ISSUE 51 // JUNE 2020
Hugo Braam CEO OF
EGYM LAUNCHES ITS CORONA GYM SOLUTION TO HELP GYM OWNERS NAVIGATE ‘THE NEW NORM’ PAGE 50
CEO OF FISIKAL EXPLAINS HOW SOFTWARE CAN HELP THE TRANSITION OF REOPENING OF GYMS PAGE 22
FITNESS IS A
YOUR GYM SHOULD BE MORE ACCESSIBLE, HERE’S HOW EXPLAINED BY BEN CLARK PAGE 34
PANDEMICBUSTER BY BEN HACKNEYWILLIAMS
SOCIALLY DISTANT? BY
AN ECO-FRIENDLY GYM WHERE WE CONVERT YOUR WORKOUTS INTO WATTS
GYM OWNER OF THE MONTH!
SAMANTHA ROBBINS page 8
PT OF THE MONTH! featuring
FELICITY ROSINA page 15 JUNE 2019
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 June issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. â€œItâ€™s a slow process but quitting wonâ€™t speed it upâ€? With lockdown restrictions easing, to include the reintroduction of 1:1 PT sessions, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the reopening of gyms. Whilst youâ€™ve all been working on your furlough tans, here at the GOM HQ weâ€™ve been working exceptionally hard to bring you another informative issue, with COVID 19 business tips and guidance from the very best the industry has to offer, so your business can not only survive but thrive during this continued crisis. Easing the strain of lockdown, this month's Big Interview comes from cover star Virtuagymâ€™s CEO Hugo Braam, he talks to us about how technology will help clubs through the current pandemic on page 12. Our PT of the Month Felicity Rosina is bringing all the â€˜sassâ€™ on page 15 and boutique fitness is turning green with SO51 eco-friendly gym on page 19. This issue really is packing a punch with Londonâ€™s best boxing gyms on page 36 and we take you to the worlds coolest outdoor gyms on page 39. Is your business socially distant? Janine Edwards from Media Pimps gives us her low down on getting started on social media on page 48, and Egym help gym owners navigate the â€˜new normâ€™ by launching their new software on page 50. We celebrate 10 years of Wild Training with founder James Griffiths on page 65 and we look at the ways we can reduce the second wave with author of Stick Around Strategies Guy Griffiths on page 68. By this point, you must be thinking I canâ€™t believe we get all this for free?! We know right? đ&#x;˜Ž Itâ€™s been amazing seeing how your businesses have adapted over the past few months and a real honour to continue to support the industry we all know and love. Stay safe (and alert)!
The GOMM Team
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COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Hugo Braam ÂŠ 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.
6 8 12
10 Reasons Your Gym Business Has Become Stagnant
15 19 22 24
PT of the Month
Gym Owner of the Month with Samantha Robbins
The Big Interview With Hugo Braam, CEO of Virtuagym 'Innovation is in our DNA - we will help clubs get through the current pandemic"
featuring Felicity Rosina
our boutique gym of the month – an eco-friendly gym where we convert your workouts into watts
Rob Lander CEO of Fisikal
Explains how software can help the transition of reopening of gyms
“Education is empowerment” by Emma Storey Gordon
32 26 30 32 34 36 39 41
19 22 34 36 39 Fitkit
The latest in kits and products
Fitness guru Heather Boulton Finds reasons to think positively during lockdown
EZFacility Gym Management Software
Can Help Your Facility Adjust to the ‘New Normal’….
Your gym should be more accessible, Here’s how Explained by Ben Clark
London’s best five Boxing gyms Suns Out, Guns Out:
The Coolest Outdoor Gyms Around the World
The thoughts in your head define your reality Are you in control of the life you are living? By Taz Dunstan
43 48 63
61 43 48 50 54 55 58
50 54 68 65
Rob Lander CEO of Fisikal Explains how Fisikal helps operators maintain control of PTs through closure
Are you socially distant? By Janine Edwards of Media Pimps
EGYM launches its Corona Gym Solution
To help gym owners navigate the ‘the new norm’
Lockdown wheelchair workouts with Ella
See the world with a different lens! Explained by Daniel Nyiri
Fitness is a pandemic-buster by Ben Harper-Williams
70 61 63 65 68 70 72
When will contact classes be back? By Colin Lee Berry
New Normal and the Fitness Industry By Cuoco Black
10 years of Wild Training By James Griffiths
Reducing the Second Wave By Guy Griffiths
Training outdoors could get your Gym back to business
By Matt Gleed
James Brown asks the question “Could Epigenetics help in the fight against COVID 19?”
We're always seeking contributors, if you're interested in writing for us then please contact:
Reasons Your Gym Business Has Become
training process and the willingness to make the changes that become necessary as the business grows. This is easier said than done for many gym owners. It takes dedication to the process.
3. The lack of standards, systems and controls.
It’s not enough to have high standards in your gym without implementing the control systems that assure those standards are met. Without the controls, you will have good intentions accompanied by bad results.
4. The member attitude. Not the member’s’ attitude but the gym’s attitude toward its members. There is nothing more destructive than gym staff who dismiss difficult members as “nutty” and conclude that there is no way to make them happy. The problem is that most nutty members have not so nutty friends, and word of mouth travels fast these days. 5. Technology. There are many reasons why some gyms grow and others become stagnant. Of course, there are factors like market size, competition and consumer demand. But there are also other factors that have to do with operations, leadership, accountability and systems. Based on what we’re seeing across the country, here are some thoughts on why gym owners and their business become stagnant. 6
1. Success apathy. Just because you have had success in the past, it doesn’t guarantee success in the future. Simple complacency… we take our eye off the ball. . An independent gym is usually a reflection of the club owner’s needs, desires and personality.
2. The right staff. You cannot build a successful gym without the right people in place. This requires both the proper hiring and
New technologies can do many great things but can also be overwhelming and time consuming for gym owners. Acquiring the financial, technical and staff resources necessary to solve a technology problem can be very difficult for a small gym, but there’s not much choice; the marketplace does not standstill.
6. Marketing. This includes everything from branding to advertising to market analysis. How your gym executes may be the major driver of its success, but how your gym is perceived is also
crucial. The other reality is that small gyms can have a difficult time finding resources to help them with this critical part of their business. That means that the success or failure of a small gym’s marketing frequently comes down to the abilities of the club owner. Few people are good at everything.
7. Stale fitness services. Whether you are talking about fitness products or members, the market is always changing, and your products and services have to change with it. If you are fortunate, the changes are slow and subtle; sometimes, they are dramatic.
you have 30 — a common example is when you start to hire higherpriced managers who have different expectations than the normal hourly rate.
10. Leadership. This includes vision, courage, fortitude, attitude and gym culture — all of which
should create an inspired staff. And of course there’s the often used word that is many times called the secret to it all, passion. Here is the real secret: passion is critical, but it can’t make up for deficiencies in the other categories. I have seen many owners struggle in the gym business that had plenty of passion. It will not be enough.
8. Lack of investment. Whether it is for more new gym equipment and accessories, new technology, a bigger facility, or more employees - growing gyms require more cash than non-growing gyms. Getting this cash may require borrowing money, finding more investors or using up whatever cash is on hand. It’s ongoing. Some gym owners tire of the demands and decide to slow down the investments — and that slows down growth of the gym. 9. Stubbornness.
It is stubbornness that helped the gym owner get the club off the ground, get through the learning curve, survive the ups and downs and cope with every problem along the way. At some point, though, focused adherence to what you know can limit a gym’s ability to adapt to change and get to that next level. Policies and strategies that might have worked when you had 10 employees can hold you back when June 2020
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73-75 South Road, Haywards Heath, W Sussex, RH16 4LQ
# of members: 300
How did you become a gym owner? I opened Sussex Zest in May 2015. Before that I had been teaching as a freelance PT and Group Fitness in various gyms and community venues and wanted to create a cohesive hub for these sessions. We started with 25 members and myself with these sessions, and have grown to 3 freelance instructors and approximately 300 members (on a mixture of PAYG and membership basis).
How many gyms do you own/operate? 1 - offering small group fitness classes (max 10), Personal Training and Small Group Personal Training
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Based Group Fitness, which for many years has been a professional and personal passion of mine. I think of all the facets of our industry this will be the one that faces the most challenges. On a practical level it will look quite different for some time as we move to the ‘new normal’. Clients choose studio classes for a broad range of reasons - social - the physical connection with their friends, emotional - the energising feeling of working out in a group, practical - the hands on corrections and tweaks in some disciplines….will any of those things be possible with mandatory social distancing, the use of PPE etc. Now we need to manage their expectations appropriately. Or could those social benefits be better maintained online for now?
How long has your gym(s) been operating for? 5 years on the 31st May. We didn’t think we’d be celebrating with an online Zoom quiz, but adapting as needs must. I am sure we’ll have a big party in the near future.
How many staff do you employ? There are 3 Freelance instructors plus myself.
From a business perspective what are your main concerns during the current Covid-19 pandemic, both short term and long term? In the weeks following closure, cash flow took an immediate hit. I had several supplier
invoices outstanding and having always tried to source locally (for apparel etc) was unwilling to leave those businesses high and dry. As a Sole Director I was not able to access the governments income support scheme for the Self Employed. If I had opted to furlough myself I would have not been able to continue working in any capacity which would have had a disastrous effect on client engagement and retention. I am not being dismissive of the level of financial aid offered by the government as it was quite comprehensive - the grant for businesses claiming SBRR was pivotal in security of Sussex Zest but there were a more than a few sleepless nights before that was received! However long term I feel hopeful as our membership retention has been great, and our live stream class programme is proving very successful - we had an incredible 47 new clients in a fortnight! And I think that is when I realised the potential reach of online Live Stream fitness. I am apprehensive for the future of Studio
It’s a time of huge uncertainty for all business owners, in the personal services industries and beyond, but there is also very much a culture of ‘we’re in this together’. I believe we may come through the other side with a greater appreciation of, and thus uptake of independent and boutique sized wellness provision.
What measures have you had to put in place for your staff? The Sussex Zest Instructors that were keen to teach online have all kept their regular classes and we have actually increased the number of classes on the timetable so are offering more. I was delighted to be able to offer another instructor - one that I have known and respected in the industry for many years a regular session, seeing as we are no longer geographically bound, and it has been very well received by our clients of course. Sussex Zest has invested in a home broad- casting kit to optimise the audio of these sessions and I have had a rapid education in AV equipment! I realised early on that the online fitness market (already ‘busy’) was now
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experiencing an enforced ‘boom’. If we wanted to offer something that would keep our existing clients engaged, but go beyond that and even grow - that the product and delivery had to meet the same high standards as our face to face offering. We have been having regular team meetings, and I actually think the challenges we have been presented with have bought us closer as a team. There’s an enhanced camaraderie now and a steadfast dedication to our brand.
What measures have you had to put in place for your members? Initially when the advice was ‘just’ social distancing we decreased class sizes appropriately, changed the format of kit based sessions so there was no sharing and encouraged increased hand washing etc. Gym closure was ordered on Friday 20th March and clients asked if we might consider outside training with social distancing observed (and no kit). I felt that this wouldn’t offer the social benefits of our sessions (and that interactive online training and the appropriate use of social media just might). More worryingly it felt like a bit of a ‘loophole’ - I wanted to behave in a way that was socially responsible but still protect my business and engage our members. It was a moot point anyway as by Monday 23rd all unnecessary social activity was halted. I taught our first online class at 06.30am on Tuesday the 24th having got up at 03.30 to prepare (OK overthink!). When a ‘remote’ client opened her window and I could hear the birds singing outside her house I suddenly felt far more optimistic. I contacted all members that had outstanding credit - whether that was in the form of annual unlimited memberships, classes booked, rolling memberships etc and asked if they would like to freeze it for re-opening or use the cash equivalent value for the online services. This was a big task
and one that perhaps went beyond the expected but I really think it was the fairest approach for our loyal regulars.
What challenges have you faced? Quite simply the speed in which the situation changed and how I viewed my ability to respond to it. I was teaching personally at the time it was announced that gyms would close and I suggested my clients unclip the TRXs they were using and take them home. Such is my trust in our members and the belief that we will be back I let a significant value of kit walk out the door. Even though I had been anticipating a mandatory closure for around a week I went into shock – physically and emotionally. In hindsight I wonder if I didn’t give it chance to percolate, and thus neglected my own wellbeing. Pivoting the business rapidly in such an unprecedented time - our members were incredibly supportive but by
recognizing their need to maintain/create a routine as soon as possible, I possibly put undue pressure on myself when ‘sit back and breathe’ may have given me a better long term overview. And like parents across the country the balance of managing the wellbeing of my business and that of my family. When the financial security of the latter is dependant on that of the former there are no black and white boundaries.
How are you using social media and technology during this time? Our classes and Personal Training sessions are now being taught via Zoom, with bookings and payment being taken using our existing software – MINDBODY. I don’t think any of us knew - in March, how long the COVID19 crisis might last. I can see how there would be a temptation to respond quickly with a non-monetised online offering (free workouts on Facebook
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etc) but I believe it is then harder to build a robust and profitable business further down the line. I am proud of the way Sussex Zest pivoted to online in not just a timely manner but an organised, professional and sustainable one. Rapid growth has been achieved through our partnerships with MoveGB and GymPass. By harnessing the potential of these sellers we have connected with clients all over the UK. My current project is integrating these booking channels for maximum automation and it’s getting there. Even before these systems were implemented my first action was to set up private members Facebook and WhatsApp groups for our studio regulars, so we had an easy way to communicate with the members and they could keep in touch with; and support each other. And they really did! With offers of shopping, job opportunities etc, and I may have even had a bottle of gin left on my doorstep. We have continued to use Facebook live and Instagram stories as a visual way to keep the members up to date. I was particularly impressed by the daily live Q+A (Facebook) from my local town council. These sessions were delivered informally, but in a calm and structured way. I was inspired to do similar – not just to provide information but also that feeling of ‘We’re here, and we’re listening with a cuppa’
What support have you found within the industry/ from governing bodies? I texted the brilliant Wes, manager of Tribe Hove on Friday 20th March ‘can I give you a ring?’ ‘yes anytime before 2am’ was his swift response. Which certainly suggests we are navigating this uncharted territory as colleagues. We’ve had regular brainstorming and checking in sessions
since. Similarly there have been some incredibly supportive interactions on social media – particularly in Ben Coombers group and as such I have not felt the need to approach governing bodies. I have also been fortunate to access support outside of the industry - in particular I had an eye opening conversation with my local Business Growth Hub. I had very much been in the mistaken mindset that the grant given to Sussex Zest had been ‘from the council to pay the rent’. I was reminded that it had in fact come from the government (via the council) to support and even grow my business in whatever capacity I saw fit hence the investment into online equipment and partnerships.
