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ISSUE 50 // MAY 2020












PAGES 32-66



JACK SMITH page 11

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Welcome... to the May issue of Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. Not only are we celebrating the milestone of this being our 50th issue, we are also celebrating our recent appearance on BBC1 show Have I Got News For You! With COVID -19 still very much dominating the industry, we’ve got you covered with advice from a melee of industry experts in our ‘COVID 19 Special’. We check in with Gym Owner of the Month Jack Smith on page 11 to find out how the current COVID 19 pandemic has effected business. 50 certainly looks good on us with FUNXTION’s very own CEO Ernst De Neef on the cover, and bringing us The Big Interview on page 14. Matthew Broad is our PT of the Month on page 17 and if lockdown life has given you spare funds check out this month’s Fit Kit on page 29. We find out how our gym owners are adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 on page 39, Kerstin Obenauer of Egym on how gyms will survive on page 46. We are delighted to have disability coach James Sutliff on living in lockdown on page 50. If lockdown is beginning to feel like you’re doing ‘a stretch’ check out our prison style workout on page 70. In fact there’s so much in this issue I think you should check it out for yourself and don’t forget you can still subscribe for free at www.gymownermonthly.co.uk Stay safe and stay indoors!

The GOMM Team




Jane Grandena

Janine Edwards

Paul Wood



pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk Tel: +44 7858487357 +34 642572963

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

 @GymOwnerMonthly  gym-owner-monthly-magazine

Keep up to date

COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Ernst de Neef © Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2020 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.

MAY 2020


Contents 11






32 11 14






17 21 26 29 32

Gym Owner of the Month with Jack Smith

The Big Interview Ernst De Neef, CEO of FunXtion discusses how FUNXTION started and why the industry needs to embrace, not fear, the change that technology is bringing

PT of the month Featuring Matthew Broad

boutique gym of the month

This month’s boutique gym of the month is Njinga Cycling

Functional Training A Misunderstood Term in the Fitness Industry explained by Greg Perlaki

Fitkit The latest kits, products and outdoor equipment

32-66 Covid-19 special Why businesses in the fitness industry must adjust during the COVID-19 crisis By Ben Walker Owner of London Fitness


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35 37 39 44 46 50 52


Now is your time. Blaze a trail in the new era of fitness by Taz Dunstan

GYM OWNERS DISCUSS ADAPTING TO THE CHALLENGES OF COVID-19 Karen Euser at FunXtion asks the question “WHAT DIGITAL FITNESS CONTENT DO CONSUMERS WANT?” Kerstin Obenauer, UK Country Director at EGYM looks at how gyms will survive COVID-19 Living In Lockdown by James Sutliff

Rob Lander, CEO and Founder at Fisikal shares his thoughts about how COVID-19 WILL HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT ON HOW PEOPLE TRAIN


54 59 50 66


68 54 59 61 64 66



A suppliers perspective, Has Covid-19 changed the sector forever? Are you learning while not earning? How to learn so you can earn again by Matt Gleed

Here's what happens, postpandemic... by Ben Hackney-Williams



Here are the top five star gyms in the world Don't Think Out The Box!!!!!!! Think In A Box: A Prison Workout!

How to Start a YouTube Channel as a Gym Owner? Explained by Daniel Nyiri

Social Media: The Biggest Mistake You’ve Already Made

Digital or Die by Guy Griffiths

by Dan Tell from GymBuddy

How To Help Your PTs Throughout Covid-19 & Beyond? By Liam Holder

74 68 70 74 77 78



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

pw@gymownermonthly.co.uk MAY 2020




What’s hot in the fitness industry

When will gyms reopen in the UK, and when will it be safe to visit them? We answer the most common questions about when gyms will reopen, and find out how the fitness industry is responding to lockdown measures.

• All gyms in the UK and numerous other countries including Germany, France, Denmark and the UAE are currently closed in order to prevent the spreading of coronavirus • Beijing has shut down gyms again after reopening them over fears of a second coronavirus wave

fitness studios offer community, motivation and the facilities for both keeping fit and socialising.

coronavirus on gyms and what you can do to work out at home in the meantime.

Before Covid-19 struck, the industry was thriving: last year, total UK gym membership broke the 10 million mark. According to the UK Fitness Industry Report 2019, 1 in every 7 people in the UK was a member of a gym before the outbreak. According to trade body ukactive, the physical activity sector contributes £7.7bn to the economy annually. ​

Gym closure timeline: when did gyms close? All gyms in Britain have been closed since Saturday March 21 in order to prevent the spreading of coronavirus.

Though gyms are adapting to offer virtual fitness, calls are growing for the Government to reveal how it plans to release Britain from lockdown and people want to know when they can go back to their gyms. Below, we speak to fitness industry insiders and answer the most frequently asked questions about when gyms will reopen, how time away from the gym will affect your fitness regime, the impact of

The closures followed a Downing Street announcement on Friday March 20 in which Boris Johnson announced the closure of all public places deemed non-essential, including leisure centres, fitness and yoga studios, as well as swimming pools. The PM’s instructions are currently that we must only exercise alone, or with members of the same household. Outdoor gyms, skate parks, golf courses and most public tennis courts are also closed (in any which are open, we should only play against members of our own household).

• Trade association ukactive has announced their strategy for the safe reopening of gyms in the UK when lockdown is lifted

Some UK gyms had already chosen to close their doors beforehand. “We closed on 17 March 2020, following the Prime Minister’s announcement urging people to stop all non-essential contact,” says Chatty Dobson, owner of boutique gym Flex Chelsea. “We rapidly had to adapt: first we took our classes into the parks, and shortly after launched online.”

For many people, the gym is the communal space they miss most since the closure of all public spaces deemed non-essential: after all, gyms and

Elsewhere, attendance had already dwindled. “We had already started to notice an impact on our business as customers began self-isolating,

• Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, warns that social distancing due to coronavirus will " last for a year" to prevent second wave


MAY 2020


working from home, or simply cutting back on non-essential travel to do their bit to prevent the spread,” says Hollie Grant, founder of the Pilates PT Method, which has an online programme too. When will gyms in Britain open again? It is not currently clear when gyms and other public spaces will be reopened, but the government stated when gym closures were announced that measures would be assessed every month from then on. “It’s a million dollar question – fingers crossed we get an update at the beginning of May from the government,” says Lee Mullins, founder of Workshop Gymnasium gyms. Different reports have suggested that closures are expected to last weeks, months, or longer. “I don’t see membership gyms opening again for some months to come, given the current strategy of social distancing. That appears to be the direction,” says fitness expert Matt Roberts, the founder of Evolution gym in Grosvenor Square  and former trainer to David Cameron. “It’s hard to see how spin and circuit training studios and the like can open and operate in the same way for a while. However, I imagine that one-on-one personal training, physiotherapy, Pilates and the like could be available sooner as there is direct control over movement and contact from person to person. I’d hope for around June for those.”  Lee Mullins agrees: “I expect smaller private training facilities to have an advantage over bigger commercial

gyms as they can control hygiene levels and numbers,” he says. Data tracking could be one way to minimise risk of infection in such instances. “We’re all in the dark with regards to when we will be able to open, and what ‘open’ will look like whenever that is,” says FLEX Chelsea’s Chatty Dobson. “Although we know a lot of members are dying to get back to the class environment, we’re anticipating a little uncertainty around group classes for a while after we reopen; it’ll take a while to get back to pre-lockdown levels.” What are other countries doing about re-opening gyms? Scientists say that Britain has now Passed the initial coronavirus peak. The daily mortality rate in England and Wales hit its highest level on April 8, following a similar trajectory to other countries – which are now braced to begin reopening schools, shops and businesses. Spain, France and Greece plan to ease the unprecedented measures to combat the pandemic within the next three weeks, while Germany allowed some smaller shops to reopen on Monday - although gyms, restaurants, bars and larger stores remain closed. Denmark, one of the first European countries to shut down, will reopen day care centres and schools on April 15. All other curbs including a ban on gathering of more than 10 people and closure of cafes, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers will continue to apply until at least May 10. Though there have been some

reopenings across the globe, many gyms remain closed for the foreseeable future. Workshop Gymnasium has gyms in international cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Bali, Dubai and Milan, all of which remain closed. “At the moment all of our gyms are still closed and sadly I have not heard from any of our teams in each city as to when they will reopen,” says Lee Mullins. Gyms in Dubai and the UAE have been closed since 15 March. President Donald Trump unveiled a proposal this week to reopen America’s gyms. In a memo titled “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” the White House included gyms among the businesses that would reopen to the general public during “phase one” of its plan to jump-start the American economy. Gyms and sports facilities in China have started to slowly reopen in low-risk areas: by March 12, nearly 590 gyms and stadiums had reopened in Shanghai. Lockdown was lifted in Wuhan on April 6. But this week, Beijing shut down gyms again, as fears rose over a second wave of coronavirus. Beijing gyms had been shut down since late January, but some had begun to re-open over the last few weeks.  Could gyms be asked to close again if there is a second peak? Conceivably, a second peak or wave could see gyms re-open in the UK only to be forced to close again. A major French study has  warned of such a risk: with only 6 per cent of the population immune, France starts lifting lockdown on May 11. You can find everything you need to know about the possibility of a second coronavirus wave and what does that mean for the UK's lockdown exit

MAY 2020



strategy here? “If there is another spike in cases we may see gyms open and then close again, but hopefully there are other ways of helping to manage the virus, such as masks, improved hygiene, and limits on the numbers of trainers and customers in a facility,” suggests Lee Mullins, founder of Workshop Gymnasium gyms. “We may be able to test client body temperature prior to entering the facility to see if they potentially have the virus. I think we will see a number of new protocols that will be implemented to help manage the safety of everyone attending gyms.” Some gyms may be reluctant to open too soon, due to the costs associated with retaining staff, introducing new measures and health and safety inspections in uncertain times. Can gym memberships be frozen indefinitely? Direct debits for gym memberships have generally been frozen or cancelled. Gyms and yoga studios are turning to online classes in a bid to help people stay fit and maintain a revenue stream. Gym credits can also be saved for when gyms do re-open. “We don’t have a membership structure, we have a credit system - so credits will be there waiting for clients when this is all over,” explains Pilates PT Method founder Hollie Grant.  When will it be safe to go to the gym? Gym operators are worried that nervous gym goers may not return as soon as lockdown is lifted and that they may struggle to attract new members who are anxious about the potential spread of the virus. Many clients may be reluctant to work out in close proximity in groups and to share equipment in the near future. Gyms are likely to increase hygiene measures when they do reopen. Before lockdown, PureGym, which has 230 UK outposts, increased the frequency of cleaning, especially “for high use areas such as pin pads, door handles, lockers and equipment". Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive of PureGym, has said the chain will space out treadmills and limit the number of members on site at one time post-lockdown. This week, ukactive – the trade body for gyms, leisure centres and other 8

MAY 2020

physical activity providers in the UK (ranging from PureGym, The Gym, and Everyone Active to smaller boutiques gyms) announced a four stage strategy to support the safe eventual reopening of gyms throughout the UK. It includes research on business modelling, a framework for operators, a public information campaign and policy support. Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The physical activity sector stands together in its support for our nation’s health and wellbeing at this challenging time. “Our priority remains securing the financial support and guarantees urgently required for the sector, however, we have also been planning for the future milestones in the management of the Covid-19 crisis. “We have set out a four-stage strategy that will ensure a coordinated and consistent approach to the reopening of gyms, leisure centres, outdoor fitness and other facilities, based on putting the safety of customers and staff first. Our operators must meet future public health recommendations in relation to combatting Covid-19. “We must act now to ensure that the organisations and workforce behind our nation’s activity levels are fully prepared to reopen in a safe and swift manner to ensure they can continue to serve our communities in future. Our message to the Government is that our sector will show it is ready to reopen when called upon.” How do gym closures and lockdown measures affect your ability to exercise? Many Brits have embraced keeping fit at a safe distance during lockdown by leaving the house and going for a run a walk or a cycle each day. On April 16, new guidance was issued stating that exercising more than once per day is “reasonable”, but police officers have been advised to consider whether or not “repeated exercise” on the same day is a “reasonable excuse” for leaving home.  How has coronavirus changed the way the fitness industry operates? Individual, freelance personal trainers, gyms and studios are streaming live workouts via Instagram and Zoom.

These can be paid for individually or via a membership. The prices tend to be much reduced from the normal rate, but go some way to support selfemployed trainers. The new trend for virtual, remote personal training and online group workouts could impact how we consume fitness in the long-term, with digital streaming platforms like Fiit – which offers studio fitness at home – seeing a spike in subscriptions. You can read our review on the best home fitness apps. At-home interactive spin sessions provided by the likes of the Peloton home exercise bike have also seen a rise in popularity, with shares almost doubling over the past month. Spin studios such as Psycle have launched live home workouts: theirs are in partnership with Stages which are selling the SC2 Indoor Cycle used in Psycle studios for home delivery. What is the government doing to help the fitness industry? Gyms still have overheads, rents and costs to cover, but measures brought in by Chancellor Rishi Sunak will go some way to help businesses and freelance fitness professionals to stay afloat until gyms can re-open again.  The Government's Coronavirus Job Retention scheme has lessened the financial burden on gyms of keeping staff on contracts on the payroll, and is designed to encourage them to retain staff at little or no cost. The scheme enables businesses to register employees who can no longer work as 'furloughed' through HMRC's online portal, which then requires HMRC to reimburse up to 80% of these wages (capped at £2,500 per month). There is also business rates relief for gyms.  Could some gyms close permanently? The industry is struggling, and some gyms are in danger of folding. Citigroup analysts say the Gym Group, which has 179 sites across the country, have enough cash to survive for nearly five months before needing additional financial assistance. Many personal trainers are selfemployed or freelance and can be reimbursed up to 80% of their earnings, but only if they have three years of income records. 


“The industry is in dire straits,” says FLEX Chelsea’s Chatty Dobson. “With memberships on hold and rents on these large sites remaining at 100pc,

there isn’t much that online classes can do to contribute financially. It’s seriously tough. We’re all rolling with the ‘how long is a piece of string’

method regarding when we can reopen.”

INTERNATIONAL NEWS FunXtion and GoodLife Fitness collaborate to help Canadians stay fit at home New app and digital offerings will help Members during COVID-19 and enhance their experience when Clubs reopen

to provide Members and everyone in Canada access to a one-stop resource for physical and mental health, which included a number of digital workouts and training plans from FunXtion.

GoodLife Fitness, Canada’s largest fitness company which has over 235 Clubs, has formed a strategic partnership with FunXtion, experts in interactive digital fitness, to introduce innovative white-labelled solutions including a customer branded app (iOS, Android) with branded virtual classes and training programs. GoodLife and FunXtion had been working together for a number of months to launch the new app but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the teams quickly pivoted their efforts to ensure Members could have access to a robust selection of at-home content to keep healthy physically and mentally during these challenging times. GoodLife also created GoodLifeAtHome,

“The situation with COVID-19 is very serious and changing rapidly. When we decided to close our Clubs for the safety of the community we knew we needed to refocus our efforts with the FunXtion team to ensure our new app launched with a robust library of workout content that Members could do in the comfort of their own homes,” explains Sander van den Born, Goodlife’s chief marketing and technology officer. When GoodLife Clubs reopen, the custom branded app, which launched on March 30, will also enable seamless on-boarding of new members, class booking, workout and training plans, in-app payments and day pass purchase, QR code login. In addition, members will be able to track performance and activity progress, connect with their Personal Trainer or the Club at any time and engage on the Club’s activity social wall. The branded in-club enhancements will also provide a workout creator and

content, business analytics and a class scheduler. Sander van den Born continues: “The rollout of our digital platform will come in stages, and the launch of our redesigned mobile app is the exciting first step. We appreciate how quickly the FunXtion team helped us support our members, in a time when they need it most.” GoodLife and FunXtion are also working on a new digital platform that, when fully launched, will provide members with additional health and wellness tools to enhance their experience and help them achieve their fitness goals. “When it’s safe and appropriate to reopen our Clubs, we want to have a flexible solution, embedding digital channels in everything we do in order to communicate a clear and consistent message, improve business efficiency and ultimately improve member experience,” continued van den Born To create a premium solution, FunXtion integrated with Exerp, the existing club management system, to deliver a truly streamlined and scalable option which includes a custom branded app MAY 2020



and branded in-club digital innovations including virtual classes. “Clubs struggle to develop own-brand digital solutions.” Ernst De Neef, CEO FunXtion adds. “Our flexible, white labelled packages allow clubs to tailor the content that suits them. Our branded virtual classes give clubs the option to choose from an ever-growing library of classes and the branded app and white-label solutions provide a way to boost brand loyalty.” GoodLife was aware of the complexities involved with club management systems, so the team felt it was vital to seek out a strategic partnership, ultimately choosing Exerp and FunXtion due to their strong reputation for being able to deliver solutions that a large club operator. “I am proud that with the help of FunXtion we can support GoodLife Members at home and, when the time comes to reopen, I am excited for the value and experience we are going to be able to offer our Members,”

concluded van de Born. “This new partnership unlocks and enriches GoodLife’s digital potential and helps us to unlock a boutique-style experience that is so in demand.”

and virtual classes.

