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TRENDS

ISSUE 52 // JULY 2020

BIG THE

INTERVIEW

WITH

Kerstin Obenauer COUNTRY DIRECTOR AT

UNLEASH

THE ATHLETE IN YOU

WE INTERVIEW PHIL GREENING OWNER OF ATHLETE FACTORY NEIL RANDALL OF ANYTIME FITNESS TALKS ABOUT

HOW THEY HAVE NAVIGATED

COVID-19

ADAPTING

FITNESS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE BY BEN CLARK

INDUCTIONS

THIS TIME IT IS

ABOUT HEALTH AND SAFETY

(AND RETENTION) BY GUY GRIFFITHS

WOMEN AND ‘GYMTIMIDATION’ BY SAMANTHA WALTERS

GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH!

with

PAUL TOMLINSON

PT OF THE MONTH! featuring

CHARLOTTE PROWSE JUNE 2019

1

N E W S // R E V I E W S // T E C H N O L O G Y// T R E N D S // E Q U I P M E N T// I N S I G H T


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Welcome... to the July issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. The sun may have gone in but there’s no shade being thrown on this month's issue. We continue to bring you the fitness industry’s finest, for the very best business advice and workout tips, and help navigate you and your fitness business through lockdown and post COVID 19. We have Neil Randall from Anytime Fitness on how they are navigating COVID 19 on page 6, Egym’s Kerstin Obenauer not only graces our cover this month, but talks about the challenges ahead for the fitness industry on page 14. Teigan Schentrup is bringing the girl power with this months PT Viewpoint, talking about females within the fitness industry on page 24. We get the ‘lowe’ down on life after strictly from Natalie Lowe, and how she’s hot stepping into a new fitness career on page 36. Clare Vale wants accessible fitness for all, with online classes for the deaf on page 38. We give retention attention with Guy Griffiths on page 56 and Samantha Walters talks about the realness of ‘gymtimidation’ and how to overcome it on page 58. We feel your frustrations as an industry, and hope we see the return of the gyms in the UK soon! If you’ve got spare time on your hands, don’t forget you can subscribe for free at www.gymownermonthly.co.uk Stay safe!

The GOMM Team

HEAD OF SOCIAL MEDIA:

EDITOR:

PUBLISHING DIRECTOR:

Jane Grandena

Janine Edwards

Paul Wood

jg@gymownermonthly.co.uk

je@gymownermonthly.co.uk

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

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

 @GymOwnerMonthly  gym-owner-monthly-magazine

Keep up to date

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

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Contents 10 6

24 28 6 10 14 17 20

Neil Randall of Anytime Fitness Talks about how they have Navigated Covid-19

Gym Owner of the Month With Paul Tomlinson

The Big Interview As gyms prepare to reopen we interviewed Kerstin Obenauer, Country Director at EGYM UK, to get her perspective on the challenges that lie ahead

Managing bounceback Don’t just survive, thrive!

PT of the Month

Featuring Charlotte Prowse

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20 14

17

32 24 28 32 36 38

36 PT Viewpoint

Women in the Fitness Industry by Teigan Schentrup

Fitkit

This month’s latest kits and products

Unleash the athlete in you We interviewed Phil Greening owner of Athlete Factory

The Lowe-Down on LIfe After Strictly & Creating FitSteps Making online fitness classes accessible for the Deaf community By Clare Vale


TRENDS

38

40

50 40 44 46 48 50

44 46

52 56

Get Loud!

By Daniel Nyiri

Redesigning the future By Ben Hackney-Williams

The Future of the Combat Class By Colin Lee Berry – Street Defence Director

Virtually Unstoppable By Taz Dunstan

Adapting fitness for disabled people By Ben Clark

52 56

48

58

EGYM LAUNCHES PROGRAMME TO BOOST IMMUNITY Inductions – This time it IS about health and safety (and retention)

By Guy Griffiths

58

Women and ‘Gymtimidation’ By Samantha Walters

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

pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk

JULY 2020

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EDITORIAL feature

Anytime Fitness N av i g at e s Covid-19 operators wanted to know asap: • What will happen to membership billing through the closure - where will the revenue come from? • How will the bills be covered - how do we keep a liquid cash flow position? • When we re-open, what will have to change and how will I trade?

How do we navigate the billing of members (income) whilst we are closed? This area was our biggest challenge - on the one hand, we needed to consider the feelings of the consumer, but on the other hand we had to ensure we gave franchisees the opportunity to generate some income through providing value to their members remotely or virtually. Friday 20th March at 5pm seems like a lifetime ago - it was at that moment that the Prime Minister announced that our entire sector needed to shut and not re-open on the Saturday morning. The news, whilst at the time was unexpected and very quick, it would have come soon enough with the infection rates and daily deaths rising sharply and with other countries enforcing more strict lockdown measures in their own fight to get the pandemic under control. We had already formed an internal task force as things began to escalate and were meeting twice daily (a practice that has maintained throughout this lockdown and kept us a team and a brand very well connected and as always up to 6

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date with news) and had already created a closure plan framework. As with any crisis, emotions kick in - quickly! For us at Anytime Fitness, it was contacting and supporting the many franchise owners to communicate to their members, club teams and then ensure they were safely shut down. Health and Safety teams and field managers scrambled hard to get the relevant checklists distributed (For us, things like fob access systems, air handling units etc needed a process) and reported back into the Support Office (our HQ) so that we could ensure that we were complying with the rules laid out by the government. Then come the really big questions that both us as owners and

We worked with our billing and CRM software supplier to generate options to send to members for their pending April subscriptions and provided toolkits to communicate this (scripts/email templates), and the results were positive - most of all, however, we had not taken a blanket approach that prevented our owners from generating at least some income, but also put measures in place that protected the brand and reputation for all. This process has been reviewed each month throughout the closure period to great success. Like many other gym brands, we have created and delivered more online live and on-demand class offerings and we continued to make our member app available to all members (over 1000 pre-made workouts, with logging and tracking options and a bespoke


EDITORIAL feature

partners CBRE to support in contacting and being proactive in entering constructive discussions around sharing the burden of the downturn in revenue, and included things such as turnover based rent for a period of time post-re-opening or even an extension of the lease in return for any deferment of rent. Deferrals or rent arrears is a concern and whilst the changes to the insolvency legislation and the introduction of the moratorium of forfeiture have meant that tenants cannot be evicted, effective until 30th September there is still a danger in ‘kicking the can down the road’ and if revenue doesn’t return to pre-COVID levels quickly owners could face 2 quarters rent payment being requested in one - a large cash outflow that some will almost certainly struggle to make.

workout builder). Anytime Fitness TV was created through our Franchise council members as a closed Facebook group where trainers from clubs across the country executed a full class timetable live…over 40 classes per week which have been really popular.

How can cashflow be managed and accessing financial support to cover essential costs: This area alone has been the biggest challenge and cause of stress for our owners and indeed ourselves as a business, so let's start with costs -

those that are larger, essential to cover and those that are contractual • Property (Rent, Service charge) • Staff • Franchise royalties • Finance (Bank/ Equipment Leasing) Starting with property - it has been a battle as many landlords also have costs to bear, some have financial commitments or covenants to meet and so simply taking complete holiday has been difficult to come by. Further, there was undoubtedly a large influx of requests from tenants which slowed responses down. We used our property

Bank finance and equipment leasing costs are also a large monthly outgoing, and most of the high street banks were very quick to offer support with repayment holidays ranging from 3-6 months giving a large degree of comfort to our owners. Most equipment leasing partners followed a similar trend, aside from those in the private/ wholesale lending space who weren’t so lucky in getting relief from their blocks of lenders, and in turn, were unable to provide forbearance to their customers - something that took a lot of time and considerate conversations to try and negotiate. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a real support, giving the

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EDITORIAL feature

chance to temporarily furlough teams instead of making them redundant, but still makes it possible for them to volunteer in the community or conduct an appropriate amount of training. Something that has saved many £000’s of outlay monthly for our owners. Finally, as a franchisor, we spent a lot of time negotiating other contractual/ subscription-based suppliers on behalf of our owners and also giving advice on how to do this themselves where it was needed. This proved successful on many occasions when initial direct discussions were met with a ‘no’. 8

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Aside from any ancillary revenue opportunities, how was cash able to be injected into the businesses? The first and most attractive opportunity was the rates based grants of up to £25,000 for any business trading in a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000. This essentially was money that helped to cover essential costs that weren’t able to be negotiated down or to prevent deferring a payment. The second is the Coronavirus Business

Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which was essentially taking on new debt of us up to £250,000 with a government backing of 80% and therefore taking large risk away from the lenders of the high street banks offering this - essentially it replaced the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme. The Third was the Bounceback Loans (BBL) of up to £50,000 with no security required and a very swift application process. Of course, the challenge with the above being that additional debt,


EDITORIAL feature

to service other debt payments, is always going to be viewed differently depending on your personal viewpoint, but we had a lot of committed owners in our network, take advantage of the great rates available and have it there as a backup. On top of this, the CBIL scheme took some time to materialise and be able to be drawn down and so when the BBL scheme was introduced, many settled for this based on the sheer speed that the banks could service and turn around the applications.

So what comes next, and how are we preparing? 1) Training: to ensure that all teams are able to manage in a post COVID world - risk assessments, hygiene, how to drive sales and prospects

with social distancing in play, but also re-training on some of the basics - brand standards, member engagement and experience‌we’ve never had a chance to have all clubs hit the reset button altogether and so running nearly 40 webinars over 8 weeks has meant our teams feel engaged, connected and comfortable to return when we are given the go-ahead to do so. 2) Lobbying: ensuring that we get a confirmed date and our sector framework confirmed to ensure we can all open our doors safely as soon as possible, but also for those who couldn’t gain access to the grants, some form of additional financial relief that is not additional debt.

aware and being dynamic to any changes that may be made or required on a regular basis to ensure the best safety and service levels will be provided upon re-openings. Overall, there is a good deal of optimism that things will return to normal quickly - our surveys showed that 95% of our members wanted to return should we be able to evidence that we have their safety at the forefront of everything we do. The key now is executing consistently daily and maybe, the new normal will elevate the gym sector in its service delivery and in turn improve retention.

3) Reviewing: remaining present,

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sG pY o Mt O l iW gN h Et R O F T H E M O N T H

Your name(s):

Paul Tomlinson

Gym name:

Fierce Gym Ltd

Address:

11 Bridgeturn Ave, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5QL

Email:

paul.tomlinson@fiercegym.co.uk

Tel:

01908 760259

Web:

fiercegym.co.uk

How many gyms do you own/operate? Just 1 at the moment opening in July 2020 (subject to government restrictions being lifted)

How did you become a gym owner? I (Jess) have been into Fitness for a long time starting at around the age of 18 with Kickboxing, the gym quickly followed and my love of training just grew and grew. I worked as a chartered accountant until I had my children in 2010 and 2012 and until then the gym was a hobby but after my children I then decided to follow my passion and re-train as a PT and set up a private PT / small group exercise studio from an outbuilding at our house called Fierce Fitness, the dream was always to own a gym though.

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How do you motivate / incentivise your staff members? Gym floor staff who have a fitness qualification and are looking to progress as a personal trainer are able to PT for 10 hours a week (outside of their normal working hours) with no rental charge. We are a team and we want to provide our team members with a great environment to train and work, our staff room has a huge sofa, an x box, playstation etc so they have somewhere to chill out. We run a team member of the month voted for by other team members and gym members – the winner of this gets a ….. voucher??? We also plan on having a number of teambuilding days inside and outside of the gym.

I have competed in Bodybuilding shows as well as Powerlifting competitions but have a love for all fitness disciplines and love a challenge.

working hard to ensure our team members and our clients / gym members are fully engaged in this.

I (Paul) started an IT business 16 years ago and grew it from 1 employee (me) to over 100 in that time, in 2019 I sold the business and this enabled us to realise our dream of owning a gym, I have been going to the gym for a number of years and have a rugby background as well as completing yearly challenges such as the 3 Peaks, and various long distance bike rides such as London to Paris.

How many staff will you employ?

The sale of the business was planned for a number of years and the dream of having our own gym was always the intention after that happened. We have very different roles in the gym with Paul heading up the operational side of the business and Jess leading the fitness / equipment side of the gym, culture and community is very important and we are

We will employ around 5 gym floor staff and 6 receptionists with PT’s working on a rental basis plus ourselves who will manage the gym.

How important are PT’s to your business? PT’s whilst not employed still represent Fierce and so we have a variety of PT’s who have a wealth of experience in different fitness areas to suit our varied client base. PT’s are hugely important to help motivate our members and help them to progress in their fitness journeys.

We value the opinions of our team and we want their input so regular team meetings will ensure everyone gets their say and suggestions can be put forward and discussed in an open environment.

