ISSUE 63 // June 2021
Beth Turner OWNER OF
THE HIIT STATION
WE’VE CHOSEN SOME OF THE BEST MEDICINE BALLS FOR 2021
INDEPENDENTS’ DAY BY MARK MILLS
WE GO DOWN UNDER WITH
FITNESS PLAYGROUND GYMS
OUR INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH
EGYM’S BIOAGE –
THE NEW MOTIVATOR FOR A HEALTHCONSCIOUS MARKET
BY GEORGIA CASS
Welcome... ...to the June issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine Gym and fitness clichés out… It’s time to do better. Fitness e-magazine titles are everywhere, but nobody’s backing entrepreneurs and business owners on the frontline of fitness like this. With its back catalogue of free magazines online, Gym Owner Monthly Magazine is committed to supporting everyone involved in the health, wellness, fitness, sport and activity sector around the world. So what’s the difference? We’re doing it solely for the gym owners. Gym owners are at the heart of everything we need within fitness and physical activity. They’re at the centre of communities, risking it all as entrepreneurs, and building businesses that make a difference to people’s lives. They’re leading teams and showing their gym members how to overcome challenges and achieve any goal. It’s time someone looked after them, but that's what we've always done since launching 7 years ago. In this month’s issue Beth Turner our Fat Burning Dancing Queen graces our Front Cover & We have the EXCLUSIVE. Beth is not just a Master Trainer she is a Gym Owner too, full story page 6. From Down Under, we meet up with Justin Ashley CEO and co-founder of Fitness Playground Gyms page 22. On page 32 Kerstin Obenauer talks to us about EGYM’s BioAge -The new Motivator for a HealthConscious Market and you’ll find on page 42 Ben Hackney Williams, How can we prevent further closures? Page 54 Independents’ Day, Robert Handy is bringing together a community of Independent Gyms that is growing stronger by the minute by Mark Mills, Stacy Wig on page 56, it’s all about group exercise and page 36 Adriana Albritton explains how to build bigger quads... We would also like to thank our amazing contributors as always, without them we would not be able to produce such an amazing publication. Visit www.gymownermonthly.co.uk Train safe.
GOM Magazine Team
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COVER PHOTO CREDIT: BETH TURNER © Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2016-2021 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.
The Exclusive Interview, This month we chat with Beth Turner owner of The HIIT Station
6 THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW This month we chat with Beth Turner owner of The HIIT Station
12 BEST ROWING MACHINES OF 2021 18 SOME OF THE BEST MEDICINE BALLS FOR 2021
ome Of The Best S Medicine Balls For 2021
22 WE MEET WITH JUSTIN ASHLEY co-founder and CEO of Fitness Playground Gyms in Australia
28 CREATING SHE-WARRIORS Breaking the barriers between women and weightlifting by Georgia Cass
32 EGYM’S BIOAGE The New Motivator For A Health-Conscious Market
36 ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUILDING BIGGER QUADS By Adriana Albritton
40 FITKIT Check out the latest technology, products We meet with Justin Ashley, cofounder and CEO of Fitness Playground Gyms in Australia
CREATING SHE-WARRIORS; Breaking the barriers between women and weightlifting by Georgia Cass
EGYM’S BIOAGE – THE NEW MOTIVATOR FOR A HEALTH-CONSCIOUS MARKET
42 NO TURNING BACK, HOW CAN WE PREVENT FURTHER CLOSURES?
No turning back, how can we prevent further closures? by Ben Hackney-Williams
By Ben Hackney-Williams
46 TIME TO CLUB TOGETHER By Guy Griffiths
50 RECOVERY: WHAT HAPPENS NOW? By Georgina Faux 54 INDEPENDENTS’ DAY
By Mark Mills
56 KICKBOXING…YOGA…PILATES… RUN CLUB..FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH…HIKING MEET-UP… OUTDOOR BOOTCAMP…BARRE… GLUTES AND GUNS…OH MY!! By Stacy Wig
60 PHILIP MADDOX K.I.S.S = KEEP IT SO SIMPLE 64 DO HEALTH APPS REALLY MAKE US HEALTHIER? 68 AMY DUTFIELD TALKS US THROUGH Helping postnatal clients get back to fitness and setting realistic expectations
Kickboxing…Yoga…Pilates… Run club..functional strength…Hiking meet-up…Outdoor Bootcamp…barre… glutes and guns…oh my!! By Stacy Wig
Recovery: What happens now? By Georgina Faux
64 Do Health Apps Really Make Us Healthier?
THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
e v i s u l c The Ex Interview WE CHAT WITH BETH TURNER OWNER OF THE HIIT STATION
THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE FITNESS INDUSTRY? By accident haha, no seriously I never set out to be an instructor or a PT, I'm just an average girl. I was a single mum to two kids and I joined the local leisure centre in 2015 because I needed help but I didn't know how or where to get it. I'd had some pretty rubbish things happen in my life that meant I had no confidence and felt so low and worthless but the second I lifted that bar it's like my life changed, it made me feel strong like I could take over the world. The whole gym environment opened up so many things to me, people would talk to ME and ask how my day had been like I wasn't worthless and they really wanted to know about me. It was like I'd found a whole new meaning to my life I had a focus. 6 months later the instructor who was teaching my class was leaving and told me I was taking her class, it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard but she wouldn't let it drop, she believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. Deep inside I kept telling myself if this had saved me you imagine how many people who felt the same as myself could be saved. This is where this passion became alive and my dream to save every single
person in the world who had ever felt worthless started.
wanted to quit. I've presented for major
I'd like to say the rest is history but it's not because I've had the most amazing career all because of one dream, one purpose to save people. That one reason that keep me going every single time I
I bought a gym, I got nominated for best
brands, I've presented at fitness events, female instructor, best independent gym and member achievement award in the 2019 fitness professional awards. I started to master train in 2017 to teach
THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
other instructors to be the best instructor they could be and that way they could help me with my mission to save people, it's like I could pass it on and then they could pass it on and it would always keep going. I'm currently the senior regional master trainer for T30 Fitness and most importantly in 2017, THE HIIT STATION was born. This is MY studio and no matter what I do and what I achieve this is where it all comes back to because this is where the magic happens.
WHAT IS THE HIIT STATION ABOUT? it's about women empowering women, a safe place to get strong and achieve an overall lifestyle change. It's about feeling you have a support network so you're not alone and no matter your age race, shape or size you feel comfortable. Its about achieving goals, being happy and feeling like you can take over the world;anything is possible and our slogan is YES YOU CAN.
"I had no confidence and felt so low and worthless but the second I lifted that bar it's like my life changed" WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM YOUR COMPETITORS? The personal touch, no one cares what you wear or what you look like or where you've come from, we know your name we know your story we've seen you cry but we will make sure you leave here the best strongest version of YOURSELF. It's about building women up but also the fact that you're unique. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of women that have entered The HIIT STATION no two women are the same and that's cool because we find a way that works for you to achieve your goal. We offer group exercise, personal training, and so much more, we offer anything you need and nothing is too big or too small. What we all have in common is that we're strong, we're powerful and we are unstoppable!
THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
glad that I never changed because this is now what sets me apart from the rest. I always knew I didn't fit in the box as your average PT or instructor and that's fine because I'm happy.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE? Money is our biggest challenge, I'm not here to become a millionaire, I'm definitely in the wrong job if I was but big chain gyms who are offering really low monthly deals is the biggest challenge. It's hard to compete when someone's offering 150 classes a week and its only £15 a month, especially with the situation from Covid and people not having the same access to 'spare' money for something that is seen as a luxury and not a necessity. EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH. My only advice on this is know your worth when you are magic and you offer something these big chain gyms can't,then the customers will find a way.
HOW HAS THE CURRENT COVID SITUATION AFFECTED THE HIIT STATION? Like so many of us in our industry it's affected us massively, it's been hard to keep customers motivated at home and restrictions on opening back up have made customer numbers lower BUT we were never going to go down without a fight and we always look for the positive, we're now back open, we're all safe and we can do what we love doing again.
THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU'VE LEARNT? There are so many things I can write on this, our industry is built on passion BUT always remember business is business. Not everyone is your friend, knowledge is power so never stop learning and always know your stuff. Do what sets your soul on fire, do not change for anyone. I've been told so many times you're crazy with your wild ideas but I will always get a result no matter what it takes and I'm so
THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
WHAT NEXT FOR THE HIIT STATION? I always have been and always will be on my mission to save every single last person in the world who has felt worthless and unhappy to feel strong and unstoppable that will never stop. Whether that's through training or a support network or nutrition, After going online during the lockdown it's made me realise there are many more people I can reach online so definitely keep an eye out for all our up and coming adventures and crazy ideas and if you ever need me you know where to find me ...... THE HIIT STATION
@hiitstationirlam @xbethx1 https://www.facebook.com/ hiitstationirlam/
Best Rowing Machines Of 2021
hoosing the best rowing machine can be a tricky proposition. What is best for you might not be best for another user. With so many different manufacturers and models available and prices that range from under £200 to over £2000, there is a lot to consider. This article aims to offer some suggestions that will hopefully help narrow down your choices from hundreds of options to just a few.
BEST INTERACTIVE WORKOUTS
WHICH IS THE BEST ROWING MACHINE TO BUY?
If budget is no issue, this list of top ten rowers is a great place to start your search for the best rowing machine. While the price is not a consideration for making this list, each rower represents good value for money because of the features offered, build quality, and or long warranty.
BEST OVERALL Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
BEST USER EXPERIENCE Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine
BEST OVERALL: CONCEPT2 MODEL D INDOOR ROWING MACHINE WITH PM5F PROS High quality, long-lasting build Quick and easy assembly Fairly high price but good value for your money Considered the industry standard Realistic smooth rowing motion High-performance monitor Bluetooth compatibility Easy to fold and store
measurements that can be downloaded
to a computer for reference. These include stroke rate, pace, time, distance rowed,
The ergonomic handle has a 10-degree
High price (but worth it) Is quite loud
and calories burned.
Seat hard for some users
Recognised for its performance by
make it easy to alter for all foot sizes. It
competitive rowers, the Concept2 Model
is a smooth and reliable machine with
This rowing machine sits at the high
D rowing machine is suitable for rowers
a maximum user weight capacity of
end of the market, engineered with
of all abilities. The flywheel system
500lbs. The frame lock has a quick-release
aluminium and steel alloy for durability.
provides resistance for the stroke, while
mechanism that allows the rowing
The PM5F performance monitor is a major
a dampener is included to help adjust the
machine to be quickly folded and stored
selling feature as it records a host of
machine for each individual’s personal
away when not in use.
The Hydrow Rower is truly a luxury
definitely built to last. With such a hefty
front-facing speakers and live outdoor
rowing experience. The team at Hydrow
price tag this is what you would expect.
reality technology. A Hydrow membership
Is long but can be folded away nicely
bend to help row in a way that feels natural, while the adjustable foot-straps
BEST PREMIUM ROWING MACHINE: HYDROW ROWER PROS Smooth gliding rowing motion Comfortable seat Pre-recorded and live workouts 22” HD touch screen with interactive features Adjustable resistance Sleek and stylish design Easy assembly Quality build Heart rate monitoring CONS Price tag Membership not included Cant be folded for storage (storage kit can be purchased separately)
has brought exercising at home to a whole other level with their interactive immersive rowing machine, designed to bring the flow of the river to you! The Hydrow machine comes dressed to impress with a sleek and classy design.
The resistance is computer-controlled using an electromagnetic drag mechanism which makes for an ultra-smooth and quiet rowing motion. This is great for high-intensity workouts with low impact.
will give you access to over 1000 prerecorded and live broadcast workouts that you can follow along with a trainer, your friends, and the Hydrow community. It’s an expensive bit of kit but if you have the means, you do get what you pay for. And
The ergonomic body has a smooth
The Hydrow Rower also comes with a state-
Hydrow does offer a 30-day free trial. So if
aluminium frame that is sturdy and
of-the-art 22” HD touchscreen with built-in
you’re not impressed you can send it back.
BEST INTERACTIVE WORKOUTS: ERGATTA ROWER PROS
The race/game styled workouts are
from around the world
designed to make you feel like you are
The rower itself is super lightweight
playing a sport or game and are split into 4 main categories
and can be stored upright. You get all the benefits of a WaterRower with its
Push Programs: Sequential workouts
quality rowing performance, comfort,
Workouts personalised to your fitness
structured to help you reach specific goals
and durability. The machine supports
Interval Workouts: Personalised HIIT,
both BlueTooth headphones, heart rate
Data-driven workouts, interactive training
Endurance, and Technique rows delivered
monitors and also comes with a 9-foot
programs, games, monthly challenges
through interactive games
long cable so you should have no trouble
Race Workouts: Head-to-head
positioning it where you want whilst still
competitions with others in the
being able to reach an outlet.
This is a premium machine so expect
Open Row: see real-time feedback, create
a premium price tag. But if it fits your
custom interval workouts, or row to views
budget you will not be disappointed.
and durability in mind. It has a magnetic
foot pedal design helps keep the feet
tension system which makes for a quiet
securely in place.
Super lightweight and stands upright for easy storage In partnership with WaterRower Connectivity supports Bluetooth headphones and heart rate monitors CONS Expensive No workouts led by instructors No workouts for off the rower The Ergatta is a beautifully designed WaterRower with an absolute powerhouse display console built on top. The Ergatta rower takes your workouts to a whole new level with their interactive gaming experience. This sounds a bit salesy but this machine really is something else. The machine calibrates based on your rowing performance to generate personalised, data-driven workouts that are fun and engaging.
AMAZON BEST SELLER: SUNNY HEALTH & FITNESS SF-RW5515 MAGNETIC ROWING MACHINE PROS Lightweight & mobile Relatively quiet Reasonably priced Eight levels of resistance, with an easy to use resistance knob Large padded seat CONS Digital monitor is quite basic & provides limited data No inbuilt exercise programmes which some other machines include Pedals appear to be a little on the cheap side
machine, helpful if too much noise may be an issue where you live. There are 8 magnetic tension resistance levels available which you can select manually via a knob. A feature of this machine is a long sliding rail measuring 48 inches, which makes
The monitor is quite basic and omits some of the data other machines display, such as distance travelled. However, the affordability of this rower needs to be kept in mind in such comparisons. The monitor also is not backlit which can
it an accessible machine for most people
hinder viewing sometimes. The weight
regardless of height. The seat is fully
capacity for the machine is 250lbs and it
This is a machine towards the budget end
padded and the handlebars have foam
can be folded down for easy storage once
of the market, designed with comfort
grips for comfortable rowing. An anti-slip
training is done for the day.