FunXtion offers white label solutions including branded freemium or premium apps, branded Box Connect

www.funxtion.com or to learn

We find out more about how FunXtion can meet the digital needs of your members, visit about GoodLife Fitness visit www. goodlifefitness.com

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Level 4 Certificate in Postural Assessment and Corrective Exercise To find out more, visit our website www.activeiq.co.uk or email approvalsteam@activeiq.co.uk 10

MAY 2020

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Your name(s): Jack Smith

Gym name:

The Hub Private Personal Training Studio


Unit 2, Dean Street, Langley Mill, NG16 4EG







# of members: 30-40

How did you become a gym owner? After multiple years in the industry as a personal trainer I decided I wanted to branch out on my own by setting up a private facility for people who wouldn’t necessarily attend a larger commercial gym or for people who struggle with their self confidence among other issues. I wanted to offer a private space where people can feel welcome while building their self confidence at the same time. I am a big believer in helping everyone I can and the studio focuses on small group sessions / semi private personal training that is acceptable for all fitness levels and abilities. The studio is a fully private, members only facility and our small results based workouts are for

between 1-8 individuals which allows us to make the sessions more personalised while getting the desired results.

How many gyms do you own/operate? I only have this one facility at the moment with plans to expand in the future to a slightly larger place but keeping the private aspect.

How long has your gym(s) been operating for? My studio will have been open 9 months in May and the time has flown by.

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How easy have you found it to adapt your business model during the current Covid-19 pandemic to suit both your clients needs and your staff? I have found it pretty easy to adapt due to only having myself and another self employed PT at the studio so we are both doing online content to keep on top of things and it was something we already offered before the pandemic so it has flowed well if I am honest.

How many staff do you employ? I run the studio on my own but we do have external personal trainers that use the facility on a rental basis so they can deliver personal training sessions in house.

From a business perspective what are your main concerns during the current Covid-19 pandemic, both long term and short term? My main concern was keeping the members and personal training clients active in the long run and of course trying to keep them as motivated as possible depending on how long the pandemic lasts for. The members are what makes the studio tick and they are all one fitness family so they are the main focus, if they lose interest or feel like I have given up then they shall do so as well. The whole reason they attend the studio is because motivation and guidance is something they struggle with. Of course financially it plays on your mind


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but both members and clients have been amazing and loyal to the studio which means that we are in this together and we support each other. Since the official lockdown the support has been amazing from all members and clients and the motivation has been very high.

How have you had to adapt during lockdown? It was a strange thing having to change my daily routines which were pretty hectic to literally having not much to do on a daily basis during this lockdown. I have had to adapt personally and keep busy while trying to keep self motivation as high as possible. I managed to bring some of the kit home from the studio in order to keep on top of my fitness levels and that has helped with some of the videos and workouts I have been putting out online as it adds variations to them. I have also been raising money for the NHS by committing to riding 300 miles on my bike over the lockdown period which has been great. I have been going out for around one hour per day and covering as many miles as I can with the hope to hit the big 300 before all this is over.

Due to the support from all members the changes have been pretty hassle free, all our members are in a private facebook group and we also run a WhatsApp / text group so that we can keep on top of all their fitness needs from the comfort of their own home. We have also put all our equipment available for hire so our members are able to workout from their own homes which will be a huge help to them during this difficult time. We have such an amazing fitness family and because we are a members only private studio, we all support each other and get on really well.

What challenges have you faced? The main challenge I would say I faced is trying to keep a good amount of variation in the workouts we are providing our members with. We have a range of different fitness abilities at our studio and of course not everyone can complete all workouts that others might be able to do, so adapting them to make them do-able for all is tough. When we are at the studio, this is no issue at all but online can be a challenge. As well as this, not everyone has a lot of equipment and some people don’t have any which again can sometimes throw a spanner in the works when we are uploading certain ideas and workouts.

G sY po M tO l iWgNh EtR O F T H E M O N T H

How are you using social media and technology during this time?

As a business where do you see yourself in 3/6 months time?

We use social media on a regular basis anyway but we are constantly updating all our platforms with tips, workouts and other little bits of information so that not only our members can stay on top of things but non members as well. This helps all our members and gives them fresh ideas on workouts to complete while in isolation. We have a great following on facebook and the same on Instagram but one is larger than the other and gets much more interaction so we try to upload equally on both just to cover all bases. You can follow us on instagram under @ Thehubptstudio or we are on facebook under The Hub Private Personal Training Studio.

I am hoping to increase our member base and reputation even more so as we work towards our 1 year milestone which will be coming up in 4 months time. We have made a huge impact on the local community and our aim is to continue to do this, supporting people who struggle with their physical and mental health by helping them become more active no matter how much or how little they can do. Once we push past a year then we are going to look into new ways we can move

forward and the dream is to increase the size of our private facility but still keeping the foundations that we have now and still making sure our members are the main focus and driving force behind our studio. We have already put some upgrades in place during this lockdown and we are adding some great new kit to the studio which we hope will be available for when we are back open and things like this that will help us keep improving. We want to provide a quality service for our members and by keeping on top of the small things, additions and improvements, we believe we can stand out from the rest.

What support have you found within the industry/ from governing bodies? I have noticed a lot of personal trainers and other small businesses are pulling together to support each other in such a difficult time and ideas are being passed around from business to business and this can be very helpful due to others suggesting things you might not have thought of.

Is there anything you feel the government should be doing differently to support the fitness industry at this time? I think as of right now the correct decision has been made and of course if they are continuing to help small businesses the same way as they are supporting the larger ones, I believe this would be a massive help. The situation is one of a kind and slowly but surely the government is doing what they can, which is all they are able to do right now.

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DISCUSSES HOW FUNXTION STARTED AND WHY THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO EMBRACE, NOT FEAR, THE CHANGE THAT TECHNOLOGY IS BRINGING How did you get into the fitness industry? My first dream was to be a TV presenter. I loved being an entertainer but my mum told me I needed to focus on getting a ‘normal job’. I graduated from University with a Physiotherapy degree. Although I’d enjoyed the course, I knew I didn’t want to become a Physiotherapist so I accepted a job with Life Fitness who were looking for a Sales Rep. Not long into my new role, I was asked to pick up the relationship with the fitness and health markets focusing on building relationships with operators. I learnt a lot during this time and three years later accepted a role with Benelux as Sales Manager.

Tell us more about FunXtion, its mission and goal? FunXtion co-founder, Mendel Witzenhausen and I used to run a consultancy helping operators maximise their business. We were once referenced as the ‘Gordan Ramsey’s’ 14

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What are the biggest challenges you face in your business? In the past, it was a challenge to encourage people to accept technology and digital innovation without fear. But the Covid-19 crisis has forced the industry to turn digital almost overnight.

of the industry, in a ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ fashion, consulting companies on beneficial changes, but not really solving long term problems. We realised we needed to step back and look at improving the product of fitness itself. With this, FunXtion was launched. We began focusing on introducing brand new concepts and utilising technology to deliver a complete digital solution, accessible anywhere, anytime. We knew that digitalisation was the future of fitness so we started to optimise this to create engaging functional workout areas, group training experiences and atmospheric studio spaces. We provided the total package; the functional space, the hardware, the programming, the education and the digital content. FunXtion become a scalable solutions partner with international appeal.

everything we create. We innovate from their perspective. We created solutions to create the best member experience rather than to make the most money. We dare to be different and aim to make fitness accessible for as many people as possible. Our strength is that we help members and trainers cut through the clutter of data. We offer a platform, not just an app, which acts as a complete multifunctional support system and as we are continually evolving, we help the operators and trainers stay up to date with the latest technology.

Companies are having to rapidly adjust and adapt in order to survive. We are working around the clock during these difficult times in order to ensure our customers are set up digitally with custom-branded, pre-recorded workout content, virtual classes and a streaming platform in record time so that they can maintain engagement and connection with their members. The challenges have left me with grey hair and Mendel with no hair left at all!

What’s the most valuable lesson you've learned from the fitness industry? To just keep going and to ‘start change by changing the size of your dreams’, which is something the poet George Bernard Shaw said. Think big, dream big and the reality will follow. I think this belief characterises the FunXtion journey.

Our goal has always been to deliver an experience that is fun, motivational and inspiring. This is what keeps members coming back for more.

What sets FunXtion apart from its competitors? The consumer is at the forefront of MAY 2020


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What’s next for FunXtion? We want to continue to innovate, digitalise and energise the fitness experience so that consumers can get the fun back into their fitness journey. As the industry is now forced to fully embrace technology, the physical barriers to participation are diminishing. The next step is to bridge these gaps so the consumer’s fitness experience extends outside of the four walls of a facility, placing the provider (the operator) as an integral part of daily life. Ironically, by welcoming technology, we can provide a more personal,


MAY 2020

individualised and connected approach for members.

In your opinion, what is the current state of the UK's fitness industry?

As an industry, we all have to adjust and adapt in order to survive. It truly is survival of the digitally fittest. There is little double that the fitness sector is about to face one of the toughest challenges in its history.

Coronavirus has created a global crisis. The fitness industry in the past has been relatively slow to adapt to the wide-reaching benefits of integrating technology but with self-isolation, physical distancing and lockdowns taking place globally, having the digital capability to reach, engage and support people in the comfort of their own homes is now hugely important, from both a physical and mental health perspective.

Don’t feel overwhelmed if you are feeling left behind. We want to keep this world moving, our team is working around the clock during these critical times and can help you get set up digitally with custom-branded, prerecorded workout content, virtual classes and a streaming platform within a week. Please do give us a free, no-obligation call. We are all in this together. Together we are stronger.

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Matthew Broad


Level 3 PT, Level 2 Fitness Instructor, Degree Paramedic Science

Where you work:

Energise Personal Fitness








Energise Personal Fitness


@Energisepersonalfitness After over 20 years of service in the NHS, Matthew Broad, a clinician and Director of a large NHS organisation, followed his passion of a venture in the fitness industry and retrained as a PT with his wife Nicki, a Paramedic and GB age group triathlete. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the pressure this is placing on the NHS, Matthew has temporarily returned to work at the NHS to support where he can.

How did you become a PT? Following a successful career in the NHS, I

decided with my wife to start our own PT business to build upon our own sporting lifestyle and success in competing. We considered our options for gaining our qualifications and felt the Premier Global NASM distance programme would suit our style of learning and needs. This course also interested us because it qualified us in performance training programmes.

What was your experience of the training / qualification process? Really positive. We had many webinars to join, regular contact with our tutors and access to a very comprehensive e-learning platform. As we had both undertaken higher education using distant learning we were able to work through the programme easily.

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What does your own training schedule involve? I follow a combined CV and resistance programme which I had planned out around this season's race schedule. Nicki has a similar schedule and we often train together, maximising what little free time we have in the studio.

What makes your offering unique? My wife and I are medically qualified and registered, both maintaining clinical competence and practice. Our fitness studio is the newest locally and is completely private. We only operate on a 1-2-1 basis and never have more than one client in our studio at a time. This allows complete privacy and sole use of the studio which our clients really enjoy. We built our studio with a modern treatment room where our sports therapist practices which really complements our offering and our studio is equipped with the latest Matrix Fitness equipment. Locally, our boutique fitness studio and business model is one of a kind, placing us well in the marketplace to build our client base.

You spend your working hours motivating others, how do you motivate yourself? We are very driven when it comes to exercise. My wife, Nicki is an age group GB Triathlete and competes throughout the season, and trains off season equally as hard!


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She has represented the country which is a great honour and was 6th in her age group at last year’s ETU European Championship sprint distance event held in Kazan, Russia. She had qualified for both European and World Aquabike championships this year. I am inspired by her so working out to keep up with her training is motivation enough! I also think that being around like-minded people all day does amazing things to maintain motivation.

At the moment, during the Covid-19 lockdown, we have plenty of opportunity to be in the studio and we have both rewritten our schedules, Nicki with a focus on her strength and conditioning programme to address the lack of pool time and I have actually found that I have been enjoying more resistance training.

From a PT perspective, what are your biggest Covid-19 concerns, both long and short term? The Covid-19 issues have seen some clients

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significantly affected by the economic downturn but our client base is fairly resilient to this short term. If isolation restrictions continue for many months then this will have a further impact on our operation. But, I’m ever the optimist, so feel that there are lots of opportunities in the face of adversity. We are actively looking at how we restart our full services again and looking into whether this provides us with an opportunity to actually expand our offering and client base.

How have you had to adapt your offering for your clients at a time of social distancing and lockdown? We have turned to Zoom video conferencing to train some of our clients remotely. We have a great technology set-up in our studio so

using some additional hardware (webcam and microphone) has provided us with a really effective digital option.

How do you think Covid-19 will reshape your offering when you are able to reopen your doors? I believe there will be gradual relaxing of the restrictions so we will return to delivering our services in line with the Government directions. I think that the success of online training so far could see us expanding our digital services wider when we do reopen although we don’t foresee expanding our client base much wider than what it was pre Covid-19. Since one outing of exercise has become such an important part in many people’s day during isolation, I believe there

will be many people who get the fitness bug during this time, who will be looking to train with PTs when we are able to reopen our services.

Do you have any concerns about the increase in demand of digital training or do you see this as an opportunity to embrace technology? It's not a concern as there are many limitations with digital training and most of our clients want face-to-face training. PT is much more than delivering a fitness training programme or session, we have a connection with our clients that puts the personal into PT. This cannot be replicated online.

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Hunting for the perfect finance? Keeping your gym equipment up to date will assist in attracting and retaining members. To sustain a fitness business in this modern, fast paced, industry you need the very latest equipment and an environment to keep your members engaged. CF Capital Plc specialise in all aspects of commercial finance. Whether your requirement is financial assistance with leasing of fitness equipment or general building refurbishments, we have a wide range of options to suit any budget.


Please call Katie on 01279 759 442 quoting ‘finance2fit’ or email our team: finance2fit@cfcapital.co.uk


MAY 2020



Togo Keynes


Njinga Cycling


1-2 Home Park Parade, Hampton Wick, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 4BY




020 8251 9788



# of members: 500+

How did you become a gym owner? I have always loved keeping fit and had a passion for cycling. After being inspired by the 2012 Olympics, my wife and I organised a group cycle from London to Paris. We trained a lot of people to take part in the challenge and it went so well that we wondered whether we could make a business out of helping people reach their fitness goals. There was a real sense of achievement, community and camaraderie that we took from the cycling challenge and we wanted to channel this into a gym environment. It took us two years to find a studio space but in 2015, we opened our doors to Njinga Cycling, a Wattbike cycling Lab and gym space for our other scheduled workouts, including Yoga and Pilates. We coached on the Wattbikes indoors but also outdoors on the road bikes. We launched a cycling academy and ran strength and conditioning, yoga and Pilates within the training lab to aid any work we were doing on the bikes. We have a really broad demographic, men and women and not just keen cyclists but people who want to

lose weight, try a new sport, get fit, work towards a physical challenge or just feel a part of our community. Njinga is about creating a welcoming environment where people can encourage and motivate each other to be the best version of themselves, regardless of their starting ability or whether they come to us with any experience of cycling at all. We’re a team, a family and it is that community above all else that has led to us seeing the success we have.