Will you provide any financial assistance for your staff with regards to their training? Yes we intend to support all our staff with any training they need or wish to do to further their careers and knowledge this will not only benefit them individually but also be a huge benefit to the gym and the members by being able to enhance the service we provide and offer more variety in training options / classes etc.

What will make your gym unique? A lot of commercial gyms offer basic gym equipment and a lot of independents might

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focus on a particular fitness area we have so many unique pieces of equipment to suit a variety of fitness interests that will to not only aid with progression in the gym or in a particular sport but to also enhance the experience of exercise to make it more fun. Pieces such as a moving and rotating climbing that for some might be a fun challenge and for others might form an integral part of their training, the abs solo (a seated basketball style ab trainer) of which we have 2 make for a fun and competitive way to train abs. We some monster pieces of equipment such as a leg press that can take 1,200kg, a monolift for those serious about their squats, a car in the gym to deadlift and so on.. We offer not only a facility with the best equipment for Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Strongman, Functional training and cardio but an all inclusive community vibe. Fierce is not our gym it is everyone’s and we want them to look after it as such. We will be running various competitions across a spectrum of fitness disciplines

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and we want our members to challenge themselves and branch out of their normal routines and try something new.

How will you retain your members?

What are the biggest challenges facing your business today?

We want our gym to be a community and intend to not only provide a facility with the very best equipment but also support our members in any challenges / competitions they might undertake  - we want to show that every one of our members is unique and important to us.

The corona virus pandemic which caused some delays in equipment delivery and consequently to our launch date and the ongoing effects of social distancing.

How will you engage with your members? We plan to be very active on social media platforms such as facebook and Instagram and will have a facebook group for members to build our sense of community we will also use weekly emails and digital signage within the gym telling members about offers and events and to celebrate and promote members and the Fierce team achievements and endevers .

We think a lot of people lose their way with their health and fitness journeys due to a lack of knowledge, lack of progression and consequently a lack of motivation. As part of our induction process we will inform our members that our gym floor team will be proactive in assisting them / correcting form and providing workout ideas, by having lots of experienced staff in different fitness areas we hope to provide a knowledgeable and motivational atmosphere which will help people to feel like they are part of a community and not just a number.


G sp Yo M tO l iWg Nh Et R O F T H E M O N T H

What else will your gym offer? We have a number of programmes planned to help members in their journeys such as Fierce Evolve Fit which will be an 8 week transformation plan with exclusive bootcamps, training and nutrition advise as well as Fit3d scans (which measure not only weight, bf%, muscle and all the normal stats but also measurements of legs, arms, torso etc and shows any posture issues that may be causing muscle imbalances by taking over 1200??? Pictures of your body) and support throughout and after the programme plus Fierce merchandise and a Myzone belt to help track activity. We also plan to expand this to Fierce Evolve Strength based around Strongman training and Fierce Evolve Power based around powerlifting.

Including in the membership will be a number of bootcamps and classes at different times during the day to suit all. We are also able to run classes for childen aged 5+ so whilst the children learn a new sport the parents can have time to train.

How are you promoting your brand and marketing your gym? We are using MFA to help us with our marketing strategy and give us access to marketing material..blah blah As people local to the area a lot of our marketing has come through word of mouth and knowing people in the industry (both those that work in it and those that have a passion for fitness)

What do you hope for the future of your business? As a completely new business we expect to go through a steep learning curve and we know it won’t be plain sailing also the industry we go into may not be the same as the one we expected it to be pre-covid19 but we are confident, passionate and determined to make Fierce a success. Success for us is not only measured by profit but by how happy and motivated our members are and that’s not all, we also want to be regarded as a great employer – we want people to be banging down the door to not only train at but also to work at Fierce We want to raise the bar!

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As gyms prepare to reopen we interviewed Kerstin Obenauer, Country Director at EGYM UK, to get her perspective on the challenges that lie ahead How will the lockdown experience influence consumer attitudes and behaviours towards exercise? Everybody’s lockdown experience will be different but for many, physical activity will have played a key role. Thanks to the incredibly swift response of the sector, consumers have been treated to an array of fitness content streamed directly into their homes, for free. For some, this has provided a means of continuing to train whilst gyms are unavailable and for others it has offered an introduction to the joys and benefits of exercise. In addition, many will have reconnected with the outdoors and enjoyed making the most of their daily release from lockdown to take part in physical activity. Nobody knows what will happen when gyms finally open their doors but surveys suggest the reasons to be positive. TA6 reports, 87 per cent of gym goers intend to return, 76 per cent want to improve their fitness and wellbeing post lockdown and 35 per cent of those without a gym 14

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membership pre lockdown will consider purchasing one as soon there is an option to do so. This is all extremely positive for gym owners who, based on the research, stand to benefit from a heightened consumer interest in their professional services. Gyms should also prepare to welcome a new influx of ‘health seekers’, individuals looking for professional help, not just to get fitter and stronger, but to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. These people represent a large slice of the population pie but will require a highly personalised service because they are also likely to be new to exercise and the gym environment. Ironically, the nation’s new enthusiasm for physical activity comes at a time when gym owners are required to restrict access. I believe technology will play a huge role in helping the sector manage this issue.

You mention technology will play a key role in helping gyms reopen for business. Please explain how? When gyms reopen, the major challenge facing gym owners will be managing capacity restrictions against an increased consumer demand. I don’t believe people will be willing to queue at the gym in the way that they have been queuing at the supermarket. People will want to know, when they turn up at the gym they will be able to train yet adherence to social distancing requirements is also important. In a recent study by ClubIntel Special report titled: ‘What Members Say Matters’ 87 per cent of US members stated that facility access restricts are either moderately important, very important or extremely important.

Members unable or unwilling to return

To address this, gym owners should introduce a facility booking function, giving members the opportunity to book their access time, as they would to book a class or therapy session, via remote means e.g. a mobile app. Turning members away at the door should be avoided as much as possible and technology can help to manage this.

creating a wraparound service of care.

to the gym immediately, will expect a provision that extends beyond the physical facility. Having become used to training at home with the support of an online fitness content provision, members will expect this service from their gym, prompting a need for gym owners to deliver an out of gym experience that matches the in gym experience, in terms of quality, brand and ethos. This will include an ability to supply digital training programmes, video exercise demonstrations and bespoke advice from a fitness professional. All of this needs to be available 24 hours a day, Mobile apps, such as the EGYM Branded Member App, make this possible. Technology can also be used to maintain new hygiene guidance. Our EGYM Smart Strength training solution has already been pre-programmed with reminders, for example, to wash hands.

The government is constantly reviewing safety guidelines in line with the behavior of the virus. For example social distancing requirements. Being digitally fluid enables operators to update members immediately via push notifications sent direct to named individuals, negating the need to rely on members keeping themselves updated via website visits and in-club notices. This will help ensure effective communications are maintained in this fast-changing situation we now find ourselves operating in.

You mentioned post lockdown gyms may see an increase in ‘health seekers’. How will technology help to manage this influx? When gyms reopen the first priority will be to welcome back existing members, ensuring their needs are met and that they are confident in their new training environment. However, JULY 2020

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the opportunity to grow membership lies in harnessing the new enthusiasm for physical activity from individuals now looking to become more active in order to maintain health and wellbeing. Returning members can support this growth through EGYM’s referral program available via the App, further building confidence and trust in that facility’s re-opening strategy. Software driven hardware solutions, such as the EGYM Smart Strength training solution already enable the instant upload of pre-programmed health-centred training programmes. A couple of years ago, we responded to the rise in diabetes with ‘Metabolic Fit’, designed specifically to tackle the condition. Last month (June), we released our evidence based, Immunity Boost programme, designed to strengthen the immune system and protect against the threat of infections such as, but not exclusively, Covid-19. These pre-programmed plans, which can be highly tailored to reflect the needs of each individual, ensure members train safely and effectively on every visit regardless of whether they check in with an instructor or not. They also help instructors to prescribe programmes that deliver against specified health objectives, without the need for the instructor to personally understand the science required to write an effective, progressive training

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plan. In essence, technology used in this way will help gym owners address the health needs of the nation creating a sustainable future for the gym and positioning the fitness sector as a valued delivery partner in the nationals health agenda.

Will gyms be judged on their digital offer moving forwards? Absolutely. Technology and the digital offer will become the key differentiator in the market. Covid-19 has catapulted the industry into the digital age and highlighted its potential both in terms of service delivery and operational efficiencies. There is no hiding from the fact that gym owners, moving forwards, need to make significant ongoing investment in this area. Consumers now expect a highly personal, 24 hour on-demand service with a sense of community. Through digital implementation, a gym has the ability to extend its brand influence into daily lives, placing it as a necessary and valued partner in a person’s health and fitness journey whilst at the same time creating a community of like minded people who encourage and share information and experiences. This is the future of fitness. There is also little doubt that brand giants from other sectors e.g. retail (Amazon) and entertainment (Netflix

and Sky) will also be looking at the opportunity digitalisation presents to tap into the nation’s new-found appreciation of physical activity and exercise. Gym owners need to act swiftly to secure their digital place in the market, blending an in-gym with an out-of-gym experience that is unique to their brand and community, providing a bespoke experience that other brands will struggle to match.

What is your advice to gym owners ready to invest a digital transformation? Do not make the mistake of assuming the implementation of an app is the same as digital transformation. ‘Going digital’ means integrating digital technology at every level of the business. Yes, a remote offer, usually accessed by an app, is one element of the provision but true transformation is more of a total business evolution. Whilst this cannot happen overnight, it is important to map out the entire digital journey in terms of desired outcomes, implementation time scales, investment and service delivery. EGYM would be very happy to provide a free consultation to gym owners seeking help and support in this area. For more information about how gym owners can use digital solutions to support re-opening, read the next article on ‘Managing Bounceback’.


EDITORIAL feature

Managing bounceback: Don’t just survive, thrive! With the impact of COVID-19 now well over its peak, gyms across the country turn attention from closure to re-opening, Kerstin Obenauer, Country Director at EGYM UK explores the role digital solutions can play in supporting a return to business that keeps staff and members safe whilst also meeting new consumer expectations. A survey conducted by Savanta ComRes in partnership with Sport England, to study the impact of Covid-19 on attitudes and behaviours towards exercise has reported, 87 per cent of gym goers intend to renew their membership when facilities reopen. This is obviously encouraging news for thousands of gym owners across the UK keen to reactivate revenue streams but, it is ironic that at a time when consumer appetite for employing our services is at a potential all time high, gym owners are having to impose access restrictions in order to comply with stringent hygiene and physical distancing requirements. There is also the added consideration that lockdown is likely to drive a new audience of health seekers to gyms. The TA6 consumer survey reported, as a result of the lockdown experience, 76 per cent of adults have a new desire to improve wellbeing and general fitness. Shifting demand from those who simply want to get fitter and stronger to those who want to increase activity levels in order to live a healthier and more fulfilling life significantly increases the percentage of the population who value and want to access the services and health benefits gyms deliver. So, how can gym owners manage

heightened demand whilst also maintaining a safe environment for staff and members? The solution lies in establishing a hybrid model for gyms: Adding a digital provision to the physical location. Navigating the ‘new norm’ will not be easy but a well implemented digital solution can help to significantly ease the burden, creating operational

efficiencies, maintaining hygiene standards and delivering services that meet member expectations. To help gym owners navigate these unchartered waters, I advise the implementation of a three part plan designed to prepare infrastructure, educate and manage expectations and provide a 24 hour support and community service . JULY 2020

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EDITORIAL feature

1.Safe and successful re-opening Before welcoming members through the door, gym owners need to prepare their gyms in order to provide a safe environment for members to exercise in. This may include making adjustments to ‘flow’ creating clearly signed one way systems, floor marking to depict social distancing requirements, posters showing new rules and regulations such as the use of face coverings, and potential access restrictions to areas such as bathrooms and changing spaces. These new rules and guidelines will most certainly be new to members in the gym and may require prompting. EGYM’s Smart Strength equipment supports overcoming these challenges by prompting good hygiene with gentle reminders for members to thoroughly clean or disinfect their hands before training. The equipment also benefits from automated set up and load application, significantly reducing the need for physical contact with the equipment. Gym owners can also receive realtime feedback on member-demanded hygiene standards via an integrated feedback system available via the EGYM Branded Member App, helping to ensure practical applications are not only fulfilling legal requirements, but also meeting member expectations. Introducing a digital slot booking system to manage new facility capacity guidelines is critical to navigate the ‘new normal’ as a business. With reduced in-gym capacity, optimising the utilisation of the training floor throughout the day is crucial for continued business success. Capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements are under constant review, requiring gym owners to be able to adjust operations very quickly if virus threat levels change. Digital slot booking, such as the functionality built into EGYM’s Branded Member App, will be absolutely critical to ongoing compliance.

