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ISSUE 10 // JANUARY 2017

APT G N I T I cruit RECRU w to re ff Ho ing sta d n a t s t ou

PT VIEWPOINT Why train your staff?

Time to Relax



Paul Swainson asks ‘What plans do you have to improve your skills, boost your career and build your profile?’

The Right Wearable Investment W H Y YO U R GY M S H O U L D OFFER WEARABLE TECH


Group fitness trends for 2017

DIETING TRENDS The right advice for your clients


Four ways to stay in touch with your members ON DEMAND


THE FUTURE OF FUNCTIONAL TRAINING Owen Bowling explains how to capitalise on the popularity of functional fitness

THE BIG INTERVIEW We talk to Duncan Jefford, Regional Director at Everyone Active

NE WS / / REV I EWS // T EC H NOLO G Y / / TR E N DS / / EQU I PM E N T / / I NSIG HT Email

t invitation to request an even

the cloud-connected fitness solution developed to improve member communication, club retention & increase member uptake eGym strength training equipment with its digital software interface uses workout data to track training and create a personalised, connected member experience that achieves better fitness results for users.

" eGym helps us to fundamentally sell our

gym packages, but it also helps to keep our members with us long-term "

George Stylianou, Operations Director Touchstone Health & Wellbeing Centre

- Automated equipment saves individual setups, pre-sets speed and reps to the training method and ensures full range of motion for effective training. - Continuously increases the tension across the muscle with regular strength tests and periodised training variations. - Provides direct feedback to reward the users and shows instant progress of the training programme.

eGym UK | Medius House, 2 Sheraton Street | London W1F 8BH | |

Welcome... …to the January 2017 issue of Gym Owner Monthly magazine - Happy New Year! No doubt you’re incredibly busy this month with a huge cohort of new faces walking through your doors and throwing themselves into resolution-induced fitness programmes. How are you coping? Did you prepare? Were your staff suitably prepared? One major theme for this issue is PT training and recruitment. Our lead feature (page 13) tackles the subject of recruiting an outstanding PT but also raises the question of whether you can create an outstanding PT by providing the right training and on-going education? Jenny Patrickson gives the low-down on the changes to PT qualifications and explores the skills required for the industry (page 28). Elsewhere, on page 32, Paul Swainson talks all things CPD (Continued Professional Development) and in PT Viewpoint (page 44), Tom Godwin asks ‘Why train your staff’? As you relish your membership community growing over the next few weeks, have you thought about how you’re going to convert new members into loyal, regular, long-term members? Retention is a huge subject but perhaps some of our other features will be of interest. On page 36 we look at the group exercise trends that will be huge in 2017, classes are a great way to engage with your members. Also, take a look at page 42 where we identify four methods you can use to stay in regular contact with your members (new and old). Best wishes for the year ahead.

Have a great month! The GOM team



Nathan Page

Paul Wood Tel: 07985 904 549 Tel: 07858 487 357

Keep up to date   @GymOwnerMonthly  gymownermonthly  @GymOwnerMonthly  gym-owner-monthly-magazine

© Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2016 Gym Owner Monthly is published by PW Media. Gym Owner Monthly 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. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by Gym Owner Monthly, 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.

January 2017








40 46



News The latest news and hot topics in the industry

to re-flex 40 Time Q&A with Paul Ferris, MD at SpeedFlex, about their unique offering, how the company has evolved and the challenges ahead.

standing the test 29 BODYPUMP™ of time Martin Franklin, Les Mills UK CEO, shares his top tips for delivering a successful and sustainable group exercise programme.


Appointments A round-up of industry movers and shakers


13 24

Recruiting a PT Everything you need to know about recruiting and developing a PT for your business. The Big Interview We talk to Duncan Jefford, Regional Director at Everyone Active.

EXPERIENCE the experts 60 Ask Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help

GEAR to get Physical 20 Time Unleash your inner strong man with the new Atlas Stones from Physical Company. Kit 49 Fit Retail display tips to boost your accessory and equipment sales.

We're always seeking contributors, if you're interested in writing for us then please contact: 4

January 2017


28 32


57 42

FITNESS over fifty 54 Fitness Chris Zaremba describes how he has used cardio

Level 3 PT qualifications 28 Refreshed Jenny Patrickson gives the low-down on the changes to PT qualifications and explores the skills required for the industry.

to get into the best shape of his life.


Group fitness trends you have to try in 2017 Emily Williams, from the EMDP, returns to tell us what fitness trends are set to take the group exercise scene by storm this year.


Dieting Trends Astrid Naranjo reports on the latest trends, expert advice and opinion. How should you be advising your clients in 2017?


22 32


The right wearable investment Dave Wright outlines why gym owners should consider offering wearable technology Get in the zone Paul Swainson talks all things CPD

Viewpoint 44 PT Tom Godwin discusses the importance of staff training and how fitness operators might implement structured programmes to their business.


The future of functional training Owen Bowling, founder of CrankIt Fitness, explains why functional fitness has become so popular and how to address key challenges to ensure continued growth.

BUSINESS who’s talking 42 Look Mike Arce, from Loud Rumor, outlines four ways to stay in touch with your members.


On demand Pieter Verschuren outlines how the ‘Internet of Things’ will impact the fitness sector and why membership management will be an essential tool in 2017 and beyond. January 2017




What’s hot in the fitness industry

Future Fit Training Pro Zone goes live The Future Fit Training Pro Zone successfully went live on January 3, 2017. It is the first of its kind - an online accredited webinar training platform offering high-level and continuous education for fitness professionals. Coinciding with its successful launch, Future Fit has announced the line-up of leading fitness industry webinar partners who are paramount in driving excellence in fitness education through the Pro Zone. Award-winning PT Lazo Freeman, founder of The Body Transformation Academy and expert on mindset training, will be the first webinar partner on January 25, 2017. He will deliver a live webinar and Q&A on ‘How to get your clients to follow whatever you tell them even when you're not there AND enjoy doing it without being that pushy coach’. Other experts confirmed are:  Katie Bulmer-Cooke, February, ‘Building A Successful PT Business’  James Griffiths, founder of Wild Training, March, ‘Training More Clients Outdoors’  Yvonne Radley, Big Me Up Media, April, ‘Raising Your Media Profile’  HPT5, May, ‘Blending Biomechanics, Injury Management and Service Leadership’  S&C Education, June, ‘Learn from the leading Strength & Conditioning coaches’

which Future Fit believes is the way CPD should be delivered to ensure that learning is a constant. The Pro Zone unites the UK’s best trainers to share best practice, voice any concerns, offer advice and expertise and give trainers all the support they need to progress in their career. It helps ensure self-employed trainers are neither isolated nor left behind from the industry and encourages members to remain at the forefront of professional development opportunities. Meanwhile, all members can enjoy the socially interactive community by sharing opinions, tips and feedback through surveys, blog posts and the online forum. Future Fit offers the Pro Zone in two ways. Its bespoke corporate Pro Zone area for operators costs £65 per month per venue, giving access to all PTs at that site. Through tailor-made corporate training packages delivered in-house and online, employers can benefit from economies of scale regarding training costs plus synergy across their worksites with an upskilled workforce. The other option is for smaller gyms and individual PTs who can sign up for just £15 per month to the Pro Zone online community.

In addition to the monthly webinars delivered by leading fitness industry partners, Pro Zone members can also participate in a monthly accredited webinar delivered by Future Fit tutors worth 1 CPD point (CIMSPA & REPs) each. So, over a period of a year’s membership, it is possible to gain all the accreditation required to maintain professional status. Furthermore, the Pro Zone gives members access to an online community of personal training experts, a gateway to a wealth of information, ongoing career support, the latest business-enhancing information for the fitness industry and 25% discount on all Future Fit CPD courses.

“We believe the Pro Zone is a big step forward for the industry as it brings an unrivalled set of resources, training and support together on one platform, in one place,” says Rob Johnson, managing director at Future Fit Training. “I believe that our role as a training provider is not just to see people qualify and set them off into the industry. Qualification is the start point, not the destination, and once in the industry, trainers should keep learning and asking questions. The Pro Zone offers a wealth of support and by bringing together likeminded personal trainers, we believe it can help them drive up their performance, excel in their careers and raise standards right across the industry.”

The Pro Zone’s professional community aims to drive excellence in fitness education and is the first of its kind to offer ‘accredited’ training. Members benefit from continuous education through a rich resource of engaging and topical content seven days a week,

PTs can find out more at pro-zone and see the Pro Zone FB group and a number of promotional videos here: futurefitprozone.

January 2017


News GRYPiT launches financing for gym handles range Next generation GRYPiT gym handles are now available to lease for less than £5 a week. Launched last year, the innovative moulded polymer products mark a major advance in improving the comfort, function and effectiveness of training using cable equipment. Leading operator Edinburgh Leisure has already rolled out the full range of GRYPiT handles across its sites, with DW Sports the latest big name to adopt them. Set 1, comprising biceps bar, triceps bar narrow grip, lat pulldown, crossover handles and rowing single position, all fall within the new financing scheme. “Leasing offers a popular and flexible option for operators,” says GRYPiT Managing Director Graham Taylor, “while also presenting a low-entry way for independent gyms to take advantage of what is a major functional training benefit that adds up to an investment by owners of as little as 25p per member.” Contact or phone 01332 549753.

Adam Kiani, Founder of PT Academy, said: “PT Academy has a genuine passion for fitness education and our tutors, mentors and assessors are amongst the best in the industry. As the leading gym operator in the UK, Pure Gym is the ideal partner to allow us to continue to roll out our personal training courses nationwide and provide new opportunities to students keen to break into the world of personal training.”

Technogym announces its 2017 ‘Let’s Move for a Better World’ campaign The biggest social campaign in the industry is back! This year new rules give even more operators the chance to win and donate Technogym equipment to help combat physical inactivity.

Pure Gym launch the Pure Gym Academy Pure Gym, the UK’s leading gym operator, and PT Academy (PTA), one of the largest fitness education companies in the UK, have today launched the Pure Gym Academy, a partnership that will see Pure Gym open up its 170 sites across the UK in order to train new personal trainers and fitness instructors. PT Academy, founded in 2009 by Adam Kiani, has operations throughout the UK and currently has the highest number of delivery and assessment centres nationwide. PT Academy is committed to raising standards and opening up access to the health and fitness industry by introducing innovative learning methods and offering competitive prices, in line with Pure Gym’s mission to make fitness and exercise accessible to the British public.

Technogym, world leader in the supply of Fitness and Wellness technologies and solutions, announces its 2017 global ‘Let’s Move for a Better World’ campaign.

The partnership will see an increase in the number of PT Academy courses available nationwide, with Pure Gym sites used as training centres, under the Pure Gym Academy. Courses will initially be run by over 40 Pure Gym assessors, with the opportunity for further Pure Gym staff to become assessors. Newly qualified personal trainers, completing PT Academy level 2 and 3 courses, will have the opportunity to run their businesses from Pure Gym sites across the country.

Thanks to Technogym’s ecosystem platform, from the 13th-31st March 2017, gym members in fitness clubs all over the world will join forces to donate their movement and promote wellness and healthy lifestyles in their local community and beyond. The more active club members are, the bigger the donation will be to their local communities.

Laura Fortune, Product Director of Pure Gym, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the PT Academy, providing centres for high-quality fitness training courses to take place as part of the Pure Gym Academy. We’re committed to helping the public incorporate exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and this partnership will enable personal trainers to develop their skill set and pass their fitness knowledge on to members.”


January 2017

The campaign embodies Technogym’s mission to improve wellness on a global scale. Technogym recognises that the education of the younger generation is a crucial starting point for achieving this goal, and building a more sustainable society based on personal health.

The new 2017 edition of the campaign allows an increased number of operators to win and donate a piece of Technogym equipment to an association of their choice, thanks to the new awarding system which gives every facility the chance to win by reaching predefined targets of movement performed. Technogym has grand ambitions for ‘Let’s Move for a Better World’ 2017, following the success of the 2016 edition, which boasted impressive figures and quadrupled 2014

News results: 513 Clubs, 122,000 participants in 21 countries completed more than 400 million MOVEs, burning a total of 170 million calories and losing a staggering 53,000lbs. The UK took 5th place globally with over 27 million MOVEs. 60 facilities took part, with Crow Wood Leisure in Burnley taking first place for a second year running with an impressive 3,126,802 MOVEs. Andrew Brown, Director of Crow Wood Leisure, said: “The commitment of our members for ‘Let’s Move for a Better World’ has been fantastic. Their effort has seen us contribute almost £20,000 worth of exercise equipment to Burnley schools to date. We look forward to competing in the campaign again, so that another school can benefit from state-of-the-art Technogym equipment.” Why should I get involved? As well as being a fantastic community initiative, ‘Let’s Move for a Better World’ is a unique and powerful tool for facilities to increase business, and build member loyalty, motivation and footfall. The campaign has namely proven to attract new members, thanks to both the initiative’s communication campaign through web and social media, and the viral effect created by existing members sharing their training sessions online.

The 1,200 capacity Bramhall gym features 15 top-of-therange Precor cardiovascular stations all showcasing the new P82 console with Preva networked fitness and eight recently launched Spinner® bikes. The facility also boasts a corner Queenax™ unit as well as eight stations of Precor Vitality Series strength equipment, including dual-use machines. Members will also benefit from a large studio with indoor cycling, yoga and a high-tech Wexer virtual system for on-demand classes.

By placing the spotlight on the club’s local community, it creates a positive team spirit that brings people together to achieve a common objective.

The staff at both Bramhall and Macclesfield are already Group Exercise certified and now further training is planned so they become Spinning® certified. Enabling them to run official Spinning® classes, delivering their members results whatever their goal may be, with planned progression and a strong support community to keep them coming back week after week.