EDITORIAL FEATURE BEST VALUE FOR MONEY: STAMINA ATS AIR ROWER 1399 PROS Durable build Lower price option Comfortable seat Large footrest for big feet Good for high-intensity work-outs Easy to store Floor protectors CONS Can be noisy when rowed with intensity No resistance change mode No heart rate monitor This machine from Stamina offers a smooth and functional row without the more complex options, making it a more affordable choice. The durable frame is built from steel, while two stabilisers help ensure the machine does not move during work-outs. The Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 operates on an air resistance system that sees resistance change in relation to your rowing intensity. The harder you row the more resistance there is. This can be good
BEST WATER RESISTANCE ROWER: WATERROWER NATURAL
to simulate the feel and sound of rowing
calming experience to the row.
Eco-minded wood build
A water resistance model makes for a
low-maintenance rowing machine. The
Realistic rowing experience
S4 monitor which accompanies the rower
Low maintenance Comfortable seat 6 pre-set workouts CONS Quite large if space an issue Higher price range No resistance change mode Heart rate monitor accessories not included The WaterRower Natural is an aesthetically pleasing rowing machine,
on water. The sound of the water moving around the tub can add a natural and
displays the relevant data and can be uploaded onto a computer for later use. It has the capacity to monitor heart rate using a chest strap, but the receiver and transmitter are not included. Users can utilise 6 preset workouts or set up to 9 interval sessions to suit their personal training needs. The WaterRower Natural is larger than some machines but does flip up to allow for easy storage if
built from sustainably sourced ash
space is an issue. Although fairly pricey
hardwood. Resistance is generated
the quality of the wood build provides a
using a water tub positioned under the
durable machine that has a large weight
ergonomically designed seat. It is built
capacity of 1000lbs.
hydraulic rowing machine, using hydraulic
The maximum weight capacity is 250lbs
BEST BUDGET ROWING MACHINE: STAMINA BODYTRAC GLIDER 1050
and the machine can comfortably be
used by taller folk up to 6ft 4″ in height.
The monitor is functional, recording
for high-intensity sessions as you do not need to stop to make setting adjustments. This rower is suitable for all levels and comes with a padded, upholstered seat for additional comfort, even during longer training sessions. Large footplates help accommodate most users, while the handles are foam-padded to reduce the chance of blisters.
the basic data to measure performance, and is operated by a single button. The rowing machine can be folded for storage, reducing to half of its extended size.
Small footprint Lightweight Multi-functional work-out design Padded handles for comfort Twelve resistance levels CONS Comfort of seat on longer sessions Foot straps may not suit all Resistance can drop off on longer sessions A straightforward, functional machine
shocks to adjust resistance levels. There are twelve of these resistance levels which can be adjusted manually. As to be expected for the best budget rower the monitor is basic but provides the important data required to follow progress. There are no pre-set workouts or any options to store performance. This is a good option for those with limited space as the machine does not take up a huge amount of room with a footprint of just 23.5 x 21 x 46 inches. It is also lightweight, weighing less than 40lbs, making it easy to move for storing. With a weight capacity of 250lbs, this machine is designed to be durable for the budget range price.
that provides multiple work-out options at a budget price. Compared to some modern machines this rower can look a little retro, but the handlebars placed on each side of the machine are designed to mimic the oars of a rowing boat. Built with a steel frame and an aluminium central beam, the BodyTrac Glider 1050 is a sturdy offering for the price range. It is a GOM Magazine
BEST QUIET ROWING MACHINE: STAMINA AVARI PROGRAMMABLE MAGNETIC EXERCISE ROWER PROS
when in use, while the moulded seat is comfortable and glides quietly over the seat rail. The handles are thickly padded to help prevent blisters, while the nylon pull cord used for rowing is strong. The footplates pivot, which can cause issues for users who prefer static plates, though the adjustable straps allow them to be
Quiet Solid base Heart rate chest strap In touch monitor 12 Work-out programs Compact Easy to store CONS Some users find seat uncomfortable This machine has magnetic resistance, providing a smooth and quiet rowing glide. It offers a quiet row even at high-intensity
altered for different foot sizes. This rower offers 12 work-out programs with resistance easily adjustable via the advanced backlit in touch monitor. Heart rate can be monitored with this rowing machine through a wireless chest strap, allowing the recording of pulse rates throughout the work-out. There is a weight capacity of 275lb for users, while a foldable steel frame allows for easy storage when not in use.
levels, good for apartments surrounded by neighbours and good for listening to music while you work out. This is a compact, durable machine
BEST DUAL-RESISTANCE ROWING MACHINE: NORDIK TRACK RW900 ROWER PROS Silent magnetic resistance Dual resistance control modes 22-inch touchscreen display 30 built-in programs iFit coach access interactive sessions Two digitally amplified speakers Large pivoting pedals CONS Pricey iFit subscription process not always clear
suitable for all. The solid base prevents the rowing machine from moving
A top-end rowing machine with advanced features based around a 22-inch touchscreen display.
BEST HYDRAULIC PISTON ROWING MACHINE: STAMINA 35-1215 ORBITAL ROWING MACHINE PROS Smooth and quiet Affordable pricing Adjustable tension Cushioned seat Pivoting foot blades Compact and easy to store Floor protectors CONS Basic features Resistance levels can be hard for novices A compact rowing machine using dual motion handles, which can take a little getting used to, especially if previously only used to one handlebar to pull on. It has a hydraulic cylinder resistance system that has 5 resistance settings to work with. The higher settings could be a challenge for beginners, so make sure
the pivoting foot plates allow users to find a natural feeling position to row This rowing machine is designed with lengthy work-out sessions in mind and comes with floor protectors to prevent movement and unsightly scuff marks on the floor. The machine has a single button operated monitor which displays the basic data such as stroke rate, speed, distance, and calories burned. A durable machine, it has a weight capacity of 250lbs. The Stamina 351215 Orbital rowing machine has a small footprint and is foldable, which makes it a good option if space is an issue.
As well as having thirty built-in workout programs to try, an iFit Coach subscription gives you access to over 12,000 interactive sessions. This allows you to participate in live and on-demand classes, with the machine’s resistance levels changing automatically to match the class session being followed. There are 26 of these magnetic resistance levels which can be a bit of a challenge, yet they provide a quiet and smooth row. The iFit coach also provides access to a range of nutritional, sleep, and exercise advice. If preferred you can do your own workout, for which there are 10 additional air resistance levels available for selection. An ergonomically moulded seat and handle aid comfort, with oversized pivoting pedals and adjustable foot-straps keeping feet of all sizes secure. When done with for the day the Nordik Track RW900 rower folds in the middle, making it simple to store in spaces that do not have much height. This rowing machine has a maximum weight capacity of 250lbs.
to start at the lower end of the scale and work up as fitness and technique allows. A padded seat and foam handle grips provide for a more comfortable row, while 16
Buyers Guide: Are Rowing Machines Worth It?
owing is a great workout that can get you very fit, help you lose weight, and can even be an outlet for your competitive urges but unless you are content to use the rower at your local gym, you will probably prefer to buy a rower of your own to use at home.
There are several manufacturers and lots
the strongest exerciser. The machines
down into two or even three sections,
themselves are usually hardwearing and
others do not. Some machines are fitted
very easy to maintain. On the downside,
with wheels for easy movement while
air resistance rowers can be quite noisy in
others will need to be carried.
use, especially if you are doing intervals or sprints. Air resistance rowers are
generally lighter than water rowers and
Some rowers are very “no-frills” while
can be broken down into sections for
others have every bell and whistle
easier transportation and storage.
imaginable. More often, the more expensive the rower, the more functions
of different models available so choosing a
rower can be a daunting prospect and the
Old school rowers almost always used
are best – you may end up paying for
last thing you want to do is spend your
hydraulic resistance. Modern rowers using
things you never use. Choose a model that
hard-earned money on a machine that
hydraulics are generally cheap and far less
does what you need rather than pay for
fails to live up to your expectations.
enjoyable to use than the preceding three
things you do not want. Also, the more
resistance methods. Because the handles
technology that is crammed into your
inevitably travel through an arc rather
rowing machine, the more there is to go
than in a straight line, hydraulic rowers
wrong; an important factor to consider if
use a very unnatural rowing action that
your rower is going to get heavy usage.
WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF RESISTANCE FOR A ROWING MACHINE? Rowers are best categorised by the
can prove uncomfortable. Resistance
on offer. Don’t feel that more functions
is usually adjustable but not by much.
There are four main types:
Hydraulic resistance rowers are light,
Even the best rowing machines go wrong
but are not really suitable for “serious”
mechanism used for creating resistance.
Very smooth and quiet to use, electromagnetic resistance rowers usually require an external power source and contain often sophisticated electrical components. Resistance can be changed quickly and easily but, in my experience, the top resistance level is normally not
portable, and easily folded flat for storage rowing training although Kettler, a good quality German fitness company, still uses hydraulics in their rowing machines. Now you know a little about the different
from time to time so make sure your rower has a decent warranty. More expensive rowers often have a longer warranty but in return, you get peace of mind that your investment is protected.
types of rowing machine resistance, let’s
NUMBER OF USERS
look at a few other things that you should
If your rower is going to be used by a lot
consider when buying.
of people or used heavily by just a few, make sure you chose a machine designed
an electromagnetic resistance rower but
HOW MUCH DOES A ROWING MACHINE COST?
if well maintained should be reliable and
An indoor rowing machine can cost as
occasional usage but are not up to the
little as £200 and as much as £3000
punishment of constant, heavy use.
very high. There is a lot to go wrong with
depending on the model you choose.
for light commercial or commercial use. Home use machines are fine for light or
Most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean
Built around a sealed drum of water and
best and, in my opinion, the best rower
That rower that felt fine in the showroom
a propeller attached to the handle by a
around sits halfway between these two
can be butt-crippling uncomfortable
cord or chain, water-resistance rowers are
extremes. While it is true you get what
20-minutes into your first proper workout.
becoming increasingly popular. The water
you pay for, some rowers are definitely
Make sure the rower is long enough, has a
drum looks really cool and the swishing
overpriced compared to the competition.
good seat, and a sufficiently wide handle
sound they make in use gives a very
to accommodate you comfortably. The best
authentic rowing experience. Because
water is very heavy, water rowers tend
Some rowers are longer than others so it’s
to be heavy too and less portable as a
important to make sure your rower will
result. The rowing action tends to be
fit into the space you have set aside for
AVAILABILITY OF SPARES
heavier at the start of the pull than at
exercise. Make sure the rowing machine
Because, hopefully, your rower will
the end – much the same as rowing on
is big enough to accommodate you too – if
last many years, commonly required
“real” water but different to other types of
you are very tall, you’ll probably need a
spares must be readily available. Things
braking systems where resistance is more
rower that is around two meters in length.
like seats, handles, roller bearings, and
rower in the world is a waste of money if you can use it without severe discomfort.
monitors eventually wear out but these are small components that, if worn,
Is your rower going to stay in one place,
should not end the life of your machine.
This type of rower is the most popular
e.g. your spare room, or are you going to
Make sure that there are spaces available
with “serious” rowers. The resistance is
have to store it in one place and use it in
(and that there will be continued
variable and there is plenty of it for even
another? While some rowers will break
availability) for your rower.
Some Of The Best Medicine Balls For 2021 1. AMAZON BASICS MEDICINE BALL
exercises that require throwing and
available, this ball comes in 4, 6, 8, 12,
Available in various colour-coded weights—perfect for building a full set High bounce even off hard surfaces Textured finish provides a superior grip, whether you’re using it barehanded or with gloves Key Specifications: Brand: AmazonBasics Dimensions: 9.2” x 9.2” x 9.3” Weight: 4-20 lbs. (1.8-9.07 kg)
results if you are working with the right product. Of course, with so many weight options, materials, and brands, choosing a top-quality option that fits your needs can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this review of the best medicine balls in 2021—so you can find the perfect ball to add to your home gym.
There are various weight options 14, or 20 lb. versions. Each weight comes in a designated colour that doesn’t fade, allowing you to switch weights at a glance if you purchase more than one. While you can’t buy them as a set, and they don’t come with a stand, they will fit on any standard medicine ball rack. Thanks to the sturdy rubber construction of these balls, you can also use them either commercially or at home for intensive workouts. Their unique design
suitable for a wide variety of strength
allows for proper bounce, just like
building and core exercises. Because of its
professional gym weighted balls—they are
textured surface, it’s also great for partner
excellent for slamming exercises.
That said, you can only get these
catching the ball.
The AmazonBasics Medicine Ball is
medicine ball may look like a beach ball, but it’s far more functional. Unlike a beach ball, a medicine ball offers the ability to perform fitness exercises to boost your full body strength, improve your balance, and more.
2. VALEO 4 LB MEDICINE BALL
high-quality rubber medicine ball. Thanks
and plyometric training exercises. If you
to its durability and texture, it’s suitable
have no experience with med balls, you’ll
for various medicine ball workouts,
be happy to know that this one comes
including ab exercises, tricep exercises,
with an exercise wall chart to guide you
Comes in a range of size and colour options
through various exercises.
Includes a fitness guide to help you
Aside from this 4lb. option, you can get
effectively perform various medicine ball exercises Textured pattern lets you hold the ball with ease while working out
it as a 6, 8, 10 or 12lb. medicine ball. The various sizes are colour-coded, and some weights maintain uniform size. For example, the 4 lb. ball is 7.25” in diameter,
the 6 and 8 lb. Medicine balls are 8.5”, and
the 10 and 12 lb. balls are 9.5”.
Dimensions: (4 lb. ball) 7.5” x 8” x 7.5”
You can use each ball on your own to
Weight: 4-12 lbs. (1.8-9.07 kg)
improve your balance or work with a
The Valeo 4 lb Medicine Ball is another
partner on various coordination, strength,
3. J/FIT SOFT WALL MEDICINE BALL
The pliable exterior of the j/fit Soft Wall
balls with a hard exterior, the soft exterior
Hand stuffed with cotton, recycled cotton, sand, and rubber layers Durable triple stitch exterior Suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts Key Specifications: Brand: j/fit Dimensions: (all weights except the 4 lb.)