2.Meeting member expectations As previously mentioned, gym owners need to be prepared to welcome a new influx of ‘health seekers’. The belief is, these individuals are responding to the incredibly motivating reality that 18

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COVID-19 may not be going away any time soon, and that improving health is the most effective defence available at this time. During lockdown, thanks to the huge array of free digital fitness content streamed into homes, according to the TA6 consumer survey, 69 per cent of people classified as inactive pre-lockdown professed to increasing activity levels during their time at home. Add to this a national heightened awareness of the many physical and mental benefits exercise delivers, especially for those with underlying health conditions and poor metabolic health -- and supported by the government’s encouragement for people to maintain daily exercise -- many of these new health seekers will be turning to their local gym for professional support and guidance. This is where gym owners with software driven training equipment, such as the EGYM Smart strength line will have a distinct advantage. Through intelligent software our smart hardware is able to deliver health focused training programs to drive inexperienced users reliably towards very specific health targets. As many of these more health conscious individuals will be new to the gym environment, the automated set up and visual coaching support via the EGYM Curve will also be valuable. The spread and threat of COVID-19 has also increased awareness of how important it is to maintain a healthy immune system. Science has proved the important link between strength training and immunity. In response to this, EGYM has developed Immunity Boost, a pre-programmed, automated strength training programme specifically designed to help members prioritise health-oriented goals, reduce underlying health conditions and boost immunity.

3.Delivering wraparound support to your members Having enjoyed working out using streamed fitness content throughout lockdown, it’s highly likely that consumers will demand a hybrid approach to physical activity in- and outside the gym moving forwards. In the TA6 survey, 54 per cent of respondents stated, post lockdown, they would choose to workout both

at home and at a facility. A fully integrated offer which connects in-gym and out-of-gym services is what savvy gym owners will be offering moving forwards. This blended approach that enables access to services 24 hours a day will become the new baseline requirement in consumer demand. Through digital applications such as the EGYM Branded Member App, gym owners can create and manage bespoke workouts, provide access to video exercise demonstrations and maintain a vital line of communication. Therefore, enabling gym owners to provide a service of care around the clock, positioning their brand as a vital partner in an individual’s physical activity journey. The app can also be used to bring members together through challenges, helping to maintain a sense of community even in the absence of physical contact. This is little doubt that, as a sector we face challenging times. The threat of COVID-19 is set to be with us for a while so, together, we need to find new ways to deliver services and capitalise on the consumers new found appreciation of physical activity and the benefits an active lifestyle can deliver. To help gym owners tackle the issues raised here, EGYM has developed Immunity Boost Plus, a solution which brings together hardware and software to create a perfect Hybrid offering for your returning members . For more information, visit: https://offers.egym.com/ukimmunity-plus


Strength Is Immunity Overcome challenges in a post-COVID-19 fitness industry with the EGYM Immunity Plus Solution. Find Out More

www.egym.com


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

Your name:

Charlotte Prowse

Qualifications:

Personal Trainer Level 3, 4 and 5. BA Hons Psychology and Crime Studies. PgDip Probation Studies 3 years as a qualified PT

Where you work (town/city): Bolton, Manchester

Your Facebook:

Charlotte Jane

Your Instagram:

@charlottejanept

How did you become a PT? My background is probably not what you would expect of a PT as I have come from a 9-year career in the Criminal Justice System. After University I joined Greater Manchester Police but I ultimately felt like I wasn’t helping people in the way that I wanted as a Police Officer and wasn’t making the difference I thought I could. I then became a Probation Officer working to rehabilitate high risk offenders and, although this was very interesting, I again felt disillusioned as I wasn’t always making a difference. At this point I was about to turn 30 and struggling with feeling unfulfilled in my career, thought it was now or never to pursue something I was passionate about. A few years prior to this I had started working with a PT and it completely changed my outlook on fitness, which I previously hated. So, I took a risk and completed my PT course and became a self-employed PT through a company called Pro Fit. This was a massive risk for me

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to leave a stable career and income but if I didn’t take the risk I would have always said ‘what if?’ Fast forward nearly 3 years and I have a very successful PT business and have branched out into running my own Women’s Workshops and I am about to joint host a ladies retreat in April! I can honestly say I love my job and I feel I am finally making a real difference in other people’s lives.

What was your experience of the training/qualification process? I really enjoyed my course; it was only weekends and just 6 weeks long and so very intensive. It was hard to get back to studying more scientific and anatomy-based leaning so long after school and so it did require a lot of studying away from the course. It was good to be able to reinforce learning with the practical element’s contained within the structure of the course.


Ps Tp oOtFl iTgHhE t M O N T H

to continually develop yourself, not only professionally but as a person as well. If you didn’t continue to develop after qualifying as a PT then how can you best serve your clients as you need to expand your knowledge in order to help them to the best of your abilities. I discussed this with my mentor recently and in order to allow myself time to develop I am going to have to take a step back from some hours in the gym. In the long run this will not only improve my coaching abilities but it will also help my clients by giving them a better level of service. Always invest money back into your business to pay for courses, the best investment you can make is in yourself.

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

Do you (or do you intend to) specialise in a particular type of fitness? My passion is helping others with mindset and due my background within the Probation Service I continue to use those skills by utilising Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques when working with my clients. If mindset and mental wellbeing issues are resolved then everything else tends to fall into place as those issues can hold clients back from achieving their health and fitness goals. In the future I would like to specialise in mindset/ lifestyle coaching which is something I have recently been trying to do more of.

What’s it like working with gym owners? I currently work at a council run council gym and so it isn’t particularly with gym owners. I find that we all have the common goal of working together to get people fitter and healthier and so our values are in line with each other which makes for a happy team!

What is your opinion of CPD? This is one thing you should never stop doing, as the quote goes, ‘When you stop learning you stop growing’. You never know everything and I think it is so important

When unmotivated you rely on the habits you have built and I have built some solid habits over the past few years which help when feeling unmotivated. I am a very motivated person but I do find that having a goal I am working towards, helps me by giving me a purpose and direction. I also want to be the best role model for my clients and so this is a driving force for me.

What advice would you give to other PTs just starting out in the business? Be prepared to work hard, it will be long hours at first, but persevere. When you first start out and see other PTs online and think they have it made, what you don’t see is the relentless hours of work that goes into

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ssP ppT o oO tt Fll ii TggHhhEtt M O N T H

What significant changes have you seen within the industry over the past 3 years? I think that because of social media there is a lot of unsolicited information out there where people who do not have the correct qualifications are posting a lot factually incorrect information. This is often taken at face value and with the rise of ‘quick fixes’ being endorsed by ‘celebrities’ it makes people believe they can achieve tomorrow’s results yesterday. It is about realigning client’s expectations to re-educate them as to why quick fixes are not what is needed and work with them to develop a better mindset around this new ‘diet culture’.

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

members, not only about training but about

What are the biggest challenges facing your business today?

them as a person, build a rapport with them.

Wanting to help everyone and trying to

They may not sign up with you there and

balance clients and a personal life can be

running a successful business. I would advise a new PT to get out onto the gym floor to get your face known in the gym. Speak to the

then but I have signed up clients who I have developed a connection with 18 months to 2 years later. Ultimately a person has to trust you to buy from you, they buy into you not just a service. Ultimately believe in yourself and have confidence in you and what you

problematic. I want to be able to expand my knowledge and also help clients but managing my client appointments and time for self-development isn’t easy especially when you factor in time with your family

have to offer. Invest in your education and

and friends. It is being effective with

development and trust that you are equipped

my time, as there is only one of me, so

and knowledgeable enough to make a

prioritising tasks and time management is

difference in your client’s lives.

key.

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I have a client WhatsApp group where I post regular recipes and any information I think they may find useful. I am also available to speak to outside of the gym if clients have any concerns or queries. I organise regular client events as the research suggests if like-minded people come together they are more likely to achieve their goals. With this in mind I wanted to create a community for my clients and so we will often go for brunch #brunchclubontour! We have also completed races together, gone to hot yoga and various hikes. Some of my clients have become friends which is lovely to see and I also have a regular review with clients every 6 to 8 weeks where we look at their progress, what’s gone well and goals for the coming weeks. This helps clients realise how far they have come and get them motivated for the future.


PT OF THE MONTH

If there was one thing you could radically change within the industry, what is it? I would like people to move away from feeling like they need to look a certain way to ‘conform’ within society. To have a six pack, to have a thigh gap, to be a size 8. I would love people to train from a perspective of health and all the added benefits and to train because they love it rather than to tick a box or because they 'ate a pizza’ and not to punish their body.

Do you see yourself still working as a PT in 10 years time?

How do you promote your services?

I believe I will be working as a PT and still train one to one clients in the gym but I will also run alongside this lifestyle/ mindset coaching clients. I believe my business will be 50/50 in this respect as I do love health and fitness I would just like to develop and pursue my other passion of mindset coaching.

Ultimately if I am helping individuals be the best version of themselves then that is my job done.

What is your biggest success story? I can’t really pick one success story as I have had so many different successes with clients. A lot of my clients achievements go further than the gym and fitness. Yes, the physical transformations have been outstanding but improvements in mental health have bought so much more quality to my client’s lives. Some clients would have never gone solo travelling before but now have the new found confidence to go and do this, other clients have even changed careers as they now have the belief in themselves to achieve more. I have had clients who have re-evaluated relationships and made positive life choices around these and those who have reduced or eliminated negative health markers. I am proud of each and everyone of my clients for the changes they have made to their lives. They inspire me more than they know.

Word of mouth and referrals is honestly the best way I promote myself. I do use Social Media but not necessarily to sell myself as I like to use it to help individuals by posting information I think people would find useful.

How often do you train yourself? I train on average 5 to 6 times per week, mainly strength training. I have a Personal Trainer who I train with twice per week consisting of 2 leg sessions, 2 upper body sessions a metabolic circuit and one run. I love to train as it sets me up for the day.

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P Ts V p IoE tWl Pi g O hI N t T

Women in the Fitness IndustrY by Teigan Schentrup

to “muffin top-erasing” supplements. And unfortunately, when we think of where women were involved in the creation of the fitness industry as it is today, we picture most of these trendy fads that are targeted to women, by other women. But simply because this is where the fitness industry started does not mean we (women) haven’t come a long way. Women of today are changing the world of fitness and empowering the average Jane to become something she never knew she could - strong, badass and confident.

A shift Women are more and more often becoming the faces and driving forces behind successful fitness ventures. But their roles haven’t always been at the forefront of the health and fitness business, despite what we know of Jane Fonda and the 80s.

The start of the industry as we know it

There has been a strong shift in the fitness world. Originally being seen as “weak” and needing to “lose weight and tone,” women were not given the respect and challenges that they deserved. Women were seen as just taking up space. Now, we are able to see women dominating the weight room, lifting heavy, and constantly striving to be better and push their bodies to new limits.

The beginnings of the fitness industry were based on good intentions aimed at bringing the benefits of health and physical fitness to the public. These intentions quickly became consumed with business and shifted from wanting to help people to wanting to make as much money as possible.

Truthfully, women were tired of the BS. The age of technology and social media helped educated women earn their credibility. This shifted the momentum towards philosophies that prioritized strength training, and limited dieting and cardio fads that, 20 years ago, most women were seen as needing to do.

There are countless fads out there: from no-carb diets to waist trainers,

Women created a new space to thrive within the fitness industry - and that

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was right alongside men. No more hiding in the shadows of the gymrat men that ran the industry. No more being restricted to solely “group fitness” classes. No more limitations in the weight room. It was finally time for women to show off what they are capable of and get in on the action, lifting heavy and leading others like they deserve to. A study from 2015 focusing on gender differences in the fitness world found that women were decidedly determined to resist gender stereotypes. Women were actively using their newfound abilities in the gym (lifting heavy, running fast, etc.) to resist gender stereotypes and show the men around them that they were more capable than previously viewed (Hutler, 2015). Women have started to reclaim a degree of status when they show up next to men and can outperform, out-lead, and out-educate them. No, women shouldn’t have to out-perform men to prove their worth. But we are doing it, and it’s working to get women to the top of the fitness industry where historically it has just been men. A “trend” that educated women are getting behind, focuses on the importance of functional movements when creating a training program. Instead of showing off the easy stuff like booty band workouts and HIIT moves, women are diving deep into the science of WHY we do certain movements. The women educating others on the importance of understanding their


PsTp o Vt I El W i gP hOtI N T

Women are role models for other women trying to figure out this everconfusing mesh of what the world thinks they should be doing/wearing/ lifting/exercising. Women are educated professionals pushing for the health and strength of other women. They lead the way and create a positive influence for other women that are trying to find themselves. Male trainers are incredible as well, but when women are more-represented, they become more encouraged to challenge themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. “Oh, if she can do it, I can do it too!”

bodies as well as taking care of them are changing the industry. They lead with knowledge and education and are able to back up their claims and show women healthy lifestyle habits that will keep them going in the long-term.