The 2016 edition saw great improvements for participating facilities: visits increased by an average 29%, new memberships increased by 16%, and over three quarters of participants saw an increase in the engagement and motivation of existing members. 2016 winners, Crow Wood Leisure in Burnley, found the campaign to be a really fantastic engagement tool with members. How the campaign works Participants’ MOVEs – Technogym’s unit for measuring movement – are logged through Technogym’s mywellness cloud, the industry’s first cloud-based open platform. For further information on the campaign, regulations, and to get involved, get in touch with your local Technogym contact, or get more information at http://

Hoyle family to open further Anytime Fitness sites The Hoyle family, who earlier this year opened Anytime Fitness Knutsford, will launch two additional sites at the beginning of 2017 – Anytime Fitness Bramhall and Anytime Fitness Macclesfield. Anytime Fitness Bramhall is situated in the centre of Bramhall Shopping Centre, on the first floor above a Sainsbury’s, and sees the transformation of a disused office storage facility into a 4,000 sq ft fitness suite.

Franchisee of both clubs, James Hoyle who has a background in science, comments: “Functional training is the best way to improve balance, flexibility and agility - all a crucial part of fitness. The Queenax™ sits at the heart of this, which is why we are installing units in all our Anytime Fitness sites.” Anytime Fitness Macclesfield, the larger of the two gyms with a capacity of 1,600, is located in an old nightclub complete with a giant mirror ball, which Hoyle plans on keeping as a feature. The space will be transformed into a 7,000 sq ft facility. Group exercise classes will take place on the top floor overlooking the gym below, utilising existing raised dance floors in the large open space available. The gym showcases The Bridge and Format Queenax™ units, Precor cardiovascular machines including the new P82 console with Preva networked fitness and ten-stations of Precor Vitality Series strength equipment. Hoyle states: “I appreciate vigorously tested, proven, quality products, which is why I chose Precor equipment. Having been a member at various gyms over the last ten years, my approach when designing and running a fitness facility tends to take into account a member’s perspective. For example, ‘does this design give me the most efficient leg

January 2017


News circuit between machines’ – I’d do anything to make a leg day easier! “The Vitality dual-use machines are perfect for our gyms as they provide the maximum output of exercises, don’t take up too much space, and allow us to design the gym with the most efficient circuit in mind.” Open days with music and competitions for both clubs will take place, giving members a chance to meet the team and discuss future fitness plans. Justin Smith, Head of UK at Precor states: “The Hoyle family is keen to capitalise on the achievements of Knutsford and build on the foundations of the business with these two new sites. Both gyms are well situated in the middle of shopping centres and the facilities provide additional space for James to work with, enabling him to focus on fitness while creating a functional but fun atmosphere.”

Australia’s leading functional training company arrives in the UK CrankIt Fitness, Australia’s leading provider of suspension training straps and functional training education has agreed an exclusive UK distributor partnership with D2F Fitness. The arrangement will see D2F Fitness introduce CrankIt Suspension Training Straps to gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and personal training studios across the UK. Operators purchasing CrankIt Straps will also qualify for free online training for all gym staff. Launched in 2011, CrankIt Fitness supplies some of the largest fitness chains down under including: Jetts, Fernwood Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness and a number of Virgin Active clubs. In addition, CrankIt Fitness has a supplier arrangement with Fitness First, Asia. With its sights set firmly on further global expansion, 2017 is teeing up to be a hugely significant year for the brand. The company’s founder, Owen Bowling, officially recognised as one of Australia’s most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 30, says: “We firmly believe that instructor education needs to be part of the equipment package. The two go hand in hand with neither reaching its full potential without the other”. “When operators invest in our equipment, we provide access to free, Level 1, online training for all their gym staff. This removes a huge CPD cost for the operator and gives CrankIt Fitness an opportunity to truly engage with fitness professionals, helping to ensure they get the most out of the product for their clients.” CrankIt Fitness has already secured an exclusive supplier agreement with Everyone Active. Talking about the partnership, Mark Talley, Group Fitness Development Manager, says: “There are a number of reasons why Everyone Active chose CrankIt Suspension Straps over other products. Yes, the education package is attractive but the product itself also offers several other key benefits. 10

January 2017

All 6 carabiners are lockable so the kit remains wherever it’s placed. The product can also cope with higher loads, reducing wear and tear. In addition, the warranty is much longer than any alternative product and the unit cost is extremely competitive. The decision to invest was really a no-brainer.”

Spirit Fitness joins forces with Primal Strength Spirit Fitness is now Primal Strength’s official cardio partner, working together to provide varied fitness solutions that boast the best in customer service. Already providing the market with high quality strength and functional training products, a partnership with Spirit Fitness enables Primal Strength to offer cardio equipment from a well-established and trusted brand. In exchange, Spirit Fitness now offers a variety of new solutions that satisfy the current demand for functional training-based work-outs, including racks, free weights and accessories such as battle ropes and slam balls. Jamie Burton, Managing Director of Spirit Fitness UK, said: “Spirit Fitness is a long established global brand that supplies the commercial sector with high quality cardio and strength products along with unrivalled customer service. This is what Spirit Fitness is known for. “But, as fitness trends have shown, gym users want greater flexibility in their work outs. They want to combine machine-based programmes with functional training and HIIT. “By working with Primal Strength, we can now address this

News trend by partnering with a supplier that we believe offers the same level of quality and customer service that we do. “In return, being Primal Strength’s official cardio partner, we can provide the trusted cardio machines that they need to complete their offering.” The brands will be supporting each other at two of the industry’s biggest events – Elevate and BodyPower UK, which both take place in May. Steven Rinaldi, Managing Director of Primal Strength, said: “I have long believed in the Spirit Fitness brand, so when the idea of joining together came about, it made complete sense. “Primal Strength’s focus is to deliver the highest specification of kit for bespoke gyms, studios and CrossFit boxes worldwide, so it was paramount that we worked with a reputable, established brand. “Although we only launched in November last year, the team behind the Primal Strength has many years of experience, so we are looking forward to seeing where our partnership with Spirit Fitness can lead.””

FitCon coming to London FitCon, the leading fitness expo, will arrive in London for a three day bonanza in April 2017, including the staging of the UKBFF & IFBB qualification competitions.

boasting huge social followings. That includes the likes of Lazar Angelov, Ronnie Coleman, Sergio Constance, Simeon Panda, The Harrison Twins (the UK’s most famous fitness twins), Larissa Reis and Amanda Bucci. Lazar Angelov has 4.6million followers on Instagram and is a former Men’s Health cover star. Ronnie Coleman has an Instagram following of 1.5million and is an 8-time Mr. Olympia. UKBFF & IFBB qualification competitions will be held at FitCon on Saturday the 22nd of April. The qualifiers set to take place are the UKBFF British Finals qualifier, IFBB Diamond Cup France, IFBB Amateur Olympia Spain and IFBB Arnold Classic Barcelona. Owen Harrison, who will be attending the conference along with his twin brother, Lewis, commented: “Our 2017 schedule is already jam packed with exciting events and FitCon is definitely one of those that we are really looking forward to.” Lewis added: “The exhibitors and athletes already signed up to attend are some of the biggest names in the industry, so it should be a great few days at London’s Olympia.” There are a number of limited spots available for exhibitors to secure their spot at the conference. Visitors can purchase tickets at £27.50. To get yours now, visit

From Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd April, Olympia Hall will host the biggest names in the fitness industry, with 75,000 visitors expected over the three day conference. By bringing the leading brands and the greatest athletes together FitCon aims to offer a one-stop shop for all fitness enthusiasts in the UK over 15,000 square meters of the best in fitness and sports nutrition. With over a decade of experience in the fitness industry, the FitCon team will be joined by a host of major brands and athletes at the event. Big names such as NOVO Nutrition, MusclePharm, MuscleTech, BSN, MuscleMeds, MHP and Ronnie Coleman Signature Series have already signed up to attend the conference. As well as world renowned exhibitors, some of the biggest fitness professionals in the industry will be in attendance,

January 2017


Advertising Feature


Aspect Safety Mirrors Ltd (ASM) are a family run business based in Cambridge, undertaking contracts throughout the UK. ASM have been supplying and installing shatterresistant and unbreakable mirror products for over 20 years.

ASM specialise in gyms and dance studios and are the preferred mirror supplier and installer for many of the UK's leading gym chains and independent gym operators. ASM completed over 500 installations in gyms and health clubs throughout the UK in 2016, ranging from single portable mirrors to fully bespoke projects. We also offer premium quality portable mirrors, made using our Pilkington Optimirror, which conform to all British and European safety standards. ASM are committed to providing our customers with a reliable, first class installation service completed by our trained and experienced team of installers, with customer satisfaction being our main priority. Our office team are fully knowledgeable in the industry and our obliging staff will assist in all aspects of the projects undertaken. Head of Installations, Alex Day said, “We had our best ever year in 2016 with gym installations, working for a wide range of customers. Our 'Pilkington Optimirror’ is a fantastic mirror product that works brilliantly for functional training purposes, but equally as well for interior design (reception areas, lounges, changing rooms etc). We have so many gym operators now installing mirrors throughout their facilities, not just in training areas, it really does totally transform the ambience of any room." For more information visit: Telephone 01223 263555


January 2017


Recruit or create?

Everything you need to know about recruiting and developing a PT for your business The recent Raising the Bar 2016 report – published by Future Fit Training in partnership with ukactive and CIMPSA – revealed widespread concerns among operators, 88% of whom believe PTs are ill-equipped to undertake their role. All those questioned said top-up training by them or externally is needed to ensure PTs are fit for their work and there was a renewed call for more indepth training over a longer period of time with real-life case studies and key soft skills in a bid to bring PTs into the industry on a strong footing. With PTs being the backbone of gyms and clubs, outstanding individuals are the holy grail for operators. Should gym owners expect to be able to recruit an outstanding PT – or should they look to create one instead? Gym Owner Monthly talked to a cross section of operators, training providers and PTs to find out more.

January 2017


Spotlight Start point While a Level 3 Personal Training qualification is considered the entry level for PTs to work in a gym, everyone we spoke to recognised this is just the start point and further training, be that internal or external, must supplement PTs skills and knowledge from day one. “Getting a PT qualification is like getting a driving licence: it says you’re safe to drive but does not mean you’re a good driver,” says James Griffiths, founding director of Wild Training. “Newly qualified PTs are safe to work with clients but it is our job as employers to ensure our trainers work to our expectations and not to their own. We treat all trainers as a blank sheet and make sure they are trained to our standards.” Rob Johnson, managing director of Future Fit Training, was not surprised to hear the operators’ views when he interviewed them for the Raising the Bar report. “It’s absolutely clear that operators feel new PTs need additional training under their care with 100% stating they need to do this,” he says. “I believe that longer, more in-depth training will help address some of the issues here, by ensuring sufficient time for practical real-life client case study work, development of soft skills and more time spent living and breathing fitness.” Future Fit courses have never been in the ‘intensive’ bracket - on average it takes students 1318 months to achieve their Level 3 PT certificate. “A key difference with us is we don’t enrol anyone on just the certificate itself,” says Rob. “Everyone studies a full diploma with all the skills we feel are necessary for the modern PT, which means our graduates often benefit from up to 2-3 years of training in total. Not only do we cover the technical skills in exercise and nutrition, we include and emphasise the importance of softer skills such as business acumen and behaviour change coaching.”

Also recognising the growing demand for broader skills, Active IQ is about to launch its Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training. “This updated qualification encompasses a broader spectrum of knowledge and skills required by today’s industry professionals,” says James Clack, Active IQ business development manager. “It includes a greater emphasis on the softer skills and has an emphasis on professionalism, client counselling, motivation and behaviour change along with inclusion of sales, enterprise and business skills and the impact of technology to enhance client experience and interaction.” Newly graduated personal trainers need to leave courses ‘job ready’ and able to hit the ground running, according to Nick Bradley, CEO of Premier Training International. “Training needs to be robust and thorough but this shouldn’t be measured purely through a time frame. What’s important is the support and content provided on well-structured programmes, which enable PTs to interact and be ready to train clients as soon as they step in the gym. Our ‘Complete PT’ methodology includes the latest science and research to support physical performance, helps PTs see and respect their clients’ different needs and recognise and understand how to manage wider health aspects such as wellness and nutrition,” says Nick.


January 2017

Spotlight Recruiting a PT Having a Level 3 PT certificate isn’t enough on its own to differentiate PTs with the most potential and operators must go further to find them. Chris Foster, Professional Head of Fitness at Nuffield Health, puts candidates through a comprehensive Central Assessment day involving interviews, teaching a class, writing a gym programme and demonstrating/ feeding back on specific exercises. At the end of the Assessment Day they’re asked to write a 90-day business plan and present it at a second interview. “This process allows us to assess an individual's readiness to deliver against the objectives of the PT role,” explains Chris who also looks for trainers to hold a CIMSPA Practitioner membership, thus demonstrating evidence of the CIMSPA-endorsed Level 3 technical qualification. Mark Talley, Group Fitness Development Manager at Everyone Active says his management team will always meets prospective PTs to better understand their motivation and suitability to work with them. “Fitting into our

organisation and understanding our culture and values is very important to us,” says Mark. “When recruiting freelance PTs, we ask them to spend some time on the gym floor interacting with our members during the recruitment process. They must have a minimum Level 3 qualification: we don’t currently look at length of training but do generally find that those candidates that have spent longer in training and assessment are more successful in the selection process.” Spencer Davey, founder of Storm Fitness PT studio, recruits via targeted Facebook ads and asks followers for recommendations. “We conduct at least one and usually two interviews and ask them to train one of our coaches as if they were a particular case study client,” says Spencer. He also likes his PTs to have a university degree or work experience. “That shows us they can see projects through to completion and we find candidates with this kind of background are can handle the more administrative side of the job better including writing and monitoring training plans and nutrition plans.”

