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ISSUE 24 // March 2018

The Future of Fitness

The Potentials and Obstacles of Wearables in Healthcare

Creating a Boutique Experience


SpaceSaving Tips From The Experts

Strategic Market Intelligence




Engage. Inspire. Educate. MIE Medical Research has spent 30 years bringing innovative human performance measurement solutions to some of the world’s leading universities and research institutes.

We are delighted to be able to bring this unique experience to a wider audience and empower individuals to take charge of their own health and fitness.

FitQuest can be used by gym goers to assess their own progress, PTs to monitor client achievement and operators to improve member engagement.

Contact our team at infogm@miefitquest.com or call 020 7518 7323 to find out how you can be part of the measurement revolution.

www.miefitquest.com FitQuest Division, MIE Medical Research Limited infogm@miefitquest.com Tel. 020 7518 7323

Welcome... …to the March 2018 issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. It seems to me, this year is speeding ahead, and show time is almost upon us, with IHRSA in the US this month, and FIBO next month in Germany. Of course, let’s not forget about The Future of Fitness Conference in April in London - which we are proudly a part of. In fact, on pages 17 - 21, you can ready more from Jonathan Tustain about the Future of Fitness. Will you be in attendance? This month, we also have a piece on creating a boutique experience on pages 26 - 28, space saving tips on pages 59 - 60, as well as a host of other regular contributors and features we hope you will enjoy. We hope you enjoy the issue!

Nicky & The GOM Team


Nicky Sefke ns@gymownermonthly.co.uk

Keep up to date

The only fitness industry magazine endorsed by British Weight Lifting


Paul Wood


pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk Tel: 07858 487 357

Sonja Sefke

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


 @GymOwnerMonthly  gym-owner-monthly-magazine

COVER MODEL: Georgina O’Neil

© Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2017 Gym Owner Monthly is published by PW Media. Gym Owner Monthly is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of Gym Owner Monthly. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by Gym Owner Monthly, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. We cannot accept responsibility for any mistakes or misprints. Unsolicited material cannot be returned. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Please note that we reserve the right to use all supplied photographs/images elsewhere in the publication or on our social media channels.

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Contents TRENDS


14 29 40 26 36 49



06 61


Strategic Market Intelligence


Creating a Boutique Experience


The Future is Franchising


How Boutique Gyms Are Bettering Themselves Through Service

News The latest news and hot topics in the industry. Appointments A round-up of industry movers and shakers.




The Big Interview We talk to Steve Guscott, Operations Manager at EZFacility UK Ltd.


Align in Time Georgina O’Neil advises on misalignment issues.


Owner of The Month Alexei Sharp tells us more about ESPH.


PT of The Month Meet Simon Kennedy.

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Chris Phillips, explains how making good use of all information available to them can help operators take the lead. Julie Fisher takes a look at the key components operators need to create a boutique experience. Emily Price looks at the rise of franchising.

Matt Gleed on what sets these gyms apart from the rest.


Make The Right Hiring Decisions



Daniel Nyiri on how to assemble your A-Team. Tips From The Experts


51 59

44 17


46 58



TECHNOLOGY FitKit This month’s round-up of kit, products and extras you can stock for your members – boosting loyalty, retention and your revenue.


The Future of Fitness Jonathan Tustain explores a handful of some of the innovations that could possibly be in a gym near you soon.




Age is No Barrier!


Sport Relief


Form Matters

Irina Cotton - in her sixth decade and still fighting fit!


Ask The Expert The potentials and obstacles of wearables in healthcare.

Get Involved! Chris Zaremba discusses why form is important.

We're always seeking contributors, if you're interested in writing for us then please contact: pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk MARCH 2018





What’s hot in the fitness industry

THE NEXT BODYBUILDING KINGS AND QUEENS OF OUR GENERATION COMPETE FOR THE MASS SPC TITLE University of Bristol welcomes the return of the MASS Student Physique Championships The UK’s first and only national student fitness competition, MASS SPC, is returning to Bristol, hosted by the Muscle and Athletic Sport Society (MASS). Taking place on Saturday 17th March at the University of Bristol, the competition celebrates the very best in student fitness. Since its launch in March 2014, the national competition has gone from strength to strength, with nearly 100 students competing in Bristol last year. The event invites students from universities across the UK to the stage to compete in Physique, Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini classes in a bid to be crowned national champions. For 2018, the competition will be bigger and better than ever, with students from all over the UK competing for the crown. For a lot of the entrants, this is their first physique competition and they intend on giving it their all.

The categories include Women’s Fresher, Women’s Bikini (up to 163cm), Women’s Bikini (over 163cm), Women’s Figure, Men’s Fresher, Men’s Physique (up to 170cm), Men’s Physique (170-178cm), Men’s Physique (over 178cm) and Men’s Classic Bodybuilding. There will be awards for the highest public vote, best University team and overall Physique and Bikini champions. On the judging panel this year are some of the fitness industry’s finest, Laura Baker, Phoebe Hagan and Stephen Box to name a few. Laura and Stephen are both a part of the coaching company, Team Box. Stephen is the founder of Team Box and also a competition prep coach, while Laura is a nutrition coach specialising in female fitness and owner of the online protein baking website, Girl-Gainz. Phoebe Hagan is one of MASS’s own, she began her competing career at the third MASS SPC and is now an online prep coach and a YouTube blogger.

MASS founder

The event sponsors are Maximuscle, a sports nutrition brand who specialise in quality sports nutritional supplements, including their awesome Raw range of products, perfectly suited to the student athlete. Prizes for the competitors this year include a professional studio photoshoot with Matt Marsh Photography, prizes from Maximuscle and more to be released soon.

The competition was created by fitness fanatic, Gymbox Platinum Trainer and WBFF Pro Fitness Model, David Bissell, a man on a mission to dispel common stereotypes that young people at University are lazy and unhealthy. David explains: ‘We hope the competition challenges the stereotypes of some modern-day students, whilst celebrating fitness and encouraging young people to fulfil their fitness goals and be the best they can be’.

David Bissell continued: ‘The MASS SPC is a showcase of the most athletic and fit students that the UK has to offer. We hope to challenge the junk food-eating, beer-swilling student stereotype, but it’s not just about the muscles! I hope that the MASS SPC inspires others to not only train harder and lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, but also proves that it really is possible to do so whilst contending with essays and exams and a social life!’

As a student-only event, there will be a level playing field to compete. MASS societies from all of the surrounding Universities send teams to take part and bring groups of supporters; this creates a community atmosphere at the event.


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From Flamenco to Yoga Dancing: FIBO shows the trends in group fitness When having fun and shared success while exercising is what matters most, appealing group fitness concepts are the obvious choice. Every year, new formats are introduced to the market that are sure to excite customers and offer new options for studio operators to acquire new clients. Whether it’s dance styles from around the world, elements from yoga and martial arts, or simply “shaking your booty” in order to get fit, FIBO will showcase the latest trends for every taste in its group fitness area in Hall 4.1. It’s the perfect opportunity for studio operators and trainers to see new workouts live in action and try out their potential with exercisers.






£181,360,522 CHD STR OKE




twerXout twerXout, a workout based on twerking, is about more than just “shaking your booty”. The dance style, which revolves around circular and jerky hip movements, is particularly challenging for the leg muscles. Famous from the music scene and popular with celebrities, the dance style is now hitting fitness studios. twerXout will be presented at FIBO for the first time this year. Olefit When fitness meets flamenco, you get Olefit. The workout is based on the traditional Spanish rhythms of the flamenco, specifically rumba and bulería. The goal: having fun, unwinding and, almost as an aside, strengthening the muscular system and enhancing cardiopulmonary skills and coordination. The new workout was developed at the renowned flamenco school in Chicago by the internationally acclaimed Spanish dancer Paloma Gómez and her husband Luis Lorente. IFAA DAYO The perfect blend of yoga and dance is IFAA DAYO. Classic yoga elements fuse with dance steps, training methods from the East with those of the West. The focus is on fluid movements based on full-body exercises that equally improve strength, body posture, flexibility, balance and coordination.












ub sites From a sample size of 776 DataH

BEHIND THE NUMBERS Since 2016, the estimated social value of the six health outcomes has increased by £18.8m. This represents an increase of 10.4%. The growth in social value of health is generated by an increasing number of people participating regularly in sport and physical activity at least once a week at moderate or vigorous intensity. Sports participants have a lower risk of being diagnosed with CHD, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and dementia, therefore by getting people more active, the number of diagnosed cases is likely to be reduced, leading to lower costs associated with treating these diseases. The data suggests that getting more people active has positive benefits for wider society.




smovey smovey uses a “swing ring” to challenge participants. It consists of a 500-gram spiral tube containing four steel spheres. The MARCH 2018



centrifugal forces created by swinging increase the mass many times over. By stimulating the core muscles, the vibrations stabilise the spine and joints. What’s more, their effect can reach all the way to the motor centre of the brain, which can also help people suffering from Parkinson’s. In addition, the device is deployed in physiotherapy to support healing processes. A variety of different programmes, including smoveyDANCE, smoveyYOUNG, smoveyFIT and smoveyCARE, are designed to appeal to all age groups, from children to seniors.

Active IQ introduces refreshed, discrete Level 2 Gym Instructor course

ACROBO® Indoor, outdoor, classes: ACROBO® combines classic fitness studio offerings in workout and class areas as well as outdoors. Exercisers work out using their own body weight. As a group fitness class system, the interval workout is set to music and takes place on two small bars. In the equipment area of the gym, ACROBO® includes various exercises on equipment or entirely without equipment; they cover the areas of muscular fitness, balance perception and control, and high-intensity cardiovascular training. Taking their cues from indoor training, outdoor workouts are staged on fitness trails in the forest and on playgrounds. IFAA TôsôX “Tôsô” is Japanese and refers to the struggle with (certain) things and circumstances. The IFAA TôsôX workout combines traditional Asian martial arts with modern cardio and functional training elements. Kicks and punches meet new combinations and a variety of class formats. Thanks to TôsôX’s technical training and demanding high-intensity X challenges, the concept appeals equally to beginners and first-time class participants and to professionals. A colour-based band concept lets class participants visually identify their training level. Zumba – a perennial favourite Returning yet again to FIBO will be ZUMBA, which has become an integral part of the fitness landscape. STRONG by Zumba will also be featured on stage. Based on high-intensity interval training and set to motivating music, this demanding workout is focussed on functional full-body training using the exercisers own body weight. It challenges the entire muscular system. Plus, the STRONG by Zumba Fitness Challenge will be making its debut at the trade show, pitting visitors and ZUMBA trainers against each other in a battle of push ups, burpees, squats and planks. The great big world of group fitness SALSATION®, another workout returning to FIBO, is all about Latin American music. SALSATION® is based on functional training with a very strong focus on musicality and lyrical expression. IFAA Dancit® - by Christian Polanc is workout and dance class in one. Sweatinducing leaps and jumps is what exercisers do in both Kangoo Jumps training and at the jumping Fitness AG and Jumping® Fitness. IFAA NIM - by Christiane Figura, meanwhile, is betting on natural motor movements from early childhood. IFAA will also present M.A.X.® Muscle Activity Excellence and Power Dumbell® HIIT. With XBT, another martial arts-based class concept will be featured, as will the rock workout POUND, an intense full-body training with drumsticks. About FIBO It’s the world’s largest international trade show for fitness, wellness and health: the industry’s key players come together at FIBO in Cologne. This is where innovations are launched. This is where international trends are set. This is where the industry comes to invest. Some 1,019 companies from 49 nations participated in 2017, meeting more than 150,000 trade and private visitors from around the globe. In 2018, FIBO will take place at the Exhibition Centre Cologne from 12 to 15 April. Kicking off the trade show on 11 April 2018 will be the 5th European Health & Fitness Forum, a meeting of about 400 leading representatives of the European fitness sector. www.fibo.com 8

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Active IQ - the UK’s leading Ofqual-recognised Awarding Organisation for the Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing Sector – is introducing a refreshed, distinct Level 2 Gym Instructor course. For the first time, Active IQ has separated the traditional Level 2 formula which usually combines the two pathway choices of Gym Instructor and Group Exercise Instructor qualifications. In keeping with the drive towards more in-depth training, higher standards and ‘fit-for-purpose’ qualifications, Active IQ is giving clear and separate focus to each of the two realms of instructing. Previously, gym instructors and group exercise instructors took the same overarching course (with individual pathway contexts), but Active IQ believes splitting these into two separate strands will ensure bespoke training better suited to each role. First to launch is the Level 2 Gym Instructor course: the Level 2 Group Exercise Instructor course will follow later in the Spring of 2018. “We believe providing specific, tailored and fit-for-purpose training reflects today’s industry needs and meets operators’ demands while ensuring both Gym Instructor and Group Exercise Instructor roles have value in their own right,” says Sarah Edmonds, Active IQ’s Director of Quality and Standards. “Level 2 qualifications are the entry point to the active leisure industry so it is key that this foundational level of training is specific, robust and thorough to ensure trainers have a firm foundation on which to build their career. To meet this need, our refreshed qualifications comprise more vigorous and detailed training, specific course work and case study evidence requirements,” continues Sarah. “It has been over 10 years since the Level 2 Gym Instructor and Group Exercise Instructor models were developed and our industry has changed dramatically in that time,” says Sarah. “Splitting out the two strands into discrete, role-specific skills will ensure that both Gym Instructors and Group Exercise Instructors have clear training, assessment and skill development in their chosen field.” The Active IQ Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing qualifies learners to prescribe, plan and deliver safe and effective exercise programmes within a gym or health club environment. There are no pre-requisites, making this an ideal entry level course. Career progression for instructors after gaining this qualification includes further Level 2 qualifications in instructing circuits, group


exercise, instructing exercise to children and aqua, advancing their knowledge and skills to potentially accessing level 3 qualifications in personal training, exercise referral or sports massage therapy.


Triathletes, celebrities and other GO TRIERS. The challenge is being rolled out across the UK by nationwide fitness operator DW Fitness First to its members and is accessible at over 120 clubs. If you’re not a DW Fitness First member, you can download a three-day guest pass herefor use between 12th March and 25th March to take on the challenge at your nearest facility. Donations to Sport Relief can be made directly through the app. Other fundraising avenues will include GO TRI event entry contributions, collections at events and an exciting on-stand activation at Triathlon Show London from 23rd to 25th February. Furthermore, 10% of all funds raised until end of July will go to the Triathlon Trust, British Triathlon’s official charity which encourages children to lead more active and healthier lifestyles through the sport of triathlon. Paul Graham, British Triathlon Head of Customer Experience commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Sport Relief in 2018 and inspiring people across the UK to get active and raise money for a fantastic cause. Recent Olympic success has helped the profile of the sport soar and we hope that after giving the GO TRI workout a try through the app or taking on the challenge in the gym, more people will transition into the sport. GO TRI is all about making the sport accessible and this high-profile association will hopefully play a key part in raising awareness of how easily people can get started in triathlon.”