Medicine Ball makes it one of the safest exercise balls on the market. Unlike med of this ball lets it absorb impact and reduces bounce during exercises. It’s also safer for exercises with a partner since the ball’s soft exterior is less capable of causing injury. When it comes to durability, this weighted ball again gets high scores, thanks to its heavy-duty,
Weight: 4-30 lbs. (1.8-13.6 kg)
Whether your goal is weight loss or
4. CAP BARBELL
notch rubber medicine ball with a thick
ball workouts. Even though its quality is
Available in several colours and sizes
comparable to that of other balls on our
Works well for various types of exercises
list, its price is very affordable, making it a
Comfortable to hold and durable rubber
great value product.
building muscle, this weighted ball can satisfy your needs. You can get it in various sizes from 4 to 30 lbs. to challenge yourself, too.
construction that works well for various
Whether you are doing medicine ball
training alone or throwing the ball to a
Brand: Cap Barbell
partner, this medicine ball works great.
this med ball in sizes as small as 2 lbs. for
Dimensions: (10 lb. ball) 9” x 9” x 9”
Its tacky surface ensures a firm grip,
less intensive workouts, or you can go as
Weight: 2-12 lbs. (.9-9.07 kg)
regardless of how sweaty your hands get.
heavy as 12 lbs. for strength and stamina
The Cap Barbell Medicine Ball is a top-
Aside from the 10 lb. ball, you can get
5. TITAN SOFT WALL 6 LB
of the best soft medicine balls. Like most
it against a wall or using it with a partner.
Synthetic leather exterior with cotton
Even though its exterior is soft, it’s highly
inside Available in various weights and colours
good wall balls, it has a soft exterior that minimises the risk of injury when throwing
durable, thanks to its tough synthetic leather exterior with double stitching to
Loop handles on both sides for easy
hold it together. Unlike other soft medicine
handling and storage
balls, this med ball also has a handle on
each side for comfy gripping for more
fat and boost your cardiovascular health.
technical medicine ball training exercises.
If you want to use it to build strength, it’s
Dimensions: (6 lb. ball) 14” diameter
It is not suitable for slam exercises,
also available as a 20 or 30 lb. ball that you
but it has other features that make it
can use on a squat rack or for lifting and
appropriate for various activities that burn
Weight: 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) The Titan Soft Wall 6 lb Medicine Ball is one GOM Magazine
6. CHAMPION SPORTS LEATHER Key Features: Available in various colours and sizes Reinforced stitching for higher durability and functionality Excellent CrossFit medicine ball
other medicine wall balls and slam balls on our list. Yet, it keeps things affordable without cutting corners on quality. Its exterior is synthetic leather, which is soft to the touch but tough enough to withstand the most intensive medicine ball training. If you need weighted medicine balls for weightlifting, aerobics,
Pilates, CrossFit, or yoga, you can get one
Brand: Champion Sports
of these as light as 4 lbs. or one as heavy
Dimensions: (14-15 lb. ball) 11” diameter
Weight: 4-22 lbs. (1.8-10 kg)
While the company sells a total of eight
The Champion Sports Leather Medicine
weights, you can’t buy the balls as a
Ball is just as durable and effective as the
complete set. They are sold individually.
7. SPRI DUAL GRIP
Dual Grip is the way to go. Instead of being
handles on the side that let you perform
Great for golf workouts and other sports that require two-handed movements Textured grip on both handles for safe handling Useable as free weights Key Specifications:
However, Champion does offer a five-ball rack for these, designed to make storage easy even in tight spaces if you’d like to assemble your own set.
just a round ball, it has two convenient a wider range of exercises, including rotational core exercises, upper body and lower body exercises, and locomotor drills. It’s an excellent choice for working on not just strength, but also arm flexibility for sports that require explosive arm swings,
like golf and tennis. This ball features
Dimensions: (8 lb. ball) 10.5” x 11.5” x 10”
a synthetic rubber body that delivers
Weight: 6-20 lbs. (2.7-10 kg)
durability and minimal bounce. It also
You can get it in various sizes for moderate
If you need a medicine ball that offers
includes an instructional manual to guide
to high-velocity strength building and
more grip than regular med balls, the SPRI
8. SPRI XERBALL 2 LB
doesn’t mean it isn’t better than most
Moderate bounce Suitable for a wide range of exercises Affordable price
other slam balls or wall balls on the Most of its superior quality comes from its thick rubber exterior and dense rubber insides. Depending on what type of
exercise you need it for, you can add or
remove air from it. For instance, for slam
Dimensions: (2 lb. ball) 8” x 10.8” x 10”
exercises or wall exercises, you can deflate
Weight: 2-39 lbs. (.9-17.6 kg)
the ball a bit to reduce its bounce.
Unlike the SPRI Dual Grip, the SPRI Xerball
Its versatility makes it practical, and
2 lb. Medicine Ball is a more traditional
it offers impressive value as fitness
medicinal ball—but its traditional design
equipment for core exercises and more
9. CHAMPION SPORTS RHINO PROMAX 20 LB
Weight: 4-30 lbs. (1.8-13.6 kg)
Rhino Promax 20 lb Medicine Ball uses real
Unlike other medicine balls that use synthetic leather, the Champion Sports
Tough rhino leather exterior
leather for optimal durability. That makes
Available in various weights
it one of the toughest dead weight slam
Can withstand high impacts without
balls you can buy.
losing its shape or weight balance
Aside from being durable, this ball is big,
giving you more of a cardio, agility, and
Brand: Champion Sports
strength workout than smaller medicine
Dimensions: (20 lb. ball) 14.9” x 14.6” x
balls can offer. Regardless of how you
use it, its size ensures you get a full-
to boost your endurance, power, and stability. Depending on your strength level and workout needs, you can opt for the 2 lb. ball or go as high as 25 lbs.
body workout with every muscle in your body feeling the burn. Even though it’s large, the ball remains ergonomic for a comfortable grip. GOM Magazine
10. JBM 8 LB
durable exercise ball to expand on your
strength and cardio training? The JBM 8 lb
Medicine Ball can get you the results you
Textured body for a firm grip
Suitable for people with mobility issues
It’s another top choice among medicine
Key Specifications: Brand: JBM International Dimensions: (8 lb. ball) 8.5” in diameter Weight: 2-15 lbs. (.9-6.8 kg) Looking for an affordable, versatile, and
lunges, squats, slams, pushups, and other
balls, especially because of its highly durable body that also delivers impressive bounce. It has a textured surface that ensures your exercise routine isn’t
Aside from the 8 lb. weight, you can get
interrupted by the ball constantly slipping
this option in seven sizes from a 2 to 15 lb.
out of your sweaty palms.
medicine ball to meet your unique needs.
3 Things to Think of When Choosing a Medicine Ball Medicine balls come in different shapes
Previously, synthetic leather balls weren’t
and sizes. If you pick one with med ball
the most durable, but technology has
features that don’t match your unique
improved over the years, leading to
physical and training needs, you won’t get
tougher balls with supple exteriors. The
the results you want. To avoid this, keep
common problem with such balls is the
the following in mind when shopping:
seams tend to wear out before the actual
leather does. On the upside, it offers all
The weight of a med ball will determine
of the benefits of a leather ball minus the
how well you åcan use it to achieve your
high maintenance needs.
fitness goals. If it’s too heavy, you may
Textured rubber medicine balls are a far
struggle with using the ball for your fitness routines and possibly injure yourself. If it’s too light, you won’t get the level of resistance required to see the results you want. Generally, a 2 to 3 lb. medicine ball is the lightest option. Anywhere from 2 to 5 lb. balls are okay for beginners, especially those who require the ball for aerobics and other light exercises. For intensive core or strength training, some experts recommend a 20 to 50 lb. medicine ball,
WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF TRAINING WITH A MEDICINE BALL? By adding a ball to your fitness routine, you can look forward to the many benefits of a medicine ball, such as: BUILDING EXPLOSIVE POWER AND
more popular option because they offer a
better grip and are ideal for various types
Explosive power allows you to release
of exercises. That said, most of them
maximum force within the shortest time.
aren’t great as slam balls because of their
It’s great for sprinters, various types of
high bounce and tendency to split upon
ballplayers, and any other sport that
high impact with a hard surface.
requires sudden movements.
Such risks can be reduced by slightly
Combine this with medicine ball exercises
deflating the ball. In most cases, they are
that increase body strength, and you have
suitable for non-release workouts, for
a body that can respond and move faster
passing to a partner, or as wall balls.
with more power and less risk of injury.
IMPROVING YOUR CORE
The style of a med ball will determine what
A stronger core means a stronger
you can accomplish with it. For instance,
The important thing is to pick a weight
body for various athletic and regular
double grip or handled medicine balls aren’t
that will challenge your current strength
physical activities. It also improves your
ideal for passing, or as wall or slam balls.
level enough to give your body a workout,
However, the grips on such a ball make
endurance, flexibility, and posture,
though you may find heavier options—as high as 100 or 150 lbs.
but not so much that it strains your muscles beyond what they can handle. Start light and gradually work your way up by building your strength and
them suitable for non-release exercises, such as kettlebell style workouts. Then, there are sand-filled medicine balls.
Because of their minimal bounce, they
excluding rubberised balls, especially
Most top-quality balls come in one of three materials – rubber, genuine leather, or synthetic leather. The first medicine balls were strictly made
are a fantastic choice for slam exercises— when fully inflated. The high bounce
reducing the risk of back pain and muscle injuries. IMPROVING YOUR BALANCE Even if you aren’t a runner or gymnast, the added balance that comes from using medicine balls for squat exercises, planks, pushups, and other exercises, will keep
of such balls can lead to injuries from it
you more grounded and boost your agility
rebounding painfully into you.
Instead, rubberised balls work great for
abdominal and core workouts.
When using medicine balls for even the
build the balls isn’t sustainable. Plus,
Wall balls, on the other hand, are popular
simplest workouts, you use more of your
present-day leather med balls require
among Cross Fit enthusiasts, especially
muscles. That leads to exercising more
more maintenance and care than their
for explosive exercises, such as squats and
parts of your body, burning more calories,
rubber and synthetic leather counterparts.
and boosting your overall fitness.
of leather. They were weather-resistant and durable, but using animal skins to
INTERNATIONAL BOUTIQUE GYM GYM OF OF THE THE MONTH MONTH
PAUL WOOD, CEO OF GOM MAGAZINE, MEETS WITH
JUSTIN ASHLEY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF FITNESS PLAYGROUND GYMS IN AUSTRALIA
WHAT LED YOU INTO THE GYM BUSINESS? I've been in the fitness industry since I was 18 years old. I was originally a school teacher (a Physical Education teacher), and prior to that, I was a semiprofessional soccer player. But I fell into an opportunity at Fitness First. I started selling memberships and handing out flyers on the streets, and over six years I worked my way up to overseeing 5 clubs and running the most profitable Fitness First in the world. From there I thought (at the ripe old age of 25), I can do this better myself! Of course, I couldn’t – but I was determined to try. So I joined my mentor, former Fitness First CEO Tony De Leede and opened a company called Fit N Fast, where I was a shareholder. I used to go from club to club doing the pre-sales, training the team and opening the facilities. We opened 18 clubs in two-and-a-half years. I am thankful for all of that experience and the opportunities provided to me at a young age, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. 22
INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH
HOW DID FITNESS PLAYGROUND COME ABOUT?
HOW WAS FITNESS PLAYGROUND GOING TO BE DIFFERENT?
Fitness Playground started as a Bootcamp
We started with the vision to Change the
named Fit Crew. After working in big
Gym Environment and Experience. Firstly,
YOU DIDN'T PLAN TO OPEN MORE THAN ONE GYM, HOW DID THE SECOND ONE COME ABOUT?
box gyms for 10 years, operating a small
we didn’t want to look like a gym so our
I like to say our growth has been accidental.
community business was eye-opening
design was always unique – my brief
I'm a little bit like the people who can't go to
for me. I quickly discovered the members
was “it can’t look like a gym”. Secondly,
shoe shops because they walk out with a
were happier, came more often, paid more
we were extremely purpose-driven
new pair of shoes, I’m like that with gyms.
and wanted to do things differently. We
So when 2 locations were closing down
believed that if we really looked after our
locally, we took the opportunity. It was
staff they would look after our members
only a year into our business, so we didn’t
and that education and community were
have any money, but we signed anyway
the keys to success.
and just found a way to make it work.
coaching. After our 2nd winter, it was time
It worked – we had a goal of having 800
We renovated both gyms at the same time
to get out of the rain and open an indoor
members, within 6 months we had 2,000.
in only 28 days, with the help of friends
premises. So I sold my apartment and we
Now we have 5 locations, 15,000 members
and family, and before we knew it we had
started looking for places to open.
and about 200 staff.
three gyms and 130 staff.
money and got better results. I thought to myself, gyms have been getting it wrong all this time. Members don’t care (that much) about facilities or equipment. They care about connection, community and
HOW MANY GYMS DO YOU WANT TO OPEN? Money and growth have never been the focus. We want to open the best gyms, not the most gyms. We don’t have any plans to sell - I love this business and this industry, it is what I know and love and I will do it forever. So we are very comfortable with steady growth, providing that we get Better Everyday, which is one of our core values and keep giving value to our staff and members. GOM Magazine
INTERNATIONAL BOUTIQUE GYM GYM OF OF THE THE MONTH MONTH
TELL US ABOUT YOUR MISSION, TO ‘INSPIRE CHANGE’. Through Fitness Playground, the first thing I wanted to change was employee success. On average fitness professionals last six months in the industry, due to pretty poor education and a system that doesn’t set them up for success. Staff success and satisfaction has been my biggest focus for the last 8 years. Part two was member success. We know that industry-wide, almost half of our members don't use their memberships at all, and even less get meaningful results. So we want to solve that through innovation and Inspire Change at an industry level to become experts at creating change in our members’ lives. While we haven’t mastered it (yet), there are so many powerful stories. Like we've
Our mission is to Inspire Change in
got a member, Rachel with cerebral palsy,
people's lives, firstly with our members,
who one of our coaches is teaching to walk.
also with our staff, and the industry as a
And Bob, who suffered from a stroke and
whole. And that's really where we'd like
HOW DID THE PANDEMIC IMPACT THE BUSINESS?
was struggling to walk but had a goal to run
to get to, to be able to have the fitness
COVID was one of my most difficult but
the City2Surf [a 14km fun run]. One of our
industry recognised as being at the
rewarding times, both in business and in
coaches helped him get there and actually
forefront of preventative healthcare.
life. We lost our entire business overnight.
ran it with him. It's incredible to see the
Healthcare – not purely a gym where you
But we had these 200 “Great Humans”
impact we can have on people's lives.
go to look better.
who work with us and members who
INTERNATIONAL GYM OF THE MONTH
relied on us. So although the gyms were
Australia did a virtual fancy dress workout
closed, we wanted to keep our staff
with us for charity that was televised.
working and our members moving. We did that by launching a bunch of things. We launched the Virtual Playground, which is like the Netflix of gyms. We built it in five days and signed up 3,500 people into the platform in a few weeks.