January 2017


Spotlight Creating a PT Spencer and James Griffiths share a similar view regarding thorough training for their trainers. “Our PTs are mentored by a senior member of the team for six months plus,” says Spencer. “We hold in-house workshops every two weeks and encourage our PTs to attend third party seminars. On top of that we share the best of what we’ve learned on our Facebook group.” “Trainers want to work with us because of the training we provide,” says James. “First we interview them, then we get them to train us and then we train them. We deliver over 80 hours of practical training every year to each individual and share access to a massive resource of written materials.” Storm and Wild Training have impressive programmes but is that only possible because they are smaller, fleet of foot businesses? What about larger gym owners and operators? What can they draw upon to boost PTs skills? Future Fit Training, CIMSPA’s Skills Development launch partner, is ahead of the curve: in addition to the wide range of CPD courses you’d expect from a leading training provider, it has launched an online centre of excellence for PTs called the Pro Zone to help operators realise their PTs’ potential. The Pro Zone is a CIMSPA accredited CPD programme that gives members access to an online community of personal training experts and a gateway to a wealth of information, insightful webinars, ongoing career support and the latest business-enhancing information for the fitness industry. “The Pro Zone enables operators to develop tailored, in-house staff training to meet their company’s exact requirements,” says Rob Johnson. “Employees


January 2017

simply sign up to the Pro Zone to enjoy a wealth of advice, offers and support. Each month a tailor-made webinar will be held, alongside which will run practical workshops, masterclasses and e-learning courses to enhance their skills and knowledge. All these are delivered by fitness industry experts and a team of trainers are also on hand 24-7 to answer questions and offer support. A closed Facebook group gives an immediate community allowing employees from across the operator’s different clubs to share their news and views”. The Pro Zone launched last year, with LED Leisure an early adopter. An individual Pro Zone is also available giving significant support and CPD opportunities to independent trainers and smaller gyms. Active IQ offers a Professional Recognition service aligned to CIMSPA’s Skills Development Partnership programme, which allows training providers and employers to create bespoke CPD to meet the needs of its staff and the industry. “This service can supplement regulated qualifications and really lets employers and training providers assess the knowledge and skills needed for today’s workforce and then tailor their training accordingly,” says James Clack. Nuffield Health’s PT employees complete an accredited induction programme via the Nuffield Health Academy, a CIMSPA Skills and Development Partner, which brings its staff up to speed on delivering its bespoke fitness services while also supporting them in their PT business development. They also have an extensive syllabus of CPD courses for PTs to access throughout their employment, covering technical and specialist areas.

Spotlight Characteristics of outstanding PTs It’s clear that gym owners large and small can source and implement creative and effective ways to make a good PT and outstanding one. But can any PT raise their game given the right tools or are there certain characteristics that will give some the edge? We asked our contributing experts and these ‘top 10’ characteristics materialised:  Natural communicator  Positive, upbeat personality  Emotional intelligence  Empathy  Self-motivation  Motivator  Open minded  Client-focused  Passionate Plus, one more from James Clack at Active IQ, ‘accountability’. “Personal training is a results-driven business and an outstanding PT must have an eagerness to challenge less desirable habits and practices and a willingness to explore and model successful behaviours and teach them to others,” he says. “If an individual has the motivation and ambition to succeed at anything, the skills can be learned,” says Rob. “The key attribute to look out for when recruiting is who genuinely wants the role and shows the desire to be successful?’ Mark agrees saying, “the most important trait is the determination to build a successful client base and business,” and Chris echoes this by saying “a thirst for improvement and a desire to continue to learn, develop and succeed,” will set an outstanding PT apart.

Outstanding PT – recruited or created? It would seem, then, that outstanding PTs are created. Gym owners shouldn’t expect to recruit a PT who is already outstanding – unless he or she is very experienced and has superior skills. Instead gym owners should expect to invest time and money into creating outstanding PTs that will deliver on their ethos and values. It is worth looking for the key characteristics and ensure prospective PTs are put through their practical paces at selection stage. Remember to look for potential - the top end of the industry has some superb CPD and support packages, increasingly with bespoke options, to hone skills and smooth any rough edges. “There is never a perfect PT,” says Mark. “Recruiting outstanding PTs is increasingly difficult so we look to recruit good PTs with the potential and attitude to become outstanding PTs.” Rob agrees saying “There’s no such thing as the finished article. The nature of our industry means PTs need to constantly evolve and develop, so further training is a must”. And Spencer simply sums it all up by stating “We recruit outstanding people and then create outstanding PTs.“ January 2017



Recruitment tips Comment from Alina Cooper, Managing Director and Co-Founder of FitLinks:  Write a standout job description. There's a lot of competition for top talent, therefore a standout job description is an essential step towards attracting the right candidates.  Advertise your roles on an industry specific job board to attract suitable candidates with relevant experience. FitLinks is a new intuitive online recruitment solution for the health and fitness industry providing an efficient, cost effective and results driven solution to help you find the best trainers.  Embrace technology - Gone are the days of printing endless CV's and sifting through paperwork. Streamlining your recruitment process with FitLinks offers the most cost-effective solution and offers further features including a free online applicant tracking system.  Respond to all applicants - Leave every candidate with a positive experience of your company.

 Interview and trade test. This is your opportunity to discover if the candidate has relevant experience for the job and how well they will fit into the team. Demonstrating their practical skills is important too. Provide the candidate with a case study prior to the interview and ask them to prepare a 1 hour training session that they deliver at the interview. This will allow you to get a better understanding of their knowledge and practical application along with their communication skills and client interaction.  Provide a clean, simple and informative on-boarding and induction process  Invest time. Your employees are your biggest asset so make sure you give them the attention they deserve by offering regular 1:1 meetings and training opportunities so they can continue to progress and challenge themselves and their clients.

A tale of two PTs Parminder Singh had been working for just two weeks at Virgin Active in the Strand when he spoke to Gym Owner Monthly. “I felt prepared for my first job due to a number of factors. Firstly, the training that I received from the LCBT College whose staff were really friendly and knowledgeable, shared their experiences and told me what to expect in the industry. Secondly, Virgin Active Gym is amazing: my managers fully support me while the other PTs offered their wealth of experience and made me feel welcome from the start. Before I became a PT I was a solicitor and ran my own my business so I have confidence talking to people. I’m reassured that Virgin Active ensures that all PTs are fully trained and pay for their staff to continue their CPD. The selection process was thorough: I had an initial assessment with other candidates followed by an interview where I had to show a three-month business plan and give a one hour PT session. I feel honoured and privileged to be working for the Virgin Active Gym in the Strand and feel I couldn't have chosen a better company to start my career.” Rupert Hambly founded Rupert Hambly Health &

Performance and has been a PT for 10 years. He works for Your PT and also helped Future Fit Training with the pilot of its ‘PT Experience Day’ whereby new PTs shadow experienced Your PT trainers for a day. “I came to the business with the experience of training side by side with athletes which gave me confidence from the start. I spent a short while as a fitness instructor interacting with members of two gyms before entering the gym environment as a personal trainer. My advice to PTs and operators is opt for in-depth, thorough courses: the bottom line is you're dealing with people’s health and lives here. Pay attention to the soft skills as they are the most important and powerful way to overcome any communication or social barriers. Employers should 100% continue training their PTs! No one knows everything and new science is being discovered all the time. I spend at least two hours a day, every day studying – everything from neuroscience to biomechanics to training for a personal underwater swimming record. External CPD and in-house training with senior members of the team is the ideal combination. Outstanding PTs must walk the talk, strive for perfection, have a desire to help others and a passion to see results for their clients.”

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Advertising Feature

Introductory 50% off StarPRO in January!! StarPRO is celebrating the launch of its new line of professional cleaning products by offering its product range at 50% off its already competitive prices (excluding bleach). StarPRO is produced by Star Brands Ltd, which has been producing high-quality cleaning products for more than 70 years. The StarPRO range is ideal for use in gyms and leisure facilities. The range includes hygiene products, laundry cleaners, washroom products and many more relevant products for use in the sports industry. StarPRO is offered at extremely competitive prices while still containing high-quality ingredients in its formulations. StarPRO is able to do this because it has its own manufacturing plant here in the UK, and products are sold to customers direct via www.starprodirect., shortening the supply chain and lowering costs.

Professional cleaning products to keep any gym clean and germ-free

StarPRO products have been split into eight colour-coded categories, which coincide with the COSHH guidelines for easy recognition and use. Blue – General Products Includes products for cleaning the general areas of gyms, such as Hard Surface Cleaner, Window & Glass Cleaner, Furniture Polish & Cleaner, carpet cleaners and more.




Green – Catering Products Products safe for use in food/drink preparation areas. Includes Catering Bactericidal Cleaner, Machine Dishwash Liquid and more. Cyan – Hand Care Products A range of hand care products that contain emollients which work to protect hands from drying out and cracking when used repeatedly. Magenta – Laundry Products StarPRO Laundry products include Bio or Non-bio Laundry Detergent Liquids (suitable for low-temp washing), Fabric Softener, and Oxi Fabric Stain Remover Powder.


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Red – Sanitary Products Sanitary products include Daily Use Toilet Cleaner, Heavy Duty Toilet Cleaner & Descaler, and Thin/Thick Bleach. Toilet cleaners are available in convenient angled-neck bottles for better cleaning under toilet rims. Orange – Odour Control Products StarPRO’s odour control products include an Air Freshener RTU Spray and an Odour Controller & Deodoriser Spray for deodorizing surfaces such as toilets and rubbish bins. Yellow – Washroom Products Washroom products are designed to effectively clean washrooms and changing rooms in professional environments. Products include Bactericidal Washroom Cleaner and Washroom Cleaner & Limescale Remover. Purple – Hygiene Products Hygiene products are powerful cleaners that work to significantly reduce the number of harmful pathogens on surfaces. StarPRO Powerful Disinfectant Cleaner, available in 750ml RTU sprays or 5 litre concentrate packs, is ideal for disinfecting gym equipment and areas where bacterial growth is prevalent. The StarPRO range has been formulated to industry-accredited standards to remove dirt, cut through grease, disinfect and deodorise. Most products are available in 750ml sprays and 5 litre concentrate packs/refill packs.

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January 2017



Time to get

with ATLAS STONES Unleash your inner strong man with the new Atlas Stones from Physical Company. More forgiving and smaller in diameter than the traditional cement stones, Physical Company has given its Atlas Stones a modern twist. Made of durable, dense vinyl, which is textured to improve grip, they can be used in the gym without risking floor damage and will also stand up to the rigours of outdoor workouts and boot camp sessions. They are available in a choice of four weights: 15kg, 25kg, 35kg and 45kg.

Watch how the pro’s do it!


January 2017

Atlas Stone training is the ultimate way to build strength in the core, back and legs. A range of moves can be completed with the Atlas Stone, including shoulder lifts, stone thrusters, platform lifts, deadlifts and clean & press. Take classic moves like lunges, walking lunges and squats to a whole new level with the Atlas Stone. Go on, you know you want to give it a go.

Gear  Atlas shouldering Position your feet wide with the Atlas Stone between your ankle bones. Bend down into a crouch position and wrap your arms around and under the Atlas Stone. Grasp the stone hard. Drive your hips down while pulling the stone into your body towards your groin. Pick the stone up, whilst exploding through the hips to propel the stone upwards and create more momentum. Fire it up to the left shoulder, bracing your core. Hold, then return the stone to the floor. Repeat the action placing the stone on the right shoulder.

 Atlas thrusters Position your feet wide with the Atlas Stone between your ankle bones. Bend down into a crouch position and wrap your arms around and under the Atlas Stone. Grasp the stone hard. Drive your hips down while pulling the stone into your body towards your groin. Pick the stone up, and explode the hips forward and upward, rolling the stone up your body. Transfer your hands to the side, stand as tall as possible to lift the stone above your head. The result is triple extension: ankles, knees and hips. Return the stone to the floor.

 Atlas platform lift NOTE: this exercise needs a stable platform on which to place the Atlas Stone. Position your feet wide with the Atlas Stone between your ankle bones. Bend down into a crouch position and wrap your arms around and under the Atlas Stone. Grasp the stone hard. Drive your hips down while pulling the stone into your body towards your groin. Pick the stone up, and explode the hips forward and upward, rolling the stone up your body. From the chest, roll the stone onto the platform. Roll the Atlas Stone off the platform, stepping back to allow ample space for the stone to land safely.

Find out more at or call 01494 769 222 for expert advice. January 2017



THE RIGHT WEARABLE INVESTMENT Dave Wright outlines why gym owners should consider offering wearable technology According to a 2017 ACSM survey, the #1 trend in fitness is wearable technology. Wearable technology is essentially a sensor built into a device that tracks physical activity to different degrees. Typically, this information is communicated to a smartphone via Bluetooth – but it also goes beyond that. Some technology tracks your sleep, others track how long you stand throughout the day, how far you walk or how much concerted exercise you do. The initial question to ask is, how do we turn this data into value for the user? The larger question is whether or not the commercial fitness industry can harness that value to create ROI. This leaves operators wondering, “which is the right wearable for the gym operator?”

Values: Wearables provide two key benefits Gamification The first is ‘Gamification’, the use of game mechanics in a non-game scenario. Examples include goal setting, challenges, badges, and status ranking. The way to enhance this power is to provide material reward or social amplification. Simply put, if the user performs a certain behaviour they are given an award of value, or immediate public adulation. It is this immediacy of reward that plays into the habit cycle of cue-routine-reward. From a club operator perspective, this can translate into more motivated members. They will visit more frequently and have a higher net promoter score, which also

means they refer more friends, buy more product and stay longer. In one phrase: more lifetime value. That said, the challenge for operators is to engage their population in using their devices and incentivising them with games. Games can include rewards for achieving levels ‘fun run like’ challenge such as March Madness, or they can tap into a lottery scenario where the points earned can give the user tickets into a prize draw. These tactics all drive positive behaviour across multiple populations.

Member insights A second key value proposition is diving deeper into insights of the member by having an understanding of key measures such as heart rate, calories consumed and burned, steps walked, hours slept, among others. It is the data that helps the trainers of our facilities to pass qualified comments. For example, using data to see heart rate recovery improve, a lead indicator of a members fitness level. This insight helps the trainer show the member they are progressing, or regressing, positioning the trainer as more insightful and more valuable. Trainers need to be careful when referencing metrics like sleep, as

the questions very quickly becomes “are you qualified to prescribe a solution to broken sleep?” If they are not qualified, they should stick to what they are qualified in: heart rate and calories counting are two prime examples. For those with the algorithms, value will extend to predictive analysis: understanding when clients are about to abort, and when others have a propensity to purchase more. Whichever way you decide to take wearables, the key is to have a clear goal and a simple strategy then roll out one phase at a time. Vendors with systems, marketing, and ROI models are the best support.

