Gym Owner Monthly - June 2016

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ISSUE 3 // JUNE 2016

Playing it safe

Everything you need to know about health and safety

Top 9

Access all areas

excuses for skipping the gym

We look at the best flooring solutions for your gym

In the

s p o t l irgighhtt


INTERVIEW ‘We want to grow big while staying small’ Jacques de Bruin, cer at chief operating offi ng hi Pure Gym on reac a crossroads


viewpoint: ’s r e in a tr l a n o Pers petitions The rise in fitn

e ss com

How the transform n a c g n i t ligh ce your spa

Why changing rooms are evolving – how to get it right



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Contents T R E N DS 7


The latest news and hot topics in the industry

OWNER OF THE MONTH We talk to Paul Conway, owner of community fitness club, Crown Fitness






TOP 9…


Making sure that your changing rooms hit the mark We announce the winner

Excuses for skipping the gym


Health and safety legislation is something you need to get your head round


23 34

Ronni McKay on the price of bodybuilding competitions


Adam Wilson, owner of new gym Anatomy 37, on being a jack of all trades




The best fitness kit around for you and your clients


LIGHTEN UP We shine a spotlight on the issue of lighting

THE BIG INTERVIEW Jacques de Bruin, chief operating officer at low-cost Pure Gym


GET IT COVERED How to make sure you’ve got the right insurance for every eventuality


HIT THE FLOOR Finding the right flooring solution is crucial if you want your gym to stand out




Ben Coomber on why you’re not making progress

F I T N E SS FAT TO FIT Chris Zaremba on how he got to grips with getting fit – and discovering the gym


ASK THE EXPERT Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help


Issue 3//June 2016


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Issue 3//June 2016

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GYM OWNER monthly

Welcome... … to Gym Owner Monthly. There’s never been a better time to be involved in the health and fitness industry – and a recent report shows exactly this. The number of UK fitness members has exceeded nine million for the first time, according to the 2016 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, while the past 12 months to March has seen a 5.3 per cent rise in total memberships. What’s more, the total market value of the fitness industry is now around £4.4 billion. That’s impressive stuff – you can read more about it on page 7. And while the popularity of gyms is on the increase, it’s even more important that your health and safety procedures are up to date. After all, how safe is your gym? On page 23, we take a look at health and safety policies, and how you can ensure that you’re taking all the right steps so that your employees and clients come to no harm. Another big issue for customers is the state of changing rooms. No-one likes to go to a gym where the showers are grubby or the lockers are faulty. On page 18, Claire Lavelle looks at how to make sure that your lockers rooms are state of the art and the kind of areas that clients actually want to use. Elsewhere, in this month’s Big Interview, page 14, we talk to Jacques de Bruin, chief operating officer at Pure Gym, about growing big while staying small. Chris Zaremba tells the second part of his story about getting fit at 50 on page 30, and personal trainer, Ronni McKay, discusses the growing trend for fitness competitions. Read all about it on page 34.

See you next month!




Tracey Lattimore

Nathan Page

Paul Wood Tel: 07976 745 702 Tel: 07985 904 549 Tel: 07858 487 357

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

Issue 3//June 2016


Advertising Feature

REFLECT YOURSELF Mirrors for Training are dedicated to offering the highest quality mirrors. As a leading UK supplier and manufacturer of specialist mirrored training products, we offer a full design, build and installation service, from single mirror installations to large bespoke fits covering several walls. No job is too large or too small for our dedicated team. Mirrors for Training has installed mirrors at a number of gyms, sports facilities, health clubs, schools, and colleges. Whether a supply-only or a supply and fit service is required, the Mirrors for Training team are able to advise on possible configurations to suit any budget and requirement. We also manufacture the ultimate training aid – our portable mirrors. These mirrors on wheels are popular for clients who cannot have permanent wall mirrors. Mirrors on wheels can be moved around in different locations, including external usage. These 6ft x 4ft mirrors are designed to fit through standard doorways, have locking wheels to secure them in situ and are safety backed, making them suitable for all ages. And they’re a popular solution in gyms, where space is at a premium. The mirrors are designed to stack together so minimal storage is required when not in use, and they can be used around different pieces of fitness equipment in one-to-one coaching, so you always have a posture visual. Our fantastic portable mirrors can convert any room into a multi-functional studio or professional training area. All our mirrors are manufactured to the highest standard; they are built to last in powder-coated steel, with the choice of a black or white finish. They cost £250 plus VAT. At our purpose-built warehouse, we stock large quantities of the highest quality mirror. Our made-to-measure mirror is processed in-house, safety backed and manufactured to British Standards. Our experienced installation team is committed to quality and will quality assess every aspect of the manufacturing and fitting process. Installations are completed using our unique, polished aluminium system. This preferred system of installing safety mirrors avoids using unsightly screw fixing. Safety mirrors should always be mechanically installed, for optimum safety. Our system allows the mirrors to be easily removed without damage to walls, if needed in the future. The 8ft x 4ft mirrors, supply-only, cost from £100 plus VAT, or from £170 plus VAT fitted.


Issue 3//June 2016

“Our fantastic portable mirrors can convert any room into a multifunctional studio or professional training area”



What’s hot in the fitness industry

Sport England commits to CIMSPA and workforce development Sport England has launched its new strategy, Towards an Active Future, with clear backing for the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity’s (CIMSPA) workforce development project. Tara Dillon, chief executive of CIMSPA, says: ‘The new Sport England strategy is great news for sport and physical activity professionals. Not only does it direct funding into physical inactivity, it also reaffirms

The only way is up The UK health and fitness industry has more clubs, more members and a greater market value than ever before, according to a new report. The 2016 State of the UK Fitness Industry report reveals that the number of UK fitness members has exceeded nine million for the first time, with a rise in memberships of 5.3 per cent and a 3.2 per cent increase in market value over the past 12 months to March. The report highlights that the industry has experienced increases of 1.9 per cent in the number of fitness facilities, while one in seven people in the UK is a member of a gym – an all-time penetration rate high of 14.3 per cent. The influential low-cost market with its large membership numbers, online joining, 24/7 opening hours and low price points has continued to expand rapidly and drive the growth in the industry and, for the first time, a low-cost fitness operator is the UK’s number one. Pure Gym has added 60 clubs in the last 12 months, taking them past the 150 mark and into the top position.’

Raising the bar of functional fitness

Sport England’s support for CIMSPA in professionalising the sector and delivering a workforce that is fit for purpose. ‘Working with Sport England, CIMSPA and its partners are developing a new workforce strategy with a clear skills framework for all roles and the provision of good quality CPD. This is crucial in creating a workforce that is equipped to tackle the high levels of inactivity in the county in line with the government’s Sporting Future strategy.

New to the gym scene are GRYPiT moulded handles, which can be clipped on to pulley-based machines and rowers in seconds to deliver biomechanically correct movement with heightened comfort. Designed by a team including chemists and ergonomists, the GRYPiT handles are made from resilient, hardwearing polymers. Manufactured in the UK and engineered to deliver unwavering quality of function, they have been tried and tested by operators, fitness managers, personal trainers, coaches and gym goers. The handles come with three-year guarantee, but their lifetime is predicted to be 10 years or more. The first five handles in an 11-strong range are available to buy now: the lat pulldown, triceps bar narrow grip; biceps bar narrow grip; left and right handles and single position row. Fashioned for a snug fit for everyone’s hands, whatever size and shape, GRYPiT handles create the confidence to complete fulfilling pulldowns, crossovers and rowing time after time without the need for gloves and the fear of painful blistering and chafing. In gym trials, those using GRYPiT handles increased their performance by up to 20 per cent. ‘Many of those who have tried and trialled GRYPiT ask “Why didn’t anybody think of these before?”’ says Graham Taylor, managing director of GRYPiT Ltd. “We’ve studied the ergonomic interaction between the arms and hands and traditional gym handles, calculated optimum positioning and developed the range to recreate it as closely as science

‘Sport England’s ongoing support of CIMSPA is a clear endorsement of the achievements the chartered institute has made to date, and reflects its confidence in CIMSPA’s abilities to shape a sport and physical activity workforce of the highest quality.’ To read the full strategy, go to media/10554/sport-englandtowards-an-active-nation.pdf

allows. This is a revolution in the gym that is long overdue.’ For more info, go to

Wattbike powers ahead

Wattbike, creator of one of the world’s most advanced indoor bikes, has been appointed as the preferred and exclusive supplier of specialist indoor cycling equipment for Places for People Leisure. Dependent on the site and client base, the company will be installing either two Wattbikes, a zone of six Wattbikes or a studiobased cycling option across the Places for People Leisure portfolio of 113 leisure centres, starting with the newly launched Wycombe Leisure Centre, a £25m project which opened to the public in January. Given the huge growth in cycling participation across the UK in recent years,

Continued on Page 8… Issue 3//June 2016


News Places for People Leisure have placed a focus on developing an excellent cycling provision for their members. The aim is to provide their customers with an indoor cycling experience that can replicate a realride feel, as well as provide an unrivalled degree of data and accuracy that users now demand and expect in order to monitor performance over time. Members and staff will also benefit from the newly updated Wattbike Hub, which acts as a portable personal trainer, allowing users to really personalise their training. ‘The Wattbike is an outstandingly versatile product, capable of meeting the needs of a wide variety of our customers,’ says John Oxley, chief operating officer at Places for People Leisure. ‘We see the Wattbike complementing our traditional gym floor cycles as well as our group cycling offering. It will broaden our indoor cycling provision and allow much more choice, accuracy and quality to our customers, and expand the opportunities for our instructors and personal trainers.’ Places for People Leisure currently manages 113 leisure centres across England, and its sites attract more than 30 million visits every year. For more info, visit or www.

