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ISSUE 1 // APRIL 2016

Fuelling your training The lowdown on supplements and nutrition

Let’s make your gym great Personal trainer Andy Lee on the changes in the fitness industry

State of the art

Is your gym using the best technology?

Future fit

Gym design is evolving – are you ready?

Ben Coomber reports on


6 of the best fitness apps G The BIiew intervsgrove, CEO u Justin M Group e n y t a n Ban

Security raising the bar How safe are your members?

Issue 1//April 2016



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Contents T R E N DS NEWS


OWNER OF THE MONTH Doug Millen from Grit Gym in Chichester he tells us what makes his gym tick


The latest news and hot topics in the industry


TOP 6…

Fitness apps







Do supplements deliver what they promise?

Andy Lee on the changes in the fitness industry

Ben Coomber highlights this sensitive issue and looks at the impact on the gym and its members.



THE BIG INTERVIEW Justin Musgrove, CEO, Bannatyne Group


We look at how gyms are providing a safe and secure environment for customers and staff



ON YOUR MARKS… Adam Wilson takes us through his first month as owner of Anatomy 37 gym


Gym-goer Elizabeth Barker on how her gym helps her keep as healthy as possible



DESIGNED FOR LIFE? What’s the latest in gym design, and how can it help attract more members?


GETTING SMART IN THE GYM A look at the latest trends in gym equipment and technology


The best fitness kit and gadgets around

F I T N E SS ASK THE EXPERT Got a problem you need solving? Our team of experts are here to help

Issue 1//April 2016





Issue 1//April 2016

Welcome... the first issue of Gym Owner Monthly. We’re really excited about the new magazine, and we hope you are, too. Covering everything from gym style and new technology to managerial issues, customer retention and first-person perspectives, it’s designed to be your one-stop shop for all things gym-related. And with so much changing in the fitness industry, being in the know means that you’ll be properly informed – and so will your customers. Right now, the way people perceive and use gyms is very different to how it was five years ago. Pay-as-you-go gyms and no-frills establishments offering basic fitness training without the luxuries associated with higher-end clubs have changed the way customers train. Instead of signing up to a yearly membership, people have been seduced not by fluffy towels and those added extras but by the notion that you can gym without a big financial commitment. Paying when you want to – not when you have to – does have its advantages. After all, your clients will be at the gym because they want to be there, not just because they’ve already paid to be there. But where does this leave the middle and high-end gyms? Well, there’s still a place for these as they cater to a different clientele, but this market segmentation illustrates just how savvy gym owners need to be to attract – and retain – their clients. Making your gym stand out from the crowd is key. This month we talk to Justin Musgrove, CEO of Bannatyne Group – catch up with him on (p31), while Ben Coomber reveals all about body dysmorphia (p28). Elsewhere we look at the burning issue of gym security and safety (p13), plus we have the first in our new monthly series following the opening of a new independent gym (p34).

See you next month!




Tracey Lattimore

Nathan Page

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

© Gym Owner Monthly Magazine 2016 Gym Owner Monthly is published by PW Media. Gym Owner Monthly is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of Gym Owner Monthly. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by Gym Owner Monthly, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication.

Issue 1//April 2016




What’s hot in the fitness industry

Are you a happy gym bunny? How good does your gym make you feel? Member management specialist ClubWise has launched the #HappiestGymInBritain campaign to celebrate the gyms and clubs that are going the extra mile to make their members feel important, valued and supported on their fitness journey.

On top of this, a whopping 60 per cent of gym members said they felt a sense of belonging and part of a community at their gym, with 55 per cent declaring a strong sense of loyalty.

Recently, ClubWise conducted a survey around gym culture and what it means to people. It found that 45 per cent felt gym culture represented ‘sociable and friendly’, while only 16 per cent felt it represented ‘serious and intimidating’.

In recent months, gyms and clubs across the UK have latched onto the value of implementing powerful retention methods, including member reward schemes, regular communication with a personal approach, building supportive friendly communities, listening and upping the ante when it comes to customer service.