What makes your gym unique? We have managed to find the perfect balance between performance-led training that is still fun. We work hard but play hard. At Njinga, we aim to build people up as a whole through our training philosophy; Train Smart + Fuel Smart + Think Smart = Ride Smart. We train and coach riders towards their physical goals but we also consider the right ‘fuelling’ through MAY 2020



For three years, we have worked with Heathrow Airport on the ‘Race the Plane’ charity event where cyclists collectively cycle for 7+ hours to beat a plane's distance, making its way from Heathrow to somewhere in the world. This raised over £300k in three years for Oxfam, The Heathrow Community Fund and the DofE Charity. For eight years, we have also supported Shooting Star Children’s Hospice through our annual Santa Charity Cycle by raising funds for the hospice and collecting hundreds Christmas presents to help bring a smile to children with terminal illness. During the COVID-19 crisis, we are creating online SMART training content for our members. Some are free, but some are paid-for. Our members have been hugely supportive of this and a percentage of profits we are giving back to the NHS.

From a business perspective, what are your biggest COVID-19 concerns?

nutritional plans and advice as well as the ‘thinking smart’ aspect of mental health. We leave no stone unturned in order to make our riders the strongest they can be. By curating a welcoming environment, we have an established community who work hard to stay healthy but also come to us to socialise. There’s not many places you would find complete beginners training alongside elite level athletes, all getting a great workout and inspiring and motivating each other.

reliability of the data means you can train with confidence and see tangible progress week by week. The air system simulates gear changes, while the magnetic resistance realistically replicates the demands of climbing, making for a distraction-free, natural feeling ride.

What is your biggest success story?

Why do you use Wattbikes for a large proportion of your indoor training?

We have such a mixed demographic that it is impossible to highlight just one as success comes in all different shapes and sizes to different people. We want to see all our members succeed, no matter their goal.

The Wattbike measures power output with unsurpassed accuracy whilst also recording your metrics such as heart rate, cadence and pedalling efficiency. The consistency and

For me, on the corporate side, it has been creating such an unbelievably supportive community. But we also place a huge importance on giving back when we can.


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It is truly a testing time for the industry. But it is also a time to explore ways to adapt to change. Consumer habits are going to change and the lockdown has made us all think about how to keep our communities engaged, motivated and fit from home but it has also highlighted the amazing things that technology can do. Within a week, we had set up a digital offering and leased out all of our Wattbikes to members to use in their homes. We are running live indoor cycling classes online through Zoom, daily core and bodyweight exercises as well as nutritional and mental-health focused challenges. We’re even finding that 85% of those utilising our Zoom classes are using Wattbikes at home. To keep things fun, we launched the Njinga 30-day Lockdown Challenge devised to motivate and improve health and wellbeing in 30 days whilst helping people stay connected. We’ve ensured this is perfect for all abilities, with or without a bike.


Tell us more about the Lockdown 30-day challenge?

have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback to the online training and how in-demand it has become.

For 30 days, we will set daily challenges from 30 minutes of exercise to 30 second challenges or recipes to make in under 30 minutes. Our challenges will ensure that people end up happier, healthier and fitter when lockdown is over.

Who knows what the future holds. What we do know is that there is definitely an opportunity to offer a more digital service that reaches members in their everyday lives. They will now want an option to train remotely if they need it. We launched online group training in April and our first live 8-week online group indoor training programme starts on the 4th May. We will continue to expand our knowledge of the technology available to us in order to deliver the best digital experience we can.

As people are becoming more isolated, our main goal is to try and provide a way to keep everyone connected, motivated and accountable.

How do you think this time will shape your offering once you are able to reopen? It is an exceptionally challenging time but we have to think of the future. This has been a time in which we have been forced to try new things, especially digitally. We

Do you have any concerns about the increase in demand Covid-19 has placed on digital training? I am not threatened by the digital space,

I see it as a real opportunity. The digital demand has huge potential for Njinga and we are excited by what the future holds. It will never fully replace the face-to-face experience, but it will allow Njinga to become a household name. However, whilst everyone is scrambling to learn ways to work digitally, we need to think about the bigger picture. There will come a time when quality overcomes quantity. There are so many online workouts out there now and although people are understanding that this content may not be perfect right now, they will not put up with poor video, sound or atmosphere for long. Don’t forget the quality of your content in a rush to push out quantity. Stay focused, see the opportunities and be smart. Yes, we have to adapt quickly but we have to adapt with quality in order to survive long after this. MAY 2020




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Functional Training A MISUNDERSTOOD TERM IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY By Greg Perlaki As it’s my first time writing here, I’d like to give you a little bit of a background story of my own fitness journey. I’m originally from Hungary and I’ve been involved in fitness and martial arts since my early childhood. I was fortunate enough to compete at international level in Karate and I tipped my toes in other martial arts such as kickboxing and kempo. As an adult I struggled with Crohn's disease and overcame some personal obstacles which all helped me realize the importance of self discipline, healthy eating and training. I came across a functional training system called DVRT (Dynamic Variable

Resistance Training) 10 years ago and I  started to use the Ultimate Sandbag at home and I fell in love with all the variety and their solution based training. I followed all their principles since day one of my coaching career and I knew that training is definitely unique.  DVRT solved my lower back problems, got me conditioned that I never thought it was possible and most importantly it forever changed how I look at fitness and training in general. I have been representing their training system in the UK as their Master Trainer while also working with my own clientele. 

Functional training the misunderstood term in the fitness industry I feel like there are some terms that are misunderstood in the world of fitness. Functional training is definitely one of them. In my opinion, most programs fall into one of two sides of the  “functional” spectrum, one being those that make “functional” exercises far too  complex to implement and have very little or no progressions and the other end is focusing on ‘hardcore’ lifts that do develop strength but often fail to prepare people for these movements.  Another aspect of functionality that is often missed is the role of our nervous system as it dictates what is risky and what is safe for our body.  Functional training is meant to improve how the body functions. Not what we do in life as many think. In that case this would be very little, as most people spend the majority of their days sedentary and their movement capabilities are hmmm… quite poor. So preparing people to move better is absolutely essential as a personal trainer. This is where movement progressions come very handy as well as understanding how the body works so we can give our clients solutions and not just exercises. Programming movement patterns does not mean using no load. In fact load and resistance teach people how to create tension, brace their bodies. For example a goblet squat with a kettlebell helps to improve mobility in the hips by stabilising the trunk with the load. 


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7 Primal Movement Patterns The idea of training movement patterns is nothing new. In the 90’s Paul Chek started to promote the 7 primal movement patterns in his programs and with the rise of kettlebell training it hit the mainstream fitness world. If you think about how the body works as one unit, isolation really goes against how we humans move.

Progressive Overload If this lockdown has taught us, trainers anything then it’s definitely how to think more outside of the box and not rely on machines, equipment as much as we used to. So using the lockdown as an opportunity to try new movements and exercises not just the ones we like and do all the time. I’m not suggesting doing just random things and copy the coolest thing you see on Instagram. Rather, using the role of progressive overload as it’s meant to be. Progressive overload is the staple of all training programs however it’s not only about adding more weight to the bar or dumbbell but increasing the stress on the body. This stress should come from many different variables, such as: load position, body position, speed, planes of motion and volume. How we program these variables can make one’s training program more progressive even with limited equipment available.  Take a look at the below body positions as an example for lower body squatting

and lunging patterns as well as upper body pushing progressions. This could give you some ideas to program progressive body positions using the same weight. Lower Body Positions from Stable to Least Stable Squatting and Lunging Bilateral Squat Staggered Stance Squat Split Squat Drop Lunge Lateral Lunge Forward Lunge Crossover Lunge Upper Body Pushing Progressions From Stable to Least Stable Bilateral Stance Military Stance Staggered Stance Bilateral Kneeling Half Kneeling

The 7 movement patterns are: Push, Pull, Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Rotation and Gait. Gait is a confusing one as some programs include that as Carry, however Carry is an exercise, Gait is the movement pattern. There are many exercises that include the cross pattern which represents the most fundamental movement pattern, that are not Carry. Like Deadbugs, Bird Dogs, Side Planks, various Marching exercises and of course Loaded Carries. During walking and running, we swing the opposite arms with the opposite legs and our core primary function is to stabilise the body during these activities. This comes from the various sling systems that connect the body.   Sling systems are specific muscles that work together to produce and resist movement at the same time. There are 4 primary sling systems in the body and during motion they are all active.  Using the lockdown as an opportunity to try new movements and exercises and not just the ones that we like and do all the time, could be a true game changer and who knows it might help MAY 2020


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you to breakthrough plateaus. Instead of doing 15 different pulling or pushing exercises in one workout why not try to create a more balanced approach where we can cover all movements in one workout without completely overloading one pattern. This way you will be able to do similar work output

the following day. If you have ever seen people that grow up doing labour work, you know they’re freakishly strong. Not because they lift heavy all the time, but actually lift less weight but more frequently. With that said, there are way more variables available to us than most

trainers think. Using the 7 movement patterns and all three planes of motion we can create a very well rounded workout program that keeps progressing. This could not only help with boredom but also prevent any injuries and pattern overload (which eventually lead to injury).

Movement Pattern Beginner




Goblet Squat/Front Squat

Staggered Stance Goblet Squat/Lateral Squat

Single Arm Rack Hold Staggered Stance/Pistol Squat


RDL/Staggered Stance Deadlift

Good Morning/Lateral Deadlifts/ Power Cleans

Staggered Stance High Pulls/ Cleans/Snatches


Split Stance/Drop Lunge

Lateral Lunge/Forward Lunge

Crossover Lunge

Push (vertical & horizontal)

Bench Press/Bilateral Overhead Press

Staggered Stance OH Press/ Plank Drags

Kneeling/Half Kneeling Presses/ Single Arm Bench Presses

Pull (vertical & horizontal)

Seated Row/Lat Pulldown/TRX Row/Rear Delt Flies

Pull Ups/Chin Ups/Bent Over Rows/Staggered Stance Rows/ Lateral Bent Rows

Single Arm Rows/Plank Rows/Single Leg Rows


Deadbugs/Bird Dogs/ Side Planks/Farmer Walks

Unilateral Load Marches/Carries/ Loaded Deadbugs/Side Plank Rows w Band/Loaded Marches Overhead Hold Carries/Lateral w Kettlebells/Kettlebell Offset Marches

Rotation/Anti Rotation

Cable & Band Pallof Presses/Rolling Patterns/Baby Get Ups

Rotational Press Outs/Half Windmill/Turkish Get Ups/ Cable Chops

Bear Hug Rotations/Rotational Presses/Around The Worlds/ RotationalSlams/Throws/Snatches

Doing what we’re not so good at can make us stronger and more resilient as well as better at things that we enjoy doing. If you found this valuable you can find me on the following social platforms:  dvrtfitness_uk 28

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 Dvrtfitnessuk

 DVRT Fitness UK

 dvrtfitness.co.uk


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

Tangram skipping rope

tool offers non-invasive, targeted muscle recovery via an easy-to-use app. Simply attach the pulse plugs to the affected area, select a stimulation programme and let the PowerDot work its magic. £199. At uk.powerdot.com

Fitbit Charge 4 Getting in a strength session at home feels like a good idea until you realise you need actual weights and therefore also need to carry actual weights into your house. Enter the Jaxjox KettlebellConnect, which is the most efficient way to have a whole set of kettlebells in your house: a single kettlebell, which magnetically gains or drops weight based on what you input to the Bluetooth console. £299. At argos.co.uk

Sick of shuttle runs and endless HIIT circuits? Now is the time to nail your double-under with a good oldfashioned skipping workout. Far from vintage playground kit, the smart Tangram skipping rope features 23 LEDs and magnetic sensors to track your workouts, monitor your calorie burn and log your data in real time. £79.95. At apple.com

PowerDot 2.0

The PowerDot 2.0 is proof that good things come in small packages. Portable and easy to use, this performance

Garmin Fenix 6

Slick, swim-proof and seriously smart, the Charge 4 is Fitbit’s most advanced tracker yet. With built-in Spotify, GPS and Fitbit Pay capabilities, the Fitbit Charge 4 is a must-have for trail runners, cyclists and swimmers looking to monitor their miles, minus all the cumbersome kit. Not only that, but the new Active Zone system will automatically detect and reward users with double credit for staying in their peak performance zones. Us? Slaves to the machine? Never. £129.99. At fitbit.com

Jaxjox Kettlebell -Connect

A sporty smartwatch built for the outdoors, Garmin’s latest timepiece tracks everything from cycling to paddle boarding with more health and fitness metrics you’ll probably ever need. You can buy your post-workout shake with it, stream your music without your phone nearby and now colour maps make it easier to get home when you’ve been out exploring the trails. £676. At amazon.co.uk

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Jaybird Vista

There are other earbuds outside of Apple’s AirPods that will let you ditch the wires. Jaybird’s Vista are not only cheaper, but are truly built for workouts. They’re designed to fend off sweat and sit discreetly in the ears, delivering an impressive audio roar. You’ll get six hours of battery life and a quick five-minute charge will get you out the door with an hour of playtime. £145. At amazon.co.uk

Freetrain V1 Vest

Manufacturers of a unique line of high quality functional fitness equipment. Designed for health clubs, fitness studios, schools, and military.

analysis and offering support to track up to eight different users. There’s an easy-to-use app to analyse your metrics and the scales will even display the weather to properly prep you for the day ahead. £71. At amazon.co.uk

Pro Gym Functional Fitness Obstacle Course Challenge MoveStrong

Runners, rejoice: finally – finally! – there’s a means to train without feeling your phone on your person. Meet Freetrain’s V1, a streamlined, breathable running vest that, thanks to its front pocket, not only nails the essentials-carrying weight distribution (balance is key to preventing injuries), but also enables you to easily access your device to check progress, change a song or answer a call – all without so much as breaking stride. Take it from us, your only gripe will be that your paths didn’t cross sooner. £19.99. At freetrain.co.uk

Withings Body\+ smart scale Connected scales have been around for a while, but Withings ups the ante performing a full-body composition 30

MAY 2020

The Mantis Power Sled for functional fitness, strength and conditioning. MoveStrong's unique patent pending design adds more variety to #gym workouts and exercise options

A run through of the Obstacle Course Challenge held at Pro Gym Montréal! Held during the launch event for the Evolution Functional Training Zone featuring MoveStrong products! Wanna create your own workout?



they can maximise their performance when needed. When it comes to building your outdoor training space, use our top quality tried and tested products built here in the U.S.A. Combine the T-Rex FTS with other MoveStrong FitGround products for a complete outdoor training experience including obstacle course design layout.


Our customisable T-Rex Outdoor Functional Training Station (FTS) is built for year-round use in a commercial setting. We blend the best of old-school callisthenics with the latest in Functional Fitness Training in an all-in-one station. Built to size and specific training features to accommodate any space and user abilities. The T-Rex is great for individual and group fitness Bootcamp style workouts. Our products are built for functional fitness and callisthenics workouts, not playground use. We have a variety of configurations, accessories, and options to target youth to adult training activities. We’ve had many

years in perfecting the T-Rex FTS with customers ranging from major Universities, Middle / High Schools, Health Clubs, Parks, Recreation Centres, Military, and Home Owners! We know how important it is to keep our the first-responders, military forces, and professional athletes who use our products strong and fit so that

With the rugged outdoor T-Rex, countless configurations are available based on the size and features you need. New options and configuration are constantly being released so please inquire about something specific to fit your needs. The only limitation is the amount of space you have available. https://www.movestrongfit.com/ trex

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Why businesses in the fitness industry must adjust during the COVID-19 crisis

By Ben Walker, fitness specialist and entrepreneur As COVID-19 surges through the United Kingdom, many industries in the British Isles have already taken a massive hit this year. In an attempt to contain the virus, services that were deemed nonessential, such as restaurants, retail shops, theatres, cafes and gyms were subject to closure as of MAY 2020. Since the situation has risen, businesses in the fitness industry have been battling to adjust to new services to avoid loss of revenue. Gyms in particular face the most challenging situation. Membership provides the backbone of revenue for fitness clubs to stay open. Small businesses in the fitness industry depend on subscriptions for cash flow. This is needed to pay the massive overheads that are scheduled throughout the month. As most people have turned to home fitness services, the fitness industry needs to introduce new trends to survive.


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The Situation for Fitness Businesses Throughout Britain The full scale of the damage that the pandemic crisis will have on the fitness industry is still unknown. Depending on how long the situation lasts, consumers may stick to their new habits or continue home fitness services when gyms decide to reopen for business. If new trends suffice, it will be a serious blow for commercial gym chains. At the start of this year, the future of the UK’s health and wellness industry was looking very bright. Britons have been committed to the fitness lifestyle like never before. The industry in the United Kingdom is estimated to be worth over a startling £5 billion. There are now more than 7,000 fitness clubs in the UK. It is also estimated that over 14% of British adults hold a gym subscription. Gym subscriptions are also important for opening new streams of revenue. Clinical services rely on referrals from fitness professionals and vice versa. Professions such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic all take a hit. There are many professionals in the health and fitness industry that can be left redundant as a result of these services being cancelled.

