FOR GYM OWNERS AND HEALTH & FITNESS PROFESSIONALS
ISSUE 4 // JULY 2016
o t s y a w 8 gy m r u o y t boos rience expe
0 5 T A T FI w to find Ho fitness r o f e m ti
Open all hours How accessible is your gym?
‘We look for a very spec ial breed of people’ PayAsUGym’s Neil Harmsworth on industry challenges
Social skills Our new gym owner’s tricks to boost social media performance
IMPROVING THE ODDS
re fu rb is hm en t M ak in g th e m os t of yo ur gy m NE WS / / REV I EWS // T EC H NOLO G Y / / TRE N DS / / EQU I PM E N T / / I NSIG HT
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Contents T R E N DS 7
The latest news and hot topics in the industry
OWNER OF THE MONTH We talk to Martin Stockley, manager of The Junction Sports & Leisure Centre
THE GYM INDUCTION
Why giving the best possible induction is crucial for helping new members ways to improve your gym experience
H E A LT H PERSONAL TRAINER’S VIEW
Adriana Albritton, founder of Fit N All, on achieving higher engagement
Adam Wilson, owner of new gym Anatomy 37, on the need for social media
GEAR RECRUITMENT MADE EASY
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
MOVE OR IMPROVE?
A new app makes capturing data simple
Is it better to buy new or opt for secondhand gym equipment? The best fitness kit around for you and your clients Your gym is in need of a little TLC – but where do you begin?
S POT L IG H T THE BIG INTERVIEW Neil Harmsworth, co-founder of online fitness marketplace PayAsUGym
ACCESS ALL AREAS Why it’s crucial to ensure that your gym is accessible for all
SUPPLEMENTING REASON Ben Coomber on bringing rational thought to health and fitness
F I T N E SS ASK THE EXPERTS Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help
FIT AT 50 Chris Zaremba finds ways of building extra time into your life for fitness
Membership/CRM & Marketing Access Control inc Biometrics Till, Credit Card & Stock Control Web & Mobile Activity & Class Bookings DD Management & Online Sign-ups Implementation, Training & Support
Welcome... … to the July issue of Gym Owner Monthly. And what a month it’s been. With the political landscape in turmoil and the nation surfing the ups and downs of the summer’s sporting events, it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride. But however you look at it, 2016 has, so far, been a year of progress in the fitness industry. With technology advancing apace – so much so that both gym managers and customers are sprinting to keep up with it – it’s changing the landscape of the gym experience as we know it. But change doesn’t have to mean uncertainty – in fact, we need change to bring the industry on and help develop our offerings for customers. On page 26, we look at gym refurbishment and what a huge impact a small change can have on your gym. Plus, we find out if you can only make one change to your gym, what that change should be. We also look at the dilemma of whether to buy new or used gym equipment. Are you getting a great deal by buying second-hand, or could there be trouble by buying something you’re unsure of? Is it a good use of money to treat your customers to brand new gear, or is it better to pay less and use a refurbished piece of kit that’s had the once-over from those in the know? Turn to page 13 to find out what our industry experts think. Meanwhile, we talk Neil Harmsworth, co-founder of online fitness marketplace PayAsUGym, about how the gym experience is changing and the challenges facing gym managers – read all about it on page 18. Elsewhere, we look at why induction training is crucial for personal trainers (page 31), and find out how to ensure your gym is accessible for those with mobility issues (page 22).
See you next month!
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© Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2016 Gym Owner Monthly is published by PW Media. Gym Owner Monthly is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of Gym Owner Monthly. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by Gym Owner Monthly, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. We cannot accept responsibility for any mistakes or misprints. Unsolicited material cannot be returned. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Please note that we reserve the right to use all supplied photographs/images elsewhere in the publication or on our social media channels.
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What’s hot in the fitness industry
Row for it Ethics Leisure has launched the Total Gym Row Trainer, the only row machine that uses adjustable bodyweight resistance on an incline. The new machine targets all the muscles groups simultaneously and enables a smooth consistent load through the entire range of motion, due to loaded concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise. As with other Total Gym machines, it is designed for multi-planar movement and uses adjustable incline bodyweight resistance to integrate strength with cardio.
Extra protection Protectivity, specialist insurance provider to individuals and businesses in the active leisure sector, has strengthened its offering to personal trainers by launching Indemnity Match. This insurance benefit matches professional indemnity cover to the level of chosen public liability cover at no additional cost. The benefit will be offered, as standard, to all new clients and to existing clients renewing their policy. Andy Brownsell, commercial director at Protectivity, says: ‘It is a common misconception that holding public liability insurance means total cover against a claim. This is simply not the case. Public liability insurance does not cover against a claim made by a third party who argues they have been injured as a result of advice or instruction received from a personal trainer. To be covered against such claims, professional indemnity insurance is required. For more info, visit www.protectivity. com or call 01494 887909.
Get up and out! A survey among the British public has found that people exercise for just two hours a week, with 26 per cent saying they take no exercise at all. The results
Specifically designed for rowing – but at an incline – the Total Gym Row Trainer allows for additional exercises such as an alternating side to side row and a biceps curl. By providing both concentric and eccentric loading, it effectively trains prime stabilising muscles and boosts proprioception.
camp-style high intensity interval training station. Ergonomically designed, it requires 12 square feet (1.1 square metres) of floor space, but folds up quickly and easily to allow compact, upright storage. For more info, go to www.ethicsleisure.com
It’s ideal for beginners, but boasts many options to add greater resistance and multiple exercises to challenge advanced athletes. I can be used as part of an individual’s gym circuit, and is equally valuable in small group training or as a boot
of the survey, conducted by Fusion Lifestyle, have been published as part of the ‘Great Outdoors’ campaign, a push to get the nation outside and active.
touch-friendly, the application works on tablets as well as desktops, meaning that staff can be released from behind the desk to engage directly with customers.
People are spending an average of 35 hours a week on the sofa, which is more time than they spend at work (average of 33 hours) and almost as much time as they spend sleeping (45.5 hours). More than a third are not happy with the amount of time they spend outdoors in their spare time.
The software incorporates eight core modules, covering everything from check-in and point-of-sale processes to business intelligence, plus a number of optional advanced and consumer modules that operators can pick and choose.
So what will get them off the sofa and out of the house? Around 16 per cent of people said a good variety of organised outdoor activities near them would make them exercise outdoors more, and almost a quarter would get up off the sofa if they had friends to exercise with in a group. And the even better news? Twenty two per cent of respondents said they have met new friends – and nine per cent have met partners – through exercise.
Glad tidings Gladstone has released a new signature software application called Gladstone360, which is not only mobileresponsive but also fully customisable. The software is an off-the-shelf application that allows operators to design their perfect leisure management solution and then deliver it on any device. Browser-based and
Focused on the needs of receptionists, the new interface is extremely user-friendly and screen design is tailored to meet specific business needs. Existing customers who currently use the company’s Plus2 leisure management software will be eligible for a free software upgrade to the new product as part of Gladstone’s ‘Software for Life’ promise. For more info, visit www.gladstonesoftware.co.uk
Suite dreams for Tewkesbury Tewkesbury Leisure Centre opened to the public for the first time at the end of May. Funded by Tewkesbury Borough Council, the new £7.5m state-of-the art centre will be managed in a 10-year contract by operator Places for People Leisure. The centre will
Continued on Page 8… July 2016
News provide the local community with an enhanced Amateur Swimming Association teaching programme, additional time for aquatic classes and will offer group exercise classes.
connected with Preva networked fitness. It also boasts 13 stations of Precor Vitality Series strength equipment, two multistations, two Icarian power-cages, four plateloaded pieces and a Smith machine. The fitness facility also features a multipurpose room for PT use, as well as an area for stretching and circuit training. The gym is open 24-hours, seven days a week and is staffed between 10am to 8pm Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturdays and 10am to 4pm Sundays. For more info, visit www.anytimefitness.co.uk
Tewkesbury Leisure Centre features a 60-station fitness suite with top of the range fitness equipment, a 25m five-lane main pool, a 20m teaching pool and two studios, as well as a sauna and steam room. The centre also features a children’s splash area, designed specifically with little ones in mind to help build up confidence with water in a fun and safe environment. Matt Cotton, general manager at Tewkesbury Leisure Centre, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the local community using and enjoying the wonderful new facilities that the centre has to offer. The feedback from customers has been great and we’re looking forward to welcoming more people in over the summer.’