National governing body named a Supporter of Sport Relief and aims to raise £25,000 British Triathlon, the national governing body for triathlon in the UK, will be a Supporter of Sport Relief 2018. British Triathlon is aiming to generate £25,000 for the charity through a range of fundraising initiatives and will be helping the nation get active through a GO TRI workout on the new Sport Relief app. For the first time ever, this year’s Sport Relief sees every corner of the UK become home to a challenge as the whole nation comes together to beat one billion steps a day, every day, from 17th to 23rd March. The brand-new Sport Relief App will unlock exclusively celebrity content and ensure that every step counts across the week. Coming soon to the app will be exclusive content featuring British Triathlon rising start Olivia Mathias, as she takes on a bespoke workout circuit that will prepare you for the GO TRI Gym Challenge.

For more information on GO TRI and how to get involved and help raise money for Sport Relief, visithttps://www. gotri.org/. You can donate to Sport Relief through British Triathlon’s corporate hub, available athttps://my.sportrelief. com/corporate/BritishTriathlon.

TRP Launches Customer Engagement Academy with State of the Industry Survey on Gym Member Engagement Member engagement software providers, TRP have launched the Customer Engagement Academy (CEA).

Users are then directed to the GO TRI website where they can find out more about entry level routes into the sport and how to participate in the GO TRI Gym Challenge. Gym users across the country can take on a 500m row, 7.5km stationary bike ride and a 1.5km run on the treadmill and input their times online at www. gotri.org/gymchallenge to see how they rank against British

Formed to provide health and fitness operators across the globe with valuable insight for learning and development in customer engagement, the Academy’s mission is to increase quality interactions between clubs and their members, improving customer experience and, ultimately, club success. The Academy believes in the importance of a deep understanding based on real research carried out by experts in the field, quality member feedback and real-world examples of best practice. Headed up by CEA Chairman, TRP General Manger, Mike Hills, MARCH 2018



supported by Associate Professor - Sport and Health Sciences at University of Exeter, TRP 10,000 Lead Researcher and Honorary President of the CEA, Dr Melvyn Hillsdon; the Academy will look to expand its Board with the addition of a selection of individuals leading the way in customer engagement within the industry, taking up the positions of Honorary Vice-Presidents over the coming months.

The ‘Member Engagement in the Global Health and Fitness Industry Survey’, which will be an annually recurring initiative – measuring changes in customer engagement practices over time - is the flagship of the launch and will provide a snapshot of operators’ current customer engagement practices in 2018.

Mike Hills, CEA Chairman said: “We felt the industry was missing a resource like the CEA, so as experts in the field of customer engagement within health and fitness saw this as a gap we were (very happily) obliged to fill. We have got some really exciting plans for where we can take the CEA over the next few years, with the Member Engagement in the Global Health and Fitness Industry Survey and Report just the start.” Honorary President of the CEA, Dr Melvyn Hillsdon said: “I’ve worked with TRP for coming up to 10 years now and for me this is a natural progression of the work we have been doing together in this time. I am very much looking forward to getting involved in this project and seeing the role the CEA can play in supporting customer centric, forward-thinking operators to develop their service delivery for business success.”

Mike Hills said: “This kind of survey is a great way of taking the pulse of where we currently stand as an industry to help inform the CEA’s focus for taking us where we need to go in the future. From our findings, we plan to write up a report which we will share via the Academy as well as using this insight to identify areas to focus on as we look to develop a bank of educational content for the CEA over the next 12 months and beyond. We would encourage as many operators as possible to take part to ensure as representative a picture as possible is painted – this is a survey by the industry, for the industry so the quality of the output will be dependent on the input we get from you and we are very grateful to everyone who takes part.” You can have your say and help inform the industry by registering to take part in the ‘Member Engagement in the Global Health and Fitness Industry Survey’ here.

Gyms in the UK Private


No. of gyms

4000 3000 2000 1000 0









Year Gyms in the UK


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Source: LeisureDB


NEVER ASSUME AND NEVER SIT STILL! We meet Steve Guscott, Operations Manager at EZFacility UK Ltd, to find out more about the company, their offerings, and what they can do for you. How did you get into the fitness industry? I worked part-time in gyms/sports centres whilst I was at school and college, but drifted away from the industry for a while until an opportunity came up to work for a friend’s sports events company, which included running small sided football tournaments for corporate companies at some well known football stadiums across the UK, as well as midweek evening leagues. It was whilst in this role that I was introduced to the founder of EZFacility and the rest, as they say, is history!

What is / or who is EZFacility and what do you do? EZFacility is a market leader for online membership management & scheduling software in the fitness industry. For over a decade now EZFacility have been successfully helping to manage single site & startup gyms right through to well-known gym chains. We manage a global client base of over 3,500 facilities. EZFacility is seen as a more cost effective alternative to the larger software solutions of this industry. MARCH 2018



What sets EZFacility apart from its competitors? Our all-in-one software solution means the gym owner can cut back on clutter and the need to use multiple software systems, giving them more time to focus on the things they enjoy focusing on – training clients and keeping members coming through the door. We offer integrated direct debits to manage monthly gym memberships, scheduling to manage class timetables or personal trainer diaries, POS for selling supplements and equipment, and an app and online booking portal for members to book and pay for the services that each gym is offering. Most importantly though, we have a dedicated team that care about your business and helping you succeed with our software – customised training plans, ongoing technical support and staff who have worked in the fitness industry themselves.

What are the biggest challenges facing your business over the next few years? According to the state of the UK fitness industry report 2017, over 50% of gyms are not using software to manage their daily operations. One of the biggest challenges is changing the emphasis new gym owners put on the importance of having management software in their facility, not just to help them keep track of their members journey, but also to make sure the whole experience is as easy as possible for members to sign up and book sessions. We want to show gym owners how EZFacility can save them money and hours of admin time - now who doesn’t like having more time and more money?!

What is your vision for EZFacility?

What are your own personal fitness goals and how do you achieve these?

Through our ‘Software for Life’ policy, I want EZFacility to continue to earn the trust of fitness businesses around the globe through cutting edge technology whilst delivering value for money to our customers.

I’ve previously run half marathons, with my quickest time being 1 hour 45 mins, but currently I am not working towards any major goals, although I would like to do a triathlon in the next 12 months. I think the biggest thing is


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planning your workouts in advance because it is so easy to walk into the gym and just do the same things all the time. I like to plan at the start of the week what I will do each day and will aim to workout 5 or 6 times - I’m managing a business and I also have a young family so planning is so key to staying on top of my fitness goals.

What are the most important lessons you've learnt from the fitness industry? Never assume and never sit still! The industry is changing faster than ever, so you need to keep on top of the constant trends and developments and evolve with it. At EZFacility we are releasing product updates every month to ensure our customers are using the most up to date product available, whilst also running industry specific webinars to keep them well informed on the industry itself.

What are your biggest achievements? Having built the support and training teams in our UK EZFacility office from scratch, including all the processes that go with that, I am extremely proud to manage a team that are so driven to help customers achieve the goals of their fitness businesses.

What are your plans for the future, both professionally and personally? I want to keep learning both professionally and personally. This is an industry that I love working in, I want to develop myself as much as I can, which I hope will have a positive impact on helping us continue to grow the EZFacility brand in the UK.

"For over a decade now EZFacility have been successfully helping to manage single site & start-up gyms right through to well-known gym chains."

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ALIGN IN TIME (and retain your clients) Georgina O’Neil, Biomechanic, Lecturer & Training Provider, Foot Health Expert & Orthosis Designer, Strength and Conditioning Coach and Managing Director of Fit-Thotics Ltd. advises on misalignment issues There is great deal of understanding of the benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle in terms of the effect it has on the heart, mobility, strength and overall ‘wellness’. However, not such a great understanding of how and why things go wrong when the reasons behind the injuries aren’t so obvious. With millions of gym goers leaving the gym and cancelling training sessions every year due to pain or injury, isn’t it about time we started looking at our clients with a more holistic approach – especially with regard to alignment? The body is an amazing, intricate structure which operates biomechanically via a system of pulleys and levers and joints, activated by series of muscular contractions. When in alignment, this system functions well and we go on to live healthy, fully active lifestyles, free from pain. However, all it takes for the system to start malfunctioning is for one cog in the machine to go wrong. This often minute failure can lead to misalignment issues that can be precursor to serious injury. 14

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So where do we start to get an understanding of misalignment issues? The one thing every long standing structure throughout history has in common, is a good foundation. Therefore, the foundations seem like a good place to start…right?

The foot (Foundations) The human foot is made up of 26 bones, a complex network of nerves and blood vessels, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, all perfectly positioned and shaped to allow for efficient articulation, function, sensation and adaptation. Together the structures in a functional foot allow us to adapt to terrain, act as shock absorbers and even lock together turning the foot into a rigid lever for forward propulsion when walking and running. However, it is in a dysfunctional foot that problems begin to occur, not only in the foot and ankle, but also further up the body.

The over-pronated/supinated (dysfunctional) foot Every foot has a degree of pronation and supination which often goes unnoticed and has no ill effect on the individual. However, it is when the degree of supination or pronation goes outside of the realms of what can be considered ‘normal’ that the function of the rest of the body can be affected.

A foot that is over pronated invariably leads to an internal rotation at the knee. Just as Internal rotation of the knee invariably leads to internal rotation of the pelvis. Don’t believe me? Try rolling your weight bearing foot medially and laterally in the frontal plane (mimicking over pronation and over-supination), and watch what happens to the position of your knee and hip.

So what are the implications? As Personal Trainers and Gym Owners, we know that excessive rotation of the knee when carrying out weight bearing exercises, such as squatting and lunging, is bad. Not only will it wear the joint out unevenly, but you’re also potentially looking at painful conditions relating to inflammation, sprains and tears of the tendons and other soft tissues supporting the joint. On top of that, your clients won’t be getting the results from their training that they expect, as the body uses more synergistic muscles to power through the training session. The result? The glutes are not getting pert and that quad sweep is just….not….happening! Now we come to the internal rotation and anterior tilt of the pelvis. Maybe not as visible as knee rotation, but the clues are in the clients that complain of lower back pain, shooting pains in the glute and Sacroiliac joint problems. They may also have hip mobility issues, poor posture and form, piriformis syndrome or sciatic pain. At this point you are looking at increased potential for back injuries as the misalignment pushes the pelvis and lower back past the normal range of function. MARCH 2018



How many of your clients complain of back pain when they train? How many of your clients have cancelled sessions because of it? It’s an incredibly common complaint.

enhancing performance, reducing the risk of injury and ultimately relieving issues with pain that could lead to long term issues.

Another red flag is that your clients are weaker on one side when standing on one leg or during lunges. They may appear to almost limp when they run. This problem is generally related to internal rotation of the pelvis or repetitive strain injury to the glutes.

Add to this the introduction of specific muscle strengthening exercise and stretches…..and you are looking at providing a very positive outcome for your clients, improving your clients experience and consequently providing a better, more specialist all-round service.

As the muscles in the glutes and TFL are pulled in the direction of the pelvic rotation, we find that those muscles become tight and overused while the opposing side becomes weaker.

How can we get Fit-Thotics in our gym or for our clients?

The muscles in the glutes and hips are used to help stabilise the pelvis as we walk, so when one side becomes weaker, the stability is lost and one side begins to drop – creating the lurching or limping motion also known as Trendelenburg gait.

What can we do to resolve the issues? If all of these problems stem from a mal positioned foot, it makes sense to get that foot back into its correct alignment ASAP. That’s where Fit-Thotics come in. Fit-Thotics are bespoke, prescription grade orthotic shoe inserts that realign the foot and ankle and fit neatly into a range of shoe styles. By realigning the foot, we are able to place the knee and pelvis back into the correct position therefore protecting the joints, reactivating the primary muscles, improving posture,

The unique thing about Fit-Thotics is that every pair is built around the foot of the client. Upon request we visit gyms, physios, sports injury clinics and private medical practices. We then assess the posture of individuals experiencing misalignment issues, carry out range of motion tests, foot mobilisation, develop a prescription and then scan the foot with our 3D laser scanning equipment. The scan is then sent to our UK based labs along with the prescription. The Insoles are then developed and sent back to the customers with a treatment plan in place. If you would be interested in having our specialised services available in your gym or for your clients, contact us today and see how we can help to improve your customer experience. georgina@fit-thotics.co.uk

Cut back on clutter with an all-in-one software solution to manage your gym. • Membership Management & CRM • Member Self-Service Access • MemberMe+ - Branded Mobile App • Extensive Reporting • Front Desk Check-In • Billing & Payment Tracking • And so much more!


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Membership/CRM & Marketing Access Control inc Biometrics Till, Credit Card & Stock Control Web & Mobile Activity & Class Bookings DD Management & Online Sign-ups Implementation, Training & Support


Future of Fitness Ahead of the Future of Fitness Conference in association with Gym Owner Monthly, on April 6th at the London Business Design Centre, Tech Consultant and Fitness Fan Jonathan Tustain explores a handful of some of the innovations that could possibly be in a gym near you soon. Traditionally it has been the role of gym equipment manufacturers to innovate new ways to keep us motivated in the gym but more recently newcomers from the tech and software industries are nudging for space in the fast growing gym sector, promising faster results with more engaging programmes.


Some people claim we are entering a 'golden age of fitness', and yet despite this, Cancer Research UK recently announced that millennials are set to be the fattest generation of Britons, with 70% dangerously overweight before they hit middle age. Why is this? Gym membership continues to climb and yet so are out waistlines. Of course, the biggest culprit is poor diet, and although we all know what we should and should not be eating by now, so many foods these days contain sugar, and it requires highly conscious decision making in the supermarket aisles. But when it comes to exercise, things have remained relatively the same in the gym.  Yes exercise equipment has become more sophisticated, and the occasional trend will excite the press such as the Body Plate, but the core format and range of exercises has remained relatively static.  The biggest innovation of late appears to have been more about the low cost 24/7 zero contract model rather than the tech inside. I recently got chance to speak to a few of the companies that will be present at The Future of Fitness Conference to find out how they think they can revolutionise the gym experience.

