragement, you can even bring them along to anticipate!

lower intensity activities and sports such as snooker and darts. Making exercise fun and doing something you actually enjoy can be a motivator to keep it up, (5) which is something my clients will confirm that I encourage in our sessions, I won't continually force someone to do something they dislike, as they will begin to dread the activity and look for ways to get out of participating The social side of exercise, the interactions we have with others during certain forms of exercise such as classes, groups and competitive sports can help with mental health too! This is also a great way to meet new people and create friendships with those who have similar interests.

So, where do we start? Here are just a few tips which I share with my clients to help get them going when they decide they want to make some healthier changes but aren’t quite sure where to begin. Ask yourself what is it you want to get out of your physical activities, think about if you prefer indoors, outdoors, alone or with others. Overcome your barriers! It can be quite daunting making changes in life, and certain things such as cost, time and even fear of failure can stop us even taking that step to start perusing our

Be practical! Set yourself a goal that is achievable so you are not setting yourself up for failure or disappointment.

Think SMART! S…Make your goal specific, for example, I want to get fit isn’t as specific as I want to be able to run 5k.

Having a plan to focus on can really help with a sense of positive mental well being, pushing yourself to your limits and feeling that sense of achievement and pride when you achieve your set goals will give you an incredible feeling that you won't get from anyone else because it's all from you! You did it, you worked hard and that’s something no one else can take away from you. Next time you’re feeling a little low or stressed, give it a go! Pick up your running shoes, call a friend to go on a walk, get yourself out and keep busy to distract yourself from life’s stresses, and see how amazing you feel after!

M…Make your goal measurable! This way you can see and celebrate your progress, for example, measuring how far you can run, or measuring the inches lost or dress size dropped. A…Make your goal attainable! Make sure it is something you can achieve in a healthy and sustainable way, setting yourself a goal to lose a stone off the scales in a week wouldn’t be attainable and can create negative feelings of failure, it needs to be realistic. R…Make your goal relevant! Make sure it is something you are interested in, for example, focusing on lifting super heavyweights won't necessarily help you to achieve your cardiovascular fitness and ability to run that 5k! T…Think time! Set yourself a time period in which you want to achieve your goal. So using this method your overall goal could be, “I want to be able to run 5k by the end of 6 weeks.

(1) Paluska, S.A. & Schwnek, T.L. (2000). Physical Activity and Mental Health: Current Concepts. Sports Med, 29 (3), 167–180. (2) Mental Health Taskforce NE. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. 2016 [cited 2017 May 23]; Available from: england.nhs.uk (3) Ritchie H, Roser M. Mental Health [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Sep 6]. Available from: ourworldindata.org (4) Public Health England. Health profile for England: 2019 [Internet]. 2019. Available from: gov.uk (5) Bupa UK. “Exercise – getting started.” Available at: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/Directory/E/exercisegetting-started

AUGUST 2020 45


The Empty B r ava d o o f Fitness Tech By cuoco black The evolving fitness turf-wars, brick and mortar gyms vs fitness tech, has been amplified by current global events. Media feeds, glutted with postlockdown dystopian predictions for brick and mortar trumpet the demise of the “toxic-gymenvironment”. New Normal, code-speak for uncertainty and change, dominate the narrative causing potentially irreversible social stigmas for physical gym environments. “But don’t you worry fitness consumer,” says fitness tech, “we’ve got the solution for your fitness needs. In the palm of your hand-held device, or by

the click of your mouse; a fitness app, or digital platform, hey, we even have a wall mirror that can stream fitness programs right into the safety of your home. Hang with us and avoid those nasty, obsolete, contaminated gyms”. It’s a good argument in theory, and since much of fitness tech is funded by Wall Street and venture capital, there are millions of pounds/dollars/euros of ad-spend to fill consumers mind with optimistic fitness tech propaganda. {Imagine gym developers if you had millions of pounds/dollars/euros to promote your brand across your demographic enabling you to scale, expand and upstage competitors}.

Tech Promises Even though Peleton’s glamorous adverts featuring ultra-fit models spinning on Peleton bikes, overlooking the countryside from their glassenclosed homes might appeal to the target demographic, I’m not buying into the connected-app-fitness-feature that is part of its soft-sell. It’s still a spinning-bike on tech steroids. Apple.news just shared a story released by TIME that states the pandemic is turning American’s against the gym. Really? Isn’t it always benevolent and unbiased editorial that brings us the trusted-news that we need-to-trust. One only has to have a peripheral view of fitness tech to know that Apple is deeply committed to selling fitness




Marketing Formula In order to attract a new consumer base, and bring back your former members, you need to approach your gym marketing with a new mind-set. You must shift consumer expectations of what a gym experience could be. I believe fitness tech can become an integral part of your club offering, but it will not replace your club offering. If there is a formula to market to consumer’s post-lockdown this would be the mix I would advise you to consider.