Dave Wright is the CEO of CFM (Creative Fitness Marketing), CEO and creator of MYZONE®, owner of the Feelgood Fitness & Voyage Fitness Club Chains, a former Board Director of ukactive and founder of the IOU. With offices in Chicago (US), Nottingham (UK) and Melbourne (Australia), Dave’s companies have worked directly with over 5,000 health clubs across 30 different countries, encouraging people to be more and stay more physically active. He may be contacted on


January 2017

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PROUD TO BE BRITISH All Watson Gym Equipment products are manufactured in our factory in Frome, England. We are passionate about the equipment we produce and take pride in every product we send out. Manufacturing the products ourselves means that you get exceptional build quality, custom built equipment to suit your needs and a short lead time.

January 2017



‘Many of our c surpass the p Duncan Jefford, Regional Director at Everyone Active who manage 150 leisure facilities across the UK, talks about raising standards in public sector leisure and the advantages of a private sector mindset when operating facilities on behalf of local authorities. How has local authority leisure provision evolved over the last decade? There has been increasing financial pressure on local authorities which has led to more outsourced leisure provision. We’ve seen many smaller facilities closing, as councils recognise the value in new larger centres which use major revenue generators like gyms, to support a wider range of less cost-proficient activities. Overall this has meant a small reduction in the number of sites UK wide, but whilst this may mean people need to travel further, provision is significantly improved, and for local authorities, it’s more economically sustainable.

Has your private sector background given you an advantage working in local authority leisure? I previously worked for Fitness Exchange and for six years I was responsible for 10 clubs in the City of London. The perceived standard of offering in the private sector is much higher than what consumers expect from local authority leisure and when I joined Everyone Active it was abundantly clear that closing that gap in standards was the route to achieving significant growth and business success. We embraced the commercialisation of the local authority sector implementing secondary income streams including swimming lessons, retail, vending and personal training. Everyone Active was the first public sector operator to introduce a robust PT model in 2007. Now most 24

January 2017

local authority leisure operators have worked towards commercialising their offering but we continue to innovate in our sector, keeping a close eye not just on the private sector but on industry innovation in general.

What makes the Everyone Active approach different from other leisure operators? We aim to deliver a customer experience which is on a par with our private competitors and we back this up with customer relationship technology which provides us with essential insights and data. Our gyms are kitted out with industry leading equipment and offer variety that unarguably rivals our private sector competitors, this includes Wattbikes, GRAVITY Total Gym, X-Cubes and SKILLMILLS. We pay close attention to our digital offering and have an industry leading digital activity platform which serves as a bolt on to our membership, enhancing member experience and providing an important revenue stream. We also lead the way with swimming lesson provision, offering a low 1:8 teacher to student ratio and ensure all our swimming teachers are trained to a minimum of level 2.

How do you ensure Everyone Active centres can compete with private sector competitors? We conduct ongoing market research to ensure we understand the local demographic and we mystery shop


centres private sector’ competitors at regular intervals. Nationally we send colleagues to all the key events, to talk with all suppliers so we understand market direction and innovation and are able to make the right decisions when it comes to reinvestment. With the influx of budget gyms, public sector facilities need to be able to stand on their own two feet and we strive to offer a customer experience which is equal-to or ahead of our private competitors but at a lower price.

We’ve heard some of your facilities surpass what’s offered in the private sector? Many of our centres surpass the private sector in terms of quality of facilities and breadth of offering. It’s typical to find a pool, 25m or longer, indoor climbing, gyms with over 100 stations and multifunctional studios. We’re also starting to introduce more high end spa facilities and hot yoga studios into our facilities. Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans is multi-award winning and Fareham Leisure Centre in Hampshire currently holds the highest QUEST score in the country having been awarded ‘outstanding’ in its last three assessments.

How do you consistently achieve delivery of a first-rate customer experience? We have an Internal Gold Standard which is our way of checking the customer experience continually exceeds expectations. Our regional teams make weekly visits to every site assessing every facet of the business from

swimming lessons to maintenance. Training is crucial to ensure all our colleagues are confident in their role and we offer 1000 days of training each year. We’ve seen recognition of our hard work in being award Leisure Operator of the Year four times in the last seven years, at the ukactive FLAME Awards and in winning the ASA swimming operator of the year for five years in a row.

Career highlights to date? My goal has always been to simultaneously drive standards and profit and I’ve been instrumental in growing company turnover from £30m in 2005 to £150m today. When I joined Everyone Active there were 30 sites in the portfolio. We now operate five times that amount, including eight London contracts; Westminster, Southwark, Westway Trust, Ealing, Brent, Harrow and Havering.

What are the big things set to happen in the local authority market over the next 5-10 years? Ten years from now, I predict that 95% of local authorities will have contracted out their leisure facilities because they recognise it generates them more revenue. Most Local Authorities are asset rich and cash poor so I think we’ll see more land sales generating affordable housing, which in turn will fund the building of more leisure facilities. These facilities will likely be built in areas with a lower land value, but will be larger and offer a greater selection of facilities. January 2017


Advertising Feature


The face of indoor cycling is changing and Wattbike are at the forefront of the cycling evolution. Performance monitoring is now key, and gone are the days of standalone bikes on the gym floor. Consumers now demand destination fitness for exercise that’s motivational, cathartic and inspiring.

DISPLAY The free Power Cycling software will display key data from the Wattbikes. Instructors will be able to monitor the whole class simultaneously, whilst riders can follow the coloured zones to ensure everyone is training to achieve their own personal goals.


Knowing that no studio or space is the same, Wattbike have created a series of Zone concepts for facilities to choose from so they can create an individualised, bespoke Zones to elevate their space and member experience.

The Wattbike digital platform, the Hub, allows each rider to record every pedal stroke via their mobile phone or tablet with the Wattbike app. The app stores all workouts on the cloud for post ride analysis and sharing.


The Wattbike was born in performance cycling and Zones can reflect this with Wattbike’s inspirations cycling graphics. Wattbike fitness imagery will add movement to the Zone, helping to get members motivated and performance information, on how to set up the bike or how to improve pedalling technique, will ensure riders get the most out of every session.

A Wattbike Zone, with its bespoke training methods, world class programming, immersive graphics combined with the most advanced indoor bike in the world, will motivate current members and recruit new people.

TRANSFORM Zones will revolutionise studio space, take small group training on to the gym floor, bring a new dimension to functional training and revitalise indoor cycling. Create a boutique experience or a performance area that will support members needs whilst differentiating yourself from the competition

INFORM Precise, targeted, effective training is impossible without accurate data. The Wattbike team of sport scientists and master trainers have developed workouts to help members achieve their goals fast and staff training that can be moulded to fit individual site needs.


January 2017

Whether you’re looking to Zone a ‘Pod’ of 4-8 bikes, or a ‘Peloton’ of 8-12 bikes, Wattbike has a bespoke solution ready to evolve your space, motivate your members and educate your staff.

Discover how a Wattbike zone can revolutionise your indoor cycling. Contact a member of our sales team today on 0115 945 5450 or email

January 2017



Refreshed Level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications… what do gym owners need to know? In her bi-monthly column for Gym Owner Monthly, Active IQ Managing Director Jenny Patrickson gives the low-down on the changes to PT Qualifications and explores the skills required for the industry. “At a time of great change within our industry under the continued spotlight on skills and development of our workforce, I was not surprised to hear that operators and employers remain concerned about the lack of soft skills among newly qualified personal trainers. Increasingly PTs are called upon to work with special populations and a greater awareness of clients’ medical and healthcare needs is also deemed a priority now among gym owners. In November, ukactive published its Raising the Bar Report in which operators expressed their concerns over the fact that many PTs are under-prepared for work in the industry. Among several recommendations there was a call for more robust training and a stronger emphasis on soft skills and business acumen. This bore out our own talks with operators and led us to refresh our Level 3 Personal Training qualification to ensure we achieve the right balance and respond to growing industry demands. Our refreshed qualification is the Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training. It includes new and specific modules to address professionalism, client counselling, motivation and behaviour change. All of which are vital for personal trainers to really understand and develop if they are to create meaningful relationships with their clients and make

an impact. Additional Anatomy, Physiology and Nutrition content has also been developed to cover a PT’s understanding of lifestyle, health, wellbeing and common medical conditions, enabling PTs to deal with the rising number of clients with medical and healthcare needs. The new qualification isn’t just about training: it also has more emphasis on the importance of sales, enterprise and business skills. This will give PTs an overall awareness of the industry and how they can impact on a business. Whether they join an operator and rise through the ranks or set up on their own, PTs must appreciate the importance of their role and the potential they have to develop and progress. Finally, in our increasingly tech-savvy society, the impact of technology to enhance client experience and interaction cannot be underestimated. Running alongside the new qualification we have updated the assessment criteria to make it specific to individual trainees. This allows a degree of flexibility and personalisation to help each learner develop and apply their theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The overall aim of the refreshed qualification is to help PTs emerge ‘work ready’ from their studies and this can only build confidence among employers and gym owners.”

Contact Jenny at and for more information on Active IQ visit 28

January 2017


BODYPUMP™ standing the test of time Martin Franklin, Les Mills UK CEO, shares his top tips for delivering a successful and sustainable group exercise programme.

After 25 years of continuous development, BODYPUMP™, the group exercise class that made Les Mills a household name across the globe, continues to evolve and provide revolutionary workouts. From its humble beginning as a dumbbell class in a basement gym, the New Zealand based Mills family soon made BODYPUMP a worldwide phenomenon. At a time when fitness for the masses was mostly aerobics based the Mills family introduced weight training to group exercise classes. Participants soon realised that strength training in a group environment accompanied by great music, and led by a motivating coach, was more fun than a traditional weights workout. The huge enthusiasm

for the 60-minute class remains and BODYPUMP can now be found in more than 15,000 health clubs across the world. Phillip Mills, the founder and Chief Executive of Les Mills International, firmly believes that authenticity is the reason this world-class workout became so popular, so fast. The total body weights workout broke new ground by challenging the stigma that women couldn’t, or shouldn’t, weight train, and helping exercisers achieve a strong, lean, and sculpted body. Like all Les Mills classes, BODYPUMP is scientifically-backed and has been designed to inspire, educate, train and motivate exercisers of all ages and fitness levels. January 2017


Trends As the class approaches its 100th release this January, Les Mills UK CEO, Martin Franklin shares his top tips for delivering a successful group exercise programme that builds healthier, sustainable, more profitable clubs: INNOVATE:


Innovation lies at the core of any successful workout and while the world around us moves fast, you move faster. The face of group fitness changed in 1990 when Les Mills introduced barbells to the studio with the original BODYPUMP class. Later editions have included Tabata and HIIT principles and now plate and bar elements give the program a fresh, new approach.

The future of fitness is merging physical and digital and breaking down the four walls of the gym is key to staying relevant. Les Mills on Demand allows members to enjoy BODYPUMP™ in the club as well as at home, working out at a time of their choice. Our research tells us that 53% of your members already exercise at home so why not give them instant access to a huge library of proven workouts they love?



Having the right timetable blend for your facility is essential to getting more people exercising. The right timetable not only encourages members to take part but also motivates them to keep coming back for more. All workouts allow a 30-minute option to enable the operator to vary the timetable length so members can exercise when they want and fit classes around their lifestyle.

Ensure consistency for repeat usage – consistent brand, consistent content and consistent quality are integral to ensuring members have confidence in your product. Investing in an ongoing education program to refresh your instructors on a quarterly basis ensures you maintain your internal standards and give members the experience they want and deserve.

For more information about Les Mills UK visit 30

January 2017

Membership/CRM & Marketing Access Control inc Biometrics Till, Credit Card & Stock Control Web & Mobile Activity & Class Bookings DD Management & Online Sign-ups Implementation, Training & Support

NEXTISSUE Features for February include:

Wellness coaching New vs used equipment Direct debit solutions Boot camps Branding & marketing To advertise in these features call Paul Wood: 07858 487357

GYM OWNER monthly

January 2017



Get in the zone Paul Swainson, Head of Future Fit School of Personal Training, talks all things CPD

Welcome to the New Year. Now the festive fun is over, let’s hope your gym will be busy with clients eager to achieve their New Year goals and new members taking that brave first step through the door. They’re going to need all the support they can get – it’s a rare person who can facilitate change and improvements alone. So what about your own goals this year? What plans do you have to improve your skills, boost your career and build your profile? Of course you know CPD is the answer but sometimes it can feel more like ‘Could Prove Difficult’ than ‘Continued Professional Development. CPD is not just a requirement to maintain professional standards, it's vital to your success as a fitness professional. With the right CPD you can bring your skillset right up and, who knows, perhaps find new directions and training ideas to refresh the service you offer. A quick google in your tea break will reveal a plethora of CPD options including further qualifications, accredited and nonaccredited courses, seminars, workshops, books, journals, forums, websites and more from hundreds of training companies, coaches and experts. But how do you know what to do? What's high quality and credible and what's not worth the paper (or web page) it's written on? 32

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Last year when we spoke to leading gym operators for our Raising The Bar report, it was clear that while the value of CPD was appreciated, the physical selection of courses, finding appropriate trainers and fitting the training into an already busy work schedule was proving a problem. I and my colleagues at Future Fit set about finding a solution to select and deliver a broad spectrum of CPD that met the needs of today’s fitness sector workforce. Larger operators were keen to train a cohort of their staff and asked for bespoke CPD that supported their employer-specific goals. Individual PTs wanted access to a system they could trust and where they could meet with other PTs, share best practice and learn from a like-minded community. We put all this into the melting pot at HQ and came up with the Pro Zone - a single, central place where trainers can access the best fitness professional training available, and gain the minimum annual CPD points requirement through online webinar training. There is content on every topic essential to your success, from exercise, training and nutrition, to communication, psychology and behaviour change coaching. Within each of those areas you can expect in depth focus on niche areas such as High Intensity Interval Training, weightlifting, injury management, motivational interviewing and client compliance. As well as masses of technical knowledge, we have ensured plenty of training in supporting skills to help PTs make a

real impact in areas such as customer service, business, marketing, sales, technology and personal development. Monthly webinars and daily videos, blogs, articles and tips from our tutors are all accessible through an exclusive Facebook group where you can also participate in discussions and ask our industry-leading fitness professionals any questions you like to help you increase your knowledge. We have also trawled the fitness industry for the most inspirational and educated fitness professionals and handpicked top experts and specialists in a variety of fields to be involved in the Pro Zone. Confirmed partners so far include award winning celebrity personal trainer Katie BulmerCooke, star of BBC One's The Apprentice in 2014; the lady that helped build her media profile, Yvonne Radley and renowned strength and conditioning coach Brendan Chaplin. Our first guest expert in January is Lazo Freeman, founder of The Academy of the Body and winner of the Active Training Award for Innovative Training Programme of the Year in 2016. Lazo has gained a reputation as a successful coach but his true passion is mindset coaching and he has spent the last decade studying human behaviour and psychology. With behaviour change a prime skill to help your clients fulfil their New Year resolutions, there’s no time like the present to check out the Pro Zone. Here’s to a very successful 2017!