PRAMA is an interactive floor based circuit training system that uses flashing light programmes and music to cue the performance of gym goers under the guidance of an instructor (think of Dance Mania but on a grander scale). In the UK, David Lloyd has been installing the Spanish concept in some of their gyms. People can work in up to 4 teams and a gym space can be configured for a PRAMA system to accommodate from 7 to 32 people. Pavigym Sales Director UK & Ireland, Steve Shaw believes a PRAMA system can get more people signed up and stay signed up to a gym: 'The reality is only 10-15% of people are members of gyms.  They are not engaged with fitness or enjoy the MARCH 2018



exercising itself, so that is where PRAMA is a huge win because it is designed to make fitness enjoyable. Group exercises build a sense of community and being part of something that is bigger.  Even within a group class, people are still generally working out on their own facing an instructor, where as with PRAMA you take that further - you work in a team.  With groups comes competition too.  Let’s say you are in a group of three and you are in one of the interactive units doing a session such as fast feet on the combos. Once you have done your 45 seconds in that section, the wall will show who won, so even within the group training, you can have fun challenges between each other.' Pavigym claim that PRAMA can increase retention, saying that if people exercise more, they are engaged more and therefore remain a member for longer, especially if they make new friends in the process. The company is developing new programming to keep it fresh.  For example, PRAMA Strength is aimed at more experienced gym goers looking for a really tough workout; and PRAMA Kids and Family gets the whole family involved in the same workout. After the initial build cost, the operator can purchase these additional programmes, and training is done on-site over two days.  Despite being a high tech system, Shaw emphasises that the instructor is still the core element of a successful PRAMA class. 'We all know that for group exercise the instructor is really important. Some are rock stars and some are not so good, but because PRAMA is so different, it is really important that the trainers are up to speed and experienced.'

motivate them more whilst at the same time providing extra revenue for the gym. Stepping on the plate, within 40 seconds the user is able to obtain a full 3D image of their body, which includes posture analysis, and hundreds of measurements including circumferences, lengths, contours, widths, surface areas, and volumes, as well as fat mass and lean mass breakdowns. UK Director Toby Cowley believes it is the ultimate motivation tool: 'Nobody likes their first scan, even if you are the fittest person in the world” he says. “You might be slightly out on the left shoulder, or in my case I had put on 10 pounds around my belly area. We suggest the gym offers the first scan for free.  That image is then sent to their phone as a 3D avatar, and they can then see what part of their body they need to work on, or a Personal Trainer can use that data to create a bespoke programme.  We suggest the client gets scanned every every 6- 8 weeks, at a cost of about £20 £40, so they can track their changing body shape over time.'

Virtual Reality Virtual Reality is another technology being heralded as a way to get people fit without them even knowing it. In fact, in America there is such an organisation known as the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise, which rates VR games according to how much physical exertion they require, with a ‘Calories Per Minute’ score.  


If you think you look great in the mirror, you might be in for a shock if you get scanned by Fit3D. The company has just launched in the UK and is able to give gym goers a true picture of their body, to 18

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A guy called Tim Donahey AKA u/leppermessiah1 on Reddit, created his own VR fitness regime. For 50 days he played 4 Vive headset games over an hour (9 min: Audioshield, 20 min: Thrill of the Fight, 20 min: Holopoint, 10 min: Holoball per day).  The result was a weight loss of 14.4 lbs. Most Virtual Reality games are not originally designed for fitness, but one such title is Box VR by Fit XR, a rhythm


based experience that has you boxing, ducking and diving in a computer generated environment. It was designed in conjunction with real life boxing instructors and offers a range of workouts defined by time, intensity and calorie burn goal. I can vouch for its intensity.  When I finished a session I was feeling the same rush as I do after a Les Mills Body Combat class. In fact, from a resting heartbeat of 71BPM, I measured 156BPM after just 3 minutes. Although mainly aimed at home users, Fit XR founder Sam Cole told me they are open to discussions with gym owners: 'We have been working with a number of VR arcades and there are close to a hundred now, with multiple users.  We are really right in the  earliest stage, so we are open to all number of partnerships out there and are flexible, so we can create different virtual environments bespoke to a gym'.

Black Box VR CES sensation Black Box VR takes fitness to a positively futuristic scale with their VR boutique gyms that use Virtual Reality to gamify exercise where your speed, strength and endurance help you win. Virtual Reality experiences are attached to an integrated cable pulley system for resistance training synced to the on screen VR visuals which includes scenes of urgency and perceived danger to encourage the user to push past their normal boundaries. AI is used to monitor the user’s progress and adjust the workout accordingly to fit a planned trajectory of ultimate workout goals.

Icaros offers a solution that looks more likely to be found in a theme park than a gym.

A 90 minute workout in 20 minutes Although EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) is not new, E-Pulsive are attempting to make EMS training just as popular in the UK as it is in Germany, where there are over a thousand ‘micro-gyms’ that exclusively offer EMS.

The ICAROS Pro has been on the market since 2016. The 8,400 Euro device can be found in over 400 venues, and is built like a gyroscope which you lay on as if doing a planking exercise. Every movement is detected by motion sensors which are then received by the your Virtual Reality headset, turning you into Superman whilst at the same time providing an intense workout. Experiences include flying around landscapes, dog fights, shooting down drones, races, and underwater adventures where you have to defend a reef being attacked by submarines. Soon there will be ultra realistic experiences starting with a flight through the Alps, using a technique known as photogrammetry. The company have ambitious plans for the future said ICAROS CEO Johannes Scholl: 'We are announcing ICARACE -  a global online multiplayer platform, where people all over the world can log-in with their ICAROS account and compete with others, either using an ICAROS device in their fitness club or logging in from home. With ICARACE, you can have tournaments going on in your own gyms, against your neighbouring gym or other fitness clubs all over the world. We will host tournaments ourselves with prize money too.'

A 20 minute EMS workout equates to a 90 minute highintensity gym class or personal training session and can be added to existing workouts. It works by engaging up to 98% of your muscles compared to 60% in the gym, without MARCH 2018



any weights. The company operates a boutique gym in Kensington London, and will soon open another in Mayfair. Mario Kaspers Co-founder & CEO E-Pulsive Ltd explains the benefits: 'E-Pulsive has been around for over 7 years, and in Germany it was initially used for therapy and sports injuries when players get injured and needed a workout but could not lift heavy weights.  The stimulation actually imitates  the weights without any physical pressure on your joints.' When I asked why EMS was not so popular in the UK, Kaspers believes EMS has a marketing issue: 'EMS training got some bad press in Israel where they just sold EMS machines to anyone, without the guidance of qualified instructors.  Inexperienced trainers made mistakes, people got injured and a paper was published saying EMS was dangerous.  Of course, like any exercise, it can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.  In the UK there is fear about anything to do with electricity and water so I think the marketing is essential to reassure people of its safety.'

Immersive Journeys We have all seen those screens in the gym, where a shouty presenter is sitting on a bike against a superimposed scene of a country road, as he or she encourages you to spin with him. But Les Mills have taken cycle classes one step deeper, with The Trip. The futuristic workout consists of a large curved screen in a darkened room that displays digitally created worlds that, unlike previous systems, are synced to the activities of the cyclists - so the faster they go, the faster they go in the virtual world.  Despite being virtual, it is still led by personal instructors, and in typical Les Mills fashion, the content is regularly updated to include new worlds with names such as Ascension, The Rabbit Hole and Aurea. ‘Virtual’ is a big growth area for Les Mills, especially with their On-Demand services for gyms (I myself have occasionally found myself doing a virtual Body Pump class at 4am). Virtual Fitness is one of the fastest growing sectors in the fitness industry, according to Les Mills and it is estimated around 20,000 clubs globally offer the full range of exercise movements via a touch screen.  Some gym chains schedule virtual classes and others let the users select their own class during quiet times on a first come first served basis (although tell that to the guy who put all the lights on at 4.30am to do some boxing mid way through my Body Pump class!) 20

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"Recently newcomers from the tech and software industries are nudging for space in the fast growing gym sector, promising faster results with more engaging programmes" Conclusion It is fantastic that so many companies are using technology to reach out to new audiences, keep exercise fresh and exciting, and make fitness more rewarding. The challenge for these companies is to prove that they have worth beyond their initial novelty factor.  The low cost gym model is highly competitive, and to keep prices low, any unnecessary costs are stripped back.  I left a gym chain a few months ago simply because their pricing did not allow for the cost to run Les Mills classes - it would be a big ask for them to then invest thousands in a VR experience designed for a single user. There is also the staffing issue.  Again, with automatic entry and 24/7 hour operations, low cost gyms are now running on self service basis.  Any new technology will need to be easy to pick up without the guidance of a gym instructor for it to be viable. However, for the higher end gyms, such new technology could possibly act as a real draw for less price sensitive people and reach out to new demographics that may of not considered gym membership before - and that can only be a good thing. If would like to learn more and try some of the experiences featured in this article, visit the Digital Gym and attend the Future of Fitness Conference, in Association with Gym Owner Monthly at The Future Tech Now Show, April 6th at the London Business Design Centre. Speakers include Justin Williams, Global Business Development Manager of BORN TO MOVE Les Mills, Steve Ward, CEO of UK Active, Sam Cole, Co-Founder of FitXR, Steve Shaw, Sales Director UK & Ireland of Prama, Gary Lockwood, CEO of 247 Fitness, Mario Kaspers, CEO of E-Pulsive and my good self of course! You will also have an exclusive opportunity to try ICAROS and take part in the Box VR challenge. Friday conference ticket required.  Visit www. virtualrealityshow.co.uk and use promo code GYMOWNER to get a 10% discount.



Get hands-on with future tech in our Digital Gym and explore cutting-edge innovations in our Future of Fitness Conference (Fri 06 Apr). Show sponsors:





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STRATEGIC MARKET INTELLIGENCE Chris Phillips, Head of Sales in the Sports Intelligence Practice at 4Global, and responsible for the DataHub, explains how making good use of all information available to them can help operators take the lead. We’re in the midst of a physical activity revolution. There’s increasing pressure on the NHS and, at last, there seems to be greater recognition of how activity can help. A number of funding streams are becoming available, designed to help get individuals from deprived areas, and areas with high levels of inactivity, more active. So how can operators take advantage of this and ensure they’re part of the solution? Market intelligence is the key. Ensuring you’re using all the data available – and there’s more obtainable than ever before – to make the correct strategic decisions for your business. At DataHub, we’re in the privileged position of having access to more than 400 million visits worth of data. This insight allows us to present key intelligence through joint partner case studies and white papers, providing strategic views of the direction of our industry. As an operator, utilising these resources may feel beyond your capability, but in truth the information is out there, you just need to know what you’re looking for and where to find it. Let’s take member conversions as an example. Facilities fall into one of four categories in terms of growth and development in this area. By comparing their centre’s member conversion rate with the national rate, operators can identify the type of strategy they should be focussing on to move the business to their desired member conversion type: 24

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1. Monitor – facilities that don’t have a huge amount of opportunity from a demographic or facility perspective, so the best strategy is to monitor and maintain. 2. Ride the Wave – operators in a strong acquisitions position, where the priority should be putting on high throughput activities to increase conversion rates. 3. Strong Competitor – facilities in the retention phase, that need to focus on the latest trends and find a strong USP to ensure members don’t leave for competitor sites 4. Trendsetter – facilities that are often niche for their area and already have high conversion rates For example, if your members’ demographic profiles fall within Ride the Wave, your facility has a low conversion rate locally, set against a high national conversion, which would suggest you’re not catering for the masses in terms of the services you offer. Reviewing programming and offering higher throughput activities will drive a more aggressive member acquisition campaign.

A demographic profile that fits into the Strong Competitor group means both the centre’s and the national conversion rate are high. This suggests a more retention-based strategy is required, offering trending activities that give loyal members something interesting to prevent them being dragged off to apparently greener pastures. Taking this a step further, using activity trend data available through DataHub’s Geo Impact Module, operators can then ascertain the types of programming to promote to facilitate these strategies. Understanding the target market and type of offer to promote is only half the picture though. How do operators actually communicate with these individuals? Mosaic profiling through Experian can provide information on which marketing channel – whether that’s email, text or social media – is best for the demographic groups you wish to target. This type of strategic market intelligence is no longer only available to larger private operators with budget to commission in depth of analysis. All operators can now unlock the potential of their data and turn it into actionable insight.

"we’re in the privileged position of having access to more than 400 million visits worth of data"

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Creating a Boutique Experience Julie Fisher from Big Fish Public Relations, Communication Specialists for the Fitness and Leisure Industry, takes a look at the key components operators need to create a boutique experience. With excitement around the boutique fitness experience still growing, gym owners would be wise to look at ways they can capitalise on this trend as an additional revenue option. Boutique Business is Booming Boutique clients spend almost £1 billion more per month than traditional fitness club and multipurpose facility users and the number of consumers calling boutique fitness studios their destination of choice has grown by around 70 per cent over the past few years. In the UK, studios such as 1-Rebel, Barry’s Bootcamp and Heartcore Fitness are enjoying increased popularity from an engaged and loyal customer base, so it’s definitely worth giving due consideration to how you can tap into this opportunity.

What is a Boutique experience? The success of boutiques is driven by millennials. This is not just a term for a demographic group, but more of a mindset, a lifestyle. As described by Club Intel, the millennial effect is “The conscious desire to have their brand experience align with their lifestyle value.” They seek inspiration and adventure as well as uniqueness and novelty. More importantly, they crave a tribe, not just a community and covet a local feel. 26

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Often with a small client base, boutique or specialist studios provide customers with a sense of belonging that helps create a more pleasurable health and fitness experience, offering innovative, varied and exhilarating workouts, such as small group exercise classes, HIIT and functional training. The challenge for gym operators is to compete with this and find new and exciting ways to keep current customers dedicated and loyal, as well as attracting new ones. A number of mainstream operators have taken up the challenge by expanding their offering into the boutique market., Public operator, Fusion Lifestyle, created ‘INTENCITY’ studios (HIIT) in 2015, while budget operator PureGym launched ‘Pure Ride’ in January 2016 (Cycle), which was subsequently sold to Digme Fitness, and premium gym operator Third Space developed ‘Another Space’ in April 2016 (HIIT, Yoga and Cycle).

According to ClubIntel the boutique experience is based on the following factors: Specialism - customers attend boutique studios with expectations of receiving a specialist exercise regime taught by an expert that will help them achieve their desired fitness outcomes. Tribalism – by encouraging customers to become part of a tribe or family a greater bond to the boutique studio is formed. This creates an emotional connection to the brand and can help customer loyalty and retention, and in turn may contribute to the likelihood of long-term prosperity. High touch and results driven – customers feel their fitness needs are understood by the instructor who provides guidance, support and motivation and is viewed as an integral part of the members’ fitness journey. Creating a local feel – the trend towards buying local has proliferated the boutique fitness sector. By being local, products and services exude an authentic sentiment Iconic leadership – not an essential element however boutiques that have a recognised leader who engages and inspires members are able to flourish in a competitive market. Examples of iconic leaders could include Boom Cycle’s Hilary Gilbert, and Soul Cycle’s Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice. Flexible pricing – boutiques do not follow a typical membership model, with customers splashing out premium pay-as-you-go prices. There is no burden of a monthly or annual membership and the higher than average price point places a tangible value on each individual member visit. Asset light - by operating asset light, boutiques often have lower operating costs, enabling them to invest in human capital and focus on extracting maximum value from the business. This model enables boutiques to set up new locations quickly, and to concentrate time and resource into innovation.