Partners for life
The world’s largest 24-hour fitness club chain, Anytime Fitness, has opened in Ruislip Manor, London. Franchisee Matthew Capp was looking for a new challenge, having worked in the City for 30 years. Passionate about fitness, he decided to open an Anytime Fitness club. The site, originally a public house, has been extensively re-modelled and now features a state-of-the-art 4,500sq ft fitness suite. The gym floor showcases 16 pieces of Precor cardiovascular equipment, including newly launched Next-Generation treadmills, all
The research was calculated through analysis of each individual’s ‘Vitality age’, an aggregate measure of wellness that evaluates the gap between physical body age and actual age. This insight is at the heart of Vitality’s new nationwide campaign, ‘Everyday Athlete’, which aims to inspire people to make small changes to everyday behaviour to realise long-term health improvements. Vitality ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill said: ‘I am delighted to support the Everyday Athlete campaign – it’s a fantastic way to spread the message about the benefits of health and wellbeing in a fun and inspiring way.’
The future’s bright
Lifetime Training and Les Mills have teamed up to develop an exclusive training offer to raise quality standards across group exercise and fitness instructor training in England. The education partnership has been designed to provide aspiring fitness professionals with a unique package, which will advance instructors by combining fitness instructing, exercise to music and Les Mills qualifications.
Right place, right time
12 months, Vitality found that previously sedentary members who increased their activity levels to the Government’s recommended 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancy boosted by more than three years. Members who increased their activity levels to 90 minutes saw an increase of 2.7 years, while exercising just 60 minutes a week saw an increase of 2.4 years.
By adding further value to the Les Mills certification with the addition of Les Mills Advanced Instructor Modules, Lifetime aims to feed the fitness industry with a flow of highly qualified instructors, fostering new talent and enhancing fitness professional’s skills. For more info, visit www.lifetimetraining.co.uk
Future Fit Training, which provides quality-assured fitness courses in Personal Training, Pilates and Nutrition, has been confirmed as CIMSPA’s newest skills development partner. The company has also been named as the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) launch partner for CIMSPA’s exercise and fitness stream, with a range of Future Fit Training modules counting towards meeting members’ annual requirements in line with the Institute’s new policy. With immediate effect, Future Fit Training will offer a broad range of CIMSPA-endorsed CPD courses for fitness professionals. Meanwhile, former Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes has chosen to train with Future Fit and is about to embark upon its Level 3 Personal Trainer Diploma
Move and improve Making small improvements and behaving as an ‘Everyday Athlete’ can improve life span by more than three years, according to Vitality, the health and life insurer. Based on analysis of 6,600 members over
Photo credit: Garmin
News course. She says: ‘Sport has been a part of my life as long as I can remember and my success has been in large part due to the coaching and professional guidance I was given. I’ve been inspired to qualify as a PT so I can help other people enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of exercise.’
The latest findings from the annual ‘Working in Fitness’ survey, conducted by Exercise Move Dance Insight and SkillsActive, have confirmed the integral role fitness professionals play in inspiring the nation to engage with regular physical activity.
The survey, based on the opinions of nearly 2,000 fitness professionals, found that just under half (45 per cent) of group exercise instructors reported a growth in participant numbers in the last year. Following high profile campaigns including Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’, dance fitness organisations have benefited from a boom in participation numbers. Clubbercise has doubled the size of their business since it was founded in 2014, and their instructor workforce has also seen a steady rise in numbers in response to the dance fitness trend. The survey found that 67 per cent of respondents confirmed that they joined the industry due to their genuine passion for fitness and, in light of growing participation numbers, enthusiastic sector professionals are taking a greater lead in helping to tackle physical inactivity. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of fitness professionals claimed their instructing career was either important or very important among other life priorities, while more than half (62 per cent) of respondents stated their reason for staying in the industry was to help others. To read the survey, visit http://bit.ly/28OMF6u
Pure genius Pure Gym has announced a partnership with TomTom, a global leader in navigation and mapping products, which will see the two companies combine their visions of making fitness and technology accessible for everyone. TomTom launched its own branded GPS sport watches in 2013 to help people keep moving towards their fitness goals by providing essential performance information. The initial phase of the partnership has seen TomTom offer complimentary threemonth membership to Pure Gym clubs with the purchase of fitness watches from January to March this year, encouraging people to become more active and driving members towards Pure Gym’s flexible sites. The second phase will see Pure Gym roll out TomTom branding across its clubs nationwide as the companies collaborate on further opportunities to be implemented throughout 2016.
Time for change
The Exercise, Movement & Dance Partnership (EMDP), the national governing body for group exercise and dance fitness, has acquired Class Finder, the UK’s most popular, free online site for fitness instructors and organisations to promote their classes.
Places for People Leisure business development director, Tim Hewett, and development director, Peter Kirkham, both retired at the end of June after many years in the leisure industry and having grown the business to one of the most successful leisure companies in the UK. John Bates, formally head of business development, will take over as business development director.
The website, initially launched in 2009, currently holds information on nearly 30,000 weekly classes run by 6,000 instructors and teachers. The site allows the public to find fitness classes at local venues, enables fitness instructors to promote their classes and skills, and also permits operators and class organisers to find fitness instructors at short notice.
In the bag Gymbag – an eCommerce platform specifically designed for the fitness industry – has now launched, following an 18-month UK pilot, along with investment support
through the Wellness Accelerator Programme for young entrepreneurs, established by H-Farm and global fitness equipment manufacturer, Technogym. Gymbag enables personal trainers and gym owners to create their own personalised eCommerce store to sell products that complement their services. Users receive 75 per cent of sales profit without the need to develop a website or carry any inventory. Gymbag members have access to more than 1,200 products, including supplements, fitness equipment, apparel and healthy food and snacks, from 140 companies. For more info, visit www.gymbag.com
News Energy is as easy as 1, 2, 3, Clean and easyPZ healthy fruit and nut bars launched in January 2016. The bars don’t contain any artificial preservatives, the majority of the ingredients are organic, and all of the energy comes from a natural source. These fruit and nut bars are used by paralympic athletes that will be representing Great Britain this year in Rio, as well as a World Champion triathlete, Non Stanford. Due to an increase in demand, Clean and easyPZ will soon be selling the bars in shops, with a targeted launch in October 2016.
The company is currently crowdfunding via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/cleanandeasypz in order to raise funds, thus allowing them to undertake the process of manufacturing, rebranding, shipping and stocking. The company is also looking to build strong relationships with gyms and gym owners as they look to launch their healthy fruit and nut bars. The bars can be used to fuel exercise, used as recovery after exercise, or just enjoyed as a healthy snack to keep you fuller for longer. Phil Zealey, founder of Clean and easyPZ, commented on the expansion. ‘It’s an exciting time as we look to build and improve
both the packaging and branding. We know the bars both taste good and are super healthy, so it’s now just a case of getting the packaging to a level that fully represents how good the bars are. We’re also looking to build relationships to hit the ground running when we launch.’ For more information, visit www. cleanandeasypz.com, email email@example.com or call 07769885818.
Recruitment made easy A new app aims to make capturing new member details quick and easy Operators struggling to capture prospective member details while away from their clubs have been offered a time-saving solution thanks to the launch of a new app created specifically for the fitness industry. Created by ClubWise, the app allows gyms to collect information without the need for an internet connection. This makes it ideal for outreach activity, particularly during pre-sale periods where staff may have the time-consuming task of collating member details and then having to
manually re-enter them into their club software when back at the gym, before scheduling follow-up contact. The free app integrates with ClubWise's Club Management System (which takes care of member management, CRM, performance measurement and billing), and the details entered
are automatically captured and synced when an internet connection is available. This enables clubs to streamline member recruitment, save time, and have the flexibility to always be ready wherever they might meet a prospect – reducing the risk of losing them to a competitor.
