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ISSUE 12 // MARCH 2017


! F F U T WIN SitCon tickets

Win F ar e g l a n o i t c n + CrankIt fu

Gym design maximise your space!

BIG INTERVIEW We talk to Justin Smith, Head of Precor UK

The Perfect Induction



KEEP IT CLEAN How to create a clean and safe workout environment

OMBMEAR RT BEN CneO ed to be S

Why you


Exhibitor news ahead of the big event


MONTH Brandon Harris,

from CHANGE gym in Hove


FEMALE FITNESS # Lift L i k e A Gi r l


Welcome... …to the March 2017 issue of Gym Owner Monthly magazine. As we near the end of Q1 you might be thinking hard about your membership retention - are your new members looking like they're going to stay for the long term? Is your induction process correct and is it aiding your retention level? Dr. Paul Bedford asks ‘Are member inductions tick box exercises or retention boosting’? Read page 17 to discover his view. Malcolm McPhail, CEO of Life Leisure, explains why employee engagement is key to member retention and business growth (page 32). Elsewhere, we look at the rise of female fitness and how you can capitalise on this growth sector (page 38), whilst Rachel Glew, Life Fitness Master Trainer, looks at the popularity of female weight training on page 40. In terms of practical topics, we investigate gym design (page 22) as we talk to a number of leading industry experts about how you can maximise your available floor space. On page 66 we provide advice on what type of water fountain you should invest in and on page 35 Dr. Bruce Sherman explains how to create a clean and safe workout environment. Finally, we have two competitions this month! On page 56 you can win CrankIt functional suspension straps plus an education package for your PTs. Plus on page 63, you can bag yourself some free tickets to FitCon UK which takes place at Olympia London in April.

Have a great month! The GOM team



Nathan Page

Paul Wood Tel: 07985 904 549 Tel: 07858 487 357

Keep up to date   @GymOwnerMonthly  gymownermonthly  @GymOwnerMonthly  gym-owner-monthly-magazine

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

March 2017






17 43 54 32 WIN STUFF! Win FitCon tickets (p.63) + CrankIt functional gear (p.56)



News The latest news and hot topics in the industry.


Female fitness Stephanie Bradbeer reports on the rise of female fitness and how you can capitalise on this growth sector.

40 #LiftLikeAGirl The rise in female weight training. 71 72

Appointments A round-up of industry movers and shakers. FIBO 2017 Exhibitor news ahead of this year’s event.




Design and conquer Gym design - maximise your floor space!

Big Interview 54 The We talk to Justin Smith, Head of Precor UK. time! 68 BOOM We talk to Robert Rowland, co-owner of BOOM Cycle.

EXPERIENCE the expert 70 Ask Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help.



Owner of the Month We talk to Brandon Harris from CHANGE gym in Hove.

Kit 46 Fit This month’s round-up of kit, products and extras


The perfect induction Membership inductions - tick box exercise or retention boosting? Dr. Paul Bedford gives his view.

refreshment 66 Liquid Every gym provides water for its members, but

March 2017

you can stock for your members – boost loyalty, retention and your revenue.

what type of water fountain do you opt for?



52 57 64 35


goals 59 Twin Chris Zaremba tells us about his training strategy which delivers the right results.


32 43

Employee engagement Malcolm McPhail, CEO of Life Leisure, explains why employee engagement is key to member retention and business growth. The Apprenticeship Levy Jenny Patrickson looks ahead to the Apprenticeship Levy coming into effect and asks what it means for gym owners?

group training 48 Small Paul Swainson explains the benefits of small group training.

50 52

Killer tips for PT success Owen Bowling, a leading expert in functional training and PT education, gives his killer tips on how to ensure success. PT Viewpoint Annmarie Murray outlines the benefits of training movements rather than muscles.


Get HIIT right! Dave Wright explains how technology exposes incompetent HIIT instructors.



Blog your way to the top of Google Startup Active’s Omar Thompson provides easy-to-do hacks that will not only get you on the right path - it will get your blog posts ranking!


Keep it clean Dr. Bruce A. Sherman explains how to create a clean and safe workout environment and save thousands of pounds.


Get SMART Ben Coomber explains why you need to be a SMART personal trainer.


The power of retargeting Mike Arce explains how retargeting creates higher levels of familiarity, improves lead flow and boosts closing ratios.

We're always seeking contributors, if you're interested in writing for us then please contact: March 2017


INSPIRE Stand out from your competitors

Elevate your facility and inspire your members with Wattbike Zone Graphics. Designed by our in house team, the graphics will revolutionise any space and provide a unique training experience. Contact our sales team today on 0115 9455450 or and make Wattbike part of the workout.



What’s hot in the fitness industry

Great minds meet in Manchester as World-class speakers announced for 2017 Retention Convention World-leading health club retention expert, Dr. Paul Bedford, has announced his third Retention Convention in May, when four great minds will meet in Manchester to share their secrets to retaining a happy workforce and ultimately retaining more members.

Paul Bedford

Justin Tamsett

Between them the world-class speakers, who are Dr. Paul Bedford, author of the world’s largest retention research, Australia’s Justin Tamsett, Lexie Griffiths and Keith Smith, have delivered more than 750 presentations in 43 different countries. Justin Tamsett, a former health club owner and well known business and leadership thought leader, will share the seven keys to building a winning team to ensure your ‘on field’ performances lead to retention growth during his session ‘Building Retention Starts Off The Field’. Tamsett, Managing Director of Active Management, which shares practical ideas from outside the industry that can be implemented to stay ahead of the curve and grow profitability, said: “We can use a game of sport as an analogy for the retention challenge. Our staff are the players on the field, competing hard and carrying out our game plan. The strategies we build will win the game. But as any sportsman knows, many games are won (or lost) on what happens on the practice pitch and in the locker room.” Key areas covered will include:  Culture  Connection  Contagious energy  Commitment  Consistency  And care  Communication Using practical examples from the fitness industry, sporting field and business, delegates will have these aspects brought to life, to help identify weaknesses and build a game plan to turn it into a strength. Latest research shows the main reason customers leave is because staff don’t engage with them. Global presenter, best-selling author and owner of the professional development programme Sizzle Maker, Lexie Griffiths will deliver a session entitled ‘Sizzling Customer Service - Engage and retain life long members by creating an outrageous customer service organisation’. Griffiths will share tips and strategies to help brands create raving fans using proven methods from her own events and clubs she

Lexie Griffiths

Keith Smith

has coached to success, alongside best practises from within and outside of the industry. Griffiths is currently coaching Holmes Place Clubs, as well as the Johnson Health Tech UAE team, but has experience across a number of industries, which includes Mercedes-Benz, L’Oreal, Build A Bear and the TUI Group, Europe’s largest tourism conglomerate. Training and education specialist, Keith Smith, enjoyed a 14-year career as a tutor and assessor for YMCAFit before starting his own professional development company seven years ago, specialising in the skills and behaviours fitness professionals require to create outstanding fitness experiences. Smith will talk about How to get a Return on Your Education Investment, explaining the importance of making education stick with further coaching back at site. “Most companies send their staff on training courses and then just assume the skills are embedded and will be delivered in the facility, with no thought to how that training sits in the customer experience journey the company is trying to achieve,” he said. “My presentation will explore how further coaching in the working environment can help to ensure an improved and consistent member experience.” Dr. Paul Bedford said: “This year we want to take a different focus and concentrate on the impact a happy workforce has on membership retention. Some health club chains turn over more than 90% of their staff every year and the impact retaining these people has on keeping members, as well as the company’s bottom line, is quite staggering. Throughout the day delegates will hear from our world-class speakers, who will share their expertise on staff retention strategies.” The 2017 Retention Convention will take place at the Manchester Conference Centre in Sackville Street, Manchester from 9am - 5pm on Thursday 18 May. You can book your ticket here. Or, for further information email paul@, tweet @guru_paul or call 07956 311899.

March 2017


News David Lloyd Clubs named as a Top 30 employer David Lloyd Clubs, one of the UK’s leading health and racquets club has been named as number 21 in the Sunday Times’ Top 30 Best Companies to work for in the UK in 2017. The recognition is due to it achieving a high engagement score on the Best Companies’ survey, which was completed by a random sample of its teams in which it asked them for their views on working for the company, revealing how proud and engaged their team members are to work for David Lloyd Clubs. The company, which currently employs 6200 people across its 83 UK clubs, has recently announced that it is set to grow to 99 clubs with the purchase of 16 new sites from Virgin Active. The accreditation comes on the back of a £120 million investment over the last two years, made by private equity company TDR which acquired the company in 2013, to refurbish and develop its existing clubs, as well as construct a further five new clubs in Newbury, Rouken Glen (Glasgow) and Colchester, plus Antwerp in Belgium and Aravaca in Madrid. At the same time the business has undergone a cultural transformation, to re-energise the business, and empower and engage clubs to deliver an exceptional level of member experience. Glenn Earlam, David Lloyd Clubs CEO commented; “We are particularly thrilled to be named as one of the Best Big Companies to work for in the UK, since it is our teams themselves who were consulted about how they feel to be part of our thriving business.” “I’m very proud to hear that our team feel so happy, engaged and valued. Their passion and dedication means that our members experience the very best service from us, and I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their hard work.”

World’s Largest Queenax™ Bridge installed at Xcite Livingston Xcite Livingston, in West Lothian, has installed the world’s largest Queenax™ functional training unit at over 15m long in order to offer customers a broader range of equipment and additional group exercise classes

Xcite has nine gyms in total and is the biggest fitness provider in the area. In response to the growing trend for suspension training, and with three other Queenax™ units already installed in its Bathgate, Craigswood and Linlithgow gyms already proving popular, the main objective at the Xcite Livingston gym was to maximise the use of the fitness studio without impacting on the floor space. A part of a recent gym refurbishment, direct access from the gym floor was created to the existing fitness studio that now showcases the Queenax™ Bridge. It spans the total wall and ceiling, utilising space that would normally be unusable, and as a result no gym equipment had to be removed to accommodate the Queenax™. Robert Taylor, Manager at Xcite Livingston comments: “The gym renovation enabled us to open up the gym floor and install the Queenax™ Bridge. Customers have easy access to the new kit and it doubles their gym space. We wanted everyone to be able to use the Queenax™ on a regular basis as well as timetabled classes” The system has added 32 new workout stations to the studio and countless new class options, including the ability to hold small group exercise sessions. When not in use all the training accessories can be removed within seconds giving an empty studio and additional storage solutions on the Queenax™ allows Xcite Livingston to fully maximise the use of the space. Taylor continues: “The Xcite team are hyped to have the biggest Queenax™ unit in the world. This is a great piece of kit and offers a range of new exercise and training options for our customers to keep their workouts fresh no matter their fitness ability. We’re looking forward to introducing new innovative fitness classes.” The team at Xcite Livingston completed a two-day training session with a Precor Master Coach to enable them to take Queenax™ classes and give advice to customers on how to use the unit effectively along with learning about the different exercises available in order to help customers achieve their fitness goals. Robin Strang, Chief Executive of Xcite at West Lothian, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the refurbishment at Xcite Livingston. The decision to remove walls in the gym, opening up the area and adding floor space, has been well received. By adding easy access to the studio from the gym we now offer customers a wider range of kit. It’s fantastic to be able to say we have the largest Queenax™ installation frame in the world, showing we continue to provide excellent facilities to the community.” Justin Smith, Head of UK at Precor, states: “Installing the Queenax™ and creating a large functional training area is a great way for Xcite Livingston to improve customer experience. It enables them to offer specialised sessions and new classes, giving them a competitive edge over other gyms in the area.”.”

A new era for member insight As an operator, wouldn’t it be good to know exactly where to find potential members and then be able to pinpoint what to offer them to meet their specific needs? Geo Impacts, the latest specialist partner 8

March 2017

News module developed by 4 global to join the DataHub suite of products, is now making this possible. Founded in 2013, the DataHub is a virtual repository for sports and leisure data, holding information from more than 157 operators, who collectively run over 1,100 sites. The DataHub’s overarching aim is to get the nation more active by sharing up-to-date intelligence, so those investing within the sector can benchmark and make more informed decisions. The data is enhanced through a suite of business intelligence modules, provided by specialist DataHub partners, which are accessible from any device, anywhere, at any time. The newest of these modules, Geo Impacts uses live advanced mapping, demographic profiling and participation intelligence sourced from more than 252 million visits nationwide to allow operators to accurately identify potential customers and then precisely target marketing with activities they know people want to take part in. Geo Impacts also uses national and regional participation data so operators can identify locations where there are under-represented demographic groups as well as trending sports and activities, based on throughput and percentage increase in participation from similar facilities sector-wide. In real terms, this means activity providers can jump on the latest fitness movement with information about both national trends and those specific to their area, and tailor their offer accordingly. For example, an operator could find out what demographic is most frequently drawn to HIIT workouts, and at what time of day. Or they could drill down into which age groups are drawn to increasingly popular ‘boutique gym’ offerings and tailor their timetable to reflect this. ‘We operate in a data-rich, information-poor sector,’ says Chris Phillips, The DataHub Head of Sales. ‘Data is at the heart of any successful leisure operation but all the data in the world has no value unless it’s accessible and, ultimately, actionable. Our aim has always been to put business intelligence at the heart of the leisure industry, and with Geo Impacts we can now provide up-to-date national information aligned with the local catchment profile of a facility.’

The ClubRight team have worked hard to transform the tricky stuff into a simple natural flow, sounds logical but it’s actually a bigger challenge to move away from the traditional complex approach than it is to make things simple. Making sure your members’ journey starts well from the get-go is important, meaning they will be a member for longer and paying you for longer, growing your business profits. ClubRight do this through great internal and external collaboration, connecting the day to day tools needed like online payments, marketing, accounting plus many more. “Our mission is to very simply do everything better, so the design is great but most importantly it just works in a way that gives you back the time to grow the business which means so much to a passionate business owner. I should know, I am indeed one of those passionate people. We had a clean piece of paper to create a software from the start, questioning how things have been done in the past and listening to customer’s needs” says Wayne Heath Founder and CEO. Find out more at or contact Wayne at or 0203 884 9777.

HSBC funds first 24-hour gym and virtual fitness experience in Leyton

‘This enables operators to not only achieve increased prospect conversion from their targeted marketing but also identify current trends in active participation to ensure they are getting the right offer in front of the right customers, driving better retention. With such a dramatically changing market and increasing opportunities for people to partake in sport, this understanding of what’s currently hot is invaluable.’ Powered by The DataHub, Geo Impacts can also be directly integrated with other DataHub modules available to the DataHub Club members, such as Business Insight, Sales Focus and Marketing Intelligence, to turn insight into action and measure the impact of interventions. For more information visit,

All-in-one software that’s Club Right ClubRight launches its exciting new software on 4 March 2017 designed by gym owners for gym owners.

A state-of-the-art, 24-hour gym has opened in Leyton, following a £385,000 funding package from HSBC. The Anytime Fitness franchise has been launched by owner and operator, Huw Wardrope, Director at Brazzle Ltd, who secured the funding from HSBC. The new facility offers the March 2017


News local community 24-hour access to a fully equipped gym containing the latest cardio and weights equipment as well as a busy schedule of fitness classes. The gym was supported with a £115,000 equipment loan and a £270,000 term loan from HSBC, allowing the gym to be fitted with the latest equipment and open in time for the New Year rush. Now open, the business employs six members of staff, including a personal trainer, and has already welcomed nearly 400 new members. Russell Marchant, HSBC’s Area Director in East London, said: “Brazzle is passionate about health and fitness, and this investment has allowed Huw to expand his business, opening his second gym in London. HSBC was able to support the process with funding and advice and it’s great to now see the facility being used and enjoyed by so many members of the local community.” The new gym also offers a virtual fitness experience which allows members to benefit from a number of exercise classes, from spinning to yoga, through an on-screen workout. Designed to ensure members can enjoy a class at a time convenient to them, the system is available around the clock, fitting into the busiest of schedules. Huw Wardrope, Director at Brazzle, said: “We are thrilled to have opened our doors to the people of Leyton with the support of HSBC. Our passion is to promote the benefits of healthy living and we know that exercise can sometimes be overlooked with busy lifestyles getting in the way. The new 24-hour gym gives members the opportunity to work-out at a time convenient to them – something which we have already had great feedback on from our first 380 members.”.

step towards fuelling their plans for expansion in 2017. The episode which was filmed last May, but aired on January 8th, saw the pair interrogated by the Dragons, as they were asking for an £80,000 investment for a 15% stake in HulaFit, which operates hula based group exercise classes in London and the South east. “The feedback on the day was to some degree constructive criticism. At the time of filming we were pursuing a franchise business model and the Dragons were all unanimous in their opinions that this not the way to take the company and for this reason they were reluctant to invest. They did, however, think HulaFit could work in a nonfranchise market and we have now taken their advice and changed our business model which has freed-up the way we now run our HulaFit instructor training course and made the process of somebody becoming a qualified HulaFit instructor much more stream-lined and accessible”. “While it was very nerve wracking being in the den, it was amazing to have the feedback of five respected business moguls and Dragon personalities and we have learnt a lot from the whole experience” HulaFit have high hopes for 2017. The company is starting to gain traction in the fitness market and hula hooping has never been more popular. They are running several instructor training courses over the next 12 months, training up 100 or so more instructors. They are also retailing their own HulaFit Weighted Workout hoop and have also planned training courses based outside of the UK. For more information visit:

HulaFit owners planning big for 2017 despite lack of Dragon’s Den investment

Pulse to launch ground breaking Virtual Reality fitness equipment

Pulse Fitness, the dedicated equipment arm of the Pulse Group, is launching a range of fully immersive virtual reality fitness equipment set in a gaming environment. The new range will be launched to market at this year’s IHRSA show, 8-11 March in Los Angeles and will be making its European debut at FIBO, 6-8 April in Cologne, Germany.