Paul has a BSc(Hons) in Psychology including Exercise and Sport Psychology, Health Psychology and Biopsychology of Human Appetite. He has over 10 years’ experience as a gym instructor, personal trainer and course tutor, and has created a successful PT business as well being a writer and published author. Read the Raising the Bar 2016 report in full. January 2017


Advertising Feature

Get a handle on the future Every so often, the status quo shifts. It just has in the gym, Greg Rhodes reports: Spinning is a world phenomenon now. Thousands of gyms run classes across the UK and abroad but it wasn’t always so. When Polaris unleashed the Schwinn fitness brand in Britain in the late ‘80s, the equipment distributor pioneered a style of gym cycling that would transform the exercise landscape – eventually.

A world away from traditional steel bars and handles, the GRYPiT robust, polymer moulded range reshapes thinking about role and function.

The indoor cycling programme developed by South African professional cyclist Johnny G exploded onto the fitness sector in a whirl of wheeling, high energy routines and inspirational instruction – of which he was the unrivalled master.

The first products off the UK production line - triceps and biceps bars, lat pulldown, crossover handles and rower handle – all carry a common quality. They ensure the hands are correctly aligned in the `neutral` position when training to help reduce risk of stressinduced conditions such as carpel tunnel syndrome, lessen likelihood of grip fatigue and promote improved performance.

Though difficult to grasp now, Spinning took its time to change the mindset of gym operators. “When I saw Spinning in the US, I knew it was a must for Britain,” recalls Graham Taylor, the then managing director of Polaris.

“I was keen to test the handles independently before going public,” Taylor explains, “and put them in the hands of biomechanical and movement specialists, PTs and the general public.

“Despite a high-powered marketing campaign to launch it here, operators and owners were initially cautious of an untried concept that would take up valuable floor space in the gym.”

“The universal feedback was that GRYPiT handles brought a fresh dimension to training with pulley systems and were safer in use than traditional bars and handles because they channel the hands into the correct position for optimal work, reducing the risk of potentially debilitating conditions.”

Eighteen months would elapse before the floodgates opened, as they did for another UK-first rolled out by Polaris – the Schwinn Airdyne, with its iconic `big fanwheel`, and the Bowflex home gym. Taylor went on to dominate the marketplace with the innovative machines, later introducing other leading brands such as Trotter and Bodyguard and forming his On Site Fitness e-commerce business. Still alert to tomorrow’s trends, Taylor is once again opening the doors of fitness innovation on what is a forgotten corner of gym provision – cable equipment handles. Now at the helm of GRYPiT Ltd, he and a development team have spent the last couple of years perfecting a selection of gym handles to suit every requirement of pulley systems. 34

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Those responses proved the trigger for Taylor to go into full production. Sets are already out there, in operator Edinburgh Leisure sites across the Scottish capital, in JD Gyms and DW Fitness as word spreads about something truly game-changing in the fitness environment. “The fitness sector has looked at just about every aspect of gym provision except handles,” states Taylor. “I believe it will not be too long before operators and owners recall what their pulley equipment was like before and think: `Why have we waited so long for this.” Sometimes the obvious is all it needs to change the game.

January 2017



GROUP FITNESS TRENDS YOU HAVE TO TRY IN 2017 Emily Williams, from the Exercise Movement & Dance Partnership, returns to tell us about what fitness trends are set to take the group exercise scene by storm this year It is with great pleasure that I’m back again to help beat those January blues by letting you in on what amazing group exercise concepts are looking to be big this year. There’s something here for every type of gym and every type of member.

Breaking down stereotypes “Only men lift weights”, “Group exercise classes are for the super fit and super slim”, “You have to wear lycra to do aerobics”, “Yoga is only for women”. No, just no! With campaigns such as This Girl Can and the more recent #MoreThanYouSee campaign, it seems the fitness industry is making steps towards breaking down these stereotypes that cause common misconceptions and therefore barriers to participation. 2017 will be a year of more innovation, empowerment and accessibility, so keep an eye out for… 36

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Fitness Broga® Broga® is the brainchild of former American Football star, Matthew Miller, who advocates Yoga practice as a form of supplementary training to enhance performance in male athletes. He created Broga® to smash the myth that “yoga is for girls” and enable men to join women in enjoying the benefits of increased flexibility, strength and reduced risk of injury. Broga® promises to be a tough, yet accessible and easy to follow yoga workout that pushes the body in ways it’s never experienced before. Even the manliest of men will feel comfortable, confident and challenged in a Broga® class. Worried ladies will feel left out? Don’t fret, women are more than welcome too! For more information visit

Strutology® Created by the truly fabulous Zoe McNulty, Strutology® (in her words) is the art of "strutting one's stuff": to parade, prance, flounce or sashay; to proudly show off one's best features or talents; to move in a way that attracts attention". With this definition in mind, a Strutology® class involves learning a sassy dance routine, in trainers at first, to then, proudly perform in heels in the latter part of the session. The primary intention of this class is to help women find their inner diva, celebrate their femininity and ultimately increase their confidence, but of course there are great physical benefits too including; lower body conditioning, better coordination and increased stamina. Strutology® is, in many ways, quite the opposite of what a lot of women may consider to be a group exercise class. Inhibitions are left at the door, it’s all about making participants feel as fabulous as possible, not like they’re going to vomit any minute or be disappointed because the girl at the front can tuck jump higher or has a slightly firmer derriere. For more information visit

January 2017


Fitness EMBRACING CULTURE The past few years have seen their fair share of Latin inspired classes and whilst these are always a winner with me, it’s always great to see new concepts embracing other areas of the world. Some brands, such as DDMIX, one of my 2016 trends, give a flavour of a wide range of styles whilst others focus on one, like these, who you may see more of in 2017… Keeping it closer to home we’ve started to see an influx of new brands and concepts that give traditional forms of folk dance (particularly from the highlands) a fitness makeover. Keep an eye out for names like Highland Hustle (www. and Kelta Fit ( Turning up the heat a bit, it seems that 2017 will be a year where class goers will “Thunderclap”, “Row Di Boat” and “Signal Di Plane” their way to increased fitness and strength. With awesome brands such as Mash It Up fitness, it will be very hard to resist a bit of Dancehall fitness this year. For more information visit

INNOVATION Group exercise is no longer just a case of going to a studio and doing a few grapevines, lunges and star jumps. As time goes on brands are thinking more and more outside of the box to provide a unique and inspiring experience for participants to keep them interested, engaged and motivated to continue.

Old meets new It seems crazy to call Zumba® old, but in our world I guess it kind of is? Obviously we can’t ignore that thousands across the country still love a weekly samba and salsa at Zumba® class, but a few months ago, the clever lot in Miami decided it was time to give the market something a little different and launched STRONG, by Zumba®. Well, it’s safe to say that they sure know how to develop a fitness product! STRONG, by Zumba® is a high intensity interval training session that has been carefully synced with motivational tracks to enable participants to work past their rate of perceived exertion. The tracks are structured to progressively drive and increase in intensity providing a tough, full body workout. This is a great example of a company who aren’t afraid to try something new and the HIIT fans of 2017 will be totally hooked.


January 2017

Fitness New surroundings Newbie floatfit® have taken traditional HIIT training exercises you’d usually see performed in a gym or studio and taken them to the pool. It’s a 30 minute workout where attendees perform moves such as burpees, lunges, squats, aquaclimbers and v-sits, all on a massive swimming float. The buoyancy guarantees to really work the core muscles and, well, it just sounds really fun doesn’t it? A swimming costume is also not required, just some gym clothes that are ok to get wet. For more information visit Expect group exercise classes to seem a little like Gladiators, Ninja Warrior or the Crystal Maze in 2017 too. Gyms in the capital, such as Gym Box’s Frame Fitness and Base Fit, have started to introduce assault course style classes which I predict will soar in popularity this year. Yes, I’m talking climbing frames, rigs and high ropes. When you think fundraising, you think outside, cold and running right? Not this year! Be sure to check out Dance the Distance®, the brand new mass participation charity event that is quite literally “More Fun than a Run”. Participants move, shake and shimmy the equivalent of 5 or 10 kilometres all for a worthy cause. Ensure you stay up to date with the Exercise Movement & Dance Partnership (ww. for more details on how you can get involved.

Getting techy with it As technology and fitness move closer together it’s pretty easy to predict that 2017 will be full of apps and gizmos to not only satisfy our love for all things digital, but also to ensure working out is easier and more convenient for us all.

As this is moving at lightening speed, we’re likely to see virtual and augmented reality fitness coming into our homes and enhancing the way we exercise to new and exciting levels. I’m also expecting a surge in online classes where participants login to a group exercise class in the comfort of their own home. Wearable technology will no doubt continue to advance in motivating and incentivising us to live healthier lifestyles. According to IDC, from June to September 2016, fitness trackers made up to 85% of the wearable tech market*, meaning devices such as the FitBit Charge HR are more popular than iWatches, going against earlier predictions in consumer trends. The Exercise Movement & Dance Partnership, the national governing body for group exercise, is already working with partners that cover this area and are excited to work with new tech start-ups as they progress and develop. For me, as we progress through 2017, it will be very exciting to see companies push the boundaries and going against original fears that technology leads to us living more sedentary lifestyles.

KEEPING UP So I understand if this sounds rather overwhelming, how are you meant to keep up with all this right? Especially when there’s things like workforce and budgets to consider. Well, if you’re keen to be bang on trend and shake up your group exercise offer; make sure you check out the training, bursaries and support available from the Exercise Movement & Dance Partnership. From training up staff to putting you in touch with up and coming brands, they are there to help providers like you retain and attract more participants. For more information visit or email

Keep up to date: 

 @ExerciseMoveDance

 @EMDForLife

 Exercisemovementanddance *CNET 2016 Fitness trackers outpace smartwatches with consumers

January 2017



Time to re-flex We talk to Paul Ferris, MD at SpeedFlex, about their unique offering, how the company has evolved and the challenges ahead Tell us about Speedflex and how it differs from other workouts? Speedflex delivers small group circuit training using unique machines. A workout offers all the benefits of a high intensity interval session without some of the obvious negatives associated with such training; risk of injury, impact on joints, and soreness. Each Speedflex machine automatically responds to and creates resistance levels based on the individual’s force. They are weight-free, allowing people of all ages and levels of abilities to work in the same session, at their own pace, while exercising multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It's a total body workout designed to stimulate the user mentally and challenge them physically.

What are the benefits of having a unique offering and how do you capitalise on this? The biggest benefit is that you can reenergise individuals who’ve become bored with their routine. You can also offer operators a genuinely fresh and exciting new way of engaging their existing members and attracting others who ordinarily would shy away from more traditional gym offerings. I love nothing more than listening to operators or members discuss the merits of Speedflex after they’ve been introduced to it for the first time. It reminds me of why we created the workout in the first place. 40

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What’s your background? I'm a former professional footballer and physiotherapist at Newcastle United. I spent 5 years as a player and was the club’s youngest ever player when I made my debut at 16. My career was prematurely ended through injury but I returned to the club after university and I was a physiotherapist there for 13 years. I converted to Law and became a barrister in 2007 before returning to Newcastle United as part of Alan Shearer's management team for his short spell as manager in 2009. I wrote a novel in 2011 called 'An Irish Heartbeat' which is a romantic thriller set in 'post troubles' Ireland. I met Graham Wylie (co-founder of Sage, and Chairman of SpeedFlex) shortly after and we embarked on a journey to bring the benefits of SpeedFlex to as many people as we could.

Typically fitness fans thrive on that feeling of DOMS, as a qualified physio do you think there needs to be a reeducation of exercisers that aching doesn’t equal a good workout? There is nothing wrong with DOMS. It is a by-product of exercise and exertion. The beauty of Speedflex is that you can exercise at intensity and against resistance and experience little or no DOMS. It’s really refreshing to be able to train hard and not experience the discomfort that follows the session for two days afterwards. Some people associate DOMS with a great workout but I love the fact that I can


train hard and still be able to get out of bed in the morning and wanted to engage those people who felt left out by the without feeling like I’ve sparred ten rounds with Mike Tyson. exclusive nature of the traditional gym. We opened centres in Newcastle, Leeds, London, and Surrey. We've built up a Is it important that the fitness loyal membership base in those centres but we didn’t feel industry creates more opportunities we were getting our concept 'out there' as quickly as we for all levels of exercisers from elite could. We made the decision to place Speedflex in traditional athletes to pensioners to workout gyms and that has allowed us to reach a wider audience alongside each other? Why? faster as well as providing operators with an inclusive, safe and scalable small group offering that really adds something Gyms can sometimes feel like the preserve of the 'fit' people. fresh and exciting for their existing members. We've also Others can sometimes feel excluded. How many people join embarked on a project to create a standalone SpeedFlex Pod the gym when full of enthusiasm only to feel like they don't for use on the gym floor, in a PT a studio or at home. We are belong or don't know what to do when they are there and very excited by the potential of the Pod moving forwards. then drift away disillusioned? How many others won't even step through the door? These are the questions we need to What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt? ask ourselves because enabling people of differing abilities to train together without one feeling inferior to the other is To be 'flexible' – pardon the pun! We have grown so much in an incredibly empowering experience. If the fitter individual such a short space of time and moved in directions I hadn't is still getting a great workout then everyone benefits from even considered when we embarked on this journey. Also to the experience and the gym feels less exclusive and more employ good people who really understand what it is we have welcoming and inclusive. Older members will stay longer in here and why we are so passionate about the qualities of it. this environment and the less confident members will feel What’s next for Speedflex? like they belong.