Why people need to be persuaded to keep fit and active at home COVID-19 will now likely change the fitness industry forever. Rules regarding lockdown could potentially last for months. Fitness providers will need to offer alternative fitness services at home in order to avoid loss of revenue. As per guidelines, the government and its healthcare sector are encouraging citizens to stay physically active. This is where the fitness industry needs to step up! Fitness companies need to promote in-home fitness services for the following reasons: • Lower Healthcare Expenses – The government is already borrowing millions to compensate for the situation. While unemployment looms and rises, many people are suffering from anxiety and stress. By

keeping physically active at home, we can reduce the risk of contracting other heart-related conditions. This means that we can keep the number of casualties and healthcare costs lower, supporting our health professionals and economy to focus on the task at hand, promoting a healthier society that can recover sooner. • Physical and Mental Wellness – The crisis will have a big impact on mental health throughout the country. During these times, we need everyone to focus on change, make rational decisions and be patient. Getting your fitness session in everyday is the answer to maintaining this mindset. Fitness will help keep you relaxed, release those feelgood endorphins, and allow you to think clearly. • Boosting Immunity – Fitness also increases our levels of immunity. While social distancing is the best method to combat the spread of coronavirus, boosting our immune system also helps a second defence. The reasons why everybody needs to get fitter and healthier are endless. Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to solve all the issues mentioned above. Aerobic exercise lowers the risk of heart-related disease, reduces depression and anxiety, and strengthens our immune system. Cycling and running have been a popular trend of exercise in the last few weeks, but have become increasingly harder since lockdown procedures have become a lot stricter. Working out at home has become the ideal option. The NHS recommends planning a home fitness routine like steps and skipping to stay fit. This is where personal trainers can offer their expertise and offer a dynamic program at home. There are a variety of reasons why fitness professionals need to give people advice on how to workout at home. Apart from basic exercise being beneficial for your mental health, it is also important to look after the components of your fitness – strength, endurance, and flexibility. Doing a

basic routine at home is not going to stop people from getting weak. Most individuals will struggle to take care of their musculoskeletal health without the use of the gym. Online personal training is a service that people should be engaging for this very reason. This has led to more personal trainers offering a different niche of virtual training programs. Even fitness influencers, such as Joe Wicks, is offering classes so children can stay mentally active and communicating with kids of their own age. There is a full range of programs and ideas that fitness specialists can offer.

How SMEs in the fitness industry can adapt and survive Every fitness company is in the same boat when adapting to these changes. The demand for online fitness programs and applications has increased. The change in demand we are seeing is that people want these programs to be more social. Greenwich Leisure Ltd have even gone as far as offering a free subscription for their UK based fitness app. The program offers online fitness classes and individualised workouts. The purpose behind this is to promote the brand for future sales. When the lockdown ends, users who have adapted to using this service will sign up for an extended subscription. Besides developing fitness apps, small fitness providers and personal trainers in the UK are turning to social media platforms for fitness programs. The purpose of this is to offer a ‘social’ angle to fitness as a stepping-stone to promoting online services. A lot of members enjoy gyms for the social appeal. Staying connected with these people through Facebook and Instagram is one way of staying visible to your clientele and promoting your brand. It is a free service with unlimited use.

How can gyms recover the revenue lost from member subscriptions and additional club services? Fitness clubs will need to pull their weight more than self-employed personal trainers when adapting to the MAY 2020



new climate. These businesses are still committed to paying the rent and other massive overheads for conducting a premises. Here are a few ideas for adapting to change: • Online Personal Training – Many members who have a gym membership may be there solely for personal training. Switching from in-person to online sessions will certainly be a negotiation. The club may have to reduce their rates or offer more sessions on the house. Another idea for substituting member subscriptions can be tailored made fitness programs at home. For the cost of monthly membership, personal trainers could check-in for an evaluation once a month, keeping members on track with a progressive plan. • Virtual Classes – The main objective for gyms is stopping members from cancelling. If clubs are to offer alternative services, customers will want to see a product that matches their existing fee. While in lockdown, clubs can assign a personal trainer from their team to operate classes online.


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The trainer can host a specific amount of members at one time. The number of participants allowed should be enough to make the customer feel like it’s their usual class. This also helps the instructor track, everybody, simultaneously. This gives all the members that social vibe they feel at the club, allowing them to communicate effectively with the member of staff. • Club Promotions – Besides offering all these alternative options, you may want to offer some reward for customer loyalty if members decide to keep their subscription active. Good ideas would be offering a free month of membership upon return or a few sessions to get back on track with a fitness specialist. • Partner With Other SMEs – While the market for fitness services has decreased in many aspects, it has increased for suppliers of fitness equipment. Retailers that do their sales online are still seeing good profits. This would be a great time for gyms and personal

trainers alike to collaborate with small to medium-sized businesses that sell fitness attire and equipment. Members still respect the opinion of their trainer or instructor. This would be a great opportunity to discuss a business opportunity in a profit-sharing scheme or get a great deal for your clients if training online. The key for fitness professionals is to keep their members engaged. While members might agree to freezing or putting their services on hold, fitness is a mindset, and its best to not let people go off track while committed. I hope that some of the points mentioned today can spark some ideas. As a personal trainer myself, I am keeping my fingers crossed for all of you.

About The Author Ben Walker is a fitness specialist and entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom. An advocate of mental health and physical fitness, Ben is the owner of London Fitness. If looking to share your story, please reach out to him today for more business related advice.


ENTRY POINTS & COMMUNITIES KEY TO A GYM’S SUCCESS With Colin Lee Berry’s Street Defence By Colin Lee Berry After 20 years within the Health & Fitness industry, I have seen many clubs' business models succeed and fail along the way. There are many elements to the success of a gym such as competitive membership prices etc. However in order to obtain higher numbers of memberships and good member retention, clubs need to offer different entry points. Entry point means the different concepts and services at which clubs offer and are what is likely to make people want to join as a member. Some people like tennis, group exercise, a lovely spa/pool, children’s classes etc. The more varied the entry points, the more people the club will appeal to. If the membership price is competitive, the member is likely to want to join. An area where I feel most clubs fail is member retention. I have seen so many companies that have had gyms for around 10 years plus and still have a huge sales team to try and get lots of new members to join. A big part of MAY 2020 35


the reason members leave is due to not getting value for money or feeling forgotten about. Many members feel that once they have signed on the dotted line, clubs then move and focus on getting other new members. The focus should be creating a club where no member would want to leave. Also if members feel part of a community within a club, they are less likely to want to cancel their membership. Not only is it a matter of clubs developing different concepts and services within their clubs, they need to focus on building multiple communities within. Whether this is group exercise, tennis, triathlon, group personal training, combat or holistic communities, if members feel a part of something more than just being a member at a gym, they are more likely to want to stay as a member and never leave. If a gym is successful in what it offers long term, large sales' teams at each club should be a thing of the past. The most successful clubs, studios or Crossfit clubs that I have witnessed now have a waiting list to join as they have reached capacity. Some do not even need a sales team to drive business to their clubs which is surely the target for clubs. Therefore the money from needing a sales team can be used to evolve the business model and the offerings at each club to keep the company at the top of the pile. 36

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The purpose behind the concept Colin Lee Berry's Street Defence is to offer clubs another entry point in which members can join. Colin Lee Berry's Street Defence is a life skill and a workout wrapped in one and offers companies the opportunity of building

an additional community to their clubs like no other. To find out more about Colin Lee Berry’s Street Defence and what it can offer your clubs, please visit: https://www.streetdefenceuk.com/ club-solutions


Now is your time. Blaze a trail in the new era of fitness Taz Dunstan from XL Personal Training A new market for the fitness industry has emerged off the back of gym closures which is forcing people to embrace new styles and delivery platforms of training. This has divided the community, both the general public and the fitness providers. Now is the time to keep moving! There are only two options at this time: adapt and overcome this challenge or. . . stop dead. With any change, there are pros and cons. Despite businesses being encouraged to regularly perform Strengths Weaknesses Opposition Threats (SWOT) analysis and risk assessments to design "bomb proof" contingencies for survival. . . certain curveballs can not be preempted. . . gym closures was NOT one of them. Although a lockdown seemed "unlikely" coming into 2020, it was certainly a possibility which some gym owners and fitness professionals running their own businesses had mitigated by implementing an online platform well in advance. Those businesses are at a distinct advantage moving into the COVID 19 lockdown. This lockdown has levelled the playing

field of a lot of major players in the fitness industry and is allowing smaller franchises and independent clubs the opportunity to capitalise on a gap that larger gyms are frantically trying to bridge. Although some are still wondering "How is this a good thing?" It is an undeniable fact that "social distancing" and "self-isolation" have been extreme but necessary measures to slow down the rate of transmission for a viral pandemic in the interests of public safety. These measures have been enforced by several governments worldwide on the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Any gym owners and personal trainers who lobbied against this direction or resisted this movement, wasted time and energy on the inevitable. They also showed a gross lack of judgement and blatant disregard for their members and potential clients health and safety. This conduct could be deemed as " professionally negligent" by intentionally exposing the members, staff and their immediate families to unnecessary and potentially fatal risk. One of the governing bodies of the fitness industry in Australia: "Fitness Australia" was advocating on behalf of

their AusREPs (fitness professionals and business owners), to petition the Australian Government to allow fitness professionals to remain operating on a smaller scale- initially 10 in a boot camp, which was decreased to 5. This action coincided with the release of several new courses they released emphasising the importance of acting "in scope" and practising due diligence for your client's safety at all times. Titled: "Professional Advice what are the risks" and "Exercise Safe. Putting your clients first" https://fitness.org.au/courses/ professional-practice-advice-whatare-the-risks/2266 https://fitness.org.au/courses/ exercise-safe-putting-clientsfirst/2265 This division in the community of fitness professionals was clearly confusing for the general public who needed a clear directive. It was also misleading for panic-stricken fitness professionals who needed firm direction not to jeopardise the safety of their clients for short term financial security. This drove a wedge deeper into the fitness community, frustrating MAY 2020



those who did not acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic and infuriating the fitness professionals who had adhered to the directions for public safety and were outraged by the delays in complete uniform compliance. The fitness professionals who immediately foresaw and accepted the imminent closures of fitness centres and began setting up online streaming for client and member access, executed their business development perfectly and have demonstrated professionalism in their duty of care to their clients, versatility to adapt to their clients changing needs and a superior level of customer service, finding a way to provide services in a safe and responsible way. All of these attributes are reassuring for clients because routine, direction and "normalcy" are paramount for peoples mental and physical health. As a business owner wanting to stay ahead of the game you must ask yourself "Is that all I can do?" At XL Personal Training we had an online platform firmly established for over 3 years so the gym closures positively impacted our business with more members

desperately trying to find reputable online fitness providers. I share the following only as an anecdote to demonstrate how easily this adversity can be turned into a large opportunity for business development for any gym owner and fitness professional. We specialise in body transformations and we had several clients in training since 2019 for upcoming events that were since cancelled or postponed indefinitely. We didn't panic or play the "because of Covid19 all bets are off" card, we damage controlled. We contacted the event organisers and asked them to go ahead with the shows in any safe capacity. When this was rejected, we devised a way to hold the show ourselves on a virtual platform with each transformation client submitting their videos, progress photos and transformation story to be compiled as a show by the help with a professional videographer "Christine Nobles." This show will be available for viewing on 17th April 2020 on youtube: https:// www.youtube.com/channel/ UCvrVaChUTXGf4FBSK_4NSRw

Coincidentally another federation WBFF had also seen the need to have events to keep athletes and clients motivated and launched their own virtual show to be streamed on the WBFF channel 18th April 2020 https://www.youtube. com/channel/UCKp1bg03zt45G_ tGrh8sPCw We expanded our business with bases now in India and Australia https:// tazxlpt.com.au/ We took this time to invest in small businesses and build stronger relationships with our sponsors to be able to offer our clients more, so at a time when other fitness businesses are frozen, we are gaining momentum. We employed a local graphic artists @Codeysart to redesign our logo for re-branding. We then collaborated with a local supplier to launch a clothing line with customdesigned compression wear: https:// fitify.com.au/xlpt/ We have signed up with a swimwear label @69official to keep our clients motivated because summer is always coming, we have invested in more "old skool" designs from @woodensunnies to promote sustainable and safe eyewear and we are customising specific supplement packs with @ bioflexnutrition to take the guesswork out of supplementation for our clients. (always recommended responsibly and not in substitute for real food) https:// bioflex.com.au/where-to-buy To be honest, for XL Personal Training, business is BOOMING and that is simply because, at a time when people need motivation and readily available solutions to empower them to stay on track, keep calm and stay healthy, we have pounced. This opportunity is available for all gym owners and fitness providers. Separate yourselves from your providers, offer solutions that address your clients problems and soon, they aren't problems at all, just challenges that have prompted change. This event has drastically changed the way the fitness industry operates and regardless of how divided the fitness industry is, businesses have been forced to offer more "all-inclusive", easily accessible services to their clients and that can only be seen as a positive result.


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GYM OWNERS DISCUSS ADAPTING TO THE CHALLENGES OF COVID-19 AND HOW THIS WILL SHAPE THEM WHEN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY REOPENS ITS DOORS In light of the challenges facing the industry as we all tackle the global threat of Covid-19, this month, we decided to talk to gym owners to find out, in their own words, in what ways they are having to adapt to the current climate in order to keep their business afloat, the lessons they are learning and how they think their offering will have been changed for the future…. MAY 2020



Joan Murphy, Co-Founder, Frame

How have you had to adapt during the Covid-19 crisis? We made the decision to close all seven sites prior to the Government officially closing all leisure businesses as we felt we needed to put the safety of our members and team first. We had been in daily contact with ukactive up to that point and were taking all the necessary actions to stay open as long as we could do so safely. Once we knew we would have to close the studios, meaning a complete loss of revenue, we quickly started to think about how we could pivot the business to keep some revenue coming in but also to look after the thousands of ‘Framers’ who use our sites as a way to connect, socialise and look after their physical and mental health. Luckily, we have a very agile and quick thinking team which meant we were able to turn around the launch of our online platform in just eight days! Despite being online, we’ve created the closest thing to the experience of actually working out in one of our studios; motivational instructors and a

huge variety of Frame classes so that people can choose a workout based on how they feel that day. Our USP of ‘feel-good fitness’ is resonating with people even more than ever. We currently have 6000 active members with 1800 of those coming from our ‘Not all heroes wear capes’ campaign where we offer all frontline workers free access to the platform. As with our regular scheduling, we are also hosting online workshops, zoom hen/birthday parties and 1-2-1 training with our instructors. We’ve had to furlough a huge amount of our studio teams and are now working with a small head office team to keep the business going. What lessons have you learnt and will this change your offering when you reopen? We’ve been quite lucky in the fact that our brand is not heavily reliant on lots of equipment which meant that giving clients a great class experience from home didn’t mean having to revert to quite standard ‘at-home’ style workouts. We had been looking into taking our offering online for a while and we’ve found that a lot of our previous members, who have now moved out of London to other parts of the UK or internationally, have now been able to have their ‘Frame fix’ wherever they are. So, in terms of growth for the business, taking the step online has been a positive experience and an element of our offering that we will continue to grow into our product mix when we reopen. How do you think the fitness industry will be changed moving forwards?

Unfortunately, we will see that some operators won’t survive due to the pressure. It will really depend on how brands have interacted with their customer base during this time. Member retention is so important to the survival of studios and gyms and that is hard to do when you don’t have footfall through your doors. Having a strong online presence and keeping your community engaged on social media and through email is crucial. During the reopening phase, there will be added operational challenges with health and safety standards, new customer behaviour patterns and a new product mix. Wellness has been on the rise for the past five years and we will see even more of the population prioritise their health and fitness moving forwards, some for the first time. The industry is set for growth post-Covid-19.