Despite their recent appearance on Dragon’s Den, where no investment was offered and their business model was criticised, Hula Fit owners Anna and Rowan Byrne are using the experience as a positive 10

March 2017

Over the past five years, Pulse have been developing groundbreaking new technology in partnership with CSE Entertainment to create the first real change in cardio equipment for over 40 years. The new software and hardware will be compatible with Pulse treadmills with other cardio products to follow later this year. The technology will be available via the console and is also fully

News compatible with virtual reality headsets. Users will be able to explore over 100 different virtual gaming programmes and environments such as coastal, countryside and city based locations. The software will give them a unique 360° real life experience, with incline and resistance that autonomously adjusts to the terrain. Designed as a fun, compelling and challenging way to keep fit, users will be able take part competitively by running alongside fellow gym users or web racing globally. They will also be able to try and beat their previous scores when using the equipment, as well as using the software to add variety and energy to their usual workout routine. “Introducing virtual reality to our equipment is something we are very excited about,” says Pulse Managing Director, Chris Johnson. “We are constantly looking for different ways to engage more people in fitness and encourage them to lead an active lifestyle, and we believe that our virtual reality equipment is the next step to providing fully immersive fitness experiences.”

Speedflex opens first site in Ireland

marks the ninth for Speedflex and follows the recent opening of a studio at Bannatynes in Darlington. Proving especially popular in the UK, Speedflex sessions are performed in a group with up to 16 participants in a studio environment, offering high intensity interval training with a twist due to its unique hydraulic machine based technology. The machines allow participants to perform more traditional exercises such as Power Clean and Press, Squats, Shoulder Press etc, generating personalised resistance levels so every individual can train at their optimum level. Suitable for all ages and abilities an athlete can use the machine or your 90-year-old grandmother, the harder a participant pushes the machine, the more resistance they face. A typical Speedflex session includes a combination of Speedflex machines and auxiliary stations. This combination provides an ever changing dynamic exercise experience and delivers all the benefits of HIIT, but does so with minimum risk of injury and reduced post exercise pain something usually associated with this type of training, as the machines respond to the user’s force, as opposed to the addition of weights. During the session participants also receive live feedback through state-of-the-art heart rate monitoring. “The introduction of Speedflex will position The Health Club at The Kingsley at the forefront of the fitness industry in Cork,” said Lloyd Fitzgerald, Manager of the Health Club at the Kingsley Hotel. “The unique HIIT training concept has no comparable and the feedback received to date from participants has only reaffirmed this belief. To see such an array of abilities and age profiles and such enthusiasm from participants has not only invigorated the Health Club team but has also added a new edge and identity for our Health Club members and guests.”

Speedflex has officially opened its first site in Cork, Ireland. The studio is located at The Health Club in the Kingsley Hotel and will be open to members and hotel guests. Officially launched by Director and Ambassador Alan Shearer, the Cork studio comes at a time of rapid growth for the company. The Cork studio

“We’re delighted to partner with the Health Club at The Kinsley Hotel to bring our unique training concept to Ireland,” says Paul Ferris, Managing Director for Speedflex. “The Kingsley Hotel already has a great Health Club and Spa offering and as such is the perfect choice for our launch in Ireland. Speedflex will bring something new to the members and encourage those who would otherwise not step into a gym to try something different.” For more information, visit

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March 2017



March 2017

Owner of the Month

WE ARE ALL ABOUT THE TRAINING Brandon Harris tells us about CHANGE in Hove, East Sussex

Gym owner:

Brandon Harris Address:

Gym name:


Portland Road Trading , Estate, Portland Road, Hove East Sussex, BN3 5NT


March 2017


Owner of the Month

How did you become a gym owner? As a young man, I had four passions; sport, fitness, food and motorbikes. Having run businesses in the food and motorcycle industries, I thought I would give fitness a go. At the time, 15 years ago, I was also commuting into London every day on public transport which I absolutely hated. So, I decided to open a fitness club near where I lived. I haven’t looked back.

How long has CHANGE gym been operating? 15 years in total although not always under the name ‘CHANGE’. The gym has gone through several rebrands, the most recent being in the autumn of last year. When the gym first opened, it operated under a franchise license but I learnt quickly that this model was too restrictive and lacked the flexibility needed to be able to react to changing market conditions. After one year, I bought out the licence and started to operate independently. Best decision I ever made.

How many gyms do you own? Three. Underground Gym – focused on combat, functional and strength training. Revolution PT, a high end personal training studio. These two I co-own with some great partners. The third, CHANGE a quality, affordable gym for all, I own. Each facility is in Sussex. This year we plan to open at least one more facility under each of the three brands, taking our total portfolio to six.

Aside from the gym, what other facilities do you offer members? A studio where we run a full complement of classes and a dedicated group cycle studio. There is no café or lounge area. Every square inch of space is dedicated to fitness and helping members achieve their physical and wellbeing goals. We are all about the training.

How many staff do you employ? CHANGE employs 11 staff, including 5 personal trainers. There are also 5 self-employed personal trainers operating from the site. We have appointed a dedicated eGym ‘expert’ to ensure all staff and members are fully conversant with the equipment and the Apps (Trainer and Fitness). We have invested in eGym and we want to make sure we maximise 14

March 2017

its potential.

How do you motivate/incentivise your staff? Every month we set performance targets. These might be focused on class participation numbers, number of members engaging with MyZone, number of eGym inductions, number of new members etc. The team are all in it together. If the club reaches its target, everyone receives a financial bonus. We also invest in ongoing CPD training and social nights.

Do you provide any financial assistance to staff regarding training and development? Yes – there is an ongoing CDP programme which is incredibly important. Not only does this keep the staff motivated and feeling valued, it also ensures we continue to deliver a current and relevant service to members.

What makes your gym unique? We are early adopters of new innovations and focus all our attention on how we can best work with members to achieve their goals. Members need to be able to measure improvements, hence we invest in technologies that provide actual performance measures like eGym, MyZone and Bodystat scales. Our recent investment included the installation of a 10 piece eGym circuit. Our members have been blown away by it. Since it arrived in September 2016, we have delivered over 1,000 eGym inductions and more members are coming on board every day. We have also seen a 30 per cent uplift in new members because of the eGym circuit. eGym supports the coaching of every member. Instead of the user having to worry about how much weight to lift, what technique to use, how fast to perform each movement, eGym works all this out for them and guides them through their entire workout programme. Because of this controlled, yet progressive, method of training, our members are recording and experiencing incredible performance improvements, quickly. This is extremely motivating and we are seeing the reward for this in our improved member retention figures.

Owner of the Month

What advice would you give to gym owners just starting out? Base every decision you make on how your actions will benefit your members. If you can find no direct benefit to your membership, question whether you should be considering it. If your members don’t enjoy their experience and results are not forthcoming they will leave and won’t refer their friends. Keep ahead of the game when it comes to new innovations. CHANGE was one of the first sites in the UK to install eGym. This gives the people of Hove something unique. This is a great selling point for CHANGE in a very competitive market.

What are the biggest challenges facing your business? A huge number of people have had poor gym experiences in the past. It’s a real challenge, when they enquire, convincing them that CHANGE is different. Once they start to visit regularly, they realise that we speak the truth but getting them over the line in the first place can be a struggle. The industry has a lot to answer for. We are suffering now for years of poor service and inflated prices.

What significant changes have you seen in the industry over the last 3 years? The introduction of low cost operators has truly disrupted the market and even big brands have not been able to weather the storm. Differentiation offers a much more sustainable solution to low cost competition than entering a spiralling price war. The partnership with eGym has enabled us to protect our price point, yet still attract record numbers of new members. The growth in the popularity of functional and HIIT training has also been significant, physically changing the way workout spaces are designed and exercise is delivered. These new methods, when executed well, can achieve incredible results but they also require continuous investment in staff CPD. Without this, training spaces will remain empty.

How do you engage with your members? Regular, consistent communication is king. We talk to our members in many ways. The eGym system helps our team better liaise with members using the clever Trainer and Fitness Apps. This is a recipe for success. Trainers prescribe

the individual’s training plan directly to the member’s smartphone. Both trainer and member can keep track of their progress using real-time information, with all activity tracked and instant results being measured and fed back. This maintains motivation levels and keeps the member coming back for more. To focus receptionists’ attention on members entering the building, many years ago, we removed telephones from the front desk. Members can book classes online and don’t have the option to book over the phone. Constantly answering booking calls meant receptionists could not focus on members stood in front of them. This, we felt, was wrong. Not only do we talk to members, we also listen. Feedback is encouraged and when we receive feedback we take it seriously and place a high value on it.

How do you retain your members? When members hand over their hard-earned cash in return for an improvement in their physical fitness and mental wellbeing they expect results. This is what we give them. We also invest in technologies, like eGym and Bodystat scales which constantly show how members are progressing towards their goals and guarantee they will achieve them. Our average membership term is 16 months. Not bad for a no-contract gym. Again, it comes down to placing the members’ needs at the heart of the offering.

How do you market CHANGE? We have only invested in minimal marketing over the last five years, with most of it being pushed out through social media. We rely heavily on word of mouth and member referral. In its modest 8,000sqft, CHANGE services more than 3,600 members. We have a larger membership today than ever before.

What is your biggest success story? Still operating after 15 years. We are achieving what some of the industry giants, like Fitness First and LA Fitness, have failed to do. We are thriving in a highly competitive and fast evolving market. I put this success down to placing member needs at the heart of our offering and to our consistent commitment to staff development. March 2017




Recent clients include:


T: 0141 876 3960 E:





March 2017


CREATING THE PERFECT INDUCTION Membership inductions - tick box exercise or retention boosting? Dr. Paul Bedford, the UK’s leading health club member retention expert, gives his view Should we continue to provide gym inductions for all of our members? It’s a question I’m frequently asked by operators and a number have decided to forego the traditional gym induction, while others still question its validity.

In the past, gym inductions were a necessity, simply because there were so many people who'd never used a health club before, who needed to be orientated to the equipment and taught how to use the machines. In fact, as part of my PhD studies back in 2002 I looked at the gym induction process. At that time only three out of ten people joining had been a member of a health club before. Now, in a more maturing market, around seven out of ten people who walk through the door have been a member of either your club or another club previously, and

so may not need a traditional gym induction before getting started. So is there a value in a gym induction? Most definitely. We know gym inductions can add up to around seven months of additional membership. If you're only keeping members for one or two months, adding a further seven months will make a massive difference to your bottom line. Even if you generally keep members longer it could still be a worthwhile experience for some of your customers. March 2017


Spotlight Tick box exercise Dr. Melvyn Hillsdon’s 2002 research, ‘Winning the Retention Battle part 4’, identified that people who attended at least once a week for the first four weeks of membership stayed up to 13 weeks longer. The industry interpreted the results as ‘this is how we can make people stay longer?’, and so put meetings and induction processes in place, forcing new members to attend as often as possible within this time frame. Personally I don't agree with that. I don't think we should force people into an induction that’s of no value to them. What’s more, the traditional gym induction was pretty much a tour of the gym, teaching new members how to use all the equipment, rather than how to get the best out of their workout - a tick box process enabling the operator to say ‘we're covered in terms of insurance. If anything goes wrong now that's down to the member.’ But that's not a member experience. It's not going to create any sense of loyalty or belonging within your club. It’s literally a process for process purposes. I'm not saying you shouldn't have it, I’m saying you can enhance the whole experience for your members if you really think about what you're doing.

Creating a member experience Traditional gym inductions were often a group of people congregating at a set time, huddled around the equipment whilst an instructor demonstrated a number of the exercises, before telling the new members they were free to use the kit. That's just for insurance purposes, and some operators were and some still are forcing every member through the same journey, whether it is an appropriate experience for them or not. David Lloyd created the David Lloyd Experience, Banana Leisure had the Boomerang Programme and Dragons had the Dragons Promise - all of which included a variety of stipulations, such as you must come for a first, second, third and fourth appointment. Sadly, if you look at the figures, the number of people turning up for their follow up appointments was actually very low, because they didn't see any value in it and couldn't understand why they weren’t allowed to move straight into using the gym. A multi-appointment process has a lot of validity for some members, but don't give it to everyone, especially the experienced exerciser who knows what they're doing. In fact, when designing your gym inductions and processes, map out who the induction's for. You may end up with two or three different induction processes, depending upon the experience, knowledge and desires of the members walking into your club. Think about what you are trying to achieve. Is it a health and 18

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Spotlight safety checklist or are you trying to create an experience for your new member? New members are going to fall into a number of different categories including some experienced exercisers and some that have never walked into a gym before. Others may have medical problems, and possibly the most overlooked group, the yo-yo exerciser who started but never really got going. They may have been a member of your gym before on several occasions or a member of other gyms. They come, they try, they fall out. They come, they try, they fall out.

It’s worth thinking about how you link the relationship between your sales team and your gym team in terms of the new member handover process, so the sales team become really good at explaining the value and the benefits of a gym induction - a personalised gym induction.

What is the purpose of your induction?

 They have a financial value

There are a number of things your induction should try to achieve. One is building confidence and competence in the new member. Confidence in the use of the facilities and how to negotiate their way around and competence in the use of the equipment. Would I teach every machine? Certainly not, just those relevant to each person. If you've got a new exerciser, just teach them a few exercises to get them going, help them learn and build their confidence.

So in summary, what are we talking about?  Gym inductions have value  They add months to membership, which increases either the likelihood of renewal at the end of a 12 month agreement or adds months to your month by month membership  They have a value to the new exerciser by helping to orientate them to the gym and building their confidence and competence around using the equipment  The savvy exerciser probably needs something different. Don’t just orientate them to the gym and point out a few things they're not familiar with. Personalise the experience, explaining things you have added to their training programme along with things they may also like to consider adding. Make the time they spend with you worthwhile.

You should also be helping them to build a skill-set. If they're new to exercise, these are a totally new set of skills and we have to think about how we embed those skills into that person's behaviour. We also want to do some relationship building to help the member feel valued, as though they belong and that there's a purpose to this induction and that it has a value for them. The induction should also establish the competency of the staff, letting the member know this is someone I can go to if I have questions, if I’m stuck, and someone who's going to show me how to use the equipment in a way that's most effective and a way that's not going to injure me. The induction should also aim to confirm when the member’s next visit will be. For a lot of people, coming in the first time creates anxiety and stress, but there's someone there to hold their hand. After the induction, the next time they come in, they're going to be left to their own devices, so when you do provide them with an induction be careful not to overwhelm them with too much information or to many exercises. Some exercisers, the ones I call ‘savvy exercisers’, probably won’t need the traditional induction. If they’ve been exercising on a regular basis they might be into functional training or free weights for instance. So if you're going to show them CV and resistance machines that they're never going to use, they won’t value the induction at all. They're just going to resent the fact you've taken up their precious time. So many people don’t show up to inductions because they're saying ‘actually, what you're going to teach me isn't relevant to the things that I'm going to do when I come in.’ Just remember this; if they don't see the value in what you offer, they won't come.

Dr. Paul Bedford is the fitness industry’s leading authority on the management of retention, attrition and the customer experience, and author of the world’s largest retention study. In addition to his research, Dr. Bedford works with just 12 clients per year to develop bespoke retention strategies - turning data into strategy and strategy into actionable training, which improves customer experience and loyalty, and thereby improves profitability for operators. A well respected name on the global conference circuit, Dr. Paul Bedford speaks regularly at international events, as well as running his own annual Retention Convention in the UK. You can find out more at or by following @guru_paul on Twitter.

March 2017



Dean Hogan, National Contracts Manager, Pulse Fitness “Member retention is about making sure that you give nobody an excuse to give up! Most regular exercisers know exactly what they want and if the gym offers great kit in a clean environment, with everything running smoothly then they will attend on a regular basis. However, a member who is new to exercise and more self-conscious, is a different prospect and leisure operators must work harder to make these users feel welcome. Pulse provide a free induction to all new members, as well as PulseMove software which provides complete tracking for both members and operators. This comprises an in-gym kiosk, website and mobile app allowing data to be collected both in and outside the gym and helps leisure centres build meaningful relationships with members. Members can access virtual personal trainers for preloaded workouts, and see progress updates as well as interacting with other members on a “Facebook-style” news feed of fitness highlights. 20

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Great customer service is also essential, and all managers and staff need to work to make members feel that they belong to the club, welcoming people by their first name, greeting them “hello” and “goodbye” and interacting with them on the gym floor. Colleagues should be available to answer questions and deal with any issues immediately, as well as picking up on those new members who may need assistance but aren’t comfortable with asking. Group exercise is a great membership retention tool, offering an exciting timetable of activities with new sessions added regularly to reflect current trends and interests. Leisure operators can run promotional offers for new members giving them the opportunity to bring a friend to class to encourage the social aspect of fitness. Pulse offer an easy online app based booking system which means that members will make a commitment to return for next week’s class, and therefore keep attending the centre.”

Advertising Feature

ServiceSport Kit Out New Northern Irish Gym ServiceSport have supplied almost 300 pieces of cardiovascular and resistance equipment to a new site for Northern Irish gym chain, Gymco. New and remanufactured equipment from top brands such as Life Fitness and Matrix were delivered and installed at the brand new Gymco Cityside site in December, ensuring the health and fitness club could open in time for the annual New Year fitness rush. The order extends ServiceSport’s relationship with the Northern Irish gym chain, having previously supplied and serviced Gymco’s fitness equipment at another site over the past two years. ServiceSport’s intensive remanufacturing process offers an affordable alternative to buying new

equipment, whilst retaining the look and feel of brand new apparatus. Gymco were able to purchase the equipment on one of ServiceSport’s flexible finance packages, enabling them to achieve a cost-effective solution to providing their customers with high quality and reliable fitness equipment. ServiceSport Managing Director, Colin Marriot, said: “It’s great to strengthen our relationship with Gymco, having already supplied and serviced their equipment at a previous site. This is a fitting testament to the high quality and efficient work we do for our customers”.