How has the company evolved over the last 5 years? Massively. We set out to build standalone centres and boldly claim that we weren't a ‘gym'. We did that from a genuine belief that we were offering something unique

2017 promises to be our biggest year yet in term of growth and development. There are some very exciting developments on the pipeline for us. I'd like our 'group' offering to be available to a much wider audience and for our PT/ gym floor/ home offering to flourish. We are on course to achieve those goals. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead. January 2017



Look who’s talking Mike Arce, from Loud Rumor, outlines four ways to stay in touch with your members Without a serious outlined process for communicating with your gym’s customers, your members might start to feel detached. Fortunately, there are several ways to stay in touch with your members so they continuously want to come back again and again. We’ve outlined the best ways below: 1. Automated Emails Email is a great way to communicate with your gym members digitally. But sending out hundreds of individualized emails takes lots of time. So automation systematizes this process. Automating those emails lets you work smarter, not harder. CRMs and email software like MINDBODY let you send emails to your entire member base at once. You can also segment these emails based on criteria that you set — for example, you might want to email everyone who purchased the highest-tier membership package, or everyone who has been a member for less than a month. Automated email software even lets you add the member’s name to the subject line through a custom field, making your message 2.6% more likely to be opened. Use automated emails to send your members:  Deals and offers  Updates on your gym/ new instructors  Upcoming events that you want to host 42

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 Other business announcements that directly influence them

2. SMS/Texting Tons of people actually prefer texting over email and phone calls. And text messages see a 98% open rate, compared with 20% for email. Here are some reasons to text your members:  Let them know about a new or cancelled class  Reminder that the gym will be closed or open on an upcoming holiday or weekend  Reminder about a workout session they have scheduled  Words of encouragement

3. Facebook Groups Facebook groups are another great tool for communicating with your members. Start by creating a Facebook group that includes your entire membership base. This gives you a place to


communicate to everyone at once. It also gives your members a space to get to know each other outside of the gym. From there, feel free to branch into more specific groups for your members. Make an “elite group” for your top members who have a fantastic mindset and always encourage other members. Or create groups for people who signed up for a specific challenge you’re running, like a bootcamp month or 21 day fitness model challenge. The great thing about Facebook groups is not only do you have an easy way to communicate with your paying customers (and them with you), but it also helps build community among your members. And that sense of community will help them stay with you longer and increase retention.

4. Facebook Live Facebook Live is one of the fastest-growing Facebook features, and it gets more attention than other types of posts — videos already reach 135% more of your audience than text, links, or photos, but when that video is live, people tend to watch it for 3 times as long. If you’re new to Facebook Live, start by broadcasting a live video on your gym’s Facebook page showing what some of the workouts look like. You can also do quick interviews to highlight some of your awesome members. People also love 100% valuable Facebook Live sessions that include tips like:  What to eat before/ after a workout  The best ways to fit in a cardio workout in less than 30 minutes  Weightlifting tips for women  And so on If you want to keep things a little more personal, you can even go live in a Facebook group. Use this to demonstrate a great athome workout or nutritious meal for your challenge group, or show off new gym equipment in your membership group. One of the best things about Facebook Live is that it’s super personal. It gives your viewers a raw, uncut view into your life, which is great to build rapport with your members. These are the ways that we’ve seen gyms get the most engagement from their membership base. Test them out and let us know which worked best for your gym! Mike Arce is the Founder and CEO of Loud Rumor, an online marketing agency that helps fitness studios grow and get more customers. For more information see

What about mobile apps?

Ursula Hallam, Product Owner at Gladstone comments: “So far, mobile apps in fitness settings have mainly been used for bookings, but the truth is their potential for member communications has barely been tapped. Apps are a fantastic way to stay connected to your members and keep them abreast of news and offers – after all, most people have their phones on them most of the time. Our customers use our product, MobilePro, to send push notifications on everything from class changes and closures to charity events and competitions. Staff simply update the content via an easy-to-use Web Cockpit, while the in-built reports and analysis feature helps them identify what people are interested in and adjust what they push out accordingly. However, apps can have an even greater reach, enabling operators to connect not only with existing members but also prospective customers. The new version of MobilePro includes a powerful social marketing tool, which enables users to share interesting content on social media. MobilePro creates a microsite page for each article so your member’s followers don’t need the app themselves to read the full post, which will always include a link to encourage app download. Apps can even be used to directly generate leads – for example, by running a Refer a Friend campaign, whereby members are encouraged to share a promotion (such as a month’s free membership) via the app in return for a reward or discount if a friend signs up. Obviously, there will always be members who don’t have smartphones, but even they can now be reached through our app, thanks to another new feature called content syndication, which allows information from the app to be automatically channelled to websites, kiosks and in-gym displays. Next up, we plan to make MobilePro compatible with iBeacon technology, which would activate an alert only when the app came into proximity with a transmitter called a beacon – meaning that as soon as someone entered a club they could be alerted to promotions in that particular facility on that particular day.” January 2017


PT Viewpoint

Why train y Tom Godwin discusses the importance of staff training and how fitness operators might implement structured programmes to their business Staff training is an area that is of vital importance to a fitness operator. It’s important that staff hold the key skills they need to operate in an ever changing business environment. Having staff that possess both the theoretical and practical skills to deliver a high level of customer service tend to be more productive and more efficient. Many employers underestimate the effect that training can have on staff and their level of job satisfaction and therefore motivation. By having a structured and well delivered training programme in place this can help to reduce staff turnover and improve morale. Offering training can show a level of commitment from the employer to the employee and can help to instil a level of loyalty. Training staff can help to broaden the skill set within the business, and this allows for a greater level of organisational flexibility. The first step in establishing the scope of training programme you need to implement is to conduct a skills audit. This involves looking at the skills and qualifications held within the business currently. The easiest way to do this is via the staff appraisal process or using a questionnaire. An important aspect of this process is to establish if any members of your team feel that lack any skills, or would be interested in gaining new skills. This will help you more clearly understand the level of skills within the business and by seeking the advice from not only department managers but also the staff you will get a clear insight into how skills sets are viewed across the organisation. 44

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Key skills and goals When looking at what are referred to as key skills, these are those skills that your business can not operate without. These are commonly skills such as first aid, lifeguarding or similar. It is worth considering both succession planning and also ensuring that these skills especially are over catered for. It is always a difficult situation when you are over reliant on a small number of team members as they hold the key skills that the business needs. The next step is to establish what skills the business needs to achieve it’s goals. This can be done by examining a wide variety of data including feedback from staff, management, members, emerging industry trends and the established company strategy. Looking at this information will allow you to clearly identify what skills you will require from your team as you move forward. Planning as far into the future as possible is vital to help avoid a skills shortage. The difference between the skills that an organisation holds and those that they need is potentially where you may find a gap. This is where your training plan is then formulated. As with anything in business having a plan is the key to success. When it comes to training plans it is important that the plan is not only fit for purpose but also that it is actionable. Many organisations have amazing training and development plans. However many times these are costly and time consuming to implement. A simpler plan that can actually be actioned is always the best way to go.

Formal vs informal The type of training programme that you decide to implement is a key consideration. One of the first decisions is to identify the skills that need to be developed through

PT Viewpoint

your staff? formal training versus the training that can be delivered informally. Formal training is training that is generally certified via a recognised awarding organisation. This is generally used when the training required is formally recognised. A key benefit is the training will be delivered to an industry recognised standard and by a professional training organisation. Formal training can be costly and this may be something you retain to give to proven team members due to the portability of this type of training. Whereas informal training is generally un-certified and carried out internally. Most organisations choose to use informal training from internal processes and inductions. An easy way to implement on-going informal training is to introduce team meetings and the sharing of good practice. This small aspect of training can help to not only motivate and recognise the person behind the good practice but also raise the level of service and skills across a team. Additionally having team members teach on a subject of their choice to the rest of their team mates can be a fun and interactive team building event and also help to spread skills. Many team members are interested in self-improvement and this is an aspect that many employers underestimate. When an employer provides a means for self-development you will get a number of staff who will exploit this. One simple way is having some basic resources that staff can borrow to aid their development. This could include books, or even better digital information that promotes the staff member doing some wider reading. Essentially when you build a learning organisation, you introduce opportunities at every level into the business for development. By implementing a structured plan, however minor, you start to see improvements in productivity that far outweigh investment of time or financial cost.

Tom Godwin (@TomForesight) – is an industry professional with a wide range of experience and skills. He is an experienced educational consultant and has been involved in the training of fitness professionals and assists organisations to implement training programmes that help to drive standards and profitability. January 2017


Diet Fitness

Astrid Naranjo reports on the latest trends, expert advice and opinion. How should you be advising your clients in 2017?

There is no diet that works best for everyone. Instead, there should be a mindset of choosing and then personalising a weight-loss plan that suits a person’s lifestyle, tastes, culture, and their health needs such as allergies, intolerances and chronic conditions. There is no such thing as a magic diet or one way to lose weight. Indeed, randomised controlled trials

searching for the best diet have shown there isn't one. It is all about trying to find a diet or eating style that matches what the individual can adhere and stick to. Currently, there are a wide range of diet trends out there. Some may be adequate but others are better off avoiding. It is important to ensure clients are advised to check in with their GP before embarking on any weight-loss program.

7 top dieting trends 2017



Low carb diets One top trend with staying power is swapping out starchy carbohydrates for more protein or more fat. If it’s high protein, fat and carbs are kept under control. The health benefit comes specifically when certain types of carbs (sugar, high GI carbs) and saturated fats are restricted, so the weight loss journey becomes easier and more achievable. Healthy swaps for this diet I recommend include: carb-heavy sandwiches to lettuce wraps, adding more legumes to meals, and bumping up the portion of chicken or other lean protein. I’d argue that demonising carbohydrates is repeating the same mistakes of the past with demonised fats. The body needs all nutrients, including carbs and good fats for good health, not one or the other. Different people need different amounts, and the best diet to aim for is probably somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. January 2017


Paleo diet losing popularity, plantbased diet winning it! It is well-known that the Paleo diet is based on emulating the way cavemen must have eaten: no dairy, no refined sugar and no processed foods. Instead, meat, fish, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, the fare of hunter/gatherers defines this diet trend. It's still popular, especially with crossfitters and fitness enthusiasts who do high-intensity training. The Paleo diet doesn't include legumes and dairy, a restriction that doesn't make sense. There's no reason not to eat legumes or dairy products, unless the client is allergic or intolerant. The good news: according to Google trends, ‘paleo diet’ peaked in popularity around 2013-2014, since then, it’s been on a steady decline. Although it may be beneficial for weight loss at some extent, it is hard to follow and very challenging to stick to it 100%. I think diets are more about how


realistic they are for a person. I’ve had lots of clients who struggled with this diet and found much better success in a healthy eating pattern, that doesn’t eliminate food, that’s right for them. Vegan/vegetarianism is the new paleo! This seems to be one of the most popular dietary approaches in 2017. Generally fuelled by ethics and concerns about sustainability, veganism/vegetarianism is more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle. Google trends show a sharp increase in individuals searching on the topic in the past six months and this is likely to continue. Nonetheless, like all dietary approaches, they can be healthy or not healthy based on how well they’re planned and how effectively you make food choices day-to-day. In my opinion, we don’t have to give up meat/animal protein, but we do need to ensure we balance it with plant foods and watch the overall increase in demand as populations grow.



The Ketogenic diet is one of the most-searched wellness trends and becoming very popular amongst athletes. The ketonic diet is a very low carbohydrate diet that induces a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body has no carbohydrates to burn, it has to rely on fat. It is praised for its anti-inflammatory effects on the GI system and ability to increase energy levels and muscle mass while decreasing hunger pangs and total caloric intake. Among athletes, this is the new way of eating to maximize athletic performance. In my opinion, the ketogenic diet should be followed under a doctor's supervision but there is supporting evidence showing the potential not just for an alternative treatment for neurological diseases but for athletes and anyone looking to nourish their brain in the short term. It also can help weight loss over the short term, but not over the long term. The long term safety of the diet has not been properly researched. In my opinion, other weight loss approaches are just as effective as ketogenic diets.

Fresh and frozen meal deliveries & healthy convenience food Lots of people are turning to healthy, pre-prepped meal services to help with weight control. Several companies offer well-balanced, nutritious meals that can be ordered online and then boxes of pre-portioned fresh produce and frozen meat, poultry or fish arrive at your door. The meals are cooked up at home according to instructions provided. Many healthy meal-delivery services are expanding to offer vegetarian and glutenfree options. Benefits: limit portions, no leftovers or need to buy ingredients. Everything is basically in a box, convenient, quick and easy to prepare. I think they're a great strategy for those who live in a fastpaced lifestyle. As a result, I predict there might be a further rise in food delivery services.

The Ketogenic diet is having an aggressive come back


Gluten-free is here to stay! Growing rapidly a few years ago, the popularity of the term ‘gluten-free’ has slowed somewhat but it’s definitely not on the decline. It’s still going to be a popular diet trend in 2017. Gluten is a protein found in grains, the part that makes bread fluffy and dough elastic. It’s commonly blamed for bloating, wind and abdominal discomfort, among other things. As a nutrition professional, I would recommend that before eliminating foods from the diet, don’t believe January 2017


Fitness everything you read on Dr Google. There’s a lot more to nutrition and good gut-health than just gluten, so ideally, seek holistic advice that looks at the bigger dietary picture.


Mediterranean diet


Back from the brink- Mindful eating

There is plenty evidence showing the Mediterranean diet is still trending. Rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, legumes, olive oil, even some red wine, the Mediterranean diet comes out on top in study after study for its health-related benefits. It banishes simple sugars and processed foods. Following a Mediterranean diet has been associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a lower incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. I support this diet approach as it is the closest to the dietary guidelines for a healthy eating pattern.