Quick and Agile Decision Making - a further benefit of boutiques having lower operating costs and a lower level of risks is that decisions can be made quickly without having significant adverse impact on the organisation. Timing and convenience - boutiques are able to locate themselves in urban areas, close to where people work and live, and offer multiple sessions per day. Moreover, technological advances such as mobile apps and online booking systems, conveniently enable customers to book classes remotely on devices. Fun and intuition - by delivering sessions where customers simply have to follow the instructor, customers are able to fully immerse themselves into the workout without having to determine how to maximise their performance. This creates experiences that are entertaining, exhilarating and intuitive.

Making the most of gym space: By strengthening an existing value proposition, or by creating a new one, gyms can seize the business opportunity to profit from this trend. With the focus often on indoor cycling, high intensity interval training (HIIT) or yoga, concepts within the more traditional gym environment can easily be created. Whether your gym has lots of space or a small area, there are always options to incorporate functional training and by using versatile equipment operators can maximise floor space while also offering the training options exercisers’ are looking for. The Queenax™ unit, from Precor, can be adapted to fit any space, making it possible for both large and small gyms to offer a boutique experience and a personal touch. Its multifaceted training options enable facilities to offer a variety of classes and exercises to a broad membership base. Justin Smith, Head of UK at Precor comments: “The growth of boutique gyms is led primarily by providing members with a specialised offering where they can feel part of a likeminded community, all of which helps member engagement MARCH 2018



and retention. The additions of both the Queenax™ modular functional training system and the indoor cycling brand Spinning® to the Precor portfolio, along with our vast range of cardiovascular and strength equipment, enable us to offer personalised solutions, whether it’s for a boutique gym or a larger facility wanting to offer members a boutique experience within their site. “With Queenax™ and its extensive variety of apps, optionals and education training, gyms can offer a range of HIIT functional circuit classes to help build their intense, exerciseloving community through group classes. They can deliver their members a fantastic ride with the range of Spinner® bikes and a dedicated education programme that enables staff to become certified Spin® instructors. This means gyms can provide a consistently high standard of classes using top of the range equipment that’s durable and built to last.”

Case study: Creating a boutique experience Salt Ayre lead the way: Salt Ayre Leisure Centre in Lancaster is a council operated site covering over 6,500 square metres. The centre recently underwent an extensive renovation, including a complete reconfiguration of its layout. During the design stage management considered the best way to use the space in an efficient and effective manner and opted for two Queenax™ units, instantly creating a boutique environment. Growing the membership base: Installing the Queenax™ not only fulfils multiple customer needs - strength, flexibility and core - in one versatile, flexible unit but also increases the overall offering to members with modern by affordable, full-body exercise options as well as a new range of small group exercise classes such as BOOST - Beginners Functional Training, METCON - Metabolic Conditioning, STRENGTH & TONE Strength & Core and TEAM FIT - Partner based Functional Training, which are already helping to grow the membership base and increase revenue. Simon Kirby, Sports and Leisure Manager at Lancaster City Council, says: “Our aim was to create an inspirational destination so members of our community and from across

the region will come and enjoy a wide range of new and innovative physical activities.” Salt Ayre installed two different versions of the Queenax™; the Bridge - a larger unit based in a downstairs functional fitness room, previously archery halls, which spans the length of the long, narrow room, utilising the wall space while leaving the whole length of the room accessible; and an Open Format in the main fitness studio enabling members to train all around it from all sides, making it ideal for group exercise classes. Outside of these classes, members can use the units independently. Gym instructors are fully trained and encourage members to incorporate exercises on the Queenax™ into their everyday fitness routines. Personal Trainers also incorporate exercises on the Queenax™ into their clients' routines. The fitness studio’s Open Format means many different user groups can access the unit at the same time Salt Ayre also has invested in a wide range of Queenax™ add-ons to increase the range of exercises available, including TRX®, an Up Strength, a Superfunctional training bar, a punching bag, a plyometric platform, a torso trainer, mobile parallels and a battle rope. Staff feedback has been positive, with trainers reporting the Queenax™ generates significant interest from customers of all ages and abilities. Staff using the Queenax™ say the training has enabled them to use the unit to its full potential and report the small group classes create a 'team effect' where motivation to workout is high. Since installing the Queenax™ units, all abilities and age groups have embraced the new equipment, with Salt Ayre reporting an even split between male and female users. Customer feedback has also been positive, with members commenting the new gym layout, including the Queenax™, is appealing and eye catching. In a typical week, Salt Ayre records over 800 attendances to classes using the Queenax™ unit. So, with the boutique effect taking the industry by storm, if you want to stand out in the crowd, attract new members and retain existing ones, it could be time to consider if adapting your current gym to take advantage of this trend is the right move for you.


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Owner of the Month

Market Hard & Keep Marketing Alexei Sharp, Owner/Director of ESPH tells us about his journey into gym ownership

Gym Owner: Alexei Sharp Gym Name: ESPH Location: East Dulwich, London Web: www.esph.co.uk

How did you become a gym owner? Prior to operating a gym, I ran two physiotherapy practices, under the ESPH brand, which I co-owned with my mother and my brother, both in London, one in Harley Street and one in East Dulwich. Both practices were successful, but my brother and I had an ambition to provide our patients and the wider local community with a much broader health and wellbeing offering which placed physical activity at its core. In 2007 we added a 10,000 sq.ft. gym offering to our East Dulwich practice and earlier this year we invested more than ÂŁ500,000 in re-developing our fitness facility which, today, we are extremely proud of. Physiotherapy and other health care services remain an important part of our health, fitness and wellbeing offering but it is the gym facility and the opportunity to offer more people the chance to enjoy a premium wellbeing service that really excites me.

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How long has the ESPH gym been operating? We opened our East Dulwich site in 2007, but the recent developments have meant that we are now delivering the concept we set out to deliver so I would say that ESPH has only really been operating in this format since July this year, when the renovation works completed. In the next 12-18 months, we are planning a complete rebrand to reflect a move away from a traditional health care service to a more well-rounded wellbeing and lifestyle service.

How many gyms do you own? Currently just the one full service gym in East Dulwich but we have ambitions to grow the portfolio to between 6 and 10 sites in the next 5 years. We also have a Fitness Centre attached to our Harley street Physio Practice which houses a four piece eGym circuit, but this facility simply supports our physiotherapy business and is not marketed externally as a gym.

Aside from the gym, what other facilities do you offer members? I like to think this is where we offer a unique service. We have four areas at ESPH Dulwich. Two of these are multipurpose, hosting classes which include Mat Pilates, Yoga, Circuits and Barre. We then also have a dedicated Spin Studio, housing 24 bikes, and a Pilates Studio, housing six reformers as well as all the other equipment. Sitting alongside this fitness offering, we have five consultation rooms which accommodate a range of Allied Health Professionals including Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Nutritionists and Massage Therapists. We offer members a broad health and wellbeing service in a premium setting.

Firstly, by providing an inspirational working environment, kitted out with the very best equipment. For example, we installed an eGym circuit on our gym floor because we believe this offers the most intuitive, technologically advanced, results-driven and time-efficient strength workout on the market. Every member of the team was put through intensive training from eGym to understand how to use the advanced technology to create more meaningful member interactions and to deliver an improved customer service. It also supported a change in mindset amongst staff, and inspired buy-in to the new processes being implemented. We have also invested in eGym Premium Software which enables us to offer members a deeper level of bespoke workout programming, which improves the development of the member towards their training goals. With eGym Premium Software, members gain access to a further three training methods; Adaptive, Isokinetic and Explonic. Our gym was amongst the first in the UK to make use of this software. Secondly, we encourage ongoing education. Not only do we invest in our team’s individual professional development, we also encourage interaction between the wide range of professionals working at ESPH so they can share knowledge and best practice. PTs learn from Physios, Pilates Instructors, from Dieticians and so on. Thirdly, we encourage the team to enjoy the facilities through the provision of a complimentary membership.

Do you provide any financial assistance to staff regarding training and development? Yes – we have a dedicated training budget which we use to ensure all staff maintain their CPD.

How many staff do you employ?

What makes your gym unique?

66 people work across our two sites. This is a mix of Allied Health Professionals, Personal Trainers, Gym Instructors, Class Instructors and Administrators. My brother and I are also very involved in the day-to-day running of the business. I tend to take care of the finances and operations, he looks after the HR and marketing.

The range of health and physical activity services on offer under one roof. Our health care provision compliments our fitness offering perfectly, creating an inviting, health and wellbeing environment where people want to hangout and where people enjoy all aspects of their visit, thanks to the premium service level we deliver.

How do you motivate/incentivise your staff?

The eGym equipment installation has also played a central role in our differentiation, making strength training accessible to all. Members no longer need to remember what resistance to select, how many repetitions to complete, speed of movement for optimal results etc. The eGym equipment software automates all of this, leaving the member to focus on the exercise itself, following clear

Our positioning in the market is top end. Think Michelin Star or 5-star hotel status and that is the level of service we strive to deliver. To maintain this, we need to recruit, train and retain the very best professionals in the market. We do this in a number of ways.


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other offerings in your locality. Then, market hard and keep marketing.

What are the biggest challenges facing your business? Maintaining brand visibility in the market and letting people know exactly what our brand represents. Our offering is not mainstream, it is high end and represents a lifestyle choice. The challenge will be in convincing enough people that what we offer is what they want or need.

What significant changes have you seen in the industry over the last 3 years?

visual instructions delivered via the display screen. We are using the eGym equipment in circuit mode so members can move around the circuit completing a full body strength programme in around 30 minutes. All data is collated in their account on the eGym cloud which can then be accessed by the trainer, via the Trainer App or the member, via the Fitness App. This brings workout prescription into the digital era, increasing efficiencies and delivering results much faster than traditional training methods. The eGym solution is also excellent at maintaining engagement. Using the app, members move through a series of activity levels, based on the duration and intensity of activities completed, and are fed instant feedback on the health benefits they can expect to enjoy as a result of the physical activity they are completing. This encouragement to progress and reinforcement of the success of their investment keeps their training on track, propelling them towards their individual goals. Around 254 of our members are regularly training with eGym each month, this represents 35% percent of our gym users and this figure continues to grow each month. Since install in November last year, we’ve seen a significant increase in our monthly usage, from 3.1 sessions per month to 4.5 sessions per month.

What advice would you give to gym owners just starting out? Firstly, understand your membership and fully research the products and services available to help you best meet the needs of the membership. Once you are confident you have the product offering right, make sure your pricing structure is correct, depending on market conditions and

A move towards digitalisation and the benefits this brings with regards to the level of service we can provide to members. The eGym strength circuit is a great example of this. The automated set up, the constant performance feedback from the touchscreen, the pre-programmed workout plans, the gamification elements and the motivational messages all help to better engage the user and make the whole process much easier and more enjoyable. In addition to encouraging longer term usage, the progressive workouts also drive the user towards their goals more effectively, delivering a return on their investment and keeping them paying their monthly subscriptions significantly longer. Also, the disruption caused by the arrival of the budget gyms has been interesting to watch. Middle-market operators have been tested to the limit as consumers question the value of their membership. ESPH has remained, largely, unaffected by this, due to the fact that people tend not to base their purchasing decision with us on price, it’s more about a lifestyle choice. That said, clearing the market of some big name operators has enabled smaller, more boutique gym owners like us, to have a voice in the market which is what the consumer wants.

What is your biggest success story? Actually delivering what we set out to achieve. Our ambition was to create a lifestyle brand which encourages and supports individuals in their quest to become ‘fit for life’. This is now a reality at our East Dulwich venue. I believe we bring a unique offering to market. It’s always a risk, trying something now, but in this case, it is really paying off. I am extremely proud of what we have created and look forward to delivering our concept to new communities over the next few years.

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WHAT IS TRX MAPS? TRX MAPS is a user-friendly, scalable and engaging way to quickly analyze movement quality through the performance of a full-body functional movement scan. In short, 3D sensor technology accurately measures a user’s quality of movement while they perform three overhead squats. Results are delivered on-screen and via email, with personalized exercises that address areas of weakness.

Additional Product Details:  Physmodo Software analyzes user movements to evaluate Mobility, Activation, Posture and Symmetry (MAPS).  The movement screen takes less than 30 seconds.  The automated screen displays simple instructions so that users are able to screen themselves ie. guidance from health club personnel is not required.  Users will receive four individual scores quantifying their performance in Mobility, Activation, Posture and Symmetry, as well as a weighted composite score.  Graphic body map illustrations appear at the end of the assesment with yellow and/or red indicators identifying movement inefficiencies across four critical categories:

Mobility, Activation, Posture and Symmetry.  Through analysis of each user’s movement, TRX MAPS pushes customized exercises designed to improve inefficiencies.  To receive results and personalized exercises, users either enter their email address or display their QR code from the TRX App.  Users are encouraged to perform regular scans (especially after completing corrective exercises) as to watch their progress over time.  Trainers are able to receive detailed client data and scores via TRX Digital Pro.



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 ACTIVATION: Ability to maintain muscle stability

 POSTURE: Variance between left and right sides (while standing)

 SYMMETRY: Variance between left and right sides, or front to back (while squatting)




Despite it’s simplicity, the overhead squat is unique in that it generates feedback on the entire body.

 The overall composite score is out of 100 (the higher the score the better).

According to the experts:  World Journal of Orthopedics: “[The overhead squat (OHS) is the] Only one of the movement patterns that has published biomechanical analysis.”  Sports Biomechanics Journal: “The OHS can be used to discriminate differences in mechanics that may be beneficial for exercise interventions.”  Journal of Applied Biomechanics: “The OHS is a common functional movement assessment used to identify higher risk biomechanical patterns which may place individuals at high risk for injury.”  London Sport Institute: “Existing research indicates imbalances may be present during the OHS in a range of athletes and non-athlete populations...in addition to being time consuming and having access to expensive lab equipment, an in-depth lab-based analysis is not always viable.”

 User’s overall MAPS scores are a composite of their Mobility, Activation, Posture, and Symmetry scores. (Note: varying degrees of weight are placed on each category. See detailed breakdown below).

HOW DOES ONE PERFORM A MAPS ASSESSMENT? Performing a TRX MAPS scan is very simple – the whole process only takes about 30 seconds. Follow the steps below: 1. The user walks up to the kiosk, stands on the floor indicators and follows the on-screen instructions. (Note: the sensors in the kiosk will automatically recognize that a user is present and in position to begin). 2. At this point, on-screen prompts will make sure that the user is in the correct position by running through a list of checks (eg. hips are feet width distance apart). 3. Once in position, a countdown appers on-screen. Once the countdown concludes, the user is prompted to perform three overhead squats. 4. Once the squats are completed, the user will be prompted to lower their arms and remain in the standing position. (Note: the “Posture” portion of the assessment is collected while the user is in this position. If the user walks away early, shifts off the floot mart, or fails to remain in the standing position with arms lowered during this time, final scores will either not post, or may be tainted). 5. At this point, the assessment concludes and results are delivered on-screen. Results will also be delivered to the user via email, along with personalized exercises that target areas of wearkness.