If you’d like to know more about ServiceSport’s competitively priced fitness equipment and servicing packages, go to or call 08453 884 662.

March 2017



DESIGN AND We talk to a number of leading industry experts about gym design and how you can maximise your available floor space.

Paul Farrell, Physical Company

Jake Saunders, Pulse

Ian Cotgrave, Createability

Design is a key factor when it comes to maximising gym floor space. Optimising usage is important along with taking into account other aspects, such as customer flow, the needs and requirements of current members and how the facility will attract and engage the local community. The movement towards trampoline parks, functional fitness and small group classes mean that gyms and leisure centres are reassessing their offering, transforming old spaces and redesigning floor space to accommodate these industry trends. Ultimately the design has to be clever to get the best out of the space and still enable members to enjoy their workout experience. Ian Cotgrave, Managing Director of leisure, design and build specialist Createability, explains: “Companies are re-evaluating how their space is used and assessing if it’s profitable. This often leads to expansion and reconfiguration of the available area. Utilising underused areas is one aspect we focus on. Making the most of storage cupboards, creating a mezzanine level or paring down the number of underused squash courts and turning them into lucrative areas for activities like indoor cycling studios or soft play are just a few ways we can create additional usable and profitable space.” 22

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Sam Taylor, Precor

John Lofting, D2F Fitness

D CONQUER Transforming space GLL recently completed a £800,000 upgrade to its fitness facilities at The Link Centre in West Swindon. The renovation, funded by GLL, which manages the centre on behalf of Swindon Borough Council, included increasing the gym from 195 sq m to 845 sq m and changing a 1st floor fitness room to become a new indoor cycling studio. Cotgrave continues: “The Link Centre is the perfect example of what we do best, which is to transform old spaces, maximising underused areas, to provide the community with new, more current facilities. This was a large threephase project and our design team worked diligently to ensure all the space was fully utilised and all the facilities and rooms worked cohesively together. An eight-court sports hall, rarely full to capacity, was transformed into a 1,000 sq m trampoline park, a mezzanine level adjacent to the café with a viewing area of the trampolines created and two party rooms built by utilising a squash court.” Cotgrave states: “When designing the gym space choosing the right flooring was crucial. With functional training on the increase the centre wanted to capitalise on this. Artificial grass was fitted for its non-marking properties so that when equipment is being pushed it won’t become scratched, unlike vinyl, plus it can aesthetically create a differentiation between the training areas, as well as bringing a bit of the outdoors indoors!”

The Link Centre, West Swindon

Providing countless options Facilities are continually looking at how their gym design can enable them to keep up to date with current trends and provide additional training and class opportunities such as increased functional training and group exercise classes.

Xcite Livingston, in West Lothian, wanted to expand its gym space and so removed a wall from the main gym floor to create direct access to an existing fitness studio that now showcases the world’s largest Queenax™ functional training unit at over 15m long.

March 2017


Spotlight Robert Taylor, Manager at Xcite Livingston comments: “The main objective was to maximise the use of the studio without impacting the floor space. The Queenax™ Bridge was installed by fixing each of the structural posts against the wall and then spanning the ceiling. As a result no fitness equipment had to be removed to accommodate the unit. This gives customers easy access to the kit to use on a regular basis, without timetabled classes, and doubles the gym space.” The Queenax functional training system has now added 32 new workout stations to the studio and countless new class options including the ability to hold small group exercise sessions. When not in use all the training accessories can be removed within seconds giving an empty studio and additional storage solutions of the Queenax allow Xcite Livingston to fully maximise the use of the space.

Xcite Livingstone, West Lothian

Comment from Paul Farrell, Account Manager, Physical Company: “To maximise floor space, I’d recommend reviewing your storage. Wall mounted solutions can free up floor space by removing multiple ground level racks and immediately tidies everything up too. Gym owners should take time to research carefully what equipment is used the most. You could be surprised to see how some kit is heavily used while other items are fallow most of the day. You may have five treadmills but do they all get used at the same time often? Could you get away with having three treadmills and use the space occupied by taking out the other two for more equipment that is under constant, heavy use? Putting in some new flooring and extra kit into the freed-up space and giving the walls a lick of paint will look like a mini renovation which will refresh users’ interest. Avoid those dreaded dead and dark corners by keeping large pieces of equipment in those areas: you know the kit will be used regularly wherever it’s placed. Avoid having any small pieces of equipment in corners where they can easily be hidden and forgotten. Instead, put smaller items in a prominent position close to the functional floor space where they can be easily reached, used and replaced. Med balls, slam balls, kettlebells and hand weights should all be readily accessible, not tucked away ‘neatly’ on the other side of the gym just because that’s convenient. If you’re looking for a low-cost upgrade start by reviewing your storage solutions and replace multiple racks for each piece of equipment with one solution that all functional kit will hold: it will make the gym look more organised as well as freeing up floor space. Replace sections of flooring, paint the walls and add some simple wall graphics/slogans


March 2017

or posters with exercise ideas for an instant face lift. Over the years, gyms generally add equipment but they often fit it in around the current layout. Review the layout of your gym when you bring in new kit: it will open people’s eyes to new equipment. People can become regimented in their routine, the kit they use and the order they work out. Shuffle it around a bit to stimulate their interest. A common error gyms make is investing in machines and kit that look good rather than establishing what their demographic will in fact want to use. This is a false economy – however good a deal you may have had on a piece of kit, if your members don’t use it, that’s a waste of money. Look at your membership base and work out what it is people want from your gym. If you have an older demographic you will need more machines while the younger generation are now very much about functional and weights so space is important. Gym owners also tend to overlook the importance of investing in good quality flooring. Damaged, tatty or cheap flooring will immediately make a gym look ‘worn’ and can be frustrating for members. Cheap rubber or carpet and installing vinyl in the wrong areas will end up costing twice what you spent to put it right if you do not have it installed professionally and with the correct fit for purpose solutions. Not only will you face the cost of materials and labour but to replace any flooring properly you will have to shut part or all of the gym anywhere from two to five days, if not longer. At best this will cause conflict with members: at worst they may go elsewhere while they’re waiting, prefer what they see and leave altogether.”


Creating more space Occasionally facilities can become oversubscribed, which was the case with the 67 sq m gym at Bridgnorth Endowed Leisure Centre. On average the equivalent of 29 members were using each piece of equipment during busy times. Funded by Halo Leisure, a registered charity and social enterprise that manages the centre on behalf of Shropshire Council, along with a 150,000 grant from Sport England, the centre underwent a redevelopment to rectify the problem. Two of the centre’s original four squash courts were been converted into a 107 sq m fitness suite, three times its

original size, along with a dedicated indoor cycling studio. Phil Moore, Group Technical Manager at Halo Leisure comments: “Createability’s design and build package allowed us to turn two under-utilised squash courts into a light, airy, modern gym, which is attracting and retaining more members than ever. The gym forms part of a dual-use facility agreement that sees Halo working in conjunction with Bridgnorth Endowed School. Createability was sympathetic to the other users of the building during the construction phase, resulting in limited impact on pupils, teachers and other leisure centre users.”

Bridgnorth Endowed Leisure Centre

Comment from Jake Saunders, National Account Manager, Pulse: “The most important aspect when considering gym design is the functionality required from the space available, plus the approximate capacity in terms of number of users at any one time. Over the last 3-5 years, as modern trends such as functional and HIIT training have come to the fore, suppliers have moved away from a prescribed number of “stations”, with distinct zones for CV, fixed resistance and free weights equipment. Operators now offer a more fluid gym floor featuring multi-functional equipment and the ability for many different users to circulate throughout the entire area.

One area where this can provide a challenge is combining the equipment with an effective flooring solution. By engaging with a supplier early, the relevant conversations around impact and vibration effects of heavier lifting for example, can be had and their impact allowed for within the prescribed solution. Key to any modern gym floor we now design, is also the adage “less is more”, which may sound strange coming from an equipment supplier, but by increasing the amount of space available for bodyweight, plyometric and functional exercises, the operator actually increases gym floor capacity whilst minimising equipment costs, and is therefore a much more efficient and effective solution.”

March 2017



Making space work harder Not all gyms are looking for a major redesign but may still want to make their space work harder. ActiveDesign, from leading fitness manufacturer and supplier Precor, provides a support service to help operators design their fitness facility. Using industry research, ActivDesign incorporates new fitness and exercise trends. It is backed up by on-going support and offers pragmatic, personalised solutions to each individual facility. All design elements are taken into account from flowthrough, zoning and equipment choice and layout, to colours, light and even floor finishes, as well as in-club training and launch support, and on-going evaluation. The ActivDesign four steps guide covers key questions that help Precor understand the gym’s challenges, analysis of the situation, including calculating the number of members needed to cover equipment costs, presenting a gym environment with a sense of natural progression and an evaluation benchmarking tool to help monitor customer feedback and facility performance. “Effectively using space will ensure that both the members’ exercise needs and operators’ commercial requirements are met,” said Samantha Taylor, UK Marketing Manager for Precor. “A good gym environment shouldn’t be filled with as many products as possible – in fact, 11% of members leave because they feel too crowded. Research also shows that 38% of members stay because of the variety of equipment,

and users are more likely to become repeat customers if the right type of equipment is provided within a well thoughtout space. “In an increasingly competitive market, providing the customer with additional value is important, which is why Precor developed ActivDesign, based on the latest market trends and IHRSA and ACSM research, alongside insights from worldwide shopping giants, so that our team can truly help customers to design their fitness facilities, as well as providing them with first-class fitness equipment and longterm support.” Cotgrave concludes: “Facilities can be redesigned to enable maximum usage of space. It’s important to assess the local target market and the needs of customers, as well as developing the facilities to engage the broader community. For example, sports and leisure centres may look to install a soft play area for young children but also create a studio with toning tables for the older population to use, therefore increasing the appeal to a wider demographic audience. There are also many other factors that also come into play such as general décor, air conditioning, flooring, ceilings, lighting, location of doors, acoustics, the surrounding areas and the condition of the building itself are all key components when designing a gym and every aspect has to be taken into consideration. Whether it’s a major overhaul or a small redesign the main criteria is to use the space in the most effective way to enable a lucrative business.”

For further information see:,,, &

Comment from John Lofting, Commercial Director, D2F Fitness: “The interest in functional training and the creation of functional spaces continues to be an area of focus for many gym owners. In the last twelve months, a high percentage of the installs we have been involved with have adopted the ‘third’ rule. A third of available space dedicated to cardiovascular equipment, a third to traditional modular strength training equipment and then a third to functional training and small group exercise. Functional training is now being considered a core product not just an add-on. We have also observed significant changes in the way gym owners want their functional spaces designed. When the concept first came to market, most operators made the rig the centrepiece of their functional space, building design around it. Now, 80-85 per cent of our projects incorporate bespoke rigs, often built into walls or suspended from ceilings. This embeds the functional offering in the buildings architecture, complementing and accentuating the contours of the building. This shift has two key advantages. Firstly, it means we can create workout spaces which are totally unique and visually impressive and secondly, not building a permanent structure in the middle of floor means the space is multifunctional, leaving room for gym floor 26

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classes, small group training, stretch areas and a whole array of functional movements. In terms of the equipment, suspension training remains core to the functional offering with kettlebells and battle ropes appearing in most facilities. Over the next five years, I suspect the boutique sector will continue to inspire and influence the market with more and more spaces being designed with scheduled classes in mind. The likes of Orangetheory Fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp whose core offerings are based around instructed sessions are proving to be incredible popular. The success of this format is likely to extend into more traditional gyms and leisure centres either housed in a dedicated studio or as part of the core offering on the gym floor. I also suspect there will be an increase in facilities focused on one form of training. For example, we have observed an increase in the number of gyms dedicated to Olympic Powerlifting. Building smaller, more specialist gyms which service niche markets is a growing trend, especially in cities where there are dense populations. One thing is for sure, the sector is entering an exciting phase in its history and it is creative, innovative, service driven gym owners who are most likely to survive in this highly competitive market.”

Advertising Feature

March 2017



Blog your the top of Startup Active’s marketing expert, Omar Thompson, provides easy-to-do hacks that will not only get you on the right path - it will get your blog posts ranking! Leading fitness website designers, Startup Active, swear by a number of rules when it comes to digital marketing and maximising your business’s ROI - one of them being that blogging is crucial for success. Sounds quite cliché, right? But it’s actually true, and there are many reasons for this. The main reason being that it simply helps you get found online by the people who matter. Searchers don’t just type in ‘fitness trainers near me’ and instantly purchase a package. Unfortunately life isn’t that easy, especially not in the fitness industry. You need to think like your target audience in order to maximise conversions. For every person that searches ‘personal trainer near me’ there are probably 500 others searching for more specific goals, like ‘burning fat over 50’ or ‘foods that help burn fat fast’. The main ingredient to running a successful blog is by creating articles that give your target audience a solution for their problems. 28

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r way to f Google Use keywords to find new content topics At the heart of any successful blog post is strong SEO strategy in your content, but what people fail to realise is; to begin ranking you need to write about topics that matter to your target audience. Keyword research can help you do this. By studying rising patterns among certain keywords and phrases, you can select the most popular or least-covered topics in your industry and then write about them. I recommend using ‘Google Keyword Planner’ to determine which keywords your business will benefit ranking for.

Focus your content around your keywords

Ensure that your content is simple and highly specific to your topic area. Trying to be too clever and squeezing in extra, irrelevant information won’t specifically help boost your ranking. Simplicity is always the best option. Bare in mind that – in this day and age – search engines have grown in intelligence (picture it like the Terminator series, if you will.) This means that they can now understand context and conversational language. Steer clear of repeating keywords to avoid your link being classed as spam. The best rule here is to add variations of your keywords throughout your article.

Optimise your images for SEO

Your SEO is built on keywords. It’s the fundamental element for getting found in searches. Once you’ve determined what keywords you wish to rank for, it’s time to put them into action and the first place to start is with your blog titles and content.

Something that many businesses fail to notice is the impact images have on their website and blog. Naming your images to fit in with your keywords is important. Also, remember to label, tag or add alt-text to them, so they become visible to search engines. Don’t just name these images anything – stick to keyword phrases – it doesn’t have to be a long description.

When it comes to Google search, you will be limited to 55 characters to entice searchers to click your link over your competition – so engaging titles is key!

Once traceable, search engines can understand more about what your content offers users and increase your article ranking. March 2017


Business Make sure your website is mobileresponsive Google now favours mobile-friendly websites, as they provide a better user experience. If your website isn’t mobile-ready, however, then Google will punish you via your search ranking. The benefits of designing for mobile are two-fold. Not only are mobile-friendly websites preferred by search engines, but they are generally preferred by users too. We’ve found that responsive web designs can result in lower bounce rates – meaning less people leaving your website after one page visit. The lower the bounce rate, the better it is for your SEO.

Add a YouTube video With Google being the proud owners of YouTube, they have integrated the video service to Google searches, too. One such way is that they are able to tell which websites have YouTube videos on them and thus crawl them faster.

Invest in SEO tools SEO is something that can be handled manually, but using tools can make things much easier. There are hundreds of SEO tools available to help with different aspects of optimisation.  Keyword tools You want to make sure you’re creating content about topics that your target audience is interested in and actually searching for. Two tools we recommend for this is Google Keyword Planner and - both can help you find accurate keyword phrases that your target audience are using, as well as cut down your brainstorming time.  SEO plugin If, like us, your website is a WordPress based website, you have a wide array of On-Page SEO tools available to you. These tools help to make the whole SEO optimising process easy and doable for people of all abilities.

It’s good to remember that YouTube is actually the second most popular search engine, now - yes that’s right, YouTube is a search engine! So having a YouTube channel for your business and uploading content can help increase business engagement, too.

We recommend installing YoastSEO plugin, which is a free tool to help optimise each and every one of your pages and blog articles with different keywords. Ranking just got easier!

Vlogs (Video formatted blog posts) are growing in popularity, so it’s definitely one to begin implementing into your blog posts.

I’m sure many of you won’t need to be told this, but, if you’re going to delve into the whole ‘rank high and fast’ schemes of buying backlinks or using comment spam tools then expect your website to get pulled down.

Stick to the rules

As mentioned earlier, Google has grown and is constantly growing. You might think that you’re being clever and sneaky but it’s more than likely that Google is already 1,2 or even 3 steps ahead. You may not get punished right away, but in two years, when your website is respectable and doing everything you want it to do - things could turn sour. Stick to Google’s guidelines and you won’t have to worry.

A final thought Generating traffic online is a fundamental element in running a successful business online, but it does take time and hard work. Cutting corners in getting your articles found online is just as damaging as it would be for any other part of your business. The rule here is to spend time working and the rewards will come. At Startup Active, we fully understand how busy fitness professionals are. Most haven’t got the time to spend on their online marketing, which is why we offer a highly rated website and marketing package; Active Blueprint. To find out how Active Blueprint can transform your business online, visit our website: 30

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For further information and to register your interest contact:

GYM OWNER monthly

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

March 2017



‘People buy pe make your peo Malcolm McPhail, CEO of Life Leisure, explains why employee engagement is key to member retention and business growth Worth over £4.4 billion, the Fitness Industry is one of the most UK’s most significant and increasingly competitive sectors. Between them, 6,435 fitness facilities service the needs of over 9 million members – market penetration is at all-time high. In such a highly competitive market, service differentiation and ultimately customer satisfaction dictates who sinks or swims. Money is undoubtedly a factor, as we’ve seen by the growing dominance of low budget brands, but in the race to cut costs to attract and retain members are gym owners overlooking one important asset – their own staff?