We've experimented with extremes – no fat, no sugar, no food. It's time to bring balance back. It makes good sense given that good health is the epitome of good balance – that includes full fat and a little sugar. This trend is about the body positivity movement – trusting ourselves to treat our bodies with respect and care without, necessarily, the need for denial or punishment. There is a call for more joy in our bodies and more joy in our food. It's about forgetting calorie counting and, instead, embracing foods in moderation. It’s all about mindfulness put into your eating. Mindful eating is all about being present, being aware, noticing, tasting your food, experiencing the food, noticing your body, and being alert to the details of your meal as opposed to focusing our energy and attention on the computer or the cell phone or driving your car. Whenever we choose to walk through the door beyond our past conditioned behaviours, whenever we enter into mindful eating by slowing down, tuning into the moment with awareness and bringing a relaxed state to our meal, there can be a whole new experience of eating. Benefits: helps weight loss by changing eating behaviours and reducing stress. Negative feelings associated with eating replaced with awareness, improved self-control and positive emotions. Additionally, supports the prevention of binge eating. Overall, the information hasn’t changed that much. That vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, fat-free or sugar-free are not answers to weight loss. The real consensus is around the fundamentals of healthy eating. A diet that contains vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, dairy, meat & nuts and seeds, legumes and food that's minimally processed.


January 2017

Astrid Naranjo has a diverse background in nutrition & dietetics and personal training. With more than 4 years of experience in body re-composition, weight management, fitness and sports nutrition, she also has 12 years of personal training and group fitness class experience. Her extensive expertise has been gained throughout diverse roles as dietitian-PT, presenter, social and media blogger as well as through continuing professional development and practices at international level. Follow Astrid on Instagram: @astridnar



3 retail display tips to boost your accessory and equipment sales

Many gyms and leisure centres boost their sales by retailing sports accessories and equipment. From sports clothing to protein shakes for gym lovers on the go, gyms are capitalising on their members. The way these sports products are merchandised can make a great deal of difference to the sales that are made. Here are three simple tips to help you use your store displays to sell more fitness accessories and equipment.


Use multi-level store displays Not only are multi-level displays excellent for capitalising on space; they are also a great way to attract attention. Multi-level displays help to maintain attention for longer than a flat display. The most simple and cost-effective way to do this is to utilise a slatwall retail display system. Slatwall is particularly useful for sports accessories, as there are many purpose-built arms that can be used for hard-to-display items. In addition, these arms can be moved around without the use of tools. Thus, the displays are space saving, versatile and attract customer attention. To capitalise on this fully, move the displays around every few weeks. This will help to encourage customers to take another look at your merchandise, even if you don’t have anything fresh in stock.


Demonstration days This is particularly useful in gyms that hold classes for their members. A gym is also arguably one of the most valuable retail spaces to use a strategy like this. This is because there are instructors on-site and the benefit is twofold. For example, if you offer yoga classes, why not advertise a free taster class that is half the length of a full class? Encourage your members to come along and try it. While the class is in session, ask your instructor to use the yoga mats that you supply and to mention they are available in your gym shop. This can be an excellent way to not only increase class bookings, but also to increase sales of your sports accessories.


Try something different Store displays go stale quickly. It is usually recommended that a window display should be changed every two weeks. While you may not have what is classically regarded as a window display, you will have the portion of your saleable items on display as your members pass them by. The section that is visible is your window of opportunity to attract your members and entice them into looking at your goods. By moving these goods around regularly, you visually invite your members to come and take another look at what you’re offering. In addition, you can make your space more exciting by using novel ways to display goods. For example, you could dress a bendy mannequin in your sports equipment and put them into a yoga position on a mat with their branded sports bottle. You may also want to consider using colours and patterns to your advantage. For example, you could stack your sports bottles lying on their side so that the coloured caps are visible in a pattern. The pattern could even be in the shape of your logo. A weekly (or even daily) motivational quote somewhere around your goods could be written on a large letter board or chalkboard to help to attract even more attention.

Ali Newton is the Marketing Executive for The Display Centre, where a team of creative experts provide retail fixtures and fittings, including bespoke items. Ali combines her fine art and fashion qualifications with her market research experience and psychology degree to help retailers drive their sales. For more information visit:

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On-demand Pieter Verschuren outlines how the Internet of Things will impact the fitness sector and why membership management will be an essential tool in 2017 and beyond

Thanks to the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world, consumer expectations are shifting. Flexibility and instant access are guiding principles for choices. This 'ondemand' economy means club management processes need rethinking. The key concepts to provide a client experience that will meet and exceed expectations are integration and automation. January 2017


Business  An integrated business One of the biggest trends at the moment is the Internet of Things, which according to recent PwC forecasts seems set to grow into a multi-trillion pound business over the next 5 years. The hype is valid: connecting physical objects to the cloud can result in a strongly improved client experience, which starts from the moment your clients get in touch with your business. A typical journey might start with a Google search for a local gym, which brings a visitor to your website. Enthused by what they see, they can sign up online. As they enter your gym via your turnstile system, their attendance for the spinning class they're about to attend is automatically updated. Because even their bike is connected to the cloud, their performance is automatically saved in their profile. And when they get a sports drink out of the dispenser after the class, their monthly invoice is automatically updated.

 An automated business The essential element in this journey is the membership management system. It contains the member data, picks up the data from the access control, scheduling tool, and drink dispenser, and turns it into a whole. The second thing this journey hinges on, is the word "automatically". A client experience that is ready for the on-demand economy can only be enabled via process automation. If your staff has to manually process every new client, every sports drink bought, every booking made, "on demand" becomes an impossibility.

 An optimized business A key benefit of this integrated customer journey is that data is collected every step of the way. This data can in turn be used for operational as well as strategic decision making. Up-to-date information about equipment usage makes maintenance and replacement processes more efficient; insights in class popularity can guide developments in your service offering; and online sign up behaviour can be utilized to optimize your marketing campaigns.

 Conclusion The integration of the Internet of Things in a gym will demand a different perspective on how to manage a business, and keeping an open mind about change to serve new generations of consumers. Because in the end, consumers will choose those businesses that have the vision to integrate innovation into their services to cater to their expectations and increasingly strict demands. 52

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Pieter Verschuren is a tech enthusiast and Communications Officer at https://www., provider of innovative software for health clubs and personal trainers.


Tracking for members and operators Leisure operators are increasingly looking for digitally slick options to monitor member activity and improve the customer experience with high-tech software. One solution that has proven successful in several facilities is PulseMove, the only software on the market to provide complete tracking for both members and operators. Developed by a team of experts from The Pulse Group, it comprises an in-gym kiosk, website and mobile app allowing data to be collected both in and outside the gym, and helps operators build meaningful relationships with members. Queen’s Park Chesterfield has already seen huge benefits from using the software, since it underwent extensive refurbishment by Pulse in 2016. As well as completely transforming the facility, Pulse Fitness installed brand new equipment that is fitted with PulseMove. In the first two months since the installation the site has seen an increase of 1,280 members, with 57% using the system to track their workouts in and out of the gym. “We have received great feedback from our members and staff on both the new equipment and PulseMove,” says Sport and Leisure Manager, Mick Blythe. “Not only has the software helped our staff monitor activity better by being able to identify usage and tailor our available fitness programmes, it has also lead to an increase in better and more meaningful communication between staff and members.” The in-gym kiosk allows members to access a virtual personal trainer, track their workouts and receive regular progress updates. These reports help gym owners and operators to connect with members and offer the right

support at the right time, as well as reducing pressure on gym staff and enabling them to monitor the success of programmes such as GP referral. The app includes real-time GPS tracking and mapping, allowing members a quick, easy way to record activity anytime, anywhere. Members can view a “Facebookstyle” news feed of fitness highlights, encouraging social interaction and community reach for the operator. The PulseMove website offers an additional means of activity tracking including group exercise classes and swimming, as well as access to detailed reports to get a complete view of the member’s total activity. “With consumers becoming increasingly tech-savvy and using wearable devices, our goal is to help operators utilise such technologies and other cloud based systems to motivate customers, improve engagement and ultimately aid retention,” says Richard Sheen, National Sales Manager for Pulse. “PulseMove simplifies this highly complex technology for both the operator and the member by seamlessly connecting and syncing data from wherever and whenever it is logged by the member. This gives the operator a holistic view of the member, allowing greater insight which helps to build relationships, offer support and cross-sell additional products and services.” January 2017



Is your CV up toscratch? Chris Zaremba describes how he has used cardio to help transform himself from being overweight and unfit at age 50 to get into the best shape of his life I started doing cardio-vascular (CV) workouts way back in 2006, as a mere youngster of 50. And that was a full three years before I first entered the weights area at the gym. The reason for solely cardio? My priority at that time was weight loss – and back then I didn’t know the difference between the different components of body weight. My cardio was doing a great job of helping me lose body weight – both fat and muscle. It was only once a sizeable chunk of that weight had gone that I realised this was not ideal. I decided I really didn’t want to lose muscle, and then made friends with the resistance training area. I now blend CV with resistance training with the objective of adding moderate amounts of muscle while keeping my body fat under control. In this article, I describe my current cardio methodology, in the hope that this will be of value to other older exercisers or indeed those just starting out on their fitness journey. I aim for six CV workouts a week. I’ll also do a resistance workout later on each of those days. This combination of 50% cardio and 50% resistance training really works for me – I get to add some muscle and lose some bodyfat, correcting that earlier ‘just lose weight’ approach. My weight now stays much the same as my lean mass increases as my fat mass decreases. I’ve found that it’s not possible to put on large amounts of muscle while taking off significant chunks of fat although I’ve discovered that modest changes to my lean and fat amounts can occur simultaneously with this mix of cardio and resistance training. 54

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Fitness Early start The best time for cardio is first thing in the morning, pre-breakfast. Many people of my age group don’t have problems in waking early, so I’m keen to recommend such an early start for cardio purposes! Doing CV after waking up and before breakfast promotes greater fat burning. I have a cup of black coffee as the caffeine acts a stimulant, and encourages the body’s fat cells to open up and release their content for use as fuel during the cardio exercise. Black tea would also work, but nothing with any calories as that would turn off the body fat burning that is continuing from the overnight fast. I’ve experimented occasionally with replacing this early coffee with a caffeine based fat-burner supplement, with good results. The other liquid consumed is of course water before, during and after the exercise. Don’t skimp on water as you need to be hydrated and you will wake up dehydrated after sleeping. By the time I’m changed and all gym travel is done, I’m usually hitting breakfast around 75-90 minutes after waking – which is perfect for me. I recommend keeping to around the same timing, which usually helps me meet my goal of an overnight 12 hour fast. I try not to push that fast much beyond 12 hours, as any longer and the body could enter a ‘state of alert’, believing food is going to be absent for a long period. If this happens your metabolic rate will slow and your body will hang onto its fat reserves – not what is wanted. My CV sessions these days are of two types, HIIT and MISS, and I usually alternate days between them:

MISS – Medium Impact Steady State The ‘Steady State’ refers to the objective of keeping key variables constant throughout the cardio exercise. And the most important variable is heart rate – so this exercise aims to keep the heart rate constant. It’s ‘Medium Impact’ as the rate is higher than low impact cardio – where the heart rate is kept to a smaller number – but of course not as much impact as with my ‘High Impact’ training, which I describe later. My favourite machine for MISS is the elliptical trainer (crosstrainer). I’ve tried the others but I find the Stairmaster and rowing machines too energy- and attention- demanding to keep up with for the full period of cardio that I do. Jogging on a treadmill would work, but I have slightly dodgy knees and would rather save them for my High Impact days and running events. Fast walking on an inclined treadmill would be a possibility, but I find it uncomfortable to maintain the angle between the upward feet and vertical legs and torso position for the full period. Continuing around the gym, the stationary bike is not for me either as I’m not a fan of my body weight being supported (by the saddle) so much and therefore not contributing to the load being shifted. So crosstrainer it is, especially as the motion is kind to my knees.

This machine provides the option of using the arms or not for assistance. On the cross trainers at my gym, I find that at level 16 using the arms is helpful and at 17 or 18 mandatory! But for level 15 and below it’s normally legs only. I prefer this especially if I have an upper body workout planned later that day. I judge my CV effort by heart rate. I specifically use the Karvonen formula (see box) to calculate my target heart rate zones, a method which takes into account both age and resting heart rate – I find the Karvonen approach more reliable than other calculations of target heart rates. My MISS is targeted at 70% of Heart Rate Range calculated using Karvonen, which for me is 129 beats per minute (BPM). I accept anywhere in the range of 126-132 BPM, as I don’t want to make constant adjustments in speed or level to keep the number spot on. My initial cross-trainer setting is level 16 or 17 to get the rate up then, once I’m in the high 120’s I drop to level 15 and that normally keeps me in the 126-132 target zone. At this intensity, my training is fuelled primarily by body fat and some muscle glycogen (carbs). A lower heart rate would use exclusively fat as fuel – which sounds like a good idea – but actually isn’t, as it only uses a smaller amount of it. After 40 minutes, I’ve usually burned around 520-560 calories – according to the machine. This is calculated using body weight and work being done as inputs. It’s not particularly accurate, as many factors that affect calorie burn rate are excluded, but it’s a guide and its useful for comparing one day’s performance with another, on the same machine, rather than as an accurate input into any nutrition calculations.

HIIT - High-Intensity Interval Training Every alternate session I switch up to HIIT - a HighIntensity Interval Training approach in which speed and effort are changed to take your heart rate up and down on an interval basis, the duration of each interval being governed by heart rate and timing. The duration of my HIIT cardio session is shorter than for MISS at 20 minutes. I prefer to do my HIIT on a treadmill. This gives a little variety, as the previous day is likely to have been MISS on a cross-trainer. I also find the treadmill is best to get my heart rate up quickly – and down again with each interval. Finally, running on alternate days such as this helps me practice and progress my running skills without being concerned about over-use. HIIT for me is a series of repeated intervals – 1. The high speed interval – 2 minutes of running at a constant high speed. The idea is this level of effort takes your heart above your anaerobic, or lactate, threshold. 1. The low speed interval – slow walking at 3kph until the heart rate has reached a target value of 50% of the Karvonen-calculated heart rate range. For me, that is 110 bpm. January 2017


Fitness I continue following this up-down-up-down cycle until the 20 minutes are done. My initial high speed setting was 12 kph. One refinement I added is that each hard interval should be 0.1 kph harder than the previous. So the second hard interval on the first day is 12.1kph, the next one 12.2 kph. And a further refinement to my approach is that the starting speed for the initial hard interval increases by 0.1kph each HIIT day. So I started at 12kph day 1, start 12.1 kph day 2 and so on (then add the 0.1 for each interval as mentioned above). I’m now doing my HIIT at a starting speed of 15.3kph. The very first hard interval of each session should be built up to slowly – I didn’t immediately jump in at 12kph on day 1, 12.1kph on HIIT day 2. Take the first minute of the two to build up to this – but be on the target figure for the first hard interval after that first minute. I find this combination of working to meet these metabolic thresholds to be the most effective approach to both fat reduction and improving my own cardiovascular fitness level. The Karvonen calculation of target heart rates uses both your age and resting heart rate as factors. It differs from other calculations in that it assumes the minimum you’ll ever be at for heart rate is your resting figure, and works out your maximum figure, and a percentage is applied to the range between those two points.