Aesthetics Women deal with insanely unobtainable physical societal standards based on what we are convinced that the world thinks is beautiful. Previously, women dealt with these standards by trying to fit inside of them - they had to look skinny, have trendy hairdos, and couldn’t lift weights in the gym. Now, women are dealing with these standards by proving them wrong. Being strong and being beautiful are NOT mutually exclusive. More and more women are focusing on bettering themselves by becoming stronger and healthier based on SCIENCE, not by trying to look a certain way or follow a trendy fad.

Climbing the corporate ladder The biggest money-making areas of fitness still remain dominated by men. Men run the big-box gyms, equipment manufacturing, buying & selling, and club ownership. They prove to be the buyers and suppliers of the fitness world and therefore are making most of the decisions that drive the fitness industry. Women are known to have to prove themselves much more when it comes

to being professional when compared to men. Men aren’t categorized by their attire - they aren’t seen as wanting to “show off” if they wear their gym clothes to promote themselves. Whereas women, just by wearing their gym clothes in public, are seen as being sexual and unprofessional.

Seeing women for their strength and their resilience, and for their passion and success in the fitness world, helps fight the suppressive stigmas that women have faced for ages. We don’t need to stay home and cook or clean, we can create our own dreams and go out and make them a reality. We don’t need to look a certain way, we can do what we love that empowers us, and feel confident while doing it.

Trying to navigate this as a woman who is intent on proving her knowledge and experience, while also trying to remain professional to further her career - is a nearimpossible task. Climbing the corporate ladder in the fitness industry and becoming the decision-makers of the business proves to be an area that many women still struggle with, and it’s what we need to work on as a whole. Providing women with the same opportunities as men is incredibly important, especially when women are putting in just as much time, education, and experience.

Why we need more women in fitness We have slowly begun to breach the surface of what women in the fitness industry can do when they give it their all. Although women have to fight harder for their success than men, this won’t always be the case. We will continue to see women crush their careers and pave the way for the rest of us. And we can’t let down the pioneers of this shift in the fitness industry - we need to keep up the momentum! JULY 2020 25


Hunting for the perfect finance? Keeping your gym equipment up to date will assist in attracting and retaining members. To sustain a fitness business in this modern, fast paced, industry you need the very latest equipment and an environment to keep your members engaged. CF Capital Plc specialise in all aspects of commercial finance. Whether your requirement is financial assistance with leasing of fitness equipment or general building refurbishments, we have a wide range of options to suit any budget.

We can finance a diverse range of equipment or requirements essential to any gym, our list includes: FREE WEIGHTS, ROWING MACHINES, EXERCISE BIKES, RUNNING MACHINES, RESISTANCE MACHINES, SPINNING BIKES, FLOORING, AIR CONDITIONING, EPOS SYSTEMS, MEMBERSHIP SOFTWARE SYSTEMS & MUCH MORE.

Please call Katie on 01279 759 442 quoting ‘finance2fit’ or email our team: finance2fit@cfcapital.co.uk

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spotlight

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27


FIT KIT

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

DURABLE MANILA CLIMBING ROPES WITH BRAIDED EYELET From gym classes to military training to CrossFit, rope climbing exercises have long been a measure of an athlete’s upper body strength and endurance. But if you want to gauge the strength of a climbing rope itself, you need to start with the quality of the materials it’s made from. Rogue’s American-made manila climbing ropes offer the same reliable grip and durability that’s made the classic manila rope a staple of military bases and shipyards for decades. Available in five different lengths, these gym

climbing ropes are designed for indoor/ outdoor use with no mounting bracket required. Specifications • Made in the USA • Braided Eyelet - No mounting bracket required • Material: Durable Manila • Diameter: 1.5" • Rope Length Options: 6’, 15’, 20’, 25’, 30’ Climbing ropes must be anchored to a smooth, round surface.

CONDOR SENTRY PLATE CARRIER The Condor Sentry Plate Carrier is a minimal-bulk, high-performance tactical vest with full adjustability for a custom fit. The carrier’s durable, easily accessible plate pockets are specially designed to hold both medium and large ESAPI standard plates up to 10.25" x 13.25". You can order your vest on its own or with a set of compatible Rogue USA Cast Weight Vest Plates (5.75LB, 8.75LB and 13.75LB available). Because it’s built for a comfortable fit and greater range of motion, the Sentry Plate Carrier is well suited to a wide array of training programs. The adjustable sizing covers a waist size range of 30” to 46”, and the vest is equipped with a number of unique features, including heavy-duty webbing for modular attachments, a padded mesh interior lining for optimal breathability, quick-adjust cinches, and quick release buckles. Secure, front hook-and-loop webbing also allows for easy shoulder strap adjustments and the attachment or removal of the padded mesh shoulder pads. The vest is available here in black, tan, or olive drab. 28

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Specifications: • Durable, lightweight construction with reduced bulk (1.5LB unloaded) • Hook-and-loop webbing • Adjustable shoulder straps for custom fit • Padded mesh interior lining for comfort, breathability • Plate Pockets compatible with standard Medium or Large ESAPI plates up to 10.25” x 13.25” • Emergency drag handle • Removable padded mesh shoulder pads with hook and loop guides • Heavyweight webbing for modular attachments • Colour Options: Black, Tan, Olive IMPORTANT: The Condor Sentry Plate Carrier is meant to be used strictly as a fitness accessory and should not be used as body armour. Note: The Condor Sentry Plate Carrier is not designed to be used with the laser-cut Rogue Weight Vest Plates and the use of these plates voids the Condor warranty.


FIT KIT

Rogue weight vest plates These flat, laser-cut steel plates have been used in CrossFit Games events and are available in three weight increments. You can add the following plate pairs to your order either as part of a package with the Condor Vest or a la carte (for compatibility with other weight vests, check the measurements in advance):

• 3.75LB Plate Pair (Approx. 10LB total w/ vest) - 12.125" L x 10” W (0.120" Thick), Burnt Orange • 5.75LB Plate Pair (Approx. 14LB total w/ vest) - 11.5" L x 10" W (0.188" Thick), Dark Red • 8.75LB Plate Pair (Approx. 20LB total w/ vest) - 11" L x 10" W (0.313" Thick), Dark Blue

ROGUE BUTCHER V2 The redesigned Rogue Butcher is the ultimate all-surface, heavy-duty push sled. Co-developed with the team at Westside Barbell, the American-built Butcher combines 74 LBS of 2x3” 11-gauge steel with a wide range of functional improvements over most traditional weight sleds. This includes a black powder coating for a better grip, low and high angle hand placement options, and removable weight-bearing bars for easier storage. Version 2.0 of the Butcher also comes with bolt-on feet, which can be removed and replaced with a new set if damaged. These feet can additionally be equipped with optional 0.5" thick UHMW plastic skis to protect your gym’s flooring.

Specifications: • 2x3” 11-Gauge Steel • Weight: 74LB / Weight Capacity: 500LB+ • Rogue Signature Matte Black Powdercoat finish provides grip on all handles • Bolt-On Steel Feet can be used on any surface, fully replaceable • Multiple bars for different pushing positions • Compact footprint (42.25" x 47.25") and removable handles allow for easy storage, portability • Protective UHMW plastic skis can be added to order and come with all necessary hardware • Made in the USA

The Butcher only takes about five minutes to assemble and can help increase any athlete's GPP, strength, explosiveness, and endurance over regular use.

MONSTER LITE RIG 2.0 With the Standard Edition of the fully redesigned Rogue Monster Lite Rig 2.0, we’ve introduced several key new features, including 3x3” beams across the top for increased stiffness, 2” hole spacing on the outside of the uprights (allowing more attachment options), and single pull-up bars for both the 4’ and 6’ sections. The core elements of the unit remain the same—with 3x3” 11-gauge steel uprights and 5/8” holes creating a perfect hybrid of our Monster and Infinity Series rigs. The Monster Lite Rig 2.0 is manufactured in Columbus, OH, and designed with infinite customization options in mind. Available in four standard lengths (10’, 14’, 20’, 24’), the unit can be continuously expanded by 4’ and 6’ sections and is compatible with a broad range of accessories,

including Monster Lite Plate Storage Posts, Safety Spotter Arms, the Matador, and more. Well suited to garage gyms and largescale training facilities, a standardsize Monster Lite Rig can instantly create between 2 and 6 squat/bench stations and 6-14 pull-up stations (see sizing breakdown below). The updated 70” single pull-up bar in each 6-foot section now features passthrough construction, meaning the bar continues directly into the endplate for optimal stability and safety. The rig also ships with all necessary Black Zinc 5/8” bolts and fasteners, Monster Lite J-cups, and 9-foot uprights. Original Black Powdercoat comes with Bright Zinc 5/8” bolts and fasteners. Important: Unit must be bolted to the floor. JULY 2020 29


FIT KIT

Pro Box 6ft Punch Bag – Brown Top professional 6ft Bag constructed from premium quality cowhide leather. Textile filled & machine compressed this punch bag has been designed & engineered for intense commercial use. Featuring a 25mm inner foam jacket, this delivers a more responsive feel to the bag & reduces the impact of shock to your wrist & hands.

Requires 3 Leg Chain Set. (We would recommend the Commercial 4 leg swivel punch bag chains). Dimensions • Diameter: 14" • Height: 6ft • Weight: Approx. 40kg (Bag weights can vary depending on type of textile they have been filled with)

Able to take the heaviest of punches. A metal D Ring to the base of the bag gives the option for the bag to be tethered. (If you do this please ensure that the strap is loose as it will tighten on impact).

Ring to Cage Mixed Martial Arts Man-Shaped Dummy Boxing Bag - Unfilled, and Boxing for MMA, Muay Thai The MMA Man-Shaped human dummy bag is a full-size offering that resembles the human body. The shape of the dummy is accurately defined so that you can have focused and targeted practice. The MMA punching dummy bag is crafted from high-quality and heavyduty polyester-coated vinyl. You can choose to unleash your strength in boxing and kicking this mannequin, and this won’t break a sweat. However, this cannot take a lot of heavy-hitting because of low resistance. This human dummy punching bag needs to be filled up before using it. It stands tall at 5 feet 8 inches and weighs between 70 and 75 lbs. One of the useful features of this punching dummy is that it can be hung using a chain. It allows for an intense and professional level of practice. Hanging the dummy allows you to adjust its height and provides full freedom of movement. You may rotate by 360 degrees to practice your moves on whichever part of the body you like hitting. 30

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If you prefer to kick your opponent while he’s rolling on the ground, this product allows for that practice too. It is usable while it is lying on the floor. You can have someone detach the chain while you’re practising with the mannequin hanging. Manoeuvring and hitting a falling opponent makes you debilitate your competition. The MMA dummy allows for that. Pros • Suitable for practising hitting specific targets like legs and abdomen • Height adjustable due to its hanging mode allows for different people to practice on one dummy • Workable lying on the ground. You can learn your moves while the opponent falls Cons • This human dummy bag is not for serious hard-hitters. The resistance is less for the pros to use • Inconvenient filling location. It is a little challenging to fill it completely


FIT KIT

Century Bob XL with Base Unit with FreeHand wraps This is the original Century BOB’s big brother. In its larger version, too, the height can be adjusted, so those who are looking for a taller partner could go with the larger version. While the original BOB bag had the torso till the stomach, the XL version of the bob punching bag has the lower abdomen, and you could practice leg strikes. Like the original version, the base is made of polyethylene and can take up to 270 lbs. of water or sand. The use of urethane foam gives the punching mannequin a feel resembling a human being. The XL version of the BOB punching bag provides more area for you to practice. The heavy-hitters can comfortably flex their muscles and use their strength

on the torso because of the adequate resistance. The face also mimics the humanlike feel and is soft, as expected. Pros • The design, shape, and structure are ideal for getting a realistic feel while practising • Suitable for use with bare-hands or boxing gloves, the area around the chest has excellent resistance • 270 lbs. of ballast and a large circular base gives a lot of stability to the BOB XL punching dummy Cons • The opening to fill sand and water is small and takes time to fill • This is a lot larger than the standard version, and it is challenging to move it especially when filled

Aqua bag Bruiser 150LBS bag black/silver The Aqua Bruiser punching dummy bag is for the hard hitters. This bag has the face and the upper part of the torso. This is a good product for practising boxing and punching. Those who are interested in hitting the chest and the head should focus on this product. This dummy comes in a hangable form and is designed to emulate a human with a 6’ 1” height. The area and angles are enough for comprehensive boxing practice. The Aqua Bruiser should first be hung using the mechanism that ships with the box. You need to fill it with water to get it into the fighting mode. Water makes this bag realistic in terms of the feel you get during boxing and punching. It resembles what you would feel when you punch a human. It can tolerate MMA gloves too, so if you’re planning to flex your muscles for a high-intensity exercise, the Aqua Bruiser punching dummy will not disappoint you. You should be careful, though; hitting a water-filled bag won’t

feel good on your knuckles. Filling water is easy and should be done after hanging because this mannequin becomes heavy despite having less than half the human body form. You could experiment and use air and water. Filling in water just enough to reach the neck and then pumping air would give the head a more realistic soft feel. Pros • The shape and structure are great for boxing practice • It uses water as a filling material and more accurately resembles the feel of the human body • The hard-hitters can use the Aqua Bruiser without worrying about any bruises on the dummy Cons • This punching dummy tends to swing, making accurate shots difficult. A floor anchor is required to fix the swing. • A small leak could render the product unusable and cause splashes of water when you hit it JULY 2020

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EDITORIAL feature

AT H L E T E FAC TO R Y

Unleash the athlete in you - we interview Phil Greening owner of Athlete Factory of the sport may remember him from England’s line-up for the 1999 World Cup or the 2001 British Lions team who travelled to Australia. Since his retirement from the sport in 2005, he’s been busy training others as a fitness and performance coach as well as leading the USA 7s and USA 15s.