Why is it important for gym operators to look to their employees when it comes to attracting and retaining members? It sounds clichéd but the old adage holds true that ‘people buy people’. Despite its familiarity as a sentiment, it’s a fact often forgotten. Most gyms and fitness centres will have more in common than they like to admit in terms of the equipment, classes and facilities they offer. As a tick box exercise, on paper there is likely to be little difference – certainly not one that has the outright power to sway the average customer – from one operator to another. So what does make the difference? How you do things. The atmosphere, the environment, the support, the 32

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enthusiasm, the welcome. You can’t physically build or buy these elements but you can create them by investing in and engaging the right people in the right way – help your staff to be the best they can be, and they will do the same for your customers. They will create your USP and build your membership base.

That’s all very well, but won’t budget win out every time? I’m not naïve – keep your head in the sand about money and you’ll soon know about it. You have to be realistic and competitive. But put all your faith in pushing costs lower and lower without offering value and that revolving door will keep on spinning, with people leaving as quickly as they join.


eople, so ople the best’ One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was not to get too hung up on the bottom line. It sounds dismissive and almost careless in terms of building a business but it isn’t. Focus on people and the ‘here and now’, and you’ll find the figures follow.

Has that been your experience at Life Leisure? It has. Over the past 5 years, around 40% of total income has been generated by increasing membership and casual visitor numbers to our gyms. We’ve grown our turnover from £8 million to £11.6 million in the same period – despite a significant drop in authority grants and funding. You just can’t achieve that kind of growth without brilliant staff. I firmly believe that people come in to work to do a good job – help people do that and the business will benefit. It’s not only about how bright the light shines, it’s about placing it in a position to get maximum illumination. At Life Leisure we pride ourselves in placing young talent in influential positions.

How can gym operators ‘help’ their staff? In my experience it is all about empowering employees to be part of the business and live its values. At Life Leisure, for example, we’ve scrapped job descriptions and traditional evaluations to focus on a ‘preferred behaviour model’ that encourages staff to be their ‘personal best’. The initiative recognizes and rewards staff that embody what we’ve termed our WATCH principles (Winner, Authenticity, Together, Caring and Happy). Through this behaviour programme any staff member at any level can become a company champion – referred to as Sentinels – and be part of steering groups on business development areas. The scheme

is also the foundation for annual employee awards. Importantly, our ‘Sentinels’ aren’t chosen by management – they are nominated by their peers and members of the public attending our facilities. Members of the public who notice and appreciate when an individual is going above and beyond to make a difference in their lives.

How has that been received by your employees? Amazingly well. As I say, the growth we’ve experienced just would not have been possible without happy, motivated staff who are always giving that extra per cent. Investing in them has been the best business decision of my career. It’s also been well received by our local business community - we actually recently won an ‘employer of the year’ award for the approach, ahead of organisations outside the fitness industry. Since working in this way we’ve also developed one of the best staff retention rates out there and have built a 500-strong team. From a business perspective this is hugely important; as well as keeping recruitment investment low it builds and develops in-house knowledge and experience – the ‘value’ I mentioned earlier that customers recognise and appreciate.

Doesn’t this approach really only apply to larger operators – what about gym operators with only a few staff? It’s a wholly scalable principle. The key is for gym owners to know who they are and what they stand for i.e. how they want their members to feel. Taking the time to understand that, and then the effort to share the vision with staff – to make them part of it – will do more for a business than any other single factor. As I say, people buy people, so make your people the best.

Malcolm is the CEO of Life Leisure, a charitable trust and not for profit social enterprise company that manages sports and leisure facilities in and around Stockport, and delivers a range of sports and physical activity programmes in neighbourhoods across the area. Having held a number of high profile roles within the UK health and fitness industry - including the position of Sports Director for Next Generation for six years - the former British Counties Athletics Champion and Scottish 400m record holder is passionate to making sport and activity accessible and affordable to anyone from any background. March 2017


Direct Debit Collection Company provides its Clubs with a Complete Gym Software package for FREE For 25 years Ashbourne Membership Management has been known as one of the leaders in gym and health club direct debit collections and debt recovery. To expand on its services Ashbourne created their very own gym software solution that is used in over 1000 clubs in the UK and Ireland. To keep Ashbourne at the top of everyone’s thoughts, the directors decided that clubs who will get over 100 members paying via direct debit per month will receive all of the software included at no extra cost. The clubs will simply pay a low fee per direct debit collected … and that’s it. The entry control software keeps up to the minute records of member’s swipe in and Ashbourne even provide 500 branded membership cards for FREE. Clubs can also upgrade to finger print readers or RFID technology. Ashbourne also has its own team of engineers to provide clubs with turnstile and magnetic door lock solutions. “Many clubs believe a turnstile is out of reach in terms of budget but Ashbourne can help finance these for their customers by spreading the cost out over a few months. We can even convert current systems to integrate with our software”. Says Ian Bowley, Ashbournes chief engineer The system also includes an EPOS till module so clubs can keep track of their daily, weekly and monthly takings as well as their stock control. The KPI Dashboard is packed with reports and stats to manage your club and allows for targeted texts and emails to easily be sent to your members. The latest module that is included is a clubs very own fully branded app. This app allows members to communicate with 34

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each other, create and follow workout cards and input and track their workout performance. The app helps to provide a great member experience with the feeling that the club is investing in features for their members. “The software is very comprehensive; it covers online sign ups, entry control, epos, online class bookings as well as an app for my members where they can track their own workout progress. It a great software package in its own right and the fact that its included in the price I pay for just my collections makes it even better” Mark Clifford (The Clifford Health Club and Spa) Ashbourne services include: collection+ (direct debit collection and debt recovery service) access+

(entry swipe membership validation software)

dashboard+ (mangers reporting software) ejoin+

(online joining facility)

ebooking+ (online exercise class booking facility) epos+

(electronic point of sale software)

app+ (fully branded club app for members to log their workout performance, book classes and much more) If you are a club that has over 100 members and would like a complete club software package for FREE contact Ashbourne on 01564 741 837 or email


KEEP IT CLEAN Dr. Bruce A. Sherman, President of GymValet/B & D Specialty Concepts Inc, explains how to create a clean and safe workout environment and save thousands of pounds. It is well documented that a clean gym, and more specifically clean equipment, is one of the best sales and marketing tools for member attraction and retention, as well as an excellent insurance policy against the spread of germs and viruses that can live on the surfaces of unclean exercise equipment. It’s important to remember that members go to the gym to get healthy, not to get sick. To maintain a healthy workout environment in your facility, surfaces that are frequently hand-touched and body-contacted need to be cleaned and sanitized with a high-quality, commercial grade, broad-spectrum disinfectant/ sanitizing solution after each use. This applies to ALL frequently hand-touched and body-contacted surfaces on both cardio and strength training machines, as well as the myriad of pieces that are now used for functional, cross-fit, and HIIT training. If equipment is touched, it needs to be sanitized after every individual has finished using it. If equipment is not cleaned routinely, there’s the risk of user-to-user transmission of bacteria or viruses, as well as having the unpleasant “gym odor” from unclean equipment. March 2017


Business Cleaning systems To make gym equipment cleanliness and hygiene a priority, as many gyms do, it’s important to have signage throughout the gym requesting that members clean the equipment after each use. It is also very important to determine the best cleaning system for your members and your facility. Two of the most commonly used cleaning systems used today are: 1) Disinfectant spray bottles and towels, and 2) disposable pre-moistened wipes. There is also the combination of spray bottles and disposable roll-paper towels. Positioning cleaning supplies close to, or directly affixed to, the fitness equipment is the best way to encourage members to clean the equipment after every use. It’s proven that members will use conveniently-placed cleaning supplies, and they are more satisfied with their fitness experience when they know the equipment is clean. The GymValet® is an innovative and useful holder for disinfectant spray bottles and reusable towels that attaches directly to cardio, strength, and functional training equipment, or walls. The GymValet enables the equipment cleaning supplies to be attached right on the equipment, or adjoining walls, immediately accessible to members, making it nearly impossible for someone to overlook cleaning the equipment after use.

It all starts with#togetherWEshine a clean gym

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March 2017


Cleaning & Hygiene

Business Other factors to consider when choosing an equipment cleaning system, are: Cost: Research has shown that in equal-use situations disinfectant spray bottles and towels provide savings up to 90-95% in equipment cleaning costs versus disposable wipes or paper towels. For many facilities that represents savings of £4,000-£20,000 per year.

away from the equipment. This requires the exerciser to waste valuable exercise time walking between the equipment, the dispenser and the wastebasket, and causes the next exerciser to wait for the equipment to be cleaned.

Using disposable disinfectant wipes seems to be a good idea, but the reality is that each, single-use, individual wipe costs approximately 4 to 7 pence. Facilities that use wipes find their equipment sanitizing costs skyrocketing. Compare that to the 0.2 pence per use cost of using disinfectant spray bottles and towels.

Environmental responsibility: Single-use disposable wipes and roll-paper towels create a lot of waste. One roll of disposable wipes or roll-paper towels generates several garbage cans full of waste. And, disposable wipes are generally made from synthetic fibers that are practically impossible to biodegrade, which is clearly not environmentally friendly!

Effectiveness and convenience: It is easy to position disinfectant spray bottles and towels in multiple locations throughout the gym—on the floor, on shelves or countertops. Using holders that place the equipment cleaning supplies directly on the equipment, within one step or arm’s length of the exerciser, is the most convenient location. This best promotes cleaning and sanitizing immediately after use. Alternatively, single-use disposable wipes, and roll-paper towels, require bulky dispensers and these are often located a good distance

Using a spray bottle and reusable towel generates no waste. The towels must be washed on a regular basis, but research shows that gym-quality towels, that cost about £1 each, can be washed several hundred times before being “retired.” Doing some simple gym math shows: If an average equipment wiping towel is used 50 times between washings, and is washed 300 times before being retired, that’s 15,000 uses—for £1. This represents good value, and is environmentally responsible.

Finally, when discussing reusable towels, and equipment cleanliness and hygiene, one question is often asked, “Does a towel that is used repeatedly to wipe away sweat, become germ-laden from the sweat?” Actually, the opposite is true. Spray bottle and towel equipment cleaning proves to be a very hygienic and effective method for cleaning and sanitizing exercise equipment surfaces. Whether the disinfectant is sprayed on the equipment surface or directly onto the towel prior to wiping, with each use the towel is replenished with more germ-killing sanitizing solution. Therefore, a significant amount of disinfectant remains on the towel at all times, making it safe to reuse. This point was validated through double blind analytic testing conducted by the Chief Microbiologist, at a major US-based medical center.

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It's your responsibility In conclusion, it is the responsibility of fitness facility owners and managers to carefully consider the equipment cleaning and sanitizing systems they provide to support the best interests of their members, the environment, and the financial health of their gym. Using conveniently located disinfectant spray bottles and reusable towels, that can be best positioned with GymValet holders, will give members confidence about the cleanliness and hygienic safety of the equipment. Fitness facility owners and managers can have the peace of mind that that they are providing exercisers with the most economical, convenient and effective, and environmentally responsible equipment cleaning and sanitizing system possible. Gyms that have a reputation as being clean and hygienic, and environmentally conscious, will benefit from both attracting new members and increased member retention rates.

Cleaning Supplies Right On The Equipment! Most economical & eco-friendly alternative to expensive disposable wipes & paper towels. Easy-to-reach cleaning supplies! Prevent germ and virus transmission. Members & staff love the convenience! (+) 1-216-378-4298 March 2017



FEMALE Stephanie Bradbeer, from Action PR, reports on the rise of female fitness and how you can capitalise on this growth sector. Many women prefer ladies-only activities and options. As a facility if you can cater for their preferences, you’ll be doing them – and yourself - a favour by providing a supportive female-focused environment. Gym membership is almost evenly split between the sexes but statistically women gravitate towards different things to men: they are significantly more likely to go for group classes whilst men are more likely to hit the gym and play team sports. It’s great that more and more women want to exercise but it’s important that facilities recognise emerging trends and take these into account when offering classes and activities for women. We spoke to leading experts in the female fitness field about where they are focussing their attention and where the opportunities lie.

Swimming “Since February 2016 Everyone Active has focused a large amount of attention and resources on women’s only swimming”, says Alison Sutherland, Everyone Active Regional Swimming Director. The operator launched the This Girl Can Swim campaign, in partnership with Sport England, which promoted women only swim lessons in many of the centres. “The campaign isn’t just about offering women-only swim sessions, it’s all about getting rid of the barriers to swimming that are there for many women, mainly confidence. We only have female lifeguards; we allow women to wear t-shirts and bring robes on the 38

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poolside and we have also made many improvements to the ladies changing facilities in our centres.” Everyone Active has enjoyed increased female usage thanks to the sessions. In Ealing, Brent and Harrow numbers have risen from an average of 40 women a week in February 2016 to 100 women a week in February 2017 taking part in ladies-only swimming. “We are very pleased with the success of the scheme and continue to develop female-only activities for both swimming and other activities in our centres. As well as new AquaNatal classes launching throughout the country, we have many women’s only gym classes.”



Pilates is also proving popular and gym owners would do well ensure one or two sessions are on the timetable to cater for the increasing demand. According to Future Fit Training, there is no shortage of instructors coming through with increasing numbers of women training to be trainers. “We have seen a significant rise in people attending our Pilates courses training in the last three years,” says Sue Hall, Pilates Master Trainer at Future Fit Training. “93.8% of our trainees are women and career change is the most popular reason to embark on Pilates training. Many female students wish to move away from stressful and demanding career posts, find a career that fits around their family or embark on something where they have found a personal passion.” “The growth of Pilates classes in gyms and clubs – including fusing Pilates with other disciplines such as boxing/ martial arts, ballet, tai chi and yoga – is reaching a wider, experimental audience and Pilates for pregnancy is also extremely popular.”

Small group exercise Cat Booker, Personal Trainer and Founder of Cat Booker Fitness has developed her business based on the growth and demand in popularity of small group training for women. “Small group training for women in their 40s and 50s has proved to be extremely popular. The feedback I get is that discerning clients who want to know more about technique and other physical therapies or training formats like the results and personal service in a small group with a well experienced trainer. People want to stay young and active and women have stages of life they want to support with appropriate exercise. This is proof of clients who want a greater understanding themselves, with greater guidance, and support.”

Outdoor and holistic training Jacqueline Hooton, Founder of Her Garden Gym, has noticed a shift from female clients towards outdoor and holistic training.

“The women I train are looking to bridge the gap between taking care of themselves and being part of a training community, in a space they trust.”

“Many of my female clients are noticing that they have potentially been damaging their bodies for years with high impact exercise and are looking to take a different approach,” says Jacqueline. “Ladies also come to me with low body confidence and issues from the impact of childbirth: they require a different approach to their training. I offer more holistic methods with a lot of Pilates and outdoor training, emphasising the importance of really taking care of your body.”

“I have also noticed a shift in thinking where clients also appreciate the value of equipment that’s easy to use in the home and studio, like foam rollers, core products and weighted equipment.”

“Taking this training outdoors allows my clients to reconnect and reflect. Outdoor training as a treatment can improve concentration and moods and so I think it’s crucial to offer my clients a more holistic fitness and wellbeing experience.” March 2017



#LiftLikeAGirl In recent years, the rise in female weight training has proved that it is a trend that is here to stay and Rachel Glew, Life Fitness Global Master Trainer, provides her insight on its growth in popularity.

Small steps to raise the bar Assumptions about what form of exercise women should and want to participate in have evolved slowly over the decades. From the lycra-clad aerobics classes of the 1980’s, group exercise has always been seen as a female domain. The common stereotype was that men work out and build muscle in the gym whilst women go to socialise and ‘tone-up’ in classes. Yet a decade ago Life Fitness started to design gym-floor layout ‘breakout zones’ that questioned the perception that females didn’t want to work out with free weights. Equipped with 1-10kg dumbbells and functional strength tools, breakout zones marked a tentative foot in the door for females who wanted to challenge how they should train. Personal Trainers who understood the physiological benefits of helping their female clients undertake strength workouts recognised the advantages of breakout spaces as being somewhere free from male view. One of the greatest barriers to female participation in weight training is a perceived judgement that they won’t fit in or have the right strength and skills versus their male counterparts. The selfconfidence and empowerment that women can gain from weight training is driven by the fact that they are shattering these preconceptions and proving #ThisGirlCan too. 40

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Same equipment, different aesthetic, new experience The launch of Les Mills BODYPUMP in 1997 offered a scaled down version of Olympic weightlifting in a group exercise environment women already felt they owned. The popularity of BODYPUMP with females can be seen as another development to challenge stereotypes about what type of training women wanted to do. BODYPUMP classes enable women to develop their technique and confidence in a safe and familiar setting. In 2011, Life Fitness recognised that for gym owners to ensure females feel comfortable in strength environments they need to consider differentiated equipment. The Life Fitness Signature strength plate loaded line was launched to offer a more inviting aesthetic. Targeting females who might be intimidated by the performance driven Hammer Strength range, Signature plate loaded also appealed to premium clubs, early boutiques and spas. With the same biomechanics and strength profile as Hammer Strength – lines were blurred between what constituted male and female equipment. The launch of SYNRGY and the popularity of functional training strength equipment challenged perceptions further. Here was new equipment, with no clearly defined gender origin, that could be used by all ages and abilities. The SYNRGY power pivot replicates the same power pivot found

Trends on Hammer Strength performance racks but at a weight that is less intimidating and on a training modality that women don’t feel judged for wanting to use, adding to the increased rise in female weight training.

Social media The increased use of social media has also allowed female fitness fans to connect to others by the simple use of a hashtag. If you browse today’s Instagram fitness feeds, they are dominated by a new generation of strength savvy female gym-goers confidently deadlifting their own body weight. Following Sport England’s #ThisGirlCan campaign along with the increased presence of female fitness bloggers sharing their weights workout online, we can see a new generation of weight-lifting women who live by the #StrongnotSkinny and #ThisGirlCanLift mantra. In 2015 using data from the Sport England Active People survey, British Weightlifting reported “a significant rise in the number of females taking part in the sport nationwide”. British Weightlifting’s Golden Chance talent ID event attracted a record 150 competitive female weight lifters all seeking to secure a GB place for Tokyo 2020.