Leaders discuss new government sports strategy

will discuss the challenges facing the sector in adopting and adapting to the new strategy. Limited places are still available for senior operators of health, fitness and leisure facilities, as well as suppliers to the sector. For more info, contact Kirsty Reed at or visit

A high-powered industry panel will debate the industry’s response to the government’s sports strategy ‘Sporting Future – A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ at this year’s active-net, which takes place at Loughborough University on 27-28 April.

‘Exercise on Referral’ scheme for Herts Herts Sports Partnership (HSP) has introduced a new ‘Exercise on Referral’ scheme using ReferAll’s online software solution.

Sport England’s property director, Charles Johnston, will present Sport England’s response to the new strategy before joining an industry panel including Mark Allman, chair of CLOA, Vince Mayne, CEO of BUCS and Phil Rumbelow, CEO of Jubilee Hall Trust and vice-chair of sporta.

The scheme, known as Active Herts project, aims to target inactive people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease or mental health conditions by offering behaviour change support to help individuals get active. It’s coordinated by HSP and made possible with funding from Sport England, Herts Public Health and local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The session will be chaired by Mike Hill, director of Leisure-net Solutions, customer insight provider for the active leisure sector and organiser of the active-net event. The panel

The three-year project, in collaboration with research partner University of East Anglia Medical School, aims to evaluate whether the Exercise on Referral scheme will help


Issue 1//April 2016

More and more gym and club owners are working hard to enhance the overall member experience, giving them compelling reasons to stay. This is great for everyone involved, as gyms are benefitting from improved retention and members are getting a better experience. For more info about the campaign, go to happiestgyminbritain or follow #HappiestGymInBritain and Facebook/HappiestGymInBritain

participants to become more physically active over a 12-month period. Using bespoke questionnaires, which have been translated online by ReferAll, the project will assess participant activity levels. Key data is captured at the start, then three months, six months and 12 months into the scheme to indicate if and how the participants’ behaviour has changed. Joe Capon, project officer for Active Herts, commented: ‘Initially we are focusing on areas of deprivation to help those most in need. If, after three years, this project is successful, we will look to roll it out countywide subject to funding being available.’

Retention Convention speakers announced Speakers have been announced for this year’s Retention Convention, a twoday event that will focus on improving customer experiences, organised by retention expert Dr Paul Bedford. The event, which will be held at Austen Court, the home of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in Birmingham, on 19-20 May, will host experts including Molly Kemmer, chair of IHRSA

Continued on Page 8…

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News and regional director for EXOS|MediFit. Other international speakers include Germany’s Dr Niels Nagel, head of the German Industry Federation for Health and Fitness; Selda Gamzeli from Turkey, previously Jatomi Fitness’s group customer experience director; Arron Williams from the UK, former special projects lead at Life Fitness; Tiffeny Gould, former digital fitness development and national exercise referral manager at SLM/Everyone Active; and Dr Melvyn Hillsdon, who has worked at University College London, Bristol University and the University of Exeter, and is a member of NICE Programme Development Groups. To book tickets, go to or email for more info.

PT numbers set to soar Training for a new career in the health and fitness industry is now more financially accessible thanks to changes to the Advanced Learning Loan. Previously, the government scheme supported those aged 24 and over to help pay for tuition fees and course costs, but new changes mean that the scheme will become available to students aged 19 and over who are planning to study on courses at level 3 or above. Applying for an Advanced Leaning Loan is simple and, unlike other government funded bursaries and grants, this loan doesn’t take into account household income and there are no credit checks for applicants.

The Pulse

Those who are awarded with an Advanced Learning Loan will not be obliged to pay

anything back until they earn a minimum annual income of £21,000. The interest rate is nine per cent on earnings above this figure, and will be deducted directly from the applicant’s salary.