Brick and Mortar Gym Marketing 2020 tech across their brand. So much for benevolent, unbiased reporting of trusted fitness news.

tired of looking at streamed fitness in their TV’s and computer monitors… hmmmm”.

Another “gym-trigger-warning” comes in the form of a published article by Vox.com that suggests “Is it safe to go to the gym?” The story is mostly a cloaked nudge to coax fitness consumers away from gym environments and closer to fitness tech.

This is not the impression fitness tech would like consumers to have of fitness tech. It displaces the analytical selling points of fitness tech with the humanity of the consumer experience, and this is the point of departure that validates brick and mortar as the champion of the fitness experience.

My personal grudge with fitness tech is the endless optimistic press it places in the consumer’s mind at the expense of the negative press it affords brick and mortar. Fitness tech, from what I recall, offers no middle ground, no merging of brick and mortar to fitness tech. It’s fitness tech for fitness tech, at least in the mind of fitness tech, and that’s pretty fitness tech fascistic.

An Alternate Reality I have an alternative reality, I’ll call it a fitness theory. The lockdown, in my opinion, was the beta-test for fitness tech and its shortcomings aren’t being reported. I believe the lockdown revealed fitness tech’s limitations and the disillusionment consumer’s had of the fitness tech experience. Consumer’s who’ve been exiled from the social environments at their clubs and all of the ceremonies, rituals and culture that coalesces in the brick and mortar experience. Paraphrasing a comment from a personal trainer in my network illustrates it this way “I just taught my first in-club class and the members were stating that they were sick and

Health and Wellness Safe and Clean Differentiation Innovation Communication Community Connections add 10% Digital Products Brick and Mortar is human, it is tangible, it is pleasurable. Rebrand, and stop building gyms that look like gyms or boutique hotels.

Opportunity There is a great opportunity on the horizon for gym brands to capitalize beyond the current lock-down. Never in the history of fitness marketing has come a contagion-based marketplace disruptor. Historically disruptors took the form of the big-box clubs, or the franchise models, or Crossfit, or the snobby boutiques, but never a contagion disruptor. What you might see as an obstacle is also an opportunity if you have vision enough to harness the narrative and have a pulse on consumer needs. I’ve been saying brick and mortar will become stronger than it has ever been. In time, attendance rates will approach 110% of previous membership quotas. I also believe the industry will shatter the ceiling of marketplace penetration that always hovers at 18% of consumers deciding to join a gym. The evidence is overwhelming that exercise, health and wellness, is a hedge against illness, obesity and contraction of contagions. Market these touch points. AUGUST 2020 47


Do you have a Niche Market!? Daniel Nyiri, founder of 4U Fitness

""Don't be afraid of being different be afraid of being the same as everyone else." – Unknown In the previous article, we created and reset your Online Presence. Now we need to create the Niche Market you wanting to represent under that profile!   And here is the most important question to ask and answer:  Why are you doing this? What is the purpose? Are you doing this for the money? Are you solving any problems? Are you doing this for passion? Is there a real specific reason? Did someone die in your family from obesity and you made your life mission to put a stop on obesity? What is the real reason? You have to have a real reason that will keep you motivated and keep you up at night because you are so passionate about it that you cannot stop thinking about it. You cannot start a gym or any type of business without a reason behind it. And it better be more than just money. People who start businesses strictly for money purposes have the highest rate of failure.  48



I want you to think about your WHY before you move forward with this book. The next chapter is about your pitch. And without having a strong WHY, your pitch won’t come to life! You need to think about this. What moves you? If you don’t have a strong WHY you are not going to make it. If you can’t figure out your WHY, starting a gym or continuing to run your gym is not for you! It is not too late to start over. Life is short to spend it on things that you don’t love.  I want you to write down your WHY right now; then check back every other month to keep yourself on track and remind yourself of that powerful why. Once you know your WHY, then it is time to figure out who your target clientele is, where to find them and how to attract them. Here are some tips to help with that:  • Find a problem and solve it. To be successful in this crowded market, you need to look for a problem and create its solution! For example, we came up with a solution for the common “I have no time to exercise” excuse. We developed a high-tech machine that gives powerful results in just 20 minutes. We target professional women who have kids because these women are incredibly busy and juggle a lot of demands, our machine is just