We weren't happy with the quality of fitness industry education, so we launched Fitness Playground Academy. We have already educated and certified over 200 new fitness professionals this year.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE OTHER BIG CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY? The banks never gave us money, we're all self-funded which has meant that we have invested every dollar we have made
Plus, we launched a new logo and website.
We were also very focused on people’s
back into the business for 8 years straight.
So it was a big-time for us, and it put us
mental health, so we launched a series
I am 38 years old, and still, rent a pretty
in the position we're in today, which is
called Lift Your Mood, which culminated in a
basic apartment which surprises people.
a much stronger business with an even
live event in which 500 people from around
But I am happy and get to do what I love every day. We are really creative and love to build things. We have a mandate to ensure that every time we open a new gym it must be something we have never done before – something completely unique. So creating each of our gyms has been almost like starting a new company. Our latest project is 2 years in the making and has crazy design ideas that take months to work out, like a 180m2 suspended mirrored ceiling above a 7 lane running track with 35m long curved neon lighting features. It’s insane. And we will never do it again - we will come up with something else as we know people copy what we do. But by the time they do, we will be onto the next idea.
June 2021 25
INTERNATIONAL BOUTIQUE GYM GYM OF OF THE THE MONTH MONTH
To be honest, when you strive to do things differently and with excellence, everything is hard, but incredibly rewarding and so much fun.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST MARKERS OF SUCCESS OF THE FITNESS PLAYGROUND GYMS AND BRAND?
WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE LOVE MOST ABOUT FITNESS PLAYGROUND GYMS?
dedicated base for our students. We've
The connections and community. The facilities are beautiful and we take great pride in the environments we create, people are impressed to walk through the doors, but it isn't what keeps them coming. What keeps them is that connection with our staff and other members, the community and culture.
with studios, experiences and equipment
We have won a lot of awards, but without question, making it into the Top 50 Places to Work in Australia list is the one I am most proud of. For us, that recognises all the effort we've put into employee satisfaction, staff education, training, culture, and living our mission, vision and values. And that's really the heart of the business. We think of Fitness Playground as a people business, not a gym business.
got our new Marrickville “Wellness Playground”, which launches at the end of June – we’ve expanded an existing gym to incorporate a wellness centre (including reformer pilates and infrared saunas) that address health holistically. And later this year, we've got our biggest location we've ever opened coming too, “The Mothership”. That will be 2,500m² with 70 staff, 6 group training areas and a $5 million fit-out. Plus the design is insane, there will be nothing like it
WOULD JUSTIN ASHLEY anywhere in the world. FROM SEVEN YEARS AGO BE SURPRISED IF WHAT HAVE BEEN HE COULD SEE WHERE THE BEST LEARNINGS THE BRAND IS NOW? YOU CAN PASS ON Incredibly surprised. We really didn’t have TO OTHERS IN THE any intention to have more than one gym. INDUSTRY? And I am proud that we have grown in an organic way. We stay true to our culture of putting our people before profits. I interview every person that works for us, and we've maintained a small business and small boutique-gym feel.
My first tip is to consider yourself as a people business, not as a gym business. Challenge your people, trust them and grow them. It is the most rewarding thing you will do. Tip number two, think very long-term.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT?
Think beyond this month’s sales or your 3
This year we've got some amazing projects. Our Academy is going to have its full first year, and we’ve just built a
want to stand for and what impact you
year plan. Picture – 10 to 20 years into the future – where you want to be, what you want to create. Then reverse-engineer what you need to do today in order to be able to achieve your goal 10 or 20 years down the track. My third tip, find the balance between being a “gym owner” and a high performing “business owner”. People join our industry to enjoy themselves, be social and go to work in shorts so we can’t take things too seriously. But this doesn’t need to be at the expense of productivity, profit, professionalism and excellence in our business. So we need to find that happy medium where we have both. In essence, build the right culture for our industry. Finally, identify your purpose and communicate that with your team and your members at every opportunity.
TO CONNECT WITH ME: www.linkedin.com/in/ justinashley123 @fitnessplaygroundaus & @bunkergymaus www.fitnessplayground.com.au 26
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CREATING SHEWARRIORS; Breaking the barriers between women and weightlifting BY GEORGIA CASS
y fitness journey had somewhat of a rocky start. I hated exercise at school, always hiding at the back of the class so no one would see me in the horrid little skirts we were made to wear. University wasn’t much better; I had no confidence and so the idea of going to the gym and working up a sweat in front of people was terrifying.
When I moved to Edinburgh to become a chef, things changed quite quickly. I was working obscene hours, living on beer and coffee, and eventually got to the point where I seriously needed to take a step toward self-care. I found a PT online and started going to the gym twice a week. He got me into weights, and completely changed my outlook on life – I didn’t need to be stick thin to feel strong and happy. About a year later I decided that I wanted to help others the same way my gym experience had helped me, so I retrained 28
as a PT, later becoming an ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach. Despite the positive changes my life has undergone thanks to this industry, I still often think back to those difficult times during PE at school. This is because sadly, many gyms carry an air of exclusivity and superiority and, despite efforts to create inclusive spaces, gyms can be very intimidating places to be. I often hear other women say how gyms are so off-putting, especially on seeing the burly blokes in the weights section. Even myself, a very confident lifter, have rushed through workouts when visiting gyms around the country, just to get away from the looks of confusion… ‘What’s she
mission to prove that everyone starts at
figures and, if this is not what they’re
the beginning. Just because you’re working
going for (which it usually isn’t), they
with 1kg now, doesn’t make you weak,
assume that strength training is not for
and you deserve that spot in the weights
them. Of course, each person needs a
section just as much as the next person.
tailored response to this depending on
and a really welcoming vibe, but there’s
Of course, there are also the many myths
how they work, but my reply usually goes
always more to be done.
surrounding weightlifting that can, and
something like this:
do, put women off taking the plunge
‘Strength training doesn’t mean having to
doing lifting that?’ I am now fortunate enough to work out at an awesome gym in the Cotswolds (Peak Fitness & Lifestyle), which has a diverse membership of all ages, shapes, sizes, sexes and abilities,
I speak to women daily who are keen to become stronger and lift heavier but haven’t had the confidence to go into a gym and try it, because they feel like they
into strength training, and I find I need to address these on a weekly basis, particularly with new clients.
grab an Olympic bar or chunky dumbbell, nor does it necessarily need to involve big weights. Instead, strength gains can be
don’t belong. They believe that one needs
The fear of bulking is a big one for lots of
bodyweight exercises, resistance bands,
to be strong already to justify picking
women. They see Instagram influencers,
suspension training, cable machines or
up a dumbbell or a bar. It has become my
bodybuilders and athletes with muscular
indeed, free weights and bars.’
June 2021 29
There are also a lot of specific, scientific
performed for 3 sets with high reps.
reasons why those people look the way
This equates to a very high work
they do; sex, diet, training schedule, and
volume, causing significant muscle
supplements all contribute to their ‘look’
damage, increasing mass as it heals. A
and the following are why they most
workout targeting strength, however,
likely won’t apply to you:
would stick to higher weights, with
lower reps allowing strength gains
– women naturally have much lower testosterone levels than men (15-20 times less). The higher levels in men
without the bulk.
5. HEAVYWEIGHTS ARE FOR STRENGTH NOT SIZE
mean they are ‘more equipped’ to gain
– if you’re lifting something that is
significant muscle mass.
85% or more of your maximum weight,
2. THE MISCONCEPTION OF BODYBUILDING MASS – regardless of gender, most of the bodybuilders you see in images are pumped full of something (and/ or photoshopped). Often this is testosterone which plays a major role in muscle gains.
3. TONING IS BODYBUILDING MINUS THE TESTOSTERONE
you’ll probably be limited to 2-4 reps in a set, which as above will see strength gains and not mass. However, research has also shown that lifting weights of that size places most of the strain on the nervous system, meaning that a neurological effect will improve strength but not an increase in muscle size.
6. BULKING TAKES TIME – it’s not going to happen overnight –
– for women anyway. As we train, the
the massive blokes you see in the gym
muscle develops and strengthens but
have been working on that look for
it won’t gain large amounts of mass.
YEARS. Don’t panic.
Toning is really removing the fat from atop a well-trained muscle.
4. MUSCLE BULK COMES FROM HIGH WORK VOLUME
"Strength training doesn’t mean having to grab an Olympic bar or chunky dumbbell, nor does it necessarily need to involve big weights."
7. BULKING IS CALORIE DEPENDANT – this is a simple one – if you’re eating more than you’re burning you will not
– hypertrophy (muscle growth) is
lose weight, you’ll probably gain some
achieved by working a muscle over
weight instead. Weight gain is not the
a high number of repetitions (10-20
same as bulking and if you are gaining
approx.) – and bodybuilders would
fat whilst training, it’s probably
take this further and have 3 separate
because of your diet, and not because
exercises for the same muscle, each
you’re ‘working too hard’. Essentially what this boils down to is that heavyweights are (with proper form and training) your friends. Repeatedly lifting light weights won’t challenge you and so you won’t see the toning or improvement you want. Lifting heavier weights (appropriate to your stage of training) will improve strength and body composition as well as strengthening bones and decreasing risk of injury. It might seem like a long-winded way of saying weightlifting is for everyone, but I find the more information we can provide to nervous exercisers the better, and hopefully, they’ll keep coming back. Another barrier that I often come across is the fear that getting stronger will result in reduced flexibility, or an inability to improve flexibility. While this is certainly possible, it is entirely down to the trainer and their programming to make sure that range of motion is at the very least maintained. I always include mat work
and a range of yoga sequences and poses
workout plan can help build a base level
in my client programmes to allow time
of strength as well as giving something
for functional stretching and improving
familiar and comfortable to do whilst
flexibility. The more clients I see, the more
gearing up to grabbing a dumbbell or a bar.
I think weightlifting and yoga are best friends; building functional strength and using controlled bodyweight movement to stretch and reduce the chance of injury. It’s a win, win! More recently, I have found yoga to have the surprising ability to maintain strength gains in itself. Over the various lockdowns this last year we have all been without access to gyms and heavyweights, and
Essentially there’s a lot of information out there that can put a woman off strength training, but there are even more reasons to brave that first strength session. It’s our jobs as Personal Trainers to help clients break through the fear. We know the benefits it can have, and we have the knowledge to break through the jargon and encourage women to pick up the weights and start to see real transformation.
yet with daily strength yoga, I managed to
Seeing my clients get stronger, fitter, more
maintain and come back to the gym with a
confident and less fearful is incredibly
new deadlift personal best. Being that yoga
rewarding and it will remain my goal
is something that most women have tried
to create an army of fierce, fighting fit
at some point, including it in their regular
women; She Warriors. Georgia has been self employed since becoming a PT and starting Resilience Training UK. She works out at Peak Fitness and Lifestyle Gym in Gloucestershire. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ georgia-cass-440384174/ https://www.facebook.com/ resiliencetraininguk Resiliencetraininguk firstname.lastname@example.org
BIOAGE – THE NEW MOTIVATOR FOR A HEALTHCONSCIOUS MARKET
he biggest challenge facing gym owners is how to answer the fundamental questions members ask themselves: What is my current health status? What impact is my training having on my health? How can I improve my health through exercise? How can I monitor my success and keep making positive improvements? Once these questions can be answered, we will go some way to solving our industrywide attrition issue.
In its quest to create a gym environment that works for everyone, EGYM has developed a unique health tracker that enables members to measure and track their general health status through a detailed analysis of a number of health
indicators. Here, Kerstin Obenauer, Country Director EGYM UK, explains how EGYM’s BioAge is helping gym owners to prove the positive impact training is having on health and, as a result, is keeping members engaged for longer.
WHAT IS BIOAGE? BioAge presents performance data collected from a series of sophisticated science-based assessments in a format that enables members to clearly understand and contextualise the positive impact of their training effort on their fitness and health. This makes progress visible at every step of their journey and helps to ensure training prescription remains targeted towards the achievement of the individual’s bespoke health goals. Age is a widely used indicator of where an individual might be on their physiological life journey. It is reasonable to assume, somebody who is in their 60s will have less muscular strength, less agility,
less flexibility and a lower level of general fitness than somebody in their twenties. Age is a metric that everybody understands. It, therefore, makes sense to base a health indicator on comparisons between a person’s actual, measured and interpreted physical performance against the average performance of peers the same age. This is exactly what BioAge does. A member’s BioAge can be accessed via the EGYM Member and Trainer apps and can also be shared directly with friends and other gym users.
HOW IS BIOAGE CALCULATED? EGYM uses a sophisticated analysis of scientifically proven factors that directly relate to physical performance, health, and immune system status – delivering a complete holistic approach. Simultaneously, through EGYM’s collation of de-personalised data from millions of global users, EGYM has access to a massive data pool for reference. This creates a highly reliable and benchmarked calculation with a million data points collected over the years, enabling EGYM to optimise comparison between an individual’s performance and that of their age-group peers. The EGYM BioAge combines a variety of measures and health parameters, categorised into four areas: Strength, Flexibility, Metabolism and Cardio. So, to give an example. A 50-year-old member might record a performance, across the various tests, that corresponds to the average performance of a 45 year old. This results in a BioAge of 45. Conversely, a deconditioned 30-year-old who records a maximum power output of the average 40 year old is awarded a BioAge of 40. After each training session, a member’s digital training record is updated. If one of the health indicators logs a change in performance, the BioAge is automatically updated. Until now, this instant feedback on the impact training is having on health has been the missing link in a member’s training experience.
METABOLISM VALUE The Metabolism Value provides insight into a person’s health status by comparing weight, fat, and height. It is typically calculated by the Body Mass Index (BMI), Body Composition, and Waist-Hip-Ratio (WHR). An excellent metabolic status is also an indicator of a well-functioning immune system (de Heredia et al., 2003)4.
CARDIO VALUE The Cardiovascular Value combines the Resting Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and the VO2max. It provides an overview of cardiovascular capacity, performance, and health. A healthy cardiovascular system is also connected to a robust immune system (Kullo et al., 2007)5. These methods are used in medical practice to determine the state of health.
FLEXIBILITY VALUE WHY MEASURE STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY, METABOLISM AND CARDIO EFFICIENCY? The Strength Value sets the user’s body weight in relation to his or her strength. Strength is an indicator of a person’s ability to perform mechanical work, to exert forces and torques. A loss of muscle mass and strength can cause various metabolic and cardiovascular problems, for example, decreased bone density, fat gain, and diabetes (Westcott, 2012)1. Furthermore, the impact of sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass and strength) is a widespread problem in modern populations that can be effectively delayed with resistance training (Morley et al., 2011)2. Strong muscles also function as an endocrine organ that produces protective myokines that rejuvenate the immune system (Nieman and Wentz, 2019)3.