It could be said that everyone in the UK either has a gym membership or doesn’t. But we all know there are multiple subsections within those categories: those whose gym card stays firmly in their wallet all year round; those who might visit a couple of times in January and just before their summer holiday and neglect exercise the rest of the year; and those who religiously go to the gym but don’t quite know what they’re doing or why they’re not achieving the results they desire. Athlete Factory is different. It’s easy to say that as a gym: ‘we are different’. But talk to owner Phil Greening just once, or step foot inside the Chester site, and you’ll see it’s a claim they can absolutely live up to. Phil started life as a professional Rugby Union player – long-time fans 32

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He launched the Athlete Factory in 2014 and has spent the last six years developing not just the world-class functional equipment you’ll find within its walls, but the culture and ethos which form an integral part of his business model. Because while the gym is a business, it’s also the culmination of a life-long passion and dedication for training and sport. He says: “The idea behind Athlete

Factory was simple: create an elite environment focused on improving performance and holistic wellbeing, which was accessible for everyone from complete beginners to professional competitors. I wanted to provide a facility where individuals, teams and schools could train with our expert coaches, use world class equipment, and access elite programming that gets results. Some of our members joined having never set foot inside a gym before, so when we say it’s an ‘elite’ environment, we’re talking about the equipment members have access to and the mindset they all have, not their fitness level. “I’ve been involved with sport at a high level since childhood, and that’s taught


EDITORIAL feature

me that fitness isn’t just about your strength or stamina. Achieving the best results requires having the right mindset, eating the right things, being surrounded by the right people, and having access to the right coaches. It’s completely holistic - you can’t achieve your aims if you’re not thinking about everything which might be impacting your physical or emotional health. “So, that’s been our focus at Athlete Factory. Alongside my team, we’ve created the perfect conditions and developed an amazing positive culture which has proved to be a fantastic environment for people to achieve results. This isn’t about taking people’s money month after month with no regard for their progress – I want to see my members achieving their goals, getting fitter, and doing more than they ever thought possible.”

But it’s important not to mistake taking exercise seriously for exclusivity – there are many members at the very beginning of their gym journey. It’s not about ability or lifelong dedication to exercise. But that passion must be there: Athlete Factory is a place where people come to train and train hard. It’s not about posing, taking selfies, flexing your muscles in a mirror or tagging yourself on Instagram to impress your social media connections. It’s about getting down to work and breaking a sweat – and reaping the

rewards by being (probably) as fit as you’ve ever been in your life. They even have a saying: ‘if you’re looking for a gym where you can kill an hour and have a place to hang out, the Athlete Factory is not for you’. Phil says: “I didn’t want to create a soulless space full of equipment – instead I’ve created an inclusive tribe who all come and meet at this central hub. They’re all welcome whether it’s their first time in a gym or whether they’re a professional athlete. Our members share one thing in common:

It’s equally important that the team working alongside Phil is dedicated too – rather than simply achieving a basic personal training qualification, the majority of staff regularly undertake nutrition and coaching courses as well as becoming qualified in everything from boxing, cycling and bodybuilding to Ju-Jitsu and MMA. JULY 2020

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positivity. And they get results because of this! “If you come in with the right attitude, then we will absolutely share all of our knowledge with you, we’ll continually monitor your progress and hold you to account, we’ll be there cheering you on every step of the way.” And it’s not only the members reaping the rewards of the Athlete Factory’s ethos, Phil and his team are too. Compared to some gyms who saw droves cancelling their memberships as soon as the UK went into its Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, Athlete Factory has maintained 95% of its membership – keen to get through the doors as soon as they reopen.

“I’m sure every gym owner had some sleepless nights in March,” Phil says. “It’s been a tough time to be in an industry which has been essentially shut down for months. But in a lot of ways, this year has proved just what a great community we’ve built up over the last six years. Our members have been so supportive and it’s been heartening to see how much they’ve stood by us even though they haven’t been able to train with us for so long. “It goes without saying that we can’t wait to be able to open again, and we’ve been working hard to ensure we can do that as safely as possible, as soon as we are given the green light to open by the Government. The possibility of training while wearing a protective mask might be a new prospect, but we know that sense of community among our members will endure no matter what guidelines are put in place.” The kind of loyalty and community that Phil talks so warmly about is reflected in so many aspects of the Athlete Factory’s policy and practices. It’s even apparent in their refreshment area: if there’s not a member of staff in the vicinity, members simply use an honesty box to pay for their food and drink – something these days rarely seen outside sleepy villages in the middle of nowhere, never mind a bustling city gym. Of course, this ability to trust everyone comes from an ethos of togetherness.

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It isn’t about trainer and trainee – it’s about athletes who are committed to exercising, training together to get the best result. It’s about cheering on the weight-lifter next to you, even if you don’t know them. The phrase ‘family-feel’ is banded about all-toooften these days, but it’s absolutely applicable here, and apparent to anyone who steps over the threshold. While their values may be oldfashioned, their offering is anything but. As well as the impressivelyequipped physical location, they also have a world-class mobile app which includes content developed by real team members, meaning bespoke nutritional advice and workout sessions are available to anyone at any time. You don’t have to be a member of the gym to sign up to the app either, some use it alongside visits to the original Chester Athlete Factory but there are many others living across the UK and beyond who access it without having a physical membership. And while the global pandemic may have put a halt to the plans of many business owners, support from members has enabled Phil to continue his plans to open a new central Manchester location next year. Given the growing number of Athlete Factory devotees, the future is looking very active indeed for Phil and his team. Visit www.afchester.global for more information about Athlete Factory.


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The Lowe-Down on Life After Strictly & Creating FitSteps training and nerve shredding live performance, and she took actor Ricky Whittle to the runner-up spot. “It was a pleasure and a privilege to be involved, the affection in which the show and all the dancers is held by the public is quite amazing, humbling and something I never took for granted. But it does ultimately dominate a big chunk of the year and it is a very intense period of several months”. For somebody whose job is generally associated with the indoors, Natalie is very much a typical Aussie outdoor girl and loves nothing more than water skiing, hiking, camping and fishing. In fact, it’s a safe bet to say she’s probably TV’s only female pro’ dancer who has a fishing rod Ambassadorship to her name! Having a range of hobbies and interests away from the dance floor was a contributing factor to moving on from Strictly.

Even at the height of her Strictly Come Dancing fame, Natalie Lowe was looking to the future and a way of working within the fitness industry to deliver something special for the dance and fitness loving public. The champion dancer explained to Gym Owner Monthly Magazine about life after Strictly and the creation of FitSteps… For seven seasons Natalie was a hugely popular professional on the BBC’s flagship family show. She guided confessed non-dancers like former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and Olympic champions Audley Harrison and Greg Rutherford through week after week of intense 36

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“In terms of public profile Strictly is certainly one of the biggest things I will ever do. Not many dancers get to perform on one of the biggest platforms in the world. I feel totally grateful for my time, it was lifechanging in so many ways. It was a 20-hour day, every day for almost 7 months of the year. It was relentless and I loved it. I did 12 seasons including the Australian version, Dancing with the Stars. It was time for other things”. Other things ultimately included bumping into somebody on a train, eventually marrying him and becoming a Mum! But something less in the hands of glorious fate and chance and more down to vision, ambition and application was the conception, creation and launch of FitSteps. “My fellow Strictly pro’ Ian Waite had

very much the same thoughts as I did and we knew Mark Foster from his time on the show and we were well aware how determined and evangelical he is when it comes to spreading the fitness message and getting people active. So the team formed itself very easily and naturally”. The trio committed to work together and fully immerse themselves in harnessing dance and fitness that would reach the widest audience, give participants a positive and fun experience and become a whole new income-earning avenue for fitness professionals and dance instructors (previous dance qualifications not required). “Using what we know and what we are known for, our intention was twofold; create something that would appeal to the general public, dancers and non-dancers alike, and be genuinely effective in fitness terms. We also wanted to ensure that people felt


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that they were learning a skill and also having fun at the same time. And to deliver this we would need an expanding network of FitSteps instructors, fully qualified, constantly updated with everything they need to deliver wonderful classes and totally supported at all times”. With over 120,000 FitSteppers enjoying classes each week (*prepandemic lockdown), a raft of accredited qualifications (in the UK, Europe & USA) and over 2,000 trained instructors, it is clear that Natalie, Ian, Mark and their team have delivered on the original vision. “We have been developing and evolving the whole time to enhance everything about FitSteps, but of course nobody could have foreseen or prepared for

the lockdown so, like everybody, we have had to adapt, but that is not a bad thing”. They say ‘Necessity is the Mother of invention’ and during the course of the pandemic lockdown, the fitness industry has been living proof of that. Even for trainers and training deliverers who were already utilising online options and digital channels, the lockdown has taken that aspect to a new level, and for everybody else, an online arm of their learning and client work has quickly become a necessity and a day-to-day normality. “We responded as quickly and comprehensively as possible when the restrictions kicked in. We had a very strong online operation anyway, but obviously, this has had to come right

to the fore. Thankfully online training and support is a major facet of what we do and we’re geared up for it. All we had to do was crank that up to a complete level rather than it being an aspect of our training delivery. “We’re all in this together so we have put everything in place to deliver training and qualifications, provide all the necessary support and to create a platform for online classes and to ensure, when we do return to something like normality, there is an eagerly awaiting public and a superb network of instructors ready to lead the classes. We have Special Offers over this Covid-19 lockdown period and qualifications and ongoing support are reduced by 25% and we’re on hand for any questions and assistance we can give”. www.fitsteps.co.uk JULY 2020

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Making online fitness classes accessible for the Deaf community by Clare Vale Find out your Deaf client’s requirements

The current lockdown and subsequent gym closures has led many people to turn to online fitness classes to keep their physical and mental wellbeing in check and, with the government announcing gyms are still to remain closed until further notice, it is likely that virtual classes will continue to be part of our daily routines for some time to come. Whilst online workouts have undoubtedly helped fill the gym void for many of us, the Deaf community risks missing out due to lack of access. In fact, about 90 per cent of classes do not cater to the Deaf world. There are, however, steps, fitness trainers and instructors can take to make online classes more inclusive for Deaf clients and help them reach their goals. Here are some of the main things to consider. 38

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When a Deaf client enquires about joining online classes, it is important that you find out their accessibility requirements from the outset. When it comes to communicating with a Deaf person, you should never make assumptions as, like anyone, each person is different with their own individual needs and preferences. Let your Deaf client know how the classes will be programmed and what they will entail and allow them to decide for themselves what adjustments will need to be made in order for them to participate. You should also make it clear to your Deaf client that your classes are inclusive and cater for all. Simply asking the question “How can we make these

classes a better experience for you?” can make all the difference, helping them to feel like you are working together towards their health and fitness goals.

Make sure instructions are clearly visible Many studios are dark and make it hard for Deaf clients to lipread, and visibility is only worsened when classes are taking place via a screen. Increase lighting as much as possible and check that it is adequate for your Deaf client to see properly before commencing each class. This will not only help them lipread if they wish to do so but will allow them to clearly view demonstrations of each exercise to make sure they follow the correct form.


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You should also ensure light shines on your face and not from behind you, otherwise, you may inhibit your Deaf client’s ability to see your mouth movements and facial expressions.

Become Deaf aware You may want to consider completing some Deaf awareness training to help you feel more confident in how to approach and get the best results for your Deaf client. This can be provided online via e-learning and can include a lesson in basic British Sign Language [BSL] to put you at ease when greeting your Deaf client, asking how they are etc. Whilst you do not need to be fluent, having the ability to communicate in basic BSL could go a long way in helping them to feel more welcomed and included.