what they need. We help them achieve their goals with two, 20-minute sessions per week and guarantee their results or their money back. It’s a perfect niche for us. • Continue to generate leads and then work them. We generate more than 80 good leads per month, per studio. These leads become clients and combined with referrals, help us grow organically.  • I wish I recognized my niche market when I first started. In the beginning, I was a trainer to athletes, celebrities, mothers, fathers, kids, you name it. I got a maximum of 10 leads per month and I was working too hard. One night I sat down and started to work on my target market. I analyzed my current clientele and realized my target client is the entrepreneurial mom, so I developed a program for her and went for it. We offer a rewarding referral program to bring in the husbands and friends thus creating, the perfect system.  • Determine your ideal clientele and be very, very specific! I looked at the numbers. Ninety percent of moms are online versus only 76% of women, and 64% of mothers (1) ask their mom friends before they would commit to a personal

trainer. Three-quarters of all moms want to be part of a specially selected program or team and 92% will pass on the information to at least one friend. Besides, 55% of active daily social media moms make their purchases (2) based on a friend review or social media recommendation. By 2028, the average American woman is expected to earn more than the average American man. Not to mention that women control 51% of all private wealth in the United States and they also control 60% of all personal wealth. An average woman spends more than $500 per month (3) on health and fitness whereas an average male only spends about $200. Each of these numbers was very striking and meaningful to me. All of this means that our niche market is mothers who have two or more kids and spend money on their kids and have very little time to spare. Based on my analysis, out of the $10 billion markets of personal training, moms with two kids or more represent 8% of the total personal training contributors, however, they account for about 3 % of all personal training purchases. Once you identify and recognize your market, then you can determine where to find them.  AUGUST 2020 49


Great companies are not great because they are for everyone. They are after a very small market. And they are all about delivering the absolute best service tailored for their very small, but fanatical group of fans and devotees. If you think about it, we only focus on 8% of the total fitness market and we completely ignore the remaining 92%. Apple is also after one niche market. They are only after the people who are okay with closed architecture! There are so many Android and Windows users out there who find that annoying, yet they remain one of the most valuable and respected companies in the world. What is your niche market? You have to identify this before you can go further. That is just the first step. Then you have to tailor EVERYTHING around this niche and know exactly how to market to them. Before we figured this out, we spent thousands of dollars on marketing and received very few leads in return. Once we analyzed the data focused on exactly what we wanted for our business, we nailed it! Now we get between 50-90 leads per month. At some of our locations, we have a waiting list to get in!  I recommend that you take the time to look at your current clientele at your studios and figure out who is your main clientele, then figure out how your company is already attracting these people. Are these the people you and your company want to attract and keep? If yes, why, how did you, and how should you attract them? Why did they pick your place among all of the others out there?  Start asking these questions and write down all the answers. It doesn’t hurt to ask all your trainers about their clientele as well. Collect as much data as you can and then analyze your marketing strategy. Once you know who you are attracting and who you

want to attract, you can go after it and build the right plan for your business and your niche – this includes your website, landing page, ad campaigns, referral programs, and even workouts specifically designed for this niche market. For example, new mothers want to lose weight and body fat quickly so that they can get back to their previous weight and size prepregnancy. Therefore, it would only make sense to design your programs to these needs, with a focus on losing belly fat, tightening up that booty, and focusing on body confidence. Now you can sit with your team and come up with the perfect program designed for these mothers. Besides, your staff will do the same, so if anyone leaves or gets sick, you have another staff member who knows exactly how you work and what needs to be done. Everyone is doing the same thing and on the same page. Why do you think Southwest Airlines only has ONE TYPE of airplane in its fleet? That’s right, they have only one type of plane! It is so they can save on the parts when they need to replace something and they can have any crew member jump in when needed since all of the airplanes are the same. They do not need to hire and train staff differently for different types of airplanes since they only have one type, which means that they can afford to employ far fewer employees to fly and maintain the company’s aircraft. Smart, right!? Companies like Southwest Airlines are great role models, regardless of the industry you are in. You have to be unique and you need to learn from the big sharks who have been around for a long time and own a significant percentage of the marketplace in your industry. You have to recognize and connect with your niche. Attending expos is great, but if you are at a fishing conference and your target market is actually

airplanes, then you are wasting your time. Set up shop where your niche market is. Let them know how important they are to you and treat them right. Don’t try to be everything to everyone  The bottom line is that you simply can’t take on everyone who comes through your front door! You can’t call yourself “the everything” gym. Even Amazon, “the everything store,” started with a small niche market until they became the giant of that small market of online book sales! And eventually, they became the everything store, which took lots of time, money, and thousands of hard-working, dedicated employees. “Everyone” is not your market. You probably know that already. So who is your market? Why do you want to serve them? What opportunity awaits you? Make sure you can answer all of these questions before you proceed. 