Follow-ups The app also allows multiple users and devices to capture prospective member contact details simultaneously, and can identify duplicate entries such as existing prospects and members. It can also automatically schedule a task to remind users to follow up on their leads. Managing director of ClubWise, Julian Matthews said: ‘Experience and industry insight highlighted the need for an offline prospecting solution. The app was developed to help clubs capture prospect data simply and effortlessly, without the need for an internet connection. We provide customers with a comprehensive end-to-end club management solution, and the app was a natural addition to this.’ For more info, visit www.clubwise.com/clubwiseapp
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Something old, something new Tight budgets and the need to spend capital wisely and effectively are key considerations for today’s gym owner or manager – so is it better to buy new or opt for secondhand equipment? Words: Sarah Juggins The price of replacing a treadmill or resistance machine can be prohibitively expensive, while a complete re-fit of a gym can be eye-wateringly expensive. However, gyms are operating in an increasingly competitive environment, where customers expect the equipment to be shiny, modern and, of course, completely reliable. The question that vexes many gym owners is whether to go down the route of buying used equipment. Of course this will be the cheaper option but what might the hidden costs be? Let’s face it, if you are buying used equipment and it breaks down, cuts out sporadically or looks shoddy, then you risk your reputation as a respectable gym owner and eventually your customers will vote with their feet.
Sheen offers this advice to potential buyers: ‘When it comes to buying used equipment and the risks that brings, gym owners should make sure they are aware of the service history of the item or the age of the product. They need to consider what warranty is available and the availability of spare parts for the piece of equipment. The quality of the product is key as well, whether it’s fully refurbished or sold as seen.’
However, many manufacturers and their clients are quite happy buying equipment second hand. Richard Sheen is National Sales Manager for Pulse, well-known fitness equipment suppliers that sell new and used equipment in more than 20 countries. He says: ‘Buying used equipment is just as safe as buying new equipment. All pieces are rigorously tested and checked before being sold.’
Each piece of reconditioned kit sold by Pulse goes through a stringent procedure before it is released back onto the market. Sheen explains: ‘Pulse completely strip, replace, spray and rebuild all resale equipment. Each part is thoroughly checked and tested again before dispatch. We are lucky enough that 99 per cent of our kit comes with a full service history so we can be fully aware of the condition of the product.’ Richard Sheen
'Buying used equipment is just as safe as buying new equipment'
Word of warning While Pulse are happy to be in the market for used equipment, one of their rival companies most definitely is not. Gary Weingarten is Precor’s commercial sales representative in the USA. He says: ‘I have come across customers that have purchased refurbished equipment and their stories range from “an expensive learning experience” to “the machines went down and I couldn’t get the company I bought from to fix them.” Weingarten adds that, in his opinion, any piece of equipment coming out of a fitness centre after three or more years will have been through a lot of wear and tear. A busy gym will see a machine being used from 10-12 hours a day, with all the attendant sweat, dirt from trainers and general degradation that constant use will bring. ‘When you purchase these used machines, they have usually been refurbished with after-market parts, not original parts from the manufacturer (which are considerably more expensive, but last much longer),’ says Weingarten, before concluding:
‘Unfortunately, used equipment usually comes with a very short, limited warranty from the seller – not the manufacturer.’ Sheen is not in total disagreement. He emphasises that a potential buyer of used equipment should consider certain factors – namely the amount of usage; the technology and whether it is still the most up-to-date piece of kit; and the aesthetics – will it look good on your gym floor? ‘Of course, available budget also plays a big part,’ he adds. Some pieces of equipment actually age well and look as good, if not better, after some usage. Sheen says there is some strength equipment that is still in use 30 years after it was first introduced and is still functioning perfectly. It is a point with which Mark Mitchell, corporate sales and fitness manager at Alive Leisure, concurs. Mitchell heads up the fitness and sales teams at four facilities throughout West Norfolk and, as a trust-run facility, budgets are very much on his mind. ‘We don’t use reconditioned equipment at present, but we definitely would consider it depending on project factors, such as budget, number of machines required
and specifications. ‘A well-designed and manufactured piece of equipment can save you money in the long run. Resistance equipment in particular is normally very robust. Just take the Life Fitness signature series – its timeless design and reliability means it still looks as new today as it did when it was first installed several years ago.’ To date, Mitchell has not gone down the route of buying used equipment, purely because all the latest refurbishments at the Alive Leisure facilities have been upgrades to existing offerings of cardio vascular equipment. And as Mitchell points out, cardiovascular equipment is developing at such a pace that equipment quickly becomes outdated, particularly if it involves connectivity.
‘Unfortunately, used equipment usually comes with a very short, limited warranty from the seller – not the manufacturer'
'We don’t use reconditioned equipment at present, but we definitely would consider it'
Confidence in numbers Natalie Moss is manager of Hills Road Sports Centre in Cambridge. She is very confident when it comes to buying reconditioned equipment: ‘For us, purchasing reconditioned equipment is a way of providing better quality equipment from leading brands at affordable prices. The centre always has a limited budget, so purchasing reconditioned equipment has often meant we could replace a number of machines in one go, as opposed to spending a greater amount on just one or two pieces of equipment.’ Moss says she would only ever consider buying from a reputable dealer, with an established, quality brand. ‘We would need to know the age of the equipment and what parts were replaced during the reconditioning process,’ she adds. ‘We would definitely expect key parts of the machines to have been replaced – motors, running belts, consoles for example. And all electronic equipment is PAT tested on-site.’ ‘We have found all types of equipment are fine to purchase secondhandproviding you have done your research into the equipment you are purchasing, and have confidence in the manufacturer and the supplier
you are buying from. Obviously with strength equipment, the machines do tend to be more robust and have fewer parts to go wrong so, given the option, I would buy the strength machines secondhandand the cardio machines brand new.’ One centre that will not be going down the secondhand route anytime soon is Edinburgh University’s sport centre at Mount Pleasance. Head of operations is Cameron Ritchie, and he is adamant that his facility is not in the market for used equipment. His reasons? Firstly, he sees the package that comes with purchasing
Being reliable For gym owners and managers, who do go down the route of secondhand equipment, the most important factor is reliability. It is a point that Mark Mitchell drives home: ‘In my opinion, the most important thing is the manufacturer’s reputation for reliability. The last thing you want from a customer perspective – no matter how much money you spend – is a machine that’s always out of order. ‘Look for established traders who will offer some type of warranty on the equipment. A good tip is to ask your trusted service support for their opinion on a particular product in terms of its reliability and availability of parts. They are often in the best position to offer unbiased, impartial advice.’
new equipment as adding a lot of value, particularly in terms of warranty and servicing, and secondly, he does not have enough confidence that reconditioned equipment will be in the best possible condition. ‘For us,’ says Ritchie, ‘We would buy new every time. Not only do we have to ensure equipment is in best condition for our 17,500 customers, but we also have to ensure it’s the latest the market has to offer. We're keen to trial new products and pride ourselves on bringing the latest innovations to our members. For example, in May this year we installed 103 x PRECOR's P82 console.’
From discussions with manufacturers and users, the advice seems clear. Whether you buy new or used gym equipment, you should ensure you always have the relevant certification to meet health and safety demands. New equipment should come with a certification and warranty as standard. Secondhand kit bought via the manufacturer should go through in-house certification to show it has been properly refurbished before you buy. And if you purchase secondhand gym equipment from a private seller, auction or gym clearance, you should take the responsibility to get the kit checked and certified by a professional who is licensed to certify gym kit.