Neville Kenwright, Director, F45 Fulham

How have you had to adapt during the Covid-19 crisis? The world is facing some challenging times and the fitness industry has been severely affected. We made the decision to shut our doors in March just prior to lockdown and then took our business online by providing both our F45 LIVE ZOOM classes and launched the F45 Challenge App that offers free GRAVITY workouts alongside nutrition plans. We offer this at a fraction of our usual membership rate, so its main purpose is to help our members at a time where we all need a positive distraction and some routine in our lives, whilst also trying to maintain our community vibe. What lessons have you learnt and will this change your offering when you reopen? We have learnt how important fitness and overall wellness is, not just


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Catie Miller, Founder and Owner, Xtend Barre London

How have you had to adapt during the Covid-19 crisis? In order to adapt to the current climate, we launched LIVE Virtual classes incorporating both our Barre and Pilates programming. We are teaching 3-4 online classes each day allowing our audience to book in at a time that suits them and as our clients do not require equipment to participate, this is very easy and effective.

physically but mentally too! It's been great seeing people get out and about for the recommended exercise, and we do hope that this continues. We think that the change to working from home will make people more aware of incorporating movement into their daily routine, as well as being more aware of their posture throughout the day. We will all appreciate being able to move about freely outdoors as well as the social aspects of exercising in a group exercise situation. For reopening, we will be rethinking our pricing model by offering a greater range of packages that give the option for members to do 2-4 sessions a week at the studio combined with 1-2 outdoor exercise sessions such as running/walking/cycling, giving a more affordable option whilst still achieving great results and reaping the

benefits of being part of our Fulham F45 community.

What lessons have you learnt and will this change your offering when you reopen? This was obviously a huge shock, but we learnt we are very capable of adapting to any situation with very little notice and we intend to continue our virtual classes once the lockdown has been lifted as they are a very popular option for those that are not able to attend the studio on any given day or have moved away but are still avid fans of our workout!Â

How do you think the fitness industry will be changed moving forwards? Gym etiquette and hygiene will be a more prominent factor and we have even begun looking into a new antiviral spray which is being developed. There will also be more demand for 1-2-1 training and a varied training programme as people realise their limitations when working out on their own. If anything, it’s more obvious than ever that community is everything! Being in an environment that motivates you and offers structure and support will ensure you maintain good health, both physically and mentally and the industry will draw on this engaged atmosphere in order to bring people together. MAY 2020



How do you think the fitness industry will be changed moving forwards? We believe that the fitness industry will only strengthen from such testing times. Now, more than ever, we need to focus on our mental and physical wellbeing and it is wonderful to see so many people showing up to be the best versions of themselves. We hope this movement continues to grow because this new 'virtual trend' is here to stay!

Ben Fildes, Owner, S3 Fitness

How have you had to adapt during the Covid-19 crisis? As soon as we closed, we gave every one of our members access to our app which has bodyweight, TRX, kettlebell, barbell, sandbag and dumbbell workouts on it. It features videos of us in S3 performing the exercises in sessions that the clients will recognise. We know some clients will not be that motivated to take up the app, so we also filmed a variety of real-time workouts and uploaded those to our website as well as launching our online sessions. We also let our clients have any kit they wanted from the gym free of charge so they could train at home. We’re also reaching out to client’s regularly to check in with them, just to let them know we’re here if they need anything and to keep them motivated and engaged. What lessons have you learnt and will this change your offering when you reopen? As if I didn’t know already, I’ve learned what an incredible membership I have. All our members have been supportive and brilliant through this time and I’ve learnt that having the systems, videos and programmes that we had in place already have been a lifesaver. When we reopen, I will look at 42

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continuing to stream our sessions because the feedback we’ve received from people who have never trained with us has been really positive. We are streaming our workouts to students at the University of Bristol as well, so this has opened up another avenue to promote S3 Fitness. We’ll also reward our great clients! How do you think the fitness industry will be changed moving forwards? I’ve said it quite openly that I think this will make clients realise what they have got, or not got in some cases. I think the gyms who have

delivered great customer service will see an uptake in members. I think the “session” PT or gym will now re-evaluate that position. If it wasn’t for our solid member base, we’d be in trouble. I’m hopeful that after this, people will be desperate for social interaction and the gym will be high up on their list for this. I’ve had so many clients tell me they miss the ‘banter’ and interaction at S3. There will undoubtedly be an explosion in online training, but you can’t beat real interaction and coaching. Look how people are screaming out for interaction now!


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WHAT DIGITAL FITNESS CONTENT DO CONSUMERS WANT? Since people have been asked to stay home to control the spread of Covid-19, what fitness content has been most in demand? Since the start of lockdown, we have been noticing a surge in the viewing of our very short workouts. Our four or seven minute HIIT workouts were the most popular. However, we are now starting to record a shift in interest to longer workouts lasting between 15 to 30 minutes.

Karen Euser, Content Product Manager at FunXtion, is responsible for the production of all digital fitness content including exercise demonstrations, workout plans and virtual classes. Content is all beautifully shot and reflects current trends as well as those predicted to be on-trend in the near to mid future. Here, through analysis of data collected from health clubs utilising FunXtion’s platform, Euser shares insights into the type of fitness content members are enjoying most and her thoughts on how these trends will evolve over the coming weeks and months. 44

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During the first week in April, the workout leaderboard looked like this: 1. 30 minute dumbbell 2. 7 minute Pilates 3. 3 minute cardio

4. 20 minute dumbbell 5. 30 minute yoga 6. 20 minute core 7. 20 minute kettlebell

How do you feel preferences will evolve over time? Workouts requiring basic equipment, like kettlebells and dumbbells, are climbing the workout leaderboard. I suspect, the longer people are required to self-isolate the more they will invest in basic home equipment such as free weights and resistance bands. I also expect to see a rise in demand for more holistic classes. The longer people are required to stay at home, the more mental health support is going to be needed. At FunXtion, we are ramping


up provision of content in this category. At the start of April, we launched our first meditation session and there will be more to follow.

How will the impact of Covid-19 influence the way people train? The closure of fitness facilities and a government directive to ‘stay at home’ has driven a huge, global demand for online training solutions. In response to this, gyms, studios, equipment manufacturers, personal trainers and group exercise instructors have all been scrambling to release digital fitness content – some highly polished, some very raw. This increase in demand and supply

has meant thousands of people across the globe have now experienced working out at home, supported by content streamed directly into their living room. This phenomenon will change the way consumers choose to exercise, forever. I predict, when lockdown is relaxed and people have the opportunity to return to their gym, there will be a huge demand for a more wraparound service. Gyms will need to find solutions that enable their brand to extend influence beyond the walls of their facility and into the daily lives of its members. This outcome will be accelerated by the effects of isolation imposed by Coronavirus but it has been the

predicted direction of travel for several years. FunXtion has been helping operators to integrate digital technology for many years, supporting an extension of services into a digital environment. Covid-19 has changed the way people train forever. Fitness brands will need to invest heavily in their digital content in order to remain relevant in the market. In this digital age, physical distancing does not need to mean social isolation – we have the technological capability to maintain a highly personalised connection to members despite a lack of physical presence. This will be a key driver for the fitness sector moving forwards. MAY 2020 45


How gyms will survive COVID-19? As the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) forces gyms across the UK to face up to extended closure, Kerstin Obenauer, UK Country Director at EGYM, looks at what gym owners can do to protect their most valuable asset – their membership base. As the population retracts into their homes, gym owners up and down the country are united by an uncertain future. In response to a Government directive, doors are locked shut and, at the time this magazine published, nobody knows when they will be reopened. This, clearly, presents a huge challenge to gym owners. Every genre of gym facility is affected, from single-site boutiques to large, multisite operations across both the public and private sectors. Sadly, not all businesses will survive. There will be casualties but one thing I am certain of, it will be an action that gym owners take right now that will determine whether their business survives this storm or not. For the last decade, EGYM has partnered with hundreds of gym owners all over the world, using the latest in digital innovation to deliver scientifically proven training experiences that engage, motivate, deliver results and ultimately 46

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a digital application, such as EGYM Digital, formerly NetPulse, this will be relatively easy to deliver. Push Notifications tend to drive more engagement than text messages because they can deep link users to specific actions in the app, prompting behaviour change. Push notifications are also free to send whereas a text messaging will incur a fee. Messages should be highly tailored and scheduled, ensuring members’ receive them at identified ‘touchpoints’, in their training journey, displaying information most likely to drive a desired behaviour. For gym owners without a digital offer, emails, text messages and phone calls will need to be the means of connecting. There is also the opportunity to use social media, potentially to host face to face ‘meetups’ using free platforms such as Whats App, Zoom and Google Hangouts.

keep members training towards predetermined outcomes. Until now, these key success factors have been delivered in a face to face, physical environment but they still apply in an environment where physical contact is removed. Through the application of simple principles, intrinsic to a facility driven fitness model, gym owners can maintain a relationship which still delivers success. Gym owners who had already implemented a digital solution that creates a direct and seamless connection to members beyond the physical walls of the facility are in a much stronger position now than those who have no digital provision. However, whatever the status of a gym’s digital journey, simple principles can still be applied to drive engagement and maintain a connection.

Connect It is absolutely imperative that gym owners establish and maintain a strong connection to members. Thanks to sophisticated customer-centric experiences, delivered by the likes of Amazon and Netflix, consumers have grown to expect incoming messages and information to be highly customised. They will expect the same from their gym. For gym owners who have already enhanced the experience for their members through the delivery of services and communications via

Whatever the delivery channel, it is important that communication is regular and relevant. During this time, members will be exposed to many free or low-cost online training opportunities and it is important that they are given constant reminders of why they pay their gym membership and choose to be a part of the gym community. This will help to ensure they return when the gym doors reopen

Keep members training It is important that members maintain their exercise habits. A break in routine threatens to cause a disconnect which may not be possible to repair. Again, gyms with a digital offer will

The outcome all gym owners are striving for right now is to retain as many members as possible and ensure that when mobility restrictions are lifted, there is a solid membership base on which to build. There are some basic principles gym owners should consider. MAY 2020 47


be way ahead of the game here in terms of their ability to continue to offer a professional training service to members despite physical distancing. For example, gyms who have integrated EGYM Digital are able to manage members individual training plans via an app, ensuring that despite the member not being able to visit the facility, with a degree of adaptation, they can continue to train uninterrupted. Trainers can also interact with members through the app. In addition to gaining full sight of training programmes, the trainer can also send personal notes, potentially responding to information such as frequency of training sessions. If a member is seen to be falling off their training wagon, an intervention by a familiar trainer may be just what is needed to bring them back on track. Gyms without a digital provision will find this more of a challenge but can still support members through the provision of more generic training materials. Maybe the posting of a ‘workout of the day’ on the website or educational webinars to help members understand basic training principles that they can then apply to their home training routines. Whatever it is, it is important that gyms continue to provide support and expertise through this physical isolation period.

Motivate For many, training alone is not fun. This creates a threat to a continuation in exercise habits during these times of physical distancing. Gym owners need to find ways to keep members motivated and training. One way to do this is through setting challenges. Again, gym owners with a digital provision such as EGYM Digital will be able to choose from a selection of pre-programmed challenges and push these out to members. Members can then measure their performance against peers and personal bests displayed in performance tables, creating reasons to train harder, longer and more often. This also brings people together into a community and makes individuals feel connected to others at a time when many will feel removed and isolated. Gym owners without a digital offer, can 48

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still set challenges via a written format on their website or could potentially film team members setting challenges on social media channels and invite members to share videos of them completing the challenge. This could also help to bring like-minded people together, united by a common goal and connected by their gym brand. Challenges should be accessible and achievable by all, built on encouraging regular training over an extended period, rather than performance.

Closing comment There is no doubt that the Coronavirus has presented gym owners with a huge challenge. During these times we all need to pull together to support each other. Over the last few weeks, EGYM has hosted a series of webinars, delivered by leading industry experts, providing a free of charge, valuable information resource to gym owners whilst they navigate these

unchartered waters. All webinars are delivered live but recorded versions of those already aired can be accessed by https://bit.ly/egymyoutube. To learn more about the topics covered here visit the EGYM YouTube page and listen to Guy Griffith’s pre-recorded webinar. During lockdown and until June, 2020, EGYM is offering its EGYM Branded Member App free of charge to gym owners. The platform enables push notifications, access to a huge library of animated exercise demonstrations, the ability for trainers to create bespoke, digital training plans and the administration of challenges to help keep members engaged and training towards their goals. For more information, visit https://offers.egym.com/bmacampaign-gymmonthly-uk


Connect with your members outside of your gym

EGYM offers the EGYM Branded Member App for free until end of June ’20! To sign up for this offer simply click here

www.egym.com MAY 2020 49


Living In Lockdown!

How I’m Adapting During This Current Crisis And What I Had To Do To Adjust. by james sutliff, disability coach and personal trainer

Hello, everyone, my name is James Sutliff, I suffer from a rare neurological movement disorder called Dystonia and have so for the past twelve years. I’m a disability specialist coach and personal trainer. I do most of my disability specialist coaching at the Matt Hampson Foundation - https://www. matthampsonfoundation.org We’re a non-profitable charity who support individuals who have been seriously injured playing sport. I need to start off by saying it was a complete shock to the system after it was announced we had to self isolate. From my own perspective, as a busy coach, I’m out of the house at 6am most mornings and I don’t get home till 8:30pm. Working six days a week, to then suddenly stop because all gyms were closed until further notice was a bit of a shock to the system to say the least. I think the most challenging is the temporary closure of the Foundation, which unfortunately had too close because 90% of my clients are of high risk, with underlying health issues. I think this has been very challenging for not only myself but both my colleagues and the trustees, as the centre is like a family, a support system to many and for it not being available is pretty tough and I worry about my clients not being able to get the support they so very need, both 50

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mentally and physically.

internationally, so this is quite exciting.

Being a disability specialist coach, it’s still very important to ensure that my clients are still having access to training plans and doing the best they can during this tough period of time. It’s not just the physical side, it’s also the mental effects that being able to train has, so constant check-ins are key. For a lot of them it’s a scary time. Many of my clients are self isolating on their own and are unsure to when they can leave the house because of the high risk factor, which I find hard because I just want to be able to support them. So with that said, I have been focusing my time on putting together specialised programs for their needs. This includes weekly online training videos and constant check-ins, to see how they’re getting on and just a chat to see how they’re doing. This also helps to keep my hand in some sense of normality and in all honesty keeps me busy.

As far as my own training routine is concerned, I have been luckily enough to be looked after by the guys at Perform Better - https://performbetter. co.uk , who provided me with dumbbells, barbell with plates, bench and double handled medicine balls. So I am able to continue to train at home, which has been great because my workouts are a huge part of managing my disability from both a physical and mental health aspect.

From a personal perspective, I’m actually enjoying the whole process. Its nice to slow down, as I am usually always on the go. I have also had to change/develop the way I work, as it’s the first time I’ve had to do my coaching on an online platform. Which has opened my eyes too many possibilities for the future and how I may be able to support people

I’m actually finding the whole process enjoyable and liberating. My life is hectic, I’m always on the go, which I do love but this time has made me realise I need to find some balance. It’s also allowed me to expand my horizons with possible future business projects. There are many things I’d like to accomplish, for example Id love to do more motivational speaking and perhaps one day write a book. I can’t say this experience has been at all a negative one, I have my health, family and I am still lucky enough to be able to work on some level. My advice to anybody who is finding this time particularly challenging would be to try and keep as busy as possible, try not to get into a Netflix’s vortex, spending endless hours scrolling social media. Instead try and

learn a new skill, do something in the house that you have been meaning to do. Join in with an online daily workout, to help keep mind & body healthy, there are so many great online classes that are being offered for free at the moment but most of all have gratitude for all the good around you, the roof over your head, the food on the table and most importantly your health. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you’ve any questions please let me know.