Foot Notes: Our Statistics are based on Pre Covid-19. Research-based on: 1 Silverstein, M. J., & Sayre, K. (2009, September 1). The female economy. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from Gender, https:// hbr.org/2009/09/the-female-economy 2 Lewis, M. (2013, November 20). Student credit cards. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.moneycrashers.com/ men-vs-women-shopping-habits-buying-decisions  3 G, A. How much money do Americans spend on fitness products each year? Retrieved January 27, 2017, from https://www. quora.com/How-much-money-do-Americans- spend-on-fitness-products-each-year 50









It's time to move on Take your people with you However you grow in the coming months, this is how to look after your staff, your trainers and your members. Raise the bar. By Ben Hackney-Williams, Head of Content at Escape Fitness Messages of recovery and growth within fitness are becoming wallpaper in posts, publications and other platforms. Seminars are getting repetitive and we could miss the opportunity to really make a difference. What we all need is actionable advice to implement as a plan. No longer can we concentrate purely on predictions, because when we do that we don't move forward.. First, it's got to start with you. Look after yourself in a mindfulness and headspace sense, and then channel that into looking after your people. Everyone is struggling. Having each other's backs is the best way to translate that supportive embrace on to customers, clients and members.

Share more with each other. “I think fitness is going to come back stronger than ever,” says Barbara Chancey, founder of her eponymous Barbara Chancey Design Group, speaking to Matthew Januszek. 52


“You know about the Great Depression, right? 19... was it... 1929? That's when Charles Atlas started the first fitness company because he knew self-esteem was at its all-time lowest. “When you don't have a job and when you don't have self-esteem, he knew that working out and the physical endorphin rush that you get from lifting weights replaces that. And that's where it all started – in the worst economic times of the world.”

Look back to look forward. Recently I worked on an episode of the Escape Your Limits podcast with health and wellbeing expert Jessie Pavelka. So many points resonated with me about relationships within organisational structures and how we treat each other. We need to share more at every hierarchal level. Big box, boutique or back garden training space, there's a baseline duty of care that needs to be remembered above member retention efforts, social distancing studies and return to work schemes. That's what's going to get the trust back into fitness spaces on the largest scale. “If you only do what looks good, then you will find your career is short lived,”


influencer era, it's very easy to make it more about the material, like 'who I am' and 'my brand.' You've got to help people and be of service.”

Feelings lead to success in fitness for everybody. Stop seeing the 'true self' idea as abstract, and embrace it. Jessie and his team at Pavelka Wellness perpetuate the understanding that avoiding how we feel is one of the worst things we can do for ourselves, especially at the moment. explains Jessie. “Do what's right. Make it about people and the trust will naturally be built. Create a really cool, safe environment for people be real. “Right now, if you're a leader in an organisation; if you're a leader of a family; if you're a human being on planet Earth, it's about authenticity and vulnerability. Express vulnerabilities and do it from a grounded state. You don't have to fall apart and cry. You just need to say 'I'm having a tough time.' Just be as real as you can.”

But what about the bottom line? Shifting your focus to people is more than just a tick box operation, and it's more than directly doing it for business benefit, as Jessie continues... “The old model is: how can an employee wellness initiative impact our bottom line, right? How's it gonna reduce our sick days? That's changing. I don't think we need to prove it anymore. “If you don't make this a priority, your people are going to suffer. The more we increase technology, the more we have to make sure that people are making their health and wellbeing a priority.

“That's just the landscape that we're presented with right now. It's also up to us to take ownership. And some people might say: 'my company doesn't take care of me, I need that in my life. Now, I might need to look elsewhere.' That's a great way to hold the organisation accountable.”

It's not all about status and social media. Yes, it's important to build your brand and push that perception of relative perfection, but is it true? Is the Insta snapshot authentic? If it's not, you may get attention and spark inspiration, but how can you expect longevity and loyalty from an audience, member or partner? Jessie explains the contradictions faced when separating the personal and the professional in brand-building: “It's interesting when you're trying to do that and building profile. They have conflicting values at times. I often have to pull myself back to: what is this all for? “We like to think that we're getting away with things. If we're making it about people, we have to make it about people and if we're faking that, it's going to come through in our life. For people, especially in this kind of

“If we're constantly plugged in, we're not creating space to just become aware of how we feel,” he explains. “And so it's like avoiding your child. That's going to have a negative impact on that relationship. Your kid's going to be tugging at your T-shirt, and you're going to be like: 'I don't have time for this. Imagine yourself – your true self – doing the same thing. It needs attention. “If we don't make room for those things, then we suffer. And when an emotion is heightened, we don't have the resilience to deal with it. We don't have the bandwidth. And so we we try to suppress the emotion. We do it with alcohol. We do it with food. We do it with other behaviours that we're not too proud of. “I think just listen to yourself. Think what's going on, give yourself a little bit of room for awareness. Just check in with yourself.” Once you've understood how to do it for yourself, remember that your staff, your members and your clients are all going through the same thing on any number of different levels. Help yourself, help them, and join a combined effort of improving mental health and mindfulness for everybody. • 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 140 episodes of the Escape Your Limits podcast. AUGUST 2020 53





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Should fitness c o u r s e s s u p p ly ongoing business support? By Colin Lee Berry Street Defence Director

During the last 20 years as a personal trainer and 13 years as a self-defence instructor, I have completed several different courses to further my knowledge and improve my service quality. However, it has become clear over the years that many courses are taught without any support in how to implement what you have learned into your business. There are many great courses for instructors and

coaches but very few offer the aftercare which would help the successful participants of the course develop a great business. This in my view is short-sighted. If a course supplies all the information and support to turn the knowledge of the course into a successful business, this will lead to many more instructors and coaches wanting to sign up for the course.