World first for Pulse Fitness

Pulse Fitness has added two new products to its portfolio – the Versus and the Trixter VR, the world’s first fitness gaming bike to use facial recognition. The Versus uses unique virtual trainer software and advanced motion tracking technology to track and score exercise against personal best scores or a fellow gym goer, thanks to the new multi-player functionality. Both form and motion are tracked and continual feedback displayed to ensure a safe and optimal workout, while interactive technology allows users to challenge friends across social channels. The Trixter Virtual Reality (VR) is a fitness gaming bike that uses facial recognition to log user workouts and gives a unique 360° virtual cycling experience over an array of virtual cycling environments, including medieval forests, mountain lakes and tropical islands. The new model features real-feel gears, handlebars, pedals and seat sensors and a 23-inch screen for excellent picture and gaming quality. It also boasts VR software and a VR headset to give a totally immersive cycling experience, while facial recognition to store results centrally, track progress and race against yourself or others.

Fitness for females

A new report released by has uncovered the danger of pseudo experts. A survey of 1,000 UK adults who exercise regularly found that only five per cent could recognise the awarding bodies that accredit fitness and nutrition professionals in the UK; one in 10 have not checked if their PT is qualified; while 39 per cent admit they have injured themselves as a result of poor advice.

Be:FIT London, Europe’s health and fitness festival dedicated to women, is returning for another year . The event is being held at Islington’s Business Design Centre on 29 April-1 May, and aims to provide women with long-term tools to take ownership of their health and fitness and increase their confidence and happiness – without relying on crash diets or quick fix beauty treatments.

Issue 1//April 2016

Beating diabetes People who are at risk of type-2 diabetes in England will be offered healthylifestyle support by the NHS in order to help prevent diabetes developing. Set to launch this spring, the new programme aims to help 20,000 people over the course of the year, offering them 13 sessions focusing on exercise, education and lifestyle changes, including support such as supervised gym sessions.

Who’s the expert?


Pulse can also retro fit existing Trixter bikes with VR capability, with all service issues and software downloads managed remotely via the cloud.

For more info, go to

The programme will be available in 27 areas across the country – with 100,000 places available by 2020.

Get the rush Macmillan Cancer Support’s urban obstacle race series, Adrenaline Rush, is back for a second year this summer. Last year, a number of personal trainers took part with clients, so this year, gyms and PTs can book a gym package that gives each participant a 10 per cent discount and a free entry to the gym/PT for every 10 members booked up. Events are taking place in eight city locations across the UK, with 35 per cent of all entrance fees going to Macmillan. Participants have the choice of either a 5k or a 10k course, with a minimum of 20 obstacles in each race. To apply for the gym package, email to receive a unique discount code.

Fair wage at Nuffield Health A new Nuffield Health Minimum Wage has been introduced for all its employees – regardless of age. The health and wellbeing provider is committing to the new £7.20 hourly wage, and entitlement will not be limited by length of service or performance. Apprentices on a formal apprenticeship programme will continue to be paid the Nuffield

Health Apprenticeship Wage, which is already more than the national minimum wage for apprentices.

Owner of the month

The nitty gritty Doug Millen runs Grit Gym in Chichester. Here, he tells us what makes his gym tick, and how to make members feel like part of the family Running a gym is about more than just pounding the treadmill. It’s about building a community of members and creating a unique brand that will pack a punch. Conventional wisdom says mixing business with pleasure can be risky, but for gym manager Doug Millen, it’s the secret to his success. Doug runs Grit Gym in what used to be an office building in the car park of Chichester train station, and his right-hand man, Jason Mines, is also his close friend. Doug met Jason at their sons’ football club eight years ago. The men make a formidable duo,

each one bringing his own set of skills and experience to the team. Jason looks after the fitness side of things, while Doug takes care of the business. ‘We both have clearly defined roles and work really well together,’ said Doug. Since opening its doors to the public in January 2014, the gym’s popularity has exceeded Doug’s expectations. The plan was to sign up 100 members by the end of the first year, but by the autumn it already had 170 members. He says: ‘What we offer here is unique. We don’t ask for a joining fee or expect people to sign a contract, and people like this approach.’