HOW DO I GET MY SCORE? First time users will be prompted to check a Terms & Conditions box and enter their email address before they start their assessment.  TRX MAPS scores will be delivered on-screen and via email, along with exercises that target areas of weakness.  Scores and exercises can be tracked and delivered using the TRX App (available via Apple Store or Google Play). Whenever a return user performs a scan, it will be pushed to the App so you can track your progress in real-time.  The TRX App also includes a unique QR code that can be scanned directly at the TRX MAPS kiosk.

 User’s MAPS results (depicted in Exhibit A) highlight areas in yellow and/or red to indicate where attention may be needed:  Yellow = moderate, ie. some action needed  Red = poor, ie. immediate action highly recommended  Score breakdown:  Mobility (40% of score):  Average range of motion of the shoulders and elbows  Average maximum range of motion of the hip (femur and spine angle) and knee (femur and tibia angle)  Activation (15% of score):  Scapula: average degree of retraction  Valgus: average displacement of knee (infers glute activation)  Squat Depth: average of the maximum degree of femur to ground angle for each squat (infers pelvic control muscles – reflected in hamstrings on body maps illustrations)  Posture (5% of score):  Shoulders: difference in height from floor on each side  Back Bend: degree of spine tilt to front (+) or back (-)  Center of Gravity: degree of spine tilt to left (-) or right (+)  Hips: difference in height from floor on each side  Valgus: displacement of knees on each side  Symmetry (40% of score):  Shoulder, Elbow & Knee: average variance between left and right flexion  Valgus: average variance between left and right knee displacement  Squat Depth: average variance between left and right femur to ground angle  Center of Gravity: average variance in spine tilt to the left or right  Yellow and Red - What do these mean?  A score of 70-100 = Good  A score between 35-69 = Yellow: Moderate  A score below 35 = Red: Poor  Z-scoring methodology  This refers to our mean and standard deviation – determined from data gathered from over 3,000 individuals (of varying ages and fitness levels) at several company sponsored events.  A score of 50 for each component of MAPS indicates the mean score of the population.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO THIS?  As much as you’d like! This is a great tool to continue to use to see how your movement progresses and to receive ongoing exercises/feedback. MARCH 2018


TRX STUDIO LINE FACILITATING THE FUNCTIONAL Create the ultimate functional training zone in your facility. These highly customizable suspension anchoring and storage systems maximize space efficiency and exercise functionality, while emphasizing design and aesthetics to suit the needs of each unique member, space and activity.

CONTACT YOUR REP TO ORDER sales@trxtraining.com | (888) 878-5348, option 3






The Future is Franchising Emily Price, Head of Operations at The British Franchise Association, looks at the rise of franchising. Serious business offering serious opportunities According to the 2015 bfa Natwest Franchise Survey, 621,000 people were employed in the UK Franchise Industry, an uplift from the 561,000 reported in 2013, and that is not including the 20,500 franchise owners. This figure is expected to rise again as we await the latest results. Having worked in the industry for six years it has become quite clear as to why franchising has established a strong position in the UK economy.

Mutually and financially beneficial Proven businesses are looking to expand their customer base, service more people and increase brand awareness. Entrepreneurial people are looking for an opportunity to build a business and become their own boss. Add franchising to the mix and you get motivated franchise owners that are provided with the tools to start their own business, coupled with ample support from experts that understand how to make that business work. As franchise owners invest, the network grows, the franchise brand becomes widely recognised and the entire franchise network reaps the rewards. The franchisor business sits at the heart of this growth. They become the brand protector, the market researcher, the product and service developer. But most importantly continually invest in the evolution of the system to ensure franchisees have the best opportunities in the market whilst the franchisees can focus on building their consumer base. This is a perfectly balanced partnership providing valuable opportunities for people to grow considerable business assets.

Business development opportunities are plentiful There are fantastic examples across the industry of people that have made a commitment to franchising and are benefitting as a result. It is not unusual for employees of franchisors to eventually be offered the opportunity to own a franchise themselves. It is also very common that successful franchisees are provided the opportunity 36

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to expand their territory to further build their business and team. More recently we are seeing a huge spike in franchisees that have structured a centralised support team with systems enabling them to invest in a large number of franchise opportunities. These multi-unit, multi-brand franchisees are building significant portfolios and are proving that franchising is definitely NOT small business. And franchise businesses are not just for the short term, a typical franchise agreement is 5 years with a right to renew in most cases. However, many franchise business owners are staying in franchising for 10 to 20 years or longer and have next generation exit plans enabling family members to continue building the business.

People and passion are at the heart I have met many franchisors and professional advisors in the franchise industry and there are some common attributes which I feel makes the franchise community a wonderful place to be. PASSION: People really believe in what they do and are motivated by the prospect of providing people with life changing business opportunities and guidance. EXECUTION: Franchisors don’t just talk the talk, they have walked the walk and for that reason franchise businesses have a much lower failure rate to startups with their franchisor’s support. COMMUNICATION: Industry cross collaboration has provided many mentor orientated conversations with businesses committing to both educational development and supporting one another. This exists both amongst franchisor and franchisee peer groups. SHARED VISION & GOALS: Critical in franchise recruitment and teams across the industry, the power of collective ambition is a perfect result of the franchise business model. INTEGRITY: A compulsory ingredient to any strong business partnership which is key for both attracting talented business owners, motivating support teams and retaining customers.


Word of Warning As Head of Operations at the British Franchise Association, I am at the heart of franchise industry intelligence. I can tell you that the franchise industry is an inspiring place to be. However, people do also suffer at the hands of unfortunate circumstances and misguidance. If I could make one recommendation it would be to get in touch, have a chat

with us, as we can help you during your decision making processes as you look to enter the franchising industry. The British Franchise Association has a wealth of knowledge that can support you whether you are considering investing in business as a franchisee or franchisor. The best thing is that this advice is impartial, very low cost or FREE and the only interest we have is your success. You can contact us at www.thebfa.org

2018 bfa HSBC Franchisor Award finalists have been revealed! bfa HSBC UK Franchise Award Ceremony will be held on 28th of June at the ICC Birmingham. The bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year awards are a celebration of excellence in franchising, highlighting success in all its various forms. Franchisor entries are now closed and the initial short list for each award category has been completed. We are thrilled to announce the franchisor award category finalists are: Franchisor of the Year ★ Agency Express ★ Autosmart ★ Costa Coffee ★ Driver Hire Nationwide ★ McDonald's Restaurants Ltd ★ TaxAssist Accountants Emerging Franchisor of the Year ★ Angela's Swim School ★ Fitness Space ★ We Love Pets Brand Awareness ★ Barking Mad ★ Riverford Organic Farmers ★ Stagecoach Performing Arts Award for Innovation ★ Home Instead ★ Mac Tools ★ Tutor Doctor

who entered and congratulate our finalists, you have already earned the right to proudly display our new bfa HSBC Franchise Award Finalist logo. It’s wonderful to see so many great entries, the effort and commitment that goes into every one is undeniable. Good luck to all on the shortlist and I look forward to seeing your presentations next month!” Andrew Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising for HSBC, said, “To recognise the achievements of all the finalists of the bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, 2018 is an essential part of promoting excellence and best practise for all franchisors working in the UK. Comparing one great entry against another is never easy, particularly as every year the standard seems to increase. I’m proud to be on the judging panel again, looking forward to the entry presentations and excited to continue HSBC’s support of this excellent awards programme.” All finalists will present their case to a panel of expert judges on either the 20th or 21st March, which this year includes: ★ Brian Smart QFP, (Chair of the Judges) ★ Pip Wilkins QFP, Chief Executive, bfa ★ Andrew Brattesani, Head of Franchising, HSBC ★ Jane Masih, Director, Owen White Solicitors ★ Alan Wilkinson QFP, Head of UK Franchise Development, The Franchising Centre ★ Derrick Simpson, bfa Companion

Award for Franchise Support ★ Bright & Beautiful UK ★ Expense Reduction Analysts ★ Revive! Auto Innovations (UK) Ltd

Winners will be named at the Franchise of the Year awards black-tie ceremony held between day one and two of the bfa Annual Conference, on 28th June 2018 at the ICC in Birmingham. Book early to avoid disappointment, check our new website for details – https://www.thebfa.org/ events/annual-conference-2017/

Pip Wilkins, the bfa’s CEO, commented, “Our annual awards are proving more popular than ever, with a 32% increase in entries this year over 2017, so it’s been a tough task to narrow it down to our 18 finalists. I’d like to thank everyone

And remember entries to the franchisee categories don’t close until the 30th of March, so get started on your entry now, and see our new website for details – https://www. thebfa.org/external-relations-pr/franchise-awards/

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NEXTISSUE April issue features include:

Retention//Strength Training//Group Exercise//FIBO// Bootcamp Training// Recruiting a PT// Group Exercise

To advertise alongside these features, contact: Paul Wood: 07858 487357 pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk FEBRUary 2018



NAME: Simon Kennedy

FACEBOOK: SiFit Personal Training

QUALIFICATIONS: Level 3, Degree Sport and Exercise Science, HND Fitness Health, Exercise Kettlebell Instructor, BWLA Qualified

INSTAGRAM: Fitter_father / 777Kennedy


VIDEO'S: www.youtube.com/channel/ UCyjI0YTdhVes3NKPGwtCOqg?view_ as=subscriber

OWNER OF: The Club Gym in Glasgow - Co-Owner

How did you become a PT? I started as PT when I was 20 years old after completing my HND, then a Degree in Sport and Exercise Science. I’ve always been heavily involved in sport, playing shinty and racing motocross for the last 17 years.

What was your experience of the training / qualification process? Because I went through a HND and a degree I think my experience was very good and very in depth. That being said, I learned more about personal training when I started training clients and working in a gym.

Do you specialise, or plan to specialise in a particular type of fitness? I have always specialised in body transformations, so I will continue with this. I am about to be a first time father, so I have written a 90 day program Called Fitter Father - DadBod90. It is aimed at busy guys who want to get in shape but don’t have a lot of time due to work or family life.

What is it like working with the gym owner? I actually co-own The Club Gym, so I love it! I’ve been self employed as a trainer for 12 years, although I did work in a budget gym for a few years so had to do free shifts as my rent. I still ran my own PT business from here though. I guess the benefits from owning the gym is that I don’t have to answer to anyone, and I also don’t have to pay £600 rent 40

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a month or do 12 hours of free labour a week. We actually pay our Personal Trainers a wage to do shifts and then keep 100% of their earnings.

What is your opinion of CPD? I believe it is massive in our industry as things change on a weekly basis. If you don’t stay up to date with reading, then you will be left behind. I do think it’s very difficult these days as there are so many opinions on things. One trainer could say something on their FB and then another is saying the complete opposite on theirs. You do have to questions things as there is a lot of poor advice out there. I follow 3-4 trainers who I believe always talk sense and are honest.

You spend your working hours motivating others, how do you motivate yourself? I am a very motivated, driven person, so I don’t find this too difficult. If it’s for my own training I find having a photo shoot or physique show lined up helps me kick my training up a notch. Also the fact that other people depend on me is a huge motivator. I love helping people achieve what they thought wasn’t possible.

What advice would you give to other PTs just starting out in the business? Work your ass off and don’t be afraid to put content out there. I know from speaking to our trainers that they don’t feel confident about putting out content in case someone jumps on and tells them they are wrong. Remember your target market, you are not trying to impress other Personal Trainers. MARCH 2018



What are the biggest challenges facing your business today?

taking on Personal Trainers to help with their goals. It is such a great career.

I feel very fortunate that I am fully in charge of my business and if it fails, it is ultimately down to me.

How do engage with your clients?

What significant changes have you seen within the industry over the past five years? Four week courses to become a fully qualified PT and charge people £30-£40 an hour. This is ridiculous when you think about it, someone could go from never stepping foot in a gym in their life to being a PT in four weeks. Also, probably the thing that bugs me most these days are all the fitness bullies slating other trainers just because they don’t agree with their views. The positive side though is that more and more people are 42

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I use social media a lot - Facebook and Instagram. I use private Facebook groups just for clients and. I put a lot of videos out on YouTube as well. I enjoy it all and it doesn’t feel like work.

How do you promote yourself and your services? Social Media and just generally speaking to people in the gym.

How often do you train? Six days per week.


If you could radically change anything within the industry, what would it be and why? Get rid of all the bullies. We are in such a great industry. We help people live better lives and we should all help each other rather than slate each other.

Do you see yourself still working as a PT in the coming years? I see myself owning more gyms and doing maybe 10-15 PT sessions a week - just because I enjoy it.