Over the years I have seen a high number of great trainers with a high knowledge in their field leave the industry as they could not build a big enough business. With the right support, I know most of them would have still been in the health and fitness industry. As I have been self-employed for a lot of my career, most people do not have the business knowledge including myself at the beginning. You can have the best knowledge in the world, but if you do not know how to sell your services, you will fail. I completed my personal training course 20 years ago and the course was fully booked with around 24 participants. Now only 2 of us are still within the industry. Therefore, I feel it is essential for all courses and gyms to supply their coaches with full business support to give them the tools needed to build a successful business. This investment will lead to a great return in the long run. There are also many so-called ‘influencers’ that promise coaches and trainers the knowledge on how to obtain a six-figure business if you pay




them 1000’s of pounds. Unfortunately, there are many coaches/trainers that get tempted and fall into this trap as they do not have the skills to further their business. The simple truth to building a successful business is a lot of work and time. There is no magic key that will open a thriving business overnight. For certain individuals to take 1000’s of pounds from hardworking coaches is not right. If these so-called ‘influencers’ were as good as they say, then they would get an even better return by taking a cut of the business that they are going to get you. This would be better for the coach because there is no financial outlay at the start and they will only have to give a certain amount of revenue for new business that they would not have got without the help of the influencer. If you are a coach/trainer who is looking to evolve their business, here are a few tips to help you make that next step:

1. Find business courses that will help you fill the gaps in developing your business. 2. Learn at least the basics of digital marketing. This can become an important tool in sending your business to the next stage and beyond. Even if you cannot stand social media, it cannot be ignored and can help draw high numbers to your business and/or website. 3. Seek a mentor that is suited to your business. Many successful business people are wanting to help people who are starting out in business. However, some mentors charge a fee or a revenue split, so be sure to find this out beforehand. 4. Research online. There are thousands of materials online to help with your business. This is a great option if you have a tight budget as a lot of these materials are free to view. This can be quite time consuming as you will have

to sift through the information that is good and bad. 5. If you are looking at working at a gym, see what business courses they run in-house or subsidise/ pay for. I have seen some gym companies offer courses on how to develop the business side. At Street Defence, we are not only looking at training up people to become great instructors and then move on to filling up the next course. We are looking at giving every successful participant the tools needed to implement everything they have learned into a thriving business. Our aim is to make every successful course participant develop a business they can be proud of. In the long term, this will help Street Defence stay at the top. To find out how you could become a self-defence instructor with Street Defence, please visit - https:// www.streetdefenceuk.com/ AUGUST 2020



F i n d i n g yo u r niche and dominating it by ben clark The online fitness industry has never been as saturated as it is right now and it shows no signs of stopping. Standing out from the crowd has never been harder, despite better access to a wider range of clients via the internet and the opening of new platforms from which to work from virtually. To get ahead and forge a career, you need to be creative with your approach.

Don't take the same path as everyone else If you type into Google online personal training you'll be presented with millions of results and realistically

only the top 3 are going to get clicked on. This is the same on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter or any social media platform. Despite this, so many people start their website or social media page with the aspirations of suddenly getting lots of clients and working from a beach in Barbados. Then reality hits and nobody is even looking at your page because you can’t compete with stronger SEO’s. It's a frustrating path that often ends careers before they have even begun.

Combine your passions and knowledge So you're a great personal trainer and want to set yourself apart to make it

a career. An awesome way to do this is by combining your other passions and knowledge into your services. This could be sport-specific, populationspecific or something completely different. I'll give some examples: a personal trainer that specifically has programs for: football goalkeepers, tall people, short people, or adaptions for cerebral palsy. Don't be afraid to be incredibly specific. For myself, I am a personal trainer for disabled people (myself being one of them) and specifically, I am for spinal cord injury as this is my disability and area of expertise. Not only am I the go-to guy for this, I can relate to the client on a much more personal level of understanding. This might seem a limiting factor in reaching more people but the opposite happens and you don't need hundreds of thousands of people to sign up to be successful; a small dedicated group that grows over time is also of value.