AstroTurf pitches, four indoor tennis courts and four outdoor tennis courts. There’s also a new fitness suite, various outdoor facilities and a 400-metre running track. Commenting on the award, Penny Arnold, commercial and operations director at Fusion Lifestyle, says: ‘It is fantastic that this project has received the recognition it deserves. This year alone, we expect to increase participation levels three fold, allowing community members to enjoy a huge range of facilities for all ages, abilities and at a price they can afford to pay.’ For more info, visit

Fancy a spin? Boutique gym 1Rebel has announced plans to get London moving with a live spinning studio on a bus – that is set to have several routes across London.

Success for Haringey venture

Fusion Lifestyle’s New River Sports and Fitness facility in Haringey, London, has been announced the winner of ‘Best New Facility’ at the national Sporta Awards, which were held in Bournemouth recently. The award recognises the registered charity’s incredible investment project. Just two years ago, the White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre was in desperate need of investment and under the threat of closure. The New River Sports and Fitness facility is part of a wider £20m investment project by Fusion Lifestyle within the Haringey area. In April 2014, Fusion entered into a 50-year full repairing lease for the management of the facility and set to work transforming the centre into a thriving community hub catering for the physical activity needs of a truly diverse community. The £4 million investment by Fusion has resulted in a redevelopment and refurbishment project where facilities now include an AstroTurf pitch with 1,000 seater stadium, seven-aside AstroTurf pitches and 10 five-a-side 8

Issue 3//June 2016

Known as RIDE2REBEL, it will combine practicality with fitness, and is due to launch later this year. The mobile spinning studio – designed as a result of the popularity of the gym’s most oversubscribed class – will travel the most popular commuter routes across London, finishing up at the St Mary Axe 1Rebel studio, where riders can pop in for a shower and a smoothie before work. The idea, which has been developed by James Balfour and Giles Dean, co-founders of 1Rebel, was born from a desire to offer easy solutions to customers, and remove potential hurdles for people wanting to work out and manage a busy lifestyle. James comments: ‘It is an absolute no-brainer for us that we can create more efficiency in people’s routines by transforming their commute. For those who want the components of a class, but perhaps don’t have the time to commit during the day, this provides a great solution for them to maximise time they would otherwise be spending just travelling to work.’ Interested parties can sign up at

Summit’s up FitGroupUK, a body of key stakeholders involved in the group exercise industry, is set to launch its inaugural summit this summer to help realise the full potential of the group fitness sector,

and to discuss key challenges for those working in the industry.

The event will take place at two locations: The Studio in Manchester (14 June) and Sport England’s central London offices (17 June). It will call for support in driving participation numbers and strategies to engage inactive parts of the UK population with group fitness. FitGroupUK is urging training providers, group fitness brands, industry bodies, public and private operators, retailers, local authorities, politicians and public health representatives to play their part in the first industry summit of its kind, and help energise the group fitness community at a time when Sport England is broadening its remit to achieve the physical activity goals in the Government’s recent Sports Strategy. Those attending the FitGroupUK summit will have the chance to network and take part in a number stimulating workshops. Findings from the summit will be concentrated into key focus areas and shared via an online platform in July, when the group fitness community will be invited to vote on the importance of the focus areas over a six-week period. The results of the votes will define the priorities for the FitgroupUK Executive Panel to address. For more info, visit

Teaming up to secure a future The English Institute of Sport (EIS) is working with Lifetime Training to assist athletes to qualify and develop careers as personal trainers via their courses.

Designed to provide qualifications that can potentially secure the athlete’s future, Lifetime Training is supporting all EIS athletes with access to discounted training. The project currently includes around 20 athletes who compete in a wide variety of sports. ‘For full-time athletes training in world class lottery-funded programmes, the chance to represent their country at World Championships and Olympic/Paralympic Games is the primary focus,’ says Melanie Chowns, senior performance lifestyle

News adviser for Great Britain at the English Institute of Sport. ‘However, many also want to continue their education and prepare for a career for when they retire from sport, but this can be a challenge as training and competition is seven days a week and hugely demanding. ‘The opportunity for the EIS to work with Lifetime on this online, fully accredited Personal Trainer Diploma was too good to miss, as they understood perfectly the time constraints that our elite athletes are under.’ Using Lifetime’s online social learning hub, ‘mylifetime’, athletes are now able to complete the course anywhere in the world. The community is managed by experienced tutors, providing ongoing support alongside Lifetime’s Learner Services Team.

Fancy a driathlon? RunRowRide is the new triathlon with a difference – it’s indoors! And instead of the swim, participants are challenged to undertake a row challenge. The RunRowRide Triathlon, which takes place on 16 October, means there is no getting in and out pools, changing out of wetsuits or running in wet gear. RunRowRide requires no prior experience or skills and is open to everyone – there is no need to even own a bike. You can either complete the triathlon on your own or as part of a team, at a gym near you. Choose from the Sprint Challenge or the Endurance Challenge, depending on your fitness style. For more info, visit

Grand designs

The Pulse

The Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa, part of the Hand Picked Hotels brand, has undergone a full refurbishment, including the installation of a state-ofthe-art Matrix Fitness-equipped gym.

Recent investment in a new suite of Matrix Fitness gym equipment at Grand Jersey follows the installation of Matrix products at the Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa, and St Pierre Park Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort. Open to guests and members, the new-look gym features a range of 7xi Series cardio products including treadmills, ellipticals and upright cycles, designed to deliver a refined workout experience. Gym users can adjust settings and launch content with ease as the touchscreen display looks and operates like familiar tablets, with an exclusive app interface linking users to entertainment including 4,000+ music videos plus popular TV shows; social media favourites, including Facebook and Twitter; and effective fitness tracking. For more information about Grand Jersey and Hand Picked Hotels, go to grandjersey

Energy boost

Pure World Energy (PWE), specialists in proactive and innovative energy management, is operating a 65kW combined heat and power (CHP) Gas Micro Turbine system at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre, Lincolnshire. The system has delivered immediate savings in both energy costs and carbon emissions without any capital outlay by leisure operator 1Life. The system, which took just six weeks to install, has been fully integrated into the site’s utility infrastructure. 1Life is now buying the energy produced by the system from PWE at a rate guaranteed to be lower than energy available directly from the national grid. Over the next nine years, Grantham Meres Leisure Centre will benefit from estimated

savings of £16,000 and a reduction of up to 400 metric tonnes of CO₂ per annum with no capital investment or maintenance costs. Tony Mabbott, South Kesteven contract manager for 1Life, commented: ‘We have been delighted with the immediate savings made possible by the CHP installation and believe the whole project from start to finish, including the planning, install and ongoing support from PWE, has been first rate.’ For more info, visit

Let’s all Clubbercise!

Hot on the heels of its award-winning dance fitness class for adults, Clubbercise is getting tweens and teens moving with the launch of a highly anticipated new class. Specifically targeting the 11-16 age bracket, Clubbercise U18 is a refreshing new workout designed to be safe, engaging and entertaining for young people. Borrowing the signature characteristics from the original adults’ class, Clubbercise U18 will feature flashing LED lights, glow sticks and disco lights. The routines consist of easy-to-follow aerobic and street dance moves designed to suit all abilities, including young people with disabilities. To appeal to the youth market, the U18 class is set to a more modern soundtrack, with a focus on the very latest chart hits. It also features more interactive elements to keep young people engaged throughout the 45-minute class. Due to high demand, the Clubbercise team is also currently developing a family-friendly class so that parents and kids can attend together for one big Clubbercise dance fitness party. Instructor training courses are currently taking place across the UK. For more info, go to www.

Going underground

Freedom for Arun

Water good idea

Following on from the success of its first boutique gym, INTENCITY – based beneath the swimming pool at its Southgate site – leisure management company Fusion Lifestyle is due to launch its second INTENCITY studio at Robinson Pool, Bedford, in August. Since the launch of INTENCITY, Southgate Leisure Centre has seen increased membership revenues and a 30 per cent improvement in retention. For more info, visit

Not-for-profit leisure trust Freedom Leisure has taken over the management of four leisure facilities in Arun, West Sussex. The company is working in partnership with Arun District Council to manage Arun Leisure Centre, Bersted Park Community Centre, Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre and The Windmill Entertainment Centre for the next 10 years, ensuring the facilities and services remain at the highest standard. For more info, visit www.freedom-leisure.

The Bannatyne Group has signed an exclusive contract with WaterRower to be the only UK health club with the rights to its unique ShockWave class. The innovative machine uses an encased water system to provide the same resistance as a boat gliding across the water. Created by world champion rower, Josh Crosby, ShockWave incorporates the WaterRower into a high-energy fitness class, which combines aspects of crosstraining along with functional strength exercises to provide a total body workout in a group circuit training-style format.