Book an interpreter Seeking the support of a video BSL interpretation company can allow you to include BSL in video exercise demonstrations, and to have an interpreter voicing over everything that is signed. For example, Sign Solutions’ InterpretersLive! service has been used to deliver yoga classes online.

You must remember to speak directly to the Deaf person, not the interpreter, face the Deaf person and speak to him/ her in a normal manner. Remember the interpreter is a few words behind the speaker, so you need to give them time to finish before allowing your Deaf client to ask questions.

for everyone, you can help them accomplish their goals and overcome their personal barriers toward leading a healthy lifestyle and enjoying fitness. Clare Vale is managing director at Sign Solutions

Use the correct technology You must ensure your online classes are conducted using an appropriate and secure platform that is optimised for video BSL interpreting. For example, the InterpretersLive! service, powered by Starleaf, delivers real-time access to qualified and registered British Sign Language interpreters using a secure encrypted and ISO27001 accredited, HD quality video platform. The platform has millions of users worldwide and is already familiar to the Deaf community in the UK. Deaf people can face many accessibility challenges in their every day lives, and even more so during the lockdown, but the ability to participate in online fitness classes does not have to be one of them. By practising empathy and putting the necessary measures in place to ensure classes are inclusive JULY 2020

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Get Loud! Daniel Nyiri, founder of 4U Fitness

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." – Arthur Ashe Now more than ever before you got two choices. You stay quiet and focus on what you have and what you were able to keep and be okay with it. Or option two is GET LOUD and do it quickly! I studied a lot of successful people on my road to success (and I highly recommend that you do the same). I stumbled upon Regis McKenna, the author of “Relationship Marketing: Successful Strategies for The Age of the Customer” who shares the marketing secrets of Steve Jobs and Andy Grove, a famous entrepreneur from hometown and country Budapest, Hungary. In his book, McKenna says that the first thing you should do is set one hour aside each week to work on your marketing strategies. Second, and most important in my opinion, is to set a list of the top 25 influencers in your market. During the week, you should then spend that hour figuring out how you are going to market to this list of the 25 top influencers. Since you have your pitch ready, you should have no 40

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problem convincing these influencers to help you. The more influential people you put on the list, the more chances you have to scale your business bigger and faster. On my list, for example, the most influential person was two-time Miss Olympia, Erin Stern. At that time when I made the list, no one knew about me or my business. I was just a little personal trainer still working in my business most of the time instead of on my business. However, I reached my tipping point when I decided to scale it up, step back, and work only on my business and growing it into a big empire. Inspired by this book and a few early successes, I started to reach out to these people, including Erin Stern. I used Instagram, email, Facebook, Twitter, and even in-person outreach. As you can imagine, no one wants to deal with you when you are a nobody – not to mention a 24-year-old nobody still learning how to speak English. But I didn’t give up and neither should you! And I’m glad I didn’t. I am not sure if Erin remembers when we first started to talk; it took about 18 months of my persistence in contacting her before she returned my correspondence and became our Spokesmodel. Once she learned about our business and what

we did, she was impressed and said that she did not want to miss out on this amazing journey. We were incredibly grateful since she has opened up many doors for us because she is well known and liked in the fitness industry – not to mention that she is regularly on the cover of “Women’s Health”, “Shape” and many other magazines. So make your list and don’t be shy about it! Don’t listen to the doubters who laugh at your list. Don’t let anyone influence your selfconfidence or tell you that someone is out of your league. Don’t let people talk you out of this. You can do it. Aim high! If you aim low, you will get low. If you aim high, you get high. It’s that simple! Naturally, you need to work at this regularly, learn to not take no for an answer and shake it off when someone tells you that you are just “lucky” when you start to achieve some real success. Put in the time and it will pay off. Honestly, I prefer this method of marketing to advertising in newspapers or magazines, which may or may not reach my target clients and will cost me a lot of money. That kind of advertising can be helpful if it’s one tool in your kit, but you need to think bigger than just paid advertisements.

Now is a good time to Google your name if you haven’t done so already. There is nothing wrong with this practice and you should be doing it regularly. Most of your clients will do it, too. How do you measure? What comes up? Make sure you fix any problems or issues before they turn into something bigger. Takedown those party pictures on Facebook – it’s time to be professional now. If you Google Daniel Nyiri, you will find everything that you need to know about me, which simply lends greater credibility to my business. Once upon a time, you would have come across a lot of pictures of me in Calvin Klein underwear from my modeling era. This worked pretty well for me when I was a personal trainer. Today, however, you have to scroll through quite a few pages on Google to find those pictures and you will see more of me in business attire, which is the way I want it. Go ahead google yourself. If nothing comes up, you need to fix that! Does your business come up? By the way, when I pick a doctor or personal trainer, attorney, or any other person to hire, if I don’t find anything on the internet about them, I move on. Once you have done any fixing or JULY 2020

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a month or so, they will quickly lose interest in you and your business. Besides, you need to give out free and entertaining informatio n so people come back for more. Upload four valuable posts for every one promotion.

updating, you need to start working on your online profile. Be active on all social media sites and use lots of pictures and catchy text on your websites. Make sure to use keywords to your name and business on all of your pictures as well, which makes it easier for Google and other search engines to find them. How many features do you have? International or any local? You need to work on that. Once you get in magazines and TV shows, that will help boost your profile since their websites have millions of visitors daily. Are you on YouTube? You need to be! Use Facebook Live to your advantage; you can reach all your followers with it and you can connect them on a personal level through a series of videos. Host an FAQ and see how many people will respond. I recommend having a friend ask a couple of questions to get the ball rolling. Even if you only have a handful of viewers, people still get notified that you were live and they can see it later. It’s all about building your profile and reputation – also known as free advertising Make sure to post every day, at least two times, on all social media sites. If people see that you only post once 42

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While you do have to sell, you should not be selling all of the time. We have thousands of readers every day who go to our websites for our recipes; our business now has more than 1000 healthy home-cooked recipes with full cooking instructions and macros with pictures and videos on how to make them and we give them away for free. We also share a variety of informational posts on why people should eat differently and work out. This is useful information but it’s still colorful and entertaining. Then we post some funny and goofy posts, especially outtakes from our trainers. On top of that, we also post many transformational stories with interesting, valuable content and pictures. It’s all about creating value, driving interest, and keeping people coming back for more because they know your business offers useful and fun information. Make sure that every single thing you post on your social media sites is linked back to your website. Speaking of your website, how is that going? Do you have a professional website that generates leads for you? Or did you make it yourself? If that is the case, then you need to hire someone to develop a new website. Have a professional do it. A professional can create a clean look and layout, metrics that test your ads, calls to action, simple navigation, and a website that makes money for you. We always use three different landing pages on our website so we can test what pictures, videos, text, or colors work. We analyze this data each month and use the one that works the most and then we keep on testing. Our website brings a lot of leads into our studio. It took me five tries to find the perfect company to design and run our website – it wasn’t easy but it was worth the process. Since then, it has been an amazing relationship and we work together well as a team. It is almost like they are part of 4U Fitness. If you Google “Mike Arce and Daniel Nyiri GSD

Show,” you will find out all the details in a 60-minute interview on what to do with your marketing and how to find the right team for you! This free video will save you both time and money. You can’t just put stuff out there and hope for the best. You have to measure your marketing and advertising efforts. This means that you have to systemize everything and you have to track everything, including details such as what times are people calling, what times do they answer calls in return, who are you attracting, what ads/marketing promotions are working and what ones aren’t and pretty much every other aspect of your business. For example, we found out that calling mothers to book appointments is perfect around 10 a.m. because that is when they are often free after dropping off kids; however, it is not such a great idea to call after 5 p.m., since it is time for dinner, baths, homework and family time. But for single businesswomen, on the other hand, we have better success when we call after 6 p.m. because they are often home and available at that time. Granted, all of this requires work and practice, but it will make your business stronger. It is another avenue for marketing and making connections. When you are calling leads or clients, you and your staff must have a script both for talking with someone and for leaving a message. A professional website can be as expensive as building a store, but it can be just as valuable! If you just want to get a beautiful website that gives you creditability and gives people an easy way to find you and see that you are the real deal, then your business is already a winner. Just have a basic simple and beautiful website. Focus on that and slowly build the rest around it as you and your business evolve. If you have amazing landing pages as we do, your website is ready for SEO (search engine optimization); this makes it even easier for people to find you and make referrals. Customize your landing pages and test, test, and test more until you find the right one for your business. Of course, you are only allowed to work on your website if you have figured out your niche market! Without that


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there is no point because you don’t know who you are going after. Are you marketing to big, beefy guys or moms and busy, professional women? Your website – including the photos and the text – must reflect that or you will quickly turn your niche off if they see someone who doesn’t reflect their goals on your home page. Ultimately, the bottom line is that your website has to appeal to your clientele. If, for instance, you know that your facility has expertise in working with high-performing athletes, then your website has to be built around that. If it is working moms, then it should be all about them. Remember this: less is more! Use pictures, videos, and a small amount of text on the main page. You need to build a website in a way that makes it very simple for the client who is seeing it for the first time; they need enough information to take the next step but not so much that they get overwhelmed. This means that you do not need to include a full list of services, your certifications, background, or anything like that on the main page. People will lose interest if you overload them with too much information. All they want to know is: what can you offer them, why should they join, and why now? If you answer these questions, you will draw them in. Try to use your pitch to build the website and start building it down like the way they scroll down on a page. Start with general information and at the very bottom you finish up with the specific details. Make sure that you include a clear call to action on the way so that someone can sign up for a one-week trial or a free appointment. If you want to grow your brand and have people talk about you and know who you are, you need to get your name out there. One of the easiest ways to do so is having your pitch down well and attending social events where you meet other business professionals. I highly recommend you try to find networking events where your client would hang out; you will likely attract new clients this way. If you are at a business event, then your focus should be mainly on building your brand. Of course, you need to do this. There is nothing

more valuable than when a highly successful businessperson who has become your client starts to introduce you to his/her peers. They are instantly sold! This is why the golden rule is that you never turn down an invitation from your client. They will be so happy to invite you out and introduce you to all of their friends. Any time we went to an event like that, we walked away with three to five new clients. And those clients stay forever and ever unless you mess something up. Look on your local Chamber of Commerce’s website for new business openings, and then go out there and introduce yourself to the new business owner. You can give him or her a deal and say that all of their new customers

will receive a free session or whatever your deal or promotion you decide to offer. You just have to make sure it’s free, without a catch and has a deadline (for instance, they need to come in in the next seven days or they lose it) and it should definitely have some real value. Ask some of your clients to go check out this new business, and, in return, you can give them a free session. Make sure you tell these clients to mention your business and that you sent them over. This is a great way to set up a new connection and it can pay off now and in the future. You also did your good deed for the day – helping out a local business and your clients – so that is a win-win in anybody’s book. JULY 2020 43


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Redesigning the future Here are the lessons operators can learn from the past, and they're not all about social distancing By Ben Hackney-Williams, Head of Content at Escape Fitness In the current climate, it feels like we're on pause. Another month passes and nothing's really changed. The uncertainty of the world at present is utterly justified because nobody knows what's going to happen. However, ditching the decision inertia and moving for the sake of moving, the real gym owner pioneers are making things happen even though facilities might still be closed. Positivity for progress stands out above everything else. I've spoken to operators already in big development talks about how to adapt to almost any eventuality, and the recent Escape Your Limits podcast guests continue to showcase those flying the flag for future growth.

This is when people need fitness the most. “I think fitness is going to come back stronger than ever,” says Barbara Chancey, founder of her eponymous Barbara Chancey Design Group, speaking to Matthew Januszek. “You know about the Great Depression, right? 19... was it... 1929? That's when Charles Atlas started the first fitness company because he knew self-esteem was at its all-time lowest. “When you don't have a job and when you don't have self-esteem, he knew that working out and the physical endorphin rush that you get from lifting weights replaces that. And

that's where it all started – in the worst economic times of the world.”

Look back to look forward. Continuing the trend of looking into the past for potential in the future, BCD Group has been pivotal in educating operators around the world – 200 successful studios across six continents 44

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– when it comes to fitness industry history. It's a justified call for better understanding of the market's roots. “I'm always surprised how many people don't know the history,” Barbara continues. “For example, if someone wants to open a cycling studio I'm like: 'Great! What happened in 1989?' and they go: 'I was born.' I'm like: 'No Johnny G, IHRSA... Don't you know Johnny G?' “Think about a HIIT studio when you're going to have Tabata. Do you know Dr Izumi Tabata for the Japanese speed skaters? Do you know where Tabata started? They've never heard of it, but they're teaching it. And so I go all the way back to the history. “If you're going to open a cafe and you don't even know where beans grow, how can you serve coffee? We take it to a very, very primal level. And from that point on, it's almost like an education. And so by the time they start getting on board, we've improved their language. I give them a vocabulary for architectural terms so they can talk to their general contractor. You know, my job is so they could open their second, third location and not have to call me.”