The Flexibility Value represents a user’s overall flexibility range. It includes a granular overview of the flexibility of certain muscle groups. This overview also indicates whether there are any imbalances in a user's flexibility. It has been well established that flexibility decreases by 20-30% between the ages 30 and 70 years (Adams et al., 1999)6. Flexibility helps a person meet the functional demands of life and enhances the person’s participation in leisure activities. (Adams et al. 1999)6.
12-month period, compared to a UK average of just 51 per cent. This translates to a very positive influence on the bottom line.
CLOSING THOUGHT Covid-19 has heightened the nation’s awareness of the positive link between physical health and an ability to prevent and tackle illness and infection. As gym owners welcome people back into training facilities it is vitally important that they support them in building habits for the long term. In order to do this, we need to find ways to benchmark health, then demonstrate the immediate positive health impact from day one of their training journey and throughout. This is exactly what BioAge delivers. Members are provided with real-time information relating to their health status as it relates to millions of others in their age group and can track how their training influences this status. Providing this feedback helps gym owners attract and retain not only those who want to get fitter and stronger but also those who want to achieve more health-related outcomes, the ‘health seekers’, opening up opportunities to engage with a much wider segment of the population. For more information about EGYM’s BioAge, visit https://egym.com/uk/ about/egym-experience
The flexibility value’s current logic is based on existing scientific literature, EGYM-internal tests, and EGYM’s betatesting partner-gyms. However, over time we expect to gather the world’s largest database for flexibility.
THE RESULTS Members who train with EGYM, train for longer. Fact. In addition to the contribution BioAge makes to a member’s motivation, members are also rewarded for their training efforts via Activity Points and Activity Levels from day one of their training. So, even before health improvements are reflected in a member’s BioAge, individuals receive encouragement through recognition of their efforts. Whilst we have yet to specifically study the impact of BioAge or rewards on engagement as isolated functions, we can report that, as a contributing, fully integrated element of EGYM’s digital ecosystem, users working out on our equipment and engaging with our app have a retention rate of 82 per cent over a
Fitness Hub The new centerpiece of the connected training floor Request a demo
EGYM UK | email@example.com | egym.com 34
Take people with you on your journey to success More gym owners can learn from your experiences Tell your story for free in GOMM Contact Paul Wood today firstname.lastname@example.org 07858 487357 / + 33 769422638 GOM Magazine
ASK THE EXPERT
HOW TO BUILD
BIGGER QUADS BY ADRIANA ALBRITTON
any people want to build bigger quads and for valid reasons. The quadriceps or quads are one of the largest muscle groups. The quads are located on the front of the thigh and are composed of four muscles (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius).
REASONS TO DEVELOP BIGGER QUADS There are numerous benefits associated with bigger quads. Lower Body Health & Athleticism The quadriceps are knee extensors and hip flexors. They, also, help to stabilize the patella and knee joint. Developing your quads is advantageous for daily activities (walking, running, etc.) as well as for athletic movements (jumping, squatting, etc.). Hormone Balance & Health As you learned, the quads are a big muscle group and building muscle has positive effects on hormonal responses. Some of the hormones positively influenced by weight training and muscle building are growth hormone and testosterone. Testosterone is another hormone produced in your body that plays a key role in men’s health. Testosterone 36
ASK THE EXPERT
helps increase muscle mass, fat loss,
body aesthetics, working out your legs
energy, and strength. It’s involved in
helps build a more proportionate body.
libido, sexual performance, bone mineral
Many males work on their upper body
density, cognition, and mood as well as
regularly but neglect their lower body,
in cardiovascular health since it helps red
giving them a “chicken-leg” look. This is
blood cell production. But testosterone is
not only aesthetically unpleasant but can
not only essential for males. It is involved
create imbalances in the body.
in female health even though males produce 20 times more testosterone than females. Exercises that work big muscle groups, like leg exercises, and compound moves, such as squats and deadlifts, help elevate your T-levels. Burn More Calories
Fewer Injuries Keeping your legs strong, not only keeps your legs healthy but your body as a whole. Poorly conditioned leg muscles can lead to tight muscles and joints, muscle imbalances, lack of mobility, poor stability, low back pain, and injuries.
metabolic rates and fat burning. By building more muscle, you burn more calories.
Do Quad-Specific Movements Besides doing squats, incorporate exercises that isolate your quads. Isolation exercises allow you to focus all your energy on quad contraction. Interchange Your Foot Placement You can shift your foot placement by positioning your feet closer together during certain exercises or by placing your feet lower on the platform during other exercises. For instance, you can position your feet closer than hips-apart during squats and position your feet lower on the
Working big muscles requires a lot of energy, which translates into higher
following techniques at different times.
TECHNIQUES TO BUILD BIGGER QUADS
platform during leg presses or machinehack squats. Avoid Just Lifting Heavy
There are different techniques that
Some studies have found that moderate
can help you gain more muscle in your
load training is better for quad
Well-developed quads give your legs great
quadriceps. For bigger gains, apply
hypertrophy than merely heavy lifting.
shape. But they are not only for lower-
diversity to your routine by using the
Conversely, heavy load training is superior
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Supersets: Supersetting entails that you
perform two exercises back-to-back with
If your goal is hypertrophy, you should
no rest between those movements.
increase your caloric load. You should
Change the Range of Motion When you alter the range of your movement during your exercises, you recruit and stimulate diverse muscle fibers. You can do so by incorporating partial reps and combining them with full reps.
eat more protein, which helps build muscle. Also, don’t be afraid of eating carbohydrates - the right carbs supply your muscles with glycogen, help repair your muscles and recover, and allow you to perform at a high level. If you want to add mass, eat 60% carbs, 30% protein,
Partial Reps (also called half reps):
and 10% fats (60/30/10). But if you want
Exercise repetitions that are completed
to stay leaner, have a diet eating 40%
using a shortened range of motion (ROM).
carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats.
Instead of going through the full range of motion of an exercise (full extension and flexion to the joint's ability), you stop a quarter, half, or three-quarters of the full rep. So instead of going parallel to the floor or beyond during your squat, you don’t go as deep and stay shallower. Doing partial reps during squatting emphasizes your quads more. Pre-exhaust Your Quads Instead of doing isolation exercises at the end of your workout or after doing compound exercises, you start your workout with quad-specific exercises. This reversal allows you to take your quadriceps to complete muscle failure. You feel your quads more as you squat when you do them after your isolation exercises. Then, if your legs start to give out it is because of your quads - not your
for maximal strength goals. Only doing heavy weights with low reps can, also, increase your risk of injury. Alternate Repetition Scheme & Surpass Failure Do lighter weight and high reps as well as heavier weight and low-reps. Additionally,
EXERCISES TO BUILD BIGGER QUADS As you learned, quad development requires volume and a lot of time under tension. The following are some exercises and techniques that can help you build bigger quads. Squats The squat is a great compound, functional, and strength-building exercise. However, since the regular squat involves numerous muscles and doesn’t just target the quads it is not the best quad-building exercise. Sometimes you must stop a set of squats prematurely because your lower back, hamstring, or lungs give out before your quads do.
hamstrings or glutes. This technique
The following are some ways to do
works great with leg extensions.
squats to enhance quad activation:
Train When You Are Fully Rested
• When doing squats, try pausing for
Working out the muscle that you want
three seconds at the bottom of every
to grow after your rest day is highly
squat for the first half of the set and
effective. This allows you to train when
follow the set with a unilateral exercise
your muscle glycogen stores are full and
you are more energized. Do Cardio the Right Way Avoid long cardio sessions as they can create a catabolic state and break down
• Allow your knees to travel a bit over your toes. • Squat with Olympic lifting shoes or with plates underneath your heels.
train beyond failure - beyond the point
muscle. Instead, you can improve your
at which you can't do any more reps with
cardiovascular level, stay lean and maintain
muscle with high-intensity interval
squat, the barbell is placed across the
training (HIIT) and/or circuit training.
front side of your shoulders - close to
Forced Reps: This requires someone to assist you while you lift the weight after
Circuit training involves doing 8-10 exercises
you reach muscle failure. That person
one after another. After completing one
helps you move the weight so you can get
exercise or station, instead of resting, you
more reps in.
move quickly to the next station. Each
Drop sets: Here you drop the weight to
3 minutes. You complete your circuit when
continue the set. After you reach failure,
exercise lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to you are done with all the exercises. You
• Perform more front squats. In the front
your neck - instead of your upper back. The grip is the same as that of the clean exercise with your fingertips under the bar or just outside of your shoulders. The front squat switches the center of gravity forward, working your quads more than your glutes and allowing a more upright posture.
you immediately reduce the weight by
can do different cardio exercises (jogging in
20% - 30% to continue repping. This
place, stationary cycling, rowing, sprinting,
technique works well with leg extensions
etc.), as well as strength training in a circuit
front squat, try Frankenstein squats.
and later on in your workout.
During the Frankenstein squat, the bar
• If you have difficulty executing the
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rests on the shoulders, not held up by your hands. Your arms are outstretched straight ahead and slightly elevated to keep the bar from rolling forward. This hand-free front squat allows you to work on keeping your torso vertical and implement the proper movement dynamic without having to be concerned about hand placement or wrist mobility. Leg Presses The leg press is a wonderful exercise to grow your quads because it isolates them more. If you must stop a set of leg presses it is because your quads give out, not any other muscle. This is a much safer exercise to do to failure since you are already sitting down, and you can’t fall or lose balance. At the very end of a set, you can even assist with your hands on your knees to push to exhaustion and get some extra reps in. The following are some ways to do leg presses for bigger quads: • An effective way to perform leg presses is to do the eccentric part (lowering the weight) of the exercise in a slower and controlled manner. • You can also do leg presses to failure. Start by using 45 lbs. at each side for 10 reps. Keep adding 25-lb-plates or 45-lb-plates at each side until you can’t complete 10 repetitions. Then, proceed to remove a set of plates and do as many reps as you can with the weight on the platform. Rest 10 seconds and remove another set of plates and rep out to failure again. Keep removing plates and repping, with minimal rest, until you have no more plates on the leg press machine. • Another way of burning your quads is by doing leg presses for 20 to 25 reps while maintaining constant tension without locking at the top - for two or three sets. Then, you perform a heavy set for 8 to 12 reps. • Alternatively, you can avoid counting reps and just do reps for two minutes straight. • You can, also, activate the quads more by positioning your feet lower on the sled and allow your knee to pass forward over your toes. In this manner, your knee extensors (the quads) must work harder to extend your leg. • Position your feet closer than hipsapart to target the outer quads to a GOM Magazine
greater degree and a wider stance to work the inner thigh. • Press mainly through your toes rather than your heels to highly stimulate the quads as well. Bulgarian Split Squats The Bulgarian split squat is a single-
• Perform sets of 8-10 reps on the hack squat. You can combine full-range reps with partial squats. The partial squats target your quads more than your glutes or hamstrings. You can, also, lift about 30 percent more than with full-range reps. Perform heavy sets of 6 reps.
leg unilateral squat where the back leg
is elevated on a bench or step. Using a
The leg extension is a single-joint exercise
single leg at a time keeps the quads under
that’s not necessarily mass-building for
the quads but isolates them.
• Perform the set for at least 30 seconds to
• Use a repetition range higher (>12) than
help your legs grow. Do this exercise after doing leg presses, hack squats or squats. Lunges The lunge is another single leg / unilateral exercise that’s great for the legs. • Superset your squats or leg presses with walking lunges. In order to activate the quads more, you can do short-strides instead of long-strides while doing walking lunges. Aim to perform around 20 reps of lunges. Machine Hack Squats The machine hack squat is great for recruiting the quadriceps muscles while providing stability. • Place your feet low on the machine's platform to increase the degree of knee flexion/extension and target your quads more. However, avoid this technique if you have knee problems as it increases stress on the knee joint.
the typical 8-12. • Pair leg extensions with another exercise or do them at the end of a leg workout to wear out the quads. • Or start your leg workout by doing leg extensions to failure. This technique isolates and pre-exhausts your quads before doing compound exercises like squats, which involve your glutes and hamstrings. Incorporate some of the exercises delineated above to build bigger quads. Alternate different techniques throughout your workouts to help you maintain your quads under tension and increase metabolic stress to get better results. Developing a good set of quads is not only pleasantly appealing but good for your whole body. Adriana Albritton June 2021
Fit Kit HERE IS THIS MONTH’S ROUND-UP OF KIT, PRODUCTS AND EXTRAS
NURVV RUN NURVV’s smart insoles are a powerful tool for both new and seasoned running pros. Pop them in your trainers and their built-in GPS and pressure sensors will record your route, in addition to providing stats on your cadence, step length, foot strike, pronation and balance, helping you run faster and further while minimising injury risks in the process. £249.99
PROMIXX RECHARGEABLE VORTEX MIXER You might think combining a phone charger and protein shaker is a bit of a random mix, but if you’ve ever experienced that frustration when your phone runs out of battery in the middle of a workout, you’ll understand. A convenient option for charging up your devices when you’re out at the gym, the Promixx Mixer has a built-in device-charging battery that can power up your phone or tablet. Of course, it also makes great protein shakes too, with a built-in motor and X-Blade technology that make smooth, lump-free shakes. £49.99
LUMEN Resembling a futuristic vape pen, Lumen is in fact the world's first hand-held device that can accurately measure your metabolism. Simply breathe in through it, hold your breath for ten seconds, breathe back out and it'll measure the CO2 concentration in your breath. Higher levels show that your body is burning carbs for energy, while low levels indicate that fat is being used. Calibrated to your specific CO2 range and lung capacity, it lets you keep track of your body's fuel while providing nutrition recommendations accordingly. A clever companion for people on low-carb diets such as keto, athletes and anyone else that wants to hack their weight-loss journey. £299
PULSEROLL PLUS That soreness you feel after exercising? It’s just the result of your muscles and fascia (or connective tissue) becoming knotted. Rolling out tired muscles helps to stimulate myofascial release, preventing any painful post-workout knots forming. Used by GB Boxing And British Weight Lifting, the Pulseroll Plus is the best vibrating foam roller put there. Lightweight and rechargeable, it’s a must-have in any athlete’s arsenal. £119.99
ATHOS This is a patented system that enables the world’s first smart clothing to measure how hard your muscles are working using the science of EMG (Electromyography). This is combined with powerful AI and a mobile app that gives you insights to truly understand how your body performs. The system has helped athletes at all levels train better and smarter, whatever your goal. At the forefront of wearable technology designed for smart clothing, Athos shirt and shorts are sensor-filled garments that measure your biometrics and performance, as you workout. £145
FITBIT CHARGE 4 Slick, swim-proof and seriously smart, the Charge 4 is Fitbit’s most advanced tracker yet. With builtin Spotify, GPS and Fitbit Pay capabilities, the Fitbit Charge 4 is a must-have for trail runners, cyclists and swimmers looking to monitor their miles, minus all the cumbersome kit. Not only that, but the new Active Zone system will automatically detect and reward users with double credit for staying in their peak performance zones. Us? Slaves to the machine? Never. £99
WITHINGS BODY+ SMART SCALE Connected scales have been around for a while, but Withings ups the ante performing a full-body composition analysis and offering support to track up to eight different users. There’s an easy-to-use app to analyse your metrics and the scales will even display the weather to properly prep you for the day ahead. £71.95
BACK HOW CAN WE PREVENT FURTHER CLOSURES? THROUGH THE EDUCATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF THOSE MAKING THE DECISIONS. LET’S MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER AT EVERY LEVEL, FROM PT TO PARLIAMENT
BY BEN HACKNEY-WILLIAMS
undreds of thousands of fitness professionals have been affected by restrictions, new regulations and similar recent events across the industry. While we can’t be expected to have gyms around the world opening in unison, there’s a vast gulf between aspirational unity and the complete contradiction that we’ve faced as professionals during already trying times.