It also adds interest and mental stimulation to the cardio. I check progress in CV fitness by noting how many cycles can be performed in the 20 minutes. The recovery time, the time taken for the heart to reach the lower heart rate number during an easy interval, gets shorter as cardiovascular fitness improves. For me as an example, when I started this approach in 2012, I could do 4 cycles in the 20-minute period. But since then, my fitness has improved and I can now perform 6 intervals in the 20 minutes, and I hope my CV fitness will improve further over the coming months such that I will be able to perform 8 intervals in that 20 minutes. Although the calories displayed as being used will be less in HIIT, remember that there is a higher post workout calorie burn. The more intense a workout is the greater the number of calories burnt afterwards. I can’t guarantee that following my cardio practices will help others to ditch that level of fat in a year, but it’s a good first step toward achieving consistent fat loss (and heart health). And once mixed with appropriate nutrition, resistance training and appropriate rest periods, then there’s a good chance of success. resting rate) and 100% of the range (your maximum rate). The approach is to apply the desired percentage to that range. And to get a figure to use, you have to add back the resting rate of course.

Firstly, maximum heart rate is calculated by taking age away from 220. Then your minimum heart rate is taken, usually its your typical heart rate immediately on waking.

For example, for me at age 60, my maximum heart rate figure is calculated as: 220-60 (age) = 160 BPM. I take away my resting heart rate of 55 from that maximum, giving a heart rate range (HRR) of 105. That’s the difference between my minimum (resting) rate and my maximum.

You now have a maximum heart rate, and a minimum heart rate – and the difference between them is your heart rate range. Your actual heart rate will always be in that range, at some point between 0% of the range (your minimum or

I then apply the selected percentage to that HRR – I want 70%, and therefore 70% of my HRR of 105 is 74. I now add back the minimum figure of 55 – giving me a target of 129 BPM at the 70% level.

Chris Zaremba is 59, and has made a massive transformation in his life. He has lost over a third of his body-weight over the past few years, moving from being obese with medical-alert bodystats to becoming a fitness model and winning world championships as fitness model and muscle model for his age group. He has developed his own detailed workout system and package for this – which he follows to this day – and is available for you to purchase. It is called the ABC7 System, as the first three workouts are Arms, Back and Chest and the number 7 comes up frequently in the programme. It’s available from Chris for £49, which includes full documentation, spreadsheets, over 120 videos of different exercises and 56

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more than 250 photos. All suitable for whatever age you are! You may – or may not – want to follow in Chris’s footsteps all the way onto the fitness modelling stage. Either way, following the System should help you up-the-fit and down-the-fat, and achieve a real improvement in all your fitness measurements and activities. And see the difference too! Send an email to if you want to order the ABC7 System.


THE FUTURE OF FUNCTIONAL TRAINING Owen Bowling, founder and CEO of CrankIt Fitness, explains why functional fitness has become so popular and how to address key challenges to ensure continued growth Functional training has become the jewel in the gym owners’ arsenal and there are no signs of this changing anytime soon. Last month, the 2017 worldwide survey of fitness trends, released by the ACSM, included functional fitness as a key element in four of the top 20 categories: body weight training, educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals, fitness for older adults and functional fitness. So why has functional training become so popular? There are several reasons. Primarily, it’s a new and dynamic method of training which excites the consumer and delivers results. In short, it has the capability to deliver exactly what the sector sells – fitness, health and general wellbeing.

Search for the holy grail For decades, visiting the gym became very formulaic and predictable. Rows of people pounding away on treadmills or pushing weights controlled by air or cables. This worked for a time but then things started to change. Consumers got bored and disengaged. They started drifting from one brand to another, constantly searching for the holy grail in training, something that lit their fire, motivated and delivered results. At the same time, personal trainers and instructors became complacent as operators demanded less from their gym teams. Consultations and inductions became optional and gyms started to install entertainment systems to help consumers escape the boredom and monotony of the core product on offer. The sector began to experience high attrition and started to compete for customers on price rather than service. January 2017


Opinion The entertainment is the exercise This sorry state of affairs paved the way for an exciting new form of training to emerge. Training that focused on movement patterns, employed simple equipment and made the entertainment the exercise itself. You rarely see a person watching television whilst performing a suspended training routine or swinging a kettlebell. Functional training began to gather momentum, allowing brands like Crossfit to flourish and new products to enter the market, like suspension straps and ViPR. The introduction of functional training shook up the global sector and made gym owners question the way they had been delivering fitness for years. All this is great, especially for functional training equipment and education specialists such as CrankIt Fitness, but we cannot become complacent. The growth in popularity of functional training is only sustainable if we take time to acknowledge a couple of key challenges and find ways to address them, and quickly. Firstly, functional training equipment, compared to its more traditional, modular counterpart, is relatively inexpensive. It is, therefore, not uncommon for gym owners to fall into the trap of thinking that by replacing tired modular equipment with a functional training space, they will save money. True in the very short term but a false economy over time. Users will love functional training once they understand it and are educated in how to get the most from the equipment which, in most cases, is much less intuitive than its modular counterpart. If gym instructors and personal trainers are not proficient and confident in the prescription of functional training programmes the space will fail. It’s really that black and white.

Redeploy the money So, how do gym owners avoid this and develop a thriving functional space? Instructor education. Simple. Redeploy the money saved on kit to gym staff CPD. A switch in the allocation of funds will result in several benefits. Firstly, it will build on the confidence, knowledge and practical experience of staff, creating a happier, more motivated team which wants to hang around. It’s no secret that personal training is a very transient profession, with attrition being a major headache for gym owners. The cost in time and finance of continually recruiting staff is immense and the more that can be done to reduce this, the more healthy the bottom line will look at year end. A more knowledgeable, interactive gym team will also have positive effects on the membership. We operate in a service industry, where consumers invest based on the positivity of their experience and personal relationships almost as much as on the physical and wellbeing outcomes. A consistent team of motivated gym staff who can provide interesting, varied and progressive programmes which deliver results 58

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Opinion will have a hugely positive impact on member retention. The introduction of budget gyms has made it difficult to compete purely on price. Savvy gym owners should now look to compete on service. Investment in staff development will create a professional team that consumers respect and want to continue to engage with. I believe in the importance of instructor investment to the point that when gym owners buy CrankIt suspension straps, they are provided with online, Level 1 training for all gym staff completely free of charge. This helps ensure that when equipment is installed, gym staff buy into it and are enthused from day one. We recognise the need to support gym owners in their need to provide instructor CPD. If suppliers work in collaboration with gym owners to deliver this, the future of functional training is extremely positive. There is also no reason why gym operators can’t make this training available to members, adding another layer of added value to their offering.

What does it mean? Another challenge is the term ‘functional training’. What does this actually mean? It is so generic, it is open to misinterpretation. For me, the classification describes any exercise which trains the body for activities in everyday life. Programmes need to be bespoke, progressive and based on movement patterns employed every day. There is a danger that, without adequate training, poor instructor standards could result in ill-conceived functional training programme prescription. This could lead to either a lack of effectiveness in terms of goal achievement or, worse, serious injury. Quality control through instructor education is absolutely critical to the future success and growth of functional training. So, to summarise, the future of functional training is very positive. There is still huge global growth potential for the training classification, as long as gym owners and suppliers recognise the challenges and work together to tackle them. The installation of functional equipment alone will not excite staff or engage members, but these outcomes will result if gym owners couple kit with education. In this scenario, functional training can offer huge benefits which will, in turn, deliver hugely positive financial outcomes for gym owners.

Owen Bowling is the founder and CEO of CrankIt Fitness, Australia's leading functional training product and Education Company. He is also the Co-Founder of The Ultimate PT - a global business education system for personal trainers. Owen is a sought after functional fitness and fitness business presenter, having educated more than 3000 personal trainers across 15 countries. January 2017



Ask the expert Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help! If you have a question you’d like answered, get in touch – email

Wow factor Q. I’ve bought an old gym that needs redevelopment. How can I give it the wow factor without breaking the bank? Luke Baker, Oxford

Duty of care Q. We are finding more and more of our local GP's refusing to issue letters of recommendation for their patients when we request one following a positive response on our PARQ. What do you suggest? Derrick Harris, Newry

Brian Thompson, Commercial Director, Createability, answers: The economic climate is massively impacting gym design, but in order to attract members you need to stand out from the crowd. I would suggest putting your money where it is needed the most; ensuring the ‘wow’ factor by investing money in creative design and not skimping on the quality or number of equipment stations. It’s the member that dictates what a gym should offer, so the design should be unique to your club in your area. If you want it to reflect the type of member you wish to attract, it’s not something you can buy off the shelf. If you don’t know exactly who this is, look at the local population and pitch for as wider spectrum as possible. Bear in mind that you will never know exactly what they want until they join the gym, so you need to review the membership in 6 months, 12 months, 18 months etc. and keep evolving to cater for the membership. For instance, each of the three sites we have developed for Kiss Gyms are different, with a totally different clientele. Acton is mostly bodybuilders, whilst Swindon attracts a much softer market and Milton Keynes is a true mixture of the two. This meant the free weights area at Kiss Milton Keynes was so popular they need to expand it within six months of being open, without reducing the kit elsewhere. So we created a mezzanine floor and moved equipment around to create a bigger free weights area. We introduced a new, large functional training area too, as well as further strength and cardio machines. Most gym design companies will offer you a free consultation, so take them up on it and see who can best recreate your vision within your allocated budget.


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Joe Ryan, Managing Director of RDHS Limited answers: There are two issues here. One is our duty of care to the member in ensuring they do not put themselves at harm through potentially inappropriate exercise. The second is the risk to the provider in knowingly allowing them to exercise without sufficient understanding of the condition and the limitations it may impose. We have previously touched on this subject by encouraging the use of Health Commitment Statements to place greater emphasis onto the member. However, where a PAR-Q is utilised then the provider has greater responsibility levied on them. Training staff so they have the knowledge and experience to understand the specific conditions and can design an appropriate set of exercises is an obvious route to meet this duty of care and mitigate risk. GP Referral schemes are offered by many providers and are governed by a stringent set of guidelines and best practice. These are the most efficient way to ensure your member is receiving the safest and ultimately most effective service, and should be promoted first if possible. Providers should also ensure that they speak to their insurers, to confirm that their policies have sufficiently been underwritten to be able to provide a service to this higher risk user group. In the absence of this cover and staff trained to guide members with conditions, then the provider will need to make the decision on whether to allow the member to exercise using their facilities.


Appointments A round-up of industry movers and shakers Right Directions welcome husband and wife team Russell Cavanagh, 47, who joins the team as Health & Safety and Quality Manager, has 30 years experience in health and safety for the leisure industry.

Russell Cavanagh

Annette Cavanagh

He joins Right Directions from RDHS Health and Safety, where he was Head of Operations, and brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills to the role. He will help operators to improve their health and safety processes through client support days, staff training (particularly for trampoline parks), health and safety audits and quality management systems. He said: “This is my second role with Right Directions, having been with the company eight years ago in a similar position. I wanted to work with a progressive organisation and the leading provider in this area and so being back with the Right Directions team is a good fit for me. “I am now looking to get involved in other areas of the business, contributing to the continued growth of the company. Right Directions is fast becoming the industry expert in the operation of trampoline parks, which has included the development of defined operating standards. They also offer a robust health and safety audit process alongside CIMSPA-endorsed staff training targeted at

all levels from management to front of house and cafe assistants.” Cavanagh is obsessive about fitness and in his spare time enjoys weight training, HIIT classes and core, as well as indoor cycling classes and four-hour road bike sessions at the weekend. His wife, Annette Cavanagh, 47, also joins the Right Directions team. As a Quest Mystery Visit Coordinator she will carry out mystery visits, train new mystery visitors and be responsible for the quality of mystery visit reports. Cavanagh also has a background in the health and fitness industry, having worked for various companies in a number of operational and managerial roles for the last 28 years. She said: “This position gives me the opportunity to work with Quest, the market leader in terms of defining industry standards, and is a role I have carried out in the past, so I bring with me a lot of knowledge and experience. I am looking forward to working with a wider range of clients and developing my role further.”

Createability announces new Operations Director and Promotes Brian Thompson Through continued growth at leisure design and build specialist Createability, Roy Clarke has been appointed as the new Operations Director and Brian Thompson has been promoted to Commercial Director.

Brian Thompson

Clarke spent 27 years with Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), latterly as Head of Technical Services, responsible for the implementation of leisure management systems and overseeing the health & safety, procurement, project management facility management and energy management teams. He also contributed to the design of more than 100 refurbished and new build projects for GLL across the UK. Clarke says: “I have a depth of experience collaborating with Createability on various projects the company has delivered for GLL over the years and have known the Managing Director, Ian Cotgrave, for a considerable time.

Roy Clarke

“I share the vision and values at the core of Createability, including matching Ian’s drive and directness of getting the job done, and I’m looking forward to being part of this progressively expanding company.” Since Thompson was secured as Sales Director in April

2014, he has successfully driven the company’s growth using his extensive depth of industry knowledge and client understanding. Alongside a defined sales strategy and developing a sales team, Thompson has been able to focus on relationships in new sectors. Looking ahead in his new position as Commercial Director Thompson said: “Now we have the right people and processes in place we are perfectly positioned for further growth over the next few years. This is a really exciting time for Createability, and the way the market is diversifying its offerings, we are perfectly placed to support and deliver these propositions for new and existing clients.” Ian Cotgrave, Managing Director of Createability comments: “I have known both Roy and Brian for nearly 20 years and we are looking forward to driving the business forward together.“

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bringing gyms into a successful digital future Find out how call +44(0)207 701 4267, email or visit

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