Create content - show off When building your online presence, content is so important. Don't be afraid to show off what you're capable of. Let's take the goalkeeper example again. Start an Instagram page or YouTube channel showing exercises that help with different aspects of the position. Show you're knowledgeable, prove to people that they should hire you. Creating fun, engaging, informative content doesn't have to be difficult. Remember you're not trying to reach 58



One thing I never do is give free personal training sessions. This is my living and I need to pay the bills. However, I'm more than okay to give free information, live groups sessions etc to showcase my knowledge and show why clients should put their trust in me.

Adjust payments to suit your group

millions of people so going viral means nothing. Just grab your phone and film yourself working, forget about the likes, just worry about content with value that you enjoy making!

Find your Audience Once we have started to make good content, we need people to watch it! Hopefully, you've started a niche personal training service that caters to a specific group of individuals that share a passion with you. Most people think that finding them is difficult but they could be right under your nose! Let's say it's ice skating, you might already be part of several Facebook groups, forums or follow some of the stars on Instagram. If not join up and start talking to the community. Facebook groups, in particular, have been a huge part of my growth over the years. I'm not joining them to spam my services, instead, I post my informative content in there and offer advice. This shows the group I'm part of their community, not an outsider looking for money. In 6 years, I've never pushed my services just mentioned I'm happy to talk if you need extra help. This has organically turned into a consistent stream of new clients that are some of my most dedicated.

Create a community Once we have started to make a solid client base it's a really great idea to get them to know each other. This instils a sense of community that's centred around a common goal. When I started focusing on community,

my word of mouth recommendations shot through the roof as everyone wanted their friends to be part of it too. I achieved this in several ways, free live group workouts on YouTube with the inbuilt chat feature open to anyone, member-only Zoom chats every Saturday and a Facebook group of my own where the community can grow together. This is the definition of going above and beyond for your clients whilst also attracting new ones and building trust. This type of business model not only helps growth but also is massively helpful for your own wellbeing as you're making a huge difference in multiple people's lives both physically and mentally.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about adjusting your payments to suit the type of clients you will be having. Will monthly payments be better, lump sums or even a pay what you think it's worth could work! Do the research and be flexible, offering multiple ways to pay is always great as people have unique financial situations. Just make sure that you don’t lose out at the end of the day. My services are tiered so it ranges from free YouTube videos to basic affordable training to much more involved training with more contact but with a higher cost. This gives me the opportunity to work with less to still benefit from my services and to go up or down over time. Hopefully, with these tips, you can start to be more successful online. It's a big scary place but can be highly rewarding with the correct approach.

Go deep not wide As you start to grow it can be tempting to get more and more feathers in your hat. More people equals more success right? This isn't always the case. As you grow wider your relationship with people will become less and less as you'll struggle to remember details. I've found going deep with the clients I do have has been much more successful. Knowing birthdays, pet names asking how their family are doing etc and genuinely caring goes such a long way in having better clients that you can rely on and keep coming back. This is also much more manageable and far more enjoyable too as both parties are far more invested. For example, if it's someone's birthday on one of our Zoom chats, I light a candle and sing happy birthday. Seems ridiculous but it really helps! AUGUST 2020 59


Getting back with your Ex… members By Guy Griffiths, Author of Stick Around (strategies to keep your gym members motivated) As gyms in the UK start to reopen, it might seem too soon to start thinking about ex-member campaigns. But as your loyal members return, and you start to measure your capacity, it is likely that you will need to get some exmembers back too, to boost your revenue. We’re going to explore when you should be getting in touch with members who have cancelled, how and what you need to say to them, and how to balance this message to ensure you keep your regular members happy.

You are open, and so are they The first thing to remember is that your ex-members did not all leave on bad terms. Even the ones who said they were going elsewhere have not all joined another club just yet. Some will want digital fitness solutions, and may not know you offer this too. You need to be clear on your objectives for contacting ex-members. There are three reasons to get in touch; to find out what they are up to now (information gathering), to keep them engaged (are they still interested?) and finally, depending on their previous answers, would they like to rejoin? 60


Simply asking them to come back or offering a rejoin deal is jumping straight to the sale, which is likely to disengage more people than rejoin. Reasons to contact ex-members 1. Information gathering 2. Maintain engagement 3. Ask to re-join; in-club or online If you find out what your members are doing now for their fitness, and keep them engaged with your club or brand, then this should be seen a win. Not all ex-members are going to re-join right now, but you’ve left the door open for the future.

Data segmentation Your ex-member database is probably the biggest it has ever been. You need to put it to good use, as it is unlikely to be this valuable again. The simplest campaign is one that contacts all members who left or have engaged with your club in the last two years. However, it would be sensible to segment and send a tailored message to members who cancelled during lockdown, versus those that left at the start of the year, or longer ago. You can track the effectiveness of different campaigns, send a slightly different survey, or point


them to an alternate landing page, depending on their situation.