What's your biggest success story? I have helped female clients lose weight in order to have IVF - it doesn’t get much better than that. I think generally helping people improve their confidence in day to day life is amazing. There really aren’t many jobs in life where you can do that. MARCH 2018 43


Fit Kit

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

Primal Strength Commercial Horizontal Olympic Bar and Bumper holder  Holds 5 Olympic Bars  4 Extended Bumper Plate Holders  5 Micro Plate & Collar Holders  Free-Standing Horizontal Design  Lifetime Frame, 1-Year Commercial Warranty https://primalstrength.com

Primal Strength Monster Series 45 Degree Dual Leg Press Black Frame & Black Wave  Single and Fixed 45 Degree Press Plates  60mm x 120mm x 4mm Thick Box Steel  8 Sealed German Linear Bearings  Adjustable Back Rest Positions  1000kg Capacity & Lifetime Frame Warranty https://primalstrength.com

The Booty Builder The Booty Builder’s patented design with elevated feet allows users to do the popular hip thrust exercise in the safest, quickest and most comfortable way, and is an investment for any facility, freeing up benches, barbells and plates usually used to perform this exercise. www.bootybuilder.com


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Taurus Ergo-X Air Bike The new Taurus Ergo-X Air Bike is the ideal workout partner for performing highintensity interval training (HIIT) or even gentle cardiovascular workouts, and everything else in between. The Taurus Ergo-X Air Bike is also an ideal solution for commercial fitness facilities with unbeatable durability, engineered to compete with the best air bikes on the market. Air bike design demands the toughest of fundamental components. Machine weight and component quality are of the highest importance to ensure it can handle the most intense of workouts! Key Features:  Dual-action design delivers a full body workout  Heavy duty frame to ensure stability  Belt-driven fan resistance. The faster you pedal, the greater the resistance  Easy-to-read LCD screen provides feedback to the user. (Time, Speed, Distance, Calories & Interval)  No mains power required. View full details here www.powerhouse-fitness.co.uk/taurus-air-bike-ergo-x

BodyMax H2Row Powerhouse Fitness are proud to present the latest addition to our fantastic range of rowing machines, the BodyMax H2Row. Experience the benefits of 'on-water' rowing in the comfort of your own home with a rower which utilizes water resistance for a versatile strength and cardiovascular workout. Key Features  Unlimited resistance range | In-water resistance provides a dynamic rowing stroke with infinite resistance levels and sounds like rowing on water and mimics the nature of what rowing on water should feel like.  Stunning design and quality with cool blue water tank and sleek frame design.  Large LCD Display console  iew full details here www.powerhouse-fitness.co.uk/ V bodymax-h2-row

Taurus Row-X Air Rower  he New Taurus Row-X Air Rower offers unrivalled function, durability and T stability. The indoor rowing market has grown massively in recent years largely due to the ever increasing popularity of functional and cross training and this latest offering from Taurus is a fantastic choice for users of all levels, and facilities of all standards. Whether you wish to perform anything from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to gentle cardiovascular workouts, and everything else in between, the Taurus Row-X Air Rower is the ideal choice. Key Features  LCD display Console  10 workout programmes, including 4 HIIT workouts  Hybrid resistance system  Adjustable footrests & ergonomic handle  Durable construction | Black powder coated finish to guarantee durability View Full details here https://www.powerhousefitness.co.uk/taurus-air-rower-row-x MARCH 2018 45


AGE IS NO BARRIER! Irina Cotton is the reigning UK Fitness Champion, World Champion, Mr & Miss Universe. Meet the country’s most remarkable athlete. Her Ambition: To inspire other women. She has made it her mission to share herknowledge and experience with others, to be a fitness role model for women, especially for mothers out there. She wants to connect with other women out there, and give them the affirmation that they can be a dedicated mum, a loving wife, an intelligent, savvy business-person, and a smoking hot fit woman. Training Advice: Her philosophy is ‘pain is temporary, pride is forever’. Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. The UK Fitness, Figure and Bodybuilding scene has produced plenty of colourful characters over the years BUT NO ONE QUITE LIKE IRINA COTTON. Irina is a four time British Fitness Champion, World Champion, Mr & Miss Universe and the UK’s most remarkable athlete. She has never lost a fitness contest in this country. She is a Fitness Model, Posing Coach, Choreographer, Personal Trainer and National and International Judge. Irina has been dedicated to sport all her life. Former Soviet Gymnastics stars represented the Ukraine and Soviet Union in many national and international competitions, mainly with the Olympic program. Irina was a member of a highly successful Soviet team, and has gathered a host of medals from world-wide competitions in gymnastics, acrobatics, aerobics and bodybuilding. Irina is passionate about Health and Fitness and remains incredibly optimistic and self-motivated. “If you were to ask those who know me, to describe me… well I guess the common reaction would be for them to stop what they are doing, widen their eyes and say: ‘She never stops, she has got that passion, and that discipline, and she just keeps on going! On top of that, her competitive edge… watch out because here she comes!’ that’s what they would say!” There aren’t many unbeaten, four time National Champions kicking around the ranks of the United Kingdom Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, so that immediately makes Irina special. But what takes


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international competitions. “You will probably laugh, but I would love to go through that hard work again,” she says. Besides gymnastics she played football and ice hockey, and in her spare time climbed trees and fences. “I became powerful, strong, and fast by the age of 12, and took part in many athletics events,” she says. Later she studied for a degree at Kharkov National Automobile and Highway University where she cultivated a second interest. “I was very passionate about cars” she says, “I studied cars for four years. I knew a car engine like the back of my hand.” One day during her final year at university, it suddenly occurred to Irina that human bodies were a bit like car engines- they could be finely tuned or left in a sorry state of disrepair. “I understood biomechanics movements and really wanted to find out how the body works as a whole,” she says. “I applied to the National University of Physical Training and Sport where many high class athlete become high class trainers - I wanted to be like them.” Irina achieved a degree in Sport Science, Biomechanics and Sport Therapy, and subsequently got more involved in coaching and teaching sport. “Now I just can’t live without being healthy and fit for life,” she says. After her gymnastics career finished, she kept in shape doing aerobics, cycling and dance. She also continued doing gymnastics just for fun. About the only thing she did not do was weight training. She never touched a weight until 2006, by which time her life had changed considerably.

her across the threshold from special to extraordinary is the fact that she is 50 years old and competes in the toughest event of all. Fitness events consist of a body round and routine round, so it’s not enough just to look good - you also have to be able to do things like backflips, one-arm push-ups, as well as strength balances while your body is depleted of carbohydrates and dehydrated. When you see Irina on stage, it’s difficult to believe this is a woman in her sixth decade. Her petite frame is beautifully sculpted with taut, lean muscle, while her routine, as always, includes the kind of moves that would leave most people facing a trip to A&E. As usual, she finished first in both rounds, and never stops smiling. She clearly loves being on stage and has an infectious joy.

In 1993 Irina moved to England and worked a gymnastics coach at the private boarding schools where her children studied. “As a single mum, I worked many hours to keep my children in private boarding schools and hardly had time to go to gym,” she says. Although she no longer had the time to train seriously, she never lost the desire and became an avid fan of a new type of contest on TV. “I watched the Ms Fitness USA show every year from 1995,” she says. “The breath-taking performance by some of the most beautiful and athletic women made me want to one day to take part in a fitness competition. It was my dream.” As her children grew older she began to think seriously about entering a contest in the United Kingdom. Irina was in her 40s when she decided to do it. Most people would not dream of taking up something so demanding at such an age

So how does she do it? Irina has lived in the UK for 25 years, but is very much a product of Eastern Europe. She was born in the Ukraine, where gymnastics is taught more widely, and discipline and determination are instilled at an early age. “When I was six years old, my mum took me to a dance studio and I loved it,” she said. “I was a slim, strong and a small girl in my class with lots of energy. One day, when I was almost seven, we had a visitor in our PE lesson. As we finished the lesson she approached me and said ‘ I think you will do very well in gymnastics’.” “Although I was only seven at that time, I will never forget that day or the day after when my mum took me to a professional gymnastics centre. From that day, I had another life and I loved it, even though it was not an easy one sometimes. I trained hard and never allowed myself to make excuses or cheat myself out of being the best I could be. I knew that if I did not give it my best and do my best, I would regret it later in life.” Irina’s dancing skills meant she enjoyed the floor exercises the most, along with the beam. Fitness contests did not exist at the time - the combination of dance, gymnastics and showmanship were the perfect preparation for later in life. “I became very creative and started choreographing floor and beam routines, which I still do now,” she says. But back then it was all about gymnastics, and Irina soon progressed up the ladder. She became a professional gymnast for 15 years, representing the Soviet Union and Ukraine in many national and

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but Irina has never been one to shirk a physical challenge. She had seen a 52-years-old American grandmother do it on TV, and did not see any reason why she could not do the same. “I got inspired, and I wanted to inspire others too,” she says. “I always looked up to their condition and admired their physiques.” The routine is the hardest part of a fitness contest for most women, but being an ex-professional gymnast it presented few problems for Irina. Developing her physique was her priority, so she started weight training for the first time at the age of 47. “I was in shape and all I had to do was put on some more muscle,” she says. “I started visiting the gym regularly, lifted weights and I noticed that my body responded rapidly to the exercises I performed. I felt beautiful, athletic as ever, and healthier. The cold, hard iron can do more for a woman’s beauty than diamonds. Above all, it builds strength on the inside as well as on the outside.” Although she enjoyed the training, contest preparation was something else. “I was surprised to find out how intense it is,” she says. “But I loved every sweaty and sometimes hungry minute of it. First it was an aesthetic pleasure, and then it became more of a lifestyle. I began methodically training my body, learning as much as I could about diet and nutrition.” Irina made her UKBFF debut at the 2006 North-East Championship in Leeds. The victory qualified her for the UK Championships where she became National Champion for the first time- and she did it all herself. “I did not have a trainer or anyone who could help me and people find that very strange,” she says. “I did all my preparation by myself. I studied, read a lot, listened to my body and worked hard in gym. I did my own choreography for fitness routines, edited my own music, and did my own diet and training, and designed and sewed my own costumes.” Irina has little doubt about what separates her from other women. “I have a very strong will to accomplish my goal.” She says. “Once I decide to do something, I am dedicated 120% and won’t give up. This carries through in my workout and life in general.” She won the UK fitness title again in 2008, 2010 and 2013. the final year’s victory, after turning, 54, was the sweetest of all. “I worked my Ukrainian booty off for last year’s show,” she says. “I knew I had to prove myself and everyone that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. After a long knee injury and operation at the beginning of 2013 I was over moon to get the fitness title again in October 2013. After knee operation recovery I had just seven months to perform my fitness routine.” In between her domestic triumphs, she has represented the UK at the World Masters Championships in Italy, and the European Masters Championships in Serbia. All this time she has been loyal to UKBFF. From November 2013, Irina represented WABBA, IFBA in many World and Mr & Miss Universe Championships, gathering titles. She is also an amazing posing coach, as well as a National and International Judge. She has no plans to retire. If you ask Irina how she stays motivated and inspired to reach her goals, she will reply “YOLO”- You only live once! - I don’t want to be 90 years old thinking, I coulda, woulda, shoulda,” she says. “I do this for myself. My motivation each time is to be a ‘better me’ than the last. Her goals extend to inspiring others, “I want to be a fitness role model for women, especially for mothers out there that want to be fit, self-fulfilled, and feel desirably and sexy. I feel strongly about this. I want to connect with the other women out there and give them the affirmation that they can be a dedicated mum, a loving wife, an intelligent, savvy business-person and a smoking hot fit woman. We just have to believe in ourselves.” Age, she says, is not a problem. “My philosophy is: ’Life isn’t about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself’, there is no magic pill. The key is the combination of your diet, nutrition and training and you must stay happy. Being fit is the best feeling I could ever


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imagine. I can’t describe how much inspiration comes from seeing the muscles grow and the fat go. Working out has kept me feeling like a kid.” When it comes to her training, Irina has her own routine to get that winning physique: “I target each body part once per week and always vary my exercises and routines for maximum results. I choose eight to ten different exercises for each body part, and do four sets of 15 reps for each exercise. I stretch or do ab work between sets. I am quick and aggressive and put my mind into the muscle I am training. About nine weeks leading up to a show, I do 60 minutes of cardio every day and practice my fitness routine three times a week. I eat 6-8 balanced meals a day to fuel my high-intensity workout. I eat the same thing for three weeks, then change it up to avoid any plateaus, but the basic proportions of protein and carbs remain about the same. I eat small meals with balanced portions of lean protein (chicken, fish, egg whites), healthy carbs (rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, berries) and fibrous veggies (broccoli, asparagus, green beans) and drink lots of water to help me shed water weight, so my hard-earned muscles will be visible. My words of wisdom: ‘No matter what you want to achieve, you need to believe in yourself and go for it. Only you can make a difference in you.’ YOLO!” “When I’m not competing I still train 3 - 5 times per week and do 20 to 30 minutes cardio at maximum intensity 3 - 5 days a week. I will also train a little heavier - a lot of super-sets, to keep the intensity high. I love plyometric training. Plyometrics are a great way to increase leg strength, stamina, jumping etc. I do supersets and also do ‘bleachers’, where I run to the top of stairs and back. I did this when I was gymnast; its hard but I love it. I love to do a fast walk uphill. I am very creative and love to create new sets of exercise. Please ask and I will creating something for you.” “I don’t really have an off-season and on-season. My nutrient intake changes depending on how far out I am from a show. I still eat clean every two to three hours with high protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. My body loves it. As nutritionist I always create new clean eating shopping lists, and cook new healthy dishes. I love all seafood. I always make fruit salads and smoothies. Healthy body - Healthy mind - that’s my lifestyle. Nothing tastes as good as fit feels, because it is so true.” FB: Irina Cotton Instagram: @pumapower


HOW BOUTIQUE GYMS ARE BETTERING THEMSELVES THROUGH SERVICE Matt Gleed, Master Trainer and Education Specialist, discusses what Boutique Gyms are doing that sets them apart from the rest. WANT TO OPEN A BOUTIQUE GYM? Boutique gyms are setting themselves a step ahead in the fitness industry by specialising their offering and creating inspiring, atmospheric spaces. Whether a studio is specialising in heart rate focused circuit training, bike programming, or yoga for example, these studios are current, keeping up with fitness trends and demands plus giving members a bespoke level of service. They can also be more flexible in terms of changing direction or theme if desired. These gyms hold character, and also attract very experienced trainers, who can in many ways become brand ambassadors themselves for the gyms. The appeal to work in a space like, where you can really become a part of the brand is high. Many members will begin coming for the training they are looking for, as much as they do for the facilities and the experience of the trainers these studios offer. Staff and trainers working within these boutique studios feel a sense of pride for the brand, so when talking to members or customers, they are well informed about all the services the studios offer, especially as the are interested in the concepts they specialise in. Their service retains your members, and their passion in turn drives high standards. These studios are becoming iconic and getting fitness enthusiasts travelling from all over the country to come and see them. What they showcase online; atmosphere, gritty studios, the latest classes, the most inspiring trainers… its hard not to be intrigued to find out more, or get down and try a class for yourself. However, the secret is not in what they do, it’s how they do it… Inspired by larger gyms or Health Clubs offering corporate run, generic, mismanaged facilities, the boutique studios are being set up to specialise in areas of high interest, and often they are born out of gaps in how the bigger companies would do things. MARCH 2018 49


HOW TO MAKE FUNCTIONAL TRAINING WORK IN YOUR STUDIO With functional training equipment now regularly taking a more permanent place on the gym floor and in the studios, it’s vital to get skilled trainers who can showcase this equipment and advise members how to use it to maximum benefit. In past years, big companies would buy education support from product companies. But with the retention of trainers being low, the trained personal trainers would move on to other roles leaving a skill gap in the gym floor staff. The next model saw internal master trainers in these big companies, offering upskills to fill the gaps. However, the internal master trainers were not getting the constant support and latest training from the product companies. Now, the demand has shifted to the equipment suppliers to offer training to ensure the products are understood and used with high success or the buyers think twice about the large investment they make in products. I believe the next direction will be getting initial training being offered and then constant support via apps, video, support lines and webinars to support the usage and inspire self discovery in a guided way until a disruptive method breaks the model again.

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boom 25 years ago but those standards are old and it is only a matter of time before a overhaul of education standards will happen to curriculums. Experienced professionals are seeing new trainers getting influenced in different ways and they are getting more content out in the public than ever. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat are a few ways influencers are sharing their own interpretation of what they have learnt. We now see more pictures of healthy meals and post workout photos then ever, and the following these influencers are having is up in the 100,000+. With no regulation and no qualifications, it’s a dangerous direction for many reasons but if it inspires more than it harms it’s hard to see it coming to an end. A note of warning to these influencers and ambitious new bloggers, don’t forget to hold a degree of responsibility to your posting. Educated opinions are often better than personal opinions. There are people that will take your word and your advice as gospel. So make sure what you’re sharing in the fitness or nutritional space is supported by education not just some ones opinion that is getting far from the truth. My advice would be to ensure you have fact and evidence as the core of your opinions and make sure you look at the long game of sustainable positions, leaving fads and quick wins alone. The best way to influence people is from the side of education and means knowing the topic inside out. So if you are wanting your new gym or studio to stand the test of time inspire with knowledge and skill rather than follow the crowd and offer watered down views from wannabe celebs.