FITNESS FURTHER AFIELD. We’re lucky to have many of our gyms and studios able to open in the UK. Over the Channel and across the continent, governments took the stance that it’s safer to keep fitness facility doors firmly closed. For example, the industry has faced longer lockdowns in France, with further restrictions for daily exercisers looking to take to the great outdoors. A curfew has been in place from 7pm to 6am, and residents have been required to keep physical activity within 10km of home, with no team sports. The difference in timescales raises a lot of questions, too. Even in the UK alone, it’s obvious that we’re not taken seriously as a wellbeing initiative, even with stats to suggest there’s little threat thanks to sanitisation standards and an embedded track and trace system in place. On the other hand, we’ve faced a number of challenges with trying to regulate mask-wearing in order to abide by the rules, and some ‘closed’ gyms obviously missed the memo, causing further trouble with the police. How much of it is safety measures in place, and how much of it is misunderstanding the benefits we can bring?
WHAT’S BEHIND THE CLOSURES? There’s no denying how much of a demand there is on any government’s attention. Lobbying groups and industries for everything will all hzave been jockeying for position when it comes to financial support and details on recovery. What baffles me is how little progress we make over decades, despite the hardest of efforts at every level, from gyms to councils, to the House of Commons. Through all of this, gym closures have been a killer for business but it could have been so much worszzzz “When we compare our actions as a nation on a global level, initially the UK looked at other countries as examples,” explains Robert Handy, founder of independent gyms.co.uk. “China, Korea, Italy – everywhere else shut so we
“It’s clear that politics have played a role
“Following the most recent lockdown,
followed. Since then, each country has
in the handling of the COVID regulations
Wales waited almost an entire month
steered its own path based on the impact
and reopening. Prior to lockdown, the UK
to reopen fitness facilities compared to
of COVID. The vaccine push in the UK
government implemented a three-tier
England and offers no additional support
has helped us get ahead of our European
approach in England; one week later, the
to businesses to cover the delay. How
neighbours seeing us reopening through
Scottish government implemented a four-
much of this comes down to political
April and May.
posturing in the run-up to elections?”
HOW CAN WE MAKE A CHANGE?
connected to the fitness industry, so we
properly. Mark Drakeford is a perfect
will always be an afterthought.
example of that lack of understanding,
Robert continues: “The more worrying
“Very few career politicians in the UK
aspect, though, is that the UK government
actually understand our industry, the
and individual nations have no clear
facilities that make up the industry and
health and fitness policy or agenda that’s
the impact we can have if supported
making various inaccurate statements about the industry. Other than to create PR opportunities I don’t recall seeing any MPs being members of a gym or actively encouraging the use of gyms, clubs and leisure centres. “Despite the efforts of ukactive throughout 2020 and our industry demonstrating we can operate in a safe manner, we’ve continued to be one of the first industries to be affected by lockdowns. That’s combined with resistance from the government to provide any incentives to kickstart an industry that will play a direct role in protecting people against the effects of COVID.”
TIME TO INFLUENCE GOVERNMENT. Across the pond, more direct action is being taken to encourage an understanding of physical activity within governmental, with a challenge set up at the highest level. The Physical Activity Alliance launched a Congressional Physical Activity Challenge to highlight the importance of making movement more fun, accessible and inclusive across the USA and on a global scale. Supporting the campaign and looking to the future, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick states: “The PAA is dedicated to promoting physical activity for our health, and I proudly stand beside them in our mission to encourage and raise awareness of the importance of physical activity. “Physical activity produces numerous benefits that directly contribute to a healthy, happy and more positive life. I look forward to continuing our efforts to promote, educate, and inspire others to engage in physical activity to bring about positive changes and improvements in our physical and mental health.” Coinciding with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in May, the competition has been open to all members of Congress, their DC Congressional staff and interns. Each participant has been using a heart rate monitor during the challenge, with winners awarded based on individual achievement, office achievement and most office staff participants able to reach the World Health Organization guidelines for physical activity. 44
MORE THAN JUST A WORKOUT. “Being physically active is one of the most
It’s time we call for a Parliamentary
• Ben Hackney-Williams specialises in the
performance review on physical activity
wearable tech sector and is passionate
in the UK. Let’s get more decision-makers
about driving positive change through wellbeing initiatives. A journalist for
important lifestyle behaviours we can
moving enough to fully understand
engage in, to maintain our physical and
how much of a positive impact fitness
mental health,” explains Congressman
and wellbeing can have. A cross-party
Ron Kind. “It’s been said that one of the
competition for the benefit of the nation,
best antidepressants ever invented is
regardless of politics. I’d love to see the
manufacturing and helped produce over
leaderboard. Who’s in?.
160 podcast episodes
good old-fashioned sweat. Even during a global pandemic, it is critical that we
over a decade, Ben has worked in fitness for international bodybuilding and MMA publications, driven engagement in supply-side gym design and equipment
work to encourage physical activity as we recover from the COVID virus.” The challenge was announced at a Physical Activity Congressional Briefing, where the PAA introduced its priorities and discussed the importance of federal efforts to increase physical activity in the United States. “Physical activity is vital for the population’s health and wellbeing, and has a far-reaching impact on educational achievement, effective health care delivery, emergency preparedness, and military readiness,” says PAA President, Monte Ward. “By helping more Americans to be physically active, we will not only save lives and protect citizens from diseases, but we can also reduce health disparities and help to make the US a more productive and successful nation.” GOM Magazine
June 2021 45
TIME TO CLUB TOGETHER BY GUY GRIFFITHS, AUTHOR OF STICK AROUND (STRATEGIES TO KEEP YOUR GYM MEMBERS MOTIVATED)
very cloud has a silver lining, and there have been some positive upshots for gyms through the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. A new awareness or refocus on health is a boost for the fitness industry. The acceleration of fitness technology has been fascinating. And there has also been a big shift in the sharing economy. People and businesses have come together more to share and collaborate.
A COMMON ENEMY Gyms and health clubs, particularly independents, are competing less with one another. The common enemies both in terms of share of time and money are now entertainment services such as Netflix and Disney+, or food delivery services like Just Eat and Deliveroo. Independent gyms still contend with the big chains to a certain extent. But postpandemic, clubs are clearer about their differentiating factors and unique selling points. Small studios and individual trainers are more likely to partner with several other clubs to extend reach, while focusing on their specialism.
failures is a great way to learn and grow your own business. It can be lonely at the top, and hearing other gym owner’s stories, and sharing your own, is a great form of therapy, both for you and your club. You will get a bunch of new ideas, and more than likely, some support for your own initiatives or issues as well.
NEW PARTNERSHIPS AND BUSINESS STREAMS More clubs are now partnering with therapists and health practitioners, not just simply to rent space, but to build
complimentary services and offers to
Collaborations like the Independent Gyms Group and The Collective, which were both founded before the pandemic, have flourished through lockdown. The amount of excellent educational content being shared is genuinely inspiring. All the experts, partners, and clubs that have shared their stories have done so to help others, to help clubs and members, and improve the fitness industry as a whole.
new perspective and point of view to a
Hearing about other clubs’ successes and
popular at the moment.
members and clients. They can bring a club, and new opportunities too. Health seeker memberships are growing new business streams, bringing in nutrition or even food prep and delivery services (that are much healthier than Just Eat!) Referral and upsell opportunities for health seekers are plentiful, but nutrition and coaching are the two most
LEISURE CENTRES SHARING MEMBERS During lockdown last year, neighbouring counties found themselves in different tiers, with members across the border unable to travel to visit their club. One leisure trust in North Wales partnered with the local authority in the next county to allow members to workout at each other’s sites. The red tape that would normally have taken months to resolve was sorted in less
than 48 hours. Two quite different organisations came together to provide a fantastic member service ensuring people could use their memberships at the neighbouring leisure centre. It was a brilliant example of customer centric thinking, solving an issue that could have been ignored as ‘impossible’ to fix. It also demonstrated confidence from both businesses to partner without fear of member loss.
"It can be lonely at the top, and hearing other gym owner’s stories, and sharing your own, is a great form of therapy, both for you and your club." LOCAL INDEPENDENTS TEAM UP Post lockdown, two independent gyms in Berkshire are arranging a local competition between members and staff. Both clubs are mainly focused on strength and conditioning, and have been open for less than 3 years. The sites are 4 miles apart, and each will host the other for two local ‘derby’ events featuring individual and team challenges like max weight-lifting, farmers walks, hang time, etc. The contests will raise awareness and increase loyalty for both clubs. It is highly unlikely that any members will defect, but members of each club will have friends who live near the other site, so the publicity and rivalry will bring in new members for both. There is also talk of organising a tug of war between even more local clubs and bootcamp businesses. It is more about co-operation than competition. Events are a great way of sharing everyone’s specialities, raising the profile of local businesses, and working together.
REACH OUT Next time you are mystery shopping your local competition, reach out to the business owner for a coffee and a chat. Talk to your fellow gym owners across the country through the free networks mentioned above. Collaborating and sharing information, best practice, and even members is the future. The common enemy is inactivity and laziness more than the nearest big box gym. Guy Griffiths is a coach to independent gym owners, and a member retention specialist. He works with clubs on processes, systems, and strategies to improve member engagement, and boost revenue. His mission is to help your club to understand and engage with as many of your members as possible and get them to stick around longer. Book a call to discuss your membership retention strategies or fully managed member recovery campaigns at ggfit.com/ gom.
RECOVERY: What happens now? BY GEORGINA FAUX
THERE’S ONE PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT’S LEADING THE CHARGE IN HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE PANDEMIC AND BOUNCE BACK STRONGER. LET’S LOOK TO THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION TO FIND OUT HOW IT’S DONE.
e know the challenges faced in the UK and neighbouring countries since lockdowns have been lifted, and many of us are still dealing with the repercussions. Whether our governments heeded the insights or not, we looked to the east for advice at the start of the pandemic. Now we move into the next stage, what we can learn from our partners and cohorts around the world? These operational examples can shape how we recover, and they’ll be the catalyst for future success.
POSITIVE BOUNCE BACK. When it comes to insights and knowledge shares, the best of the best can be found coming from FIT Summit events. One panel discussion: How is APAC Emerging Post-COVID, What Lies Ahead? at this year’s FIT Summit World Health, Fitness and Wellness Week brought with it a host of excellent information. It’s fair to say that nobody knew what was going to happen. It’s been the strangest year of hope and helplessness. But many operators are now finding that, despite early panic setting in, the return to business brings positivity aplenty. “When COVID first hit I freaked out,” says Di Williams, founder and chairman of Fernwood Fitness. “I thought ‘my goodness, I’ve been in business for 32 years and now we’re just going to get wiped off the planet.’ I didn’t know what to expect. “Eventually when we came back to opening up again, I was very surprised at how positive the comeback was. A lot of our clubs are doing better than the same time pre-COVID.
to normal,” explains Justin McDonell, co-founder and chairman of Collective
“At this early stage, the signs are very promising.”
Wellness Group. “Our CBD locations are
Other operators have been echoing Di’s experience in the weeks since opening.
to work. Our revenues are actually up.
“The net effect is that we’re fairly back
branding is strong.”
still down as people haven’t gone back Our online offering is still going and the
WHAT ABOUT THE MONTHS TO COME? With vaccine roll-outs comes further confidence for many, but there are still chances of further closures and restrictions coming into effect. One way of identifying trends in facilities is to look
at how often the equipment is being used and how these factors affect activity. “If you look at it from a global perspective, we’re trending as with any other global company,” says Andrew Mahadevan, vice president of APAC at Life Fitness. “We’ve tied our forecast essentially to vaccine rollout by country. “We’re able to see the number of workouts that are done on our equipment. For example, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia are looking really good. “I think that operators have basically mastered how to close and how to reopen.” Adept as they may be at forced flexibility with operating hours, gym, club and studio owners should never have been put in the situation where they have to open and close like saloon doors. What’s more promising is that across the other side of the world, there’s also the shift to wellbeing and stepping up to the plate of holistic healthcare. “For us, if we look really long term and think two years in the future… We keep hearing the term ‘hybrid’ but I don’t think that’s an accurate phrase. We need to think of the future of fitness as a wellness ecosystem – gym, outside, at the office, at home – all of those complement each other.”
THE INDUSTRY FORMERLY KNOWN AS FITNESS. How we embrace the opportunities that are now presented is up to us. What people perceive the fitness industry to be has now changed, and we need to propel that stereotype shift so that we continue to engage, educate and empathise with more and more people through our services. The coming months are going to be key to this evolution.
“The industry needs to prepare for the rise of chronic health conditions due to the pandemic, making the need to work to unite the fitness industry and promote healthy lifestyles more important than ever,” explains Joh n Holsinger, director of APAC at IHRSA. “I heard an interesting phrase that ‘when things lift, you have to be January ready.’ People that have the funds will want to spend the money and they’ll want to find the ways to get their social aspects back up and running.”
"It’s fair to say that nobody knew what was going to happen. It’s been the strangest year of hope and helplessness"
I’m a firm believer that growth is imminent, and we can make it more than just about recovery from the past months. However, it’s got to be about more than money. As fitness professionals, we all know the value of physical activity and the importance of its role in longevity and lifestyle. Yet at the end of the month, the important metrics are still seen as sales and people through the door. Now that we’re comfortable with engaging and making a difference both in-person and remotely, there’s so much more availability to increase audiences, memberships and communities to make success more than just about return on investment in the physical space. Encourage members, yes, but also focus on community projects and getting more people to move anywhere, and more members will come. The most important thing is the benefit you’re bringing into people’s lives and the enlightenment of physical literacy and mobility that you can share. What happens now really is up to you. GOM Magazine
ONE MAN IS BRINGING TOGETHER A COMMUNITY OF INDEPENDENT GYMS THAT IS GROWING STRONGER BY THE MINUTE. ARE WE SEEING A SHIFT IN THE BALANCE OF POWER?