Issue 3//June 2016


Owner of the month

Crown jewels Paul Conway runs Crown Fitness in Llantwit Fardre, South Wales. Here, he talks about building up community fitness, and getting it right Crown Fitness is a community fitness club that was set up by Paul Conway in 2002. Paul had worked his way up from fitness instructor to fitness manager, and then into general manager roles in both the private and public sectors before starting his own club. He had been involved in five new club openings and had opened two large fitness clubs for Fitness First and Bannatynes, gathering the skills and knowledge to make the leap.

housing estate became available, which was perfect to launch a community fitness club.

Paul had also won a Stairmaster Scholarship to America, where he studied and worked at the Gainesville Health and Fitness Club in Florida. The fitness scholarship allowed Paul the opportunity to work with Joe Cirulli, whose inspiration was instrumental to Paul in owning his own gym. An old run-down squash club in a large

Next year is the club’s 15th anniversary, and they plan to celebrate in style. They have a large number of customers who have been with them for more than 10 years, and some who have been with them since the start. This is a testament of how hard the team work to make it a really great place to exercise.

Paul explains: ‘The club has always been based on core principles of cleanliness, friendliness, good value and continuous improvement. We don’t have the best facility in terms of space and equipment compared to our competitors, but we make up for this with the service we offer.’

Getting it right Friendliness ‘We get to know all of our customers by name and take a real genuine interest in their workouts. We work hard to retain customers with monthly gym challenges, master classes and social events. Our class timetable is always changing and evolving, and we look to give variety and entertainment top billing. We also raise a lot of money for charity, which the customers are happy to be involved with and contribute to. Recently, we raised £1,200 through an event, which was given to the baby unit of the local hospital.

Good value ‘We reward our loyal customers by never increasing their monthly fees. We also offer a great value membership package to new members by helping them on the start of their exercise journey. We encourage and assist them in forming healthy habits and also regular activity.’

Cleanliness ‘This is just gym basics, but so many gyms fail to keep their equipment clean. We encourage our customers to bring sweat towels and wipe equipment down after use. We also have systems in place to ensure that all areas are regularly inspected and cleaned.

Continuous improvement ‘This means looking at the business with fresh eyes. It also means working on the business and not just in the business, says Paul. We have regular staff meetings to discuss issues and give training, but more importantly we have “Get Better” meetings where we go out for some food and discuss how we make the club better. This is beneficial as it gives the employees an opportunity to share ideas and look at how we could implement changes that are beneficial to customers.’


‘The club has always been based on core principles of cleanliness, friendliness, good value and continuous improvement’ 10

Issue 3//June 2016

‘As well as investing in new equipment, we also invest in our employees’ education. I am completing an ILM (Management & Leadership) Level 5 qualification and two other employees are completing the ILM Level 4 qualification. We also have one employee who is up-skilling from Level 2 gym instructor to a Level 3 personal trainer qualification.’


Lighten up Every detail of your facility’s layout has been mapped out. Your kit and equipment were carefully chosen, and the flooring and mirrors are spot-on. Now, your choice of lighting design will highlight your facility. We shine a spotlight on the issue of lighting Words: Nicola Joyce

You want members to love being at your gym so that they keep coming back after the initial excitement of getting in shape wears off. How your members feel will affect footfall, referrals, and retention. Lighting can transform the gym member’s experience, by lifting the mood, exciting the senses, and even making a physique look better. Expert gym lighting designers recommend LED lighting, not just for its durability and flexibility of design, but also for the energy and lifetime savings it offers as maintenance comes into the picture.

‘We can typically help gym owners save 85 per cent on lighting maintenance costs by installing LED lights,’ says Carl Haffner, managing director of UK company QE Global, lighting designers and manufacturers of LED lights. It’s important to vary lighting for different areas. Consider what the space is used for: will people be lying back on benches with heavy kit in their hands, chilling out in yoga class, or tapping into the high energy mood of group classes? The gym floor needs subtler lighting that’s bright enough for equipment to be used safely, and studio areas will need a specialist touch for any changes in use.

Transforming your experience The USA gym scene has traditionally led the way, but the UK gym industry is catching up. The most innovative and customer-focused UK gyms put lighting at the forefront of facility design. Just ask the guys behind Grenade FIT in Chichester, or The Club Gym in Glasgow, who understanding how lighting transforms the client’s experience from the moment they walk through the door.

‘Lighting has traditionally been an afterthought,’ says Haffner, ‘but this is changing. Gym owners realise lighting can have a huge impact on how gym users feel about the gym. Lighting design and use of colour can transform how a space looks and feels. Great use of lighting can change people’s mood, create a feeling of excitement, and make them want to be at the gym.’

Creating a premium look Grenade FIT’s lighting design highlights a positive user experience Jamie Alderton, body transformation coach and director of Grenade FIT, has fitted his new gym space with LED lighting. His two main considerations were creating a positive experience for his members, and running costs. He asked design and install experts KSR Lighting to assist. ‘We installed bell lights which fall in line with the brand – an industrial, high-end look. And low wattage LEDs give us great running costs.’ Alderton understands how much lighting design affects gym ambience. ‘Downlighting and spotlights create a premium look,’ he says, ‘and making use of darker and lighter areas increases the scope of the space. Ultimately, we want members to feel good as they workout, and to enjoy the experience so much that they want to stay. A strong downlight makes a physique look phenomenal!’

That’s got to be good for branding, sales, and retention. What a bright idea. Issue 3//June 2016


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Gym management software designed by a gym owner – the obvious solution

When Wayne started his own gym, he was confronted with the everyday pressures faced by all small- to medium-sized clubs. He quickly realised that both he and his instructors needed a software solution to ease the daily running of his business. Finding no credible or affordable systems available, through a chance meeting he decided to create ClubManager.

THIS IS HIS STORY… Once my gym was up and running, every day would begin the same way: what do I do first? Where is the next member coming from? Are the accounts up to date? Is the paperwork up to date? What is the status of my Direct Debits? I was running around like a headless chicken, while my staff spent all of their spare time completing paperwork.

This then lead me to think that I could do a better job myself, as there was a need for this in the marketplace.

So we decided to build ClubManager.

I am a process-driven person, and knew that if I could get the process right my staff and I could spend a lot more time with our members and more time on increasing the footfall into the gym. It sounded simple enough, but after battling with spreadsheets and evaluating all the gym management software available, I was ready to give up.

I then decided that there had to be a better way, so I spent three months looking at a large number of membership software companies to see how they could make my life easier. It then became apparent to me that the software companies were not suitable for a number of reasons:  Too difficult for me to understand  Did not do what I needed them to do in the gym  I could not afford them

After a lot of beta testing (10 gyms used and tested ClubManager for six months, giving us continual feedback and suggestions) we launched. Since then, the demand for ClubManager has been phenomenal, with the system being used by hundreds of gyms worldwide.

It took about a year to develop initially. I remained thoroughly in control of the design and built it around processes and best-practices of a working gym. This was fascinating for both myself and the development team, as it means that ClubManager has been built around how a gym actually works rather than how a software company thinks a gym should work, making it really easy to use – and logical.

The rest, as they say, is history for ClubManager.


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The Big Interview

‘We want to g while staying Jacques de Bruin, chief operating officer at Pure Gym, talks growing big while staying small, the ‘boxing ring’ management style, and why there’s no head office Words: Jo Gunston

How did you get involved with Pure Gym? Out of the blue, Pure Gym founder Peter Roberts phoned and said, ‘I’ve started this gym business, I’m a hotel guy, I’ve got no idea about gyms, I’ve got the business plan covered and I just need someone to come in and build the business from an operating point of view’. He gave me absolutely free reign, a blank piece of paper and told me to create the story – and that was so inspiring. I started in 2011 with 12 clubs, and we are now at 138 operating gyms with another 17 in pre-sale, so I’ve seen quite a lot of growth.

What story did you want to create? We have created a massive, successful thing through people. Yes we’ve got bricks and mortar, we’ve got equipment – anyone can do that – but what has made it successful is the culture. There’s something special about this company and that’s what we set out to create.


Issue 3//June 2016

Would you say people are hired based on their qualifications or on whether they fit the culture? In the early days it was all about the fit. I didn’t care about the qualifications – maybe for the first 50 or 60 gyms it was all about the right attitude.

How do you reinforce the culture with such a rapidly growing business? Once a quarter I have a face-to-face session with every single gym. There are two reasons I do that. I don’t want them to think there are any barriers between ‘us and them’, irrespective of how big the company becomes and it’s important for me to emphasise what has made this company successful and re-emphasise it with the new people. Second, it’s about sharing information so they know they are trusted.

What’s the secret to making staff feel part of the journey? We want to make sure there’s autonomy so, for example, all the gyms had an input in deciding on four values that they think are important that we portray as a company. They came up with people, service, standards and product. I said to the guys, forget about sales, that will take care of itself – if you focus on the four values you’ll have a very happy member base. That’s where the culture started, with a bit of responsibility around these things. I like to refer to how we work as like a boxing ring – it has boundaries, but you can stretch it, and that’s what we want to make sure the guys feel at club level.

There’s no contract at Pure Gym, so how do you retain your customers? Members look at the price, say from £10.99, and they may go in with a bit of a low expectation, but we have got a fantastic opportunity to wow

grow big g small’ them. They see great facilities, a good product, and it’s clean and well maintained. Standards are crucial for us because we’re a volume business – you can’t come into the facility and find a treadmill not working. We had 35 million accesses last year, by a long way the highest of any other operator, and that’s 35 million opportunities for the member to either love us or leave us.