Make The Right Hiring Decisions Daniel Nyiri, Founder of 4U Fitness, on how to assemble your A-Team.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships” —Michael Jordan

I have mentioned before that you need to have the right people with the right attitude in order to motivate clients and keep them coming back and to create a five-start experience in your gym. I always encourage gym owners to hire based on attitude and not on paper qualifications. I personally never ask my trainers to show me their certifications during the interview process. Generally, they want to talk about their master’s degree in exercise science and they should be proud of the time and effort they put in, but that doesn’t influence my hiring decisions. If you are the right fit, you will be hired regardless of your education and certifications. Just because you have a diploma and some certifications doesn't mean you are a superstar personal trainer and vice versa.

What kind of people do you want to work with? First, you have to identify what qualities you are looking for in your employees. Meaning, all employees from personal trainers to managers, even receptionists, think of every single person in your gym. You need to have specifics when

you think about this, not out of an outdated job description booklet. You should create a one-page document for every position, which lists job title, mission, and expectations for the next three, six and 12 months. For example, you could include the following: generating $5,000 revenue monthly within three months of employment, or have 20 active clients by the end of two months. You can also list activities such as: you will be required to make X amount of phone calls per day and to book three trials and seven sessions per week. Just be specific! And really ask yourself: can this person take my business to seven figures? Make sure that you also list job competencies and that your candidates align with them – this includes things like work ethic, willingness to learn, an upbeat personality, the ability to motivate others and so on. It is better to hire for a cultural and competency fit than for specific skills as long as they are capable of learning and you have to tools to teach them. In my case, when I hire someone, it takes about three months to train them; in this time, they learn exactly what, why, when and how we do what we do. It is important that they are open minded because we teach them the truth about the fitness and health industry and sometimes the truth is tough to MARCH 2018



swallow. We show them why we are different and how we are going to revolutionize the fitness industry. We show them how to think differently and their job is to show and teach the same to our clients as well. Training is a very important part of our culture. We even give our employee their own certifications and ID cards. Once they pass all of our exams, they receive a diploma and an ID card which they use to log into our systems, so every session is documented and every motion of the workout can be analyzed in our cloud-based system. If someone doesn’t fit in with your culture, it simply won’t work – even worse, a bad hire can damage your culture and hurt your business. So how do you get you’re A-team? How do you attract and keep the most amazing trainers for your business? I will share some of our top tips and secrets here – just keep an open mind, because we do things a little differently – and you might even think some of these ideas are a little crazy. But they work!

Find at least 20 candidates per job opening Statistics show that you need at least 20 candidates to find one good hire. Sadly, many gym owners hire the first person who walks in their gym solely based on if they look the part. That is a recipe for disaster. For instance, sometimes you grow too fast and you need to find a trainer as soon as possible, or one of your trainers leaves and you are stressed out about finding a new one so you hire the first candidate 52

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that seems good enough. Please do not do this. I did it one time and had a horrible experience; our business ended up losing thousands of dollars because clients left and, on top of that, we lost thousands of potential dollars because these people started to talk about our trainer and what was happening. It took us about six months to recover from that bad hire. I can only blame myself since I was the one who hired the person. When I did not have a hiring process and didn’t know who I was really looking for, my trainer retention was horrible. They would only stay about three to six months and I had to fire them or they fired themselves. Once I created our process and figured out what I need to secure our company’s future and who I need to fill up each one of these roles, everything changed. Now we don’t hire for a job anymore. We hire for a career, a calling! Yes, we are saving the dolphins at 4U Fitness and you should, too. Our trainers are part of our family and they are not here just to collect a paycheck. They are contributing to our future and, most importantly, they believe in our business and they know where we heading and have no reason to leave. Most of our trainers been with us for years now and we just keep adding new ones as we grow while retaining the best in the business. You have to have a documented hiring process and be willing to look at lots of applicants. I have learned from Google because they have used some very creative ways to find new talent. In 2004 they placed a billboard by a busy highway next to Yahoo’s headquarters. They put a mathematical riddle on the billboard – it didn’t include any mention of Google, its logo or any type of branding. No one knew who did it, until someone cracked


the riddle. It generated a huge amount of media requests and posts as well as increased interest in this competitor to Yahoo. The billboard read “{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits e}.com” The answer 7427466391.com would to a website with another equation to solve, with no sign of branding or any trace of Google. If someone solved this equation it would lead to a page on Google Lab which read: “One thing we learned while building Google is that it’s easier to find what you’re looking for if it comes looking for you. What we are looking for are the best engineers in the world. And here you are. “ Now THAT is creative hiring. Not to mention it will only attract the people they were actually looking for – not just smart and skilled in math/engineering but the ones who willing to do the extra work and to figure out things on their own. Like Google, we don’t want someone who will just sit there and look at you if something breaks or the music system in your studio isn’t working. We want someone who will take charge and figure it out. What do we do to stand out? We used social media to post funny and goofy pictures of our trainers with a title like: Are you an entrepreneur stuck in a personal trainer’s body? Would you rather work for David or Goliath? We also have pictures of our trainers in lab coats and glasses standing around Miss Olympia, who is in the middle wearing our workout equipment with a caption of “4U Fitness where science meet fitness.” We aren’t afraid to have fun. At fitness expos and conferences, we give out black envelopes to personal trainers that we really like. These envelopes have nothing on them; they are just very heavy thick and feel expensive in your hand. When they open it, they see a specific time and place to meet for an interview. When they show up, they see that there are other trainers there as well but we like to keep it to only about three to five personal trainers; in this way, we let them know that they are the elite of the elite. We were like a trendy coffee shop or bar like a speakeasy where you have to know the answer to get in. If you can find a place nearby that requires you to know the password to get in, that adds extra credit to this process. Once they arrive for the interview we ask as many questions needed to find out as much as possible and give out very minimal information to keep them interested. Being very secretive in a FBI style meeting is a cool experience. After this process, we leave and we don’t have to do anything since the good candidate will definitely follow up with you. Luckily, we also receive many job inquiries monthly. We even have personal trainers who fill out our free trial form to get an inside view on our studio; this often leads to them following up by asking for a job. I have a collection of resumes on my desk as well, since we receive several each week; we aren’t hiring now, but I do save these for future hiring sprees. Once you have the right hiring system in place, you should attract at least 20 candidates per job post. You will have to narrow them down to the final three, which should be easy if you have the right system. Once you reach to the final three candidates, then it is time to get down to the details!

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SPORT RELIEF GET INVOLVED Sport Relief is back and this year there are even more ways to get involved. To accompany all of the fantastic fundraising activities that will be taking place in communities up and down the UK, this year Sport Relief is asking the whole country to join forces for The Nation's Billion Steps Challenge - beating a billion steps a day, every day, during the week of Sport Relief from 17th – 23rd March. To take part, you need to download the Sport Relief App (find out more at sportrelief.com). It isn’t all about steps though; Sport Relief has lots of ideas for how gyms can be involved. From treadmill relays, to covering epic distances all from the (relative) comfort of an exercise bike, whatever moves you to get active, raise money for Sport Relief and change lives. Sport Relief is all about raising money by getting active, and we know that gym-goers, irrespective of their level of fitness, are more than ready to take on a challenge. In the


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past gyms have really stepped up their game when it comes to raising money for Sport Relief and we are sure that this year will be no different. In fact to give gyms a head start in their fundraising efforts, Sport Relief have created a resource pack designed specifically for gyms and the wider fitness industry. Fundraisers also have access to a whole range of tools to help them promote and stage their events. That’s everything from Sport Relief posters to ready-made quizzes and from social media tools to pop-up money boxes. You can order your free fundraising pack and find all of the downloadable tools at sportrelief.com/gyms. Getting involved with Sport Relief offers a great way for you to motivate your staff, engage your current members and attract newbies. Your own fundraising activity will bring staff and members together to raise some cash to help people both here in the UK and across the world to live happier, healthier and safer lives. By raising £800, for example, you could enable a support worker in the UK to visit isolated mums for more than a year, helping them


overcome postnatal depression. £1,500 could train 15 midwives in Uganda to detect complications at birth and provide emergency care, helping to save lives. There are lots of different activities a gym could organise to raise money for Sport Relief 2018. You could host a Havea-Go-Day to interest new members and excite existing ones to try new activities and classes. You could take on an endurance challenge on an exercise bike or on a static rower. Or you could organise a treadmill relay and try to cover an epic distance over the course of a day. No matter what the activity, you’ll need to encourage participants to make a donation or, even better, to get sponsored for their hard work. To guide you through your fundraising journey, order your fundraising pack at sportrelief.com/gyms. The pack is full of tools and resources to help you plan, promote and decorate your very own fundraising activity. By choosing to get fundraising for Sport Relief you will be in great company. A host of famous faces including Zoe Ball, Greg James and Alex Jones are leading the way and taking on their own epic challenges. In a quest that is already underway, daredevil DJ Greg James will climb three of the highest mountains in the UK and cycle the distances between them for BBC Radio 1’s Gregathlon: Pedal to the Peaks for Sport Relief. Zoe Ball will follow with ‘The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Zoe’s Hardest Road Home’, an ambitious cycling challenge over more than 300 miles, raising awareness for mental health. Zoe will hand the baton to The One Show’s Alex Jones, who has teamed up with four inspiring mums for ‘The Mother of all Challenges’, spanning across five whole days. And then it’s over to the great British public. For the first time ever, we are asking the entire nation to take on a huge collective challenge – beating a billion steps a day, every day, from 17th- 23rd March – download the Sport Relief App to take part. Sport Relief will culminate on Friday 23rd March with an action-packed night of TV on the BBC. One of the evening’s star attractions will be three celebrity boxing matches. Ex-footballer, Wayne Bridge will take on TV personality, Spencer Matthews; Saturdays singer, Vanessa White faces actress, Hannah Spearritt; and Love Island’s Camilla Thurlow will square up to TV presenter, Helen Skelton. The Sport Relief stage is well and truly set. All that is left is for you to join in the fun by harnessing the feel-good power of sport and movement to raise money. Take the first step today by heading to sportrelief.com/gyms and ordering your very own free fundraising pack.

"Getting involved with Sport Relief offers a great way for you to motivate your staff, engage your current members and attract newbies" MARCH 2018 55


Form Matters Chris Zaremba, our specialist on fitness for the over fifties, on why form is an important part of every exercise. I am pretty sure that as a reader of these articles, you are aware of how important employing correct form is whenever you undertake an exercise. And although I target my advice for others over 50, this is applicable to youngsters too – and I think it bears thinking about whether you are a regular gymaholic or new to resistance training. When I write about exercises, or create a new video, I always give a high priority to describing the correct form for an exercise, which I do for a couple of key reasons.  Effectiveness is one, in other words, ensuring that the exercise being described is to be followed in such a way as to achieve the objectives intended.  A second reason is safety, giving you instructions so that the likelihood of any injury caused to while undertaking the exercise is minimised.   For the first, doing an exercise ineffectively is probably a waste of time, and doing it unsafely may mean you have to waste more time - by being in hospital. I was travelling last week, went to a gym new to me and saw a couple of exercises undertaken in ways that I'd like to share with you.  One is an example of that first ineffective issue, and the other is an example of unsafe practice. The ineffective one had a chap of about my age doing barbell bicep curls - at least, I'm pretty sure that what he thought he was doing.  In fact, he was exercising a wide range of muscles in his body, with biceps featuring very near the bottom of the list of muscles activated.  He started from a leaning forwards position, with slightly bent legs, and the bar held quite low in front of him with the elbows at his sides, with a 90 degree angle between upper and lower arms. The motion started with a straightening of the legs to start, then a fairly rapid change in his body orientation to vertical.  The elbows remained fixed at that right angle. Once vertical, he moved the torso back a little way to a slight leaning backwards position, at the same time moving his elbows substantially forwards, therefore bringing the bar up to close to his


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forehead. Some of the later reps had him standing on his toes at the top of the movement. The angle remained unchanged at the elbow. Lots of action there for the upper and lower back, and a fair amount for the abs and maybe some quads, calf and anterior delts in there too, but not much bicep.  Ok, I'll grant you that an isometric hold at 90 degree elbow-bend of a bar is indeed a bicep-developer, but it's not considered to be in the same league as a bicep curl where the only movement is at the elbow - rather than everywhere else.  And if it’s an isometric hold he’s after, why move everything else in the body at the same time, I thought. And maybe I'm being a little cruel - there may indeed have a been a movement in the angle at the elbow, but of minuscule proportion - certainly no more than from 95 degrees at the low point to 85 degrees at the high. Did I intervene? No. I've tried giving in-gym form advice in the past, and rarely have my comments been welcomed, even when I have my very politest voice on.  So, these days, I don't usually comment unless what is being done is potentially dangerous. Which brings me to example two.  Same gym, different day, different chap.  And this example was not at all ineffective, but just a wee bit deadly.  This guy was doing a classic lower abs development exercise, lying on a flat bench doing straight leg raises.  Doing them rather well too, hands holding the bench beyond his head, and with hips at the end of the bench so the lowest position would bring the legs down to below horizontal.  The movement was a smooth raise of legs held together to vertical, then immediately doing a 'lower slower' back to the start.  There was barely a movement at the hip up from the bench or bend at the knee - giving lots of focus and time-undertension to those lower abs. Which is great. But what made this worrying is the he was holding a 5k dumbbell between his feet.  Any involuntary twitching of his legs or hip area which would bring his feet fractionally apart would result in the dumbbell dropping, possibly on his torso or (even worse) a foot or


two further in either direction.  And it was one of those small-lip chrome dumbbells, only a couple of centimetres of extra width each side of the shaft for his feet to support - not a dumbbell with big flat plates which would perhaps have given a bigger margin of safety. It's a great exercise.  I do it frequently, but I'm not convinced that extra resistance is needed beyond the weight of the legs themselves.  But maybe he has a different opinion - which is fine, but surely he could have rigged up something involving a cable machine which wouldn't result in a potentially very serious injury if it went pear-shaped.  Yes, I guess he may have been able to roll out of the way of the dropping dumbbell in time if the worse happened, but that's hardly a safe solution. Did I intervene this time? Well, yes - I told the gym employee nearby.  His response, 'Yes, he always does it like that'.  Maybe I was remiss in not addressing the Ab man himself; on reflection as I write this a week or so later, I think I should have, and now regret not having done so.    I'm back home now, and will be watching my own in-gym exercise form - both from effectiveness and safety-critical viewpoints - in detail from now on.  And I'll continue to ensure that effectiveness and safety are emphasised whenever I write about exercise form.