Invest in your future.

are: 'Do you believe your instructor should go to the bathroom with your clients? Does Jerry Seinfeld?' No, he doesn't go to the restroom with his audience. Why should the instructor?

be naive to the fact. You have to really show it in its worst light.”

“We give them green rooms in all of my studios because I've been that instructor where you just lose a little bit of your magic when you have to go in with everyone else. When we treat our instructors like they're the rockstars, they're not going anywhere.”

The health issues that the coronavirus raised has brought to light how fitness can be preventative over curative, for so many more people.

Identify your weaknesses. Now is the perfect time to do better. If you've not been focusing on the opportunity to improve already, get started before it's back to the fast-pace we've been used to. Kris Gethin, CEO of Kaged Muscle, explains how business and body are alike, and how you must be honest with yourself. “If you look at yourself in a mirror, you know if your right lat is weak over the left. So you know you've got to put more emphasis and more work into that area. It's the same with within your business; if you recognise a weakness, you have to double down on it. You just cannot ignore it. You cannot

Empower the world.

“Isn't it ironic that you may see somebody who is obese in McDonald's wearing a mask because they don't want to catch the coronavirus?” asks Kris. “We just turn a blind eye to that. It's 1000 cuts, at the end of the day. It's not something that's going to kill us straight away. “We need to just become a little more enlightened and be able to put that voice out there to people that are actually going to listen and apply it.” • Ben Hackney-Williams (@_BenHW) is head of content at Escape Fitness and has been a journalist for over a decade. He has worked in the fitness industry as a consumer-facing content creator for international bodybuilding and MMA publications, driven engagement in supply-side gym design and equipment manufacturing, and helped produce over 130 episodes of the Escape Your Limits podcast.

Regardless of whether or not you agree that history is important for innovation and disruption, the future of your business depends on how well you look after your staff. Empower trainers to rise to the challenge and deliver on their promises. This career progression is vital to keeping them interested in staying with you, long term, as Barbara explains... “Everything goes back to the instructor. The questions I always ask JULY 2020 45


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The Future of the Combat Class By Colin Lee Berry Street Defence Director

Due to the coronavirus, all contact martial arts/self-defence classes will have to wait for a long time before being able to go back to normal. However, online learning and technical drills (once studios and gyms can open) are options in being able to learn martial arts/self-defence. Since becoming a personal trainer 20 years ago and then developing and launching my self-defence/fitness concept Street Defence, I have found that there has been a divide when it comes to the Health & Fitness industry and self-defence/martial arts. However, things are starting to change with the emergence of martial arts-themed gyms that predominantly have the combat element running throughout the class timetable. In time I believe that rather than having martial arts-themed gyms separate to your traditional health and fitness clubs, the health and fitness industry will begin to integrate self-defence/ martial arts into their gyms and class timetables. Health and fitness clubs have shied away from having actual combat classes in their gyms and have stuck with more aerobics-based combat classes where choreographed sequences are performed to gain a workout only. I believe that the health and fitness industry should embrace martial arts/ 46

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self-defence within their clubs as it is classed as a life skill, a discipline, and a great workout. Martial arts and self-defence classes are designed for all ages (children and adults) and can build confidence too. These sorts of classes can be a huge benefit to the health and fitness industry as they offer something new to what is already on offer. Also, from my experience, gyms across the UK tend not to have many classes geared towards teenagers. However, I have taught many teenagers within schools across the UK that love learning self-defence/martial arts as they are aware that they are at an age when they are going to start going on nights out and they want to learn how to stay safe.

Once this pandemic is a thing of the past, the health and fitness industry will begin to excel again, and martial arts/self-defence classes will become part of most clubs throughout the UK and beyond. Side note: After being in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years, I must say how proud I am to be associated with this industry. The way with which clubs across the UK have adapted to the challenges the pandemic is amazing. If we all support each other as an industry, I am sure this amazing community can not only survive this, but it will move from strength to strength.

Gyms offer several other types of classes – holistic, spin, aerobicstyle etc. Martial Arts/self-defence classes will help increase class offerings and add new members.


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Virtually Unstoppable Taz Dunstan from XL Personal Training 2020 has dropped some devastating metaphorical bombs and peoples new years resolutions have swiftly transformed from the standard ambitious aspirations to: "Just survive." The biggest lessons learned from the pandemic and international lockdowns have been the importance of mental health and society's need for a sense of connectivity. Social distancing has resulted in a global movement of online groups to rebuild a sense of community, this has also sparked countless virtual opportunities for sport and entertainment to keep spirits high and regain some sense of normalcy in a far from "normal" situation. Lots of gym owners and fitness professionals have had to think on the fly and incorporate technology in various conventional ways to adapt to the drastic changes in the delivery of health and fitness programs in the world. This has been an exciting time to embrace "freedom fitness" where neither clients nor providers are bound to a specific locationironically convenient considering lockdown has prevented a lot of travel inclusive of local ventures. While this has been frustrating (and financially devastating) for gym owners, this has also opened up a large opportunity for sales of fitness equipment and business operation redesign. Significant numbers of people have reacted to the denied access to gyms 48

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with "panic purchases" which has seen

because consumers are stating through

local stores selling and trade sites out

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of almost all of their fitness equipment,

essential. Previously a venue that may

rivalling hand sanitizer sell outs. This

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is able to run (or cover the distance however they choose) with a tracker such as Strava. Below are some upcoming events with links to join in. 1. 5th July virtual Gold Coast marathon 26 Virtual https://www.facebook.com/ events/284944872689845/ 2. 25th July outback marathon https://www.facebook.com/ events/179001703452406/ 3. 30th August 26 Virtual mexico marathon  https://www.facebook.com/ events/570157093921252/ As access begins to open up, what we can be certain of moving into the second half of the year is that nothing is certain and at any point freedoms and resources that we have taken for granted can be revoked at any time. This is not a time for entitlement and complaints of inconvenience, this is a time to exercise patience, compassion and gratitude for what we have. Shift your focus to be in a better position to adapt. What this time also offers is an opportunity to take all reasonable measures to "secure consistency and stability" as best as possible through virtual capacities.

intra-cellular regeneration and healthy, sustainable exercise plans and nutrition advice. What we learned from this is that while building healthier routines, most of our clients need more nutrition guidance and supplementation to cover the gaps due to shortages of food and declines in motivation to eat balanced meals. Coming into winter this nutritional decline is a common trend so preempting the blow out to minimize damage over winter is important. Keep in mind immune systems need to be strong at all times, especially in colder months to fight colds and flu.

Gym owners, fitness professionals, athletes, industry suppliers and the general public need to keep current and connected. Alongside the physical delivery of exercise programs, there needs to be more collaboration between virtual events and fitness providers to build motivation between members and provide an accessible avenue for those who can not physically attend an event for any number of reasons, inclusive of travel restrictions, physical limitations, mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.Â

This has seen us team up with a health and wellness provider "Kelly Sein" and a 30 day nutrition challenge with our "Fitmas in July" where we reinvest the money paid for transformations into supplements to ensure our clients are covering their bases with:

At XL Personal Training we have embraced several virtual events including WBFF virtual shows, several virtual races and some virtual transformation programs including products to help people with nutrition which has fallen by the wayside for many who have struggled to cope with stress. We launched an "inside out" wellness program in JULY 2020 to incorporate

As a community we thrive by coming together. The fitness industry has been divided by nature to create points of difference to compete for the "biggest and best" title. It is important for us to work together to overcome the challenges we are now facing because this will be more reassuring for our clients. We need to provide high customer service with complete transparency, all operating on the same page with our priorities to deliver high quality services in a safe environment- not acting out of desperation to take short cuts for quick cash at the expense of quality or safety measures. If you know someone is offering a product or service of value PROMOTE IT and work out how your collaboration can add value to this for your own clients, that is what will make you and your clients virtually unstoppable!

Protein Fibre Gut health Hydration- through teas vitamins and minerals More information on this for yourself or as a template to design your own product/ service to help others can be found at:https://www.facebook.com/ events/2598257133825067/ We have also teamed up with numerous online providers to promote events we support including virtual runs hosted by 26 virtual and the outback marathon. These events vary in distance, from 1.6kms to 42.2kms with something for everyone who JULY 2020 49


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Adapting fitness for disabled people by ben clark

Exposure to disabled people breaks this social awkwardness as you learn to see the person in the chair rather than the disability. For example, when I used to play wheelchair rugby we had a sponsor come in and play a game with us. When they first came in they were all quiet and awkward and you struggled to be able to have a conversation with any of them. Five minutes into the game they were taking a severe beating and after many friendly jibes they realised we were a serious sports team who was just like any other team they might have played against! At the end, they were laughing and joking with us, in between heavy breathing and a lot of sweating!

Last month I explained how to make your gym more accessible and why it's both important for your image and also financially beneficial as a business. Today, I'm expanding on this by explaining how to make the services you provide more accessible for your clients once they are in the gym.

Education above all Education is the biggest factor in making fitness more accessible. A 50

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really simple lesson to start with is exposure. As a Wheelchair user, I often have to have this awkward phase when meeting someone new as they're scared they might say something to offend me, which is understandable as it's a new concept that people struggle to relate to and that often creates anxiety; "Do I look down and talk, or get on their level?" But as people have gotten to know me, they realise that all of that worry was for nothing as much like you, I'm just a regular person who just happens to be sat down!

Maybe linking with a local disabled sports team as a team-building exercise could lead to a great collaboration as well as an educational experience?

Understanding limitations As much as I like to say I can do anything you can do, there are obviously limits to my abilities as a gym-goer. For example, I'm not going to be doing squats any time soon! However, that doesn't mean I should be excluded from a class. Instead, adaptions should be made, whether that's different equipment or alternative exercises in the case of a


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with disabled clients. Asking if they want to see the emergency exit strategy or check the first aid room can really put someone's mind at ease, reassuring them that you have the correct procedure and training in case anything happens and that you have also considered accessibility and extra factors that come with being more inclusive. This doesn't have to be mandatory, but even asking the question shows that you care for them beyond just their monetary value as a paying customer.

Conclusion group session. Just as you would adapt some exercises for different levels of fitness, you can apply this to help with accessibility too. Remember what I said last month about disabled people having the same goals and ambitions as everyone else? I'm not saying there needs to be exclusive sessions for disabled people, but having instructors that are adaptable and knowledgeable goes a huge way towards a more inclusive session. This can be as simple as doing different exercises in a yoga class or going the extra mile to put a handbike in the spin studio.

The qualifications There are CPDs available to you and your staff that can expand your knowledge and are internationally recognised accreditations. Ones like the Exercise and Disability course by YMCA explain how to teach an under-represented population which increases demand. These courses can help you understand the needs of several different disabilities so you can adapt as necessary as well as learning about the legislation and legalities.

the fitness industry, we come up with creative solutions to improve the gym as a whole.

Remember the Safety! When it comes to any situation, we have to think of the health and safety risks as the main factor. With different disabilities and need requirements come different safety aspects to acknowledge. For example, if someone has a wheelchair that can tip back easily then they might run the risk of doing so when lifting heavy weights overhead. Simply putting their back against the wall is a quick and easy solution to this and the easiest way to solve these problems is a quick chat with those involved – they often have had to problem-solve these sorts of activities in their everyday lives! There are other things to consider here that will improve your relationship

Adapting your services for disabled people doesn't have to be complicated, timely or costly: some simple adjustments really go a long way in setting yourself apart from the competition. Through education and adaptability, you can make a huge difference on the impact of inclusivity not just for disabled clients but existing ones too, such as your older clients or those coming back from injury. If someone comes in with a leg injury and still wants to train upper body, you already have the knowledge and knowhow in place to adapt to their needs. If you want help in any way to adapt your gym, training or services to a hugely underrepresented community, I provide a consultancy and education service that helps gyms and their staff. Contact me at mr.benjamin.s.clark@gmail.com

Qualifications can only take you so far though and only with experience, exposure and continued education can we really help develop accessibility and inclusivity further, which is the role I perform. So far I have collaborated with several gyms successfully to increase their clients in the disability sector and helped to improve their services for their current elderly clients who also appreciate the changes. With my combined knowledge of disability and JULY 2020

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EGYM LAUNCHES PROGRAMME TO BOOST IMMUNITY In response to significant scientific evidence proving a positive correlation between exercise and immunity1, EGYM has developed Immunity Boost a 30 minute strength training programme, supported by a pre-workout stretch routine and a cardiovascular cool down, specifically designed to strengthen the body’s defence against many types of infection, including Covid-19.