Where does Pure Gym go from here? We’re at a crossroads with the company where we want to re-emphasise our values before we get too big. We want Pure Gym to grow big while staying small. For example, I send every staff member a personal email on their birthday – yes I could use a template or get a PA to do it, but becoming a corporate is when it all becomes automated, and that’s what we’re trying to stop.

How do you make every sector of Pure Gym feel part of the bigger picture? One thing we do is a staff survey. It’s anonymous, twice a year, and the onus is back on us to improve on it, not the gyms. We don’t have a head office as such, but it’s known as the central support office – the reason being is that every single

‘We’re growing fast, but our culture remains vital’

person in the building works to make the general manager (GM) successful. If the GM is successful, the club is successful, and if the club is successful, then we as a company are successful. Where things start going wrong is when people start saying our head office this, our head office that, we have to wait for head office to make decisions – we don’t do that. People can send in any ideas that they have to our website – half of them are really out there but the important thing is for the gyms to feel like they’ve got a voice, they can be heard and they can share with us. We don’t have all the answers – but we’ve got most of the answers..

What are you most proud of? We were awarded ninth-fastest growing company in the UK from The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list, so that’s fantastic from an output point of view for a company that’s six and a bit years old. But the cherry on the cake for me is to get a place on The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies To Work For. You can’t quantify the cultural part.

‘I like to refer to how we work as like a boxing ring – it has boundaries but you can stretch it’ Issue 3//June 2016



Get it covered Making sure you’ve got the right insurance – for every eventuality – is essential in the fitness industry. But have you got all areas covered? Words: Janine Self

A significant break in revenue means a 70 per cent chance that a gym will go out of business within five years. That is the finding of insurance company Independents, who blame under-insuring for the stark statistic. Covering yourself for every foreseeable risk is a complex operation and requires expert advice. Bizarre claims include the person burnt by hot water in a Jacuzzi, a swimmer who claimed they had contracted an eye infection from the pool and someone who broke a leg in a yoga lesson.

injury as result of an instruction. This wasn’t about the equipment going wrong, no-one fell over, it was an exercise. I would recommend gym owners try a broker to talk through what is required. Box ticking is dangerous.’

‘It’s not just about getting insurance, it’s about getting the right insurance,’ says John Ansell and Partners executive director Craig Smith.

His view is shared by Neil Adebowale, director of Independents, who offer different packages including assets, stock, business interruption, and public and employer liability.

‘Breaking a leg in a yoga lesson is a classic example of where you have

‘The hot topic is cyber insurance,’ says Adebowale. ‘It’s a fairly new area of

Are you liable? Director and officers’ cover is another new aspect of the insurance package, as the law increasingly holds directors liable. Andy Brownsell, commercial director at Protectivity, a niche insurance company with 20 years’ experience, recommends some daily checks. He explains: ‘This should include – but is not limited to – checking fire exits and doors for obstructions, checking the facility for trip and slip hazards, checking gym equipment, checking distress alarms are working correctly, and checking that CCTV is operating and recording. ‘There should be a weekly basic maintenance check sheet for all equipment, and contracts


Issue 3//June 2016

should be in place to maintain the equipment depending on the manufactures guidelines. Staff should hold appropriate qualifications for the advice and tuition they are providing – this should be checked by the gym and copies of their qualification held on file.’ Insure4sport offers an online service that they believe speeds up the process. Spokesman Chris Smith said: ‘We work on a modular basis so there’s no need to pay for things you don’t really need.’ Remember, you can never be over-insured. By making sure that you’re covered – from every direction – your gym should hopefully be a safe place to be.

insurance coming out of the highprofile hacking we have seen recently.’ Smith confirms: ‘If you have a website and you are collecting data, then you have to think about data security, how you could handle viruses, that sort of thing. At the moment it is embryonic.’

‘The hot topic is cyber insurance'

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Issue 3//June 2016



Changing The look, feel and security of your gym’s changing facilities are one of your biggest selling points – so it’s crucial you get it right. Here’s how Words: Claire Lavelle

After poorly maintained equipment and an uninviting training area, nothing deters potential new clients from investing in a shiny new gym membership like substandard changing rooms. Dodgy lockers, a tired façade and dribbly showers will see would-be members jogging on at the double – in today’s super-competitive fitness landscape, naïve is the gym owner who doesn’t pay due care and attention to this key selling point, which is, in effect, their important ‘second space’. ‘Savvy gym operators are turning their focus to changing room design to give their club the edge,’ says Howard Braband, managing director of fitness equipment supplier Gym Kit UK (www. ‘Designing a high quality changing area is no longer the preserve of the exclusive health

club chains. Several of the budget gym operators are investing in their changing rooms, with luxury lockers, benching, vanity units and mood lighting, and it can literally change the entire feel of a club if you get it right. ‘Customers spend a quarter of their

‘Customers spend a quarter of their gym time in the changing rooms’ gym time in the changing rooms, and it’s the area where they are most sensitive to their surroundings. They notice things like cleanliness, but also design, in terms of both aesthetics and functionality. And, just as importantly, it’s also typically the area about which most clients complain.’

Smarten up Faulty showers, broken or tiny lockers, dirty floors, pooling water and a lack of air conditioning are among the most common gripes gym managers receive, but just how easy is it to spruce up this key area – especially if you’re working on a tight budget? ‘If the changing area is very small, you can take the lockers and put them in the corridors, which means you can devote more space to showers and vanity areas,’ says Darrel Gregory, director of locker provider Solutions for Leisure (www.solutionsforleisure. ‘Some gym owners and their clients prefer this because as well as more space, it means they’re more visible and therefore more secure.’


Issue 3//June 2016

On which note, it seems that locker function and design is quite the hot potato of 2016. ‘There’s a move away from coin-operated lockers to using padlocks, as they’re more secure and the onus is on the gym goer to ensure correct use, which some gym owners prefer,’ says Darrel Gregory. ‘We can convert existing coin-operated lockers to padlocks, which is cheaper than installing completely new units from

scratch. The new £1 coin, which will be introduced in March 2017, is also a factor that gym owners will want to take into account if they’re considering updating or changing coin lockers. ‘Electronic lockers are also increasingly popular,’ he continues. ‘Keypads require either a PIN code or a wristband and are very secure – plus they have the added bonus of the customer not

ng rooms having to worry about lost keys or carrying fiddly change.’ Choosing lockers that meet the needs of specific members is becoming more important, too. ‘We’re seeing more intelligent design in terms of changing room layouts, with careful thought going in to locker size and shape,’ says

Making your budget work harder Creating ambience with low voltage LED lighting is a cost-effective option that, teamed with soft vinyl-covered benching, gives a touch of that all-important luxe. ‘The use of metal materials such as copper and brass effect is in vogue for a more industrial feel, as too are cement, concrete and stone effects,’ says Howard Braband. ‘Shabby chic is also trending in some of the boutique clubs, and screen printing on locker doors is now an affordable option, too.’

Howard Braband. ‘Clubs are no longer simply installing two-column lockers wall-to-wall. We’re mixing up the locker configurations, installing fulllength lockers for customers who want to hang dresses or suits along with bag hold-all lockers located near changing room entrances for customers who are in a hurry and already changed.

means that it’s environmentally friendly and halves one of the largest operating costs for businesses such as leisure centres and gyms.

not only pose a health risk by allowing the spread of germs, but also affect the gym’s perception of quality among customers.

‘Gym owners can optimise water and energy use by turning down the pressure, but it results in a pretty poor shower. Tests under laboratory conditions have shown that we can reduce water and energy usage by half and yet still deliver the great showering experience customers demand. Plus our showers can be easily retrofitted to existing systems with minimal disruption to business.’

‘Gyms owners are primed to acquire new members through positive word of mouth, which means hygiene standards can have a tangible effect on members’ loyalty – there’s a certain irony in asking somebody to keep fit in an unclean environment.

Shower power

Getting hygiene fit

If there’s one area of the changing room that’s going to make or break your client’s user experience, it’s the shower. ‘A tepid dribble just won’t cut it,’ says Chris Jackson, CEO of Kelda Technology (www., which designs and develops cutting-edge shower technology. ‘We aim to optimise use of energy and water without compromising on the shower experience – we know this is something that’s very important to the gym members.

Steve Nurdin, marketing manager at Cannon Hygiene UK, explains the strong link between hygiene and profitability in the fitness sector

‘Our “water-in-air” technology means that water is broken into droplets by the air to form a spray, and is accelerated using a jet-type nozzle. The lower water usage

‘We’re also installing smaller security lockers for mobile phones, wallets and keys. Plus, by installing lockers outside studios, and at gym entrances, we make it easy for those members to train and go – some don’t even need to enter the changing rooms. It’s all about convenience and what the customer wants.’