Continuum of strength Whilst weightlifting might appeal to members comfortable with learning new technique and working out alone, the social interaction and familiarity of a Legs, Bums & Tums class still appeals to others. Both can raise female confidence, strength and create a feeling of empowerment. Outside of Cross Fit boxes, Life Fitness customers appear keen to keep promoting all types of strength training rather than

focus on one niche. Females participating in weight training is one way - not the only way - to break stereotypes on where, and how, women can work out within a gym environment. A continuum of wants, needs and capability exists for any type of strength training. One form of exercise never meets the psychological and physical needs of all and the differing reasons for why we want to exercise should not be forgotten. Like any new trend the danger is always that instructors start prescribing weight training to everyone regardless of whether it meets their needs. Tips for promoting participation  Offering pathways to participation in weight training is essential for females who typically fear being judged for not fitting in or being incompetent in some way in a traditional male dominated space. Gym-floor ‘Ladies Who Lift’ groups are an excellent initiative for creating strength in numbers and paring female members up with a training buddy.  All too often instructors hurry to progress their clients and members to the end goal of weight lifting without building a solid strength foundation. Breakout zones remain beneficial on today’s gym floor layouts in providing a space where instructors can work one-to-one and in small groups with members, of both sexes, to build confidence and competency in strength technique.  The number of female instructors who hold formal advanced qualifications in coaching weight lifting (on the gym floor) is disproportionate to males. Gym owners who want to drive female participation should consider up-skilling their female gym instructors to provide positive role models. Life Fitness Academy successfully run Hammer Strength training days and bespoke weight lifting courses across our customer base that help female instructors build their own confidence.

Sarah Durnford, Head Trainer of Les Mills UK, comments: “Having taught Les Mills classes for over 15 years, I’ve seen first-hand how its programmes have had a significant impact on female fitness. More women are pushing their fitness boundaries and as a trainer, it’s so rewarding to see the empowerment that comes out of female members being able to do something they previously thought was unachievable. The introduction of Les Mills BODYPUMP was a real ground-breaker as it advocated the benefits of strength training and challenged the stigma associated with women lifting weights. Now, it’s the world’s most popular barbell workout and continues to help women to get lean and toned without the fear of ‘bulking up’. More women are moving beyond cardio as their workout of choice and embracing the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT). Programmes like Les Mills GRIT are helping women to improve strength and build lean muscle. As Head Trainer of Les Mills UK I’m also proud to be a role model for women entering the sector at the start of their instructor careers. It’s exciting to discover superstars, develop them and push them forward towards great things. I’m also passionate that we remain progressive and continue to set industry standards in instructor training.” March 2017






24-25 May 2017 The Belfry, Wishaw, West Midlands, UK

What do you get at SIBEC? • Guaranteed pre-qualified audience of key decision makers • Pre-set appointments with buyers of your choice • Limited competition • 3 full days of exceptional networking • Unparalleled value for money • High Quality Seminar Program

8-11 November 2017 Don Carlos Leisure Resort & Spa, Marbella, Spain

I think will be my 5th year at SIBEC and from both a business and personal perspective there are a number of reasons why I continue to attend yearly1. It is one of the best business networking events I have attended in the Industry and year on year continues to put me in touch with new suppliers and buyers that consistently open my eyes to further business opportunities. 2. It allows me to be a source of referral for any of our existing suppliers who are looking to work with other operators. 3. It gives me the opportunity to meet up and socialise with other Industry leaders within their field. Michelle Dand, Group Health & Fitness Manager, David Lloyd Leisure Ltd

For more information about SIBEC please contact:

David Zarb Jenkins Email: Tel: +356 9944 8862 42

March 2017


The Apprenticeship Levy – are you ready? In her bi-monthly column for Gym Owner Monthly, Active IQ Managing Director Jenny Patrickson looks ahead to the Apprenticeship Levy coming into effect and asks what it means for gym owners and, importantly, are we ready? “Whether we like it or not, change is imminent with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy on April 6, 2017. Apprenticeships are not new to our industry but this levy will give this form of training a distinct uplift as employers turning over more than £3 million will have an obligation to take on apprentices. “I can see three immediate benefits of having more apprenticeships in our industry. Firstly, this mode of training over a prolonged period of time with hands-on practical experience will answer critics of the fitness business who say some training is done too quickly and superficially. Secondly, as we stand alongside other industries in offering more apprenticeships, it will prove to the wider world that the fitness industry offers a true vocation and robust career choices. Thirdly, it will encourage more young people to train in our industry and keep the workforce young, energetic and vibrant. “The Apprenticeship Levy requires employers with a pay bill over £3million per year to pay into an apprenticeship funding pot. Once they have chosen their candidates and selected the apprenticeship training from the Government’s Register of Authorised Training Providers (unless they are an employer-provider themselves), they will pay for the training from this pot. The Government will also make a contribution and will top up the funds by 10%, so for every £1 that enters an employer’s Levy account, the employer will have £1.10 to spend in England on apprenticeship training. At the end of the two year cycle, any money left in the pot will go to the Government - in effect a tax payment. A classic case of ‘use it or lose it’! “Some employers are unsure of the details and funding arrangements behind the Levy and it is a complex area. Equally complex is the introduction of the Digital Apprenticeship Service and the details regarding how much an employer pays and how they pay it. However, in true

apprenticeship style, we must pay close attention to the detail and expect to learn as we go along. “The Levy may be new but apprenticeships are not. These Government funded work-based training programmes are designed to give learners the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a job role and in 2014/2015 there were more than 250,000 employer workplaces with an apprentice. According to Government figures apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by on average £214 per week. An impressive 87% of employers said they were satisfied with their apprenticeship programme and 75% reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service. “Active IQ has helped operators and employers fulfill their apprenticeship obligations for a number of years. We understand the challenges faced by employers and training providers and offer a unique and complete teaching and learning solution for centres. We also have bespoke apprenticeship solutions to enhance operators’ provision. To that end we are absolutely ready to support apprenticeship training providers and employers with the delivery and assessment of apprenticeships. “The incentive to employers to invest in staff training and development where they might not have chosen to before can only be good. However, for those organisations where the apprenticeship fund commitment will take money away from other staff training and development, it is less good news. “We will be hearing a lot more about apprenticeships in the coming weeks, not least because it’s National Apprenticeship Week from March 6-10, 2017: if nothing else, this is a good time for us to revive our discussions. It would also be timely for gym owners to advertise locally their commitment to the new Apprenticeship Levy and invite bright young things to apply and maximise the opportunity that lies ahead.”

Find out more Visit to download our Apprenticeship Levy information video. See for details of the National Apprenticeship Week. March 2017



Mark Hall Sports Centre expands member experience with new Precor equipment

Members at Mark Hall Sports Centre in Harlow, Essex have benefitted from the installation of new state-of-the-art Precor equipment, replacing its 10 year old machines and enabling the centre to provide a more high-tech experience. A smaller machine footprint and flexibility of dual-use pieces has extended the equipment offering and increased the number of stations available in the 120 sq m gym. As well as featuring 11 Precor cardiovascular machines, all fitted with the new Precor P82 console and Preva® networked, the centre also benefits from the addition of eight Vitality™ Series Strength stations and two awardwinning Adaptive Motion Trainers® plus a Queenax™ functional training corner unit. Andy Smith, General Manager at Mark Hall Sports Centre, comments: “Installing all new Precor equipment has meant that we are able to offer our members a new state-of-the-art environment to workout in. The Vitality™ Series Dual-Use strength machines provide a greater range of exercises for our members within a smaller footprint space, and this has furnished us with the opportunity to install additional and different cardio and functional fitness equipment. Preva® networked fitness enables them to track their fitness activities both in and outside of the gym. The addition of the Queenax™ functional training corner unit not only maximises the space available but differentiates us from our competitors.” Smith continues: “We looked at various brands but Precor offered the whole package; high quality, affordable equipment. The new P82 console is great for us as a business - its online maintenance updates mean there’s minimal disruption to the usage. We can also modify and personalise the screens with information, adverts and promotions as and when we need to, keeping members up to date with what’s going on at the centre.” Justin Smith, Head of UK at Precor, comments: “Mark Hall Sports Centre embraced the need for change and looked to enhance their member experience. The revised layout, new equipment and inclusion of the Queenax™, AMT’s® and P82 consoles will help attract new members and provide existing exercisers with the ability to make the most out of their fitness routine.”

Anytime Fitness to open in Derby The world’s largest 24-hour fitness club chain, Anytime Fitness, will be opening in the new Castleward residential development in Derby. A former finance professional, franchisee Teddy Andres was looking for a new venture that combined his personal interest in fitness with running his own business, and an Anytime Fitness club provided the perfect fit. The 3,778 sq ft gym features 13 pieces of Precor cardiovascular equipment, including two new Experience™ Series EFX® 800 with converging CrossRamp® and five recently launched Next-Generation treadmills, all showcasing the new P82 console, connected with Preva networked fitness to enable members to track exercise history. The gym also features a Queenax™ corner unit along with 10 stations of Precor Vitality™ Series strength equipment, two plate loaded machines, a power rack, two Concept 2 Rowers and a Smith machine. The fitness facility boasts an indoor cycling studio showcasing recently launched Precor Spinner® Ride bikes and will also be offering a combination of instructor led fitness classes, as well as virtual classes using the Wellbeats system. 44

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Andres comments: “Precor equipment is high quality and technologically intuitive. That, coupled with the excellent service support, provided the perfect combination. Preva networked fitness is an essential feature for Anytime Fitness Derby as it will not only help members track their progress but will also motivate them.” Justin Smith, Head of UK at Precor states: “Teddy is passionate and committed to the fitness industry and really wants to help his members by keeping the workout personal, driving change and making them accountable. He is also keen to ensure that it’s a fun and motivational environment to workout in and I’m sure he will achieve this.”



THE VARIETY THEY SEEK Queenax™ is the only functional training system that can transition from personal to circuit to group training in minutes. A wide variety of accessories keeps the training possibilities endless. Innovative system designs to fit almost any space large or small.

See it in action at

03334 149774 • ©2015 Precor Incorporated

March 2017



Fit Kit Fit Bites

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

sustained physical performance whether in competition or training. Visit

Wellman Energy

FitBites are natural, raw energy balls and unlike many of the bars that are available, each flavour tastes different to the other and they maintain their fresh, chewy texture. As an exclusive for Gym Owner Monthly readers, FitBites are offering 10% discount on trade prices for the first order. Simply email to request a product brochure and quote ‘Gym Owner Monthly’ when you place your first order. Visit

GHN Strike Force GHN Strike Force Sports Fuel is scientificallydeveloped to provide a high intensity boost of power, strength and concentration to power you through your training sessions and match days. It contains an advanced blend of active ingredients including caffeine, beta alanine and taurine that work together to fire up physical and mental performance to new heights. It’s the perfect product to fuel


March 2017

Whether you’re a working dad or a fitness enthusiast, Wellman Energy is perfect for those leading hectic lives. The great tasting refreshing drink includes vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium and iron which contribute to normal energy release and help to reduce tiredness and fatigue. With specialist nutrients including Siberian Ginseng extract and Co-Q10, the easy to carry effervescent tablets also include vitamin C and zinc which contribute to normal immune system function. Visit

TRX Slamball Engage your entire body in a highintensity TRX Slam Ball workout that builds strength, cardio and explosive power. Simple and easy-to- use, TRX Slam Balls are fast, fun and effective


Gear for athletes of all levels. Designed to survive the toughest workouts, the Balls’ rugged, textured surface provides easy gripping, while the ultra-durable rubber shell absorbs impact from every core-strengthening dead bounce. TRX Slam Balls are sold in weights from 6 lbs to 50 lbs. Available to order from

Polar M200 Polar, the pioneer of wearable sports and fitness technology, have grown their running portfolio with the introduction of the Polar M200. The waterresistant GPS running watch is equipped with Polar’s proprietary wrist-based heart rate technology, 24/7 activity and sleep tracking and stylish interchangeable colour wristbands. Designed for runners of all levels, the Polar M200 is an affordable and easy-to- use running watch that provides reliable training metrics as well as live, personalised training guidance.

A range of professional cleaning products for gyms We have over 70 years experience manufacturing cleaning products. Our UK in-house production facilities allow us to create professional formulations at highly competitive prices**


Life Fitness Corebag Core bags maximise your core muscles to a greater degree than any other traditional weights workout, making it the ultimate fitness tool that is perfect for all levels. Ideal for compound lifts and strength training, the Corebag is ideal for lunges, squats and presses in a functional circuit. Easy to use in both the gym and at home, the core bags are available to buy in weights of 5kg-20kg.


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Visit www.lifefitness.

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March 2017



Good things come in small group training packages Paul Swainson, Head of Future Fit School of Personal Training, explains the benefits of small group training. As personal trainers we pride ourselves on our interpersonal skills. Our ability to work oneto-one with people, build rapport and relationships and engender that trust to help them go far and fulfil their potential. It’s what makes it personal after all. But that one-to-one training isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some can’t afford it. Others are uncomfortable under the scrutiny and feel it’s too personal and too close. The alternative to personal training is generally considered to be group exercise classes and many people find working out with others stimulating, supportive and enjoy the ‘safety in numbers’. For all its benefits, group exercise by definition can’t help people at a personal level. The ‘low impact option’ is about as tailored as it gets! And while performing the same exercise simultaneously buoyed by music and the instructor is motivating, traditional group exercise has its limitations in terms of addressing individuals’ needs. More bespoke group sessions on the gym floor and boot camps have been rising in popularity for a while. Their appeal lies in combining the supportive group structure with a more ‘up close and personal’ approach from the trainer as they move among the group and offer individuals advice on technique and effort levels. An emerging trend is ‘semi-private’ training which is more akin to personal training than group exercise. Groups of up to three or four can work extraordinarily well in gyms as a personal trainer can set and supervise individual programmes. Slightly larger groups of six to eight can be set structured drills and routines that emphasise interaction with other group members, utilise partner work and games and still be supervised closely by the trainer. Such small group training makes it easier to provide results-driven training as regular progression and assessment is simpler to manage with fewer people. A key element that separates this from classes is the ability to write a programme that incorporates carefully planned overload to ensure each group member makes ongoing, sustainable

progress. This is where the ‘personal’ bit comes in and where individuals enjoy a sense of self and satisfaction when they achieve a personal goal (as opposed to completing a group challenge). The skills needed to set and supervise each individual falls squarely at the feet of a competent personal trainer, not a group ex instructor. The ability to motivate each person as well as keep the group together is no mean feat but those who master it are onto a winner. And everyone wins. Clients win by gaining personal training at a fraction of the cost and with the support of a group. Trainers win by earning more per session: where clients might pay the equivalent of £35 per session for personal training, a group of four people may only pay £12 each. A significant saving for the individual, while the trainer generates £48 for the session. And gym owners win as members enjoy group loyalty, relationships are strengthened and they see progress – a perfect mix for member retention. Small group training also encourages member mobility across a gym. Seeing the results, the group members may choose to take a one-on-one session occasionally or complement their sessions with a larger group exercise class. Small group training engages members at a unique and valuable level: offering a personalised service at an affordable price; personalising programmes to get results and bridging the gap between PT and group exercise that gyms may otherwise be missing out on.

Find out more at the Pro Zone March webinar which will explore and discuss the merits of small group training as a way to attract, motivate and support gym members. Click here to join the Pro Zone: http://promotions.futurefit. or contact to discuss offering Pro Zone to your staff. 48

March 2017

Advertising Feature

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Its unique patterned surface facilitates hundreds of exercises to break down knots, release tight muscles, ease painful trigger points and strengthen the deep support muscles which stabilise the spine. Users can gain access to a complete library of these exercises simply by holding their smartphone over the NFC tag embedded in the Performance Roller. Meanwhile, these four moves are a great way to get started.

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T-Spine Begin by lying on the Performance Roller positioned at just above the lumbar curve with your knees bent, and interlocking both hands. Raise both arms and cradle your head in your hands. Raise your hips up ready to start. Roll forward and back, from mid to upper back at a rate of 1 inch per second. To start mobilisations, return to the start position or the tightest area with the roller placed mid-to upper back. Flex slowly from side to side on any tender areas. Ensure that your core is engaged for balance. For a variation and to increase pressure, release your arms from behind your head and return them to the side of your body. With a slight bend in the elbows, extend both arms up and over your head pause, and return to the hips.

Glute Release Position the Performance Roller under the upper portion of the right buttock, with the left leg extended and right knee bent, while holding the left hand inside the Performance Roller. Begin to roll forward and back. To complete mobilisations, return to the start position. Lift the right knee towards the chest and extend out. To complete spans, bring the right knee up towards the chest and lower the back down. Repeat release on the other buttock.

Pectoral Release Seated kneeling next to the Performance Roller, transition over the top of the Roller and place it under the right Pectoral, extending the right arm outwards with palm resting on the floor. Using the left hand for support, lift the right hand off the floor and begin to roll the Performance

Roller across your pectoral. For variation, lift the hips off the ground using the left arm for support and complete the previous exercise. Place the right hand behind your back while engaging your core and complete the previous exercise. To complete mobilisations, bring the knees to the floor and using the right hand for support, bend the left arm at the elbow and slowly bring the arm up beyond the head, returning it to the starting position. For a mobilisation variation, extend the arm away from the body and sweep it up to the beyond the head.