BY MARK MILLS
hroughout the pandemic, independent gyms have been quick to adapt and remained flexible in the open/
Almost a happy accident, his creation
realised I couldn’t work in an industry I
is now leading the charge as a resource
didn’t enjoy, so I returned pretty quick.
that’s giving more back to its gyms so that they can offer more to their members.
shut fiasco that’s followed every regulation change. That’s not to say that chain gyms can’t be responsive, but historically with little support on the big stage, many independents have been able to provide for a more engaged community regardless of what’s been thrown at them.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY? “I realised recently that I’m a bit of an old timer when I made the statement ‘I’ve got 20 years’ experience in the
In walks founder of independentgyms.
fitness industry’. I started like most of us,
co.uk, Robert Handy. This man has
working through college and university
pioneered a new approach in UK gym
in various roles before finding my feet
partnerships and growth for many fitness
in membership sales after leaving
facilities across the UK and Ireland.
university. I had a short stint away but
“I always wanted to be connected to the fitness industry but my career really started to take shape when I started as Membership Manager at The Warwickshire, and then forging ahead when I started work at Core Health & Fitness supplying iconic brands of equipment to gyms, health clubs and leisure centres.”
WHAT WAS THE REASON BEHIND SETTING UP INDEPENDENTGYMS. CO.UK? “I won’t lie, initially the plan was to help reach more gym owners for my role at Core Health, by creating an audience in a private Facebook group to communicate offers and new product launches. But I decided very early on that the group had a bigger role to play. “I cut off any sales pitches (even my own), introduced a policy of no suppliers other than the few already in the group and focused heavily around support and advice for gym owners. This was back in 2018 before COVID was even a thing. The group grew fairly rapidly and really gave me a buzz along with the realisation that we could go on to provide even more support in a formal capacity.”
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU’RE OFFERING MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY?
support structures you'll see at the
“Phase one of independentgyms.co.uk
to these areas of support. These things
drives value for gym owners via access to dedicated events organised by us and our partners; access to document templates such as PT contracts and other dayto-day files; a free listing on the single biggest searchable map of independent
chains – such as dedicated HR, sales and marketing, or membership and purchasing departments. Our aim is to partner with the right organisations to provide access generally benefit from the economies of scale linked to larger businesses. Until recently the independents have been fairly isolated in their operations but, with 2000+ owners under one roof, we can develop these services further.”
fitness facilities, and access to supplier savings, discounts and special offers from our partners that owners won’t find elsewhere. “We’re now developing phase two of the platform that will include a self-serving partner portal, and fine-tuning other features. We have further planned developments that will either put money directly into the tills of our members or save them even more on the products and services they invest in as part of their business, too.”
WHAT’S GOING TO BE THE DIFFERENCEMAKER FOR GYMS OVER THE COMING YEAR? “For me, the difference-maker will be about creating and building on the community a gym develops. Yes, you need to offer a great product and decent equipment but that’s never been easier. Throughout lockdown gyms have used their grants and loans to reinvest into
IS THERE GREATER STRENGTH IN INDEPENDENT GYMS UNITED COMPARED TO CHAIN OFFERINGS? “This is not about going head to head with chains or local authorities, but it is about trying to level the playing field in terms of visibility and support. The independent sector is hugely varied, with every possible facility you could imagine. Our members vary from PT studios, to boutiques, to bodybuilding gyms to 4000-member clubs, and they create some of the best communities. “What they generally don’t have is the
their facilities, which will be great at attracting new members, but it will be the sense of community and a feeling of belonging that will keep them.”
WHAT DOES THE LONG-TERM FUTURE OF THE FITNESS INDUSTRY LOOK LIKE? “This is a crystal ball question! Given what we’ve all gone through over the last 12 months it’s safe to say we could be on the edge of the biggest change to the industry we’ll see for a while, or we could revert
“We’re seeing the chains grow out of lockdown, doubling down on opportunities with a number of new clubs opening, but also heading overseas for growth. The independent market will also grow as ambitious owners take advantage of changes in planning permissions and landlords are more open to working with independent facilities.
back to the tried and tested models we are
“Digital fitness will stick around in various
all used to.
forms, but people crave interaction so I think most members who took advantage of online/digital workouts will slowly move back into a club environment. Most clubs will retain some kind of digital offering, but more as a back-up should there be any more repercussion from COVID. “Having said that, I think tech companies will make access to exercise and movement easier than ever, almost like the workout videos of the ’80s and ’90s. They’ll reach those people hesitant to join a club but that will act as a feeder into mainstream facilities and we’ll see the overall numbers grow. “The future is definitely bright!”
Kickboxing... Yoga...Pilates...Run club..functional strength...Hiking meet-up...Outdoor Bootcamp...barre... glutes and guns...
BY STACY WIG
o many options to workout with others! There has been some buzz about the popularity of group fitness classes and groups declining due to fear resulting from the covid pandemic, but we are social beings. Group fitness is already seeing a huge increase in attendance as people are being vaccinated and covid-19 numbers decrease. What we may see instead of lower participation is a different model of group fitness everywhere increasing the availability of group fitness for people everywhere.
“Covid-19 has accelerated adoption
doing a workout from home, there are
of a hybrid model of online/in-person
now endless options to connect with an
workouts that more brick-and-mortar
instructor to workout from home or even
gyms are likely to retain when the
others outside of your area and even in
pandemic recedes. Fitness club-owners
other countries which may also provide
grappling with declining memberships
a sense of belonging and accountability.
have quickly caught on, with 72% now
I teach virtual classes to a small group
offering on-demand and livestream group
of clients and they enjoy seeing the
workouts, up from 25% in 2019, according
group, engage before class, and are
to fitness research firm ClubIntel.“
held accountable for each and every
Bloomburg.com January 2021.
workout. I still encourage these folks to
Most think of group fitness as the traditional group fitness classes in a
do something live on the weekends like a hiking or cycling meet up group.
full-service gym but group fitness options
The good news is that the fitness
extend far beyond these studio classes.
industry has changed and progressed at
The term group fitness encompasses any and all forms of fitness that are done in a group setting, led by a personal trainer or group instructor.
an extraordinary rate across the globe. Companies inside and outside of the fitness industry are recognizing the business opportunities afforded by group fitness, which is why it’s worth considering how
Examples include but are not limited to:
you might use the following predictions to
• Group fitness classes at a gym
help grow your influence and business in
• A fitness club or meetup group
2021 and beyond.
• Virtual group fitness classes • Cross Fit gyms • Most Boutique studios
1. As mentioned above, Diversification in the fitness space will continue. New ways of leading classes have emerged
virtual and on-demand class options as well as in-person classes creating additional streams of revenue. Fitness
I personally encourage most of my clients
in the last year. Providing a rewarding
to participate in live group setting classes
group fitness experience can happen
or meetups because my coaching model
inside the club or out, live (at the same
is about so much more than a physical
time as participants) or on-demand
transformation. It is about having a
(recorded classes to be accessed
sense of community, stress management,
anytime). This allows your club if
become more mainstream during
increased accountability and surrounding
you are a club owner to provide more
the pandemic. There are many new
oneself with others who have a similar
options for your members, some at a
platforms that offer an endless variety
lifestyle. With that being said, when
lower cost per participant. Instructors
of both virtual and on-demand classes.
life is super busy and the only option is
will continue to have well attended
What I personally love about these
professionals can offer more of a variety of packages and offerings to their members and new participants alike 2. Collaboration of instructors has
platforms is that you can construct
population who picked up some very
needs on any day. Need some yoga in
unhealthy habits during covid and/
your life and an in-person class doesn’t
or some unwanted pounds. This
fit your schedule or budget? You are in
happened for a variety of reasons from
luck!! There are both fitness platforms
being inside and inactive to trying to
and yoga platforms that allow you to
manage parenting with a full-time
choose exactly what you are looking for by selecting your focus, class length, instructor if you find one you enjoy, and so much more!! 3. There is also a trend of group fitness
4. There is a huge percentage of the
your workout specifically to your
job and homeschooling. Feelings of depression or anxiety in the midst of the unknown have been rampant during the past year which tends to result in unhealthy habits. The folks I
instructors being able to exercise more
have consulted with lately are ready
independence as they learned to run
for change. They need encouragement,
their own businesses and classes
guidance, and yes, community so
during the pandemic and will continue
group fitness classes in their various
to do so.
forms are here to stay with numbers
"Most think of group fitness as the traditional group fitness classes in a fullservice gym but group fitness options extend far beyond these studio classes."
quickly climbing. Gym owners, instructors, and fitness professionals, in general, need to understand the trepidation that some will have to re-enter the studios, understand that people’s needs are likely very different than they were before the pandemic, and be welcoming while everyone regains a faith and comfort in working out with others. 5. Companies are realizing the benefits to offering health and wellness programs to their employees as a means to reduce insurance premiums, decrease tardiness and sick days, increase inter-department unity, and improve the overall culture of the company. Corporate wellness began becoming more mainstream before the pandemic. The growth slowed significantly during 2020 due to limited funds but is making a comeback now that our economy is picking up and people are returning to the workplace. Offering corporate wellness plans as a gym owner or independent fitness professional is a great way to connect with more people and make a difference in the lives of a large number of professionals. Offering group options is the way to go to meet the needs of an entire company’s roster!! So, let’s spread our wings and continue to expand our offerings to people both in our area and way beyond. Let’s ask questions to find out what people need and how we can best serve them. This is the beginning of a time of growth for those with the resilience and tenacity to continue to bring back group fitness options for the health and well-being of those who seek our guidance!! Author: Stacy Renee Wig, MS, IFBB Pro (CEO of Wig Athletics and FitCo Wellness Solutions)
June 2021 59
K.I.S.S = KEEP IT SO SIMPLE BY PHILIP MADDOX
ven before “Lockdown 1 - March 2020” media platforms have been inundated with 3 new groups of exercise “experts”: 1. Celebs becoming overnight Fitness Professionals 2. Fitness Beginners becoming Fitness Professionals 3. Complicated variations of Basic Simple Exercises to sell programs
There are of course lots more and the list
Number 1. & 2. above are for “Likes” and
could go on but it gets way too boring
nothing else FACT!
after the 1st 3 on my list anyway.
Number 3. is what I’m interested in as
I really want to tell you to keep it simple
with all activities and movements these
sporty (KISS), do not overcomplicate
have been tried and tested by millions of
movements just because some so-called
people and over decades of time.
famous person you ‘adore’ all of a sudden
Over my years of training to stay fit,
comes up with a so-called: New Move
strong and healthy (so far since I was
(that they have probably been shown by
about 14yrs old so that is about 37yrs) I
too have played with a new variant to a GOM Magazine
Press Up, a Dip or a Bicep Curl but 1 thing
If you are like me and are NOT shaping
movements and playing with rep numbers,
always happens when I get tired or I have
your body for a competition then you
time under tension and recovery periods.
limited time or I just want to get some
do not need to listen to people pushing
positive “return” from my training:
advice that in order to achieve your
I perform the BASIC MOVEMENT PATTERN that has been adopted and performed for over 100yrs by fitness enthusiasts and professional elite sports personnel alike and guess what? IT WORKS!
“fitness” goals you must do 5 different variants to the bicep curl or 5 different variants to the back squat. If you, like me are training to stay in peak physical fitness or simply to stay in shape and stay fit, strong and healthy you can achieve this by performing all simple
It seems the current trend is for so-called Media Celebs that have ‘dabbled’ in personal fitness, have had a fair amount of ‘TV\Media’ success or air time and are viewed as either an active individual or a TV ‘Tough Guy’ or a ‘socialite playing on reality TV’ and are either: a. Running out of money Or b. Craving more “Likes” on their media platforms to feed their ego’s Or c. Needing to lose weight So they think by doing a “Workout Video” or a “YouTube” fitness channel or even go as far as a full “Fitness Program Box Set” and putting their name to it, that they are also then recognizable as being fully qualified and credible Personal Fitness Trainers! Well, all of the above, get down off your high horses and leave that to the trained lifelong trained professionals and you go grab your “Instagram” and “FarceBook” likes by doing what you do best: “Be someone else”! Anyway, I digress: I was talking about “Keep It Simple Sporty”
As a beginner, you need to know a handful of age-old “bodyweight” exercises that you can perform “Anywhere-AnytimeAlmost Zero Equipment’ As a beginner, you can also recruit another handful of external forces/ weights exercises that can be done “Almost Anywhere-Anytime-Some Equipment” These go for FITNESS ALL LEVELS. From Absolute Beginner to Absolute Elite Professional Athlete. Granted, elite professional athletes will no doubt have access to state of the art fitness equipment, dietitians, coaches (setting training goals and targets etc), physio’s and most importantly: TIME As a beginner you will have a busy hectic work, family and or social life, not always have access to (or not at all due to financial constraints) fitness equipment, no coach or manager or someone to manage your food and most importantly; LOTS OF TIME! BUT (there is ALWAYS a BUT!) you ALL have 15-30 mins in any and every day to do some fitness activities, regardless of your lifestyle.
You CAN always do some or all of the
14. Tuck Jump’s
following depending on time and
15. Running on the Spot
16. Hand Step Up’s
1. Press Up’s
17. Plank Shoulder Tap’s
2. Sit Up’s
18. Squat Jump’s
3. Pull Up’s 4. Squat’s 5. Dip’s
(21. Running, Jogging, Walking) 20 exercises above that can all be done in
the comfort of your own body space and
9. Lie Down - Stand Up’s 10. Mountain Climbers ALL REQUIRE ZERO EQUIPMENT 11. Plank Toe-Taps
20. Hand Walk Out - Walk-In
6. Reverse Dip’s 8. Squat Thrust’s
19. Leg Raise’s
require nothing more than a pair of shorts, a tee and a pair of trainers (maybe) and some water! Do these exercises in their most basic form, no need to try and “Reinvent the Wheel” of exercise fortune with these.