My social media links and website  https://www.jamessutliff.co.uk  https://www.instagram.com/ james_sutliff/?hl=en  https://twitter.com/ JSutliffFitness  https://www.facebook.com/ JamesSutliffPersonalTrainer/

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COVID-19 WILL HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT ON HOW PEOPLE TRAIN BY ROB LANDER, CEO AND FOUNDER, FISIKAL It’s been incredible to watch. The mass mobilisation from physical to digital has happened almost overnight. The adaptability and resilience of gym owners nationwide is to be commended. The quality of digital content and delivery is hugely varied. Many personal trainers have turned to platforms such as Zoom, Instagram and facebook Live to deliver fitness content. For now, consumers are willing to forgive the raw experience in favour of a connection to a familiar face. I’m not sure how long this tolerance will last.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, gym owners across the world have turned to digital solutions in order to stay connected to their communities. The question is, how will this forced move into a digital space affect the way consumers expect their fitness services to be delivered in the future once things return to ‘normal’? Rob Lander, CEO and Founder at Fisikal shares his thoughts. Gym owners have needed to massively adapt their service delivery in order to continue a meaningful and valued relationship with members during these times of imposed physical distancing. This has resulted in a mass migration to online service solutions. 52

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Typically, gym owners have either expanded on a pre-lockdown digital provision or taken advantage of numerous digital platform creators and

content providers ready and willing to offer a short term fix, enabling the push out of generic content. In a small number of cases, complete online solutions have been designed, custombranded and fully integrated in a matter of days. Access to most of the content being pushed out at this time is free, both to gym owners and consumers. Short term, for gym owners, the ability to stream fitness content into homes, without any financial outlay enables a continuation of service without the need for investment at a time when cash flow for most is a major challenge. I question the longer term impact of this. When gyms open again, consumers will have


influence into daily lives, to position their offer as absolutely central to an individual’s health and wellbeing needs and aspirations. Digital technology, available right now, makes this possible. This is where gym owners should be investing to future proof their business. Moving forwards, it will be the quality of the digital provision that differentiates one brand from another. In a world where consumers are used to a highly personalised experience, driven by digital brand giants like Netflix and Amazon, gym owners will also have to find ways to deliver a much more person-centered solution. At Fisikal, we are developing some really exciting functionality which will enable gym owners to send highly targeted information to individuals, based on past behaviours and preferences. Moving forwards, a one size-fits all approach will simply not cut the mustard.

become accustomed to free access to fitness content, available anywhere, anytime. There is a danger that this will influence expectations moving forwards and threaten to make it more difficult to impose charges. Post Covid-19, consumers will expect gyms to continue to offer a digital provision and their tolerance of ‘low quality’ will wane. Gym owners need to be planning their re-opening strategy now and that strategy simply has to include a high quality, custom-branded, digital member engagement solution that supports personal health and fitness training goals, 24 hours a day. Most gyms, with a digital provision pre Covid-19, focused functionality around processes such as member on-boarding and bookings. Some offered on-demand training solutions but most did not, assuming members completed the majority of their training at the gym. With consumers enjoying an unbelievable amount of

free, high quality, training content, streamed directly into their homes during Covid-19 imposed lockdown, that has now become the new baseline expectation. If a person is unable to gain round the clock support from their gym in the future, they will look elsewhere for this provision. One thing is for sure, there will be a plethora of other providers ready and eager to offer their services. In short, Covid-19 will accelerate the fitness sector's move into the digital age. Moving forwards, standalone, physical training boxes will become a thing of the past. People enjoy physical contact with others. So, I believe, there will always be a place for a physical training space that brings like minded people together. However, these training spaces will become a part of a much wider health, fitness and wellbeing solution offered by brands that provide wraparound care and support. Gym owners need to be thinking of ways to extend their brand

So, when gyms reopen, I suspect for the first few weeks it will be business as usual while everyone tries to return to the familiar. However, the heightened involvement of digitalisation in connecting, engaging and working out will have an irreversible effect on the way people will want to train. Savvy gym owners will already be exploring ways to ensure they can offer a highly personalised, 24-hour support service to ensure their brand remains relevant in an increasingly competitive, digitally driven, environment. Fisikal provides gym owners with an affordable member experience and business management digital solution. Functionality, delivered via a mobile app, includes: • Booking and payment solutions • A library of pre-recorded quality fitness content and an ability to integrate bespoke content • Staff management • In-app two-way messaging • Business analysis • Operational visibility For more information on how Fisikal could support your digital transformation, email: info@fisikal MAY 2020 53



A SUPPLIERS PERSPECTIVE We asked a number of suppliers to the gym market: ‘Will things ever be the same again or has Coronavirus (COVID-19) changed the status quo, forever?’ Here’s what they had to say

Alina Cooper, Co-Founder, Fit Links and GetSetGo! Covid-19 is presenting challenges that are unprecedented in our lifetime. It has forced us to change our habits, embrace technology, to reflect and to find a ‘new normal’. Now more than ever before has there been an emphasis on the importance of health and wellbeing, on being present, upon gratitude and freedom and the quality time we spend with our loved ones.  We cannot predict with any certainty when this crisis will end and what state the global economy will be in when it does but what we do know is that the leisure industry was experiencing substantial growth and has shown itself to be incredibly resistant during recessions. The industry will not only recover, but it 54

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will come back stronger than before. There will inevitably be some casualties, however, those that do bounce back have to embrace the change in consumer behaviour. The value in a quality digital provision is undeniable and this presents a huge opportunity to operators to have both a physical and digital membership offering. But that said, the majority will still want to get back to the gym or their classes. We are likely to see an immediate influx from the younger generations and families, whilst the

older and more vulnerable may be a little more cautious. We need to reflect on the learnings and focus on what people really want and need. We need to use our spaces to bring people together; creating a community. We will see a greater overall percentage of the population being active, a more considered and diverse offering, an increase in uptake of family fitness services, more focus on cleaning procedures and improved member communication and retention. 


Dan Rees, Commercial Director, Premier Global NASM Covid-19 has changed the world, forever. Thousands of fitness professionals have been displaced due to the closure of physical facilities and many businesses, even some who were thriving until a few months ago, will not survive. Two years ago, Premier Global NASM took a decision to invest in digital transformation. As a result, our ability to apply our Live Learning Through Digital Technology to every stage of a student’s learning journey – including final assessment, has meant that we have been able to continue ‘business as usual’ throughout this crisis. Sadly, most other training providers will not be as fortunate and as a result many may fold, leaving thousands of students out of pocket and only part way through their education programme. In response to this, we are inviting any fitness professional unable to complete education with their current training provider to get in touch. Where we can, we will work with students to enable them to complete their training with us, charging only enough to cover our costs.  As life returns to ‘normal’ post Covid-19, consumers will be keen to

exercise. No matter how people choose to workout, whether it be in a physical fitness facility or at home via streamed fitness services, there will be a huge demand for support and advice. We intend to prepare the market for this uplift through the deployment of job-ready fitness professionals into the workforce.

Marcus Kingwell, CEO, EMD UK I think there are three big shifts to consider.  The first and most worrying shift is the financial damage that Covid-19 is doing to the 2,800 gyms and leisure centres in the UK. Many are facing permanent closure, putting 100,000 jobs at risk. While some of the instructors and participant demand could move to community settings, the loss of the management, marketing and support that gyms and leisure centres provide will have significant and lasting consequences. The second shift, however, presents an opportunity: the growth of online fitness classes. As a result of Covid-19, they have had an unprecedented level of promotion: free sessions, sometimes endorsed by celebrities, delivered directly to a captive audience. It’s Olympic-level exposure for group exercise but with a much bigger legacy. As a result, millions of people are

experiencing group exercise formats for the first time. They are learning the moves and feeling the physical and mental health benefits. A large proportion will want to continue the same activity in a face-to-face setting once restrictions have lifted. This presents a huge opportunity for fitness professionals - in sales terms, they are hot prospects. Through the use of search engines such as classfinder. org.uk, participants will be able to find classes (both online and in person) and instructors will be able to book participants into their classes. The third shift is closely related to the second. Having tried online classes, a proportion of participants will want to continue exercising at home. This might include people who live a long way from their nearest venue, those with caring responsibilities at home and people who are intimidated by gyms. Instructors will need to hone their online offer and market it carefully to these target groups.

Paul Roberts, CEO & Co-Founder of MyCustomerLens 2020 will be remembered for the huge surge in digital transformation. Lockdown is transforming customer experiences across every industry. Decision-making has accelerated. Inefficient manual processes are no longer acceptable. The gym industry responded to emerging needs with incredible pace. New processes were evolving in response to real-time feedback. Overnight instructors were creating new online classes. While members may return after lockdown, their expectations won't be the same. They now know that fast decisions can be made, and gyms can respond to concerns the same day. Other industries are also transforming gym member expectations. For example, shopping online is now the default way to buy things. Museums and safari parks have created MAY 2020 55


enthralling virtual tours. So what happens when lockdown lifts? Consumers will expect physical experiences to be better than their new digital ones. For gyms, this means online sign-up and cancellation processes that rival Amazon's. It means virtual tours that give a real taste of a gym's culture. Crucially, it means staff involvement in a process must add value to it - not slow it down. Keeping up means reimagining your feedback processes. You now need your finger on the pulse and everyone on the same page. Digital transformation is enabling gyms to collect and use feedback in realtime. To go beyond the numbers and understand what members are saying. To automatically collect and analyse social media posts, emails, surveys and text feedback. The question is, are your processes ready to keep up?

Richard Baker, CEO, Wattbike In light of Covid-19, and the temporary closure of facilities, these are challenging times for us all, but we are confident that, as a company and community, we can get through this together.  56

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Undoubtedly, a lot will have changed post Covid-19. Sadly, many businesses will not survive, but there will be some who have adapted rapidly to the changes required and who will therefore bounce back. This crisis has forced us to embrace the digitalisation of our industry, almost overnight. And at a time of self-isolation and lockdown, consumers have become accustomed to ondemand fitness offerings being made available to them in the comfort of their own homes. Buying habits will have been altered by this time, not just the dramatic rise in the investment of home gym equipment but the combination, and consumer expectation, of a highquality digital offering to complement

their facility membership, providing them with a wraparound, 24/7 service that engages them outside of the four walls of a facility and into their everyday lives. When the doors to our industry reopen, we have to accept that there will be a ‘new normal’. Clubs, studios and PTs will have to be ready to continue to embrace technology, utilising it to connect on a much broader scale with members. There will always be a demand for the face-to-face service and the atmosphere that group exercise brings, but it will now have to be complimented with a high-quality digital offering also. As an industry, we have to bring a club-quality work out to people anywhere, anytime. 


Kerstin Obenauer, Country Director, EGYM UK COVID-19 has accelerated the fitness industry’s journey into the digital age. Over the last few weeks there has been a mass mobilisation of services from a physical space into a digital environment. Whether we like it or not, the post-lockdown world will be very different to the world we left behind. Gym owners are advised to plan their re-entry strategy now and it is imperative that a digital offer is high on the agenda. During these unprecedented times, I have also been encouraged by the way the industry has pulled together to offer support. Many gym owners will still struggle to weather this storm and some, sadly may not survive, but, in the main, Ukactive and CIMSPA have done a good job, lobbying government to get our voice heard and to secure financial support for thousands of businesses and individuals.

In addition, suppliers have rallied round to offer an unbelievable array of free digital products from content provision to entire delivery platforms. At EGYM, we have made a tailored version of our EGYM Digital App, formerly NetPulse, available to gym owners, free of charge so that they can extend their reach into homes and continue to support their members whilst respecting physical distancing rules. I really hope that this level of collaboration continues beyond the lockdown. We really are ‘all in this together’. Moving forwards, physical gyms will need to offer a digital provision because consumer expectations will now demand a 24 hour care and support plan. People will

also have got used to digital offerings and may want to continue this format of training, potentially alongside physical training in a facility. Suppliers will need to be mindful of changing consumer needs and respectful of the fact that many gym owners will be cash poor in the short term. There is little doubt that COVID-19 will change the world. Digital capability and success is likely to become the main differentiator in the market. Gyms able to successfully deliver a highly personalised service that extends into daily lives, creating a wraparound support plan will be the brands that thrive. There is little doubt that we are entering a new era in our sector’s evolution.

"We will see a greater overall percentage of the population being active" MAY 2020



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Are you learning while not earning? How to learn so you can earn again. Matt Gleed, Senior Master Trainer and Education Specialist Learning to Self Develop in public While we are in lockdown I have committed my time to selfdevelopment, which in a way I haven’t done on this scale for maybe 10 years. I am trying to look at what I do and then challenge the reason constantly. For example, workouts that I am doing for the public on Facebook and YouTube. I have the mindset that what if a student I have taught or peer I work with were to challenge me on the form or justification of the exercise or structure of the routine. I’ve been writing workouts for 20 years and planning lessons to check them after for longer. It's at times

like these I remember my excuses for not doing Social Media Workouts and Influencer work. I don’t want to get publicly challenged but then I have to back myself and remember the thousands of trainers I have taught all over the world in 20+ Countries. I have insights to share on almost every exercise I do and give simple coaching cues that could help people improve technique or intensity in seconds.  So I decided to go for it and put myself out in more ways than just teaching and coaching in my traditional ways. I have submersed myself in a new way and I have loved it! I now do 6 Live Workouts every week on Facebook

and YouTube for Matrix Fitness with not a single piece of equipment needed. I have filmed 350+ Exercises in video and photos for an App and now written 12 Workouts for recording this week with various themes for different companies to use and share to members of gyms. Now the biggest one by far is in full swing and that’s the TRX Live Education that is now available. For many people who know me teaching TRX for the last 10 years has been great. It’s a huge brand and I lead the line on education to a team of 7 other Master Trainers. TRX have made their Suspension Training Course FREE for all trainers, health care workers and sports coaches. Knowing that millions of people have reduced or no income at the moment but plenty of time and potential interest in growing a knowledge base I think it's amazing that a company would give out the work they have created at a large cost for free. The sign-ups were amazing with 10,000+ trainers signing up in the US in two days. The UK soon followed and with 150 trainers on the first course and 300 on the second, we now have a target to help 1,000 trainers over the next couple of weeks.  If you would like to sign up please go to the TRX UK website and click on Professional Education.  MAY 2020 59


Technology and Editing With all the content I’ve been creating the learning curve of using iMovie and other editing platforms has been critical to bringing it all together. The time to build a set up of a white vinyl backdrop with lights and camera angles has been long gone. Shutter speeds on cameras and lenses to then captions and subtitles, it takes so long to do a good job on it all and then you learn or try something new and want to go back and recreate what you’ve done, It’s an endless journey.  Some of the advice I would give as I grow in this area is starting with a focus for who this will benefit and why. You shouldn’t make the mistake of just wanting to make content for

people to click like or give a heart too. It should actually be far more direct in a planned way.  Think about why would people watch this and what will they get out of it. If you get a hundred people who know you well to like something but you’re asking for them to share a message to get more people to your workouts, but no one does share it and no one new does come to the online workout, what you’ve spent hours on hasn’t helped and other than learning from the making of the post the plan hasn’t worked.  A webinar featuring Richard from Sweatlife Films who talked specifically about this shared a great 5 Step Formula called V.I.D.E.O.

V This video provides VALUE to my audience because…. I After watching the video I want my audience to…. D The best platform to DISTRIBUTE this video is…. E I will EVALUATE the success of my video with…. O The ONE idea, solution, message of this video is…. Richard Playfair was a great support and clearly an expert in his field having worked with several top companies and gave great advice on production thoughts. Video quality, sound quality and the environment you are in all need to be thought through. You will learn a lot each time you work on a project but working with a plan and a thought process like above will steer you in the right direction. 

Workout plans With the above in mind it’s time to turn to the part of your new content that you should have mastered, the workout. The number of trainers who went straight to intense plyo routines has calmed down now. However, it was a lesson to learn ‘Intact before impact’ please make sure the warm-up is progressive and preparing the body for the intensity is critical. Offering options and build into progressions is a sign of a good trainer. Be mindful about putting workouts together that only the fittest will survive. You should be coaching and leading the workouts yourself and trying to stay away from setting a complex combination then coming to the camera shouting ‘motivation’.  Be the coach to offer inclusive workouts for new and interested followers through to the options of the hard and intense demanding base. Remember you can’t get fit in one workout but you can be put off exercise long-term by one. Drop the zero to hero workouts that you see on the American TV adverts and keep your online workouts full of inspiring and safe content that the viewers can watch and hear in good quality and let them progress organically. 


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Here's what happens, postpandemic... What can we do now? What can we control? How can we grow? One thing must rule all: preparation. By Ben Hackney-Williams, Head of Content at Escape Fitness We're over the initial impact of the coronavirus, and now we're in a phase of adjustment; of lobbying governments and carefully watching the effects of an endless number of variables around the world. Once we've got adhering to legal and restrictions and safety measures checked, it's important we share as much information as possible with each other to understand how this will impact all our futures at every level of the fitness industry.

on – we're running our businesses and running our lives; running at 100 miles an hour. Currently, that's not the case for the vast majority.” Now that the smack-round-the-head first impression of COVID-19 is done with, there's the time plan for things

like reopening, recovery, product launches, new initiatives, brand partnerships and making sense of the imminent mergers and acquisitions in coming months. Embrace opportunity and even unforeseen detriment can come good.