‘A recent study by Nuffield Health found cleanliness to be one of the top concerns for gym-goers. Nearly three-quarters of people surveyed revealed they had witnessed another gym member demonstrate poor hygiene, such as not wiping down a machine after use. ‘Without having a thorough hygiene policy in place, gym owners risk subjecting their members to unhygienic conditions, which

‘The fitness sector, like any other, is built on reputation, so it’s important to keep the work out and changing room areas hygienic. Gym owners need to keep hygiene at the front of their minds at all times as a way of supporting a positive brand perception, which encourages members to join and return. ‘A high volume of people will pass through a gym on a daily basis, so providing a means for members to sanitise equipment and keep the transfer of germs at bay won’t go unnoticed. Door handle sanitisers are available for high-footfall areas and high quality soap dispensers can be installed to promote frequent hand-washing. ‘What’s more, deep cleaning changing areas regularly will help to prevent malodours, while providing good hand washing facilities can help reduce the transmission of bacteria.’

Issue 3//June 2016



Fit Kit

Get in tune with your gym users and discover the best fitness kit and gadgets around

Words: Sarah Juggins

Physical double grip medicine ball

Nike Tailwind sunglasses

Impress your clients with this medicine ball, which has two handles that give the ball much greater versatility, allowing for moves with single or dual-handed grip. Rotational power drills, snatch-type exercises, single arm lifts and passing movements are just a selection of additional moves that can be performed with it. It’s available in a choice of sizes from 4kg to 10kg, and prices range from £30-£55.

Whether you or your clients are running, cycling or doing an outdoor bootcamp, it’s important you protect your eyes from the power of the sun, as well as dirt, dust and debris. These Nike Tailwind 12 R sunglasses are stylish and practical. They boast lightweight frames, a spring hinge for a comfortable and secure fit and a flying lens design, which allows air to circulates around the nose to prevent lens fogging. Rrp £95

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The 6 Pack Fitness Innovator 300

Protein – every body builder knows that it’s essential for muscle growth and repair, but what’s the most efficient means of getting more protein into your system? Well, the guys at recommend Xtend, the intraworkout powder for endurance and recovery. The drink mix is calorie- and sugar-free, and has been shown in two university studies to support muscle growth, help faster recovery and preserve muscle. Xtend retails at £20.84 for 30 servings.

This is the food organisation system that any athlete who is serious about his or her diet and supplements should have. With an adjustable, insulated core system, the Innovator 300 has three independent chambers to keep your meals, drinks, supplements or energy bars fresh – and at the right temperature. Priced £64.94, it’s available from

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Issue 3//June 2016

Walking to fitness If you fancy getting your clients out into the countryside and doing some hardcore trekking or Nordic walking, then Leki’s Micro Vario Carbon folding trekking poles are just the thing. By using your arms as well as your legs when walking, you get an all-over body workout. These collapsible poles weight just 448g per pair and are 130cm long when fully extended. Priced £145, they’re available from

Under Armour UA Resistor training glove These training gloves for women, featuring ArmourMesh construction, are designed to keep the hands cool and dry, while offering extra protection and padding so you can train for longer and grip tighter. The perforations in the palms increase the breathability, while the terrycloth thumb allows you to discreetly wipe away the sweat.

Manuka Eco beginner’s yoga mat All yoga mats are not created equal. The Manuka Eco beginner’s yoga mat, which gained a five-star rating from customers, is designed for durability and performance and has hit the mark with yoga aficionados. This highly stable, slip-resistant, lightweight mat has the added attraction of being environmentally friendly as it has been developed from non-toxic, non-ozone depleting materials. It’s available from John Lewis, priced £20.

Naked Greenz wheatgrass powder Wheatgrass is the perfect gym food – it’s a powerhouse of nutrition, and includes 20 amino acids. It weighs in at a hefty 25 per cent protein (compared to meat, which is 17 per cent), and is an alkaline food, so helps neutralise lactic acid after a workout. Wheatgrass also oxygenates your blood, which results in more energy.

They’re available from, priced £20.

Available to order at, £25 for 250g

Jordan MostFit Core Hammer

Myprotein premium zip hoodie

Sledgehammer workouts are dynamic, fun, and now safe. They engage all of your muscles and challenge your cardiovascular system, and they’re great for athletes, fitness-savvy folks, and even casual exercisers. The MostFit Core Hammer weighs just 8lbs or 12lbs, offering a portable sledgehammer workout. Find them at, priced £220.

Direct debit collection Member management Customer relationship management

The team at Myprotein have come up with a stylish and comfortable range of training hoodies. Available in black, grey and blue, the hoodies have four-way stretch, allowing great mobility; thumb holes, which prevent the sleeves from sliding up your arms during exercise, and a drop back hem that means the hoodie looks good, no matter what rigorous activity you or your clients are putting it through Available from from £30

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Access control and much, much more




Issue 3//June 2016



Hit the floor When setting up your gym, you think about the equipment you want, the fitness sessions you want to run and how to really make your mark with branding; however, one factor that often gets overlooked is finding the right flooring solution Words: Katie Scott


Flooring trends

Ranging from 8mm to 40mm, rubber is a popular flooring solution due to its impact protection to both subfloors and equipment, as well as sound absorption properties. Rubber handily also utilises inbuilt rebound technology, which is great for free weight areas, absorbing the impact if a weight is dropped. It can also be considered a more green or ecofriendly option as it uses recycled technologies. Paul Farrell, account manager at Physical Company, says: ‘Rubber is easy to maintain and keep clean with a weekly hoover and mop and will not smell with sweat, which can be a problem with carpets. Rubber will last for many years if installed correctly with the correct adhesives.’

Ben Steadman, national account manager for MOD and sport performance at Pulse, highlights that ‘performance flooring is an emerging market.’ Not only are gyms putting in requests for running tracks and plyometric ladders, but putting your brand’s logo on the floor is also becoming more popular. Amal Pancholi, account manager at Polymax, says to keep up with the boom in free weight training, they are introducing coloured tough gym mats, which are thicker than the norm. ‘The industry now recognises that the floor is almost like a piece of equipment in itself,’ agrees Ross Johns, UK fitness specialist at Gerflor.

Vinyl If you are looking for an alternative to rubber, vinyl is another good option. It has lots going for it – it’s resilient, hard wearing, easy to create bespoke designs with, antibacterial and easy to clean, as well as requiring little maintenance. Simple to install, vinyl flooring has a useful anti-slip rating and can be used in sports halls, gyms, corridors, changings rooms, weight areas, studios, functional zones and spin studios.

Ben Steadman

Ross Johns

Tiles versus rolls Tiles


 Tend to be thicker  Used in weight areas or for heavier equipment  Easy to install (no bonding adhesive)  Easy to move and replace single tiles  Can see any gaps or joins  Ideal for new start-ups who may want to take flooring with them when they move to larger premises  Not ideal under treadmills or moving equipment – prone to pulling apart

 Suitable for a permanent installation  Can be used through a gym and CV area  Trickier to install  Cannot be easily replaced if damaged  Needs to be adhered to the floor  Polished final appearance with no joins visible


Issue 3//June 2016

What to consider when choosing flooring for your gym  The existing floor W hat will the floor be used for?

 Density required  Brand/style/colours

What about wet areas? Christian Harris, commercial director at Bonasystems, says to look for the Pendulum Test Value of 36+ for pool sides, steam rooms, saunas, showers and locker rooms.


Playing it safe Health and safety legislation can bring out most gym owners in a cold sweat, but it’s something you need to get your head round if you want to stay safe Words: Howard G Davies

For most independent private gym owners, seeing the words ‘health and safety’ has probably already caused you to turn the page, but before you do, take a few minutes to read on. One day you may be grateful you did.

The fairly high-risk nature of exercise in gyms and lack of knowledge of training by some customers means that accidents involving injury are something all gym owners are likely to face at some stage. Being prepared, with a current set of Health and Safety Policy documents or an accident assessment, could help you avoid the aggravation of facing a claim for negligence and the possible resultant higher insurance premiums. There are two main legal requirements, besides your Public and Employers liability insurances, that gym owners need to comply with. The first is a Health and Safety Policy, written if

you have five or more employees, as required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This policy document is required to set out the duties that employers and gym owners have, not only to their employees, but also to independent contractors, such as freelance personal trainers and others using the gym.

hazard easier than preparing your own analysis, with the result you are less likely to overlook an important item.

directives. For example, treadmill falls are one of the most common causes of accidents in gyms – some of which could be avoided by suppliers advising gym owners on how they can comply with a couple of the requirements of the EN treadmill standard.

Secondly, a compulsory risk assessment is required as part of that policy by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which requires all employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others, arising from work activities.

Getting help No doubt you’ve heard all this before – you know what to do, but find you haven’t got the time to research it, write it down and keep it up to date. There is a lot of generic information on the web, but little that is specific to small- or mediumsized independent gyms. A health and safety specialist can assist you with a simple health and safety policy template and risk assessment checklists, which can relieve you of some of the headaches and the cost of your time spent preparing to meet these legal requirements. Using a checklist based on specific hazards found in gyms can make identifying the

A specialist will also be able to you avoid issues relating the safety of your equipment by ensuring that your CV and strength equipment suppliers take the responsibility for safety liability issues on current products they have supplied – which need to meet UK safety standards and regulations. Recent changes to some EU Directives under a new legislative framework places new responsibilities and liabilities for ensuring that products they supply meet these

Previously, it was only the manufacturers – particularly those overseas – who had responsibility, but now these changes mean that importers, distributors and suppliers who place the equipment on the market in the EU and the UK have a duty to ensure the products they sell meet these regulations.