The team also takes a holistic approach to the business, working with local schools to help improve the behaviour and grades of students who are getting into trouble. Doug told us how he’s grown the business in its first few months:

Hire the best ‘We have an unbeatable quality of instructors and trainers including Jack Magee, the British Open Jujitsu champion and one of the four youngest black belts in England. We employ Level 4 qualified personal trainers and nutritionists. Jason is a boxing coach and a Level 3 Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) strength and conditioning trainer. Our USP is that members get trained by the best.’

Create a brand ‘Having our own line of branded clothing and boxing gloves – Grit Hardwear – will help build our brand inside and outside the gym. It gives members a sense of belonging to something, and that’s great for them and for us.’

Connect with the community ‘Making money isn’t our only priority. It’s also important to reach out to the wider community, and we have links with local schools to help some of the kids who are on the wrong tracks. Martial arts teaches discipline and respect, and we want to pass that on to them. We also had a barbecue for members over a recent bank holiday weekend, and more than 70 people came. We got some new members from the day, but that was a happy accident. The day was purely about giving something back and having a good time.’

Be discerning

Doug Millen


‘We’re not into chest beating. If there is any bad behaviour in the gym, then we revoke membership. If we hear anything about people using the skills they learn here to fight on the street, then we stop membership immediately.’

Love what you do ‘Our enthusiasm is infectious. We all love what we do and are passionate about making the gym a success. That passion gets passed on to our members and there’s a real community growing here – it’s a bit like a big family.’

Issue 1//April 2016



Supplement There’s an old adage that it’s not what you lift in the gym, but in the kitchen that counts. We look at whether supplements deliver what they promise – plus how to eat healthily for the best fitness results WORDS: CLAIRE LAVELLE Forget sporting the latest brand of gym kit – it’s your shaker and the supplement in it that’s the number one gym accessory for the 21st century fitness enthusiast. Market researchers Euromonitor predict that sales of proteinbased sports supplements in the UK alone will rise from £170m in 2012 to £358m in 2017, and it only takes a brief glance around gyms up and down the country to confirm it’s a juggernaut of a trend that shows no sign of abating any time soon. Men and women alike are enthusiastically embracing the supplement culture in the hope of achieving their training goals and honing the body of their dreams in the process. Whether you want to increase muscle mass, boost weight loss or aid recovery, there’s a training supplement to help you do it – and it’s likely to be available in your local health food shop or on online direct from the manufacturers. So what are the benefits of a training supplement? Fitness enthusiasts and manufacturers alike are quick to point out that they offer peace of mind in terms of the nutrients they deliver, and the convenience factor is also mightily

attractive. ‘I go to the gym either before work or at lunch, but either way I’m pushed for time,’ says advertising manager Michael Walker, 35. ‘By having a protein shake afterwards, it means if I don’t have a chance to grab food until later it’s not a big deal – my body still has what it needs to help it recover.’ ‘A supplement can provide the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals the body needs either during or after training without the need for the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate or fat) in food that you might not want to consume as part of your training programme,’ says Adam Dickinson of Adapt Nutrition (www.adaptnutrition. ‘These are nutrients the body has to work very hard to get from food, especially if your diet isn’t a good as it could be. All the ingredients used in Adapt products are derived from a food source, rather than synthetic – what’s known as food-state supplements – which means the nutrition is turbo-charged, using a combination of nutrients you couldn’t access without eating a large volume of food. It’s a very precise way to get the nutrition you need – and nothing you don’t.’

Food vs supplements Perhaps unsurprisingly, some nutritionists take a different view and point to the everyday foods we all take for granted as a more natural (and cheaper) way to boost our training efforts. ‘Take whey supplements, which are popular because of their muscle-building reputation,’ says registered nutritionist Anita Bean, author of Sports Supplements: Which Nutritional Supplements Really Work, £12.99, Bloomsbury Sport. ‘Whey is absorbed quickly, but there’s no evidence that it results in greater muscle growth,’ she says. ‘A glass of milk, which contains whey naturally, is just as 10

Issue 1//April 2016

effective in promoting muscle synthesis (the changes in the muscle that leads to growth) after resistance training as supplements.’ As ever, it comes down to personal choice – and perhaps the clue is in the fact we refer to these formulations as ‘supplements’. A combination of eating well and using a shake for convenience or after a particularly tough training session will ensure you’re giving your body what it needs – all the better to achieve the results you desire.

your training On your plate Prefer to get your vitamins and minerals the old-school way? Here’s how and what to eat to…

#1 Lose weight

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Studies have also shown that protein blunts your appetite more than carbohydrate or fat, so add chicken, fish, steak, eggs or lentils to each meal to leave you feeling fuller for longer. ‘And eating a big bowl of vegetable soup first can help reduce your overall calorie intake,’ says nutritionist Anita Bean.