Is there anything you feel the government should be doing differently to support the fitness industry at this time? That’s a tricky question! I have seen calls for the classification of different sized fitness businesses - that small studios and gyms should have different guidance for reopening than large leisure centres etc. But I think in this time of huge uncertainty it would be incongruent to expect the government to issue industry specific guidance for all sectors - it is just too broad/expansive. I appreciate the work UKActive and EMD etc are doing to communicate with the Government on behalf of the industry but I think we have also got to accept responsibility for our own businesses and clients.
from my flat whilst attempting to home educate 2 children I don’t know whether I’d have laughed or cried. Yet in the last few months, we have proven that with the correct support and technology it can work well. Our steps into online training were tentative but measured and now there is no doubt that the online sessions will continue after the easing of business restrictions. On a personal level this has been a time of considerable reflection and growth for me. When I featured in GOM December 2018 I explained that I wanted to develop the brand - Sussex Zest, rather than Sam Robbins within Sussex Zest. I had become that typical cliche of working ‘in the business not on it’. Well I’m afraid things didn’t change too much until March 2020. It took stepping off (OK being forcibly removed from!) the gym floor to assess the business and its future with analytical owners eyes. On a recent phone call with one of our long term partners last week they commented ‘you sound calm Sam - in fact the calmest I’ve ever heard you’. That’s because I finally feel like I’m running the business, instead of it running me.
As a business where do you see yourself in 3/6 months time? If someone had told me a month ago I would be operating a fitness facility via laptop
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This Month’s Big Interview is with Hugo Braam, CEO of Virtuagym 'Innovation is in our DNA - we will help clubs get through the current pandemic" How did you get into the fitness industry? People often laugh when I tell them that I used to work as a lawyer in intellectual property law, because it’s probably not the most common career switch. I founded Virtuagym together with my brother Paul 12 years ago because we felt that there was a huge opportunity in using technology to support people to live healthier, more active lifestyles. At the time (in 2009) we started out with a website and later mobile app, aimed at consumers. We were actually one of the first movers in that particular space worldwide. It’s hard to believe that when we started Virtuagym, the first iPhone had only just been released. Nowadays health and fitness apps are growing exponentially but that was a different time. By 2012 we were already serving a few million consumers with our app and then we started to receive various requests from fitness businesses that wanted to know if they could use our solution for exercise and nutrition coaching for their gym members. And that’s how we got into the industry. 12
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And I never regretted that move. Being a lawyer was okay, but working every day to help people become a better, healthier version of themselves together (which we do with 7,000 gyms, clubs and studios worldwide) is super rewarding. Especially since we’re working with all these really cool new technologies. It’s like they say: if you start doing what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.
Tell us more about Virtuagym Virtuagym is a provider of innovative fitness software, divided into three main components: a club management solution, a coaching solution and finally a member engagement platform. It’s a complete ecosystem with integrated mobile apps with solutions for exercise and nutrition guidance, progress tracking, online coaching, business analytics, scheduling, online sign-up and payments, over 40 third-party integrations, and much more. We have more than 200 employees and offices in Amsterdam and the Americas and support more than 16 million
consumers, almost 7,000 health clubs and 30,000+ trainers worldwide, including Xercise4Less, BuzzGym, Jetts, Basic Fit and more. Especially now due to the Corona crisis our customers are valuing the ability to coach their members remotely and keep them engaged through rich community tools, challenges and home workouts.
What sets Virtuagym apart from its competitors? Virtuagym is unique from its competition in two different ways: Firstly, we are the only provider offering a true all-in-one platform for management, coaching and engagement in one seamlessly integrated solution, and there’s a lot of advantages with that. Secondly, our coaching and engagement solutions are the most complete and highest rated solutions on the market today, partially because we started out as a consumer solution, but also because we’ve been doing this and improving for over a decade.That means we deliver not only top of the range management and booking software
but also the tools your business needs to engage and retain members - this helps our customers build strong businesses, which continue to grow over time. Our community feature ensures that you are always in touch with members, who are able to share news, comments and their fitness tracking successes. Plus our virtual training feature offers their members constant access to a virtual trainer; it comes with a library of over 5000 3D animated exercises. Finally, our mobile app technology offers fitness brands a completely customizable, branded mobile app with an unparalleled user experience. All our customers have 4.5 star mobile app rating or higher, which is important as technology and especially mobile is an extension of your brand offering. I think it’s a shame to have a great facility, but then offer your members a 2 star mobile app experience.
What are your biggest challenges you face in your business? Right now, the entire industry is faced June 2020
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in love with our industry and I’m still super happy I decided to make a switch into fitness 12 years ago.
What’s next for Virtuagym? As a company, we are always looking to get better and develop new technologies for our customers. Innovation is really in our DNA and this helps us adapt in the increasingly fastchanging market on an ongoing basis. Right now, that means providing our customers with a positive way out of the pandemic closures. We are already offering them great tools to provide remote coaching for their members with workouts and challenges to keep their members engaged. This often helps them maintain membership revenue. We’ve recently added on demand videos and live-streaming capabilities and are currently finalizing connecting our booking solution to the check-in, so clubs can actively manage the amount of people entering their facility whilst having live insight in how many people are inside.
In your opinion, what is the current state of the UK's fitness industry?
with a huge challenge. Clubs across the world (including our customers) have been forced to close and their future hangs in the balance. Our current challenge is to help these clubs and studios adapt to the challenges of a post-pandemic world. This includes creating the software that will practically provide assistance to clubs. We already have QR code scanners that clubs can use to track the entry and exit of members but are now creating a way for owners to set limits on the amount of entrants. On top of this, we are devising an online solution that our customers can offer to their members to supplement their gym membership. It will allow them the opportunity to have complete access to an online coaching, nutrition and wellness 14
programme and support their local gym at the same time.
What’s the most valuable lesson you've learned from the fitness industry? In my former life I used to work as an intellectual property lawyer and I remember very well from the first moment I started doing business in our industry that I was surprised by the energy and positivity of fitness entrepreneurs and our industry in general. I guess this still stands, especially in challenging times like these. It’s great to see people dedicated to continue servicing their customers, even when they cannot come to their facilities. It’s this dedication and positive attitude that made me fall
The entire global industry has been hit hard over the last few months and the UK is no exception. However, I remain optimistic. The industry in the UK has shown great resilience and readiness to change in the face of the crisis. Public figures like Joe Wicks have brought PE lessons to the nation's kids via TV screens and running apps like Strava are seeing more usage than ever as people across the nation make the most out of their daily exercise allowance. More and more people are turning to online methods of working out and those who had never before considered taking up yoga, pilates or boxing, are finding a taste for it. The UK fitness industry is well positioned to take this difficult opportunity as a chance to grow and expand their business proposition virtually. We are committed to support UK fitness businesses in this process. If they are interested in learning more, they can visit: business.virtuagym.com
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Qualifications: Level 3 PT
# years as a qualified PT: 4
Where you work (town/city): London/ The world!
How did you become a PT? As an ex-professional dancer, I had been into sports from a young age and always loved exercising. When I decided to give up dancing I started going to the gym to stay in shape and I was so scared the first 6 months I went, I did nothing but smash the treadmill and the cross trainer so I hired a PT to show me what to do. I learnt so much from having a PT I felt like a new woman when I walked back into the gym with so much confidence knowing what to do in the weights section. I felt empowered that I was no longer just going in to use the treadmill. I wanted to be “that person” for other people! Women especially, because I know how they feel! I went to so many talks and seminars as a fresh-faced PT and I learnt everything I know today from listening to people, podcasts, reading, events like the International Fitness Summit, James Smith Live, Martin MacDonald Seminars. I turned up, took notes and put
everything into practice! It’s pretty cool that I’ll be speaking at the International Fitness Summit this year too, it’s like I’ve gone full circle and I cannot wait for the opportunity!
Do you (or do you intend to) specialise in a particular type of fitness? My whole platform is called the Sassy Squad and it’s aimed at empowering women around the world to be their best selves! Take a look at the website if you want to become part of the female movement!
You spend your working hours motivating others, how do you motivate yourself? I think it’s important to practice what you preach and if I feel sloppy I won’t be as motivated to push my clients to feel good. It’s also good motivation for my clients, we have a group chat and I tell them when I’m going
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What significant changes have you seen within the industry over the past 3 years? There are a lot more people filtering out the crap that had been fed in and I love it! Events like the International Fitness Summit are taking over and making fitness fun again, there are so many big names in the fitness industry gathered in one place and not one person was wearing a string vest or drinking a protein shake! IFS was a weekend of learning and partying!
How do you engage with your clients (active and inactive)?
to the gym or going for a walk so, if they haven’t been yet, it gives them that extra push!
What advice would you give to other PTs just starting out in the business? It won’t happen overnight. Turn up to every event you can and learn off people who are experienced. Learn. From. Them. I went to the International Fitness Summit last year and it honestly levelled up my business in so many ways, the month after IFS I had tripled my income that month and it felt amazing that just from listening to
people talk, taking notes and applying them I was able to apply my new knowledge and it worked! I think it’s super easy to forget that even successful PTs have bad days. I wouldn’t call myself top of the ranking as a successful PT but I have put in so much work behind the scenes that no one ever saw. Launching my online business took 6 months in the making and I didn’t have a solid income until over a year! Be attentive, go above and beyond for your client, listen to their needs and deliver a service you’d like to receive. Take time out for yourself too, you don’t want to burn out. PTs are allowed on holidays too!!
All my clients are in a WhatsApp chat so they get to know each other and are friends, it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it I think. I message them daily, I become their PT and their best friend. The results are a lot better if the person you’re training feels like they can trust you.
How do you promote your services? Instagram and my email list! Paul Mort spoke about Email Marketing at IFS 2019 and, all I can say is, that man knows his stuff! Hands down the most motivational person I’ve ever heard speak! I’m speaking at IFS 2020 in Lisbon this August if any of you reading this fancy hearing me chat more about my PT journey buy a ticket and come! If you’re coming by yourself even better, you’ll make so many friends!
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How often do you train yourself? I’m currently training for the London Marathon so I run 3 times a week and weight train 3 times but usually, I’d weight train 5/6 days a week and get a minimum of 15k steps a day!
If there was one thing you could radically change within the industry, what is it? That people who go on reality TV can’t bring out any kind of fitness product unless they were a PT before they went in! So many people sell workout programmes and have no idea what they’re talking about they’re just there to make some quick cash!
Do you see yourself still working as a PT in 10 years time?
A month later I get a message from Heather
I hope so!! I don’t have plans to do anything else!
I nearly fell off my chair.
What is your biggest success story?
Then all of a sudden I had this really
Let me tell you about Heather. She was one of my very first online clients, and Heather was the worst client I’ve ever had. (she won’t mind me saying that she says it herself) She didn’t listen to me, she was wildly inconsistent and most days would avoid my messages. About 3 months in Heather left and I’d seen it coming a mile off, she wasn’t ready to help herself and needed some time out.
that just said “Please will you do me a programme for the gym”
I replied and said yes absolutely. motivated woman on my hands and she SMASHED it. She’s 4 dress sizes down, 30kg gone, more motivated than ever and this month she flew off to Thailand for a 2 week training camp! I am so proud of her and she has turned into my friend, not just a client! I love watching people transform their lives as Heather has. I just wish I could tell the old Heather she could do it!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
INSPIRING EXERCISE FOR ALL AGES AND STAGES MX4 Active can help your facility engage older and deconditioned adults in a way that’s right for their abilities and keep them coming back for more. Our exclusive training tools and structured, skill-based programming inspire confidence and improve fitness so participants can do things they love. For more information visit matrixfitness.co.uk
SO51Fitness – an ecofriendly gym where we convert your workouts into watts SO51Fitness was established in 2017, initially offering group exercise classes. I set up as a sole trader and specialised in pre & postnatal fitness, running buggy-fit and circuits classes in a hired studio. I quickly realised that there was a gap in the local market for a smaller boutique-type gym offering—something that would provide high-end service and equipment but in a smaller and more personal setting. I wanted to create a space that was unintimidating, with a real community feel. An opportunity came up to rent some space within an existing business so I grabbed it without a second thought and got to work immediately. It took exactly ten weeks from the day I signed the rental agreement to opening the gym! The initial outlay for the equipment felt pretty high, so I did a lot of the decorating and aesthetics myself to save money–laying rubber flooring, painting, and wall art. I guess that is also the personal touch that marks out SO51Fitness as a labour of love, rather than just another corporate gym. Membership grew quickly, and just over 12 months later I made the decision to relocate to my own premises. The business continued to grow and as it did so, it felt even more important to make sure that even a somewhat bigger and less cosy SO51Fitness stood out in the market. I needed to find something that would make us really unique… I was born and raised in Shoreham-BySea outside Brighton, one of the first towns in the UK to adopt the blue box recycling scheme, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I was aware of environmental issues from a young age. I started researching how a gym could be more environmentally friendly and started SO51Fitness on its green journey by banning the use of singleuse plastic bottles in May 2019. I devised a series of “punishments” to be meted out to members if they were caught (usually burpees if I was on shift!). The next step was the purchase of an array of green plants, carefully researched for their air-purifying properties; then I switched to chemical-free cleaning June 2020
products. But that still didn’t solve the problem of our power-thirsty equipment. Did I dare trade out all the equipment that I had bought just to be eco-friendly? Well, I’ve never done things by halves… I was aware that eco-friendly kits did exist in the marketplace somewhere so I researched it, tracked down another gym that had it, then contacted their supplier to see myself. SportsArt had some of the nicest looking kits I had ever seen, created to the latest technological specifications—and one particular selling point: rather than plugging them into the wall so that they could use power from the grid, these machines harnessed human muscle power to put energy back in again. SportsArt offers a number of ranges but I knew immediately that I wanted the Eco Powr-Line range. Up to 74% of the energy created by our members during their workout is converted into utility-grade electricity and sent back into our local grid to offset energy consumption. SportArt also offers a software ecosystem that can be purchased to support the kit, enhancing the benefits of their ECO-POWR™ products. SA WELL+™ includes energy production tracking, a leaderboard display, asset management, and a user app to track individual workouts and lifetime watts produced. Members of SO51Fitness can scan themselves in on the CV kit with a QR code and track their workouts in real-time. Their stats are uploaded onto our big in-club screen, where we can collectively watch our workouts turn into watts and send them back into the 20
local grid. Since installing our new green kit in September last year we have been running monthly challenges using the leaderboard—from Boys vs Girls to Beat the Trainers (where the total number of watts generated by members had to top the collective pot generated by the team of SO51Fitness trainers)—it creates a real buzz in the gym and is a fantastic way to keep members engaged and motivated. Obviously, the move to an eco-friendly gym hasn’t come without its challenges. Not everybody wants to buy into greener living or is motivated to by the idea an energy generation leaderboard. However, as I was once told, it’s better to encourage lots of people to do it imperfectly than for one person to do it perfectly. The “it” in this case is taking steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle - even if that is via a running machine. Right now, I’m wondering whether sustainability is going to seem more and more important as many are finding time during the COVID-19 lockdown to rethink many habits that had become ingrained. Perhaps more people will start re-evaluating their lifestyle following the pandemic. As a business SO51Fitness has had to adapt and rethink many of its day-to-day strategies, and I’m learning quickly too. You can now purchase SO51Fitness indoor, outdoor and online memberships, and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to encourage good health and strengthen the community we have built. The thing that really gives me hope for the future of fitness is the eco-factor. This has already shown itself to be a
fantastic strategy to help SO51Fitness stand out and be different, and interest has grown steadily, with more than ever people becoming more environmentally conscious. But the COVID 19 pandemic takes this to a new level. As the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen, put it; nature is sending us a message that if we neglect the planet, we put our wellbeing at risk. An eco-gym is more than a marketing strategy: in the light of the pandemic, it seems like the clearest way forward. Planetary health has to be at the heart of personal health. The crisis has forced so many of us to stop in our tracks and become more creative in how we manage and think about our wellbeing. The fitness industry is still under partial lockdown, so we should all be shifting and adapting—but once it is over, if anything, I think the SO51Fitness will come out stronger than ever before. The coronavirus is another reminder that life is short and we only get one body to live in—and one planet to live on. We need to treat both well.