'We’re keen to trial new products and pride ourselves on bringing the latest innovations to our members'
Owner of the month
Up the Junction Martin Stockley manages The Junction Sports & Leisure Centre in Poole. Here, he tell us how he motivates staff, and shares the secrets of his success The Junction has been operating since the 1980s, and today it employs around 40 part-time and 40 full time staff. Martin’s journey began when he embarked on work experience at a local sports centre aged 17, where he progressed to first line management. He continued adding to his qualifications, experience and development, and now manages two gyms – with a hope to add another couple over the next 18 months. Personal trainers are extremely important to Martin’s business, as he explains: ‘We are blessed here at The Junction with exceptional PTs who add expertise, presence and value to our members and users. Their businesses are growing and, with our support, I hope to see the current PT team continue here for many years to come.’ Martin helps to motivate his staff though yearly appraisals and regular documented supervisions – they both play an important part in dialogue and openness. ‘These tend to set a plan out for the forthcoming months that is accepted by both parties,’ he says. ‘In addition to this, staff upskilling and development –and, of course, regular line-manager support – is a continued area for discussion and progression. We encourage staff to go in a direction they want to go. As long as there is a benefit to our service delivery, then we’re 100 per cent behind them. And we fund training and development for all our staff.’
Owner of the month ‘Word-of-mouth does seem to serve us well. I think it’s true, however, that with marketing and promotion, more can always be done.’
Selling point So what makes his gym unique? ‘We spent a huge amount of time planning our £300,000+ refurbishment of the gym back in March 2015,’ explains Martin. ‘The USPs include a bespoke rig/cable area that has been fantastically received; top of the range CYBEX cardio-vascular equipment; 20-plus resistance kit machines, and new items have been introduced, such as E-Spinners, Woodway Curve Treadmill, Tread Climber, Trixter ‘virtual reality’ bikes and Ergometer Machines. HD-quality televisions on various pieces have also added to the user experience in a positive way.’ The biggest challenges facing Martin and his team, in terms of the business market, are the increasing low-fee, large competitors. ‘But,’ he says, ‘one of the biggest challenges has to also be the growing population that would benefit from the services and facilities we offer, and how best we promote and deliver our solutions. A real opportunity exists if you are truly passionate about health, fitness and sport being central to people’s lives.’ Martin’s advice to other gym owners just starting out would be to surround yourself with people and contractors that you trust and
respect. ‘Try to be different in some way, and have a great relationship with your members and users. And use the gym yourself! You’ll pick up so many comments and issues that you can then act on.’ What’s his greatest success story? ‘The Junction being here today with 3,000-plus members, a thriving swimming teaching academy and a very popular function/event calendar,’ he says. ‘We’ve continued to build on our success each year since YMCA Bournemouth took ownership of the club in 2009. That’s a great success story, and one where so many people have played a part – and continue to do so.’
The Junction’s facilities Fitness classes including aqua fitness, bootcamps, circuits, indoor cycling, body pump, kettle bells, yoga, Pilates, Bokwa, 50+ classes and Insanity
Various children’s party options
Café/bar/lounge catering for events
20m swimming pool with a teaching academy of 650+ per week
Creche (Monday to Friday) A very popular soft play facility
Sports hall for football, trampolining, badminton and large circuit classes
Four tennis courts
Martin’s views… …on industry changes ‘Over the past three years, we’ve seen the continued growth of “functional training” as a requirement, and circuit training and bootcamp sessions are a must on the timetable. There’s also the continual need to ensure that – though you may not be a national chain operator with huge budgets and back-up – you gain significant wins by passionately delivering good value and having facilities that you can be proud of.’
…on engaging with members ‘We actively encourage positive and negative feedback, and act on it via specifically targeted questionnaires, customer comment slips, the website, Facebook and Twitter. All employees are encouraged to deliver a professional but relaxed delivery approach, which then, in turn, allows the member/user to feel comfortable in talking to us with any issues or comments they may have.’
…on retaining members ‘We achieve this by focusing on continued improvement across all our areas to include all facilities as well as the services we offer. When you think you have it right – make it better! We ensure we stay competitive in terms of not only pricing, but also what the member gets for their pound.’
…on promoting the brand ‘I think we do more marketing here at The Junction than all the local competitors added together. We attempt to utilise all options open to us, but obviously the restriction is money and sometimes time. We try: Regular postcode hardcopy deliveries to local households, schools, clubs and businesses Facebook/Twitter Networking event participation Local mutually benefitting relationship building with individuals, companies and schools
'We provide real of all UK gyms' Words: Phil Lattimore
How did you get involved in the fitness industry? I have always been passionate about the fitness industry. At the age of 15, I did my work experience in a gym, then at university I took Leisure Studies, which gave me the chance to spend a full semester working in another gym. Since then, I have been a gym member on and off, but I always found myself to be most motivated when training for a specific event.
Where did the idea for PayAsUgym come from? Training for an event! My business partner and I were participating in a charity swim to the Isle of Wight while we were travelling a lot with work. It was during this training period that we needed to access lots of different gyms around the UK, and the idea for PayAsUGym was born – an online marketplace for fitness, enabling customers to find a new gym, anywhere, from a single website. We raised investment to launch the business in 2010, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since.
How did you get gym owners to buy into the idea? Gym owners are accustomed to being sold to on a regular basis, so our approach has always been just to try and explain the proposition really simply, highlighting how much control gym managers always have over things like price. We have dedicated ourselves to making sure gym operators are always at the heart of our proposition, which is why the PayAsUGym marketplace is still thriving and growing six years on. That would be impossible if we didn’t provide real value to almost half of all UK gyms.
What was the initial customer reaction? Customers were massively supportive right from day one. The concept of being able to go to a single website to look at all the options in the fitness marketplace before deciding which gym to visit is hugely appealing. It makes the whole customer journey really efficient, as they can review and compare all the options in their local area on the same
criteria. They can look at photos, read customer reviews and check what facilities are available before even stepping foot in a gym. This availability of data and information is really effective at removing some of the barriers that previously would have discouraged a customer from trying a new gym.
Have customer expectations changed since you started the business? Customers have become a lot more discerning when it comes to making a buying decision – and they are less patient if they can’t find the information they want quickly. Over the last few years we have seen marketplaces in other sectors become much more sophisticated in terms of customising the search listings to present the customer with the best option first – which means they are more likely to go on and purchase something. To respond to this, we built a search algorithm that means gyms within a certain distance from the customer are now listed in the order of those most likely to generate a sale.
l value to half We talk to Neil Harmsworth, co-founder of online fitness marketplace PayAsUGym, about how the gym experience is changing and the challenges facing gym managers
We are in a unique position to be able to calculate this, as we have access to more data than anyone else in the market and can track customer behaviour. The real bonus for gym managers, however, is what we then do with this information. We provide it back to gym managers to tell them what criteria are making the biggest impact on sales in their area – and gyms can then use this intelligence to make their business more competitive.
What do you think will be the most important developments in the gym industry over the next five years? There are two big trends in the gym industry at the moment: a) the customer buying process is changing; and b) the use of technology is broadening what we define as ‘the gym industry’. The new customer buying process is unquestionably moving online. This means digital marketing will become much more important for the gym manager trying to reach customers to
whom, previously, they might have given out flyers. It also means gym managers need to make significant improvements to their websites, as this will increasingly become the place where potential customers take a ‘tour of the club’, rather than doing it in person. Over the next five years, it won’t just be the quality of your personal trainers and sales staff that help you make sales – it will be about having effective Search Engine Optimisation strategies, a great website user experience and a clear understanding of your website metrics to allow you to funnel customers effectively. From a technology perspective, customers now see ‘gym’ as being just one part of their fitness regime. Technology such as wearables, apps and trackers enable customers to develop a much broader and more integrated perception of fitness so that it becomes a complete lifestyle – especially within the millennial market – and it will be interesting to see how gyms embrace this trend.
What are PayAsUGym’s main challenges as a business? Hiring good people! It is actually pretty easy to find people with the right skill set, but we need more than that. We look for a very special breed of people who have those core skills but, more importantly, also have the right attitude, personality and passion for fitness. Obviously, the continued success of the business has made that challenge a little easier every year.