‘For maximum muscle protein synthesis (building bigger muscles), the amino acid leucine is key,’ says Anita. ‘Milk, whey, casein, eggs, meat, poultry and fish are rich sources.’

‘There’s good evidence that caffeine enhances performance for most types of endurance, power and strength activities,’ says Anita. ‘And beetroot juice appears to boost performance because it helps you do the same amount of work while using less energy.’

Get your vits ‘Vitamin B6 supports the nervous system, metabolism and reduces tiredness and fatigue,’ says Adam Dickinson of Adapt Nutrition. ‘Potassium helps support the nervous system, improve muscle function and helps to maintain blood pressure – all factors which will affect your sporting performance.’ And don’t forget good old vitamin C – if you’re training hard, you’re putting your body under stress and your immune system will need support. As we don’t store it in the body, a daily supplement may be useful.

Issue 1//April 2016


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Working out security From the threat of dark car parks to faulty equipment, going to some gyms can be a hazardous pastime. But we take a look at how the majority of gyms are providing a safe and secure environment for customers and staff alike WORDS: SARAH JUGGINS The gym may be the place where your customers come to lead fit, active, healthy lives, but it is also the place where there are inherent risks to safety and security. The prudent gym owner will be fully versed in health and safety regulations but, perhaps more importantly, will ensure that all staff from the cleaning and catering department, through to the personal trainers and administration are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to on-site safety and security. From the moment a customer sets foot in your centre, their safety and security becomes a priority for you and your staff. From safety in the car park to access control, the safe storage of personal belongings and welfare in the gym itself, there are a heap of potential pitfalls that the gym manager must take into consideration – and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) is a good place to start. While there are no specific health and safety laws for gym and leisure activities, operators at gyms and health clubs must comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) and all its associated regulations, which means taking a good, in-depth look at how you run your facility.

Here are a few self-assessment questions that might provide food for thought:  Is the car park, if you have one, well-lit with CCTV cameras in place?  Is access control into the facility adequate?  Is the staff rota fit for purpose – are there enough suitably qualified staff on site at any one time?  Has sufficient staff training been provided for all aspects of your operation?  Are inspection procedures in place and adequate?  Are all staff aware of emergency procedures relating to health and safety? This is a far from exhaustive list, but the key areas can be boiled down to three points: providing a safe environment for all staff and customers; taking all measures necessary to prevent illness or injury as a result of using the facility; and ensuring adequate response mechanisms should an emergency situation arises.

Issue 1//April 2016



Plan for safety Steve McIntosh, director of Operations, Fitnut Sports Club Management

Fitnut Sports Club Management specialises in the management of gyms, health clubs and leisure centres, and it suggests that gyms should complete a Safety Action Plan, which assesses the management of health and safety within the centre and provides a blueprint for good practice.

Steve McIntosh, director of operations at Fitnut, points out that it is not just the customers whose safety is paramount – the gym should also be a safe place for employees, too. ‘For staff working late at night or in the dead time mid-morning and mid-afternoon, management should have a robust lone worker procedure in place,’ he says, adding that staff should carry mobile phones with emergency numbers on speed dial. In addition, ‘all members of your team should be clear how to deal with unauthorised entry without endangering themselves and others,’ he adds. On a practical level, McIntosh suggests offering free use of the gym to the local police and fire brigade, or arranging a deal with a local security firm where they get free use of the gym in return for a regular walk-through during the night.