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DIGITAL IS THE NEW PERSONAL HOW SOFTWARE CAN HELP THE TRANSITION OF REOPENING OF GYMS Gyms and fitness studios are facing uncertain times as they look ahead to reopening with the ongoing Covid-19 social distancing restrictions. Here, we speak to Rob Lander, CEO at Fisikal, experts in business management software, about how embracing the right digital solution can help ease the transition into the ‘new normal’.
BOOKING SYSTEM SOLUTIONS When gyms reopen, there will be restrictions on how many members can visit the club at one time. Our business solution gives operators complete control over access rights and participation numbers via an advanced online booking system. Individual booking periods, e.g. that open a week in advance, can be applied to give all members an equal chance of securing a slot. Specific membership types can also be assigned ‘booking privileges’ with extended booking rights applied.
ROOM MAPPING TECHNOLOGY Fisikal also enables the booking of equipment or places within a group exercise class through unique ‘room mapping’ technology. This ‘map’ can easily be amended to reflect social distancing requirements and means members
can select and book the exact piece of equipment they wish to occupy each time. This may also boost member confidence in returning to the physical facility as they can return to the same piece of equipment each time or choose to position themselves nearer the door or windows of a class setting.
INTEGRATED LIVE STREAMING If restricted access, due to social distancing requirements means some members are unable to use the physical facilities, integrated live streaming means they can still enjoy their favourite classes with familiar instructors, but remotely. This functionality is complemented by an ability to host an unlimited library of on-demand classes and workout programmes.
PERSONALISED COMMUNICATIONS Automate personalised push
notifications to members at the touch of a button. This could be a personal note sending congratulations for the achievement of a training goal, acknowledgement of a birthday or a motivational message to drive reengagement. Fisikal also enables in-app, twoway communications. This ensures personal trainers and group exercise instructors maintain personal contact even when members are physically distant. This creates a 24-hour, wraparound service of care and support.
BRAND REACH BEYOND THE FOUR WALLS The Fisikal platform enables the extension of brand reach beyond the physical four walls of a facility. This means, whilst physical numbers are likely to be restricted for many months to come, members can maintain a digital connection to the brand’s support, culture, services and community. This extended, wraparound provision helps gym and studio owners justify membership fees despite physical access restrictions, maintain a valuable income stream whilst providing a highly personalised experience to each and every member. www.fisikal.com
DIGITAL IS THE NEW PERSONAL! Business solutions to adapt to ‘the new normal’.
ASK FOR YOUR FREE DEMO TODAY! REALTIME BOOKINGS & PAYMENTS ROOM MAPPING INTEGRATED LIVE STREAMING PERSONALISED COMMUNICATION BRAND REACH BEYOND THE FOUR WALLS ECOMMERCE
https://fisikal.com/club June 2020
P Ts V p IoE tWl Pi g O hI N t T
Education is empowerment by Emma Storey Gordon
It’s how you beat fad diets, it is how you stop yo-yo-ing, it gives you autonomy. This is why education is empowering. The process of fat loss isn’t complex. It is extremely simple. In fact, in many ways, I think it’s the simplicity that puts people off. People want to find the ‘secret’. They want to know why they have struggled so long. Maybe they haven’t found the right weight loss pill yet or the best shake that will burn off fat. Maybe they have been eating too many carbs. It isn’t any of the above. As I said, the process of weight loss is not complex but that doesn’t mean it is easy. As someone looking to lose body fat an understanding of basic energy balance is needed. That being in negative energy balance (a calorie deficit) by eating fewer calories than you expend causes the body to use its stored energy (fat) for fuel. In terms of what your calories are made up of: getting in enough fruit and veg, essential fats – oily fish a few times a week and some olive oil are great fats to include and building your meals around a good protein source is all you really need to know. But, implementing this simple notion, negative energy balance or a calorie deficit isn’t easy. This is where the art of coaching comes in. How are you going to get someone to stick to a calorie deficit long enough to see the fat loss results they want. This is where (among other things) a good understanding of physiology is useful. Knowing how the body reacts to negative energy balance and being able to pre-empt changes before they happen means you can be ready with strategies. 24
PsTp o Vt I El W i gP hOtI N T
For example one, the most obvious responses to a calorie deficit is an increase in hunger. Some simple ways to combat this are: 1) Increase food volume. For example, swapping half your pasta for 3x as much courgette for the same calories. This will help hunger in 3 ways: Speed of eating: Higher volume foods tend to slow you down. Speed of eating has been linked to BMI with faster eater having a higher BMI. Stretches your stomach: Eating a high volume of food stretches your stomach which sends a message to your brain to turn down hunger signals. This can be achieved with relatively low calories if the right foods are chosen. More chewing: The process of chewing is linked to reduced hunger and more food to eat means more chewing.
2) Protein: Most people know that protein keeps you fuller for longer but not many people know exactly why. One reason is that protein travels further down your digestive tract before it is broken down. Food lower in your gut sends signals to your brain to stimulate satiety. It isn’t fully understood why we have evolved this way but one theory is the protein hypothesis which is that we are programmed to need a certain amount of protein and it is in our interest to stay hungry until we consume that amount of protein. This theory has also been used to explain the obesity crisis. In the standard western diet, we now have to consume more calories to reach this protein threshold. Understanding what causes hunger, how to eat in a way to minimise this is very useful when dieting. It should also explain why juice cleanses and ketogenic diets which include very
little protein or food volume are usually short-lived and unsuccessful. The phrase ‘do it right, do it once’ is never more applicable than in dieting. You could waste years of time, money and effort jumping on every diet trend or you can educate yourself once and have that knowledge for the rest of your life. There are certain things you might want to allocate out e.g. fixing your car, your plumbing, gardening etc but there is one thing you are going to have to do every day of your life and that is eat so it is worthwhile investing some time, effort and money learning about nutrition. If you are interested in learning the science behind good nutrition then EIQ nutrition is a great option. The course is 4 months long and is suitable for anyone who has an interest in nutrition. You will be tutored and mentored by two of the UK’s most well-respected coaches who have helped 1,000’s of people look, feel and perform at their best. www.EIQnutrition.com
June 2020 25
Fit Kit This month’s round-up of kit, products and extras you can stock for your members – boost loyalty, retention and your revenue!
Balega Blister Resist For Walking Or Running One of the most irritating things to happen on a run or walk is when your socks constantly slip down off of your heels. To address this issue, you'll want to choose a pair of socks with a high heel tab, which is an extra piece of fabric above the heel that keeps the socks in place.
While there are a ton of options for running socks, I went with the Balega Blister Resist model because of their affordability and the excellent Amazon reviews. I also know several people that swear by Balega socks, including my mother -- and we all know moms can't lie.
REP Fitness Adjustable Plyo Box Best for: Someone who wants to seamlessly switch between box jumps and step-ups. A notable "con" for this box is that it takes about 45 minutes to assemble out of the box (a workout in itself) -- but a corresponding "pro" is the fact that, once it's put together, adjusting its height to your needs is a quick and
easy process. And speaking of this plyo box's adjustable features, it can be set to stand 16, 20, or 24 inches high, depending on whether you want to it for steps, squats, or jumps. Whatever your fitness regimen of choice may be, you can rely on the box to feel stable and solid underfoot -- one review described it as "trustworthy”.
Skinners Socks The ultimate pocket footwear for all your adventures. Minimalist. AntiOdour. Durable. Awesome. Simply with you. Anywhere… We designed Skinners to be a handy companion for all your sports and travels. They fit in the pocket so it’s easy to have them around whenever you need them… • Antibacterial yarns with pure silver
(Ag+) • Anti-Odour • Toe protection • Skinners StretchKnit • Anti-abrasive Swedish polymer • Waterproof underside • Adhesive and phthalate-free double layer • Handmade • Machine washable
Hoka One One Clifton Edge Price: $160 Style: Road Available: Pre-order on June 15, 2020; On sale July 1, 2020 Hoka’s latest Clifton is unlike any Clifton you know. The shoe sheds some of the weight it packed on over the years and uses the springy, compression-moulded EVA midsole we loved in Hoka’s EVO Speedgoat. 26
Tacks on the rubberised foam sole and an extended heel (a softened version of the Hoka One One TenNine’s giant, shelf-like landing pad) smooth out landings. We particularly loved the lighter overall package and thin, onepiece air mesh upper, which locks down your foot without adding excess bulk or heft. See what you think when the shoe goes on sale July 15.
Off-White Odsy-1000 Price: $790 Style: Casual Available: Now This shoe’s rubber-spiked midsole gives it serious trail clout, but these absurd $790 shoes are made for the steparound-the-puddle set. The Odsy-1000
has all the quintessential Off-White details, including the brand’s signature, crisscrossed arrows and zip-tie tags. The low-top sneaker also sports suede and mesh overlays galore, monuments to the spirit of excess that Off-White encompasses.
Atreyu Price: $95 for one pair; $75 each by subscription Style: Road Available: July 1 It might sound crazy, but the new Austin, Texas-based startup Atreyu essentially wants to be a Dollar Shave Club for your feet. Here’s how it works: Sign up for the brand’s shoe subscription service and you’ll get one pair of super-lightweight, strippeddown running shoes for $95. Then,
one to three months later, depending on your subscription, you’ll get your next pair for just $75. Alternately, you can just buy a single pair to see what you think when the service launches July 1. Our test team had a chance to run in the shoes and found them to be firm and thinly cushioned—more like a race flat than a supportive distance shoe. They also run a bit snug and wear down fairly quickly, which explains the one- to three-month replacement timeline.
BFA 750ML MOBILITY WATER BOTTLE Water bottle AND foam roller in one. The BFA 750ml Mobility Water Bottle is a sort of accessory that makes you slap your forehead and think: "why has nobody thought of this before?" What makes this a mobility water bottle? Just have another look: the ribbed outer shell practically transforms this water bottle into a foam roller. Yeah, you read that right.
This is a crazy idea, we agree. But if you think about it, the concept of the BFA 750ml Mobility Water Bottle is also genius. The shape of this water bottle is perfect for rolling smaller areas like the calves or even the lats, but it can also help relieve tension in the front of the quads, using your hands to apply pressure (as opposed to the bottle resting on the floor and you are rolling on it).
TAKEYA ACTIVES INSULATED WATER BOTTLE For the lovers of ice-cold water As much as you won't need piping-hot drinks in the gym, it might come handy to enjoy some ice-cold water during workouts when the temperatures are soaring high. The Takeya Actives can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours, which is plenty, even if your gym is an hour drive away. Even more so, the lid is insulted and leak proof too. The Takeya Actives is pretty well-rated on Amazon, which proves its quality. Many insulated containers tend to receive lower ratings due to
their build quality (sweating, insulation issues, etc), but not the Takeya. For added piece of mind, this water bottle comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The plastic carry ring on the top is just the icing on the cake, really. All this comes at a price, though. The Takeya Actives is the most expensive gym water bottle on the list, the 950 ml version selling for around £25. On the upside, this water bottle can actually replace your hot water flask. Two-for-one. June 2020
Loboo Waterproof Bag Expedition Dry Duffel Bag Motorcycle Luggage For Travel, Sports, Cycling, Hiking, Camping (90l, blue) Are you always worried about a lot of luggage when cycling/riding/travelling or other outdoor activities? This Loboo waterproof bag can help you solve that problem with a large capacity of 40L/90L. It includes two fast dismantling belts, with these two adjustable belts, you can quickly and firmly install your luggage on a motorcycle or bicycle instead of complex bundling steps with motorcycle's belt. After testing, these two fast dismantling belts can withstand the weight of 200 kg, it is very safe and convenient. It has adopted international top brands' ultra-high-strength materials, combined hyperthermia and hot pressing technique, and with roll-top design, waterproof effect far beyond the traditional waterproof zippers and Velcro. It's also snow proof, hail proof, resistance to high temperature and low temperature, you can travel with it in any weather. Don't need to worry about your luggage.
