FOR GYM OWNERS AND HEALTH & FITNESS PROFESSIONALS
ISSUE 2 // MAY 2016
How to ensure your staff make the grade
INTERVIEW ‘You either love us’ us or hate eb el
7 of the worst gym faux pas
K L A T H TEC
right e h t g n i Find o track t e r a w t sof mbers your me
Giles Dean of 1R gym stand on making his owd out from the cr
M at u r e a d v i c e Why the over 50s are your most important clientele
d i s ta n c e
The clean gene
Keeping your gym spotless is key – does yours pass the test?
What does it take for gym gear to make it to market? Issue 2//May 2016
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Contents T R E N DS NEWS
OWNER OF THE MONTH We talk to Steve and Angie Collins from Monster Gymnasium in Hertfordshire
The latest news and hot topics in the industry
Gym faux pas How can you enhance your business with the latest industry software?
H E A LT H WEIGHTY ADVICE
FAT TO FIT
Giving members the right weight management guidance Chris Zaremba on discovering fitness at the age of 50
PERSONAL TRAINER’S VIEW
Evelina Abbott on how PT’s should be guiding their clients
E X PE R I E NC E MEMBER BENEFITS
Adam Wilson, owner of new gym Anatomy 37, on the challenges of gaining new members
S POT L IG H T 14
THE BIG INTERVIEW Giles Dean, co-founder of boutique gym 1Rebel
THE TRAINING GAME 22 Quality, well-trained staff can make a real difference in boosting or maintaining membership figures HOW CLEAN IS YOUR GYM?
We look at how busy gyms ensure gold-standard levels of hygiene
GEAR CREATIVE MINDS, HEALTHY BODIES
New gym equipment is launched on a frighteningly regular basis, but only some kit will go the distance
F I T N E SS ASK THE EXPERT Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help
THE 50+ REVOLUTION Clients over the age of 50 are among the most dedicated gym users – so how are they being catered for?
Issue 2//May 2016
We can help you with membership retention Best combo: Direct Debit + auto-renewal
Monitoring your members
Use our ebook, full of proven retention tools
Ashbourne can set up and run DD collections, with built-in autorenewal at the end of contracts. Thousands of independent clubs across the UK trust us to provide this service.
We help you to track your membership gains and losses with our at-a-glance 13month view graph below. It’s key info when looking at retention levels.
Our ‘100 Ways to Attract More Members…and Keep Them for Longer’ ebook has been used by hundreds of club owners.
One of our clubs worked out that for each 12-month contract with auto-renewal, a member stayed an extra 5 months on average. With 500 members at £30pm this brings in an extra £75,000 per year!!
Issue 2//May 2016
Monthly totals of net gains and losses are shown for each month and separate graphs are available for Ashbournehandled members and nonAshbourne members.
It’s packed with great retention ideas – to get your copy go the ‘ebook’ section of our website.
See us in London in May to find out more!
We’re exhibiting at this exciting NEW show for the health and fitness industry. We look forward to this London show giving us the opportunity to talk to clubs from London and the south east. Go to www.elevatearena.com for FREE registration.
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Welcome... …to the second issue of Gym Owner Monthly. It’s been a busy month with so much going on in the fitness industry, and new gyms and programmes popping up all over the place – but you can find everything you need to know right here. Have you ever wondered what makes a good piece of gym kit – or how it even makes it on to the market? It’s not as simple as having a good idea and then getting it manufactured – in fact, most great ideas never get past the drawing board stage. Sarah Juggins delved behind the scenes of gym gear development this month to see which ones go the distance – and which ones don’t. Read all about it on page 10. Meanwhile, we talk to the brains behind one of the newest and most innovative gyms, 1Rebel. Giles Dean, co-founder of the boutique gym, tells us all about meeting and joining forces with James Balfour, and how they developed their ‘fitness experience’ on page 14. We’ve also been thinking about how well – or not – gyms cater for the over 50s. On page 28, Claire Lavelle finds out what opportunities there are for gyms to attract older – and probably more dedicated – clientele, while our new columnist Chris Zaremba shares his experience of getting fit after hitting 50. Read all about it on page 18. Elsewhere, we look at software development for membership management and enhancing the member experience (p20), and take an in-depth look at recruiting and training the right staff to help increase retention – take a look at p22. We also tackle the sticky issue of gym cleanliness and hygiene (p26), plus find out how members can manage their weight and nutritional needs thanks to the expertise of your team (p16).
See you next month!
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© Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2016 Gym Owner Monthly is published by PW Media. Gym Owner Monthly is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of Gym Owner Monthly. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by Gym Owner Monthly, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. We cannot accept responsibility for any mistakes or misprints. Unsolicited material cannot be returned. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Please note that we reserve the right to use all supplied photographs/images elsewhere in the publication or on our social media channels.
Issue 2//May 2016
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What’s hot in the fitness industry
Power up in Basildon Basildon Sporting Village in Essex has kitted its gym out with new Power Plate pro7 equipment to enhance its member experience. Basildon Sporting Village, operated by Everyone Active in partnership with Basildon Council, is one of the leading leisure and sports facilities in the area, and boasts a 100-station fitness suite. The Power Plate pro7 models were installed as part of a £370,000 refurbishment. It’s the first commercial vibration training device to feature an integrated LCD touch screen with Functional Interactive Training (F.I.T.) software, to take clients effectively through
every stage of their Power Plate programme. The pro7 is also equipped with embedded proMOTION multi-directional cables with variable resistance, and has the largest Power Plate platform available for maximum versatility. ‘The new models are already proving really popular among our gym members and feedback has been great,’ says Everyone Active fitness manager Lauren Sinfield. ‘We are hoping to launch some Power Plate specific workshops and small group training sessions, and hope that this could lead to more of our members taking up sessions with personal trainers at Basildon Sporting Village.’
New gear feels the Pulse
A new gym being designed in Chichester is hoping to take fitness to another level. Headed up by fitness model and body transformation specialist Jamie Alderton, the site is due to open on 1 July.
Leisure solutions provider Pulse Fitness is launching a new and extended range of strength and plate loaded equipment, with a focus on sleek and modern design.
Sports performance brand Grenade is helping with the design of the gym, which has been described as a body sculpting factory built for hard work and results, rather than a place to hide behind the familiar cardio machines. Jamie’s dream is to change the way people see fitness and nutrition, and through his selective membership and online services his aim is to provide one-to-one support to all his clients, both in Chichester and worldwide. ‘This gym will cater for what people want and what they need,’ says Jamie. ‘A lot of gyms are driven by the footfall and the amount of people they can sign up, but my focus is purely on the clients and getting results.’
Give me strength Awarding organisation for the active leisure sector, Active IQ, has partnered with global group exercise company Les Mills to strengthen the company’s education and training programme by equipping trainers with their first nationally recognised qualification.
The second group of 25 Les Mills Trainers are now completing Active IQ’s Level 3 Award in Education and Training qualification as part of the Professional Development Service offered by the organisation. The qualification further equips trainers with expert knowledge in the delivery and assessment of education and training to individuals and groups. The fitness brand’s commitment to a nationally recognised qualification also supports a recent announcement made by Martin Franklin, Les Mills UK CEO, who said that clubs need to invest more in star instructors due to the pivotal role they play in driving retention. Active IQ’s managing director, Jenny Patrickson, said: ‘Les Mills is renowned for delivering high quality fitness programmes on a global basis and we’re thrilled their trainers are qualified in our nationally accredited Level 3 Education and Training Award.’ For more info, visit: www.activeiq.co.uk
In strength, 26 stations have been designed to combine the best in high performance, comfort and durability with a beautiful aesthetic look. The ultra-modern design includes an enclosed weight stack, easy to clean carbon covers and smooth feel handgrips, as well as clear workout instructions and illustrations as to which muscles are being trained. The new strength range will be fully compatible with Pulse’s innovative member activity tracking software, PulseMove. The plate-loaded line will include a total of 10 pieces of equipment – Chest Press, Row, Shoulder Press, Incline Chest Press, Wide Chest Press, Lat Pull Down, Low Row, Leg Press, Calf and Rear Kick machines – all in-keeping with
Continued on Page 8… Issue 2//May 2016
News the look of the new strength range with black upholstery upon a black frame.
behaviour change and developing a defined identity, business image, and professional manner in the workplace.