PayAsUGym is one of 48 companies selected to be part of the Growth Builder business growth programme; www.growth-builder.com
Drive extra revenue by stocking products your members and PT clients will want to buy to support their workouts
Words: Nicola Joyce
Primal Pantry protein bars The Primal Pantry’s protein bars will appeal to your clean eating crowd. Easy to stock behind reception, these brandnew bars are a great opportunity to stand out from other facilities in your area. Both flavours are made from natural cold pressed ingredients (including dates, berries, nuts, and hemp protein powder) and offer 10g protein. Suitable for vegan clients. £18.65 for 15 from http://completesportsnutrition.co.uk www.primalpantry.com
DSC Nutrition Post Exercise Recovery Shake Offer your members a quality postworkout shake and encourage them to stick around as they drink it, giving you the chance to make valuable connections. DSC Nutrition's Recovery formula has a 2:1 carb/protein ratio and each shake gives 30g protein and 50g carb. You could offer smaller (or double) servings to cater to clients’ nutritional needs. Trade price for 2KG £10.99. www.dscnutrition.co.uk
BetterYou magnesium sprays
These concentrated beetroot shots offer a natural sports performance boost, with 400mg dietary nitrate per bottle. Beet It shots are used by international rugby and Premiership football teams, UK Olympians and pro cycling teams. Easy to stock and store, and quick for your members to drink as they head into the gym. You can tell your competitive athlete clients that Beet It is approved by Informed Sport. RRP £25 for 15x7cl bottles. Contact email@example.com for trade enquiries.
BetterYou’s trio of transdermal magnesium oil sprays are a convenient way to boost magnesium levels. The mineral has been shown to help athletes sleep better, build muscle, improve insulin sensitivity and increase strength. The bottles are easy to stock and store, and the ideal size for gym bags. And they’ve recently been certified on the Informed Sport programme, so your competitive athletes will be confident that the product has been tested for substances prohibited in sport. £40.86 for a case of six sprays.
Beet It Sport Pro-Elite Shot
Best Club Management Software Company – UK Technology Innovator Awards 2016. ClubWise is a seamless business solution for the fitness industry, providing direct debit collection fully integrated with easy to use club management software ClubWise is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Multipower workout supplements
Gym Bites salads
Gym members will often show up to training feeling tired, so offer them a pre-workout or intra-workout supplement and save the day. Multipower is a popular brand with gyms: Green Kick is a RTD preworkout, and the 2:1:1 BCAAs are an easy product to sell by the scoop. Ideal for bodybuilding focused gyms where members are keen on pre-workouts and understand intra-workout nutrition. Green Kick is £29.99 for 12 bottles, the BCAA is £39.99 for 40 servings.
Gym Bites salads are ready-to-go meals, ideal for clients who want a healthy post-workout meal to take away after training. The range includes the Pack-AProtein Chicken Salad, Oh Mega! Prawn Salad and Lean Green Broccoli Supreme Salad. Made fresh daily, the products have a three-day shelf life in chilled storage. If your members know the benefits of food prep but lack the time, offer them a fresh solution to their biggest dietary challenge. The salads cost £3.50 per jar.
CityBrix commuter bags
activbod skin products If your facility has showers, offer members products they can use in the changing rooms. activbod is a unisex skin and body care range made with all-natural ingredients . Created by sports people, the products are designed for recovery and convenience. The Cooling Finish Lotion cools as it moisturises, and the Feel Great Shower Concentrate is deodorising. You could even use the activbod counter top unit, designed to be displayed in gyms.
Kitbrix new CityBrix commuter bag is designed for your clients who train before or after work. Solve one of their biggest frustrations: needing to carry two or more bags on training days. The CityBrix bag has a ‘work’ and ‘play’ section and looks smart enough for the office, with a fur-lined protective compartment for a tablet or laptop, and a waterresistant section for gym kit and water bottle. You can even add your gym logo. Kitbrix will provide team bags to gyms, affiliate or wholesale. RRP £99, contact https://www.kitbrix.co.uk/ contact-us/ for trade prices. www.kitbrix.co.uk/shop/ team-kitbrix/
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Call our friendly sales team to learn how we can help drive your success 01844 348 300 firstname.lastname@example.org
Access control and much, much more
Access all areas
How has the fitness industry missed a huge opportunity to capitalise on the ‘blue’ pound? Words: Stuart Dunne
The term ‘accessible’ is a particularly expressive word, and when somebody tells you that their facilities are accessible, you automatically think that what they say is what you get. However, when it comes to recreation and fitness, ‘accessible’ is a whole new ball game. So what do we mean when we ask: is your gym accessible? Is it the entrance, is it the restroom facilities, or are we asking whether you have equipment that anyone can use? The simple answer to that is all three, but the complex answer delves into different disabilities. For instance, you would expect a wheelchair-user to be very easily catered for, and that everything should be
accessible to those with physical impairments that mean they use a wheelchair on a daily basis for active living. However, disability does not stop at wheelchair users. Other people with disabilities – such those who are deaf or blind – need to be taken into consideration. But for now, we’ll concentrate on those with impaired mobility, which means that they are reliant to a greater extent on a wheelchair.
Four wheels good Many gymnasium facilities are very easily adaptable to be able to provide accessible facilities for those using a wheelchair. However, in reality, there are few accessible gymnasiums in the UK. One of the key examples of good accessible facilities, both from an equipment point of view and a service level, is the Aspire gym in north west London. But it should be, really, because it's attached to the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, and is run by Aspire, one of the leading charities for people with a spinal cord injury. Graham Burns, one of the independent fitness instructors that works out of the Aspire gym, reveals that the industry hasn't
taken into account the £50 billion spend that disabled people contribute to the economy, Graham, who runs his own fitness initiative www.gbpersonalfitnesstraining.co.uk for disabled and non-disabled individuals, commented that it was only a simple misunderstanding that prevented the industry from really focusing on providing resources to the disabled community. The IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative) run by the EFDS (English Federation of Disability Sport) is the first port of call for most people who need advice about accessible fitness. But even the IFI, which has been established for well over 10 years, claims to have only around 400 IFI-accredited gyms on its books. `
Making adjustments The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 states that all providers of goods or services should make reasonable adjustment to provide a service to a disabled person. So why is it that all gymnasiums that are easily accessed by a wheelchair user do not have equipment that the disabled person can use? I know exactly what the problem is – the gym owner doesn't know where to turn for advice or direction.
Motability, the biggest lease provider of contract hire vehicles in Europe, has proved that where there is a need, there is a solution – and not only a solution but a viable business proposal. Over the next few months, we'll explore deeper as to how the industry can begin to access a valuable resource by distributing accessible equipment to smaller gyms.
Stuart Dunne is a supplier of equipment to the physically challenged, see www.cyclonemobility.com
Ask the expert Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help! If you have a question you’d like answered, get in touch – email email@example.com
Digital dilemma Q. With so many digital platforms offering PTs ways to expand our offering to clients, how do we decide which ones to use?
Skilling up Q. How can I ensure my PTs have the right skills to fulfil their role in my gym? Mark Turnbull, London
Sarah Markham, Norwich
Stephanie Mitchell, founder and CEO of eCommerce tool Gymbag, answers: The fitness sector, like most industries, has its fair share of digital services available, with many providing fitness professionals with that extra something to strengthen their offering to clients – for instance, PT on-demand apps such as TruBe help make PTs easily accessible to potential clients. With so many online resources available, it really is about investing time in the services that benefit you and your business the most. It’s important to really examine your current offering and focus on what you’re lacking, or what you feel will strengthen your existing services. For instance, are you in need of an additional revenue stream, or do you need to be able to communicate with wider audiences? If you’re not sure, ask your clients for feedback, as valuable market research can go a long way and the insight you gain can help steer the direction of your business. Once you’ve zoned in on what elements you’re looking for, the whole process of deciding which digital services to select will seem far less daunting. At Gymbag, we make a point of communicating the benefits of using our eCommerce tool, which allows PTs and gym owners to create their own personalised online store to sell products that complement their services, while receiving 75 per cent of sales profit.