Our contributor Chris Zaremba offers self-guided fitness courses, plus personal training and coaching both online and in-person. The latest addition to his fitness packages is a monthly subscription members' club specifically designed for those, like him, in their second halfcentury: 'Fitness Club 50'. Interested? Read more about all of these on www.bitly.com/ChrisPT








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MARCH 2018



Ask The Expert Do you have a question that you would like to see answered in this feature in a future issue? Email ns@gymownermonthly.co.uk

THE POTENTIALS AND OBSTACLES OF WEARABLES IN HEALTHCARE João Bocas, CEO & Digital Health Influencer of Digital Salutem, on utilising wearables as medical devices There’s no denying that the popularity of wearables is gaining momentum. However, manufacturers are aiming to go beyond being mere fitness gadgets and a technological trend to becoming accepted as valued medical devices utilized by the healthcare sector. It’s a new beginning of Wearables in Healthcare.

Wearables in Healthcare: The Potentials and Obstacles Now more than ever, we can be in control of monitoring our bodies and our health. There are wearables that track everything from our heart rates to digital scales that measure, not just weight, but body fat. Consumers use their fitness trackers to monitor how many steps they’ve taken, miles they’ve run, and even how many hours they have slept. And in recent years, we’ve seen wearable technology that can monitor patients with diabetes, sleeping disorders, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy. Furthermore, it can be used in in-hospital monitoring as a personal emergency response system. But despite the predicted 110 million fitness devices to be sold in 2018, the question is how many of those will have been purchased for medical use. As exciting and revolutionary as the adoption of wearables in healthcare sector sounds, it is still raising some concerns and posing barriers that need to be addressed.

The Safety and Security of the Collected Data


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There is the concern surrounding who owns the data that is collected and stored by the devices. While the user may own the gadget and has access to the data, manufacturers can still legally sell it to third-party agencies who use information such as age, gender, email, height, weight, and even location for their own research and marketing. Another area of concern is the lack of data proving the reliability and validity of wearable devices. Because the technology is fairly new, the majority of manufacturers have yet to provide evidence to support the effectiveness of their products and to what extent they can improve the general health and fitness of its users. And for the manufacturers that have been able to provide the results of the performance of their devices, the error margins are far too significant, and the discrepancy proves that its medical application should not yet be considered.

The Future of Wearables Despite the barriers that wearables seem to be facing, it seems that the overall support by consumers is enough to substantiate why manufacturers should continue their research and development. The aim for the industry is to create the acceptance of wearable devices in healthcare sector by building a regulatory framework that validates their value. It would be ideal for consumers, manufacturers, and researchers to work together and open a productive dialogue on how to address these obstacles and support these technological advances that ensures wearable technology will become a valuable asset for digital health in the future.


SPACE-SAVING TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS The fitness industry is still booming, and the functional training spaces that didn’t exist ten years ago have become the mainstay of many clubs, home to rigs, power bags, slam balls and prowlers, with grown adults monkeying around on bars. With functional training topping every list of fitness trends, allowing your members enough space to swing, slam and crawl enhances your offering exponentially. However, with real estate at an ever-rising premium, what many operators don’t have is the luxury of a large facility. Suppliers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to help their clients make the most of the space available to them. We spoke to three experts to find out innovative ways to tackle this issue.

Storage Solutions Paul Farrell, Account Manager at Physical Company, always suggests clients start by reviewing their storage solutions when looking to maximise floor space. Whether you’re working with a small space or a larger one, it pays to make the most of every inch. Poorly utilised, even a large facility can feel crowded and leave members dissatisfied and reluctant to hand over more of their hard-earned cash. He says that wall mounted solutions are a great way to free up floor space. Removing multiple ground level racks has the added benefit of immediately tidying up the space and creating a much cleaner, more organised look. They can be bolted to the floor, and attachments such as core plates, wings, punch bag arms and rope pulls can all be added to these storage solutions making them a functional piece of equipment as well. “Physical Company supplies the new range of Exigo wallmounted storage provides space efficient and innovative storage solutions to suit all needs,” explains Paul. “Each storage section provides multiple shelves and allows you to position storage trays or racks on any position you wish up to a height of two metres. You can neatly store all those loose pieces of kit against the wall, utilising otherwise empty wall space.” This also keeps kit readily accessible, and means members can make the most of smaller, functional pieces of kit. With so many more accessories now available for functional training, storing them all can present a problem. Some operators even end up storing functional pieces of kit away from the functional training zone, simply because of floor

Gym Unique with Physical Company supplying the storage

space constraints. Bespoke, wall-mounted storage solves this problem. Physical Company installed two storage racks at the brand-new Gym Unique facility in Durham. The space was a converted travel warehouse, giving a generous footprint, however the directors were cautious not to fall into the trap of packing it out with too many cardio machines. With extensive experience as personal trainers themselves, they wanted to ensure the space was maximised to fulfil its potential to enable trainers to deliver the best programmes for their clients. “One of my bugbears is cramped gym space where people can barely move around machines and each other,” says James Tindale, Gym Unique Director. MARCH 2018 59


Paul visited the site early on and made recommendations on the best use of space to ensure free flow around the club, despite health and safety constraints, such as a large fire escape staircase taking up precious room in the middle of the gym floor.

Space-Saving Equipment With the view to help space-strapped operators maximise the square footage available to them, Pulse Fitness has released a brand new Dual Strength line, with each of the ten pieces combining two machines in one. If this sounds too good to be true, think again. Each machine can facilitate two separate exercises, through an easily adjustable pull spring-loaded, lock-pin system. The user is provided with clear workout instructions and illustrations to show which muscles are being trained. Covering all major muscle groups, the range includes: a dual-purpose chest and shoulder press machine; a rear deltoid and pec fly machine; and an arm curl and tricep extension machine. The idea was born after feedback from clients illustrated a clear demand for equipment that saves space while still performing well. The range also solves a problem for users who want to switch between machines for super sets, only to find the second piece of equipment has become occupied while their back was turned. Members can now perform back-to-back sets of lat pull downs and seated rows, squats and standing calf raises, or leg extensions and seated leg curls, without switching machines. Built to last, each product in the range has been made from the highest quality steel combined with a modern and sleek design. The ultra-modern design includes an enclosed weight stack, easy to clean carbon covers and smooth feel handgrips. Each machine in the range is meticulously evaluated through demanding usage tests. This careful evaluation ensures that the new dual strength line can stand up to even the busiest facility for years to come. The new range will also be fully compatible with Pulse’s innovative member activity tracking software, PulseMove.

Bespoke Rigs Meanwhile, bespoke equipment manufacturer EXF specialises in creating functional rigs to suit unusual spaces. As well as its standard range of XCUBEs, EXF offers its clients the opportunity to design and develop their own one-off functional freestanding, wall or ceiling mounted rig. Ben Steadman, Business Development Director, says a bespoke rig is the best option for a small space. “We can create a rig based on the structure of the ceiling; if you’ve got pillars or ceiling beams, we can suspend a rig from that, bolting it into the framework of the building. Whatever space we have to play with, however challenging, whether it’s a triangular space or even a circular one, we can work with it. With 30 years of specialist experience, we can create your perfect functional training zone from scratch,” explains Ben.  Proving no job is too difficult, EXF recently kitted out the newly opened premium functional training studio Sweat IT. The project involved creating and installing a bespoke functional training rig in the confines of an underground space and in a room with structural pillars and beams. The rig was completely bespoke to match the studio’s unique 60

MARCH 2018

300H Chest Press by Pulse

offering, which combines strength, speed and endurance sessions. Allowing up to 20 people to work out at any one time, the rig includes fully height-adjustable chin up bars, core trainers and an integrated storage solution for equipment. EXF worked with the Sweat IT team to understand the desired outcome and worked backwards from there to deliver a solution, completing the installation in just four days.

Enhanced Member Experience Being tight on space doesn’t mean having to short-change your members. Gym owners can still offer an enhanced experience if they take steps to remove pieces of kit which aren’t being used and replace them with fewer, but more exciting options which will see more member engagement. Freeing up much-needed floor space with innovative equipment solutions and rethinking your storage means more room to let members train and the chance to offer classes on the gym floor. In this way, space-saving can add value to your membership package without needing the luxury of more room or a separate studio.

"Poorly utilised, even a large facility can feel crowded and leave members dissatisfied and reluctant to hand over more of their hard-earned cash"


Appointments A round-up of industry movers and shakers

Powerhouse Fitness Make their Mark on Commercial Fitness Industry

Abbie Kay

Mark Anderson

Stuart Coats

Powerhouse Fitness is setting themselves up to have a flying start to 2018 with the launch of their new commercial Taurus range.

worked as Area Sales Manager for Precor, he is a fully qualified PT and managed sales at renowned drinks company Redbull.

The new Taurus range is predicted to take the UK commercial fitness market by storm and in preparation, Powerhouse Fitness has just announced the hiring of 3 new Commercial Sales Managers.

Stuart Coats comes to Powerhouse From Glanbia Performance Nutrition, managing the trade for ON, BSN, Nutramino and ISOPURE and has a strong background in sales within the fitness industry.

Abbie Kay joins the business and brings with her vast sales management experience, having spent the last two years as Sales Manager for The Great Outdoor Gym Company. Abbie also has business development experience under her belt in her role at Reliance Security Services as well as sales and marketing experience with International Air Charter. Mark Anderson joins Powerhouse with a wealth of experience within the fitness industry, having

Powerhouse Fitness's Managing Director commented "I am very excited to have such a strong team on board to bring the Taurus commercial range to the UK market. With such an array of talent, along with equipment that looks great, performs faultlessly and offers unrivalled value for money, I am certain that Taurus will go from strength to strength" The three new Commercial Sales Managers will be introducing the new Taurus range to the UK market which is part of Powerhouse Fitness's strategy to dominate the UK commercial fitness market.

" With such an array of talent, along with equipment that looks great, performs faultlessly and offers unrivalled value for money, I am certain that Taurus will go from strength to strength"

MARCH 2018



Parkwood Leisure Appoints New Business Development Director Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading leisure management companies, has strengthened its senior team with the appointment of Andy Farr as its new Business Development Director. Andy Farr

Andy will be responsible for the continued growth of Parkwood’s core business, exploring opportunities to work collaboratively with Local Authorities and identifying key growth strategies, with a focus on both new markets and maximising local benefits from existing partnerships. He joins Parkwood Leisure on 1st May 2018 and will be based at the company’s head office in Worcester. Andy’s expertise is in complex procurement and delivery projects in the sport and leisure sector. Andy was lead author of the Leisure Procurement Toolkit on behalf of Sport England and his experience includes leading on many high-profile assignments including British Cycling’s National Facilities Strategy, Stoke Mandeville Stadium National Disability Sports Centre operator procurement, Manchester City Council’s Governance review and Leisure Contract Procurement, supporting the National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine in Sheffield and author of the National Football Facilities Strategy for the FA, Premier League and Sport England. Andy joins Parkwood from FMG Consulting where he was Founder Director of the specialist management consulting firm that focuses on sport, leisure and culture markets. He brings a wealth of expertise in strategic planning, business development, strategy development and procurement. Peter Fitzboydon, Managing Director of Parkwood Leisure, comments: “High quality staff are crucial to the success of our business, and our growth plan for the coming years highlighted the need for additional expertise in this area. We’re delighted to appoint someone of Andy’s calibre to this key role. With almost two decades of high level business development experience in the sports and leisure sector he will be a huge asset to our team.” Commenting on his appointment, Andy said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be joining Parkwood Leisure, a company with a reputation for high quality management and customer-focused service provision. I’m looking forward to helping


MARCH 2018

the business grow further through a focused and collaborative approach, working with key partners to maximise the local impact of our services in keeping people active. Parkwood is a company that clearly understands the positive impact physical activity can have on communities and I am proud to be joining the team at such a key time in the company’s development.” Parkwood Leisure currently operates over 85 leisure facilities on behalf of 25 local authority clients across England and Wales. The company has a turnover of over £85 million and employs over 4,500 staff.


Dr James Steele named new lead at ukactive Research Institute ukactive has announced the appointment of Dr James Steele as Principal Investigator, strengthening the ukactive Research Institute ahead of a year of milestone research reports. Dr James Steele

Dr Steele will combine his new role at ukactive with his position as Associate Professor of Sports and Exercise Science at Southampton Solent University, providing an effective link between university-based academic work and the real-world intervention studies of the ukactive Research Institute, as well as ukactive’s members and partners. Dr Steele joins the Research Institute as it undertakes a ground-breaking project on the impact of exercise referral schemes to inform future practice, and starts to realise the benefits of its growing programme of PhD researchers. The new role at ukactive follows his appointment to the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) Expert Working Group for Physical Activity, which is responsible for the review of the UK physical activity guidelines. The current UK physical activity guidelines were published by the CMOs in 2011 to offer evidencebased recommendations for physical activity in different segments of society. The current guidance for adults is 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Six Expert Working Groups will each cover a different age range, working alongside national stakeholders to review current guidelines and present their own recommendations to the four British CMOs – based on the latest scientific evidence. Dr Steele has been appointed to the Expert Working

Group for Adults. The group will produce a technical report with recommendations to the CMOs for physical activity guidelines for those aged between 19 and 64. He has worked at Southampton Solent University for the past six years, building a wealth of experience in exercise science. He also has extensive experience working with non-athletic populations, including the elderly, children, and those suffering from chronic conditions such as lower-back pain – a population that he continues to conduct research with. Dr James Steele said: “Joining the ukactive team is a great honour as I share its mission to translate academic expertise into real world practice, and utilise the insight of what is happening on the ground with ukactive members to further our knowledge of what works in getting the nation moving. “As someone who has studied and worked in exercise science for the past decade, I have seen the ukactive Research Institute grow in prominence as the go-to bridge between academia and industry. Together, we can support the research, development and innovation that we need to get more people, more active, more often.” ukactive CEO Steven Ward said: “We are delighted to have Dr Steele on board, reinforcing our research team and providing fresh impetus to the fantastic work the ukactive Research Institute has been carrying out over the last few years. “Dr Steele’s academic expertise and passion for physical activity is of real value to us as we continue to develop significant and impactful research which builds an evidence base for the benefits of physical activity.”

"Joining the ukactive team is a great honour as I share its mission to translate academic expertise into real world practice, and utilise the insight of what is happening on the ground with ukactive members to further our knowledge of what works in getting the nation moving"

MARCH 2018




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MARCH 2018

Profile for Gym Owner Monthly

Gym Owner Monthly Magazine March 2018  

A digital publication dedicated to gym owners and health & fitness professionals.

Gym Owner Monthly Magazine March 2018  

A digital publication dedicated to gym owners and health & fitness professionals.