12. Knee Tuck’s
They have been tried and tested for over
13. Forward or Reverse Lunge’s
100 years! GOM Magazine
"Do not overcomplicate movements just because some so-called famous person you ‘adore’ all of a sudden comes up with a so-called: New Move" All you need to do now is play with:
1. Number of Rep’s
training in the Kenyan heat and altitude
1. Which ones to do in any 1 session
2. Number of Round’s
(It is also no wonder the Kenyans make
2. Which order to do them in ( I tend to
3. Total Time Training
good long-distance runners as they are
4. Rest Period’s
basically born at altitude approx 3,000m
work: Arms/Shoulders, Abs/Upper Torso,
3. How many of each I do in a set 4. How many sets I do 5. How many times a week 6. How much recovery in between each exercise 7. How much recovery in between each round 8. How long do I do those exercises for (1-6 weeks?)
5. Set a Goal/Target for your last session of each month This will clearly show you that you DO NOT need to perform any fancy ineffective “Variant” to these Simple Sporty Basic exercises. A little story about me and how I once did this form of training as it was the only form of training I could do in the location I
9. Which exercises do I do next
was at in that particular time in my life:
10. What about “Some” equipment
I had 8 weeks working in the bush and
exercises K.I.S.S = Keeping It Simple Sporty means just that, you can still get both a tough W.B.A (Whole Body Approach) training session out of JUST bodyweight exercises
jungle of Kenya with the British Army and we basically had an area we could do bodyweight exercises and fortunately also a “Pull Up Bar” as our 1 and only additional training accessory plus lots of
and all of that without equipment.
running space, to train after work.
Why not ‘GOOGLE’ all of the above for
After these 8 weeks, I have to admit that I
correct form & technique, practise the
was in very good shape and very very fit,
correct form & technique then make 4
strong & healthy.
different exercises circuits (20 exercises
There quite literally was ‘No’ gym facility
gives you 4 different circuits) and challenge yourself to do 1 x 4 weeks program for each circuit?
as we were located ‘Outside’ in the ‘Bush’ so, you make do with what you’ve got.
to the point) and trained really hard on these above-mentioned exercises and our bodies were looking ‘Good’ and feeling really really healthy. So, there is no need to ‘REINVENT THE EXERCISES’ simply do the basic exercises in their basic form if you are starting out or an athlete and have no real desire to spend all of your money on expensive fitness equipment! In summary, just because a so-called ‘TV Celeb or Reality Star’ that you follow or ‘Like’ because of what they have achieved in their ‘Make Believe World’ all of a sudden has a go at becoming fit does not mean that they are naturally fit or even passionate about staying healthy or are fitness ‘guru's (it’s basically because they are getting paid a lot of money to do it!) Often they are absolutely nothing like this in their ‘Real Life’ (if they know what that is anymore?) it is merely a publicity stunt to gain “Ego-Likes” on media platforms!
By the time my team and I had finished,
Stick to following real people that are first
Do not vary or stray from the very basic
our time away from the rest of the main
and foremost passionate about staying
form & technique of these exercises, keep
group (which totalled about 6wks with a
fit, strong and healthy for life and not just
them in their natural form and over each
couple of weeks setting up and breaking
a phase they are going through to boost
month slowly build up your:
down camps) we had got accustomed to
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
DO HEALTH APPS REALLY MAKE US HEALTHIER? I
n the past few years, several companies have marketed wearable devices and mobile apps that can track our personal health data. These “mHealth” devices and apps have led to the birth of what is known as the “quantified self” — a phenomenon where individuals start tracking their behavioural, physiological, biological, and other kinds of health markers. A key question of interest in this ecosystem remained unanswered up until recently: Is there any scientific evidence that consumer adoption and usage of these wearable devices and mobile health apps actually leads to a tangible change in their behaviour, which, in turn, can show up in concrete health care outcomes?
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
app, some having access to a web-based version of the app, and the rest (the control group) not having access to any of these apps or devices. The adoption of the mHealth app led to an improvement in both short-term metrics (such as a reduction in patient's blood glucose and glycated haemoglobin levels) and longer-term metrics (such as a reduction in hospital visits and medical expenses). Patients who adopted the mHealth app undertook higher levels of exercise, consumed healthier food with lower calories, walked more steps, and slept longer on a daily basis. Some other interesting discoveries concerned the outcomes of patients in the group that used the mHealth app This first-of-its-kind study uses data from
tablets, sensors, and cloud-based
major stakeholders (digital app platforms,
computing systems, all of which collect
hospitals, clinics, doctors, nutritionists,
health data on individuals.
pharmacists, and so on) to examine whether emerging mHealth technologies effectively persuade people to modify their lifestyles and thereby reduce hospital visits and medical expenses over
who received personalised reminders via text messages vs. those of patients who received generic reminders. An example of a personalised reminder would go like
In partnership with a major mHealth app
this: “Dear Mr XX, you did not exercise
platform, a large-scale randomised field
at all yesterday. Take a 45-minute walk
experiment based on detailed patient
today as it will help control your blood
lifestyle activities (e.g., steps walked,
glucose levels.” In contrast, a generic reminder might say: “Regular exercise
time. The relatively new area of mHealth
exercise time and calories spent, sleeping
includes mobile computing, medical
patterns, and food quality and quantity)
sensor, and communications technologies
and blood glucose values from chronic
controlling blood glucose.”
used for health care services (e.g.,
diabetes patients over a 15-month time
Such generic messages with generalised
managing chronic diseases). mHealth
frame. The randomisation involved some
guidance about diabetes were 18% more
applications can operate on smartphones,
patients having access to the mHealth
effective than personalised messages
at moderate intensity is very helpful for
June 2021 65
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
at reducing glucose levels over time. Surveys conducted after the experiment explained: Some patients found the accuracy of the personalised messages to be intrusive and annoying, and some said they made them feel constantly coerced to follow the wellness recommendations, which demotivated them and led to a lower level of wellness activities (e.g., less exercising, fewer healthy eating habits, and shorter sleeping durations at night).
THE FINDINGS HAVE SEVERAL IMPLICATIONS:
leads to improved health outcomes. This
First, the study shows that users of
devices to encourage their use. Apple has
mHealth devices and apps can become more autonomous and more motivated in self-regulating their health behaviour
suggests that it would be worthwhile for government and private insurers and tech companies to subsidise the prices of these been recently collaborating with Medicare plan providers to subsidise its watches for the elderly.
and more engaged and consistent in their
Second, personalisation is a double-edged
lifestyle and wellness behaviour, which
sword. On one hand, it leads to some
That said, the randomised experiments demonstrated that compared to generic messages, personalised messages were more effective in reducing in-person doctor visits and replacing them with tele-health services. Post-experimental surveys of the experimental subjects revealed that the accuracy of these personalised messages made patients comfortable with adopting tele-health services deployed by the platform. Thus, they were substituting their offline physician interactions with online ones, reducing their overall medical expenses. This was a silver lining of personalisation. 66
"These “mHealth” devices and apps have led to the birth of what is known as the “quantified self” — a phenomenon where individuals start tracking their behavioural, physiological, biological, and other kinds of health markers" GOM Magazine
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
patients reducing their engagement with wearable technologies and reducing their wellness behaviours. On the other hand, personalisation also facilitates an increased usage of tele-medecine among patients, which, in turn, leads to lower medical expenses. Practitioners in the health care ecosystem would benefit from keeping these countervailing effects in mind when designing their communications strategies. For instance, they could run experiments or conduct market research on their local populations to examine the effect of personalisation on patients’ preferences for in-person vs. tele-health consultations. By soliciting feedback on patients’ preferences, they would be able to predict the net benefit of personalisation and adjust the frequency of personalised communications accordingly. Third, mHealth devices and apps could provide health insurance companies with an opportunity to personalise premiums. They could allow them to reward consumers who make the effort to exercise more often, eat healthier, and sleep longer with lower insurance premiums. This would be similar to what some auto insurance companies are already doing: placing tracking devices in cars to monitor driving behaviour and then rewarding better drivers with lower premiums. That said, such a strategy poses some potential problems or challenges. HIPAA’s privacy rules mean that patients would have to agree to give health insurers companies access to their data. And rewards based on healthier eating habits and lifestyles could end up rewarding the rich and penalising the poor, which would be wrong. Even so, having a clearer idea of how these apps and devices do and don’t change behaviour can help health care organisations better strategies how to create better care for their patients. GOM Magazine
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
d l e i f t u D y Am h g u o r h t s u talks
HELPING POSTNATAL CLIENTS GET BACK TO FITNESS AND SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
s a mother of 2 young children, I have lived through a lot of the changes that occur in our body and the impact it has on fitness both during and after pregnancy. I’ve always been a keen exerciser and enjoyed staying fit and in shape but nothing really prepares you for what having children does to your body – especially when these little humans arrive into our lives, wreaking havoc any fitness routines we may have had previously. We are a nation obsessed with ‘bouncing back after baby’, which quite frankly is ridiculous, unrealistic and something that piles on the pressure for any female wanting her body and fitness levels back.
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As many of us know, there are just so many special considerations for postnatal women. The main aim of any good pre-and post-natal trainer is to protect women and their ability to maintain physical activity long term for their overall health and wellbeing. This month, I, therefore, thought I’d share my 6 top tips for regaining health, fitness and overall wellbeing in the post-natal period. 1. Sufficient screening for any postnatal women is vital. I’ve heard on so many occasions from new mums that their 6-week GP check did not meet up to their expectations. From my own experience, these were very much centred around how my new baby was doing and not much attention given to my own recovery. Being an avid exerciser, I was desperate to regain my fitness after both pregnancies but thankfully I know more than most to just go leaping back into it too fast. But even if you’re new to exercise making sure you get a proper individual screening from a credible post-natal practitioner is VITAL. During a postnatal screening, you should be asked details of your pregnancy, birth and overall health. The practitioner should address all individual issues such as Diastasis Recti, C-Section scars and the possibility of Pelvic Organ Prolapse – all of which impact exercise/ movement prescription. You’ll only get one opportunity to build the right foundations to recover well and regain (or gain) your fitness levels postpregnancy so invest in YOU if you can. An individual qualified in fitness may not necessarily be qualified in postnatal fitness. Do your research and find
muscles and creates downward
so the very first port of call in any
pressure on your pelvic floor. When you
postnatal recovery programme is to re-
breathe out you use your diaphragm
connect this loop – that is, get the pelvic
muscles to help push the air out of your lungs. When the diaphragm is contracting the pelvic floor is also being contracted and lifting. It’s like a
floor muscles working in conjunction with the breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises are something you
loop system. Unfortunately, the loop
can teach yourself – but again, getting a
sometimes becomes disconnected
professional to help guide you through
throughout pregnancy and childbirth
this is always helpful.
the right person for you. 2. Start by breathing! This might sound crazy as we know that breathing is kind of essential, right? – but do you realise just how important it is in postnatal recovery? Your whole mid-section is held together like a cylinder type structure. The bottom of this holds up your pelvic muscles, the sides are your deep abdominal muscles and the top is held on tight by your diaphragm. When this mechanism is functioning well it balances inter-abdominal pressure to support your pelvis and lower back. Now, imagine months of this being stretched. It weakens the abdominal GOM Magazine
"The main aim of any good pre-and post-natal trainer is to protect women and their ability to maintain physical activity long term for their overall health and wellbeing" June 2021
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
3. Eat REAL food. Optimum nutrition
cereals, wholewheat breads, oats,
plays a major part in all of the
brown rice and grains such as quinoa,
perceived trouble spots for post-
barley and millet.
natal ladies. In a bid to “lose the baby weight” many women fall victim to
milk. Olive oil, avocado, seeds and fatty fish
restricting calorie intake, missing vital
such as salmon
nutrients. I’ve always stuck by my is particularly important at times in our lives when we have some healing to do as well. As well as losing weight and eating enough to do sustainably let’s not forget that if you’re breastfeeding
• Spinach, kale and other dark leafy greens (high in iron, calcium and dietary fibre)
• Sweet potatoes – high in vitamin A and C and beta carotene.
Healthy fats produce healthy breast
under-nourishing their bodies through
motto; eat food, not products and this
munching on bowls of these during night feeds!
Fresh fruits and vegetables.
Three of my favourites both during pregnancy and post-natal are;
• Blueberries – among the highest fruits in antioxidants. I remember
4. Get Stretching (but take care!). Muscle aches and pains in the neck and across the upper and lower back are very common, primarily due to a combination of altered alignment, abdominal weakness and ligament
what you feed yourself now is what you are nourishing your child with. You mainly need to focus on nutrients that are absolutely vital proper growth and development of the baby, such as carbohydrates, protein, calcium and zinc. Food groups to include are: Iron-enriched foods promote strength Lean cuts of red meat, spinach, eggs, pumpkin seeds and legumes Great grains energize and nourish the body. This is particularly important for breastfeeding mothers who can burn 500 extra calories per day. Wholewheat pasta, wholegrain 70
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
6. Watch out for any red flags. It’s great
laxity. Pregnancy causes the pelvis to
and how long it should take to come
tip, which alters spine alignment and
off – but I won’t. Why? – it just adds
to have a plan to follow and have goals
in turn, this causes specific muscles to
more pressure for us. Why do you
set but always take care. Watch out
shorten and tighten. A good post-natal
need to put a timer on yourself? After
for any red flags - including abdominal
trainer can guide you through exactly
all, surely the first few weeks and
pain, bleeding and pelvic heaviness.
which stretches to include, factoring
months with your new baby should
Consult your GP immediately if you
in any adaptations needed depending
be enjoyed, not spent scale-watching
experience any of these.
on your individual recovery plan. Due to increased ligament laxity for many weeks after pregnancy (caused by a hormone called relaxin that alters the properties of cartilage and tendon by activating collagenase) do not work on trying to increase your flexibility
or competing with #postpartumbody posts on Instagram. You’ve also got to be mindful that so many factors are involved in regaining your fitness after a baby. Delivery method and any associated complications, stress
And so, there it is My top 6 tips for the road back to fitness after pregnancy but the other point to end on is to clarify that any way you chose to get your exercise should of course be something you actually enjoy! The postpartum period is all about rebalancing
levels, diet, genetics and whether
pregnancy hormones with a new human to
you’re breastfeeding or not to name
care for and often disturbed sleep patterns
just a few. One thing IS certain though,
so we have enough to contend with already!
August article; Slow and Steady Wins
losing weight too quickly after birth
Evidence suggests exercise can help lower
can be detrimental. It can reduce
postpartum anxiety and depression
the quantity and quality of milk you
symptoms in most women so it’s something
NHS statistics with you at this point.
produce for your baby and it can leave
we should all do wherever possible and in
The ones that tell us what the ‘average
you exhausted at a time when you
whatever way we want – just lay the right
weight gain is during pregnancy’
need energy the most.
foundations to build from first!
initially. Keep the stretches short. 5. Take your time! I refer back to my
I was going to share the most recent
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