Rob Johnson, managing director, Future Fit Training, answers: The short answer is to ensure your PTs have received thorough training and assessment that fully prepares them for work in the real world. Such training and assessment is undertaken over months, not weeks, and should include face-to-face practical training sessions, real-life case studies, vital soft skills, and end with a robust assessment. It sounds obvious, but PTs from fast-track courses sometimes have little or no face-to-face training, no reallife experience or soft skills and some may not have even stepped in a gym – seriously! An audit of operators in our ‘Raising The Bar’ report last year revealed that 100 per cent believed assessment methods were neither robust enough nor included sufficient practical assessment, and 89 per cent weren’t happy with the period of time over which training is delivered by some commercial providers. Future Fit Training students expect to study for anywhere between 12-24 months to complete the Level 3 Personal Training Diploma. They will have worked with real clients, undertaken numerous practical sessions, studied additional e-learning courses – including entire courses on behaviour change coaching and marketing/business skills – and will have undergone rigorous assessments. Students also receive on-going support to highlight the importance of reinforcing and repeating information regularly to help them learn and retain knowledge. To ensure your PTs have the right skills, I’d advise aligning only with providers who can demonstrate their students have completed rigorous training and assessment over time. Meanwhile, gym owners with under-skilled PTs might consider our PT Skills Gap programme to boost their ability and confidence, enabling them to fulfil their role in your gym. July 2016
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Taking part in competitions keeps people motivated Achieving higher engagement is all about setting a challenge, says personal trainer and founder of Fit N All Adriana Albritton The optimal scenario for any establishment – specifically, for every gym owner – is to have a profitable, booming business, packed with people. One of the things that contributes to a successful gym is an active personal training service. Having had experience in many areas as a fitness professional, avid gym goer and business owner, I recognise the importance of having a positive atmosphere that promotes engagement – one that takes place when there are happy customers and a PT team that is qualified and enthusiastic. Creating a highly engaged atmosphere can sound like a daunting task for some. After all, even people at a dinner table
don’t always see eye to eye. Yes, it can be challenging to try to get dozens of individuals in sync, but it is possible. So what can you do to get customers to enjoy their personal training experience, and trainers to deliver great results while being happy at your facility? Obviously, there are many things that can improve the gym experience. But one of the things that keeps people highly motivated is taking part in a competition.
Contests evoke higher engagement, healthy competition and camaraderie at the same time. They are a fun way to keep people involved and excited about their experience at your gym, whether as a customer or a trainer. The competition could be a challenge or tournament, such as the biggest loser, slim-down challenge, fitness competitions or strength tournaments.
The benefits of a challenge To start with, contests are great because they bring a novelty aspect to the facility. People tend to get excited when new things are implemented. Simultaneously, they bring a fun and playfulness factor to the club. In turn, that brings distraction Let's be realistic: losing body fat is not an easy, pleasurable task for most, which is why distracting people from the ‘pain’ comes in handy. Losing unwanted body fat and the benefits that it brings should be enough of an incentive for people. However, most people need a little extra motivation or added purpose to achieve greater results.
Another benefit of contests is the sense of cohesion and bond that forms between the client and the trainer. The closer their relationship, the greater the likelihood they’ll continue training. Since clients are ‘playing on the same team’ as trainers, they feel more supported by their PT. On the other hand, trainers can feed off their competitive nature and gain higher results. Most importantly, the creation of a higher sense of engagement between your facility and the client, as well as with the trainer, takes place.
You can execute the idea by building up interest around your club with posters, and by displaying updates throughout the contest. Then the client with the best results gets a prize, such as a discount towards the next package purchased or whatever is deemed reasonable. At the same time, the trainer with the best client results can also be rewarded. Remember, it is a win/win situation: happy clients and happy trainers. Consequently, a fully engaged environment means a happy gym owner with a fruitful business. For more about Adriana, visit www.fitnall.com
Gym and health club refurbishments are not a one-size-fits-all deal. Every venue has unique requirements, goals, timeframes, budgets and facilities. Room shapes, current trends and technological advances also mean there’s myriad factors to take on board when re-investing in your business, not least, do you take on the management of the refurbishment yourself or invest in a solutions-based company to do it for you? Whichever route you take, creating a plan with clear objectives is key, from short-term quick wins to long-term results. ‘Fundamentally, owners need to redo the flooring, look at painting and decoration and also giving their space a bit more brand identity by adding wall art or graphics,’ says Linda Forster, marketing manager at Pulse Fitness (www.pulsefitness.com). ‘They should look at upgrading or changing the equipment and also the layout, consider exercise trends and technology too – gone are the days when you have to have whopping great big TVs on the wall; these days they’re integrated into the equipment.’
But you don’t have to go big budget to achieve impressive results, says Forster. ‘On one site, in a facility the size of a sports hall, we spent about £100,000 on the flooring and changed the kit layout. Everybody thought they’d had a multi-million-pound refurbishment, even though it was exactly the same kit and décor. It was just the layout and flooring that had changed.’
'Gone are the days when you have to have whopping great big TVs on the wall'
Your gym is looking a little tired and run down and in need of a little TLC – where do you even begin to initiate the improvement of the facilities while also making sure you get a good Return on Investment? Words: Jo Gunston
The wow factor Paul Farrell from equipment and flooring services provider Physical Company (www.physicalcompany. co.uk) agrees that flooring is a current investment focus. ‘In years gone by, people would just whack carpet tiles down and not worry about the flooring, but now owners are realising that flooring can have a big “wow” impact when walking into a gym. Invest in it properly and it can be down for a lifetime and you won’t have any problems with floors being broken by people dropping weights, especially now there’s an increase in people doing Olympic weightlifting for training.’ Pulse Fitness similarly manages owners’ expectations, in particular those who may have ideas bigger than their wallet. ‘When it comes to budget, we could have a client who comes to us with grand expectations and a whole club refurbishment,’ says Forster. ‘What we would say to them is maybe upgrade the equipment and change the layout, so there’s the satisfaction of the members that something’s changed. With the new equipment, new layout and a refresh done we’ll say, “Let’s get you another 200 members through the door and then let’s go back in and look at the next stage of the refurbishment”.’ It’s never too early for a change either, according to chief financial officer at Pure Gym Jacques de Bruin. The low budget chain, which has recently become the UK's largest fitness operator – the first low cost facility to do so, builds in additional equipment within months of opening. ‘When we open a venue, only a portion of the equipment goes in and then usage patterns determine what equipment we need,’ he explains. ‘Three months after opening we put in the additional 20 per cent. The members see it’s a brand new facility, but a few months later we’ve already reinvested. It’s not about having the right equipment, it’s about having the right equipment mix.’
Knowledge is power Rapid technological innovation has seen a move towards a more knowledgeable and independent gym goer. ‘We’re seeing a large shift in people cutting down in cardiovascular (CV) equipment to have more space for functional areas and weights,’ says Farrell. ‘I think it’s because the average gym user is more clued up now, there’s more information available on the internet and people can look at their own things to do and they’re more educated, more aware of what they can do functionally rather than just sitting on a weights machine.’ ‘Obviously technology is a big one,’ agrees Forster, ‘so padded gyms with interactive flooring and other interactive products connected to the whole gym management tracking software is key.’ ‘I just did a tender for a university,’ says Farrell, ‘and a large focus for them was technology and how they can utilise that, as they really wanted the students to be able to record all their workouts with all the equipment.’ Finding out what works for your clientele is key. ‘Ultimately, your priority is probably to increase membership,’ says Forster. ‘So there’s no point in buying a brand new 20-station gym if the flooring isn’t right or the changing rooms are run down. ‘The problem might even be the location. A dungeon gym in a basement might be better moved to a prime spot – and then owners are more likely to see a Return on Investment.’