Both lines will be officially launched in the UK for the first time at Elevate, drop by stand 170, to see these new products in action and find out how Pulse can improve your fitness business.
Better together Two leading sports organisations have announced a major initiative to create better strategic alignment and clarify the sporting landscape. sports coach UK and SkillsActive have collaborated to run the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), the independent, public register which provides regulation for health and fitness instructors. REPs was launched in 2002 to provide confidence to employers and the public that instructors and trainers meet the National Occupational Standards set by the industry. As well as protecting the public, the Register enhances the employment prospects of exercise professionals by recognising their skills and qualifications. For employers, it offers an efficient mechanism for verifying qualifications and ensuring the competence of staff, especially in the specialist areas linked to health rehabilitation. Commenting on the initiative, Sport England’s director of sport Phil Smith said: ‘The Government’s new strategy for Sport Sporting Future is very clear about the need for the industry to support its professionals at all levels. Sport England has recently consulted widely on what the industry needs to do next, and the call for simplification was loud and consistent. This change is a positive step in that direction and is aiming to make life better for exercise professionals.’
Boxing clever Fitness solution provider Physical Company has kitted out KOBOX, the new boutique boxing studio based on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London.
The PT Skills Gap Programme is a powerful combination of knowledge and skills, which will enable personal trainers to improve their skillset, build their confidence and excel in their career. The KOBOX club offers high intensity boxing-based classes and combines heavy bag boxing routines with functional strength training in a ‘Fight Club meets Nightclub’ environment. It has been created by Shane Collins, who combined his background in elite sports performance training with his work as a strength and conditioning coach to professional boxers. ‘Our classes have become hugely popular and we are already looking into a second site, which we didn’t anticipate quite this quickly,’ says Shane.
Mind the gap Personal trainer Katie Bulmer-Cooke is backing the new PT Skills Gap Programme, which has been devised by Future Fit Training in direct response to calls within the industry to boost skills and professionalism among personal trainers. Research carried out by Future Fit Training in conjunction with ukactive and CIMSPA identified that knowledge and soft skills were often lacking among personal trainers – especially those who have followed ‘fast track’ courses where real person case study work and interaction with clients and colleagues was limited. Key areas of concern highlighted by operators, employers and the PTs themselves include: communicating with clients, preparing and implementing client-centred solutions, mastering
Get set, go SportSetter has launched in London, allowing Londoners to have a great range of fitness experiences across the city without committing to long-term gym or activity memberships. The service is available through either iPhone or via SportSetter’s website, www.sportsetter.com.
Buy, buy A British businessman has taken the leisure industry by storm after creating the first fitness equipment buying and selling app, www.webuyanygymequipment.com. ‘As a former gym manager, I know that selling gym equipment is a time consuming and complicated process,’ says owner Daniel Jones. ‘Now gym owners can take a few pictures on their phone and, using 8
Issue 2//May 2016
‘The industry is crying out for courses like this because, unfortunately, the current skills gaps mean fantastic trainers are not being successful or enjoying the PT career they had hoped for,’ says Katie Bulmer-Cooke. Find out more at www.futurefit. co.uk/future-fit-training/courses/ptskills-gap-programme
Change for good FE Gym is launching a new concept in gyms, where members will be required to take part in an initial 12-week body transformation program to ensure that their exercise and diet patterns are optimised. The standalone Body Transformation Centre is set to open in July 2016 in Whitechapel, London. As well as state-of-the-art equipment and a scientific training ethos, the intense three month memberships are set to change the way gym users look and feel. The concept means that all new members will be committed to an individual diet and exercise program that will be designed around their body type and training goals. Upon completion of the plan, members will be free to train in the gym, though any member who does not follow the plan reasonably will forgo their membership of the gym to make way for others. It costs £320 per month for the initial programme, which includes a tailored exercise program, a high tech nutritional plan, unlimited training time within the gym and round-the-clock support from nominated trainers via WhatsApp. For more info, go to www.FEGym.com
the WBAGE app, have thousands of pounds worth of equipment up for sale in just minutes. And, like on eBay, the top bidder wins.’ The app is available from the app store and can be downloaded free.
Safety in numbers Two sport event companies that partnered up to deliver the health and safety for the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, have been recognised with a prestigious British Safety Council Award. Derbyshire-based Harrier UK and Somerset-based RDHS Management Consultants worked together and were responsible for overseeing health and safety at the 68,000 capacity Baku Olympic Stadium. The athletic events also saw regular crowds in excess of 25,000 attending throughout the 16-day duration of the games.
Owner of the month
The making of a Monster
Tips for building a business Grow your membership ‘We retain members by maintaining and updating our equipment, and providing them with what they want. They know all they need to do is ask – and we always try our best.’
Steve and Angie Collins run Monster Gymnasium in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Here they talk gym creation, rewarding staff and knowing their market Steve and Angie met in a gym. Angie was in HR management in the city and Steve was a Personal Trainer, who had a dream of opening his own gym. Angie made that dream come true for Steve by financing the venture and together they have never looked back. Monster opened its door on 17 December 2005, and recently celebrated its 10th year in business. Since then, the gym has inspired many others to follow its style, with fellow gyms featuring the Monster bravura all over the country. Aside from the gym, Monster has boxing and MMA facilities and a very successful café , where the cooks prepare all of the food on the premises. Nothing is ready made, so Steve and Angie know what has gone into each dish. What’s more, all food is made fresh to order, low fat, high protein and very tasty. PTs are an essential part of the business due to the size and range of equipment that Monster has. ‘The gym attracts all types of customers,’ explains Angie. ‘Some may need guidance to get them on their way when they reach a plateau, or they may need diet and nutrition advice. Some want to spice up their training and request different training options,
Engage with users
while others just want to train and compete using the best equipment. Our P Ts are highly qualified and extremely experienced within their own fields.’ Angie says, “the gym has a fun lively atmosphere, which makes it a very attractive place to work”. ‘We expect our staff to work hard and they get acknowledged for this,’ says Angie. ‘We’ve found that rewarding staff with remuneration is not always a motivator, and that a simple “thank you” or “well done” goes a long way. We are fair to all our staff, and they love working for us.’ Steve and Angie try to assist them both financially and by providing time off to achieve their aim. Challenges include keeping abreast of changes within the industry, as well as embracing the need to operate more flexibly in terms of opening hours. ‘Shift work round the clock seems to be a growing workforce trend, and more people want to train at odd hours,’ explains Angie. If staff require refresher courses or a qualification to enhance their portfolio. So what top tips can Angie offer new start-ups? ‘Do your research. Know your market and have an idea of your style of gym. Check your budget and go for it!’
‘Our customers are very valuable and important to us. Steve and I are always here and we know each member by their first name. Because they know us, we can engage on daily basis and help them with their needs.’
Promote your brand ‘We sell our clothing and occasionally we’ll do the odd spot of advertising, but most of our customers come because of word of mouth.’