The friends who always use waterproof bag know that the traditional good seal design makes the gas difficult to come out, causing inconvenience when bundling the bag, but LOBOO has a release valve, perfectly solved this problem. Its surface is very smooth, just simply wipe, Instantly clean as new, Ideal for outdoor activities. Included one shoulder strap; it can be used as handbags, messenger bags, backpacks, and also can be used as motorcycles, bicycles, cars luggage bags according to your needs. Increased business cards place, very convenient to take with your cards. PU leather,1.6kg. Applicable occasions: travel, sports, exercise, riding, cycling, motorcycling, fishing, camping, exploring, mountaineering, hiking, jungle, skiing, skating and other outdoor activities
Earth Pak -Waterproof Dry Bag Roll Top Dry Compression Sack Keeps Gear Dry for any occasion with Waterproof Phone Case We believe our Earth Pak dry bags are the best out there--bar none. These dry bags are meant to last for years and provide waterproof protection for even the most rugged users. 10L & 20L dry bags come with a 24-42 Inch single shoulder strap. 30L, 40L, and 55L waterproof backpacks are equipped with backpack style shoulder straps that also come with a sternum strap for added stability. Our new 55L also comes equipped with a heavyduty waist-belt, which relieves added
pressure and helps support your load. We have included our IPX8 Certified 6.5 Inch waterproof phone case that will fit even the largest of phones. This case features a very simple snap and lock access that has dual-sided clear windows that allow taking pictures while still inside the case. Suitable for phones up to 6.5 Inches of diagonal screen size. Protect Your Valuables with our 10L, 20L, 30L, 40L, or 55L Dry Bags! Just toss your gear inside your water bag, roll it down, and youâ€™re good to go on your next adventure
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Fitness guru Heather finds reasons to think positively during lockdown Two years into her dream of running her own fitness studio, Heather Boulton is positive about the future, despite the impact of the coronavirus lockdown. Heather started Ballet Contours in April 2018 with just a few pounds in her pocket. Now the popular Barre-based fitness sessions that she offers, drawing on her experience as a former professional ballet dancer, have a new outlet and a growing worldwide following. Heather said: “When the government announced the lockdown measures in March it seemed like a nightmare. Everything stopped overnight and I had to shut the studio down. The first week was really hard and I initially struggled to access government support. I wallowed in self-pity for about a week and then the reality of having bills to pay made me pick myself up and 30
start looking for solutions.” Heather contacted her landlord, The Arch Company, to seek help with her rent on the studio and secured a threemonth rent-free agreement to support her business. She said: “Kevin from the team at The Arch Company was fantastic, he really championed my business to ensure that I could get the support that I needed and helped me to organise the evidence I needed, which also benefitted me when I applied for a government business grant.” With no face-to-face classes allowed to take place at the Ballet Contours studio, which is based in a railway arch in Trinity Row, just a short distance from Spinningfields Financial Centre in Manchester, Heather’s friends urged her to join the growing number of experts following the example of Joe Wicks and running online fitness classes. That advice has transformed Heather’s experience of trading during the coronavirus pandemic. Heather said: “Setting up online wasn’t without its challenges. Everything I love about operating out of a railway arch – the flow and size of the space, the curvature of the ceilings, the unique setting – presented problems – not to mention the sound of the trains passing overhead! It all interfered with the sound when I started recording my classes. I was determined to provide a professional service and show my business at its best, so I invested in specialist sound equipment and used lots of soft furnishings to get the acoustics
right. I’ve had really good feedback from my customers and the investment was definitely money well spent.” Performing every dance move in every class that she offered live, every day of the week also took a physical toll. Now, Heather balances her live offering with an on-demand streaming service that gives her body a break, but also means that her customers, who include NHS workers and schoolteachers, can more easily fit in classes around their busy lives. She now has a growing online audience, with people tuning in from all over the world to take part in her ballet-based fitness classes. Not only has she opened up a new revenue
stream for her business, but Heather has also had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and former colleagues that she danced with when she toured Canada, the United States and South Africa almost 20 years ago. Heather said: “It’s great to give people a service that helps them with their downtime and looks after their wellbeing. For me personally, it’s also been lovely to reconnect and expand my bubble, even in the midst of a lockdown. I’m now planning to grow into new markets, with a friend who has just returned to China and one in France offering to help me to offer classes there. I’m planning to visit Shanghai next summer to properly launch my business in China. “The last couple of months have pretty much turned my five-year business plan on its head. This year’s focus was going to be the development of my B-Contoured Studiowear clothing range and then next year was about growing a wider audience online. Effectively, I’ve brought that forward and had to get it set it up within a few weeks rather than over the course of months. It’s been tough, but I’m hoping that lots more positives come out of this experience, giving me more freedom to take my business forward and help more people discover the benefits of ballet-based fitness.” For more information or to sign up for Heather’s classes visit www.balletcontours.co.uk. June 2020
EZFacility Gym Management Software Can Help Your Facility Adjust to the ‘New Normal’… Over the coming months, the UK will continue reopening business including those within the Fitness Industry. Fitness enthusiasts everywhere will be eager to get back to their gyms so they can reclaim their health and a sense of normality. But the burning question is, what will the ‘new normal’ be for gyms and fitness facilities? Re-opening your facility whilst complying with new health and safety standards is the first, and most important, hurdle you will face. You are going to hear a lot about phases. Your gym will not reopen in full force but instead in several instalments. In the first phase, you will see some social distancing still going on. You are likely sick of that term by now but it is crucial in stamping out the virus for good, and you should be
prepared to re-open with a limited number of members in the building at one time. One of the best ways to handle this is by changing the way in which members turn up to a session on the gym floor. Usually, they would expect to walk into the building at any time, check-in and then start their workout but after months in lockdown they will be expecting this to change, at least to begin with, so why not set up your gym sessions like you would your class timetable? If you can have a maximum of 30 people in the building at one time, for example, why not set your gym sessions up in time increments and build in some cleaning times once the session has finished before the next session starts. This could look something like this –
6.30am to 7.45am Gym Session 1 7.45am to 8am Staff clean down equipment 8am to 9.15am Gym Session 2 You can continue in this way throughout the day, with shorter sessions during peak hours with some extended session times in offpeak times when you will naturally be quieter anyway. Using the EZFacility scheduling module you can create your class timetable in just a few clicks and have it ready for your members to begin booking in as soon as you know what date you will reopen, and they can do this either online or through a mobile app.
Almost as important is being sensitive to the different mindsets of your members. Whilst many will be waiting on your doorstep the first morning you open, there may be others who inevitably remain hesitant and seek digital offerings – and that is fine – but what is important is that they don’t get forgotten about in the excitement of re-opening. EZFacility are therefore proud to announce the release of an integration with video conferencing platform Zoom to better pave the way towards a ‘new normal’, and the best news is there is not a single quiz in sight! It has been inspiring watching how facilities have risen to the occasion and adapted their business models in these unprecedented times and have taken their personal training and class timetables into the virtual space. With such success, it is only natural that many will want to continue utilising these services from the comfort of their own home, or garden, at least some
of the time and this will also help you decrease the footfall through your facility whilst social distancing measures remain in place. It will also exponentially expand the reach of your business as you would have access to any consumer within the internet, so time to get back in contact with those former members who moved away from your area, or even moved overseas. What better way to take a Monday morning HIIT class in the middle of the British winter, than on a warm summer evening in Australia?!
If you are interested in finding out more about how EZFacility can help your fitness business adapt to the ‘new normal’ then get in contact today! Website: (https://www. ezfacility.co.uk/industries/gymmanagement-software/) Email: Sales@EZFacility.co.uk Call us: +44 (0) 203 327 0480
Your gym should be more accessible. Here’s how. than expected seafloor, breaking my spine at C7. In one single moment, I went from being an athlete to not being able to move, reliant on others for help with everything. You might think that my life is somehow worse following the accident, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I became National Champion again as a para-swimmer. I started coaching other swimmers, helping one get to the Commonwealth Games in 2018. I gained my swim coaching qualifications and my personal training qualifications and finally started my business, Adapt To Perform.
Adapt to Perform As a Quadriplegic personal trainer, I can tell you right now that your gym should be more accessible. Not only is it fantastic PR and great for business, but it will also improve your gym for your current customers by allowing innovation and exploration of how we use a gym space. My name is Ben Clark, and I’ll guide you through how this is possible and why. I'm a Quadriplegic, which means I'm fully paralyzed from my chest down and have partial paralysis in my arms 34
and hands. However, I wasn't born this way. In fact, ever since I was 8 years old my life goal was to become a professional swimmer and emulate my idol, Olympian Ian Thorpe. I worked my way to a National Age Group gold medal at 16, then moved my life to Australia to begin training with some of the best swimmers in the world. I was living my dream! It was a trip back to England to see family at 19 that changed my life. Recreating my best Baywatch impression at the beach with a friend, I dived into a wave and hit my head on the shallower
Adapt To Perform started as a simple YouTube channel I created after endless frustrations with not finding any adapted workouts online. Three years and over 250 videos later, I'm helping thousands of disabled people get fit with workouts they can follow along to and adapt to suit their lifestyle and circumstances. Since launching, Adapt To Perform has grown into much more than just a YouTube channel, including consulting with gyms and sports facilities to ensure that they are providing a great service to a potentially new audience that also benefits their current customers. I go way beyond just ramps,
the fitness sector has never been more saturated. You have to be creative to stand out. Marketing yourself as a gym that's for everyone is a huge advantage and there are ways to do this without spending a fortune. How about connecting with local disabled sports teams, a disabled influencer, doing open days, working with a consultant like myself can really help you have a better understanding of how to market your business to a whole new audience? Understanding your audience and what they really want is key.
An ageing population might appreciate it too
lift and toilets and help businesses really understand how to adapt their environment for everyone.
Everyone has goals Firstly, I think it's important to recognise that because someone is disabled doesn't mean their wants and needs are any different. There's a common misconception that we have 'lesser' lives due to being disabled. In fact, I have friends that live lives anyone would be jealous of! With that change of mindset, you'll realise that disabled people want to get fit, look sexy and reach their goals just like anyone else. So instead of thinking; “how do I make my gym accessible for disabled people?”, think “how do I make it accessible for everyone?”. You wouldn't have the warped wall from Ninja Warrior as the entrance to your gym...This is just the same.
Adapting for everyone "I have a ramp and a toilet but no disabled people come!” I don’t go to a gym because I can enter the door and go to the toilet! I'm there the same reason as anyone else; to get fit. That's why it's important to have the correct equipment - so that anyone can get a great workout and leave feeling satisfied. This doesn't need to be expensive disabled specific equipment.
I have a great relationship with my local gym and I suggested a SkiErg machine – great for cardio but also very adaptive in its use. They got one in and suddenly it's the most used machine in the gym - they had to buy three more to cope with the demand! By helping me get to my goals and listening to feedback, the current customers have a new favourite machine, the gym is seen more favourably by customers and everyone wins!
Change your attitude The key to retaining disabled customers long term is attitude: disabled people are just people. One of the biggest reasons for me not returning to a gym is whether I am treated differently. This goes both ways; I've had people completely ignore me and only talk to my girlfriend or I have had people try to wrap me up in cotton wool and call me “special” and “brave”. No thanks! I'm a friendly and social guy and I love going to the gym for a chat, but I'm also there to train. It's important to recognise this amongst all your customers.
We live in an increasingly ageing society and with age comes certain limitations. Having a gym that's accessible for wheelchair users can also open you up to new demographics! Think of the 90s voice recognition software that was developed to specifically help disabled people interact with computers. Now, combined with AI, we have software such as Google Home, Alexa and Siri that we all use to help streamline our lives.
Recommendations are key I'm part of many online groups and forums for people with spinal cord injury and other disabilities... we talk a lot! If we find a place that's accessible and great for us we love to share with others and equally if it's not we also share! So if you build, adapt it, tell us about it and treat us like humans then you will quickly find that organic growth. If you're interested in making your gym more accessible, you can email me at email@example.com
If you build it they won’t just come "If you build it they will come” simply doesn't cut it anymore. We live in a hyper-competitive environment and June 2020 35
London’s best boxing gyms As workouts go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a sport that will exercise your full body as thoroughly as boxing. You already know this; just look at Anthony Joshua. But while we might not all have enough talent to become one of the best boxers in the world, everyone can reap the benefits of boxing, whether you’re looking to build muscle, increase your stamina, lose fat or simply get a little bit fitter. Boxing truly is the sport that does it all.
While boxing can be both physically and mentally gruelling, there are gyms all over the capital manned with some of the best instructors in the world, on hand to guide you through the sport whatever your ability level may be. From the swish new boxing studios designed for the Instagram generation to the old haunts of some of the sport’s legends, these are the best places to practise your jabs and hooks in London. 36
JAB Jab is looking to bring back the “old school to London’s fitness scene”. But while it draws on the heritage of boxing in Britain and London’s East End, it twists it and zhuzhes it up for those of us who want to get a great workout but with instructors and a really lovely studio. The interiors, designed by AvroKO, draw on the clubs of the 1960s and 1970s – think antique leather furniture, wood panel, brass metalwork. Like if Guy Ritchie were to design a gym. There’s a reception area and a café and the entire studio is designed to foster a
sense of community: if you’re looking for a new class to try out once, Jab might not be your speed. Instead, you’ll find incredibly intense classes taught with vigour and expertise by Jab’s team of experts. It’s the brainchild of former England boxing team captain George Veness, so you know that this is a rigorous, efficacious workout. This is tough, sweaty work designed to keep you fit and healthy. 32-34 North Audley Street, London W1. jab-box.com
kobox If you're looking for the gritty Rocky Balboa experience, then Kobox probably isn't the place for you. But if you're after an approachable introduction to the sport with a glossy, Instagrammable sheen, then this gym chain ticks all the right boxes. With branches in Chelsea, Marylebone and the City, Kobox runs classes that target either your upper body, core or lower body, but if you're feeling really brave, you can also opt for their full body and bodyweight sessions that will really push you to your limits. When the classes start, the lights go down and the only thing left to
illuminate the sweat trickling down your forehead are the UV lights. This is not all style over substance, however; although Kobox welcomes beginners – most of its classes have a few newbies in them – its sessions are just as rigorous as its more traditional counterparts. We recommend diving straight in with a full-body class and then you can decide which muscle groups you'd like to start targeting from there. 107 King's Road, London SW3; 16 Baker Street, London W1U; 85 London Wall, London EC2M. koboxboxingclub.com
North London Boxing Club You can often get a good idea about the quality of a gym by the kind of clientele it attracts and, over the years, North London Boxing Club's founder, Sedat Sag, has trained everyone from the APB world champion Adem Kilicci to James McAvoy and Denise Van Outen, making this unassuming gym in Southgate a go-to for any budding boxer. With 90-minute classes that centre around Sag's unique circuit training technique, each lesson involves sparring, shadow boxing, skipping and punch bag drills, all intertwined
with more traditional circuit training exercises to maximise the benefits you'll reap from the session. Each class ends with a "cardio blast", which sounds scary but is worth it if you're really looking to up your fitness levels, as it targets all the muscle groups that might have had it easy during the circuit training portion of the class. Long story short: you will ache the next day. Everywhere. But isn't that such a satisfying feeling? 4-6 Station Parade, London N14. northlondonboxing.co.uk June 2020
bxr London There are basic boxing gyms and then there’s BXR. Launched in 2017, the boutique boxing concept in Marylebone is of course a “boxing gym”, but that descriptor itself doesn’t do it justice. Backed by Anthony Joshua, with Mark Ronson and Eddie Hearn on the committee and Victoria’s Secret models as members, the 12,000-square-feet space feels more like a luxury hotel or a gentleman’s club than a gym. Split over two floors, BXR has an in-house clinic – complete with a multidisciplinary team of world-leading experts – three pay-to-train "Sweat By BXR" studios, and then a gym floor set around a professionally sized boxing ring, vintage leather punch bags and more state-of-the-art equipment than you could possibly use in a full week
of workouts. The BXR mantra is “train like a champion”, but that’s not to say that boxing novices aren’t welcome. No matter what level your sparring skills are at, if you’re ready to work hard – and have fun while doing it – you’ll fit right in. For all the unbelievable interiors (we especially like the massive Muhammad Ali mural) and cutting-edge kit, it’s the boxing trainers that make this the place to practise your punches. If you want to work on your technique, try a one-on-one session before getting stuck into the classes, which cover everything from technique to boxing conditioning. 24 Paddington Street, London W1U. bxrlondon.com
legends boxing gym It is an inescapable fact that East and South East London are far more fertile grounds for boxing gyms than the West. This isn't to disparage the quality of West London clubs, merely to note their relative paucity. So when a good boxing gym emerges away from the capital's traditional pugilistic heartland it should be celebrated. Legends offers two evening boxing workouts every weekday but Fridays, and personal boxing coaching on a daily basis.