Some owners opt to involve members, says Forster, although a number of clubs opt for the opposite route. ‘We’ve recently done some work for Total Fitness, and the club refurbishment has been done overnight from when the gym is shut at 10 o’clock at night to the opening at five or six o’clock in the morning. Members have known nothing about it.’ July 2016
Suppleme reason How has the industry changed since your career began? On the nutrition side of things, back in the 1990s it was all about calories and being aware of your intake. The turn of the century was then all about eating real, unprocessed foods. But from 2012 onwards, it started to become clear that both schools of thought rang true. To get the most out of nutrition for health and body composition, you need to eat real food and be aware of your calorie intake, not either or. Nutrition is becoming trendy now in the media, and it’s not all about selling the next story. There’s a stronger topline message that is focusing on health, vitality and energy. The good thing about the current movement in nutrition is that it’s a rational one – it’s just about eating real food in the right quantities.
Is there a simple way to get optimal health through nutrition? To reach optimal health, I think food is the first battle. The reason I focus on food so much is because if you eat the right things in the right proportions,
it’s a very quick win in terms of making people feel good, lose weight and creating positive change. Then what needs to be considered is sleep, stress, emotional issues and relationships, which all have a massive impact on our health and wellbeing.
What are your thoughts on the sugar tax? With sugar, the thing we need to understand is that it isn’t evil. When we talk about sugar in the media and a sugar tax, we tend to think about refined sugar. It’s a rational argument to say that eating a lot of refined sugar isn’t good for you. But what the public often doesn’t understand is that every carbohydrate you eat, whether it’s from fruit, vegetables or grains, is broken down into simple sugar. We can’t demonise sugar because it’s the simplest form of energy for the human body. But what the government is trying to do is to create awareness about the volume of sugar people are consuming from refined sugars, which is a great and positive step forward. But we need to back this statement up, otherwise everyone will read a label with carbohydrates in it and demonise
that food for having a ‘sugar’ content, whether or not it’s unrefined. The sugar that’s consumed from fruit, vegetables and grains in the context of eating a whole food diet is taken in with a host of other nutrients. In comparison, sugar from refined sources doesn’t pack the same nutrition into each calorie. So, calorie for calorie, it doesn’t contribute anything to health, thus it’s wise to largely avoid it. But that doesn’t mean we should completely demonise it. Like everything in the world of health and fitness, we need to consider context.
Why did you start making your own supplements? When it comes to supplementation, everyone views it as an a easy way to make money in the fitness industry because you just need to sell a product with an appealing label. That never sat well with me, because tht’s not about being a facilitator of change, it’s just about being a salesman. When I started to explore the world of transdermal supplementation, it was an area that many people hadn’t heard of. I thought I could initiate some change in the industry and make people think differently. Now, I’ve realised that the
enting Ben Coomber talks about bringing rational thought to health and fitness
technology has a huge amount of limitations and perhaps that’s why it’s never become very popular. So earlier this year, our Transdermal Technology company closed down and in its place will come a new company with a new direction. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in terms of supplementation and research in the last year and a half. I’ve realised that if I want to change the supplement industry, I don’t have to innovate, I just have to show people a better way of doing things. We will keep one supplement that will join a range of new products backed by research.
What’s in the pipeline? For me, the key reason the new supplement line is different is because it is mostly researched-backed. If any ingredient in our line isn’t researchbacked, we’ll make it very clear why the evidence is anecdotal. Our product line will have one supplement that isn’t research-backed, and we’re calling it the ‘black sheep’ to make it clear. We hope that the research will catch up to prove the anecdotal evidence we’ve seen so far in its use. We believe the products will be an honest brand that trainers, coaches
and people who really care about health and fitness can confidently stand behind and recommend to others. Many fitness professionals recommend supplement lines that contain products that have little to no research backing. This is why our new line will stand out in the industry – we have done things ethically, honestly, and in-line with current research.
body type nutrition, my message, the supplements… it’s all about honesty, integrity and empowering life change.
'You need to eat real food and be aware of your calorie intake, not either or'
What’s the most important supplement to take? A combined pack that will support your health. This consists of a multivitamin, fish oil and vitamin D supplement, plus a form of zinc and magnesium if you train hard. Health should always come first, performance will then follow.
What is your mission for the next year? To be the voice of reason in health and fitness and to empower life change on that journey. Everything I do now, every action I take, has to be about living this mission. The reason we’re continuing with a supplement company is that people need products that they can trust. I will be the change the industry needs. Everything I do,
Ben Coomber is a performance nutritionist, educator, speaker and writer. For more info, visit www.bencoomber.com
The gym induction
Why giving the best possible induction is crucial for helping and impressing new members Words: Jean Pierre Blazek
When I did my PT course in 2009, I was taught the importance of delivering a gym induction for both the member and the PT. We learnt how to explain which muscles are targeted during each exercise, how to teach and demonstrate perfect technique, how to positively correct clients, how to encourage them and, ultimately, how to provide a true service to them. Seven years down the line and, having worked as a freelance PT in a commercial gym for five years, I get the impression that commercial gyms are all about the bottom line. That by offering a so-called induction with a PT, it’s an opportunity for them to sell, rather than to offer their members a quality service that can ultimately make a difference to the client’s health and fitness.
A gym induction – often in groups – that lasts 15 minutes and just shows clients how to use two pieces of CV equipment and three strength machines surely can’t be enough. That if they want more, they can sign up for some PT sessions.
'I was taught the importance of delivering a gym induction for both the member and the PT'
A chance for change An induction is an opportunity to help an individual taking their first steps towards improving their health and fitness. This may be the first time they have ever stepped into a gym and, by showing passion and knowledge, by demonstrating perfect technique, by getting the person involved, you can make a huge difference to their confidence and their enjoyment. As PTs, it’s our responsibility to spend time with clients (my inductions often run beyond the hour). We have to be fully prepared, we have to
be 100 per cent focused and engaged, and we have to ask questions in order to ensure they understand what we want from them. A good PT must not be afraid to tell the client that their technique needs correcting. We need to let them know that they can always come back to us should they have any questions, and last but not least, we need to make sure we have provided them with a truly professional and valuable service.
JP’s tips …for PTs ‘I suggest you take every opportunity you have to help your gym members, even if they’ll never work with you. Remember, our prime role is to help people make a difference to their life – we have a responsibility towards them. ‘You have to be proactive because, before deciding to train with you, gym users will observe how you work and interact with other members. When you’re on the gym floor, you need to feel that you’re always under scrutiny. Are you the trainer who is
always helpful, who is observing members and giving them useful tips and making sure people are working with perfect technique? Or are you hiding behind the desk with your hands in your pockets? Clients want to train with the best, not with the average, so treat every induction and hour spent on the gym floor as an investment. It’s your opportunity to show people that you really care.’