Measure your success ‘The big green monster is known across the UK, Europe and afar for being the first of its kind, and a centre of excellence within our market. I think being open for 10 years says it all.’ For more info, visit www.monstergym.co.uk
“We are fair to all our staff, and they love working for us." Issue 2//May 2016
Creative minds, New gym equipment is launched on a frighteningly regular basis, but only some kit will go the distance. We speak to two people who have developed their ideas successfully, and discover that it is all a matter of addressing a need WORDS: SARAH JUGGINS
Seeking alternatives Randy takes up the story. ‘We were increasingly finding ourselves squirrelled away in warehouses and safe houses where the only thing you could do was a very traditional and narrow range of bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, squat jumps and burpees. But none of those emphasise the climbing musculature. The genesis of the TRX was to train climbing muscles that we needed to use in underway ship boarding.’
The best ideas often come from the most surprising places and TRX, or Total Resistance eXercise, is no different. The suspension training equipment, which is now a £20m business, began life 20 years ago when Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick, was seeking a way to train while on military operations. Of course, the image of Navy SEALs is of macho, muscle men – and Randy is certainly muscular – but one of his many skills learnt while serving in the armed forces was of a much gentler nature – sewing. Randy was in South East Asia and, with no gym or weights equipment to hand, was unable to follow his usual training routine. He had seen underwater divers sewing standard operational gear into equipment for clandestine operations, so he decided to follow suit. His parachute webbing was soon doubling up as a pulley device that could be fixed to a door or post. This gave Randy a workout similar to weight training, but using his own body weight as resistance.
Issue 2//May 2016
To remedy this challenge, Hetrick built the first TRX using parachute webbing and an old karate belt and discovered it was a versatile tool capable of far more than just climbing conditioning. ‘It’s multi-planar, meaning you’re unsupported and not locked into any one particular plane of movement. It’s user-based, with the user’s bodyweight providing resistance, and it allows for variation of resistance from none of your bodyweight to all of your bodyweight.’ The device proved popular with Hetrick’s fellow SEALs and, with their input, the arsenal of TRX exercises ballooned. Randy left the Navy and studied for an MBA at Stanford University. His piece of modified equipment went with him and the interest of his fellow students persuaded him that TRX should be his core business idea. What started as a cottage industry, with Hetrick making TRX equipment in his college room, soon developed into a full-on business. Just a few years later and the TRX Suspension Trainer is now found in gyms worldwide, and Randy is CEO of a multinational company.
healthy bodies Needs must
The story of TRX is one that resonates through the multimillion pound health and fitness equipment market. Most pieces of equipment began life addressing a need. The popular Wattbike has developed out of our love affair with cycling. And according to Wattbike, they set out to create an indoor bike for cyclists, ‘an indoor bike which replicates the feel of the road while providing cycling-specific cycling data and makes structured training easy.’
The other side of the development process, which often works in tandem with the creation and design of equipment, is to find out what the consumer is after. ‘We’ll spend as much time as necessary getting a feel and listening to users in all exercise scenarios,’ says Heap. ‘For instance, a conversation I had with a member of the GB sailing team inspired a new product we have developed. We don’t do formal market research as such, largely because I think the wrong questions are often asked.’
But just how does a piece of equipment make it from ‘lightbulb moment’ to becoming a tangible reality on the gym floor? Simon Heap, founder and creative director of Rugged Interactive in Cornwall, is keen to give us some insight into the development process. Heap is always happy to listen to customers, but he is also prepared to think outside the box. ‘Concepts often spend a long time forming in my mind and can be based on something completely unconnected with sport – such as farm workers moving bales of hay,’ he explains. Once a concept has made its way from the depths of Heap’s creative mind to the drawing board, the team will spend plenty of time building prototypes, testing, re-testing and re-designing before they get anywhere near the gym floor. As Heap points out, ‘at least 75 per cent of concepts we create never see the light of day.’
“CONCEPTS OFTEN SPEND A LONG TIME FORMING IN MY MIND AND CAN BE BASED ON SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNCONNECTED WITH SPORT – SUCH AS FARM WORKERS MOVING BALES OF HAY”
The success of a piece of equipment is measured in three ways, says Heap. ‘Do we feel we did a great job and lived up to the Rugged Interactive ethos? Secondly, does the user love the product? And thirdly and most prosaically, does the product sell?’ One of Rugged Interactive’s most successful pieces of kit is the CardioWall, an interactive climbing wall where users have to knock out as many lights on the wall as possible. The wall is designed to promote flexibility, strength and co-ordination. For those budding entrepreneurs, designers and creatives, where does the market seem to be going? ‘For the gym user, the future is all about a personalised, customised approach,’ says Heap. ‘Learning about what the customer wants and creating corresponding algorithms will mean that gym owners can ensure they give people what they need, even before they know it themselves.
‘Supermarkets and companies such as Amazon have been doing it for years. Just imagine a special protein shake designed for your body’s needs, straight after your bespoke session, waiting for you in the gym cafe, in your own special glass or mug.’
Issue 2//May 2016
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Do we give our clients what they want or what they need? Evelina Abbott is a personal trainer at Harbour Club Notting Hill, London. Here, she tells us why she thinks PTs should be using their expertise more – and how they should be guiding their clients I have been a personal trainer for seven years now. After growing up in a family of professional athletes and competing in various sports, I fell in love with fitness and bodybuilding and am currently a WBFF competitor. I find that training makes me happy, helps to beat low moods and gives me positivity. When I got into the fitness industry, I made it my goal to motivate, help and encourage other people to train. From my experience over the years, I understood that what makes me happy will not necessarily make my clients happy. I noticed that many trainers deliver what they know and like to clients, but it doesn't mean this type of training will actually benefit them. Some trainers forget what ‘personal’ training is about – it should be a tailored programme for their S.M.A.R.T. goal. This means not just sticking them on the machines, but to also train, help and push together with the client. I like to train with my clients so that they can see how strong they can be and that it is not about the size of the muscles, but about consistent training and dedication. I see so many trainers giving the same programmes for all their clients, forgetting that we all have different body types, metabolism and goals.
Education is key The other reason why personal trainers give clients what they say they want instead of what they actually need is because they're afraid to educate their clients properly or worry about retaining clients. I work with a lot of female clients who are mainly over 30 years old, and I understand that weight training is really important for toning, for hormones, for mood and for bone health. As we get older we lose a lot of muscle mass and that's why both men and women – especially the older population – need to train with weights. But when I talk to women about weights or protein, they look at me like I'm trying to turn them into bodybuilders. It is very difficult to break this mentality, especially if the majority of health and fitness magazines only show women performing exercises with 2-3 kg dumbbells. I am trying to educate women on how important weight training is, but sadly sometimes I lose clients and they go to someone who will give them those 2kg dumbbells and ask them to do 100 reps
with them. I am not saying that aerobic training is not important, but we need to give people what they need, and not what they sometimes want. Another important factor that needs to be addressed is nutrition. It's so important to educate the client on this, as there can be no progress without certain lifestyle changes. Sometimes this can be an uphill struggle as the majority of people still think that carbs are the enemy and often cut their intake down to virtually nothing. I have seen so many people failing on sessions as they decided to train hard with no fuel! This is all wrong –good carbs can be your best friend if you know which ones, how much and when to eat them. I would like to advise trainers not just to take the easy route of the ‘one programme fits all’ approach or give in to their clients, but to think about what those clients really need – and how much they can really benefit from proper advice and training that’s tailored to them.
Issue 2//May 2016
The Big Interview
‘We knew the better way of Giles Dean, co-founder of boutique gym 1Rebel, talks continuous innovation, fusing lifestyle experiences with fitness and the brand’s ‘Marmite factor’ Words: Phil Lattimore
How did you get involved in the fitness industry? I was a City-based corporate lawyer focusing on emerging markets. It was while working in this capacity in Warsaw that I met Mike Balfour, the founder of Fitness First, and his son James [co-founder of 1Rebel]. Timing was fortuitous, as I was becoming disgruntled with the law and felt my skills were more in line with making decisions rather than advising on them. This ultimately led me to joining Mike and James and launching Jatomi Fitness, which was a big box fitness concept with a very similar business model to Fitness First.