If you'd rather train in company, small group training is also available for two to four people. Free training is available for those willing to participate in the gym's White Collar Boxing shows. Meanwhile parents might be interested in the children's boxing that runs Monday and Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning. 4 Kew Road, Richmond TW9 3AW. legendsboxing.co.uk
Suns Out, Guns Out:
The Coolest Outdoor Gyms Around the World What could be better than a bloodpumping, heart-racing, endorphin-crushing workout? One with a sweet view. Outdoor gyms are becoming a more popular option amongst the active crowd who still wants to get their swol on in the sun. Just some of the Best Outdoor Gyms Around the World that I've visited Whether it’s on a white sandy beach, overlooking a mountain range, or simply a stop at the park on your way to work, outdoor gyms can be an affordable, convenient, and social way to get in a daily strength or sweat session. Here are seven outdoor exercise spots to get active, socialize with your neighbours, and look at pretty sunsets while getting ripped! June 2020
1. Muscle Beach (Venice, CA) Right along the famous Venice Boardwalk in California, you’ll find the iconic Muscle Beach, the once home gym of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here, you’ll find men and women working up a steamy sweat at this outdoor weight room that comes complete with plenty of machines and free weights.
They often host figure and bikini competitions, and other events like arm wrestling challenges, and don’t forget to check out the Muscle Beach Walk of Fame! Pricing: Day pass is $10, week pass is $50, 1 year membership is $170.
2. Tulum Jungle Gym (Tulum, Mexico) Dubbed a “real life Flintstone gym,” this award-winning outdoor gym uses equipment entirely made of wood, bamboo, and stone. With a creative layout set on white sand beach and a beautiful Caribbean Sea
backdrop, you’ll love taking one of their specialized classes or building your bis at this outside gym. Access it through the Ahau Hotel, or stop here as you stroll along the beach. Pricing: Day Pass: $25; Classes: $30
3. Rio Academia (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) This Brazilian 3,400-square foot outdoor gym is located at Post 10 on Ipanema Beach, which offers truly incredible views of both the mountains and the city, in addition to the ocean. The equipment is free and open to
the public, and the gym also offers free classes three times a week, like bodybuilding, Tai Chi, Fit Dance, MMT (mixed modalities training), yoga, dance, and volleyball. Pricing: Free!
4. G ordon Beach Gym (Tel Aviv, Israel) On a trip to Tel Aviv, you’re going to need some place to work off all that amazing pita bread. Not to be confused with the indoor gym nearby, this free, 24-hour outdoor exercise park is located right on Gordon Beach in between the Sheraton Hotel and Hotel Tel Aviv. It has stationary bikes,
rowing machines, steppers, gliders, and even punching bags that come with an impeccable view of the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll also find volleyball courts and a saltwater swimming pool nearby for a full active experience! Pricing: Free!
5. Kachalka Outdoor Gym at Hydropark Near the Dnieper river in Kiev, Ukraine sits Hydropark, a unique outdoor gym that offers nearly 200 unique machines made from leftover scrap metal from the Cold War. When the 40
weather gets hot and stuffy, this is the perfect place to get in a quick strength workout and then jump into the nearby river for a refreshing cool-down. Pricing: Free!
The thoughts in your head define your reality. Are you in control of the life you are living?Â Taz Dunstan from XL Personal Training
"Whether you think you will succeed or not, you are right."Â - Henry Ford This statement is applicable to every aspect of life; business, personal life and physical performance. The greatest barriers that people face are those which are perceived in their mind. This is equally as terrifying as it is empowering depending on which side of the optimist VS pessimist coin you are on. Now is the time to work on building mental resilience, reprogramming old, redundant thought processes and to consciously focus on recreating yourself and the life you want to live starting with your mind and the attitude you carry into each day. As a professional business advisor, I work with several business owners who possess a wealth of expertise, high-quality products and experienced staff with great customer service, yet despite "ticking all the boxes" of a textbook "formula of a successful business" (aka: financially viable), they can not get off the ground. The reason for this stagnation is that they struggle June 2020
simply by believing in ourselves, we must first acknowledge the science behind this natural phenomena and then begin tailoring our behaviour and thought processes to achieve the success, health and happiness we all, [at varying degrees,] seek.
to sell themselves. This is caused by a mindset of self-doubt and fear of failure which prevents any movement. If you can not see your worth and buy your own viability and credibility, no one else will. Ask yourself: "Would I buy this?" and if the answer is; "No." change it. Change your pitch, change your product, but most importantly, change your mindset. Undertake whatever self-development necessary to be the professional you would want to work with devoid of confusion or second guesses. Perception impacts everything, from the relationships we form with others to the relationship we have with ourselves. Body image, self-confidence and self-belief are the foundations of our mental health and overall wellbeing defining who we are, how we behave and to a large extent, what we are capable of. How we see ourselves also influences how others see us and to a certain extent determines what we can do or feel comfortable doing. Over the years I have read several papers on the power of the mind, psychology of success and placebo studies. I have recently discovered an impressive article by Kendra Cherry published in November 2019 called: "Understanding the psychology of positive thinking" I have referred to this article as a reference to build on this topic with several links to educational resources which I strongly encourage others to MAKE (not take) the time to read. In order to genuinely understand what we are capable of, 42
The "power of positive thinking" has, over recent years become trendy, gaining worldwide attention, largely attributed to the widespread promotion of self-help books. Prior to this genre of writing there were substantial gems of literature in the philosophy realm focused on the same principals of gratitude, acceptance, reflection and abundance such as "The Alchemist"Paulo Coelho, "The prophet" Kahil Gibrin and the books of "Osho" however these works have been sidelined for more bluntly labelled "self-help" books, such as "The Secret." While these poppsychology books preach positive thinking as a sub-type of psychology there are significant differences between positive psychology and positive thinking, yet both share similarities with significant research proving that positive thinking and optimistic attitudes are linked to improved health and wellbeing physically and mentally. "Stressless = succeed more". This concept is easier said than done however taking time out to reprogram the mind, through cognitive behavioural therapy, self-awareness through meditation and improved self-talk using positive affirmations, daily gratitude mantras and chasing negative thoughts with optimistic overtones will create change. The science behind this has been supported by John Hopkins medicine concluding that positive thinking is linked to a vast range of health benefits, such as: • Longer life spans • Fewer stress levels • Lower rates of depression • Improved immunity to defend against common colds and flu • Better stress management and coping skills • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and subsequent related fatalities • Increased physical well-being • Better psychological health
Your attitude and perception of the world and what happens around you become your reality. Start facing your fears by acknowledging your current situation and change what you can when you can to be the most authentic version of yourself. Separate your reactions from your responses and regain control of your mood and mindset by taking the time to deliberately sit with your emotions and process them rationally. This allows you the opportunity to consciously choose the thoughts you want to respond with. Now is a great opportunity to recreate who you are and how you want to live. As the world slowly comes out of a Covid-19 lockdown and looks at continuing to yo-yo-ing between unpredictable restrictions of freedom and varying levels of isolation, mental health, resilience, acceptance and "capturing a state of calm" have never been more important and so widely acknowledged as paramount for our survival, individually and as a race. How are you going to shift from "survive mode" to "thrive mode"? References and Resources: https://www.verywellmind.com/ what-is-positive-thinking-2794772 https://www.verywellmind.com/ depression-statistics-everyone-shouldknow-4159056 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/ health/wellness-and-prevention/thepower-of-positive-thinking
How Fisikal helps operators maintain control of PTs through closure By Rob Lander, CEO, Fisikal offer of a physical rather than a virtual training experience. Many people, who have been in lockdown for weeks, will be craving such an offer. In many cases, this will mean completely excluding the brand which initially facilitated the trainer/client relationship in any forward engagement and service payment arrangements. However, this does not have to be the case. Our software solution enables operators to maintain operational and financial control of personal training, regardless of whether training takes place on the gym floor or not.
The recent announcement that personal trainers are now permitted to train clients oneto-one in open spaces will be welcome news for the thousands of fitness professionals unable to work due to facility closures across the country, but what does it mean for facility owners and operators?
For those without a means of maintaining management of the personal training aspect of their business whilst their doors remain closed, this represents a significant risk to business. Personal trainers, many of whom are self-employed, now have the Governmentâ€™s blessing to resume relations with clients through the
Through the centralised management of personal training, which sees all sessions booked and paid for through a custom-branded app, with personal trainers reimbursed for delivered sessions at an agreed rate, on a monthly basis, owners can maintain control over which personal trainers are training their members, when. In addition to enabling the operator to maintain a revenue stream, this model also creates an environment where the service provision and added-value to the member is directed by the operator, maintaining brand loyalty and goodfeeling. It is the operator who is seen to be driving a return to physical training, not the individual trainer. This helps June 2020 43
maintain a connection and ultimately supports the members return once full service resumes. To see how one entrepreneurial operator has utilised the solution to drive a 300 per cent increase in personal training revenue prior to the coronavirus crisis, read the case study below.
Fisikal’s online PT management solution delivers 300% revenue increase Following the implementation of fisikal’s personal training digital management solution, the Gymstar Group, owner of three énergie Fitness franchises, has reported an impressive 300 percent uplift in personal trainer revenue. “For several years, our personal training provision was ticking along nicely,” explains Darren Rossiter, Gymstar Group GM, leading énergie Fitness operator and current `Business Leader of the Year`. “Across the three clubs, our site based teams of 5 or 6 personal trainers were paying us rent which was generating a steady monthly income. However, I always felt we were not exploiting our personal training potential to the full or supporting our personal trainers as well as we could. “Although our personal trainers are all self-employed, they play a critical role in our member experience. We need to work as a united team and that means creating a working environment and business model that works effectively for both parties. Under the rental model, I just did not feel we were providing enough support for individuals for them to be able to make a successful business out of their professional services. My concerns were reflected in the fact that we are experiencing a high turnover of personal trainers. So, I started to look for an alternative way of doing things. “I had been introduced to fisikal previously, whilst working with another highly commercial fitness operator. Fisikal was responsible for the implementation of a group 44
exercise booking solution and online personal training which revolutionised the management of the services. I contacted the CEO, Rob Lander, and outlined our intent to digitalise the personal training aspect of our business.” In November 2018, Rob and the team of developers built a personal training management solution for Gymstar that we implemented across all three énergie Fitness clubs. The system moved away from a rental system to an income share model which would see Gymstar collect 25 per cent of each session fee, enabling the personal trainer who delivered the session to retain a 75 per cent cut. Rossiter, continues: “This model has completely transformed the way we manage our personal training business. Members now
book personal training sessions directly, through our bespoke mobile app. They select the trainer they want to engage and make their payment via the app rather than directly to the trainer. Each month, the fisikal software collates a report detailing all redeemed sessions and calculates the percentage payment we need to pay to each personal trainer. This is then paid directly into their bank account. The system is completely closed. All monies are accounted for and traceable. The need for cash is completely removed. “Only paying out for sessions completed also focuses the personal trainers on creating a fantastic customer experience to ensure loyalty and fulfilment of their personal training commitment. “The fisikal app also enables
personal trainers to send automated push notifications to clients providing an efficient and professional means of maintaining communications even when clients are not physically in the building. This helps maintain a personal connection and extends our brand influence into daily lives. “Moving this aspect of our business online means we have real-time visibility of performance – by site, by trainer or as a collective, 24 hours a day. At the push of a few buttons, we can create reports that detail a whole range of performance indicators from sessions booked versus capacity to month on month financial comparisons. This helps keep a close eye on the direction of travel and enables benchmarking and immediate operational adjustments to maximise efficiencies and revenues.” The fisikal personal training solution also enables the creation of online training plans and assessments removing the need for paper records, helping to ensure full GDPR compliance. Clients and trainers can access training plans, two-way chat and a wide range of fitness content anytime, anywhere, via our mobile app. This creates a complete, wraparound support service not possible previously. Rossiter continues: “Since DARREN ROSSITER
the introduction of fisikal, our personal trainers are staying with us, on average, twice as long. This is down to the fact that they are now able to run a much more professional service for clients, plus, if they work hard at selling their services and using the online tools available to maintain client contact and promote loyalty, they are well rewarded financially. “Moving to this model has resulted in a net increase in revenue for us of 300 per cent in 2019. This achievement has far exceeded our expectations. For a relatively small initial investment and ongoing monthly subscription with fisikal, we have created a sustainable model which works for both us and our trainers.” Fisikal has also enabled individual clubs to offer members’ addedvalue through the creation of a loyalty scheme engaging local community partners. Rossiter, explains: “We identified the local services we felt our members would employ on a regular basis like hairdressers, coffee shops, dry cleaners, car repairs etc and approached local providers about offering our members a discount when they make a purchase. Partners and discount offers are promoted to members via our app – giving the community brands great exposure. If a member wants to
redeem an offer, they simply show a voucher hosted on the app, at point of purchase.” “Fisikal delivers a big brand feel with a personal touch. The service provision and the product’s ability to deliver against our objectives is second to none. Rob and the team have been on-hand to support us at every stage of our journey. Based on the success of our online personal training solution, I look forward to an ongoing relationship, with potential to develop more functionality to support other aspects of our business.” Rob Lander, Founder and CEO at fisikal, says: “It is fantastic to see our platform having such a profoundly positive impact on this business. Darren is a forward-thinking, switched on operator. Some might have been content to maintain the status quo and accept the offline personal training rental model as sufficient. Not Darren. He spotted an opportunity to enhance the service for the member, the trainer and the business. We are very pleased to have been able to assist him in activating the transformation.” Gymstar operates énergie Fitness franchises in Leighton Buzzard, Bethnal Green and Old Street and is actively looking for opportunities to open further clubs. June 2020 45
June 2020 47
S o c i a l ly D i s ta n t ? By J a n i n e E d wa r d s o f M e d i a P i m p s Although we’re currently living in a time where gyms are closed and social distancing measures are in place, there really is no better time to start communicating with your existing and prospective clients through social media. It was reported in 2019 that globally, a staggering 3.5 billion people use social media on a daily basis (that equates to roughly 45% of the population) averaging 3 hours of usage per day, with Facebook and Instagram continuing to dominate. Surprisingly, even with the above statistics, it was also reported last year that 38% of small businesses in the UK still don’t use social media. The current lockdown has seen many gyms and PT’s adapt their business models and take their workouts and PT sessions online, this additional time could also be utilised to increase brand awareness, and look at how you communicate and promote yourself and your business as a whole. If you are part of the above 38% without social media channels in place, things to consider before setting up your socials should be; • Your USP (unique selling point), what are your key strengths that set you apart from your competitors? • Your core values, what type of community are you trying to grow, what is your message? • Your target audience, who are you trying to attract? 48
You may also want to note that there has been a dramatic shift in the fitness industry of late, with the ever-increasing rise of the likes of James Smith and their no nonsense, anti-fitness ‘influencer’ postings. This has paved the way for a more ‘realistic’ and ‘achievable’ approach to fitness and health, encouraging people to turn their backs on the ‘quick fix’ diet shamans, protein pushers and scantily clad girls in swimwear with airbrushed abs and get back to the basics of fitness, hard work and a calorie
deficit (or as James Smith would say a calorie fu**ing deficit). This industry shift in itself provides a window of opportunity for you to get yourselves and your fitness business online, warts and all, showcasing your clients and members, and say here we are, we may not be perfect (because nobody is) but at least we’re doing it, and you can too! One thing you learn from is experience, and in my experience effective social media isn’t rocket science, it just requires a few basic rules;
Comment, Like & Share Don’t be afraid to support others in your industry, if you see a post you like, double tap or like and leave a comment, this also raises your profile too and helps with algorithms and traction.