After survival comes opportunity. Weather the storm and you'll be faced with a genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reassess and recover from this pandemic stronger than ever. From a data-driven mindset, CEO of Keepme.ai Ian Mullane knows how preparation over prediction is going to be paramount to success for any operator or entrepreneur in fitness. “It is an utterly unique situation for any business, to sit down and plot out what they believe the impact could be of the scenarios that could happen,” he explains. “We all like to think that we do it on a day to day basis, but it's too challenging and there's too much going MAY 2020



Ian continues: “[The pandemic] gives every business leader in this industry the largest proportion of time they will get in their career to deliberate on what direction their business could go in. It's hard at the moment. It's hard for everybody, but there is a necessity to plan forward, and if they don't plan forward then they won't get this opportunity again.”

Don't get lazy after lockdown. Digital initiatives and home fitness have been the drivers to the majority of retention and revenue opportunities short term, but it's important to remember that bricks and mortar will be in even more demand as lockdowns are lifted. In the long term, your strategy will change but your immediate business model will not. How can you stand out and evolve? “The challenge while brand certainly comes into a member's decision to join a physical facility, convenient location will always be the key driver,” explains Marc Diaper, CEO at Gymbox. “Once you go online, the choice is endless so you need to be different. We’re fortunate that one of our USPs is the creativity, uniqueness and variety of our class programming and we’re able to deliver an online programme which mirrors our in-club offering. “I suspect a hybrid model of live streaming/on demand and bricks and mortar will be the way forward. These last few weeks will have changed 62

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many mindsets, both consumer and businesses. Brands that are fortunate to survive the coming months and that adapt quickly to do things differently moving forward have huge opportunities ahead.”

Are you a lion or a hippo? It's in the tough times that people rise or fall. This is important from a member experience service offering, but it's also vital that you act in the correct manner for your business as well as your members. Gym owner and business coach, Craig Ballantyne, explains how positive leadership values and perceptions will only last for some during the coronavirus climate. The spotlight is on, and people will either experience leaders crumbling under the pressure or rising to the challenge. “The leaders are either becoming lions, or you're finding out that that leader was actually a hippo and you can't turn a hippo into a lion,” says Craig. “You're seeing this in healthcare, you're seeing this in the government you're seeing this in politics... You're seeing the true colours of a lot of people right now.” Though entrepreneurs and owners will be held to account in the long run, it's not just about CEO-level accountability, as every aspect of business will face the same challenge. It's how you react that will be noticed for better or worse. “In your business, you have lions who are intrapreneurs (sic) in your business,

or simply great administrative assistants or trainers or whatever,” Craig continues. “And then you have people that you're finding out are hippos in your business. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to fire them. But you have to understand and modify your expectations of what some people are willing to do.” This sense of realism is going to hit hard for many businesses in the coming months. It all comes back to working together and really supporting each other in all of our times of need. Through being aware and, more importantly, being prepared, we can embrace the change that is going to happen to overcome the downsides that we all fear. • Ben Hackney-Williams is head of content at Escape Fitness and has been a journalist for over a decade. He has worked in the fitness industry as a consumer-facing content creator for international bodybuilding and MMA publications, driven engagement in supply-side gym design and equipment manufacturing, and helped produce over 130 episodes of the Escape Your Limits podcast.

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D i g i ta l or Die By Guy Griffiths, Author of Stick Around (strategies to keep your gym members motivated)

several Les Mills classes per week (these will likely be the first members back through the door when you reopen). However, there may be more members who prefer to see one of your instructors running a class from their own home. It might not look so professional, but it will keep your members connected to your club. Class timetables are still important, but shift workers, home-schoolers, and your instructor’s schedules are all over the place. You can now be a 24/7 online club (regardless of whether you were before), with members doing classes when they want.

The fitness industry has dived in at the deep end of the digital world during lockdown. We were slowly evolving with online offerings and programming apps. Now we must accelerate our adoption of technology to stay in touch with and retain members. If you are waiting for things to get ‘back to normal’, you will be left behind. It’s critical that you get on the digital fitness bandwagon right now, not only to help your members and your business to get through lockdown, but to come out the other side fit and fighting, and prepared for the next phase of the fitness industry. Health and fitness are at the front of everyone’s mind now more than ever. 64

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And while gyms are closed, people are finding ways to keep fit and active online. This ranges from searching for dumbbells to attending live workout sessions. Social feeds are full of fitness classes, tips, and challenges. It can be difficult to be heard over all the noise, but as a gym owner, you already have dedicated followers in your members. You also have a database of ex-members and prospects that should listen to you, if you put out the right messages.

Online Classes – Live-stream or catch-up During lockdown, you need to provide for the majority of your members as best you can. Consider options to motivate the members that need it most. Some will be happy to do

Encourage members to comment or tag friends on live-stream or if they catch-up on a class later. It is a great way of tracking and interacting with members while they’re not in the club. Instructors should ‘shout out’ members in a class, and follow-up by liking or replying to comments after the event.


start offering your ex-members and prospects access to your online content and live classes right now, especially all those ex-members who claimed to be moving away!

Lockdown phase 2 At the time of writing, it is too early to say, and we hope it won’t happen, but we would be foolish not to consider options for a second period of lockdown. If this occurs, only clubs with an online fitness product will survive, and those with the best digital offering will thrive.

Workouts, Fitness Tests, and Challenges Unless you are a boutique studio, it’s not just about classes. Many members need workout plans, for which there are a plethora of apps, platforms, and systems that can support them online and remotely. The best systems build in fitness challenges, one-toone coaching sessions and two-way messaging. If your PT or instructor can see the effort your member has put in, they can help with accountability. A series of WOD or WOW (Workout of the Day/Week) are a good idea for helping members to try new things and level up. They are a staple of the CrossFit model, great for engagement and a challenge. Some clubs have been setting simple fitness tests for members to support programming, challenges and personal goals. Cardio, Strength or Flexibility are three key areas, with around three tests in each. The focus here is on measuring results and building clubs within the club. You are providing additional motivation to those who need it. Accuracy is unimportant, self-measurement and reporting are adequate. If the members want to use body composition scales when they return, then you have got them into a great habit.

to access the club on day one. Firstly because of social distancing, and secondly because many will still be furloughed (or worse) and will not be able to afford a full membership. Your digital fitness offering needs to support these other members, and to provide a solution for new members looking, but perhaps unable, to join on a full membership. What seemed at first like a stopgap solution becomes a whole new business offering, that helps to service members while they wait their turn to get into the club. You need to think what your online fitness product is worth right now, if you haven’t done so already. Imagine your club is open, and price your online membership(s) accordingly. The sooner you do this the better, as you can

Bricks and mortar clubs will still be at the core of the fitness industry, and I believe that many independent gyms will come through this tough time in good shape. But the industry will not get ‘back to normal’. Digital fitness will be the new normal, alongside the in-club experience, and for a new type of member who is supported online only. We’re in the digital deep end and need to swim to survive! Guy Griffiths is a coach to independent gym owners, and a member retention specialist. His current mission is to help your club to get through lockdow 9n with as many members as possible, decent systems in place, and a watertight retention strategy. Gym Owner Monthly will be paying for 5 x 30 minute coaching sessions worth £75 each for the first 5 readers who book at ggfit.com/gom

Digital to support re-opening When you can re-open, it’s unlikely that all your members will be able MAY 2020 65


How To Help Your PTs Throughout Covid-19 & Beyond? By Liam Holder We are all going through a difficult and strange time with Covid-19 both in business and personally. This has rocked the health and fitness world like no event in recent years, gyms are shut, gym equipment is flying off the shelves and everyone is working online now. But as gym owners, what can you do to look after your fantastic personal trainers throughout Covid-19 & beyond? Help Them With Brand Exposure & Social Media: Most gyms now, whether they are commercial or private have their own social media accounts across Facebook, Instagram etc. At this time a lot of Personal Trainers have moved online whether they are ready or not and are advertising left, right and centre so the market is extremely saturated. So rather than focusing purely on financials (which I’m sure we will all admit a lot of PTs are guilty of). It’s the perfect time for them to focus on their brand exposure, their social media and providing valuable content. This is where gym owners can help in two different ways, you can push them across your social media using things like live classes, educational posts or a social media takeover for the day with 66

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each personal trainer i.e a day in the life of a PT. You could also help them to develop their social media which has the plus side of them potentially bringing members into the gym for you. Help To Find Them Educational & Developmental Courses: There are so many different aspects of a business for you to look at and currently so many online courses for you to take part in and develop yourself/your business. Sales, marketing, finances, social media, strategy etc just to name a few plus courses such as Strength & Conditioning, nutrition-based courses, sports specific courses, the list is endless! Help Them To Develop Processes Within Their Business: To run an efficient Personal Training brand, there are many different processes that you have to put in place to look professional to your clients and to help them get the most out of their time with you. Things such as pre-consultation forms, movement assessment, regular check-ins etc are regular processes that can be easily put in place to help the client feel valued and help to monitor their progression. Make Them A Part Of Your Marketing & Social Media Plans: This is a great way of you being able to make your

Personal Trainer feel valued and to help you create more high-quality content. Involving them at the fro nt of your plans can help potential members to realise you have a friendly and approachable team, it can help to be recognised by members when they enter your facility and can give the Personal Trainer extra motivation to continue to work hard. Push Clients Towards Them: This is a fairly standard thing for gyms and managers to do for their PTs but after this period ends a lot of PTs will potentially be looking to rebuild their business. This will go a long way to keeping them happy and helping to motivate them at work. These are just a few simple tactics that I’ve experienced as both a Personal Trainer and Manager that will be important to your team during this time.





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Gyms need not be sweaty, smelly and crowded – they can be the very height of luxury Here are the top five-star gyms in the world The Clock Marylebone, London Located in a discreet townhouse this high-end gym is the very opposite of gritty. A grand piano, chandeliers and splendid antiques are scattered throughout the work-out areas and the whole place is awash with good vibes. The piece de resistance is the gleaming ‘clock’ workout station where clients do 15 minute HIIT sessions with a trainer. There’s also ‘The Kitchen’ where a Michelin starred chef is on hand to create delicious but nutrition planfriendly fare.

The Burj Club Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE This brand new mega-gym is spread over five floors in one of the most unique buildings in the world – and the tallest. Like a lot of Dubai, opulence and luxury are de rigour and this is no exception. There are indoor and outdoor pools overlooking downtown Dubai, the latest gym equipment and a dedicated juice bar. There are also daily classes, experience showers and day beds and cabanas for a post-work-out rest.


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The Houstonian Houston, Texas The Houstonian Club is spread over 18 acres and claims to be the ‘essence of old school luxury’. It has more than 300 state- of-the-art fitness machines available and 150 group classes. Added extras include private dieticians, a 50,000-foot indoor tennis facility and private changing rooms where your laundry is done for you. The upscale members can also choose from four award-winning eateries and privacy is one of their main focuses so no pesky paparazzi to ruin their A-listers’ workout session.

Equinox London, New York and various The flagship gym is in New York but there are super swanky branches now in London’s Kensington and St James. In the US the décor is inspired by the Big Apple’s different architectural styles such as artists’ lofts in Soho or the grandeur of Gramercy. In the UK the spaces are equally stunning. Members can enjoy eucalyptus-infused damp towels to cool off, Kiehl’s toiletries and compression therapy. Tier X clients also benefit from a completely personalised and in-depth assessment about lifestyle, goals, mind and body to get you exactly where you want to be – anytime. This includes Skype sessions if you’re away and ‘sleep coaching’.

Blanche Paris Blanche is one of Paris’ most stylish and luxe work-out spaces and is located in a gorgeous former mansion. It’s by the creators of the iconic Kay and Ken Club and some of its sumptuous features include a granite swimming pool, a cinema and a restaurant headed by the world-renowned chef Jean Imbert. Blanche is described as a ‘five-star sporting in a historic location’ and offers only the most advanced yoga, pilates and boxing classes. Members can relax afterwards in the jet-equipped infinity pool and state-ofthe-art sauna and steam room MAY 2020



Don't Think Out The Box!!!!! Think In A Box: The Prison Workout! W h at I t I s A n d W h y Yo u S h o u l d d o I t : on time and who therefore regularly renege on their well-intentioned gym plans. Instead, armed with Flanders’ expertise, they are well-positioned to build muscle and burn man boobs from  the relative discomfort of their living room. The principles that guarantee its success are a focus on compound movements (those that use multiple muscle groups) to ensure maximum muscle-gain from each rep, and explosive plyometric movements to spike your heart rate and melt through more calories than more pedestrian exercises. It’s this combination that guarantees Flanders’ Cell Workout success in your quest for a better, healthier body. It was a claustrophobic backdrop that inspired ex-Pentonville prison inmate LJ Flanders to get creative. According to him, there are only so many pressups and sit-ups you can do in an 8×6 foot cell. Especially when you’re in there 23 hours a day. And so started his decision to write the Cell Workout book, 70

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which, since his release from prison, has developed from a programme designed out of restrictive necessity to become a burgeoning men's fitness trend. The prison workout’s ethos centres on the need for minimal space and zero kit. As a result, it has become the go-to training plan for men short

So how can you take the prison workout and freely deploy it in your own living room? Below Flanders details the ten moves you need to unlock the training plan’s full potential, as well as how to stitch them together to create the perfect workout that will stimulate muscle growth faster than a fistful of protein powder. Take note.

lower your head to the floor. Stop an inch from the floor and press back up to return to the start position. Why: Your shoulders are a large muscle group that have an immediate impact on the way you look. Add inches to them and your silhouette will broaden to help you look bigger, faster with minimum work. The extension of your arms also works your triceps, the larger muscles of your arms, so that you fill out your shirt sleeves more quickly, too.

Plyo Staggered Hand Press Up The Prison Workout “The workout should be done as a descending pyramid circuit, for five rounds in total,� says Flanders. That means you should start by doing each of the exercises for 12 reps backto-back. Rest for two minutes. Then, for the second round, do each exercise for ten reps back-to-back and rest for two minutes. Work down until you reach four reps. That final round may not sound like a lot, but the volume you will have already got through will make the reps burn. But pain in this instance means progress, so push on until the end.

with soft knees as you lower into a squat while returning your hands to your feet. Go again. Why: The first exercise is crucial. This incorporates every major muscle group at high intensity to activate muscle fibre and prime you for the rest of the workout. The squat hits your lower body while the extended arms target your shoulders. Once your muscles are switched on they will more effectively power you through the rest of the workout, which will come in handy in round five. Start strong.

Pike Shoulder Press Plyo Star Jump

How: Bend at the knees to lower yourself into a narrow squat, until your thighs are parallel to the floor and hands by your feet. Explosively jump up, raising your arms and legs outwards diagonally to form a star shape. Continue the movement, decelerating

How: Assume a standard press-up position, with your arms straight, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and with your feet hip-width apart and toes tucked under. Raise your hips up high and lift on to your toes to form a pike. Maintaining the position with your body, bend your elbows outwards to

How: Assume a standard press-up position. Place your hands facing forwards, one slightly in front and one slightly behind your shoulders. Slowly bend your elbows, pointing them outwards, as you lower your body towards the floor. Explosively pressing up with enough force so that your hands come up off the floor. Switch your hand positions mid-air, landing with the opposite hand in front. As your hands touch back down onto the floor, decelerate to lower your body down in a controlled movement. Repeat, alternating hand positions as they land. Why: Much like your shoulders, working your chest with a press-up also serves to bulk up your upper body and help you to look bigger in fewer reps. The reason for exploding off the floor, rather than sticking to standard press-ups is that it incorporates more muscle fibres and develops power. This power will then transfer to your gym sessions and help to add extra kilos to your bench press. Expect a new PB and new bragging rights very soon.


of your lower arm on the floor, with your elbow directly under your shoulder and place the hand of your upper arm by your temple. Engage your abdominals and lift up your hips to maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. Bend the knee of your lower leg and bring it up towards your chest. At the same time, bend your upper elbow down to touch the knee. Continue the movement, returning to the start position. Repeat with the opposite side.