Communication channels Your chosen channels will depend on volume and resource. Email is usually a good starting point. But SMS often has a better response rate, and postcards are great for long-term engagement. Plan to follow-up with phone calls to certain segments or respondents. If you send a survey with free text response options, this can generate opportunities for a conversation to find out more and talk about re-joining if appropriate.

How to generate £3,000 with an e-mail We sent a survey to 6,000 budget gym ex-members who had left in the previous 12 months (prior to lockdown). The questions were simple; why did they originally join, what were they up to now? Designed to engage, but also to learn more about what ex-members were doing. Everyone who completed the survey received the option to rejoin for 6 months for the price of 3. Around 200 members completed the survey, and 32 used the offer code generated. At £15 per month, this created at least £1,440 in revenue. But returning members typically stay for 10 months at these clubs, so the projected revenue (with 3 months free) was £3,360.

When is best to contact exmembers? Timing is everything. For some lockdown leavers, it is just a matter of time before they return. It is much the same for those who left before clubs closed. But you need to stay front of mind, as competition is going to be fiercer than ever. In normal times, it is good to contact an ex-member one month after they have left. You could give them a 30-day cooling off period to change their mind on the cancellation, or just check-in to ask what they are up to now with a quick call or survey. Thereafter, quarterly is usually a good

timeframe to get in touch. You should only contact them for up to 2 years after they leave, or last engage with your content (assuming they don’t opt-out straight-away). So, a quarterly contact cycle gives you eight chances to re-engage. Members who do opt-out really are no longer interested, so you are improving your list quality when ex-members unsubscribe. Following lockdown, it would be prudent to leave it a week or two after re-opening before contacting ex-members, but some clubs have started already. Once you have a gauge on capacity and returning member numbers, you can sensibly offer cancelled members to re-join and fill your booking sheets.

Clear, balanced, honest messaging Ensure your staff and current members understand the message to exmembers. 1. Is your club busy and building a waiting list for new memberships? 2. Do you have space for a few more members (in-club or online)? 3. Are you too quiet and need more members back into the club? Honesty is the best policy and will define your offer (if you are making one). Some loyal members may be upset that you are bringing exmembers back, but ultimately, the decision is yours, and this could be what keeps you in business.

Are they experienced? Finally, you need to take care of ex-members who re-join. They have been members before, but they have also left before. Check out my “Are you experienced” article from GOM February 2020. Don’t shy away from your exmembers, make use of this valuable database. Of course, you need to focus on your loyal members first and foremost, but getting leavers back is usually easier than signing up brand new members. Aim to learn more about your ex-members, keep them engaged, and you will have more chance of getting them back. 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 recover as many members as possible and get them to stick around longer. With the UK fitness industry in recovery mode, Gym Owner Monthly is paying for a £75 coaching call for the first 5 readers each month who book at ggfit.com/gom AUGUST 2020


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AUGUST 2020 62


‘The Rise of Online Learning’ by Amy Dutfield When I qualified in fitness instruction 10 years ago there was really only one way to do it: in person. Which didn’t seem too strange, since we were dealing with physical bodies doing physical things. The clue is in the name—PERSONAL training. Since that time, online fitness has been on the rise, and the COVID-19 outbreak has catapulted it to the very heart of the industry. I was running my own small facility when lockdown was announced, and so like many others, I had to shift to a virtual world very quickly. My team and I had to adapt and by mirroring everything that we offered in a physical location on an online platform. It’s something that has taught me a lot, and it looks like I will have plenty of time to consolidate my learning, since I anticipate that things won’t go back to normal in my gym for quite some time. In the medium-term at the very least, we will be operating with restricted numbers in the gym, running all classes outdoors and of course keeping up with the rapidly evolving online world. My personal experience of delivering online training is mixed. Having only really known hands-on fitness instruction I found it tough to deliver fitness through a screen at first. I struggled to see the small details we use to help people improve in everyday life on the gym floor—their wonky posture, their breathing patterns and even their facial expressions (which quite often tell us the most about how they’re finding it!). I recently spoke to a leading national fitness training provider and some of their questions got me thinking and I wanted to bring it to fellow fitness professionals to share and consider.