Don’t Cheat Although it’s difficult, try not to get too hung up on the amount of ‘followers’ you have, building your audience is going to be a very slow process and that’s okay! As tempting as it is, don’t cheat the process, organic growth will always be best. What’s the point of having 20,000 followers if only a small percentage of that following interact and are genuinely interested in you or your product? Slow and steady wins the race.
Trial & Error To Start
Try and have a set ‘style’ or ‘theme’ for your pages (this could be posts in your brand colours, or your logo on each post), and think about how you want to brand yourself to your audience. Who is your audience? What sets you apart from everybody else? Be clear on what it is that you do and the service that you’re providing.
Content is king in the social media game, and will be your biggest challenge to start. Entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk called it in 2017 when he said there are 3 things you need to win on social media;
Once you have defined a style, start working on content, document your day through photos or video, utilise the story function on Facebook and Instagram too for more traction.
Consistency really is key when it comes to social media and generating an online following. Post daily, utilise the analysis tools to find out when people are most engaged, and that’s when you should be posting.
1. Speed 2. Quantity (volume) 3. Quality
Don’t Fake It Never has there been a better time to be yourself. Gone are the days where posing next to the Ferrari you’ve hired for the day, in front of the big house you don’t actually live in, claiming you are rolling in $ is going to get you clients and followers. Remember your most engaging content will always be you!
Like most things when they’re new, building your social media platforms will be trial and error to start, but stay with it! Use the page analysis tools to your advantage, along with the amount of ‘comments’ and ‘likes’, this will be a good indicator of what works and what doesn’t. There are also countless free apps that will help you create and preview content before you post on your pages and scheduling tools so that your posting can be automated, all of these things will save you time. Mix it up with videos and lives, trust your gut and most importantly don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun and confidence in yourself.
Hire A Professional There’s no shame in reaching out to a professional to get you started, Media Pimps offer bespoke marketing packages to suit all budgets, to include our bestselling ‘Pimp My PT’ package, for more information visit www. mediapimps.co.uk or slide into our DM’s @media_pimps.
Utilise Hashtags Do your research into the most popular #hashtags for your industry, follow the #hashtags you use so you will always see relevant content being posted by others. June 2020 49
EGYM launches its Corona Gym Solution to help gym owners navigate the ‘the new norm’ As the industry prepares to re-open after months of lockdown, EGYM has developed its Corona Gym Solution, a comprehensive suite of new in-club and remote solutions designed specifically to support gym owners through the challenge of meeting stringent compliances to keep staff and members safe whilst COVID-19 remains a threat to society. At the heart of the new functionality sits a scientificallybased training programme, Immunity Boost, designed to meet member expectations in a new, immunity-conscious world. The strength training programme, pre-programmed and automatically available to any operator benefiting from EGYM strength training equipment, has been specifically designed to help members prioritise health-oriented goals, reduce underlying health conditions and boost immunity. Whilst contracting under load, muscles produce myokines. These are messaging substances that protect from disease and activate the immune system. Immunity Boost applies scientifically proven optimal intensity, repetitions and load to release myokines without placing muscles under undue stress. This strengthens the body’s defence system and contributes to an individual’s ability to fight off infection. , explains Kerstin Obenauer, Country 50
Director, EGYM UK. “During the imposed lockdown, many people, from all walks of life, have been introduced to the benefits of regular exercise through a huge variety of free, online content, streamed directly into their homes. “There has also been heightened awareness of the health value delivered by regular physical activity, with the
government promoting the importance of daily exercise even during the most stringent isolation regulations. Many people have used their daily exercise allowance to reconnect with the outdoors, enjoying bike rides, walks and workouts in the park. “A recent consumer survey by TA6, powered by Alliance Leisure,
to wipe down equipment pre and postworkout via a message on the integrated screen, helping ensure the maintenance of essential hygiene standards. Gym owners do not have to have installed EGYM hardware to benefit. Through the EGYM Branded Member app, operators are able to manage overall building capacity efficiently and effectively via the provision of training time slots. Members can be invited to remotely book a training time. This manages the number of individuals attending at any one time and helps staff impose the necessary social distancing requirements. Obenauer adds: â€œWith a significant reduction in capacity, gyms without a digital booking solution will struggle to manage access, resulting in frustration by both staff and members. This solution enables individuals to pre-plan training so that when they arrive at the gym, they can gain access immediately without queuing and can train in relative safety.â€? highlighted this, with 76 per cent of the adult population stating they plan to prioritise fitness and wellbeing post lockdown.This creates an opportunity for gyms to cater for a much wider demographic than before and many people will be seeking professional help, not just to be fit and strong but also to be better prepared to fight infection and lead a healthier life. Having said that, we are already seeing, as other countries allow gyms to re-open, people will only walk through the door when convinced it is safe to do so.
On the training floor, EGYM offers a number of solutions to keep physical contact to a minimum. After the initial induction, the setup of EGYM strength equipment is activated by the presentation of a member's individual wristband. This negates the need for physical touching of any weight stacks or physical ergonomic adjustments, keeping contact points to an absolute minimum. Members are also reminded
The benefits of the EGYM Branded Member app also extend beyond the physical building, enabling operators to provide a 24 hour service of care to members via remote means. A comprehensive video library of exercise demonstrations is instantly accessible to support bespoke training plans available around the clock. This helps members maintain a training routine and access support even if they are unable or unwilling to visit the facility. Contact can also be maintained via
Our Corona Gym Solution, which perfectly integrates hardware and software as delivery vehicles, provides operators with simple and effective resources that not only enable operators to meet new operational standards but also to offer a heightened level of personal service to members, including those individuals with a range of underlying health conditions and those who would benefit from an immunity boost. The EGYM Corona Gym Solution provides a wave of functionality to help operators meet social distancing and hygiene requirements, through both hardware and software integrations. June 2020
automated push notifications to ensure members receive vital information at key touchpoints, helping to maintain a connection to the brand, even during periods of limited physical contact. Obenauer, continues: “When we step back into the world there is little doubt that things will be very different. Technology and digitalisation can play a huge part in helping facility operators adapt to the ‘new normal’ or even the ‘new better’ due to the challenge presented causing a forced overthinking of a new business model in order to succeed. Evidence suggests that the threat of COVID-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, at least until an effective vaccine is made widely available. Gym owners will be required to offer a hybrid solution, providing a safe environment in-club whilst also supporting training at home and outdoors. EGYM has developed a complete, wraparound solution. “EGYM is here to help. Right now, gym owners do not need to have installed our hardware to benefit from our software solutions, although a full integration, where hardware and software become completely fluid in a members experience, is where the industry is headed. EGYM is continually assessing market needs and developing new solutions to help gym owners remain competitive and sustainable. Our latest offer, the Corona Gym Solution, is the most recent example of this.” For more information on the Corona Gym Solution, please click HERE
“The lockdown experience is likely to have had a profoundly positive effect on the nation’s attitude to physical activity” 52
Connect your members back to your gym
EGYM offers the EGYM Branded Member App free for 60 days! To sign up for this offer simply click here
www.egym.com June 2020 53
Lockdown Wheelchair Workouts with Ella When Ella Beaumont went looking for lockdown workout videos for wheelchair users, she couldn’t find any – so she made her own. Ella, 25, who has been paralysed and in a wheelchair since birth, has now launched her own Wheelchair Workouts YouTube Channel to help anyone with an impairment stay fit and active in their homes. Her upper body workouts provide a series of exercises for strength, cardio and resistant band training. Ella was determined to turn lockdown into a positive and since posting her first video six weeks ago, her Wheelchair Workouts have had hundreds of views and she has featured on BBC’s Newsbeat programme. She has also been approached by disability charities and gyms from around the country, keen to promote home workout videos for people with impairments. “At the beginning of lockdown, I found very limited online exercise videos for people with impairments and the few I did were not very engaging or motivating,” said Ella. “I’m really pleased that my videos have had such a positive impact on the disabled community. My aim was to reach as many people as possible to encourage them and give ideas on how to work out at home without specialised equipment.’ 54
Ella studied Sports Coaching Science with Disability studies at the University of Worcester and has always had a huge passion for sport and the gym. She is a regular coach at her local wheelchair basketball club and has played wheelchair basketball to an elite level, representing Great Britain at the Under 25 world championships. Away from lockdown, Ella works out at the gym at least three times a week and
so was keen to continue the same level of exercise in her living room and help others do the same. ‘Through producing the workouts, I have found that lockdown has been a really busy and exciting time,” added Ella. To follow Ella and to start your workouts, go to: https://www. youtube.com/channel/
See the world with a different lens! Daniel Nyiri, founder of 4U Fitness
"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.." Now, this is true more than ever! I hate to say it but this isn't going to be pretty and your mindset might be the only thing that can save you right now. I highly recommend that after the reopening of your country happens due to the outbreak you follow a plan! A different plan! This plan has nothing to do with your business prior to going into this as a brick and mortar Gym Owner! Because if you have not run out of business you just might! So it's super important that you look at your options, pick the one you want to accomplish, and do everything in your power to do so! But I ask you to be REAL! If you think everything is going back to normal pre virus stages you are wrong. So it's time to think critically. More than ever before you need to see into the future and think like your clients. What are they afraid of. Where are they going, what jobs are they going to have, where and how they shop... The new client youâ€™re advertising to has a way different mindset and interest now then the pre-COVID times.Â June 2020 55
smaller studios. The number one studio in the United States is LA Fitness with earnings of $1.85 billion. There are 30 million registered companies in the U.S and 96% of them gross less than a million dollars per year! Do you want to be part of the 96% or do you want to be in that top 4%? Believe it or not, only 0.4% do more than $10 million so it’s up to you where you want to be. Why am I sharing all these numbers? Because we were facing some amazing growth especially in the past 7 years in the Fitness Industry and it is about to be crushed. If you are planning on getting into the business, now is the time! You can buy a Gym for a very cheap price. Just in the last month, I have received over 20+ offers from current gym owners who want to sell.
If you own a personal training studio or a gym or you are thinking about getting into the business, this article is designed just for you! While some people think that small businesses are tough to run or destined to fail, that is not true. Ultimately, it’s not the business, it’s the person who owns it that will determine whether it succeeds or fails but as said as this sounds the world has shut down on you and that was out of your control. In our case just to give you an example we were forced to be shot down at all of our locations in the first week of March and at the writing of this article none of our locations are allowed to reopen just yet from Florida to NY. Even when you did everything right and have a thriving business you as an Entrepreneur are still rolling the dice. And this time the odds are against you. The only reason I am writing all this because I want to prepare you for what's coming and I want you to start planning and taking action now! But lets start with the new way of thinking! The house is winning right now. You got to turn those odds into 56
your favour. I know it's not fair and through my research and my own experience, I learned that those personal trainers who open their own studio, work even harder than personal trainers who work for a gym —and make about the same amount. Which is not a problem. Because you do have to work. The key is to work on the right things – this means working on your business as the owner and in your business as a personal trainer. There are more than 36,000 gyms and studios in the United States. That is an average of about 12 fitness studios per county. These fitness gyms and studios open up and close down every month. At the end of the first year, about 50% of the small independent studios shut down for good and the ones that do make it are not much better off. The average gym’s revenue in the United States is less than $300,000 per year, according to the Association of Fitness Studios. The average earnings before taxes, interest, and depreciation are actually $78,086, and it’s even less for
Now more then ever you have to figure out to be the best! So what is that even mean and where do you even start? In the next few articles, I am going to write about building instead of being negative about all the gym owners who are out of business, unfortunately, I am hoping that my articles will help you to rebuild or save your current business! That will be my goal for the rest of the year! In these articles, we will analyze what it really means and what the benefits are to be number one. That doesn’t mean you have to compete with LA Fitness, Orange Theory, Equinox! You can succeed at any size when you set the right goals. I am going to teach you throughout these articles how to get your business back on track to the seven figures or if you are starting out how to succeed and prep for disasters like this. "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards." Many personal trainers are great at training clients, but not as great about running a business. When they suddenly become business owners, they often focus on the wrong things and they look at the business backwards. Trainers need to let go of that personal training vantage point and switch to a strategic view. Especially now! If you had a plan before, you need to trash it and start over with the new REAL world.
These key mistakes can include: • Just jumping in without any forethought or planning. • Doing the exact same thing as before – personal training – while trying to pay the bills and clean the bathrooms. • Working in the business instead of on the business. • Not looking towards the future and not making plans for business growth. • Giving up your personal life and other passions so that you can work 24 hours a day. Buying a gym or a personal training studio when all you really want to do is train clients – instead, rent a space from an existing gym and work your butt off doing what you love. Get rid of your gym as soon as you can before you are forced to go out of business because you cannot ignore all the needs of a new business Have you made any of these mistakes? You need to stop working on the wrong things. If you simply want to focus on personal training, then you should work for someone else – not yourself. If you want to own a successful gym, you need to be an entrepreneur. At this point, most trainers ask, “Does this mean I can’t train clients anymore?” No, of course, you can! For pure joy, if nothing else. But it should not be the core of your business. It is only a problem when your training is consuming all the time needed to grow your business! I have been there. I have worked all day, given up my personal life, and gotten burned out. I have also heard many, many gym owners and personal trainers say that owning a gym or personal training business will take away all your time and ruin your personal life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In the beginning, you definitely have to put in the work – the right work. You must run the business instead of letting the business run you. Finally, it is important to recognize that you are not going to be able to charge more, be more successful, or attract more clients and become famous by collecting certifications. This is true especially now! More then ever you are
going to need to be really good at sales and showing care for your customers more than ever before. Do not make fun of them no matter what they say about COVID or wearing
or not wearing a mask. It is really turning into a political talk and you don't want to do that! You want to be understanding and be in their corners if you want to make money during these rough times. June 2020
Fitness is a pandemicbuster Time to create healthier populations with fitness as a frontrunner of the new normal By Ben Hackney-Williams, Head of Content at Escape Fitness We're not short of positivity and potential for the future. However, few people know how this pandemic plays out. Even as facilities reopen in some countries, operators need to keep communicating in order to share best practice, results and member feedback. We can massively benefit communities and prove that fitness is an essential part of life, but every aspect of the industry must reach new levels of service in the coming weeks. It's no longer about standing out head and shoulders above the rest from operator to operator; the goal is to outshine
other industries, showing that we're leading the new normal.