Down Dog Up Dog How: Revert to a standard press-up position. Push your hips up and backwards, bringing your chest towards thighs. Straighten your legs and flatten your heels to the floor. Relax your head between your shoulders. Lower your body, bending your arms, keeping elbows close to your sides. Push through your arms, lifting your body up and forwards, coming onto your toes. Raise your head and chest to look upwards, stretching your neck and arching your back. Reverse the movement and push your hips back up to the start position. Why: After targeting growth in specific areas, this moves taps into the trend of mobility. The fluid reps help to open up your chest and your shoulders, as well as build strength. Extra mobility in your upper body will reverse the inevitable hunch that comes as a side-effect of your desk job and, by pulling your shoulders back, will also broaden them. You’ll look better without actually getting that much stronger. For those exercising to look better with minimum effort, it’s the perfect cheat move.

hands towards your feet. Continue the movement, slowly lowering back down to the start position.

Full Side Plank With Leg Lift Why: This is the first of three core-specific exercises as the circuit works its way down your body. By lifting your arms and legs in the air, this exercise removes your ability to use momentum and cheat the reps. The crunch movement also targets your rectus abdominis muscles (that’s your sixpack) rather than your core as a whole. It won’t make you much stronger, but, when you’re sat poolside this summer, you won’t mind.

Side Plank With Opposite Oblique Crunch

Vertical Toe Reach How: Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up towards the ceiling and feet flexed. Extend your arms straight up. Engage your abdominals and slowly raise your shoulders off the floor and reach your 72

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Why: This second abs move combines the six-pack-friendly crunch with the instability of a plank. As your core struggles to stop you from falling over it switches into overdrive to build strength in your mid-section, but it’s the twist of this move that’s most important. Working from side-to-side targets the muscles down the side of your abs called the obliques. Work them until they pop and it’s what can turn your six-pack into the impossible 24pack of a magazine cover model. Really.

How: Lie on your side resting on the forearm

How: Assume a full side plank with straight arm position. Lift the upper leg up in line with your hips, keeping the rest of your body still. Hold for three seconds, release the tension slowly and lower to the start. Repeat with the opposite side.

Why: Take out the crunch and this move is all about instability and finishing off your core. Focusing on your mid-section will give you the transferable power when you move from bodyweight to squat rack. While the press-up powered up your bench press, a strong core is the difference between you and a champion barbell squat. If you’re struggling to keep your hips off the ground, clench your glutes to reset your pelvis and power through the final few reps.


Prisoner Squat

How: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and point your toes slightly outwards. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your elbows and shoulders back. Maintain a straight back and engage your abdominals. Sit your hips back until your thighs are level with your knees, parallel to the floor. Reverse the movement, slowly raising back up to the start position. That’s one rep. Why: As you hit your lower body, the intensity will start to ramp up. Working your larger muscle groups will spike your heart rate and send your calorie burn soaring. Which is important if you want to maximise the six-pack benefits you were working on in the previous rounds. There’s no point having strong abs if they’re swaddled in a spare tyre. Burn through the blubber with lower body squats like this and you’ll earn the Instagram-ready definition that makes the sweat worth it.

Glute Bridge With Calf Raise Toe Tap How: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Engage your glutes as you push through your heels to raise your pelvis upwards to form a straight line with your knees. Lift both heels up off the floor. With heels raised, lift one foot off the floor and then the other, in a marching action. Lower and reverse the movement to complete the rep. Complete 11 more and that’s your first round. Only four more to go. Why: As you raise your hips up off the floor contract your butt to maximise the benefit of each rep and build power that will win your new PBs in all squats and deadlifts from here on out. They’re also the biggest muscles in your body and so will keep your calorie burn well and truly ticking over. And finally your calves. They may seem unimportant, but they’re also the muscles that men often struggle to develop. Bulk up yours and wear shorts with pride this season.

Wall Sit With Bent Knee Lift How: Stand with your back to a wall and sink down until your legs are parallel with the floor. Position your feet shoulder width apart and far enough out that your shins are perpendicular. Press the small of your back into the wall to engage your abs. Slowly and under control to maintain balance, lift your right foot six inches from the floor and

lower. Repeat on the other side and alternate. Lots. Why: The plyometric elements of this circuit will get your heart rate up, so use this move to catch your breath. But more than that, a static isometric hold like this will light up your lower body and is an excellent change of stimulus to build leg strength. Lifting one leg will for the grounded one to work twice as hard, while also adding a level of instability to tax your abs. This one is going to burn.

"Armed with Flanders’ expertise, they are wellpositioned to build muscle and burn man boobs from   the relative discomfort of their living room" MAY 2020



How to Start a YouTube Channel as a Gym Owner? Daniel Nyiri, founder of 4U Fitness

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." Because of the Lockdown worldwide and freeze on gyms and retaill, I wanted to dig deep and give you the most important things YOU MUST do on YouTube as a gym owner. I have seen so many gym owners and personal trainers getting on YouTube for videos, online coaching, and even live workouts daily! Some go on with 3 live workouts per day! So I spent my last weekend with great YouTube creators and went through lots of their learning materials and collected the most critical steps for you. 1. Spend time on Titles and Metadata Use Google Trends, then use the YouTube search bar and then finally use Tube Buddy to score your title and keywords.  2.  Speak your title and keywords! That's right. YouTube listens to your videos and calculates your ratting using cutting edge technology. So you need to throw your titles and keyword into the video. 74

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3. Create Attractive Thumbnails. Use Adobe Photoshop or Tube Body to edit them if you are not creative or don't want to learn how to make these you can go on to FIVERR, and you can spend 15 dollars for 4 Thumbnails!  4. Use all your social media platforms and email platform for marketing your YouTube Video. Send out thumbnails with links to the video and tell people WHY they should watch it. Use an excellent call to action. Example: On Thumbnail, use your picture struggling throughout a workout and use the title on the image: The Impossible Workout. Then in text, write out something like: The Impossible Workout is making me CRY, today, on #4UFITNESSLIVE at 1 pm EST. Cut out snippets from a video share it on your stories and social media, and whichever has the most views, and interactions use that to run ads to it!  5. Set a Schedule and stick to it. Just come up with your schedule. There is no right or wrong here. You can upload two videos a day, or you can upload two a month. You need to pick the RIGHT amount that you can stick to. I would recommend at least once at max 3 x per week. You could come up with something like this: Monday at 1 pm Podcast, Wednesday at 3 pm LIVE Q&A, or Workout with Nina. Friday recorded HOW to video, how to cook, how to workout. 6. Feature your Clients and their results! Showcase your clients and make sure you tag them on social media when you do. But also make sure they are okay with it. For example, we once had a fantastic client who lost over 120 LBS with us and then got married and started a new life. So we began to post her before afters, and she right away reached out about it since she had just got married started a new life, and it didn't look good that we were spamming her amazing wedding with her before afters. Even

though it was an unbelievable transformation that she should be proud of for the rest of her life, I understand her point.

RULES TO LIVE BY ON YOUTUBE The first 5 seconds of the video MUST HOOK your audience. Throw some fantastic pitch to keep them watching. Example: What's up guys, I am going to share the secret of how to lose 100 lbs as Susan and Michelle did in this video, so grab your notebook and let's get started. I got 100 clients in 10 days, and this is how! or I lost 120 lbs, and this is how... Change the scene throughout the video, record at different locations, and cut it together or walk around while you are recording. ( this, of course, depends on the type of video) but if you want the perfect example for the above two, watch any Tai Lopez ad videos. Just google it and watch it. HE IS GOOD AT IT. He starts in the first 5 seconds with a hook! Then he walks around to change the scene every single time to keep you wondering and he randomly turns the topic and throws in some creditability like oh yeah, this is my 5000SF guest house, by the way, nut sure if you ever seen it and then continues as nothing has happened. He does this with his cars as well all the time. He is a GREAT PERSON to study.  Showcase some humble creditability: while you are recording, mention something during the video. You could be like, "and one and two and three let's go... by the way, this is

the workout I used with the celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson on the Doctors TV Show... two-three and an excellent job. ... " RELATE to the audience: Let's go with the workout LIVE video example. Three two one and rest, great job, everyone! If you feel exhausted, puking or dizzy or if you stopped throughout the workout. That's okay! Just take it easy. I have been there. I was 50 lbs overweight and puked 3x during my first three workouts. It gets better.  Use Urgency If you are not subscribing now or not clicking the button below, now you are going to miss out on my free home workout.  In the end, do another hook like: I am going to give you some homework. I am going to provide you with the IMPOSSIBLE AT HOME WORKOUT for FREE, and if you can complete it, I will also give you a free 15 min consolation on ZOOM! All you have to do is enter your email below, and I will email it to you because I don't want this video to go on for another 20 minutes! So enter your email, and I'll send it to you right away!  During the workout, preferable during the breaks if its a LIVE workout, ask them to SMASH THAT LIKE BUTTON YouTube algorithm LOVES that button right now. So ask them to hit it and tell them this is the best way to say to me if you loved my workout or not! If you want modifications, please comment it below, or if you want to review it or tell me some notes, also comment it below! Youtube loves engagements. MAY 2020



Social Media:

The Biggest Mistake You’ve Already Made As a fitness professional, you face the same two problems as every business in the UK: where to find clients and how to earn income. So where do you start? Facebook and Instagram? That’s what everyone does, right? You set up your business page and ask everyone you know to ‘like and share’ it. “Get the word out. Tell everyone,” you cry. But then nothing comes of it. The ‘likes’ aren’t bringing in enough clients or income. Why? Because your family and friends are not your target audience. The only purpose those likes and comments serve are to boost your ego. Asking your friends and family to ‘like and share’ your business page dooms it from the start. So what’s the key to succeeding online? Using content marketing to build an authentic, loyal and engaged audience. 76

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every month. You might think “but that’s great – that’s lots of potential customers for me,” but it’s these numbers that are the problem. You shouldn’t try to market your business to everyone because everyone isn’t interested in your service. Instead, you should ask yourself how you can reach your ideal customer. Where do they hang out online?

Content Marketing Content marketing uses a mixture of video, images and articles to overcome three common buying objections: • How does your product/service work? • Is it for me? • How can I trust you? You need to give your audience a quick win. This could be a guide to take a minute off your 5k time, a weekly meal plan for weight loss, or stretches to relieve back pain. Whatever it is, giving value in advance of a sale proves to your prospect how your business works, that you are right for them and that they can trust you. Fitness pros face a unique challenge: human motivation. People get wrapped up in fads; they have unrealistic expectations; life gets in the way. Since customer retention can be difficult, you must do everything you can to attract higher-paying clients. Consistently sharing your knowledge positions you as an expert in your field, which in turn attracts paying customers who expect your rates to be higher than average. ‘A-List’ fitness celebs like Joe Wicks, Steve Cook and Grace Beverley all prove content marketing works. Many ambitious health pros try and replicate this success, but many fail. The reason? They fall at the first hurdle: they pick the wrong platform. They use mainstream social media, which has three big problems for promoting your business: audience, algorithms and ads.

Audience 1 billion people use Instagram and 2.45 billion people use Facebook

Your audience needs to be relevant, engaged and interested because people hate seeing ads for irrelevant products or services. The wrong kind of attention is worse than no attention. Although Facebook and Instagram have tried to improve people’s behaviour on social media, there are still those who go out of their way to spread negativity.

Algorithms The Matrix-like network of data that changes with the tides and decides which posts live and die. You can spend hours, days and weeks planning, videoing and editing your content marketing for social media, all for algorithms to swallow it. What do you have to show for all that hard work, stress and money spent on your content? An empty wallet, bruised ego and lack of motivation, that’s what. If you think that sounds dramatic, you’ve never had it happen to you. You need to find an algorithm-free platform to share your expert knowledge and expertise with an audience who wants to learn from you.

into your content isn’t wasted. Plus, the app doubles-up as a universal gym pass, giving its users access to gyms across the UK. For gym owners, GymBuddy is completely free. Plus, GymBuddy guarantees to pay gym owners every month for every user that uses their facilities. Set up is quick: after uploading their details onto the app, GymBuddy adds them to the map, ready for discovery by users all over the UK. Likewise, fitness professionals upload their profiles onto our fitness map. Fitness pros from all niches use the app to promote their business for a fraction of what they’d spend on Facebook or Instagram ads, helping them find new clients and build a loyal, engaged and relevant audience. Plus, all payments are direct between the fitness pros and their clients. The platform is like a living breathing, fitness map of the UK, where you can discover, connect and book a wide range of professional fitness services and access new gyms every month. GymBuddy is a service built around gym owners and fitness professionals, so they can finally benefit from the full potential from their content marketing. Jump over to the new website www. gymbuddy.com today to take a look around and get started.

Ads Ryan Deiss, from Digital Marketer, said “the company willing to spend the most to get a customer will win,” and it’s true. What do you do if you don’t have a marketing budget the size of Pure Gym or The Gym Group? You need a platform that’s a level playing field for all its users.

The answer? A new social media platform called GymBuddy. Created for fitness professionals, gym owners and gym users, it’s a place to share pictures, videos, posts and updates. It’s a social media platform with no algorithms, meaning the time you spend putting MAY 2020



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


The last 10 years in the fitness industry and has seen massive change. The advent of social media and the mainstream popularity of fitness & bodybuilding shows have changed the face of fitness forever. Years ago a Personal Trainer could market their services on the gym floor, approaching members and talking 1 2 1. Now 90% of that client acquisition is done before they even meet the client. This is also true of gyms and personal training studios, although word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools, a lot of the hype and buzz about a gym is created online. It’s no longer enough to be a PT at the best gym, or have a gym in the right area, you need modern marketing for that gym. As we all become our own personal brands whether we like it or not, marketing an individual personal trainer is no different too marketing a gym. The first thing is understanding how and where your audience is, basically, we can connect with more of our customers on social media than 78

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anywhere else, even if you have a fantastic website you need to get people to visit. Social media offers you a free pre-built platform to reach your customers and potential customers. • Out of a worldwide population of 7.8 billion - 4.54 billion have social media - 3.735 billion use it actively averaging 142 minutes a day • This gives you an unbelievable platform to promote your

business, share your knowledge and help more people. But with so many users how do you stand out. • One of the best ways is including images. • Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social networking platforms and relies entirely on imagery. • Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to be shared on social media.


• Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets • Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement As a photography and content creating business we have seen demand for our services, grow and diversify over the last 10 years. When we first started shooting we would mainly be shooting for brands and magazines, as they were the main people who needed images. Over the years the need for images has grown and now we shoot for everyone, big and small businesses, individual PTs, personal transformations, life coaches, nutrition coaches. Based on our experience here are our tips for making the most of social media:

• Be consistent - as with any form of work you need to turn up every day As an example, this is how we apply this to our business. We have a clearly defined style of image, (hopefully, you can recognise a SNHFOTO image easily) this style is consistent across all our platforms, although being a visual company our main platform is Instagram. This is coupled with strong and distinct branding so we can easily be identified. We also use Instagram stories to show an insight into everyday working life. This works well for a few reasons, people love seeing how other people live & work, also posting behind the scenes imagery etc adds more value for our

clients. Not only do they get their professional images they also get some fun and are more candid behind the scenes images, but both images are also promoted to our audience this given the client more exposure. We use the BTS (behind the scenes ) images as our spontaneous content and create this at the time, and then the finished images are our planned content. We also repost and share our client's posts from the photoshoots, this gives them exposure to our followers, and by sharing their posts and creating the extra BTS for them, they normally share this to their followers making it a WIN WIN all round. Our main goal is always to get our posts/ images in front of as many people as possible, this gains exposure for our existing clients, helps us reach new potential clients who all spread our brand, making it more recognisable. Try applying some of the basics above to your business and see what it does for you. And of course, if you need any professional imagery don’t hesitate to contact us

• Have a clear brand image - this should be strong and easily identifiable branding • Have a clear style, that runs through all your social media, marketing and website • Use professional images not every image needs to be professional but a mix is definitely better • A mix of planned and spontaneous content • Involve your customers reposting customer reviews, stories workouts etc really helps build community Collaborate - by working with other individuals and companies, you're expanding your now personal reach but also adding more for your existing market place.

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bringing gyms into a successful digital future Find out how call +44(0)207 701 4267, email info@egym.co.uk or visit egym.co.uk/business

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Profile for Gym Owner Monthly

Gym Owner Monthly May Issue 2020  

The UK's No.1 Digital Magazine for Gym Owners & Fitness Professionals.

Gym Owner Monthly May Issue 2020  

The UK's No.1 Digital Magazine for Gym Owners & Fitness Professionals.