…for commercial gym owners ‘I would love to see a lot more consideration towards PTs. We are the ones who are in direct contact with your customers, we are
the ones who have a positive impact on their health and fitness and, by delivering a great service, we are the ones who can help you make a difference in customer retention. ‘As PTs, we do what we do to help people, but our effort is surely worth more than what we get paid. After all, you can’t expect trainers to care about delivering a valuable induction, to show a real interest in assisting members, to deliver a high-quality class and ultimately to be motivated on the gym floor, when they can’t see how they’re going to make a living by working for you.’ July 2016
Fitness Over 50
No time fo Chris Zaremba finds ways of building extra time into your life for those essential fitness activities I often hear people say that lives are busy these days and they have no time for fitness. It’s always something that makes me react, because if I hadn’t started to make time for fitness about eight years ago when I turned 50, I don’t think I’d be here now to make time for anything at all. At least, that’s the view of my doctor. You have to schedule some time for proper fitness activities – you can’t attend a 45-minute exercise class without allocating threequarters of an hour of your day to it. When time is short, something has to give – and, of course, it’s the optional thingd that are most likely to go. Eating and sleeping are nonoptional, as is work for most people. Optional items include watching TV, computer and internet stuff, reading, music, days out, socialising with friends and fitness activities. The average UK person spends
4.25 hours per day watching TV or doing a non-work activity on their PC or internet – classic activities that work against the improvement of fitness. I spent three decades of my life putting fitness activities at the bottom of my activity list – and had the 42-inch waist size to prove it. Now, fitness is a much higher priority. Of course, there are many days when I am socialising first and fitness comes second, but today I wouldn’t miss a gym workout or a 5k run in exchange for PC or TV time.
or fitness? Making the time But what if you really cannot find time for fitness in your schedule? I’m as time-crunched as any, so I have devised some fitness ideas that take no time at all – or indeed, even less than zero. I call all these ideas ‘Zero-Time Fitness’. Fitness activities do not have to involve specific exercises; anything that is a self-propelled activity is a fitness activity in my book. So, if you are walking, walk more quickly. If you walk 20 per cent more quickly than usual,
most people will burn at least 30 per cent more calories per minute, get an aerobic workout, probably tap into more fat reserves, help strengthen their leg and core muscles – and get to where they are going earlier. So you have more time to do whatever it is you’re going to do. Where’s the downside in that? I now walk briskly whenever I am walking. I used to drive to my local railway station as part of my journey to work, as it took five minutes as opposed to the 15-minute walk. But
allow an extra five minutes for traffic, and another five to find a space and pay for parking, and it breaks even. In the winter, throw in an extra five minutes of screen-scraping, too – infinitely less pleasant than warming up in a heavy coat on a brisk walk. So I save petrol, car parking costs, wear and tear on the car, I get some good cardio exercise, and burn around 1,500 extra calories per week. At the risk of being repetitive, any downside there?
Stair master I also apply the Zero-Time Fitness approach to stairs, which I always climb two at a time whenever I can. It’s a good workout for the quads and hip flexor muscles, of course, it burns more calories per minute, and you get there quicker. I’m also a big fan of walking up escalators and running down them. I’m always stunned by people standing and riding on a downwards escalator – why are they doing that? I can’t do upwards escalators two treads at a time, but they can be walked up quickly. And I’ve a particular trick for upwards escalators – by only placing the forefoot on each tread, this also gives the calves a good workout by extending at the ankle on each up-step. As well as the Zero-Time Fitness exercise, you might also just catch an earlier train.
One final way to get more results from a set amount of time is to do your exercise activities with friends that you would socialise with anyway. A fast walk or jog with a friend can double up as into social time as well as fitness time. It’s a great bit of multi-tasking – you get an hour’s chat with your friend, plus an hour of exercise, for a net input of one hour of your time. How’s that for finding time for exercise? Even a gym resistance workout can operate this way – you are meant to be resting for a minute between sets, so this rest time can be the time the other person does their set. The workout time does get extended a little, and you do need to be careful that the jaw muscle isn’t the one that’s worked the most, but you can get an hour’s workout for you, an hour’s workout for your friend,
and an hour of time together – all in on elapsed hour. Where are the Time Bandits when you need them? Yes, I remain time-crunched and my life isn’t going to change on that. But by employing these Zero-Time Fitness activities whenever I can, I’m a whole lot fitter and healthier, despite that bloomin’ clock.
'A fast walk or jog with a friend can double up as into social time as well as fitness time'
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Social services One area of my business that I have been focusing on in the last month or so is social media. To help raise awareness of the gym I've been using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – although I haven't ventured into Snapchat yet. I'm used to using Facebook as I previously had a page to promote my personal training services. Other than the odd post, I didn't make the most of out of it. But I'm now putting a concerted effort into regularly posting updates, advices, pictures, and video content. Facebook and Instagram are my most successful platforms so far and I'm building Twitter and LinkedIn. To help me stick to regular updates, I try to follow a rough schedule, otherwise before you know it it's been two weeks with no posts. On Facebook, I always share a piece of advice – my ‘Monday Motivation’. This could be anything from a piece of training advice to insights into balanced, healthy eating plans, or an update from my life such as the new local meal prep business that I’m trialling. I love supporting local businesses and always make sure to tag them in any posts – you never know where any new member leads could come from. On Instagram, I make sure I utilise hashtags. These help to share your posts with others who aren't following you but have interests in common. Hashtags that I regularly include are #personaltraining #fitfam #gymlife #bodybuilding #crossfit #igdaily and, of course, #anatomy37. On Instagram, I use both a company profile and an individual profile to continue raising awareness.
Adam Wilson, owner of new gym Anatomy 37, on the need for social media
Keeping interest To make sure content is interesting and continuously grabs my followers’ attention, I like to include photos and video content wherever possible. Some of my most recent multimedia posts include pictures of my most recent meals, short instructional videos from my training sessions showing best form for key exercises, and videos from any group training sessions. For the group video sessions, I use a free editing app to chop various snippets together and overlay it with motivational music. For a relatively easy, free method, I think the results are great. I'm also exploring what benefit Facebook advertising can offer – for a couple of my videos I've put a small budget behind them. While I don't think has led to any direct member referrals, it does help to spread the word and reach new people who might not have heard of us before. I think social media has increasingly become a part of every business that we can’t ignore – and I’m going to utilise it to the best of my ability.
Make sure to like us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/anatomy37gym, or follow @Anatomy_37 on Twitter or @adamwilsonfit on Instagram.
Top 8…ways to improve your gym experience Going to the gym regularly can get a bit samey and often you feel that you’re going because… well, that’s what you do. Here's how to maximise your time there and get the best out of the experience Words: Tracey Lattimore
#1 Know your goals
#5 Eat right
It may sound obvious, but ask yourself what you want to achieve from your gym sessions. Want to lose weight? Need to tone up, or trying to bulk up and build muscle? Or do you want to achieve a combination of these things? Whatever your aim, there’s a routine and combination of machines or classes that will suit you, so try to narrow down your goal and focus on it.
Eating the right food for a workout is crucial – and so is eating at the right time. Studies suggest that the best time to refuel is shortly after you leave the gym, as this is when your muscles needs protein and it’s ideal for building up your body. You also need to restore carbs. Wait half an hour if you don't feel like eating right after your session, but don't leave it much longer than that as your blood sugar could plummet.
#2 Find a PT Which brings us neatly on to point number two. You might think a personal trainer is an added luxury, but in fact a good PT can help you achieve your goals more efficiently and quicker than slogging it out on your own, What’s more, you’ll have someone to answer to, so you're more likely to stick to sessions and try harder.
#3 Vary the time you go Not everyone’s an early bird, while some people just can’t burn the midnight oil. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. You might be used to going to the gym before work, but would you achieve more if you went in the evening? Research suggests that if you have trouble with consistency, morning may be a better time to exercise, while a lunchtime workout is good if you want company from colleagues.
#6 Wearable tech There’s an array of apps and fitness gadgets around now, such as Fitbit and Garmin trackers, so why not make use of them? They can tell you how many calories you’ve burned, how far you’ve run and what your pace is, and then synch it neatly to an app to track your progress. Now that’s got to be good for motivation.
#7 Shop around Much like you might shop around to get the best deal on your car insurance, it’s also good to find out what other gyms are offering in your area – you might be able to get a better offer. And it’s worthwhile seeing what facilities other gyms have, too, such as state-of-the-art machines and new classes.
#4 Upgrade your kit
#8 Buddy up
Have you been wearing the same kit for years, and have your trainers seen better days? If the answer’s yes, then it’s time to upgrade. Wearing better clothes will not only fit you better (your body may have changed shape over the years) but new technology means that materials are improving all the time. So swap that sweaty cotton top for a sweat-wicking lightweight breathable. Your fellow gym-goers will thank you for it.
There’s nothing like the company of a friend to get you motivated for fitness. Studies show that buddying-up with someone helps us stick to a fitness routine as we’re unlikely to want to let that person down. So find a buddy in your area and get motivated to attend gym sessions and classes – you’ll soon see the difference!
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