Challenging times to overcome. In an open and sincere interview, Adam Zeitsiff, president and CEO of Gold's Gym, explained how difficult the past few weeks have been for the iconic bodybuilding brand that's filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, but he also gives us some insights into what we could expect as lockdowns ease and facilities start to open once again. “I'm certainly not afraid to admit there's been times when I well up, trying to record videos for my team and I get
emotional,” explains Adam. “I know that I've had to make decisions along with our team and our ownership group that have cost people their jobs and have cost people time out of work. These were decisions we had to make for the longevity of our company and our brand, but it's tough. You have a good cry, you have a stiff drink and you talk yourself through it and try to get out the other side.” What does “the other side” of the pandemic look like? So many operators, entrepreneurs, influencers and every day folk predict what's going to happen upon opening. With many variables around the world, the best way to gather advice for UK facilities is to look at what's actually happening upon opening elsewhere.
The Gold's standard for recovery. The go-to advice from Gold's? Focus on moving equipment around for better spacing (six-foot in any direction, in this case), as well as supplying cleaning stations and equipping staff with spray bottles for sanitisation. Group X and kids' club facilities are all on hold for the time being, as is full use of the changing rooms. Teams have also been trained on how to inform members of the new safety standards, use of PPE, and head office has implemented a new code of conduct that every staff member signs, following the training. In addition to what clubs can do within the four walls, there's an element of responsibility on the members themselves that is being embraced for the safety of all. “The fitness industry has the ultimate sense of community,” Adam continues. “You look after each other. I hate to say 'self-police' but I think people will look around and usually they're the first to speak up. I also think they're respectful. Most people understand we're in unprecedented times. “We will continue to make sure that we're cleaning up after members and make sure they're doing it themselves as well. I think we'll find a happy medium at some point, but it's still pretty early days.”
instrumental in building fitness institutions and developing careers around the world. “I think it'll be a new normal,” says Mark. “I think that spacing's here to stay. Cleanliness efforts will increase. There are companies coming out now that are putting lighting systems, air condition systems and spray systems in that can remove bacteria throughout the facility. All businesses will get better at protecting their space from potential viruses, including COVID-19. Like anything else, we'll get through this.” Of course it makes sense. This new level of sanitisation and spacial awareness is perhaps a wake-up call for what we should have been doing all along.
How to act for your own future benefit. Herman Rutgers, ambassador for EuropeActive, also shared some important points for both motivation and practical decisions moving forward in another interview with Matthew Januszek. “What has surprised me in the last six to eight weeks is how much people
have come together to talk with each other to think about how could we get out of this crisis, more so than I've ever seen before. The camaraderie that we're in this all together... Nobody had a playbook of how to solve this problem. “My advice first of all is to do the right things for the long-term. If you think you need to do something to save your company for the next couple of months, don't do it. It's better to stop doing the business because you don't have a longer term viability. Do things now that are good for the long term; if you think there is no long term then get out of the business.” Herman's last and possibly most important bit of advice? “When in doubt, don't open yet.” • Ben Hackney-Williams 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.
Mark Mastrov's message for the future. It wouldn't be right to be discussing the future of fitness without airing the opinions of Mark Mastrov. President of UFC GYM, Adam Sedlack, recently interviewed the man who's been June 2020 59
When will contact classes be back? With Colin Lee Berryâ€™s Street Defence By Colin Lee Berry As the Director of Street Defence which is a reality-based selfdefence system designed for the Health & Fitness industry, the lockdown and social distancing restrictions put an immediate stop to any of these classes taking place. Like other concepts, we have had to think of how to adapt in the short term which could also become the long term. Self Defence is something that is always taught in a contact setting and has to completely change the way it is taught in order to give people the information needed to defend themselves whilst abiding by the social distancing measures. The Street Defence concept was designed with Health & Fitness in mind as I am a believer that the fitter you are, the easier you will find it in defending yourself and loved ones. This concept has a large section on functional fitness to reinforce the self defence techniques. Therefore, moving this part of the concept to online is quite straight forward. June 2020
As for the self-defence technique part of the concept, online will be informative, but it will never replace the actual class concept as you need to practise a technique with a partner as techniques need to be practised again and again for it to become a reaction. However, I remember when I completed my selfdefence instructor course many years ago. At the end of each day, I would return to my hotel room. The only way to practise the techniques I had learnt that day and before, was to perform the techniques with my eyes shut and imagining being put in a variety of different threats. I found this a great way of reinforcing the techniques I needed to memorise for the exam at the end of the course. Like anything else in the Health & Fitness industry, we must learn to adapt immediately in order to keep things moving. We also need to think about 62
how we can adapt in the long term to the current situation as we have no idea when things will get back to normal. I believe that every part of the Health & Fitness industry can adapt but we must accept it might not offer as good a service as what was on offer before. For gyms to survive they must think out of the box and offer something that they did not offer before the pandemic. Online classes will be ok but people that pay a membership will want to go somewhere to get fit to feel they are getting value for money. Maybe gyms need to think about running outdoor boot camps as part of the membership in nearby parks or tennis courts (indoor/outdoor).
needs to take a step back and see how
Even though everything on the news now seems to be all doom and gloom, I am confident that this situation will pass in time. Even though the Health & Fitness industry has taken a huge economic hit because of the pandemic, the industry
like no other. To find out more about
they can expand their offerings which will hold their businesses in good stead once this is all over. Businesses also need to think about how they can become pandemic proof in the future if something like this was to ever hit again. The purpose behind the concept Colin Lee Berry's Street Defence is to offer clubs another entry point in which members can join. Colin Lee Berry's Street Defence is a life skill and a workout wrapped in one and offers companies the opportunity of building an additional community to their clubs Colin Lee Berryâ€™s Street Defence and what it can offer your clubs, please visit: https://www.streetdefenceuk.com/clubsolutions
New Normal and the Fitness Industry By cuoco black New Normal
Don’t Buy It
Recently, in an open Internet platform post, I asked fitness industry editors, bloggers and content creators, all of whom were parroting the talking point “New Normal” to please stop doing so across our platform feeds. I asked them who gets to define “New Normal” and I asked them why they so easily adopted this rhetoric “New Normal” from the media. I further queried what is “New Normal” and how can anyone possibly predict the future. There was not one response from these same journalists however my Posts garnered over 24,000 views and hundreds of comments.
New Normal (in my opinion), is being framed as "Weaponized Language".... linguistic world salad propaganda deployed to instill fear and angst on the subject population? It certainly isn’t optimistic language falling on receptive ears, if at all, it leaves one to ponder what dystopian future lies over the near horizon after the lockdowns recede. Like any savvy form of propaganda, there are hidden agendas and implied consequences for actions taken, or actions forestalled, that lead us to liberty of the mind or imprisonment of the spirit; and this is what separates fitness players from
all other commerce categories. Mark Twain’s timeless intellect applied to the fitness industry rings true in his quote “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog”.
Fitness Leaders The people in this industry are hardened, fearless fitness entrepreneurs. They’ve married attributes of commerce and business to physical manifestations of health and wellness. “Exercise is Revenue” and the benefit is a healthy and productive society freed from the chains of obesity, drugs and sickness. They, the Brick and Mortar brands will not bend knee to some ideological, medical, political or social agenda that implies they must acquiesce their livelihoods for some greater unknown of which there is no form, reason or rhyme. In Summary, Brick and Mortar gyms will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Beta Test You see, fitness technology has for quite some time eroded the psyche of brick and mortar with a siren song of doom and gloom. Every sidewaysleaning fitness tech product, app, wearable and connected device comes neatly packaged with soundbites dismissing gyms as obsolete and irrelevant. It’s the fitness god’s gift to the fitness consumer i.e., technological June 2020
fitness is trumpeted as superior to physical fitness, meaning, training in an old gym. Well, I believe that fitness tech just had their Beta Test with a good degree of success, however, from the noise and super-flux on the periphery of the industry, consumers seem to want to get back to their gyms. I’m not going to debate numbers, polls, statistics or media pundits because I flow with the vibration of “common-speak”. Its fitness sense, call it a pulse on what consumers are saying in comments and what’s being described across many social media platforms. I believe it’s loud and clear that consumers need their gyms and though they’re appreciative of the fitness tech that helped them through this, they’re looking to get back to their social fitness enclaves and rekindle the human fitness connections.
Blue Ocean I see this pandemic as a great opportunity to grow a membership base, a Blue Ocean marketing advantage for those who know how to speak, show and advertise their new gym brands, once the same, now slightly better. The New Normal is not defanged gyms. On the contrary, New Normal will be the old gym brands delivering a higher level of wellness to their members. The public has just witnessed that their abandonment of exercise and health leads to poor immunity to contagions. This event 64
may very well migrate new prospects into your membership pipeline.
Shift Programming + Add Wellness Your gym doctrines, programming and philosophies may shift from the gym, perhaps to wellness, but the
core ideology will remain. Courage, Fearlessness, Strategy and Faith, that's the Alchemy I live my life by, and I know many of you do as well. Game-Up Fitness Family, there is greatness on the horizon for those who will move forward with vision and passion. Brick and Mortar will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
10 years of Wild Training by james griffiths Wild Training started in 2010. The plan was simple. Deliver a cost-effective way for people to enjoy three effective workouts every week. The rules were even more simple. Make it fun, keep it effective, and include everyone. 10 years on the plan and the rules haven’t changed, but the business strategy has completely transformed and the Wild Training brand has evolved almost constantly since day 1. From one person doing group outdoor exercise we have gone to 27 licensed trainers across the UK. In 2016 we launched the Wild Training Gym, now voted the best gym in Buckinghamshire, and in 2019 we launched our digital online fitness platform Wild Online Workouts. Lockdown has been a great opportunity for us to step back from the business and look at the brand on its 10th anniversary. What is working well? What isn’t working well? What do we need to prepare for next? In 10 years I’ve found it’s key to have a focus on how we work as a brand. The more variety you try to do, the less capital and time you have to put into each of these projects. So we have 3 priorities currently that as an organisation we ensure our daily actions support. Innovation, Global reach, and Increasing revenue. Innovation. What got Wild Training to where it is now is innovation. Challenging what we do and how we deliver it as a service. Fitness is a creative industry, and creativity and risk go hand in hand. You never know if a good idea is a good idea until you
test it with your customers, so Wild Training will keep innovating new workout systems and fitness services to help more people enjoy what we do. We are ahead of the game, and I have no intention to let anyone catch up with us. We continue to focus on what has got us here. We invest time in developing our skills and knowledge, carry on innovating our fitness systems and services and we share this knowledge and experience. We train to be professional athletes… our sport is delivering customer experience in fitness. Everything we do is to excel at that.
Global reach. Lockdown has shown us one thing. The fast growth that we have seen in digital online fitness over the last couple of years, is speeding up. Wild Online Workouts launched on the new platform in June 2019 and by March 20th we had 329 people enrolled; we now have 1802. We have seen similar percentage increases from other large online providers as well. Our Wild Live interactive classes have also gone down incredibly well. This gives the Wild Training Gym membership almost infinite scale as we can recruit great trainers from around the world, train them using our Wild EVO personal June 2020 65
training license, and they can support our online group exercise offering. So online and global reach is already happening and now we have gone further establishing the Wild Training brand globally with our Podcast, Yout ube, Blog, and Social media content. The Wild Training brand is more than a logo and some fitness services. It’s a team mentality and community culture that brings innovation, experience and collaboration together to deliver something that our customers can’t experience anywhere else. Let the sharks fight for food in the red ocean. We are swimming in the blue water full of opportunity and very little competition. I’d back us going toe to toe with any other company worldwide. So the Podcast, Blog, Youtube and Social media are all global platforms for us as a team to further solidify our value in the industry. Revenue. Lockdown has forced us to focus and looking at being as efficient with our time as possible. We stopped previously popular services that were not going to work in lockdown, and quickly put more time and resources into lockdown specific trends that could keep our cash flow positive. The process started with us looking at where the fitness industry has been, where it is now in lockdown and where we think it is going. We don’t want to waste time or money pushing the wrong service. Wild Online Workouts,
Wild Live classes, the Wild Training Gym, the Urban Strength Bar and Wild EVO. Wild Online Workouts is the bottom of our pyramid. The bigger we make the base, the bigger the rest will get. Wild Online Workouts (www. wildonlineworkouts.com) is our cheapest price point at £8.85 per month, and all other services will grow out from the marketing we will do around Wild Online Workouts. As soon as the new native app is ready, to get the user experience to a top-level we will initiate the biggest marketing campaign Wild has ever done, by a long way. PR, influencers, this will be a 2 year managed online and social media campaign.
Wild Live online classes, we will carry on nurturing. It will grow through referrals and our hard work and will carry on after the gyms open. We have spent the time in lockdown delivering major upgrades to the entire Wild Training Gym. We were voted the best gym in Buckinghamshire in January, and what we have now is a massive level up from then. Anyone looking for a new gym from July when we hopefully all open up is missing a trick if they don’t come to at least check Wild Training out. Value for money you just can’t get this experience or results anywhere else. We have seen a 80% increase in equipment sales, and supply is a nationwide issue. The Urban Strength Bar is easy for us to manufacture, it’s an amazing tool we are still creating new content for, and it’s cheap. Price is £49 including shipping and programming via Wild Online. We have never marketed it so you will see a new social media page (@ UrbanStrengthBar) and new images/ video/marketing behind selling the bar. Wild EVO is a new service for personal trainers or gyms. We are in uncharted territory, and 1000s of personal trainers are out of work. Lots are already being told their gyms won’t reopen. So we can help them. We have remodelled the Wild Online Workouts instructor content that we have used to help our Instructors learn the Wild systems. We will sell a Wild EVO license
money that they spend with us back in extra revenue from new clients, improved client retention and other income opportunities through the new Wild Training app then they deserve to have the option to leave anytime. If you are reading this and are interested in joining Wild Training with the Wild EVO personal trainer license then email firstname.lastname@example.org. Like I said, I back us. We’ve seen our education and business strategies have helped all types of trainers so Wild EVO really is an exciting way for us to share that support with more trainers across the world.
to trainers wanting a system for learning new skills, developing their trainer knowledge and to give them strategies for building a successful fitness business in this new era of the fitness industry. There will be a serious recruitment process involving questionnaires, structured interviews and demo online personal training sessions to ensure we get the right profile of person/ trainer based on our experience of what makes a great Wild Trainer. Once in, they will go through learning content in stages that essentially forces them to complete content in the order we know to be optimal for developing
their business, this is assessed with exams and video assignments. In video demos we will review before passing anyone. Everything else online is automated on a 95% pass rate. We will back it up with a private Wild EVO Facebook page and Biannual training weekends to build a community and do what we do best as a team, train. The industry will come to see all Wild EVO trainers as an absolute stamp of excellence in the fitness industry.
This is a crazy way to finish the first decade of Wild Training, but we’ve adapted, and I don’t think any other situation would of got me as excited about the next 10 years.