Quad Release Lying face down in a plank position place the elbows beneath the shoulders, with one knee drawn towards the hip. With the roller just above the knees, start to roll up and down the thigh at a rate of one inch per second. To increase the pressure place one leg over the other. To complete spans pause approx. mid-thigh to add compression and rotation. For mobilisations add in knee bends. Find out more at or call 01494 769 222 for expert advice. March 2017



KILLER TIPS FO Being a successful Personal Trainer requires many more skills than physiological knowledge and a talent for composing training plans. Here, Owen Bowling, a leading expert in functional training and personal trainer education, gives his killer tips on how to ensure success. Play the long game Success as a PT will be a marathon not a sprint. Many PTs enter the sector with unrealistic expectations of what they can earn in the short term. This then leads to disappointment and disengagement contributing to unacceptably high attrition. Like any profession, it takes time to learn the craft and establish a foothold in the market. Success does not happen overnight, it takes dedication, perseverance and a commitment to education (more on this later). Most newly qualified PTs should focus on a 5-year growth plan rather than a get rich quick philosophy. This will help create a career for life rather than a job for now.

Focus on core strength Too many PTs try to offer something for everyone. The thinking is that this approach taps into the broadest client pool possible but what it actually does is promote mediocracy, with no point of difference between offerings. This makes it tricky to articulate why a client should invest in one PT over another. Savvy PTs, on the other hand, concentrate efforts on developing knowledge and education in specialist areas, for example, weight loss, injury recovery, core strength, pre and post-natal etc. Then they promote themselves as an expert in these areas. This immediately creates an expectation in the eyes of a potential client that this PT is more qualified to deliver positive outcomes in these areas. In addition to making the PT a more attractive option than fellow PTs helping to secure the client, this also means the PT can charge a premium for their ‘specialist’ services. Win, win.


March 2017

Don’t sell time. Sell dreams A PT who sells time will never earn as much as a PT who sells dreams. What I mean by this is, if a PT leads a sales pitch with their hourly rate, they can only ever compete against other PTs on price. This not only devalues the offering but also means needing to work long hours to make ends meet. A more astute PT sells the client goal achievement. This creates differentiation from other PTs and gives the product value. Buying a dream is much more attractive than simply buying time. This approach also means that the PT can be canny in the way the fee is structured. Rather than charging an hourly rate where, if the PT goes on holiday or is sick there is no payment, sell a ‘dream achievement package’. For example: “If you invest X with me over the next twelve months I guarantee at the end of the journey we will achieve your goals.” This is a much more powerful sales pitch than simply selling time.


OR PT SUCCESS Don’t be afraid to refer Nobody can know everything about everything. This is a fact, not a weakness. PTs who accept this and, instead of trying bluff their way through a scenario, actually help their client by making a valuable referral recommendation will be the ones who succeed. This may mean the client invests in an alternative practitioner for a while but long term this course of action is more likely to create loyalty and trust resulting in the client making a return to the PT in the future. This goes back to my second point about the importance of focusing on core strengths and leaving the rest to others. It is a brave strategy but, trust me, it works.

Take responsibility for your own CPD Gaining a PT qualification is simply a ticket to enter the market. It represents the start, not the end, of a very long journey. In order to be successful in a highly competitive market, PTs need to take responsibility for their own learning and development. Working with clients carries a huge responsibility, the weight of which is often underestimated and undervalued. In order to prescribe bespoke, effective training programmes, it is imperative that a PT invests in education. This does not just mean spending time and money on physical courses, although this is obviously an important element, it also means keeping up to date with the latest trends, training technique s and new technologies to ensure clients benefit from the most up to date, effective training and assessment methods. PTs who take responsibility for their own professional development are the ones who thrive because clients value their knowledge, passion and commitment. Plus, their training plans are more effective and deliver results.

Put functional training at the heart of your offering Based on movement patterns performed in everyday life, functional training should form the core part of any

training programme. That said, it is important to remember, functional movement patterns are bespoke to each and every individual. A one size fits all approach will not work. Yes, this requires effort on the part of the PT but the client pays for a personal, bespoke service and this is what they should get on every, single visit. A doctor would not prescribe the same tablet to all patients so why would a PT prescribe one exercise to all clients? The more bespoke an exercise programme, the higher the likelihood of goal achievement. This retains clients and keeps them wanting, and, more importantly, paying for, more.

Understand your tools and learn how to use them Most gyms these days offer a multitude of equipment from modular to free motion, with new concepts entering the market all the time. To be successful, a PT needs to keep pace with equipment development and invest in education to ensure correct prescription and movement execution. The more variety a PT can offer in terms of exercises, the more interesting and progressive a training programme will be. This will keep the clients engaged and motivated to train. More engagement and more motivation equals more investment. Owen Bowling is the founder and CEO of CrankIt Fitness, Australia's leading functional training product and Education Company. He is also the Co-Founder of The Ultimate PT - a global business education system for personal trainers. Owen is a sought after functional fitness and fitness business presenter, having educated more than 3000 personal trainers across 15 countries.

March 2017



PT Viewpoint

Move vs mu Annmarie Murray explains why PTs should be thinking more about anatomy and outlines the benefits of training movements rather than muscles.

Many fitness professionals dread anatomy. The thought of studying the origin, insertion point and action of each muscle is a nightmare! And maybe seems a little irrelevant when helping clients to lose weight or shape the body they are looking for. However nothing could be further from the truth...


For example, the simple anatomy of the quadriceps: responsible for extending or straightening the knee. Personal trainers teach clients the leg extension exercise in order to strengthen their quadriceps. This seems logical. However in everyday life the body will function quite differently.

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Another function of the quadriceps is to slow down knee flexion when we walk, squat, lunge. With this other function we see how the quadriceps perform when a person is on two feet (not sitting on a machine) with gravity and ground reaction forces coming into play.

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If in the fitness world you can start to think about anatomy in this alternative way and teach people how their bodies work in everyday life, clients might be more likely to pay attention to the way they move, both in and out of the gym. Training movements rather than muscles will give clients increased coordination, motor control, increased mobility, stability and flexibility and produce maximum gains in strength and speed.

*Mobile app graphics for illustrative purposes only

To register your interest call 0203 884 9777 or visit

Instead of isolating muscle groups, training movement instead of muscles allows you to use compound movements. This is what the majority of your training programs should consist of. An example of a traditional exercise used in gym is the lying leg curl. It works the hamstring muscles by flexing the knee and extending the hip. An alternative functional exercise is a single leg straight leg lunge. It works the hamstring muscles by slowing down hip flexion and knee extension. A much more functional way of working the hamstrings.

Designed by Gym Owners. For Gym Owners. 52

Sitting on an exercise machine using only one part of the body can be a bit boring but challenging yourself to learn how to execute

March 2017

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24/01/2017 11:47

call 0203 884 9777 or visit

PT Viewpoint

ement uscle complicated movement patterns makes exercise much more fun and engaging.



A lot of people train using some type of bodybuilding split program. They can make you look stronger but they don't actually help make you stronger. By isolating muscles and focusing purely on size you are training muscles to work individually. In our daily lives rarely do our muscles work in isolation. Groups of muscles work together to perform almost every action we do in our lives.





As a result of our modern day lives which involves many hours of sitting the hip flexors can become chronically shortened. This causes problems when a person tries to walk or run, the hip flexors can no longer lengthen effectively. It is important to keep these muscles supple and strong. Instead of doing leg lifts to strengthen the hip flexors you could add reverse lunges or simply train clients to step backwards to practice extending the hips. This type of exercise will train the hip flexors how to lengthen under load. By starting to understand anatomy in everyday living you can design more effective exercises to build strength, improve function and help eliminate pain. The results will be fun and highly effective programs that help your clients reach their health and fitness goals faster and more safely. Build a strong foundation and develop real strength by training movements not muscles.

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Practice what you preach! Annmarie Murray lives and breathes pilates. In a career spanning over 20 years, she has amassed over 20 sets of qualifications (and growing) from 4 separate pilates schools - Polestar, National training center, Bodyfirm, PTTI - Pilates teacher training institute, Basi Pilates and Balanced Body. She is certified to teach mat, reformer, barrel, arc, trap, tower, yoga, small equipment and barre. A studio and rehabilitation pilates specialist- her work has extended to working with some of the world’s foremost track and field athletes including members of the US, Jamaican, Dutch and Irish Olympic track teams. Follow Annmarie on Facebook: AM fitness on the go.

To switch and save call 0203 884 9777 or visit

Designed by Gym Owners. For Gym Owners. March 2017 096_CLUB_WorkOut_HalfP_Ad_D4.indd 2

53 24/01/2017 11:47


VERSATILE We talk to Justin Smith, Head of UK, at Precor How did you get into the fitness industry? I got into the fitness industry straight from University, but it wasn’t really planned. I was taking a year out before doing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) as I wanted to combine teaching Economics (my degree) with PE (my passion). I did some sports and fitness certificates and ended up getting a job as a fitness instructor in a new health club in Glasgow. I’m happy to say, I’ve been in the industry ever since.

How has the industry changed since you started? In some respects the industry has changed beyond recognition. When I first started out there were no large chains, the gym floor was very strength focused and cardio was often an afterthought or very limited in both design and functionality. Group exercise was in its infancy and there were very few opportunities for a sustainable career in Health and Fitness. However, I’ve also seen a lot of methodologies persist or re-invent themselves to stay current and a lot of things have gone full circle. Circuit training is still popular in the form of HIIT or Tabata, strength training has evolved into functional fitness and there’s been a growth of concepts such as Crossfit, which are driving a resurgence in the small, independent “boutique” sector.

What areas of growth is Precor currently seeing? Boutique gyms and larger gyms wanting to offer a boutique area within the facility is definitely a growth area we are 54

March 2017

seeing in the industry. Spend has shifted to these specialty fitness boutiques, which attract millennials who have the mindset and willingness to pay for a personalised, unique experience. Precor is always looking to increase exercisers’ engagement and enjoyment but at the same time provide operators with a solution to target emerging trends and in 2015 Precor acquired Queenax™ functional fitness and Spinning®. Both help operators bring boutique experiences to their clubs by providing the ability to offer versatile training options and a variety of classes to a broad membership base. The popularity of functional training has also increased. We have seen a real upsurge in the number and range of clubs installing Queenax™ as members look to attend functional training circuit and group exercise classes with high quality instructors. The Queenax™ unit is ideal as it can be adapted to fit any space, making it possible for both large and small gyms to offer that boutique experience and a personal touch.

How has the equipment offering from Precor evolved over the last few years? The equipment offering has become much more versatile, with a wider variety of individual pieces available that are adaptable and provide unique ways to exercise, like the Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT). Consoles and machines are now technologically advanced, with advances and adaptations constantly being developed. For example the new 700 Experience™ Series Line of CV equipment provides the same reliability, performance and efficiency facilities expect from Precor but now gives them versatility of choice across the brand. It also offers the


E FITNESS flexibility to be fitted with any Precor console enabling operators to ‘mix and match’ to suit their business model. Members are demanding group exercise classes and functional training session and this is driving facilities to provide solutions that enable them to differentiate themselves , which is why Precor added Spinning®, the world’s number one brand of indoor cycling, and Queenax™ functional fitness to its portfolio in 2015.

Why is education and training so important? We never lose sight of the end users of our equipment and as innovators we constantly strive to extend and improve the fitness experience, this includes education and training. Precor UK partners with education specialists Athleticum to deliver live training and enable successful gym floor programming and dynamic engagement. The online Precor Coaching Centre offers videos and documents that help up skill staff so they can enable members to get the most out of their workout on the Precor equipment, such as ‘How to get started lifting for performance’ and ‘AMT superset interval’. There is also a video on how to run a small group training programme on the AMT - AMT Team Fit, along with various training suggestions on how to use the Queenax functional training unit for maximum impact and capacity. This best-in-class

training ensures classes are run to a high level. Ultimately if members are happy retention rates are higher, but the training and education also provides clubs with a point of difference against competitors.

What are exercisers looking for operators to offer in order to make their workout experience more enjoyable? Today exercisers expect digital connectivity as a fundamental part of their exercise experience. At the very least they want their fitness apps to sync with their heart rate monitors and to watch TV or music videos on a personal screen while they are working out. Communicating with members via the console is vital to the growth of a business. Preva networked fitness and its recent addition of MyUI, a set of branding and communication tools, gives operators the ability to customise the console screens on Precor Experience™ Series networked cardio equipment, allowing personalised and direct communication with exercisers on the cardio floor. This enables facilities to showcase their brand, but also use it to keep exercisers up to date with what’s going on at their club, promoting new classes and services, which can lead to additional revenue. They can also manage equipment and usage meaning that downtime is limited and gym goers are happy.

'as innovators we constantly strive to extend and improve the fitness experience' March 2017




CrankIt Fitness, Australia’s leading provider of suspension straps and functional training education, is giving one lucky gym owner a complete suspension training package. Why are CrankIt Straps so awesome? • 24 month warranty • Duel anchor • Durability • Lockable carabiners • Customisable colour (when ordering in bulk)

To be amongst the first in the UK to install CrankIt Straps and receive an online, Level 1, Suspension Training course for each member of the gym team, simply answer this question and provide your email address: CrankIt Fitness originates in which country? A) Australia B) South Africa C) America One winner will be randomly selected from all correct entries. Entries to: with this subject line: CrankIt Competition. Competition closes March 31, 2017. The winner will be notified by April 5, 2017.

To find out more about CrankIt Fitness and the education packages on offer visit To purchase CrankIt Straps please contact D2F Fitness on +44 (0) 330 124 3155 or send an email to

Terms & Conditions The editor’s decision is final • The winner is only entitled to the prize described. No cash alternative is available • All products will be delivered to a single address • The prize will be dispatched no later than May 1, 2017


March 2017


GET SMART Ben Coomber explains why you need to be a SMART personal trainer

Many coaches ignore features like this because it’s not sexy information, well guess what? It’s super important, and I know you know that because that’s why you’re here reading this. Most coaches want to know about tips and tricks to take their clients results and make them stratospheric. Many coaches are getting results with 40-50% of clients, but 50-60% of clients just do not listen or complain about having to do stuff they don’t want to do until they stop showing up to sessions or responding to emails. We lose interest in them and just claim they are not motivated or too hard to coach. As an educator my opinion is that if you can’t get a client to follow a diet, it’s your fault. You set the framework, you set the rules, and if you make the rules too hard the client isn’t going to be able to follow them enthusiastically. Now don’t get me wrong there is always a small percentage of clients that just won’t change. Some people who apply to work with you are not ready, and really if you can identify that early doors, sit down and have a hard chat with them, you should be able to smell the failure looming. At this point it’s probably time to explain that you don’t think you are right together and ask the client to take some time out to work out what they really want. This is something I talk about in my book a lot ‘How to be an AWESOME Personal Trainer’.

Are you doing this? Being a S.M.A.R.T. Personal Trainer is about guiding your clients into making goals which are: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time bound Please take a second, close your eyes and ask yourself honestly if you are doing this with your clients. Are you just giving them a diet plan, giving them a training plan, watching over a few of their sessions, and just hoping they will stick to it? That’s not coaching, that’s regurgitating acquired knowledge with some form of understanding of it. Anyone can give someone a diet plan and a training plan, but you don’t want to be an average personal trainer, do you? You want to be an AWESOME Personal Trainer. That means you have to be more personal, you have to care, you have to take things slow sometimes and conduct nutritional foreplay with the client.

Knowing where to start So, to be a S.M.A.R.T. personal trainer you have to know where to start your client, that means you don’t have a set system, you have to have a flexible system. Some clients want to go hard or go home, these clients you can give them all the info and let them run away with it, you just have to watch out with these clients that they don’t go too hard and March 2017


Business they then have a wobbly moment and ‘fall off the wagon’ because it was all getting a bit too much and they realised they still like going out for beers with the friends and not being 100% dedicated to the gym.

not just to print off a semi-personalised diet plan and training program and hope they follow it, that’s not being a S.M.A.R.T. personal trainer. It’s not even being an ethical business owner.

Others you have to start slow and give them more nutritional TLC. You have to start them off with addressing their hydration and protein content, then the week or two after look at boosting their micronutrient intake, and continue with them in this fashion, layering up habits and making it as simple as possible.

Now I can’t help you care more as a coach so you can be a S.M.A.R.T. personal trainer, but what I can do is give you the practical skills to teach both scenarios with the client. I can show you how to go full bore with the client, or go slow and build them up, but you have to create the time to learn this stuff, then create the processes to implement it with your clients and not just go on autopilot and print off a tweaked plan.

This then begs the key question, are you being a S.M.A.R.T. personal trainer? Are you making things: Specific to them and their goals Measurable in a meaningful way to them Attainable for them, their ability level, environment, and knowledge level Realistic with their available resources Time bound related to their goals and ability level

Be ethical When it comes to coaching there are two primary methods I will use. One is taking your time, building the client up, the other is giving them all the gear and letting them run with it checking in and tweaking things as you go. Both methods are right, both have merit. Most trainers don’t use the build them up and go slow approach as it takes more time, more care for the client and top notch admin, but you have to care, it's your job. You’re a coach with the responsibility of others health in your hands and it is your job to take the most appropriate path to success with that client,

Empower your clients Let’s get back to coaching, teaching and inspiring. You are there to empower your clients with life skills, teach them about how to eat, why, and how it matches their goals. Teach them about good hydration practices, the best sources of water, and how to tweak that for when they exercise. Show them what supplements to use and why, and at what stage in their journey they should do so. This is coaching, this is being a S.M.A.R.T. personal trainer. I can help you, and this is likely why you are reading this feature, because you trust me and what BTN preaches. So sit back from today as a result of reading this and analyse if you are being a S.M.A.R.T. personal trainer. If you think there is room for improvement then consider grabbing a copy of my book ‘How to be an AWESOME Personal Trainer’, or consider enrolling on the BTN Academy, starting with the Foundation Academy. From today, let’s be S.M.A.R.T. personal trainers. Not only is it the future of this amazing industry, it makes your job a hell of a lot more fun to do!