Howard G Davies Associates provides an information service for gym owners who require help, or need assistance with preparing policy documentation for meeting the legal Health and Safety requirements gym owners and managers need to comply with, ranging from the safety of their staff to UK equipment regulations and standards. They can also provide an initial assessment of an owner’s possible liability as the result of an accident in the gym.

Issue 3//June 2016



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And just like that (by which, we mean several months of hard work), the World Power Show & Expo UK was born. This summer, London’s ExCel (often quoted as Europe’s foremost venue) will be attracting a very diverse audience of fitness enthusiasts and professionals from London, the UK, Europe and more.




Adrenaline will be pumping through thousands of visitors for the whole weekend, thanks to dozen of shows including car-lifting strongmen, ring sports and calisthenics athletes rolling their bodies around nine-feet-high bars, not to mention a parade of unchained stick-fighters, sumo wrestlers, concrete breakers and bodybuilders. “Be part of the strongest show around! The best in the country in strength will take to the stage to prove they are the strongest. This is a not-tobe-missed weekend!”

“I’m making my first public appearance in the UK this July – can’t wait! Hope to see you guys there!”

- Glenn Ross, The Daddy (Ultimate Strongest Man) But that’s not all. The maestro of calisthenics, Frank Medrano, will be making his first UK appearance at the World Power Show where he will be judging competitions, meeting fans and speaking. Ronnie Coleman, eight-time Mr Olympia and uncontested bodybuilding king, will also take part in the fitness event of the year and show off some ripped muscles. Both guest celebrities will be joined by UK professional athletes and champions in the parkour, capoeira, wrestling, strongman, martial arts and calisthenics fields for hours of fun and inspiration.

Still wondering why the World Power Show is unique? Our extensive knowledge of the market makes WPS different from any other fitness event in that we are not just putting together an expo, we also have 14 association-run national tournaments taking place, too. This means the expo will be brimming with not just enthusiasts and fans, but also dedicated professionals who invest seriously in their own performance. And unlike some of the more established events, we are working with each and every one of our partners in

– Frank Medrano order to put together the best event possible for all with a common goal: to motivate and inspire people through sports and training to encourage them to live their passion for fitness (and all that it entails) to the fullest.

That’s right – nothing is too good for you. ‘London Chessboxing is really excited to be part of the World Power Show & Expo 2016. There is such a wide range of power sports on display and it will be a great to meet fellow fitness enthusiasts.’ – London Chessboxing

We’re proud to bring you London’s premier showcase and celebration for fitness, endurance and strength 2 - 3 July 2016 |


6 reasons you’re getting any resul Oddly enough it’s usually for one or more of the same six reasons. The worst thing, though, is that everyone already knows they need to do these things. It may seem like I’m teaching you to suck eggs, but if you’re reading this and thinking that your results haven’t been coming as quickly as you’d like, then it might be the reminder that you need in order to start making serious gains. 1. You don’t eat enough If your goal is to gain weight and you aren’t achieving that, you need to eat more. It really is that simple. ‘Hardgainers’ will often complain that they are eating as much as they can stomach and yet their medium-sized t-shirts just never seem to get any tighter. Part of the problem is that people are too scared of fat gain to eat a good amount of food. Like it or not, if you want to gain muscle tissue you need the number on the scale to get bigger and some degree of fat gain is inevitable. We can (and should) minimise this as much as possible by training on a progressive program and keeping our calorie surplus moderate, but it’s a mistake to think that you are going to get anywhere without accepting your abs getting a little soft. The flip side is that some people have a small appetite, eat ‘clean’ foods such as chicken breast and potatoes – which have a lot of volume for the calories – and don’t track their intake. If you are one of these people it may feel like you are eating a ton, but even if you are utilising calorie-dense sources and eating until you are full, some folks’ bodies will adapt and resist weight gain. You might fidget more and you probably have more energy so you train harder, both resulting in a ramped-up calorie expenditure. Another issue is that you can eat like a beast for two to three days, but after a while it gets difficult. You feel stuffed and bloated. At this point you might undereat


Issue 3//June 2016

for a day or two, effectively cancelling out your attempt at bulking. Eating a good surplus, consistently, is the key. Track your intake and if you’re not seeing your weight increase, your calories need to increase first.

2. You don’t rest enough I know, you’ve heard it a million times before – but do you actually listen? Muscle grows outside of the gym, and it mostly grows while you are asleep. Even if you are taking three or four days off per week and your gym sessions are well programmed, by undersleeping you are risking drastically reduced progress. Sleep is the time when your body performs the majority of its repair work, both of the musculoskeletal system and the central nervous system. If you stay up late watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory or playing Xbox and then get up early the next day, you could be cutting your sleep short. And what you do get is likely to be of poor quality. This means that you aren’t able to train as hard due to CNS fatigue, and the training you are able to manage is recovered from terribly. It’s old advice and you’ve read (ignored) it before, but switch off screens an hour or so before sleep, get a hot shower, crack a window and close the blinds. Your sleep will improve, your guns will improve, and your concentration will improve.

3. Your nutrition sucks A quick scan of Instagram will tell you that the diet of your typical gym-goer has changed somewhat in the past 10 years or so. What used to be pictures of 42 identical Tupperwear boxes prepped for a week of chicken, rice and broccoli has become pictures of ice cream, burgers, pizza and ‘flexbowls’. Flexible dieting is great. For a start, the whole ‘eat the same stuff all day, every day’ thing is as unhealthy as it is boring, and the slow death of that approach is more than welcome – the problem comes when people take it too far. It’s often said that flexible dieters take care of their micronutrition, and the junk only makes up a small amount of their diet (80/20 is the usual split advocated) – and in these instances I’m all for it. Eighty per cent of someone’s intake is going to be more than enough for them to consume all the vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health by utilising meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy, wholegrains, beans and pulses. Is that the case though? We’ve all seen flexible dieters who seem to struggle with their fibre intake and eat health bars to compensate, and we’ve seen them eating two to three meals per day, one or more of which is pretty much just junk. These people pay lip service to consuming predominantly whole foods, but the evidence says otherwise.

not ults

Everyone in the gym is seeking results – that much is obvious. Why, therefore, do the vast majority of people who train week after week never really get anywhere? Words: Ben Coomber

Adequate micronutrition is vital to allow your body to break down, absorb and utilise the macronutrition we consume, and without it you are going to find recovery difficult, growth reduced, fat loss harder, sleep impaired, concentration poor and a host of other potential issues. You aren’t going to become unhealthy, really, but ‘getting enough’ and ‘getting as much as you need’ are not the same thing when it comes to making progress in the gym. When in doubt, stick to whole foods as much as you possibly can and consider the 80/20 rule a maximum, saving the treats for rare occasions. You’ll feel and perform better for it.

4. You rely on preworkouts too much Caffeine is an ergogenic aid, no doubt. It’s the world’s most used and arguably most useful psychoactive drug, and I am in no way telling you not to have any (though I would personally recommend tablets if you want to use a supplement). Where people run into problems is if they have two to three coffees in the morning, a coffee at lunch, an energy drink in the afternoon and then top it off with a (increasingly potent over time) pre-workout before they train. Stimulating your nervous system that often with caffeine will eventually lead to burnout. Because you are able to train much harder than you usually would and

you spend all day high, you also ignore fatigue and tiredness. You are unable to pay attention to your body’s signals that are telling you to rest, and you end up in a state of overreaching.

are that you need to train harder. Add reps, or sets, or another session – or man up and add some more weight to the bar. Whatever it is you need to do, you need to increase the demands you are placing on your body.

Planned overreaching is great if it’s followed by a deload, but when was the last time you actually took a full week deload and a full cycle off of pre-workout?

6. You’re dehydrated

5. You don’t train hard enough

We all know that we should drink more water, but do you actually try to do it?

This one is the hardest pill to swallow because everyone likes to think they train like a madman, but is it actually true? Are you following a structured and prewritten program? If not, the chances are you are cruising along in your training (or if you aren’t, you soon will be). Structured programs tell you when to push and when to back off so you can push hard again later – this undulating system means that you are always forcing your body to adapt to increasingly powerful stimuli and is exactly what you need to make some awesome gains. When you are following a routine, or just ‘going in and seeing what feels good’ you will probably train like a demon for four to six weeks, then start getting tired. At this point you start cruising and this is why you see so many people in the gym lifting the same amount of weight week in, week out.

Do you start the day with a drink or carry a water bottle? When did you last have a glass of water while watching TV or surfing the web? Hydration levels are vital for muscle hydration, obviously, but this hydration does more than prevent cramps. It improves the rate at which your body can flush out metabolites from training, meaning you recover faster. It increases the rate at which muscle protein synthesis can happen, and it can even make you look fuller and more muscular than you ever could when dehydrated. Adding flavoured electrolytes to water during training is a really effective way to make yourself drink more, and then allow your body to absorb that water better.

If you’ve been hitting the gym and lifting the same weight for a while, the chances

So, that’s my list. I know you know all of this already – we all do. The point isn’t to know, though, the point is to implement. Implement well, and implement consistently for your entire training career. Start today and you will be surprised at how fast things start to change.