To help the trainers out while they need it in lockdown we will launch Wild EVO with a discount code to do the first 3 months half price. Minimum 6 month term. If they don’t get the June 2020
Reducing the S e c o n d Wav e By Guy Griffiths, Author of Stick Around (strategies to keep your gym members motivated) We all hope to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 infections. A bigger worry for many gym owners and operators is the second wave of membership cancellations as we get closer to re-opening. Communi cation is key to maintaining member engagement. Let’s talk about what happened as we entered lockdown, how you should be learning from lockdown messaging, and how to communicate your re-opening and flatten the second wave of membership cancellations.
“WE’RE CLOSING” Nearly all clubs sent out that dreaded email shortly after 21st March on closing. Some announced their decision to pause payments, others reduced fees, and some kept taking membership dues, based on member feedback or business survival. An important, but fundamental note is that this was a legitimate interest email, which should have been sent to all members, regardless of marketing preferences. Some clubs clearly did not write good GDPR policies back in 2018, and only wrote to members who had opted
into marketing. (Mistake number one). What happened next scared a lot of clubs into stopping all member communications, which was the second mistake. Some members cancelled their future payments, regardless of whether memberships were frozen or not. Analysis of the data shows that while the email caused a few to cancel, there were many more who cancelled because they didn’t get the email.
Cancellation due to lack of Communication Email open rates in health and fitness are typically around 19%. The
“Membership Payment” pause emails sent had better open rates than this (an average of 44%), but there were also a lot more email bounces (e.g. out of office) than usual, possibly due to members being furloughed. Comparing these stats shows cancellation rates were much lower for members who opened the email, compared with members who didn’t open or receive it. The member count numbers on the cancellation chart depict a 1,000-member club. So, members who received the email were less likely to cancel. Clubs that re-sent the message to non-openers saw fewer cancellations, depending on re-send timing. Some businesses that did not analyse this data, but guessed that the email caused the cancellations, unfortunately stopped member communications.
LOCKDOWN LESSONS If you continued talking to members through lockdown, you will have seen a few more cancellations, but there 68
Which option you choose will depend on your members’ needs, your business needs, re-opening plans, and capacity. While it would be great to turn all your members payments back on when you re-open, this is just not practical. It’s unlikely that all your members will be able to visit, and many won’t be able to afford to re-start payments. It’s better to have some of your members on freeze for another month or two, and have them come back when they can afford to.
would have been even more with no communications. For starters, members who want to cancel are more likely to open a dialogue with you, rather than just cancelling at the bank. Your members will also feel connected, especially if your messages show empathy and build trust. You should continue to monitor your email stats through lockdown – how engaging is your content? Do members read invitations to online workouts or classes, news about your business or staff, or plans and options for reopening. No-one knows (at the time of writing) what the full re-opening plan will be. But you can tell your members what you hope to do. This gives them the chance to feedback on your plans, or at least look forward to re-opening. Don’t wait until you have the plan 100% in place, because it’s unlikely you ever will. If your members know what the plan looks like, they’ll help you with it. You should also put these key messages, plans, and news on your website, social media, and include them in call scripts for when you are talking to members on the phone or in an online class. Email and social media alone will never reach all your members, so you need to use other channels.
“Wish you were here” postcards Consider sending postcards out to members too, especially those who you know are not opening messages (e.g. because of furlough). A “Wish you were here” postcard is a nice touch that will keep members engaged with your club while it’s closed. Postcards
were one of the most efficient ways of getting absent members to return, pre-lockdown. SMS is another channel to test, ready for re-opening. Sending a couple of text messages to all your members will establish your delivery rate and prepare for your re-opening campaigns.
RE-OPENING If the next communication you send after the “We’re closing” message is a “We’re re-opening” email, it is likely you will see another big membership cancellation peak. This will be exacerbated if the message also tells members that you will be taking their money again soon. Hopefully, you will follow the advice above, and keep members up to date with your plans, even if you start today. Another email will produce similar stats to the previous pie chart, some members will still be furloughed, and open rates are unlikely to be much better. SMS is the channel to consider for announcing re-opening, and to ask members about paying again. You could notify members by email and postcard that they’ll be receiving this important SMS, to improve response rates.
You may want to have a cut-off time period for membership freeze, but this will be contingent on your new member pipeline and capacity, as well as your members’ needs.
WITHOUT COMMUNICATION THERE IS NO RELATIONSHIP It’s imperative that you keep communicating with your members, otherwise they are more likely to cancel. Treat them with empathy and respect. Then they will give you feedback and help with your re-opening plans. Give them options to return to your club, and when they’re ready, they’ll be back. Guy Griffiths is a coach to independent gym owners, and a member retention specialist. His current mission is to help your club to get through lockdown with as many members as possible, decent systems in place, and a watertight retention strategy. While the UK fitness industry is in lockdown, Gym Owner Monthly will pay for a £75 coaching call for the first 5 readers each month who book at ggfit.com/gom Watch Guy's 10 min webinar on 'how to avoid the second spike in cancellations'
Lead with SMS SMS can present an option to your members… a couple of examples include a default “Payment resumes next month [DD/MM], reply FREEZE to keep your membership on Freeze for one month longer” or “Gym reopens on [DD/MM], reply YES to resume your membership, or FREEZE if you don’t want to come back yet” June 2020
Training outdoors could get your Gym back to business Matt Gleed, Senior Master Trainer and Education Specialist We know that Personal Trainers are back to work with live sessions to clients in parks. Early indicators are that the UK Government are happier with outdoor activities than within the gym walls. As part of your reopening strategy, you should think about making the use of summer weather and look to get outdoors too. When it comes to choosing the equipment you can decide on your priority purchases by thinking about categorizing your training sessions. This will give you a chance to think about the kit you need and want to get depending on budgets too.
Location & Situation • Home Virtual or Online • Outdoor Environments • Small-Group Training • Studio use after full reopening You might need to check with the council or landowners to ensure permissions are all sorted to use the area. Also be responsible to do a risk assessment and check the quality of the surface for holes in grass and if there is glass or stones.
Goal • Activity Level • Sports Specific • Cardio / Fitness 70
• Lean Muscle Tone Ensure your lesson plans and workouts are going to be right for the group. Asking a group to run towards a tree and back to keep the heart rates up between conditioning drills can show up weaknesses and limitations.
Size & Transportable • Carry in a backpack • Fit in a car • Useable in small areas • Will it take time to set up You might be able to use the outside area of your gym however if it’s a drive away, is it practical to get the
equipment there and set up easily ready for the session. Then what about the disinfecting and cleaning after, will you be able to clean it all before it goes back in the car.
Cost • Can the clients buy it themselves • Will it last when used a lot • Will I need multiple units • When will I get a return on investment So many people have bought TRX systems, bands and weights bringing their own or encouraging them to bring a backpack of books could be the answer to help you get going.
Let's look at the top kit that could help you Suspension Trainer – As I’m known for being a TRX UK guy for 10 years now I find it hard not to think of the huge amount of exercises that would benefit every person in some way. It personifies functional training with benefits from a range of movement, core, strength, conditioning through to the Yoga formats coming out too. Plus the handles of the TRX PRO and Commercial Suspension Trainers now feature Microban antimicrobial technology for an added level of protection against the growth of bacteria. Yoga Mat – I almost always use Yoga moves to prepare people for the workout ahead and again after to support recovery and release. As simple as Up & Down Dogs with lunge variations & rotations, I think having a routine for 5mins that can get your mind and body connected is essential for workouts. Skipping Rope – Boxers, Tennis Players and Runners have enjoyed the benefits of skipping for years, then add in the challenge of cross overs, side to side rhythms or double unders literally whipping you into shape, it’s a boot camp dream when you want fun and coordination getting people fit without spreading out across the field in running drills.
on endurance, strength and range of movement. Very iconic in the industry at the moment and a couple of games of ‘Tug of War’ at the end is always a good end to a muddy workout. Power Wave bags – One of the many great benefits is working with rotation particularly as it is often missed in traditional gym routines. As the body is designed to support transverse plane movements either in stabilizing or generating force transfer when clients work with a kit like this results are great. Kettle Bells – I would recommend 8kg, 12kg and 16kg as a good range to begin training. This will allow a varied routine of exercises including Swings, Sumo Squats, Overhead Presses and Carrying patterns. It's always easy enough to move between single arm or double exercises if the weight challenge isn’t right for a client. Resistance Bands – With no real weight to them having a large number of bands can give you endless possibilities of exercises and supporting progressions of powerful movements as well as helping a range of movement in assisting people out of deep positions. Boxing Sets – When you have group sessions boxing will be a great way to keep everyone engaged and bring a lot
of fun and community to the workout. Plus strength and power help keep a great cardiovascular response up without the need for running. Cones – Great for marking out spaces to stay in or marking a target for distance. Games for warm-ups and agility training can bring running, crawling and movement drills together with a little more organization. Training Rig – These vary in size and attachments; some are Squat Racks with the ability to get multiple people in a circuit format. While others have Cable Stacks, Landmine, Rope, Targets and many more potentials. Bars & Weights – Often used in bilateral moves to develop strength and aesthetics, a very common way to train in the gym and more outside areas are using ‘Strong Man’ equipment to challenge clients. Landmine Attachment – Great for strength training with functional movements too, the cross over to most sports and daily activities can be worked. Balls – Various different usages like Slam Balls for power and explosive strength, Soft Shell Balls for movement and reaction work and Medicine Balls for weighted resistance training.
BOSU – Working on stability for joints or core stability were some of the first sessions I did almost 20 years ago and it’s a regular piece of gym equipment since. Offering great adaptations the BOSU is great for PT studios and Home workouts. ViPR – Vitality Performance Reconditioning is name of the game with loaded movement training helping clients build-up moves that will get them more efficient and stronger in the way they ask their body to be used. RIP Trainer – From the TRX family, this stick with a band is an incredible way to bring stabilisation, powerful striking and some of the best core workouts you might ever do. Battle Ropes – Historically from dockyards and now often used in your HIIT workouts the upper body cardiovascular workout that can work June 2020
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COULD EPIGENETICS HELP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID 19? BY JAMES BROWN OF MUDHO
The highest proportion of people who have unfortunately been affected by the virus have had a weakened immune system. This can be for a variety of reasons such as old age and underlying health issues, as well as there being a strong genetic component The data shows that there are 4 groups which will be more at risk: · The elderly. · Males. · Ethnic minorities with darker skin tone. · And those who are obese, or clinically obese on the BMI index. 72
I think most of us realise that as we age most of our biological processes will start to slow down, with one of these being our immune system.
Is our immune system's response to dealing with anything it perceives as an “attack” from a foreign invader. Ideally, when you get sick or injured, you want a fast and strong inflammatory response. This will ensure you deal with an infection or injury with a response that will be short and sharp or “acute”, resulting in no harm being done and it eventually settling down.
One of the genes which has been identified is in relation to the virus is called ACE2, which is located in your lungs and helps to control your blood pressure, body fluid and electrolytes. The virus attaches to ACE2 receptors shutting them down and throwing various systems out of balance. Another interesting point is that we also lose ACE2 receptors as we age. This could also be another reason as to why the elderly are more at risk, as they have a weakened immune system and less ACE2 receptors.
You may have heard the media referring to something called a Cytokine storm. This basically means your inflammatory response is out of control, and everything internally is going a
little bit haywire. Some of us will be more genetically predisposed to producing naturally higher levels. And whilst we cannot change our genetic predisposition, we can in many instances compensate for its effect. · Don’t over train. · Avoid processed foods. · Vegetable oils should be avoided altogether. · More fruit and vegetables · Omega 3. · Turmeric, Cherry and Ginger are great at reducing inflammation.
Male According to the latest figures around 70% of all critically ill patients in ICU have been male. One possible reason stems from our genetic code as the ACE2 gene is located on the X chromosome, meaning that women have more receptors than men. When the virus infects the cell and starts to reduce the function and expression of ACE2, then the more receptors that women have will be extremely beneficial.
Ethnic minorities A high proportion of medical professionals and first the 10 doctors to die from the virus were from ethnic minorities. But they were also male and older in years with many coming out of retirement to help (so a weakened immune system and less ACE2 receptors) We also need to remember that a lot of medical professionals are also not the healthiest at the best of times, as they are: 1. Working horrendous hours 2. Massive amount of stress 3. Poor diets
Vitamin D Vitamin D deficiency will affect people with darker skin when living in the northern hemisphere, especially during the winter. As the melanin, which gives the darker pigmentation to the skin, is basically “mother natures” sunblock.
Vitamin D is required for the regulation of the innate immune response. It has also been shown to have a protective effect against respirator tract infections and it also upregulates ACE2 within the lungs. One report from Sweden showed that 40% of the deaths in Stockholm are from an African background even though they only equate to 0.84% of the population.
Obesity Over 70% of ICU patients have been overweight or obese. If you are carrying lots of excess body fat then it will be virtually impossible to be “healthy” as your body will see your fat cells as an infection, which will cause naturally higher amounts of inflammation. Vitamin D levels will also be lower in those who are obese, as vitamin D is stored in the body fat. If you are carrying too much body fat then you will have around 50% less circulating vitamin D in your blood. Remember vitamin D helps support the immune system and upregulates the ACE2 gene.
Do our genes affect our immune system? Some people are born with extremely strong “immune genes”, whereas others are born with a weaker response and will be more at risk of getting ill. But just because you have the misfortune of being born with poorer genes that encode for a weaker immune response. Does that mean there is nothing you can do to improve your immune system and health? No of course not, as we can largely compensate for their effect by eating key foods and nutrients to improve how your genes function. Nature and nurture are both at play here. Yes, we can have extremely beneficial genes in a whole variety of areas but if they are not given the correct stimulus and nurturing then their response will be subdued. I’m sure all of us would agree that Usain Bolt is 1 in a billion, with
regards to physiological traits and genetic gifts for sprinting. But if Usain had stayed at home and carried on to just play cricket and not been all that fussed about running then he would never have achieved his genetic potential for speed. If we apply the same logic to your immune system you can quickly see how this can affect your health. If you have fantastic immune genes and have a horrendous lifestyle and diet, then your genes and “mother nature” can only protect you for so long if you’re resting on your laurels. Genetic testing company Muhdo understands that we all come with a set of unique genetic predispositions, but our lifestyle and environments will affect those same genetic traits and either dilute or accentuate them through a process called methylation and epigenetics. DNA methylation (DNAm) is a process where tiny chemical markers called methyl groups will attach to one of the four nucleotide bases on your DNA (adenine [A], cytosine [C], guanine [G], or thymine [T]). As we naturally age these methyl groups will either hypo (low) or hyper (high) methylate regions across your genome. This will then affect how specific genes and biological processes function, such as your immune system. Simply having “good genes” offers no guarantees to our health, nor does it on living to 100. Epigenetics is the intersection between genetics, nutrition, and environment and how diet, micronutrients, exercise and sleep can all change the expression of our genes - and all of this at a touch of a button! If you are interested in finding out more information on Epigenetics visit https://muhdo.com June 2020
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