Ben Coomber is a performance nutritionist (BSc, ISSN) speaker and writer. For more information visit:, BTN Academy or order Ben’s book here. 58

March 2017


TWIN GOALS Chris Zaremba tells us about his training strategy which delivers the right results Over the past few years, I’ve tried quite a few different approaches to training. I mix each approach with a nutrition strategy. The two work together to deliver my absolute goal of being able to create lean muscle, which is both functional and visible, and to lose some layers of fat at the same time. Many people will say that it’s impossible, to do both fat burning and muscle building at the same time. I disagree – it’s not easy, but it is possible. To make it work I found I needed to have both the training and the nutrition nailed, get the balance correct between these two, not to expect instant results and to remain consistent in the approach. I’ve been using the approach I’m describing here for the past couple of years, and in that time I’ve kept my weight much the same, but brought my body fat percentage down by around 3%, which means I’ve lost around 6lbs of fat and put on the same amount of muscle. This isn’t getting specifically into contest condition – I’ve a few other ideas I throw into the pot to achieve specifically good condition for a one-off event – but this is more about raising my baseline condition that’s the shape I’m in all the time. March 2017


Fitness Twice per day My training timing approach is to be in the gym twice per day. I have an AM session which is always prebreakfast and after some serious intake of black coffee and water, and a PM session later in the day. The morning training follows a three session cycle, each being 40 minutes of effort – High-intensity cardio intervals on one day, Low-intensity steady state cardio on the next, and a dedicated Abs session on the following day. There aren’t nominated days of the week for this – it’s a cycle. If I did Low-intensity for my last AM session, I’ll do Abs on the next morning. And having done Abs that morning, I’ll continue around the cycle and do High-intensity on the next session. Sometimes, I’ll swap in a 25minute session of a 5K run/jog in a park for one of the cardio session, but that doesn’t change the cycle pattern. My PM training sessions are a little longer – 50 minutes in the gym. But these are also in a cycle - ABCDE. Each session is dedicated to one body-part, or body-part group. ABCDE means Arms on one day, Back the next, then Chest, then Deltoids, then Elevators, then Arms to continue around the cycle. Elevators? That’s legs – which irritatingly doesn’t start with E, so I came up with Elevators instead. Assuming I don’t miss any days training, some weeks I will do two of any workout, some weeks one. Last week was CDEABCD – so that means next week should be EABCDEA. I avoided basing the training plan around the concept of a week, as this workout approach doesn’t neatly fall into the 7-day structure. One workout per bodypart per week is too little for me, and I don’t have time to do two workouts per bodypart per week – another reason for not using the week as the key element in planning my training times. Many would disagree with my sequence – doing Chest on the day after another big body part, Back, for example. But I’ve found it works for me, and in this example the DEA bodypart days that follow B and C days give these two big bodyparts three days’ of less effort before working them specifically again. And of course the ABCDE sequence is easy to remember.

Rest days? People sometimes ask me where my pre-planned rest days are in the programme. The answer is, there aren’t any. Rest days happen when I can’t train for any reason – when real life takes over, so to speak. Weekends away, travelling, business meetings that can’t be scheduled at any other time – all of these may mean I can’t do training for a half day slot. To me, this isn’t missing a session, it's where my rest days are, but having them with a reason. I would never just sit at home and not go to the gym because there’s a rest session on my schedule. It’s another reason that AM and PM sessions are in different cycles – if I have a rest session in place of the morning training, then that’s no reason to have a rest session for the resistance training later in the day. Also, it’s another one of the reasons I don’t attach specific days to body parts – if Monday was chest day, then having to miss a Monday might mean not doing chest for several days or a week; with my approach, the training just misses that day and the cycle continues around the sequence, so chest would be on the next PM that is available for training. I make my training strategy available to purchase – including videos, images and descriptions of all 150 exercises included – as the ABC7 System. Why ABC7? Well, the first three workouts are Arms, Back and Chest; and the number 7 comes up a lot – as there are 7 exercises in each workout, for example. More details on my web site.


March 2017

Fitness Find the time How do I find time to be in the gym twice per day? Mornings first. As an early riser, I find it easy to schedule the 40 minutes cardio or abs before work and breakfast – it takes an hour including changing. In the week, my commute also takes an hour to my office – the gym I use in is near the office and at the end of that journey – I’m in the gym by 7AM, leaving it at 8AM giving time for breakfast before being at the office before 9AM. And it saves time not showering or dressing smartly for work at home – both of these take place after the morning gym. At weekends I go to a more local gym near where I live, which opens at 8AM on weekends, which means I’m there at that time and ready to be home to breakfast with my wife by around 9AM.

For the resistance workout, I’ll do this either at lunchtime – especially if it's a work day and I can get that 75 minutes away from the desk that the whole trip takes – or maybe straight after work to miss the bulk of the rush hour. If I’m at home, it may be later in the evening. As the time varies, I can’t call it an ‘afternoon’ or ‘evening’ workout, so I chose the term ‘PM’ workout – whenever it is, I always ensure I have a gap of at least five hours between my AM and PM training. Also, I’m not a big TV watcher, so that gives me a couple more hours in the evening than many, I feel. Of course, none of this would work and help with the ultimate twin goals of fat loss and lean muscle build without the nutrition being designed around it. I have a nutrition strategy that I’ve designed to fit in with my AM/PM training life to support that objective, and which I’ll cover in next month’s article.

Chris Zaremba used his nutrition and training strategies to transform from very overweight to contest-winning condition in five years starting at age 50. See for more.

Chris Zaremba is 59, and has made a massive transformation in his life. He has lost over a third of his body-weight over the past few years, moving from being obese with medical-alert bodystats to becoming a fitness model and winning world championships as fitness model and muscle model for his age group. He has developed his own detailed workout system and package for this – which he follows to this day – and is available for you to purchase. It is called the ABC7 System, as the first three workouts are Arms, Back and Chest and the number 7 comes up frequently in the programme. It’s available from Chris for £49, which includes full documentation, spreadsheets, over 120 videos of different exercises and

more than 250 photos. All suitable for whatever age you are! You may – or may not – want to follow in Chris’s footsteps all the way onto the fitness modelling stage. Either way, following the System should help you up-the-fit and down-the-fat, and achieve a real improvement in all your fitness measurements and activities. And see the difference too! Send an email to if you want to order the ABC7 System.

March 2017



Get HIIT right! Dave Wright explains how technology exposes incompetent HIIT instructors

High intensity interval training (HIIT) continues to be a trend in the fitness industry. It involves short bursts of activity at a high effort level followed by periods of lower intensity rest breaks in between each bout of exercise. This contrasts with a consistent (steady state) effort level as experienced on a long steady jog. However, despite the rise in popularity of this modality of training, many operators and trainers simply get HIIT wrong and that’s where technology will expose their incompetence. To clarify, intensity is the amount of effort being exerted expressed as a percentage of one’s maximum heart rate level which provides an absolute number relevant to the individual. The H in HIIT refers to High intensity or an effort level that is well above 80 per cent. The second (i) interval in HIIT represents the rest and recovery where one’s heart rate drops below 70 per cent of their maximum heart rate and it’s this that is often overlooked and denies customers a means of recovery. Instead, most sessions only deliver High Intensity Training. To understand why this is a concern, first we must remind ourselves about heart rate and the definition of fitness. You

see your fitness is not determined by your maximum heart rate, but instead by your resting heart rate and how quickly you recover after exercise. Secondly, we must realise that the industry is famous for keeping fit people fitter with a `one size fit all’ approach and that’s why one type of exercise that may work for one person most probably would be inapplicable to another. To put this into perspective, if you are conducting a HIIT session and you are allowing two minutes of work, then 30 seconds of recovery, this may be sufficient for a fit person, but provide no rest for someone who is less fit. The less fit person would be forced to work again before they have recovered and that’s when injuries may occur. This is why smart operators use telemetry display technology to display the real-time intensity of their clients to a TV screen or projector so that they can actually see when their customers reach the highs but also monitor the safe recovery intervals as well. Subsequently, feedback communicates that the progress made during a client’s training is congruent with that suggested and this ultimately raises the professionalism of the industry and the motivation to its stakeholders. And we all know that motivation leads to results. Dave Wright is the CEO of CFM (Creative Fitness Marketing), Founder and CEO of MYZONE®, owner of the Feelgood Fitness & Voyage Fitness Club Chains, a former Board Director of UK Active and founder of the IOU. With offices in Chicago (US), Nottingham (UK) and Melbourne (Oz), Dave’s companies have worked directly with over 5,000 health clubs across 30 different countries, encouraging people to be more and stay more physically active. He may be contacted on


March 2017

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWERS TO NATHAN AT GYM OWNER MONTHLY NP@GYMOWNERMONTHLY.CO.UK WITH THE EMAIL SUBJECT “FITCON TICKET GIVEAWAY”. 10 TICKETS AVAILABLE. Closing date for entries is 31 March. Winners will be notified by 7 April and have 72 hours from this date to respond and reclaim their prize. Failing to respond within this time March 2017 63 period will result in forfeiture of the prize.


The power of retargeting Mike Arce, from Loud Rumor, explains how retargeting creates higher levels of familiarity, improves lead flow and boosts closing ratios. Fitness leads aren’t always 100% ready to buy the first time they see your gym’s ad. But most studios and fitness businesses don't realize that. They put all their eggs in one basket, cross their fingers, and hope that people redeem their intro offer right away. It doesn't always work that way. Some people see your offer, get distracted, and leave without ever opting in or purchasing. That’s why it’s so important to stay top of mind with your ideal customers.

The best brands in the world stay in front of their target audience over and over and over again ... even after that person completely knows who they are and what they do. Great examples of this include Nike, Doritos, Apple, etc. And that’s where retargeting comes in. Retargeting on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube allows you to stay in front of people who have already seen your gym’s ad, but didn’t opt in or buy the first time. Retargeting creates higher levels of familiarity, improves your lead flow, and boosts closing ratios.

So let’s get started. I’ll breakdown how retargeting works and what it looks like:

How Retargeting Works When you advertise your gym’s offer - let’s say a free week - on Facebook, you’ll want to take people to a landing page where they can redeem the promotion. On that landing page, place a retargeting pixel that’s provided from Facebook (or another avenue like YouTube). NOTE - A pixel is a piece of code that gets placed on your website or landing page in order to build an audience of people who have already expressed interest in your business. So once someone lands on one of these pages, the cookie-based process starts and that person is pixeled so you can advertise specifically to them. Facebook explains more about how it’s done. So once someone leaves your landing page for a free week 64

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(without opting in!), the retargeting process begins and you show them a new ad for your gym, reminding them to come in. And here’s why retargeting is so great. Think of all those people who have already expressed interest in your gym but didn’t buy right away … You don’t want to lose them. That’s a lot of potential business. So, you show them a retargeting ad that puts the offer they originally clicked on in front of them again. Depending on the retargeting you choose to do, this shows in their Facebook newsfeed, their Instagram, and YouTube.

What retargeting looks like So you have your original ad either on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. for a free week that takes people to an amazing landing page where they can redeem the promotion. But if they decide that now isn’t the right time or they get distracted, and they

Business leave the landing page … what should your new retargeting ad look like? This is what they’ll see when they return to their news feed.

they were initially interested in, but it also makes them feel like if they don’t click the ad and redeem the offer this time around, they’ll miss out.

Here are a couple examples:

The second ad for spin sessions talks directly to our audience by asking, “Do you still want 10 spin classes for only $85?” By adding the word “still,” it makes it very clear that they once clicked on this ad and expressed interest in the promotion - they just didn’t sign up the first time. Again, we also add the sense of urgency by stating, “Your offer is about to expire.” When you also invest in YouTube retargeting, you push out a video promoting your free week (or unlimited month, etc.) to people who’ve already shown interest in your workout. So talk to this audience with familiarity. If you aren’t sure how to get started with retargeting for Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, we can help. But first, let’s dive in even further and check out the powerful numbers that back up the influence of retargeting.

The proof If you still aren’t sure about whether or not retargeting is a worthy marketing investment, check out these numbers. Your retargeting audience is 3X more likely to click on your gym’s ads than people who haven’t interacted with your business at all. That goes to show how impactful building that familiarity is. That’s what happens when you constantly stay in front of your target audience. And when you stay in front of people that frequently - and remain top of mind - it naturally increases your brand. Retargeting can lead to a 1,046% increase in brand search and awareness. This is a ripple effect as people start talking about you, referring you, and gaining you even more exposure.

These are both examples of Facebook retargeting ads that we’ve built for our fitness studios and gyms. As you can tell, the wording is a little different than an original ad would be. In a retargeting ad, you talk to the person in a way that shows that you know they’ve already checked out the offer. So in the first ad for a free week, we wanted to create urgency. We used words like “expire, limited, first come first serve.” Since the only people seeing this studio’s ad are people who have already checked out this business’ free week … this copy not only reminds them about something

Now we talked about a few different offers - a free week, 10 spin classes for $85, or unlimited month for $30. Your gym will have other offers as well. But if you want your target audience to buy something (like unlimited month for $30), 72% of people are likely to abandon their shopping cart without making a purchase the first time they see the ad. Without retargeting, only 8% of those people return to finish their purchase. With retargeting … that 8% turns into 26%. And that’s huge. Retargeting allows you to recapture so many people that would otherwise most likely be lost. Again, not only is this great for lead generation, but it also increases your gym’s revenue, brand, and familiarity.

Mike Arce is the Founder and CEO of Loud Rumor, an online marketing agency that helps fitness studios grow and get more customers. Through their proven program Fit FLAVER, Mike has been able to combine his passion for both the fitness industry and marketing. For more information see March 2017



Liquid refr Every gym provides water for its members, but what type of water fountain do you opt for? We look at the options available from low-cost to high-tech so you can make the right decision Words: Will Shaw, The Water Delivery Company

When training, people are constantly pushing their physical capacities to the limit meaning it is crucial to maintain levels of hydration throughout the duration of their workout. Therefore, it's important your members have constant access to water. Drinking water fountains are the ideal solution to ensure that this is the case but with many different options available on the market, what are the best and most suitable options for your gym? There are key questions to ask when considering a fountain that is convenient and provides everything that your member’s require.

Water Supply It is advised as an industry standard that water fountains are only supplied if a mains water feed is available. This is mainly to ensure the quality of water provided is clean and safe for drinking purposes and guarantees that the water is supplied to the fountain at a sufficient pressure.

gym as you may be better suited to a bottle fed water cooler. These machines are relatively cheap to purchase, starting from around the £120.00 mark (Archway Water Cooler) or can be rented alongside an ongoing water bottle delivery service. Due to a reduced capacity more units would be required compared with fountains.


If your water source is provided by a tank there may be issues. If it’s a sealed tank then the quality of water should be absolutely fine, however if it’s an old fashioned, exposed water tank it is not recommended that this is used for drinking purposes due to the risk of contamination. There may also be an issue around pressure, especially if the tank is located some distance from the fountain.

Obviously different gyms will have varying numbers of members which has an effect on your water fountain requirements. An optional entry level machine would be the Oasis Colorado which produces around 20 litres of chilled water per hour or the Classic Floor Standing Water Fountain offering 26 litres per hour. Either of these units are great machines which are ideal for the small to medium gym.

If you have a water tank it is advisable that you assess these issues before looking into the relevant hydration solution for your

If you are looking for a greater capacity machine a fantastic floor standing option would be the Borg and Overstrom f4. It is


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reshment probably the best deal on the market, offering 40 litres of chilled water per hour and coming in at under ÂŁ500.00. An alternative wall mounted option would be a top of the range Cosmetal River 55UP, as its name would suggest this unit provides 55 litres per hour and is one of the highest spec machines.

Environment Water fountains are required in many different gym environments which can sometimes be problematic. For your general gym floor type environment, the aforementioned units would all be ideal candidates. However, if the unit is to be fitted around a swimming pool, close to showers or near a sauna it's a lot less clear. Due to the fact that water is present and given the environment a standard chilled water fountain is not suitable as they require electricity. This leaves two possible options, provide a nonchilled outdoor water fountain or accompany a non-chilled unit with a separate chilling unit which is situated in a different location such as behind the wall the machine is sitting on. Many gyms also wish to provide a bottle filling solutions. This can be achieved via a unit such as the f4 of the Classic but there are alternative, high-tech options available on the market. The LZS8WSS2K - Filtered EZH2O Bottle Filling Station with Single Cooler is the latest wall mounted fountain from Elkay, market leaders in the water fountain industry. This unit features sanitary no-touch sensor activation with automatic 20-second shut-off timer. As well as estimating the amount of bottles saved from waste it also offers a 3000 gallon capacity WaterSentryÂŽ Plus filtration with visual LED Filter. Space is also at a premium in many gyms which lends the recessed water fountain as a preference for many gym owners. A fantastic offering from Oasis is the PLF8FPMY Fully recessed water fountain. This machine offers over 35 litres of chilled water per hour and is extremely reliable.

For further details see

March 2017



BOOM TIME! We talk to Robert Rowland, co-owner of BOOM Cycle

Tell us a little about BOOM Cycle and where the inspiration behind London’s first ever boutique spinning studio came from? It was a desire to change the way that people viewed fitness classes, we wanted to move away from the traditional 'function’ training methods that place even more pressure on customers to perform a certain way or hit a certain target during the ride. By developing a product that focused on the mind first and foremost, the pressures of having to hit a 'certain threshold' are gone and you can actually relax and enjoy your ride. You can't escape the fact that you will get fitter in a Boom Cycle ride but you'll also leave with a grin on your face and feeling like you can conquer the world.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the past 5 years and how did you overcome it? Wow, there have been so many, we started with very little money with our first site and within a month our investors went out of business so we had less than a little at that point! Being the first boutique spinning studio in London was 68

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a challenge as you're having to educate the market which is a really tough thing to do. As I always say you don't have to be first, you just have to be better. We were first but also that worked for us as it's much harder to enter now.