What is your vision for 1Rebel? Our vision has always been to disrupt the fitness industry and reposition fitness in people’s minds as a lifestyle and aspirational consumer product. We want to elevate fitness to a similar platform as fashion and food..
Issue 2//May 2016
What inspired you to create a ‘boutique gym’ concept in the UK? At Jatomi, we found ourselves just selling memberships, and all a membership does is give you access to the gym; it doesn’t motivate you or give you results. As we didn’t focus enough on our customer or our product, people left. We therefore had to work harder to sell more contracts, and it became a vicious cycle. So while trends changed, as restaurants improved, as customers started to value and focus on things such as brand and lifestyle, we stayed stuck in the past. 1Rebel was conceived to address all of these points – to put the customer first and genuinely focus on delivering a fitness experience. We knew there was a better way of doing it.
trend perspective; ultimately, 1Rebel is all about experience. We want live performers in classes, saxophonists on bikes, live MCs darting amongst Rumble’s punch bags. We want the last classes to spill out into a DJ/ pre-club scene; Bumble nights; Hawksmoor nights; activewear popups; nutritionists; cocktails mixed with juices (we have an alcohol license); your favourite brand partnering with us. We want to be part of our customers’ lives and consumer experience. 1Rebel is also very rebellious in nature and we consider ourselves very similar to Marmite – you either love us or hate us. In summary, I don’t think we are the ‘future of mainstream’, as there will always be some people who prefer a more bland and less opinionated concept.
Do you consider 1Rebel to be ‘niche’ or the future of ‘mainstream’?
Does 1Rebel appeal more to women than men – and if so, why?
We, as an industry, seem incredibly slow to evolve. It’s actually 1Rebel that people tend to look to from a
Women are generally the pioneers in new fitness concepts, and group exercises have always had more
ere was a f doing it’ of a female audience. That being said, as group exercise becomes more understood, 1Rebel is seeing a continuous growth in the number of men attending these classes.
Is your ‘pay-as-you-train’ pricing model sustainable as the boutique business grows? For millennials, loyalty is dead as they want to try everything, so not being locked into a contract is the perfect solution. Because of this, I believe contracts are no longer sustainable, and I believe we will start to see membership prices reducing and being supplemented with add-ons.
What are the biggest challenges facing 1Rebel over the next few years? As a brand, 1Rebel forces itself to innovate and re-invent. We want to continually offer new experiences for our customers, and our challenge will always be to ensure that those experiences are as unique and gamechanging as possible.
How do you motivate your teams in your boutiques? 1Rebel is a very inclusive brand, and we encourage our staff to let their personalities shine through. Because
of this, the 1Rebel brand has become stronger and people are proud to work for us.
How do you see the industry changing over the next five years? By virtue of 1Rebel changing the fitness landscape, gyms have to respond, and they will have to do this by being more experience-led. I believe we will see much more symmetry between fitness and nutrition, and how that is going influence people’s workout routines and personal nutrition.
What have been the highlights of your career to date? Professionally, having created a brand that has been so well received in London – as well as having 1Rebel featured in the top design magazines – are definitely highlights. Personally, my highlights have been graduating from the University of Cambridge, becoming a qualified lawyer and living in many different countries around the world.
“1Rebel is also very rebellious in nature and we consider ourselves very similar to Marmite – you either love us or hate us." Issue 2//May 2016
Weighty advice When members want weight management advice, you are in a position of responsibility. So what do you tell them? Mark Talley
Words: Nicola Joyce
Obesity costs the NHS £4.2 billion every year. That’s more than smoking, alcohol misuse and physical inactivity put together. And obesity can reduce life expectancy by 10 years. Here’s how gym owners, operators, nutrition experts and physiologists are giving best advice.
#1 Mobile apps for calorie counting Health and wellbeing physiologist Gavin Watt of Nuffield Health’s Newcastle Hospital says that many members need basic guidance about calories. ‘We find apps useful in educating people about calorie intake,’ he says. ‘A mobile app can help initiate a change in behaviour. But it’s important to support the client, to ensure they don’t take calorie counting to the extreme or cut out entire food groups.’
#2 No fads from nutrition experts Niko Algieri owns Equilibrium Gym (www. weareequilibrium.com), and is a Multipower ambassador (www.multipower.com). He recognises that the general public are often confused by conflicting nutrition advice. ‘Nutrition is misunderstood,’ he says. ‘A lot of people automatically turn to fad diets. It’s our job as fitness professionals to educate them. If a client wants a diet, I encourage plans based on common sense: the Zone Diet, the South Beach Diet and some aspects of Paleo.’
#3 Integrated solutions for best advice Leisure trust gyms are seeing a rise in demand for weight-loss programmes. Here, gym owners are choosing to work with weight management specialists to offer best advice.
Sports Leisure Management operates 117 Everyone Active centres across England in partnership with local councils. Its public health division, Everyone Health, offers integrated solutions for local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups, in line with NICE guidelines. Mark Talley, Everyone Active’s Group fitness development manager, explains how running a bespoke weight management programme works. ‘It allows our gyms to refer members to this extra support programme,’ he says. ‘And then it encourages people to progress to physical activity. They tend to feel supported by the seamless interaction between the gym and weight-loss teams.’
#4 Training for weight management The industry largely agrees that interval training and strength work is optimal for weight management. But compliance and consistency are still key, says Aidan Innes, health and wellbeing physiologist at Nuffield Health’s Newcastle Hospital. ‘In 2013, interval training didn’t even feature in the Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends,’ he says. ‘Last year, it was at number two. But the optimal kind of exercise is whatever is sustainable and fits into someone’s lifestyle. Otherwise they won’t keep it up.’
Strength training and conditioning are getting more popular, particularly amongst female clients. Your gym might offer kit like battle ropes, kettlebells and squat racks. Sam Murphy, strength and conditioning coach for Amaven (www.amaven.co.uk), says that these types of sessions are the best way for most clients to build muscle and burn fat. ‘And they help boost retention,’ he says. ‘Your members are less likely to get bored with varied, interval-style training.’
#5 Good and bad fads But what if a client is adamant about trying a diet they’ve read about? It’s your responsibility to steer them away from potentially damaging diets, and to educate them about common sense nutrition for weight management. Juicing, for example, will typically bring about initial weight loss, but the weight is likely to come back once the person reintroduces solid food. ‘High protein diets are becoming more popular, especially with the rise in interval training,’ says Aidan Innes. ‘We still see lots of people using protein shakes which are useful, but not always necessary. Educate members about protein as a macronutrient, so they understand how to get as much protein from chicken, eggs, salmon or sardines. It may be a healthier and more realistic lifestyle option for them.’
Tailor-made solution Not-for-profit leisure trust Freedom Leisure (www.freedom-leisure.co.uk) operates 76 sites for 14 local authorities in England and Wales. It has developed a bespoke programme to help members – a free, 12-week re:balance weight-loss programme that offers healthy eating advice and circuit-based exercise sessions in a group environment. ‘Weight management is increasingly falling to leisure operators,’ explains Richard Bagwell, Freedom Leisure Group sports development manager. ‘Gym teams may have the skills to deliver programmes, but a specialist framework like re:balance enables gyms to deliver a consistent solution with far greater scope. ‘re:balance helps bring in people who might otherwise think the gym is not for them. It offers behaviour change tools so they can build their confidence within a supportive network, and they can join us when they’re ready to add in more physical activity.’ 16
Issue 2//May 2016
FITNESS & FASHION FOR MEN & WOMEN WWW.SKINNYCHIMP.CO.UK
Issue 2//May 2016
Fitness Over 50
Fat to fit Chris Zaremba specialises in fitness for those over the age of 50. This month, Chris talks about how fitness first came into his life
I discovered the benefits of adopting a fitness-based lifestyle pretty late in life. I hadn’t been to a gym until I reached the age of 50, and up until that point I believed that good nutrition was about adding a Diet Coke to my double Big Mac and large fries meal. However, I’ve turned things around since then. Now, at the age of 54, I believe I have a story worth telling. I hope my experiences can inspire others who are past the first flush of youth (or, as in my case, well past said flush), and prove that it is worth adopting a lifestyle centred on fitness – starting at any age. I have divided my approach to fitness into four phases of my life. The ages are all approximate, as I didn’t actually change anything exactly on my birthday, but they are close enough.