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Britain’s hap In May, the results of this year’s Happiest Gym in Britain were announced – and we’re delighted to announce that Oxygen Fit in Barnet scooped the prestigious title for 2016 The Happiest Gym in Britain award launched this year, borne from a need to recognise and celebrate gyms across the UK that are working hard to build friendly and inviting communities, and encourage exercise participation across all demographics. The award promotes the importance of creating supportive and friendly environments in which to exercise,

and instilling a sense of belonging. It recognises the gyms that have made extraordinary efforts to create this kind of environment. At the end of May this year’s winner was announced: Oxygen Fit in Barnet. The gym serves as an inspirational leader within the fitness industry: it embodies the core values of providing an exceptional member experience and being committed to driving exercise

participation in the UK. Oxygen Fit opened in September 2010, led by husband and wife team, Neil and Emma Godly. They strive to be the friendliest, nonintimidating and most proactive gym in the area, and position member support and member happiness at the heart of its business.

Five minutes with Emma and Neil Godly What does it mean to win the award? Winning the award is proof that with determination and perseverance, anything can be achieved. It has helped to build a stronger community and injected some pride into our members. We feel that winning the award has built our confidence because, ultimately, everyone wants to come to a gym that has a happy environment. Both Emma and I are confident that this award will improve sales, revenue and the community at Oxygen Fit as a whole.

How diverse is your membership base? We started off with a membership model, but with the current climate of low budget clubs we had to become more specific. When we first opened, we had standard memberships of between £40-£60 a month, offering studio classes and assessments. We now focus on bringing personal training memberships in.


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We changed because we needed a better revenue model. So we hired Net Profit Explosion to coach us into changing our model from standard membership to personal training and semi private. Thanks to this, we have fewer members and higher revenue. We charge between £150-£500 monthly, and our target market is professionals and business owners aged 45-plus.

What’s your USP? We are a small, family-run boutique gym, and because of this we can provide the best customer service and produce results like no other gym in the area. We have great staff that really care and follow our core values. We live, breath, and strive for success.

How did Oxygen Fit come about? Having worked in the fitness Industry for more than 15 years, Emma and I set up Oxygen Fit in 2010. The reason we decided to set up our own facility was because we were frustrated working at gyms that

were poorly run, just for bottom line. We found The Tower – a listed iconic building (with parking!) and transformed it into a community hub, Oxygen Fit. In the first year of opening, we won ‘Best Newcomer’ at the National Fitness Awards. Over the course of the next six years, we have changed our model using coaching from Net Profit Explosion and we are now known locally as the friendly gym that produces results. We have always had the community and family fitness in mind, and this has helped Oxygen Fit thrive during very competitive times. Winning the ‘Happiest Gym in Britain’ is such a monumental award – my team and I are truly honored.

‘We can provide the best customer service and produce results like no other gym in the area’

ppiest gym Neil Godly

Emma Godly

Previously a personal trainer and sports injury therapist to the stars, Neil has worked with professional athletes, tennis players, pop stars, actors, the British Athletics Olympic Team and, more recently, the Italian Gymnastics Olympic Squad.

Emma’s passion for fitness is founded on a military and martial arts background. She’s the business brains behind Oxygen Fit, having run her own businesses for more than 13 years. Specialising in antenatal and postnatal exercise, she believes active families make active kids. Emma loves coaching boxing and Kettlebells, as well as running the postnatal classes ‘Oxygen Fit Mums’.

Although he has worked with top athletes, he now prefers to work with individuals locally and is passionate about promoting fitness within the community. His motto is: Fitter families, fitter kids. Neil is the visionary behind Oxygen Fit, a strong leader and is constantly striving to help his team improve their knowledge, skills and abilities. Neil has achieved 85kg weight loss with one client, and can help you achieve any fitness goal you have.

Emma Godly

‘I am so proud of my Happy Team. We genuinely make a difference to people’s lives every day. I want to thank everyone who’s supported Oxygen Fit both in the past and the present. Thanks to ClubWise, Gym Owner Monthly magazine and UK Active for making this Happy moment possible. It’s so fantastic to play such a positive role in our great industry.’ More Info Oxygen Fit The Tower Church Farm Church Hill Road East Barnet Hertfordshire EN4 8XE  020 8368 3715 

Issue 3//June 2016


Fitness Over 50

Fat to fit Chris Zaremba specialises in fitness for those over the age of 50. This month, he talks about how he got to grips with getting fit, and discovering the gym By the age of 52, I had already lost of lot of bodyweight – but due to a lack of knowledge at that stage, I had lost fat and muscle. Thanks to my personal trainer, Rob Riches – now a fitness model and professional – I learnt how to lose body fat while building muscle. To help me, Rob gave me a year to move into fat-down, muscle-up mode. He worked with me to develop a set of 10 specific measurable targets for my

Unassisted wide grip pull-ups Unassisted narrow grip pull-ups 10 reps – DB flat bench chest

fitness year. Most of these goals were defined by weights moved in the gym, and the remainder were body statistics. Rob agreed to be my fitness partner and coach throughout this project, and gave me instruction and education both via email and by meeting and training together. Rob designed workout programmes and nutrition guidelines for me that were focused on helping me attain my specific 10 goals. It was tough to stick to, but achievable.


Target end

Actual end










10 reps – DB seated shoulder press




10 reps – DB preacher curl







Tricep dips Abs decline bench crunches




Overall weight lb




Bodyfat percentage




Waist inches




I had a couple of incentives to succeed – Rob had shown belief in me and I didn’t want to let him down. I also had a more tangible incentive – my wife Jenny was so keen on me attaining my fitness goals that she agreed that if I achieved at least seven out of the 10 targets by the end of the year, then we could buy one of my favourite cars (a Mazda MX-5 2.0i Sportech with electric roof, since you ask). Definitely the carrot rather than the stick approach!

I achieved nine out of the ten targets – better than the seven aimed for, certainly enough to justify buying the car. It was ordered on the day my fitness year ended – my 53rd birthday. And that was it. My fitness campaign was complete. And a success. I had achieved my goals, I had reached the point I wanted to be. Jenny loved the ‘new me’. I had the car to prove it. I could now say goodbye to the gym and to planned nutrition forever. Except... I was hooked.

Getting the bug I’d enjoyed the last months, and certainly I liked the way my body had altered. It wasn’t a pain to go the gym any more. Indeed, it was more of a pain not to. More importantly, Jenny approved of the changes in me – and encouraged me not to stop. So, I decided to develop some new goals. I set myself a new overall objective: to achieve the best body I possibly could by my 55th birthday. To do this, I created five simple measures:  Continue to increase weights in the gym for all bodyparts


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 Start seeing some real ab definition  Lose a few more pounds of fat, replace with few more pounds of muscle  Drop my bodyfat down to 12 per cent from 14 per cent  Keep the compliments coming from Jenny Rob continued in his role as coach and fitness adviser, and he redesigned my nutrition and training regimes. Towards the end of that year, he set up my first fitness photo-shoot with Simon Howard (www. And by that stage, I was somewhere between addicted and obsessed

on my fitness habit. But that was nothing compared to what happened when Rob mentioned something about me appearing on stage in a fitness model and muscle model contest… Read about the next stage in Chris’s fitness journey in next month’s edition. Read about the next stage in Chris’s fitness journey in next month’s edition. Find out more on Chris on his website – and video site

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Issue 3//June 2016




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A whole new ball game

Adam Wilson, owner of new gym Anatomy 37, on being a jack of all trades

Four days. That’s the number of days off I’ve had since I opened Anatomy 37 in January earlier this year. Three of those have been bank holidays where I’ve chosen to close for the day, and one was a Sunday where my girlfriend took me away for my birthday. To have this one day off – where the gym was only open for four hours – required a high degree of planning and organisation to ensure I had sufficient cover for the gym.

Determined to succeed

As a personal trainer I’m used to working unsociable hours. Clients tend to want to be trained between the hours of 6am-9am and 5pm-9pm, not to mention weekends. If you’re looking for a 9am5pm job, five days a week, then personal training certainly isn’t for you. But I’ve come to understand that owning your own business, combined with training my own clients, is a whole new ball game.

I’ve had to write contracts for my resident trainers, deal with the bank to set up my new account, deal with health and safety requirements, put together new equipment, and learn how to maintain a website and social media programme.

I’ve become used to the 90+ hour weeks and resigned myself to the fact that this will be the foreseeable working week for me. I won’t lie and say it is easy – I get absolutely exhausted at times and have to dig deep to continue.

I’m motivated to keep going as I love what I do, I’m so proud I’ve been able to realise a dream of mine and I am determined to succeed. Seeing new members join, enjoy what I’ve created, and reap the rewards of a committed fitness regime spurs me on to continue. I’ve also learnt lots of new skills throughout this process. I’ve always been confident in my ability to train clients, but now I’ve had to tackle a whole new host of skills. I’ve had to turn entrepreneur, business owner, handyman and cleaner, as well as consider how to run the accounts of a business and deal with HR issues.

Founding the business by myself has meant that I’ve had to adjust quickly and also rely on those closest to me for help. I’m sure there are going to be plenty more times when I’m going to need help over the next six months, and I’m thankful that there are lots of people willing to help. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support I’ve received, and have given several free training sessions in return!