Andreas Grabisch-Mikula, Data and Sports Scientist, EGYM, says: “Boosting immunity and suppressing inflammation have been scientifically proven to improve an individual’s ability to fight infection. Long before Covid-19 became a global threat, we set about designing a scientific, evidence based exercise programme that would trigger these specific responses.” The result is Immunity Boost, a training programme based on maximising the positive, physiological effects of strength training on the immune system. The contraction of skeletal muscle releases myokines. These are hormonelike messenger substances that have a protective and rejuvenating effect on the immune system. The higher 52

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the intensity of the training the more myokines are released, Schnyder & Handschin (2015)2. However, science also suggests that, if the training period is too long and strenuous, the ‘open window’ effect is triggered. This actually decreases the immune function for a short period of time post training. It is therefore imperative that intensity and duration are controlled to ensure optimal results. To maximise the training benefit, Immunity Boost provides the optimal intensity to promote the release of as many protective myokines as possible

without activating the ‘open window effect’. The programme also includes intraset pauses. This means that every 5 repetitions in a 15 repetition set is separated by a short rest period. This decreases the exertion and elevates intramuscular blood flow, protecting against a suppression in the immune response. Designed to be completed at least twice per week, the 12-week programme is split into four training phases which ensure that the user progresses at an effective, safe rate firing up immune responses whilst protecting against


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the negative effects of over training.” Immunity Boost is a pre-programmed, 30 minute, strength training plan available via EGYM’s SMART strength training circuit. Once the user has performed a single rep isokinetic strength test on each piece of strength equipment and provided personal data such as gender, age and weight, the programme prescribes bespoke intensity, sets, repetitions and cadence in the optimal mix, proved by science, to fire up the individual’s immune system whilst also protecting against immunity suppression associated with over training.

Grabisch-Mikula, adds: “Immunology is a complex subject and science has proved that it is very important to apply duration and intensity in the correct mix, accompanied by adequate rest periods in order to maximise the effect. Using EGYM’s Smart training systems, we can ensure individuals apply enough intensity to release myokines without triggering negative

responses. This is absolutely crucial when working with individuals with little or no personal knowledge of how to stimulate the immune system through exercise. “The risk infection poses to health will remain with us long after Covid-19 is under control, with older and obese adults particularly vulnerable.”

To further enhance the training effect, individuals are advised to perform a pre-strength training stretch routine, ideally utilising EGYM’s Smart flex circuit, to increase lymph flow and improve oxygen flow, both factors that further activate the immune system. A low impact cardiovascular cool down completes the session. According to a review by Hooren & Peake (2018)3, an active cool down can prevent the depression of circulating immune cells contributing to the overall effectiveness of the programme in fighting infection. JULY 2020 53


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There are two factors which contribute to this. Firstly, immunity declines with age4. According to Dr. Nir Barzilai, scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research, referenced in The New York Times3 in May this year, vulnerability increases start around the age of 55, when natural killer cells that usually fight infections, become less effective at destroying virus-infected cells. Secondly, fat tissue increases inflammation. With an ageing population and a growing obesity epidemic, a high percentage of the population is extremely vulnerable to potentially life threatening infections such as, but not exclusively, Covid-19. So, yet again, science proves the value exercise can deliver. In the case of fighting infection, it is EGYM’s mission, through Immunity Boost, to provide operators with a means of prescribing and managing a safe and effective 54

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training programme for anyone – including those with little or no previous exercise experience. Immunity Boost is available in a number of formats to ensure accessibility to as wide an audience as possible. In its ultimate form, Immunity Boost is prescribed through the EGYM Smart strength circuit, supported by EGYM’s Smart Flex mobility circuit and a cardiovascular cool down. Programme progression can be fully logged and monitored through the EGYM Branded Member App. For operators who do not have access to either EGYM’s Smart Flex or Smart Strength, a modified version of the programme is available via the EGYM Branded Member App, currently available to all operators free of charge through the Covid-19 reopening phase. For more information visit www.egym.com

References 1.The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defence system. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ article/pii/S2095254618301005 2.Muscle contractions trigger the release of protective myokines. Schnyder & Handschin (2015). Skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ: PGC-1α, myokines and exercise. Bone; 80; 115–125 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC4657151/?_escaped_ fragment_=po=16.3043 3. Do We Need a Cool-Down After Exercise? A Narrative Review of the Psychophysiological Effects and the Effects on Performance, Injuries and the LongTerm Adaptive Response; Sports Medicine; 48; 1575–1595. Hooren & Peake (2018). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/ s40279-018-0916-2 4. Exercise and the aging immune system. Ageing Res. Rev.; 11(3). 404420. Simpson et al. (2012). https://www. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S1568163712000438


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Inductions – This time it IS about health and safety (and retention) By Guy Griffiths, Author of Stick Around (strategies to keep your gym members motivated) It will soon be time to welcome many of your members back to your club. This presents you with a huge opportunity to make a fresh start with all members, regardless of their experience or expectations. First impressions matter, and this time around they matter more than ever. Inductions are a cornerstone of good member retention that I often talk and write about. Articles in GOM Feb20 and Oct19 both reference onboarding and inductions, but not as mandatory health and safety appointments. As we re-open, we can use the health and safety argument to ensure all members get this key interaction. To be clear, this is not a 45-minute one-onone appointment, more of a fast-start speech that you deliver to all members.

your retention, as it will help your staff to re-build rapport with your members.

Why is the induction more important than ever?

Virtual or real-life?

Some members will rush back, but others need reassurance. A 5-minute group welcome session will help deliver this. Everyone needs to hear your new procedures, regardless of whether they have read them online. It will also help with reinforcing the rules, which will reassure members further, and help you to stay open! Finally, it will improve

Since the fitness industry has pivoted to digital for many services, it makes sense to record a welcome video with your staff in-club. We developed a series of clips at FitSpace back in 2013, and many other low-cost clubs do the same. It really helps member confidence and explains policies for members before they visit. It should

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be sent as a link to your members, rejoiners, and new joiners. It could also be played in the lobby when members are waiting to start their session. But video does not create a proper staffmember interaction. It is best to deliver the same information again either at the start of each session, or to members in the queue. Airline stewards run through the safety procedure before every flight. You need to do the same for every member visiting your club, if possible, on every visit.


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a good job of cleaning and distancing, and make sure you speak to those who are not. Overall, your members will thank you for it; you are better off upsetting or losing one or two members who do not meet the rules.

The 3Rs of Inductions Regardless of what you call your new induction (and it is probably best to drop the word induction from the description), it has three purposes. Reassurance, rules, and retention. Make it mandatory for the sake of your business, all your staff and members will thank you for it in the long run.

Key messages

It is for everyone

You should be crystal clear on the key messages for your welcome speech. The rules are there to keep members and staff safe, and to keep the club open. Explain the cleaning procedures; what is expected of members and staff. How is social distancing maintained? And how are any breaches reported and dealt with?

Just as all members should experience this welcome, all staff should be delivering it. Gym owners, management, instructors, and casual staff. By repeating the speech at the start of every session, or at regular intervals to everyone in the queue, your staff will learn, practice, and implement the policies. All staff need to understand both perspectives; to reassure and retain members.

A few hidden messages can also be woven into this communication, designed to help with member retention. Tell them you are there to help; offer to book an appointment for a programme review, fitness test, or other session. Members need to download your app to access bookings and digital content such as the workout of the week, online classes, and coaching messages. Show how you support members in the club and remotely.

Induction key factors (examples) Health & Safety • Social distancing • Cleaning • Traffic flow Retention • Book appointment • Remote support • Download app Member benefits • Stay safe • Get results • Stay longer

Members and staff have avoided inductions in the past, so you need to sell the benefits, starting with your staff. It is mainly about health and safety (staff and members), but also about retention, getting member feedback (which will be mostly positive), building rapport with members (to sell more PT in future), or simply having a more interesting day through talking to more members!

Short and sweet Keep the welcome short and sweet, always deliver it with a smile and stick to the script. Some of your keener members might want to bypass the welcome, but they are likely to be the ones you will need to keep an eye on for social distancing or cleaning. Keep it up as more members come back. They will be the members who need more reassurance, so reinforce the message. Make the welcome speech your new normal. Follow-up during the session to build on the rapport you have created at the start. Give comments of praise to members who are doing

Guy Griffiths is a coach to independent gym owners, and a member retention specialist. He delivers strategy sessions, staff training, communication plans, and shows clubs how to measure and improve retention. Get a copy of Guy’s book “Stick Around – strategies to keep your gym members motivated”, find out where he’s speaking next, or book a call to discuss your club’s retention at ggfit.com/gom JULY 2020

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Women and ‘Gymtimidation’ BY SAMANTHA WALTERS An astounding amount of women feel too scared or intimidated to use a gym alone. If you are one of these woman that don’t feel confident enough to enter a gym, or even step out of your comfort zone from the running machine the weights area and pick up a set of dumbbells, please rest assured, you are not alone, in fact, I also used to feel this way myself! I will begin by explaining a little more about myself; My name is Samantha, I am a qualified PT and have just opened my own women-only training Studio in Cheshire. I haven’t always been so confident when it comes to exercise and lifting weights when I first started out, I too felt a little uncomfortable in the gym, wondering if others were watching and feeling silly or awkward if I was doing something wrong. This, and understanding first hand how women can feel and be so passionate about women in fitness and the benefits it has, is what has driven me to open a space where women can feel comfortable to focus on their workouts and leave their anxieties at the door. Before I started my journey as a Fitness Professional, I was a Practicing school teacher with little knowledge of weight training, which shows we all start off as beginners at some point. I was, however, lucky enough to have a partner who helped me build confidence with training and inspired me to push myself more, so I invested in my own online fitness coach, threw myself into training with structure and this is where I really found my passion for fitness, as not only did my new passion transform my body, but also 58

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my mindset and confidence as a strong woman. It became clear at this time when I was starting out that a lot of women fear the gym, especially weight training in the gym. After conducting a study with my own clients, the reasons behind this were pretty generic; women are afraid of being judged.

With the weights sections in the gym being more male dominant, this is a huge factor in how comfortable a woman feels, alongside not being quite sure of how to use the weights and feeling self-conscious of doing so correctly. If a woman is focusing too much on who is watching her and if she is being judged doing an exercise,


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4. Use Social Media!! Today social media is a massive tool we should all be implementing into our businesses. Create a support group for your clients, space where they can interact and speak to each other and build up friendships with common interests. From here you can create training buddy systems where women can team up to train at particular times so they aren’t alone, Confidence in numbers is a real thing! 5. Ensure you are constantly engaging with the women in your gym, praise them for their great efforts to help build their confidence further, and most importantly, ask for their feedback and make sure you use it.

then she isn’t going to be getting the best out of her workout as she won't be focusing properly on technique and pushing herself. Recently, with medical professionals understanding more the positive effects exercise can have on the mind and not just the body, more people are being encouraged to take up training, as after all, as the saying goes, exercise is the most underutilised antidepressant, and it's free! As women, we can feel the stress from all angles, work, family life, running a home, motherhood and so on. The gym is our escape, our peace for that one hour, our time to catch up with friends… so, as fitness professionals, its time we started to look at how we can make women feel more comfortable in our gyms! With the lockdown situation and seeing all gyms close to give way for a big increase in in-home workouts and using fitness as a focus to keep mentally strong during these unprecedented times. the gym equipment from all stores has been flying out of stock and we entered a new era of joining live workouts and training from our gardens or living rooms. More than before woman have been training consistently from home, and feeling comfortable doing so! My collected data showed that these

women do intend to keep up with their new routines, but they are still wary to do so when it comes to entering a gym. This is where we as fitness professionals come in!

So what can we do to help? There are a few suggestions that can make women feel more conformable, ideas such as women only sessions or sections in the gym work for some places, but they aren’t always feasible. So what can you do in these cases?

These are just a few ideas from a woman's perspective of the things you can do to help encourage women in fitness. The best piece of advice I could give is to engage with your female clients, and really listen! Show them that you care and that you want to help them achieve their goals in a place they can feel is a safe zone. Let's focus on eliminating the ‘gymtimidation’ and beginning an era of confident, strong women! By Samantha Walters Missfit.studio1@gmail.com

1. First, think about the layout and spaces of your gym area, is it really a good idea to put the heaviest dumbbells next to the mat and stretching area? 2. Give your female client a thorough induction; make them feel comfortable with the equipment and areas in the gym. 3. Write your client a clear and concise plan to follow with set exercises, sets and reps. Make it accessible when you aren’t around! If a woman has a plan to focus on, she will spend less time thinking about her surroundings and more on completing her workout. JULY 2020 59


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Gym Owner Monthly Magazine July Issue 2020  

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

Gym Owner Monthly Magazine July Issue 2020  

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

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