Issue 2//May 2016
Up to age 49
I had a great time. Ate and drank absolutely everything most of the time. Nutritionally, it was a disaster, as I now know.
At this time, I decided that I needed to get a bit of a grip on my health. My body was beginning to show signs of wear and tear, and I decided that time and effort invested in fitness activities would probably repay themselves in years to come. My wife, Jenny, is keen on fitness – particularly triathlons and running – and she encouraged me to think about looking at my health.
This was the big turning point for me. I had a referral from a gym receptionist to fitness professional Rob Riches via his website www.robrichesfitness. com. Rob was offering personal training in Los Angeles – a city I happened to be visiting at the time.
As well as being McDonalds’ best customer, various curry houses and fish and chip shops near where I lived and worked were able to increase their profit forecasts when they saw me around. I was a massive pub-goer, being a big fan of traditional British real ale – I couldn’t drink enough of the stuff. What stopped me from becoming circus-tent sized is that I did a fair amount of cycling and played squash a couple of times a week. And what could be better than three pints of best draught bitter after a tough squash match? I did occasionally go on diets, which would last a couple of months, then I would give up – usually when faced with a range of beers from a particularly interesting brewery. I weighed between around 15-17.5 stone (95-111kg, 210-245lb), and I remember hitting that maximum figure at age 45.
So I started both ‘doing more exercise’ and ‘watching what I ate’. Neither of these terms suggests any degree of precision in goal setting or approach, and the results reflected that. I started going to the gym a couple of days a week, but had no real focus. I worked out with whatever weights and resistances I felt like, kept no records of gym trips, and kind of copied what I saw others doing while I was there. Maybe I would do some running on the treadmill as well, but again, it was unplanned and unstructured.
I set up a couple of personal training sessions with him, and his enthusiasm for the fitness lifestyle quickly rubbed off on me. Rob provided the initial inspiration and education I needed, plus we worked together on some motivation factors, and as a result I made a big decision. The year up to my 53rd birthday would be different to my life up to that point: I would adopt a high-priority fitness lifestyle as a project for that period. Jenny thought this was an excellent change in my personal preferences – she saw me as a potential future running buddy or triathlon competitor, and now without the optional cardiac arrest.
In terms of food and drink, I started making a few more sensible choices, but nothing more. I certainly didn’t keep track of macronutrients and calories. I was obviously doing something right somewhere along the line, as my weight dropped to 14 stone (195lb, 89kg) over this period. However, I wasn’t really enjoying it – any excuse for a food binge or to miss a workout was welcome. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, I needed two things – 1. Inspiration, to get me keen on training and nutrition, such that these aspects of my life became both enjoyable and a priority, and 2. Education – so that I would start eating/drinking and training in accordance with principles that would lead to fitness success. It turned out that both the inspiration and education I needed were to become available to me after my next birthday.
Read about the next stage in Chris’s fitness journey where he won the Fitness Model World Championships in next month’s issue. For more about Chris, go to www.FitnessOverFifty.co.uk and www.bitly.com/ChrisVideos
Issue 2//May 2016
High-tech talk How can you enhance your business with the latest industry software? We look at how clever technology can give you more than member data Words: Janine Self
Whatever else gym management software has up its sleeve, there is universal agreement that the technology will eventually be exclusively web-based. Fading are the days when clients had to make the effort to visit the gym or queue on the phone to book (or cancel) classes – or to renew membership. Convenience, ease and immediacy are today’s by-words. Fancy joining a yoga class in your area? Use your personalised phone app for a location search to see what’s on. Booking or cancelling classes, push notifications and social media shares are becoming the norm. SportSoft have seen it all since launching 20 years ago, and managing director Paul Duncalf steers a course between clients who continue to operate more traditional systems while developing for what’s ahead. ‘It has been difficult for legacy suppliers,’ he admits. ‘Clients with older systems mean we need multiple programmers for apps, web and desktop. If you start a software company
now, you only need one guy. You can’t start a gym without your own app now. It’s a no-brainer.’ Duncalf sees a time when software will become ever more integrated, from monitoring your heart rate and setting the temperature of the workout room to your nutritional needs. ‘We are on the brink of a revolution,’ he predicts.
“You can’t start a gym without your own app now. It’s a no-brainer.”
Talking about a revolution Wayne Heath of ClubManager believes he is already a revolutionary. The ex-gym owner formed the company nine years ago, and in 2010 won Innovation Product of the Year at the national fitness awards. ‘We have disrupted the industry,’ he says. ClubManager is available on computer, smart phone and tablet. One of its features is a Point of Sale solution, including linking purchases with specific members to build a profile of members’ likes. Steve Guscott, is UK operations manager of EZFacility, a cloud-based system whose MemberMe branded app promises the gym a 24-hour presence. It includes news, photo and video galleries, training and nutrition tips and Facebook and Twitter interaction. ‘We have always been an internet-based system, but five years ago that closed a lot of doors,’ explains Guscott. GymSync, part of the Status Digital group, is designed for any fitness company running exercise classes, creating timetables, taking bookings and managing attendances. BookFit, launched last summer, is aimed at individual personal trainers. ‘We’re recognising a need in the market,’ says digital director of marketing Fiona Stuart – and the company is already drawing up a road map for further social media integration. Watch this space.
Issue 2//May 2016
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Issue 2//May 2016
The traini Quality staff can make a real difference in boosting or maintaining membership figures, but how can you reassure employees that the grass isn’t really greener? Words: Katie Scott
Retaining staff in the fitness industry is different to other sectors due to the fact that clients invest a lot of their time, money and effort into building a relationship with their PT. Often acting as the ‘face’ of a gym, if a personal trainer decides to leave, this can have a knock-on effect on the gym financially as their loyal following of customers walk away with them.
Issue 2//May 2016
Stuart Parker, general manager at Chelsea Health Club and Spa, agrees saying:
“It is vital that we retain good staff. You can see a significant dip in PT revenue when you lose a good team member, as often the customers are very loyal to them and don’t want to change to another PT.”
Tom Godwin, educational consultant at www.tomgodwin.co.uk adds:
“Retention of staff is a big issue in the personal training industry, but I think it is all about finding the right people. Spending a little time finding the right person, not only for the role but also for the organisation, is vital; this avoids people handing their notice in after only a few weeks. Personal trainers just need a bit of nurturing; they need help and support to get clients and then keep them. This again is an area that some gyms fall down on and this is seen in low staff retention rates. Access to training and development is also a great plus point, so having a training programme is vital.”
ning game Plus points So what perks or benefits are gyms putting in place to help motivate and retain high calibre PTs? Scott Day, a freelance personal trainer who worked from an Everyone Active gym, explained that the majority of benefits for him came in the form of events, such as a Swimathon entry and a virtual bike challenge against other Everyone Active centres. Usefully, full-time staff also get a free membership. Fellow personal trainer Tony Burley, who is based within the same Everyone Active branch, has a more pessimistic view, however, saying that no real effort is made towards employee
development schemes: ‘Freelance instructors are pretty much meat to be used when required,’ he says. He suggests that a family membership may be a better benefit rather than just an individual free membership, but the current options in place don’t motivate him to stay loyal to Everyone Active. At the Chelsea Health Club and Spa, staff receive bonus incentives that correspond with monthly targets, although uniquely the club is now opting towards having more freelance PTs. Stuart explains: ‘We operate a contract now that develops the PT over a 12-month period, with them eventually going freelance.’