Not just partners in business but also in life too, how do Hilary and yourself make this work and find a life/work balance? I'm not sure we do as I'm writing this off the back of 100 hour weeks, but as an entrepreneur you just always want to achieve more and push more. Before it used to be just Hilary and I doing everything just to keep the business afloat and now we have 42 employees, but we're expanding and trying to progress in every area so we are still working just as hard. Personally we just have so much fun together and we both share the same goals in life, which is key!

We heard that you’ve recently refurbished your Holborn studio, what can customers expect from the studio now? We've moved to a more traditional male/female changing rooms/shower areas. We did have unisex shower pods which

Spotlight were great, but we became so busy we just couldn't get the turnover through the showers in the mornings so it had to be done. We'd love more space in our Holborn site of course but we're getting every square foot we can! We have also built a second studio as some of our peak times run at 100% capacity so we'll be able to run more rides at times that suit people.

We've got a couple more to open here but will start to look outside soon.

You’ve collaborated with Dyson to stock the latest in technology, what items can we expect to see?

We are, very soon. We have two more opening in Q2 this year but can't say where just yet!

We've gone all in so Dyson taps with integrated dryers, Dyson air blades and of course the new hairdryers which have had a great response.

The fitness industry is a very competitive market, if you could offer any advice to anyone wishing to open a fitness concept/boutique studio what would it be?

Where do you see the future of fitness in London and beyond? Honestly I think it's got so far to go, people have embraced 'wellness' like nothing I have ever seen before and I'm a born and bred Londoner. I think we'll start to see a bit of a self-normalisation against unsustainable eating fads. Hopefully everyone will realise that just doing everything in moderation is fine. Cook fresh food & exercise regularly and occasionally stuff a heavily processed chocolate cake in your face. It's really not hard and should not be over complicated.

Would you consider expanding BOOM Cycle outside of London? Absolutely! We'd love to take it to some other cities and get requests all the time.

Are you planning on launching any further studios anytime soon? If so, could you tell us when and where?

Be very clear about what you are trying to achieve and how you achieve. Ask yourself "what is the point in this business existing". That's the starting point that will make the journey much easier and will answer many questions about how you'll design your processes. For example BOOM Cycle lives by the motto "make fitness fun" so it's then much easier to design training programmes for our front of house as we know what the ultimate objective. And raise more money than you think you need you'll always need it!

March 2017



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

Make a difference Q. How can medics support gym owners? Johnny Everett, Preston

Dr Dane Vishnubala (MBBS PGCME MRCGP FHEA), Chief Medical Adviser at Active IQ, answers

Gym owners are in a great position to help people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes, provided their PTs are appropriately trained. I’m working with Active IQ to ensure its qualifications and training centres work with the latest research and evidence. Equipping a fitness professional with the knowledge and skills to change behaviour and consult effectively has the potential to really make a difference. We’re not looking to create healthcare professionals in gyms. We’re looking to harness the unique relationship fitness professionals have with their clients to bring about lasting beneficial changes. By arming fitness professionals with a better understanding of disease, the latest evidence and advanced consultation skills, healthcare professionals can refer patients to a gym with confidence. As part of Active IQ’s push to drive this understanding, my first webinar last month* helped to support training providers in delivering consultation and behaviour change skills. 70

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In addition to GP referral clients, gym owners will have people come through their doors of their own volition. This is a great opportunity provided our fitness professionals have the skills to recognise the support these members need to ensure progress and retention. Gym owners need to look beyond simply bringing people with chronic disease into the gym or studio as many will find this too much too soon. They are more likely to engage with options such as walking or other community physical activity groups or bespoke studio sessions combined with a supportive social frame. Not only will this cater for chronic disease clients but also attract others starting out on their physical activity journey. Medics supporting gym owners will enable fitness professionals to attract and retain members with health concerns and thus play a key role improving the health of their local community. *to hear the webinar, visit


Appointments A round-up of industry movers and shakers RDHS strengthens expert team RDHS Ltd, an award-winning safety management consultancy providing safety, quality assurance and event management to the sport, leisure and events sectors in the UK and overseas, has strengthened its expert team following two new senior appointments. Matthew Wells joins the Somerset-based company as Lead Consultant of Health and Event Safety along with Craig Combe, who has been appointed as Health and Safety Consultant. As lead consultant Matthew, who was previously Health and Safety Manager at Active Luton, works exclusively with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and Vibrant Partnerships. In his new role, Matt is responsible for overseeing Health and Safety for both organisations while providing site specific support at events including the Hockey Champions Trophy, Six Day London and the World Track Cycling Championships. Craig Combe joins RDHS from Fusion Lifestyle, where he held the role of General Manager. Craig brings with him over 10 years’ experience in the leisure industry, having worked extensively with local authorities, operators and leisure trusts. Craig has also held operational roles at Center Parcs, Epsom Downs Racecourse and was a Venue Operations

Manager at the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, overseeing the Velodrome, BMX Track and Basketball Arena. As Health & Safety Consultant at RDHS, Craig is responsible for client auditing and compliance along with event safety management and product development. Joe Ryan, founder and Managing Director of RDHS, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome two highly skilled individuals who bring a wealth of experience to the RDHS team. Our award-winning consultancy prides itself on building successful partnerships and relationships with clients and having Matt and Craig on board means we can further develop new business opportunities and deliver more exciting projects in both the UK and on the international stage.”

Promote PR bolsters senior team with new Account Director Louise Everett has been appointed Account Director at Promote PR as the agency builds its team following a host of new business wins. Joining the agency from food and wellbeing PR agency, Ceres PR, Louise brings a broad range of consumer PR experience to the agency having worked with brands including Bella Italia, Café Rouge, La Tasca, Skiplex, Mornflake and LoSalt. Louise will provide support to Promote’s existing clients in sport and fitness and assist the multi-award winning agency’s drive to expand its wellbeing portfolio. Promote PR’s successful last six months has seen it win several competitive pitches including Meridian Foods, England Athletics, British Rowing and Playwaze. Commenting on her new role, Louise says “With a background in nutrition and wellbeing, I have

watched and admired Promote PR’s approach for some time. I’m really looking forward to helping the team and clients achieve their ambitions and ultimately improve the health of the population.” Commenting on Louise’s appointment, Sue Anstiss, MD and Founder of Promote, said: “It’s been a great to start to the year for us with new clients, some hugely successful campaigns and now a new member of our team. “Louise brings a wealth of consumer and wellbeing PR experience that will be invaluable to our existing and future clients. We’re looking forward to working with her and to writing the next chapters of the Promote story.”

March 2017



FIBO 201 Exhibitor news ahead of this year’s FIBO, Europe’s leading international trade show for fitness, wellness and health.

Clubbercise® set to light up FIBO 2017

glow sticks and join in. The Clubbercise® HQ team will also be available at their stand, Hall 4 stand C58, to give more information on training as well as rolling out Clubbercise® on gym timetables.

Speedflex gears up for European launch of MyIntensity training™ at FIBO

UK born dance fitness phenomenon Clubbercise® will be literally shining a light on Europe’s biggest event for fitness professionals, with its highly anticipated debut at FIBO 2017 this April. The fun and effective concept which combines the best elements of fitness and clubbing has already taken the UK and Asia by storm and is ready to get the rest of Europe glowing with its energising workout. With over 2,000 instructors Clubbercise® has surged in popularity in the UK fitness market over the past three years thanks to its easy-to-follow moves, uplifting nightclub soundtracks and signature flashing LED glow sticks. The classes are taught in darkened studios to recreate a nightclub atmosphere. Class attendees, or “clubbers” as they are nicknamed, get to burn calories (roughly 600 per hour long session) and release stress with a whole body workout that feels more like a night out. It’s a fun yet intense workout with an average calorie burn of around 600 for an hour long session. The brand will be debuting on the trade days at FIBO, Cologne, so that Germany and the rest of Europe can literally “join the club”. Lead Master Trainer Sonique Smith along with a team of top Clubbercise® presenters will demonstrate Clubbercise routines at stage C55 on the Thursday and the Friday and FIBO visitors will have the chance to grab a set of 72

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Speedflex will be attending FIBO in Cologne this year, showcasing its popular high intensity interval training sessions. Having launched its brand new individual POD to the UK market at LIW in 2016, this will also mark the official launch of the POD to an international audience. Proving very popular in the UK, Speedflex sessions are performed in a group with up to 16 participants in a studio environment, offering high intensity interval training with a twist thanks to unique hydraulic machine based technology. The machines allow participants to perform more traditional exercises such as Power Clean and Press, Squats, Shoulder Press etc generating personalised resistance levels, so every individual can train at their optimum level. It doesn’t matter if a professional athlete is on the machine or your 90-yearold grandmother – the harder a participant pushes the machine, the more resistance they face.


17 NEWS A typical Speedflex session includes a combination of eight Speedflex machines and eight auxiliary stations. This combination provides an ever changing dynamic exercise experience and delivers all the benefits of HIIT, but does so without the risk of injury and reduced post exercise pain something usually associated with this type of training, as the machines respond to the user’s force, as opposed to the addition of weights. During the session participants also receive live feedback through state-of-the-art heart rate monitoring.

be joined on the stand, Hall 7 stand D26, by brand ambassador Dame Kelly Holmes.

On the stand, located in Hall 9 stand A21, Speedflex will provide demonstration sessions in the familiar circuit style to showcase the equipment, including the new ‘POD’. Speedflex is also actively looking for international distributors to help support wider growth plans. Offering a smaller footprint of just 3090mm x 1840mm, the new POD allows operators to bring the unique Speedflex technology to the gym floor. Utilising the same signature Speedflex hydraulic based technology system, the POD will allow users to perform over 100 different functional training exercises all on the gym floor - rather than in a traditional Speedflex circuit style studio. The POD comes complete with a wraparound racking system, meaning that users won’t need to travel across the gym floor to grab medicine balls or kettlebells. Bringing high intensity interval training to the gym floor, the POD will enable operators to enhance their offering to existing members and to reach out and attract clients who ordinarily wouldn’t exercise in a gym. “We are excited to be launching the POD to the European market. Having been well received by the UK market at LIW last year, we feel that FIBO is exactly the right place and time for our European launch,” says Paul Ferris, Managing Director of Speedflex. “This will be a real game changer in the functional fitness market and we look forward to showing the international community that functional training can be accessible to anyone, no matter what your or ability is.”

Experience virtual reality workouts and more at FIBO with Pulse At FIBO 2017 Pulse will unveil their hotly anticipated, brand new virtual reality fitness experience to the European market (see p.10). Pulse Fitness will

At the show Pulse will also be launching three brand new ‘independent arm machines’ which form part of the Strength Line, bringing the range to a total of 29 stations. The Strength Line has been designed to combine the best in high performance, comfort and durability with a beautiful aesthetic look. The range comes complete with premium double stitched upholstery options and is available in either crystal white gloss or dark silver. Pulse will be showcasing equipment from their technologically advanced Series 3 cardiovascular lines. The series 3 range comes complete with IBTV which allows members to watch TV, surf the internet and stay connected on social media all whilst working out. Pulse Fitness will also be showcasing their innovative inhouse gym member management software PulseMove. This intuitive technology is the only software on the market to provide complete tracking for both members and operators. It comprises an in-gym kiosk, website and mobile app allowing data to be collected both in and outside the gym, and helps operators build meaningful relationships with members. PulseMove simplifies this highly complex technology for both the operator and the member by seamlessly connecting and syncing data from wherever and March 2017


Trends whenever it is logged by the member. Which in turn gives the operator a holistic view of the member, allowing greater insight which helps to build relationships, offer support and cross-sell additional products and services.

Precor reveals what’s next in fitness and demonstrates its versatile fitness offering

This has resulted in far greater spend on fitness and wellness, increasingly from a greater number of facilities and service providers. So while low-cost clubs have drawn in new participants from outside the industry, they have also enabled mid-market members to trade down to a low-cost club, while also shifting spend to specialty fitness boutiques which attract millennials who have the mindset and willingness to pay for a personalised unique experience. This trend is similar to many other consumer verticals, where being “caught in the middle” requires either incredible execution or a shift in business model. “Precor is committed to helping operators of all health club business models. With an expanded Experience Series™ Cardio product line up including the new 700 Line and the choice of size of a networked console such as the P62, we can support a greater range of usage and personalisation requirements. Additionally, with the continued growth of Queenax™ functional fitness and Spinning® indoor cycling as well as partnerships with Assault Air Bikes, we are committed to helping operators bring boutique experiences to their clubs. Consumers want both self-service experiences and high-touch personalised fitness. We are dedicated to helping them achieve both.”

eGym presents live demo of connected training zone Precor will be showcasing new lines and highlighting the versatility of its product range at FIBO 2017. The line-up features the new Experience Series™ 700 Line, P62 touch screen console, Experience Series™ EFX® with Converging CrossRamp®, Spinner® Chrono™, Preva MyUI™ and Discovery Series™ Benches and Racks. “Versatility provides operators with the ability to build a fitness business that meets exercisers’ unique needs,” said Adam Hubbard, Director of Product Management at Precor. “The new and extended lines from Precor continue to provide high quality, reliable equipment that gives operators, both large and small, a broad choice to grow their business and keep members engaged.” Master Coaches will be on hand at the Precor stand (Hall 6, Stand E40) at FIBO to advise and demonstrate the Precor product portfolio. Showcasing a collection of cardio, networked fitness, strength and functional training products that help operators and exercisers discover the flexibility of the brand, the lineup features new products, as well as industry favorites. Being aware of emerging trends and with a reputation for leading the way in innovation, Brian Kane, Strategist and Corporate Development Manager, for Precor comments on what the future holds: “The emergence of the active wellness consumer is the main driver of change in the fitness industry. Unlike the legacy consumer, fitness and wellness is a core part of their lifestyle. 74

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The Munich-based high-tech-company eGym presents the first multi-provider connected training zone at its show stand (Hall 7 stand B15 & Hall 7 stand C30) at FIBO 2017. The company further expands its connected partners to the products of numerous leading equipment and software manufacturers. Members can log in to all the connected equipment beyond the eGym machines via an RFID Chip, whether it is for strength machines, cardio machines or a body analyser. Additionally, training is recorded even if the member is out of a gym, via connected Wearables and Apps. Making all training data accessible for trainers and members using the

Trends eGym Trainer App or the eGym Fitness App. With that, eGym presents how a modern gym works. This benefits in two ways; the trainer can improve individual care as they can manage the complete training plan of the customer to include partner devices. Plus, the member obtains additional valuable points for activities from partner devices – supporting an increase in motivation and a decrease in churn rate. eGym CEO, Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer, says: “With our connected training zone at FIBO we can demonstrate our vision of a modern fitness studio, which is working for everyone, is now a reality. We would like eGym to become THE “operating system” for all gyms. Our open-platform approach with intelligent eGym software helps to connect more and more fitness equipment providers with each other. So, members can concentrate solely on completing their training plans as set by the trainer, enabling them to reach their training goals much more successfully. It is fun, motivating and keeps people with their gym for the longterm.” eGym additionally presents numerous new innovations of its all-electronic eGym strength-machines, and its fle-xx machines which aim to lengthen the muscles of the back and the joints.

MYZONE® reaches major milestone with 4,000 licences

was our most successful month in our six year history; then January 2017 proved even better.” Developed by fitness industry experts to help operators keep members for longer, MYZONE® uses live in-club heart rate tracking, Smartphone-based gamification and social media mechanisms to track, incentivise and keep users accountable for the effort they put into their workouts. As an example of the gamification that MYZONE® employs to influence exercise behaviour, MYZONE® is running a global Heart Health challenge this month. Users earning MYZONE® effort points during their workouts will receive tickets for a prize draw to win £4,000. “The digital aspect of MYZONE® enhances each member’s experience and operators benefit as a result. Our quantitative studies show that operators experience 21 per cent greater retention among members who use MYZONE® compared to those who don’t,” says MYZONE® president Emmett Williams. Fitness World plans to incorporate MYZONE® technology in a small group personal training programme called AMP (Athletic Movement and Performance). The programme utilises HIIT training in which heart rate monitoring is key. “Our staff and participants love the real-time feedback they get when they are working out, and with MYZONE®, they are encouraged to not only work harder at times, but also work smarter. Whether you're the fittest person in the room, or someone new to exercise, the MYZONE® effort point system encourages everyone in the room,” says Ben Kirchner, manager of Fitness World. MYZONE® is currently represented in 4,000 facilities in 35 countries and was recognized as the Best Overall Wearable at the 2016 Wearable Technology Show. Visit MYZONE® at FIBO, Hall 7 stand B51.

The global wearable technology company MYZONE® has secured its 4,000 licence just six years after its launch. Fitness World in Durham, North Carolina in the US is the latest fitness facility to install the technology, which is now in more than 30 countries. “The American College of Sports Medicine has cited wearables as the number one trend in fitness for two years running,” says MYZONE® founder and CEO Dave Wright. “Our accelerating growth rate supports that. December 2016 March 2017




bringing gyms into a successful digital future Find out how call +44(0)207 701 4267, email or visit

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March 2017



7 & 8 JUNE 2017 | ExCeL, LONDON















March 2017 for sponsorship & exhibiting enquiries contact the team at 01872 218007



HH Retail Finance provides financial solutions for hundreds of gym and leisure businesses across the UK, and more than 20,000 different UK SME’s. We can fund everything your business needs; from gym equipment, wet rooms, changing facilities, flooring, points of sale, lighting and vending machines. Whether you are an established fitness chain, or a new start entrepreneur, we can match you to the right lender and product. Contact us to find out more: Tel: 01633 439 589 Email: APPROVED FINANCE PARTNER OF:


March 2017

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