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PT’s Viewpoint

‘No other sport self-control tha competitions do Taking part in bodybuilding and fitness competitions is exciting – but it comes at a price, says personal trainer Ronni McKay As gym owners and fitness professionals, it is impossible to ignore the current trend and demand for people wanting to compete in fitness competitions. In the last few years, the world of fitness competitions has become the thing of the moment, with anyone and everyone wanting to get muscular and lean, tanned, and jump on stage and flex their muscles. Having been a personal trainer, prep coach, gym manager and competitive bodybuilder for more than 20 years, I, of course applaud anyone for training for a purpose and being goal driven. But I believe the reality of what is happening has escalated to dangerous level. I feel we have a moral and professional obligation and responsibility to inform anyone considering training for a competition about the potential dangers involved during and after the contest. I have seen numerous people – who appear level-headed and calm – become self-obsessed, insular, paranoid wrecks during the preparation stage, and selfhating, binge eating, depressed individuals after the competition. With any event, the athlete will, at times, have moments of self-doubt and low morale, but when it's about body image and a restricted and limited range of foods, this takes concerns 34

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to another level and body dysmorphia often sets in. Yes, you do need an immense amount of focus and drive and yes, you should make your event your key aim, otherwise you won’t be fully committed, but there needs to be an experienced and honest prep coach supporting and advising you during this time. I have seen people being prepped by coaches who simply dish out a diet and training schedule and then are not available for questions, insecurities or advice along the way. This leads the competitor to feeling alone and helpless with no real clue of what is happening or what’s supposed to happen. I have lost count the amount of times I have been there to listen to and mop up tears of people who are panicking and terrified they don't look right, that they’ve messed up their diet, or they won't be ready. These are not even my clients, but their coach hasn't got back to them or is too busy to talk – perhaps he doesn’t care that much.

requires the at bodybuilding o’ Personal touch The sheer volume of people taking part in competitions now means that coaches and trainers lose the personal interest in their client – it’s just one more person they have in prep. But the effect it can have on the competitor – especially first-timers – is long lasting and, for many, can be quite devastating. As most of us are aware, to compete means a vigorous training schedule and incredibly strict diet. To put oneself through this, there needs to be strong support surrounding the individual and a solid understanding that this lifestyle is for a purpose – and is not

permanently sustainable. The aftercare is equally important, as this is the worst time. Once the competition is done and the excitement over, the competitor is often left to fend alone. And when your life of controlled foods is over and there is no structure or necessity to diet, the person can literally eat anything they want. Or, on the flip side, they may be scared to eat and fear putting on weight. Therefore, eating disorders are rife. The obsession of body image and the inability to see oneself realistically is part and parcel of the journey, and before embarking on this it should be

made very clear to all involved what happens on an emotional level, as well as a physical one. I have walked around supermarkets like a crazed woman, dribbling over foods I cannot eat at that time. The smells and talk of food everywhere, the social aspect of eating and the comfort and indulgence it brings is taken away for a period of time, and this can make a person feel isolated and depressed. I have looked in the mirror at six per cent body fat and seen ‘fatty bits’ that, in reality, is subcutaneous water, and my coach had snapped me back to planet earth and reminded me of this.

Extreme Sport All competitive sports involve immense dedication, but no other sport requires the self-control with food that fitness and bodybuilding competitions do. The extreme mental and emotional effect food has on people is severely underestimated. It’s not all negative, however, as the prep time can be enjoyable, training becomes more meaningful and the visual results obviously have a positive mental impact. The exhilaration of the endorphin high during training is at its peak when progress is apparent. The competition day is exiting and fun, and you meet like-minded people who you

have a lot in common with and you are able to network and make new friends. The moment on stage, for most, is almost the ultimate high. After months of pain and sweat and tears, the day has finally come to show it off. Inhibitions slip way, and the inner performer nearly always comes out. For some it's a terrifying experience, but on the whole, most have a fantastic day. I implore all of the professionals out there who claim to be prep coaches to consider all aspects of the competition for their clients. Make sure you are genuine about what will happen to your

clients physically and physiologically, and be honest about the time it takes up, the impact it has on them and others around them, and the compulsive behaviour it creates. I believe the physiological effects of competition preparation, the fall-out after the event and the obsessions surrounding it are not made clear enough. But with a caring, patient and good coach, this can be minimised and the competitor can enjoy the day and safely return to normal life. After that, they can maintain a physique that they are still proud of – and comfortable with.

Issue 3//June 2016



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

Competitive edge

Bouncing ideas

Q. How should personal trainers react to a marketplace that’s becoming increasingly technology driven and competitive?

Q. We are planning on opening a trampoline park, but are unsure where to look for industry health and safety regulations.

James MacDonald, Finchley

Mark Glisson, Chelmsford

Joe Oliver, founder of personal training management company, Your Personal Training, answers:

Gill Twell, head of group development, Right Directions, answers:

It’s really important for PTs to understand the importance of technology as more people become digitally savvy. With the marketplace an increasingly crowded one, they need to see it as friend, not foe.

Although there’s currently no formal regulated guidance for trampoline parks, we are in the process of launching a Trampoline Park Safety Operating Plan (TPSOP), similar to the industry-recognised swimming pool guidance.

It’s vital that PTs are innovative and react to trends. I’m not saying it’s always easy to remain up-to-date and I’m aware of the increasing demands being put on PTs, but if they understand the impact being ‘in the know’ can have on their business, they may be more inclined to set some time aside.

The TPSOP sets out how a trampoline park should operate on a day-to-day basis, including staffing levels, where staff should stand, how breaks should be rotated and the pre-use inspection and maintenance of equipment, as well as customer numbers, the minimum age, and rules of engagement for customers while they play. It also covers health and safety management processes for the rest of the building.

When our PTs started to feedback that clients were requesting a range of online services, including workouts and nutritional plans, we reacted and developed an online system that now enables them to offer clients their own website. Strong social media skills can really help individuals set themselves apart from the competition, which is why we offer our PTs social media training. Social platforms can act as a window into the world of the PT, giving clients an idea of the types of services they offer, before they’ve even met. To thrive in the current PT marketplace and to avoid becoming obsolete, trainers must embrace technology and understand the value it can offer. However, ensuring soft skills are not sacrificed at the cost of being digitally driven is fundamental. Those that will be best placed to take on the competition will understand the importance of balance – finding the equilibrium needed to provide engaging one-to-one services alongside an online offering.


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When opening a site it’s also important that all hazards and risks have been considered in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act. And, while making sure customers still have fun, staff need to have full awareness of health and safety issues. It’s also worth signing up to our accident analysis tool STITCH, endorsed by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and the Institute of Qualified Lifeguards (IQL), which enables operators to monitor the type and level of accidents occurring across the UK. The trampoline park sector is in its infancy but, as more parks log accidents or incidents, STITCH will highlight potential hot spots and how operators can improve safety and ultimately the customer experience. STITCH isn’t designed to stop people having fun, it’s about improving the customer journey while making sure they are safe, and helping trampoline parks to stay the right side of the law.



Top 9…excuses for skipping the gym We all love the idea of going to the gym, but actually getting up in the morning and doing it is a different matter. Here’s a rundown of the top reasons* people skip the gym Words: Tracey Lattimore

#1 Membership cost With the average price of gym membership coming in at £368 per year in London, it’s not surprising that cost puts people off. However, the option to pay-as-you-gym means that potential gym bunnies have much more flexibility than they did 10 years ago, so shop around.

#2 The fear of being judged No-one likes baring all in front of a tough audience, especially if they are new to the gym. But in reality, it’s the unfit crew who really do need to join a gym. If you’re feeling insecure about your lack of ability, enlist the help of a PT to help put you through your paces.

#3 Feeling intimidated by other fitter – and more competitive – gym goers It’s inevitable that there are going to be loads of fit people at your gym. But instead of seeing it as a negative, try to use them as a benchmark to measure how fit you could become after a few months of training. OK, so your new gym body is not going to happen overnight, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?

#4 Not knowing how to use exercise machines When you start a new job, you’re not expected to know how the system works or who everyone is. And it’s the same with gyms. Go in with no expectations, and ask for an induction or PT session to guide you through the machines. They’re not just for the macho men, they’re there for everyone.

#5 Regulars taking over the gym This is always going to happen, but if you’re a fully paid-up member of the gym, you have to remember that you have as much right to use it as the regulars. And hey, while you’re at it, why not step up your sessions and become a regular yourself?

#6 Not feeling fit enough to go in the first place Well of course you don’t. That’s why you’ve joined, right? Just try to remind yourself that your starting point is your benchmark from which you can measure your progress in three or six months. We know you’ll see a difference.

#7 People showing off Again, this is common in gyms, but it doesn’t mean that you have to take any notice of them. Just concentrate on your own thing and let others get on with theirs.

#8 People wearing Lycra Really? There’s a reason that gym-goers wear Lycra. For one, it allows you to bend and flex easily. Synthetic fibres also absorb less moisture, so any sweat tends to work its way to the surface where it evaporates. If you’re not body confident, try wearing a loose top or shorts over your figure-hugging gym wear. theirs.

#9 People grunting Grunting or other extraneous noises in the gym are usually caused by people over-exerting themselves. And while breathing heavily shows that you are putting effort into your moves, noone likes a show-off. If you’re bothered by your neighbour grunting during their workout, pop on your headphones and roll up the dial on your music player. *Source: British Heart Foundation survey


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Issue 3//June 2016