Also keen to retain staff, Nuffield Health has put together a very comprehensive package in a bid to tempt employees to stay put. ‘It’s not only about how you feel physically, it's also about how you feel mentally, professionally and personally, too,’ says Chris Foster, professional head of fitness for Nuffield Health. The brand offers flexible working, an annual health assessment, a cycle to work scheme, retirement savings plan, childcare vouchers and a competitive commission structure. Staff also enjoy a free membership with a heavily subsidised membership for family.
Educational development A sure-fire way to inspire staff to stay with your organisation is to show that you can offer career progression and that you are keen to develop and enhance the skill set individuals already have. For the fitness sector, this translates into providing CPD opportunities as well as the prospect of attending more training courses. While at Everyone Active, Scott reveals that he was provided with CPD courses to help develop his CV. ‘I was given some free CPD courses,
including adapting exercise for adolescents,’ he explains. ‘I also completed a second level 3 qualification in bootcamp fitness and advanced running coaching.’ However, Scott comments that priority for the training courses and developmental extras go to full-time employees. Chris also explains that at Nuffield Health venues, new employees have a four-month stint at the Nuffield Health Academy ‘to give them the skills they need to lead group exercise, gym floor interaction and other personal training
activity, such as our unique Health MOTs. ‘Via the Nuffield Health Academy, we have a training pathway that progresses individuals to senior personal trainer status,’ he adds. Stuart mentions that PTs at the Chelsea Health Club and Spa also get to attend specialist courses and group exercise courses. Chris Burgess, founder of Lift the Bar, has introduced an internship scheme to further develop newly qualified PTs and give them confidence on
the gym floor. ‘I believe that every gym should have an internship system in place,’ he says. ‘Internships are an ongoing body of education that develops a better skill set for the trainer. For gym owners, it allows you access to the most committed and focused trainers. Any trainer who gives up their time for the benefit of improving their skill is a rare beast! So the best performing interns often make exceptional members of staff, which can cut down on recruitment costs further down the line.’ Issue 2//May 2016
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Solving the problem Q. What is the biggest problem that gyms face right now? Sam Hudson, Norwich
Stefano Chiriaco, The Health & Fitness Coach (www.stefanochiriaco.com), answers: The biggest issue within the fitness industry is that people are not motivated to work out, hence big brand gyms have suffered to cheaper rivals. Year after year, memberships are sold and then people end up quitting very shortly afterwards The truth is that using machines are mundane. If gyms focused more on a group personal training model rather than having tons of cardio equipment, people would support each other, build friendships and enjoy training more. Exercise is tough. The idea of getting fit is always great, but the reality is hard workouts, eating clean and staying motivated. This is where my life coaching skills come in extremely useful. The system I use with my online training clients produces great results. First, you need to identify your ‘why.’ What is the single and strongest motivating factor in your life right now that is pulling you towards exercise? Next, I look at the limiting beliefs of the client – what would their reaction be to the statement ‘I can have the body of my dreams?’ If the voice in their head is negative, this reveals another obstacle that needs to be address through encouragement, education and positivity. Another vital area is to look at what has caused them to fail in the past. There will be certain patterns the reoccur and the client is an expert in their own story, so they will have all the answers. Finally, you need to build a plan. How much weight will they lose by what date? Give them a tangible result that is really achievable for them and then deliver on that. If more gyms focused on providing this level of value and service – which could easily be implemented in the initial sales conversation and sign up – then retention, results and happiness would spread throughout the industry. Be of service and be of value, because they may be here today, but not tomorrow.
Supplement your training Q. Many of my clients ask me about the best way to build muscle and reduce fat – are there any nutritional or training supplements that could help? Paul Symonds, London
Cassandra Barns, nutritionist, answers: Protein-rich foods can help you to lose weight and gain muscles on many levels. Firstly, they will make you feel fuller after eating. Proteins are digested more slowly than carbs, and stay in the stomach for longer. They can also help you to digest carbohydrates when eaten together as a meal. That means that energy will not only be released more evenly during the day, but it will also stop you from having sugar cravings. Secondly, protein can help to maintain or improve your muscle mass and growth. Protein also provides amino acids. These are needed to keep your metabolism up, to boost your energy levels and to produce the ‘happy hormone’ that can stop you craving comfort foods. The richest sources of protein are lean meat, fish and eggs, followed by cheese and yoghurt. You can also include plant foods in your diet, such as nuts and seeds, beans, chickpeas and lentils, although they contain less protein than animal foods. On average, a woman needs 1g of protein per kilo body weight per day. This means that a woman weighing 60kg needs at least 60g of protein, which is equivalent to two chicken breasts, four eggs or three cups of cooked lentils. If you eat meat or fish and other animal foods once or twice a day, you’re probably getting enough, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan then you’ll need to keep an eye on it. One way to get more protein in your diet is to use protein powders, such as Pea Protein (£22.50 from www.naturesplus.co.uk). For a healthy weight and shape, it is not only how much but when you eat your protein that’s important. To help control your appetite and balance your energy levels, it is best to have proteinrich foods with every meal and snack. If you are struggling to include protein in your diet, try adding chickpeas or lentils to your soup, pumpkin seeds to yoghurt, or spreading almond butter on your toast instead of jam. Issue 2//May 2016
How clean is There’s nothing like grubby equipment, a dirty pool and filthy changing facilities to put off potential new members from signing on the dotted line. So just how do busy gyms ensure gold-standard levels of hygiene? Words: Claire Lavelle
Is a clean gym something of an oxymoron? After all, a gym is, by its very nature, a place in which people are actively encouraged to get hot and sweaty as they run, cycle, lift and swim in pursuit of improved fitness and a better physique. No pain, no gain, or so the saying goes, and there’s no more satisfying way to finish a workout by leaving sweat-soaked and proud, or exiting the pool breathless and nicely fatigued.
It is, perhaps, a question we don’t care to contemplate as we’re gritting our teeth through our last set of push-ups, but if we stop to consider how many other people have sweated it out on this very same mat recently, we might think twice about getting up close and personal with the canvas. And if, as a gym owner, your pool is the jewel in your crown, cleanliness is even more important: the changing rooms that clients frequent before and after churning out those lengths are unforgiving when it comes to reflecting the diligence (or not) of cleaning staff and the standards they upkeep. Hairclogged drains, ribbons of soggy tissue paper and general debris will put off even the keenest of swimmers. Surely, then, it pays to ensure the highest possible standards are adhered to, in each and every part of your gym? ‘Gym cleanliness is a priority in the customer’s eyes, but amazingly, it’s sometimes less important to the management,’ says Christian Harris, commercial director of specialist floor cleaning company Bonasystems (www.bonasystems.com). ‘Often, it isn’t so much about shoddiness as it is standards quietly slipping, especially if the gym manager has been there a few years and become desensitised to hotspots a new person would hone in on straight away. When we go into sites and demonstrate how clean gyms can be, people are pretty receptive. And of course, health scares, such as the MRSA outbreak a few years ago, force everyone to raise their game, which can only be a good thing.’