What do you think about 100% online training courses for personal trainers? Do they provide you with all the content and experience required to get a job in a gym or set up as a sole trader? Now, given the timing of this topic we have to be mindful that many people had the challenge of having their training unexpectedly switched online for a period of time. This was unavoidable and those who managed to complete their training virtually in such difficult circumstances deserve our utmost respect. But looking ahead, what will happen now? Will training companies use this opportunity to push the “learn from the comfort of your home” to the max and drop practical training altogether?  If I had a newly qualified trainer walk into my gym tomorrow with a 100% online certification, I’d want to know a lot more about them before I offered them a job. Meeting face to face gives you the whole picture of someone’s attitude to fitness. You can read people and their intentions in a real-world

setting that you simply cannot do online. More importantly, meeting face to face also allows you to display your own personality more easily, which is a crucial part in building trust and forming a relationship. I would argue that this is the most important reason for wanting to prioritise in-person interactions over online ones, but we shouldn’t forget either that the technical details are far harder to analyse through a screen. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken things up. It has fast-tracked the growing popularity on online fitness and we must all wake up to the fact that online workouts are here to stay. However, we should remember the benefits of personal interactions and being in a room together: online fitness should be something we use to enhance our programme, not something we rely on in normal circumstances, and it should definitely not be possible to qualify in fitness instruction without real-world practice. Let’s make sure we keep the PERSON in personal training! AUGUST 2020



Ask The Expert Do you have a question that you would like to see answered in this feature in a future issue? Email pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk

LIFE AS A GYM MANAGER BY ADAM POWELL What makes a great gym manager? This is something I have been pondering recently. Let’s be honest, during lockdown most of us in the fitness industry have had plenty of time to think, consider our careers, self-development, future plans etc. For me, a good manager has to have several key qualities and skills. 1. Communication. This is vital for anyone working in the fitness industry. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you cannot get across to your team what it is you expect from them you will end up frustrated and they will leave. How many times have I heard managers say, they cannot trust their team to do anything. I then ask who hired that team and what systems are in place to help that team do their day-to-day tasks. Often it goes quiet after this! Most people leave their jobs because of a poor manager. When I work with my teams I always try to schedule weekly team meetings. The first point is to ensure it does not go on too long, 30 minutes should be fine. Next, send out an agenda to everyone attending. I will not go to a meeting if I do not know 64



what that meeting is about. Give the team the opportunity to contribute to the meeting. They are the eyes and ears of your gym. Let them tell you what they know is working, and more importantly, not working. 2. Time management. If you want to become more efficient you have to manage your own time. Break your day down into hour or 30 minute blocks and allocate tasks to each of these blocks. Team meetings, H & S tasks, procurement, sales, maintenance etc. I recently listened to a podcast with Lebron James, NBA player of the year several times over. He starts with sleep. His time spent sleeping is factored in first and everything else is worked backwards from that. Have a personal diary and a team diary and make sure everyone operates from it. 3. Education. One of the best things I love about working in the fitness industry is that it is always evolving. You can always learn something new. As I mentioned earlier, I have been working in the fitness industry for 20 years. I always say that I can always learn something from someone who has only been working in the industry for a few months. They will have a fresh outlook on the industry, have been to a new training course recently etc. The moment you think you know it all is the moment you need to have serious words with yourself. Make sure your CPD points are updated each year. CIMSPA require 10 points per year. Read all the time, put it in your diary as a daily task. You are doing something right by reading Gym Owner Monthly and this article right now. Congratulations! 4. Lead by example. I always say I will not ask one of the team to do something I am not willing to do myself. How many managers do you know who do not cover early or late shifts? You never see them at weekends in the gym. They sit

in their office all day and spend most of that time on their personal social media or texting friends. They do not walk the gym floor and engage with the team or members. There is always a drama and it is always someone else’s fault. They never put the team first. I could go on and on with poor examples of management and on how not to lead by example. I am sure you are thinking of examples right now that you have had the misfortune of working with. 5. Empathy. If you cannot show empathy towards your team or your members you will never transition from being a manager to becoming a leader. Make sure you are genuine with your emotions and your ability to understand others ‘ emotions. 6. Create a successful working environment. You could have the best gym in the area but it is not a success. Why? Are you creating an environment for your team to develop their skills and enjoy what they do? Is your staff retention poor? Are your members aware of high staff turnover and leave as a result of this and no one engaging with them

when they come and go from the gym? I have always said, “I want one of my team to replace me when I move on.” Sometimes this isn’t possible, but make sure you have shared your knowledge and given your team the opportunity to learn from you, to see and understand what is required to become a great gym manager. Adam Powell started working in the fitness industry in 2000 and qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2003. Since then he has gained over 13,000 hours of Personal Training and his career experience has covered gym management up to senior level, private members clubs, residential fitness retreats in the UK and abroad, Spas, specialising in launching new gyms and sites along with retail and mentoring. Adam has worked with several corporate clients such as Npower, British Gas, Dyson, Openwork and RBS bank. You can connect via,  https://www.linkedin.com/ in/adam-powell-06304618  @cotswold_pt AUGUST 2020 65



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Profile for Gym Owner Monthly

Gym Owner Monthly August Issue 2020  

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

Gym Owner Monthly August Issue 2020  

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

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