Issue 2//May 2016
your gym? Key areas to keep clean Showers and toilets
Up for the challenge Gyms are, regardless of size, challenging environments to clean, as gym chain Nuffield Health’s national cleaning manager Lee Stephenson acknowledges. ‘All our sites have large footfall throughout the day, and attention to detail in changing rooms and wet areas particularly is of paramount importance,’ he says. ‘We ensure we have the correct cleaning chemicals, machinery and equipment in place to deliver a first class service throughout.’ Over at Fitness First (www.fitnessfirst.co.uk), maintaining high cleaning standards is all part of an ethos that ‘puts our customers at the heart of everything we do,’ says a spokesperson. ‘Our staff take tremendous pride in the cleanliness and maintenance of their clubs. We use Duplex machinery that uses steam to clean the floors and ceramic wall surfaces – it sterilises as it cleans.’ Nuffield Heath (www.nuffieldhealth.com) takes a similarly thorough approach, emphasising the fact that the chain upholds current UK best practice. ‘We work to the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) standard methods to ensure we have consistency across all 77 sites, and all our staff undergo a thorough induction and training programme,’ says Lee Stephenson. ‘This covers site health and safety, chemical, machinery and equipment training, and the risk of cross contamination. Levels of competency are measured by our trained BICSc assessors and all clean team members are signed off prior to commencement of cleaning.’ But what about that notoriously germy hotspot – the pool? High traffic and bodily fluids sloshing around in warm water create the perfect breeding ground for germs, and according to Christian Harris of Bonasystems, poolsides don’t get cleaned often enough – bad practice which is not only dirty, but a safety hazard, too. ‘Flooring is a potentially high-risk area because slips and trips are still one of the biggest causes of work-place accidents in the UK,’ he says. But before you pack up your swimsuit and goggles for good, consider this: ‘Gym owners and senior management have a legal requirement to provide a safe and hygienic pool environment for their customers,’ says a spokesperson for leisure industry safety training body STA (www.sta. co.uk). ‘Most of the bacteria commonly found in pools can be effectively controlled by ensuring the constant maintenance of correct disinfectant at the correct ph levels. This is why training and keeping abreast of modern best practice is so important.’
Gym equipment – this needs to be regularly sanitised throughout the day. Chris Medley, director of gym upholstery replacement and cleaning service Gym Wizard (www.gym-wizard.com) advises that keeping the foot, elbow and back pads on the strength machines clean makes for not only a more hygienic environment but will also help expensive kit last longer, too. ‘Sweat dries out the material and makes it crack ,’ he says. ‘Cracks also harbour more bacteria. If you can encourage your clients to wipe the machines down as they go, that’s great – if not, frequently cleaning with warm water, a drop or two of washing up liquid and a soft cloth will do the trick. And for more stubborn stains, get the baby wipes out – they get rid of anything!’ Gym mats – the rise of ‘functional training’ means that bodyweight exercises are performed on floor mats, so sweat gets trapped between and underneath them The pool – automatically dosed (chlorinated) pools should be tested at least three times a day. Manually dosed pools must be tested every two hours. All results should be recorded and records kept for a minimum of five years. Dilution, by the addition of fresh water at a ratio of 30 litres per bather per day, is also a legal requirement.
The law on hygiene On 6 February 2016, the way courts view breaches of health and safety within the leisure industry changed significantly. If court action is taken, a company found to be in breach of the regulations could be fined up to £10 million (this figure is based on a company with a turnover of £50 million plus). Ignore the disinfectant at your peril!
Issue 2//May 2016
revolution Words: Claire Lavelle
Take a look around your gym. Now that spring is here and the New Year resolutions have been relegated to the confines of history, what do you notice about your loyal, come-rain-or-shine, new-year-or-not customer base? There’s a chance that a fair proportion of it is made up of over 50s, which, according to data and anecdotal evidence from gyms up and down the country, is the demographic that’s changing the face of the modern fitness enthusiast as we know it. Latest research from Nuffield Health’s 77 UK gyms (211,000 members and counting) found that 10 per cent of its members (around 21,000) are aged 65 and over, and that those over 50 are going to the gym a day and a half more a month than those in their 20s and 30s. Of course, this is a generation with more time and money on its hands than your average millennial, but that’s not the whole story. ‘We’re talking about people who have the means to be able to look after their health and wellbeing well into their retirement and beyond, and they’re seizing the opportunity with both hands,’ says Chris Foster, Nuffield Health professional head of fitness (www.nuffieldhealth.com). ‘The idea of “slowing down” mystifies them – why wouldn’t they take advantage of all the wellbeing tools and facilities at their disposal to help them feel fitter than they ever have?’ Eduardo Zoppola, health and fitness manager from UK gym chain Fitness First (www.fitnessfirst.co.uk), agrees – and points out that this is no passive demographic. ‘In the last three to five years we have noticed an increase in requests from the over 50s for what we call “functional” training,’ he says. ‘By this we mean training in a way that improves physical performance in daily life – so allowing for a smooth movement continuum, such as a squat into a walk or run, rather than a simple leg extension. As well as seeing members train in this way on the gym floor, we’re getting more and more requests from clients to include functional training in their personal training sessions.’ It would appear that this is a group that is very clear about the results they want from their training, and the gym that provides it. 28
Issue 2//May 2016
As statistics show that those aged 50+ are among the most dedicated gym users, Gym Owner Monthly goes behind the scenes to uncover exactly how this group is being catered for
Focus group What’s also refreshing about the 50+ demographic is that they’ve likely weathered a fitness fad or two and how have now found a type of training that best helps them reach their goals and are more able to remain focused. Take Anthony Strutt, 55, from Haywards Heath in West Sussex. ‘I train with heavy weights because it’s hard to maintain muscle mass as you get older,’ he says. ‘Not only that, but by building muscle I also know I’m keeping my metabolism ticking over rather than succumbing to middle-aged spread.’ Likewise, Belinda Archer, 53,
from Oxford, who says: ‘I love to ski, but out of season I make sure I get to the gym at least three times a week purely because I know the difference being fit makes to how I perform on the mountain. I also find regular exercise very good for de-stressing. Core strength and strong legs are important to be able to ski well, so I focus on classes such as TRX and spinning.’ Eduardo Zoppola agrees that TRX suspension training, in particular, has become a big hit within this group, ‘as you can use one piece of equipment
to perform core, strength, HIIT (high intensity interval training), functional and even group exercise classes,’ he says. ‘One of the really rewarding aspects about this group is that they actively seek out support and guidance in their training. To cater to that, we’ve launched CustomFit, a new app that allows members to create personalised workouts, set goals, access a library of exercises and video demonstrations and, most importantly, track your progress which is great if you’re new to the gym.’
“We have many mature clients who enjoy the benefits of strength and conditioning training. Our oldest is a lady of 92”
More flex For some 50+ fitties, it’s more about flexibility of membership than classes or specific training regimes. ‘I struck a deal with my local gym so I could use it on a pay-as-you-go basis,’ says John Davies, 62, from Oswestry, in Shropshire. ‘They didn’t operate that policy previously, but because I’m semiretired, I’m able to travel a lot, so I don’t want to pay for a gym membership I might not use three months of every year. It suits both parties – they get my custom three times a week when I’m at home, but I don’t have the nagging guilt
of knowing I’m wasting a membership when I’m away.’ This kind of flexible approach pays dividends, as gym owner Clive Manley, head coach and owner of Maximum Fitness in north London (www.maxfit. co.uk), explains. ‘The training culture and ethos we encourage at MaxFit means it’s possible for all individuals to feel confortable in our gym,’ he says. ‘We have many mature clients who enjoy the benefits of strength and conditioning training. Our oldest is a
lady of 92 who we train weekly, but there are many in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. ‘And once a regular training pattern is established, a healthier lifestyle automatically falls into place. Diet becomes better by default because you eat to fuel your training and, because the body is working hard, sleep is deeper and better quality. Clients report having more energy in general – everything feels better when you’re not dragging yourself through the day.’ Issue 2//May 2016
Training the over 50s Strength training is particularly useful for older people to help combat the loss of power that is common as we age. Kettlebells, ViPR (Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning), classes such as Body Pump and even good oldfashioned circuit classes that rely on bodyweight exercises such as burpees and star jumps all help maintain strength and muscle mass. Get ahead of the curve. Walking, running or hiking are all weight-bearing exercises that help to prevent osteoporosis, a debilitating disease characterised by pourous, weak bones which afflicts one in three women and one in 12 men aged over 50. Any activity that helps to maintain bone density will help to prevent it and, despite its reputation as being bad for the knees, there is no correlation between running and osteoarthritis (in fact, doctors agree that the biggest factor is age). Research shows, too, that as little as five minutes of exercising outside can reduce stress levels, while social or group activities are also no-fail stressbusters. If your club has the capacity to offer outside walking or running groups, grab the opportunity to lead where others will want to follow. Low-impact, lower-intensity activities such as yoga and Pilates promote flexibility and can help to keep joints supple, especially in those with arthritis. Swimming and aqua-aerobics mean the body is supported by water, so there’s less risk of injury, but still offer a vigourous workout. They’re also a good option for those suffering from back pain.
The right start ‘If you’re going to advise a new client on the right starting level, a proper assessment of their existing level of fitness is essential,’ says Clive Manley of Maximum Fitness. ‘This is particularly important if they haven’t exercised in a while.’ ‘There’s no magic pill – if someone wants to get fitter, ease aching joints, achieve better mobility and generally start to feel better in themselves, they need to start off sensibly, in a disciplined way. A haphazard approach is enough to put anyone off, regardless of how old they are.’ 30
Issue 2//May 2016
Member benefits With most of the set-up challenges of the business complete, we’re well underway with fine-tuning the day-to-day operations of the gym. A constant challenge is going to be keeping momentum with regards to membership – we’ve had the initial flourish from my loyal personal training clients who I’ve trained for years, along with the clients I’ve gained from publicising the launch of the facility. I’m now looking to reach out a little wider and consider other ways of attracting potential clients. I’m currently researching local advertising opportunities – the location of the gym is within a five-minute walk from the train station and, being based in a key London commuter town, I’m currently focusing my efforts there. I’d like to place an outside advertisement so I’m exploring costs, as well as production options. I’m also using the peak commuter times as the perfect opportunity to distribute leaflets. Any way that I can continue to spread the word is worth exploring. While there’s always work to do to attract new members, I also want to make sure I’m constantly pushing my existing members to make the most from every training session. I don’t want to be like one of the large chain gyms that work to sign up a client and then completely forget they exist as long as they pay the monthly fee.
Adam Wilson, owner of new gym Anatomy 37, on the challenges of gaining new members
Launching pad I’ve launched a number of incentives as well as group training opportunities to maximise my clients’ success rates. We’re currently running a triathlon challenge which I’m encouraging members to try – they need to complete 500m on the SkiErg, burn 50 calories on the assault bike (the worst part of the challenge, I assure you!) and then finish with 500m on the rowing machine. A pretty tough challenge, but one that my clients are enjoying having a go at. I’ve also launched two group training sessions – a bikini bootcamp on Saturday mornings and a muscle club on Saturday afternoons. These are small sessions limited to 10 participants to ensure that everyone meets their goals. I find these so much more worthwhile than traditional gym classes, and I’m also offering attendees a monthly training plan that they can use alongside the sessions. I’m also speaking to my members to see what other requirements or suggestions they have. Finally, I’ve launched a 10-week biggest loser and gainer challenge for anyone who wants to join. Through biometric assessments taken at the beginning and end of the challenge, prizes will be available to those who have made the biggest change relevant to their goal. Throughout the challenge, my trainers will be on hand to help entrants achieve their best results possible, as well as giving supplementary sessions such as nutrition talks. I find that challenges and incentives that I can share with my members is what differentiates my gym to all the others out there. I never want to become a facility that doesn’t care about clients. At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have a gym if it wasn’t for our members. Issue 2//May 2016
REQUIREMENTS 7 for Sales and Marketing Success
By Sean Greeley, NPE CEO For most fitness business owners, consistently attracting the right clients to their business (and keeping them) is an ongoing struggle. Especially because competition is ALWAYS increasing in the marketplace. And if you’re not consistently developing your
1 A clear vision and positive mindset 2 3 4
sales and marketing skills, and taking action with a plan each month… your competition will quickly take your prospects – and eventually your current clients, too. But you don’t have to keep struggling month after month. Here are 7 requirements for sales and marketing success that will help you start taking back control of your business today:
5 Compelling offers that give your prospect a reason to respond
Defined core values, purpose, and mission for your business
6 Messaging that connects emotionally
A profile of the perfect client you want to attract
7 Consistent application of good
A positioning statement that distinguishes your business from the competitors
to your prospect
marketing strategy across all phases of the Fitness Marketing Lifecycle
Putting these steps into action and creating a sales and marketing plan is the BEST way to make the year ahead (and beyond) your strongest yet. Want to learn how to create a rock-solid sales and marketing plan that gets you ahead of your competition and ensures consistent growth?
www.NetProfitExplosion.com/planning-guide Download the guide now (a £147.00 value) and get more prospects, more clients, and more sales in your fitness business!
ABOUT SEAN GREELEY Sean Greeley, CEO of NPE, has an unrelenting passion for supporting entrepreneurs and growing businesses. For nearly 10 years, NPE has grown to serve over 21,432 fitness business owners in 95 countries. The company has 3 offices in Orlando, London, and Sydney and has been listed 6x on the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing, privately owned US corporations.
Issue 2//May 2016
ARE YOU HITTING YOUR TARGET? WE CAN HELP YOU ENHANCE YOUR BUSINESS Contact Paul Wood for further information T: 07858 487357, firstname.lastname@example.org
DO YOU WANT...
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Issue 2//May 2016
Top 7… gym faux pas We’ve all come across someone in the gym who makes the experience rather unpleasant for everyone…the one who fails to wipe down the gym equipment after a sweaty workout or hogs all the best machines. Here’s our rundown of the worst gym etiquette Words: Tracey Lattimore
#5 Spreading out
It’s OK to talk, but constantly chatting to your mate while working out can waste an awful lot of time. Not only does it interrupt your session, but it’s also annoying for other gym users. What’s more, gossiping away while running on the treadmill probably means that you’re not working out hard enough – save it for the café!
Space is often at a premium in gyms these days, so don’t take up too much of it. Keep your kit right next to you, and make sure you have space to safely do your workout or lift weights without injuring anyone else. Likewise, if someone else is too close to you, politely ask them to give you more space.
#2 Hoarding Varying your workout and alternating between two or more exercises at a time is a great way to burn calories and max out your gym time, but you can’t ‘bagsy’ bit of kit all over the gym. If you are using two areas, make sure they are close together so that people can see you using them, and don’t do it when it’s busy.
#3 Sweating OK, so we all sweat during a good workout – and often it’s a sign that you’re really pushing yourself – but there’s no need to leave the evidence for other users. When you’ve finished on a machine, make sure you wipe it down with a clean towel – and don’t forget those drips on the floor…
#6 Grunting Proper breathing is essential to exercise, and often grunting happens naturally as a result of effort, such as when weight lifting. But that doesn’t mean you need to make really loud, scary noises – that’s just off-putting. If you’re groaning, it’s probably a sign that you need to lift lighter weights.
#7 Texting Have you come to the gym to workout, or to tell all your mates that you’re working out? Not only is texting during your session wasting your time and money, it’s also dangerous as it means you’re not focused on your moves. Not to mention very annoying for the person next to you as your phone keeping pinging. Leave it in your locker.
#4 Leering It’s all right to like Lycra and the gym is one of the best places to see fit people wearing very little, but don’t leer. It’s very intimidating for women, some of whom might not be super body-confident in the first place. If you want to make eye contact, do it at an appropriate time – such as between exercises – or wait until she’s finished her session. 34
Issue 2//May 2016
“If you’re groaning, it’s probably a sign that you need to lift lighter weights. "
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Issue 2//May 2016
Gym Owner Monthly is dedicated specifically to gym owners and health & fitness professionals in the UK.