However, for McIntosh, the biggest issue facing gym managers is the welfare of the customer once in the gym. ‘One of the biggest causes of injuries comes when people exercise without a training plan to match agreed goals. At best they are disappointed with a lack of results and don’t continue; at worst they get injured and don’t continue. All gym users should be regularly fitness tested – every six to eight weeks as a guide – and their programmes changed.’

“For staff working late at night or in the dead time midmorning and mid-afternoon, management should have a robust lone worker procedure in place”

Challenges ahead simon mckenna, chief executive, alive leisure trust

One organisation that has faced a range of health and safety issues is West Norfolkbased Alive Leisure Trust. The Trust runs four sport and leisure facilities as well as a theatre and arts centre in the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. All the facilities pose very different challenges.

Lynnsport is the largest and most used facility. It sits within a 70 acre site in the heart of the town of King’s Lynn. The Oasis Centre in Hunstanton is a swimming pool, gym and sports centre built on the sea front; Downham Market Sport and Leisure Centre is a swimming pool, gym and sports centre in a small market town; and St James is a swimming pool with a small gym in King’s Lynn. Of these sports and leisure facilities, it is Lynnsport that poses the most challenges, says chief executive of the Trust, Simon McKenna. ‘Lynnsport is in a challenging postcode,’ he says. ‘Our site stretches from a bowling centre on one side of the town to an industrial site on the other, and there is a public footpath linking the two. We find a lot of drug paraphernalia, and our outdoor attendant – who patrols the grounds several times a day – can be dealing with anything from graffiti and anti-social behaviour to containing dog fights.’


Issue 1//April 2016

On the site is an athletics track, a barn with indoor sports facilities, a skate park, a climbing wall and two artificial pitches. All are some way from the main gym and health centre, but all are covered by 24/7 CCTV, which is monitored by the Borough Council. Lynnsport was one of the sites visited by the Olympic Torch Relay in 2012, and McKenna says that the security surrounding that event opened his eyes to some potential safety hazards, from more regular emptying of the bins to dealing with post. ‘We had a visit from a counter-terrorism officer,’ he explains, ‘and that was really enlightening. What we learnt from that experience has filtered through to ensure better practices at all our facilities.’


Old and new technology Within the centre itself, the reception area is a mix of technology and old-fashioned human presence. Gladstone Health and Leisure provide the management system that allows fast-track card entries, identity monitoring and staff-controlled access points. Identity monitoring, which displays the card-holder’s face on a screen, is a measure to prevent card-sharing by members. ‘It is not foolproof,’ says McKenna ruefully. ‘The reception staff have some intensely busy periods when a class is about to start or it hits peak time in the gym and people do slip through, but our staff have built relationships with our customers so they can often spot people who are trying to slip in for free.’ The other centres under the Alive Leisure umbrella have less intensive entry controls because,

as McKenna says, these are different locations with very different needs. ‘The Oasis has a lot of tourists. You need reception staff largely to give information on things such as how the lockers operate and where the changing rooms are. At St James and Downham Market we use a controlled access gate because it is mostly regular customers. For the future, we would like all the centres to have biometric entry points as this would make it easier and more consistent all round, but that is on our “would like to do” list.’ The challenge at Alive Leisure is largely focused on the environment around the centre, but for many gyms, the main concern is customer safety and security in the building. How do you guarantee customers that their valuables are safe – and, indeed, that they are safe?

Providing for the 24/7 workforce This can be a particular issue in the case of 24/7 gyms. Convenience is the watchword for these gyms. They are open for 24 hours, allowing customers to train at any time, which particularly suits shift workers, people who work unsociable hours and insomniacs. Pure Gym, which has 49 gyms UK-wide, says that 24 per cent of its customers exercise between midnight and six o’clock.

Access to 24/7 gyms is usually via a unique pin number, although an increasing number of facilities are introducing more advanced biometrics, such as fingerprint recognition. Customers can then enter the locked gym at any time of the day or night. But there are obvious concerns about working out when a gym is not fully staffed and personal trainers are not on hand to advise if they are exercising properly. In answer to the question of safety, a spokesman for Pure Gym said: ‘Reports from customers are that they always feel very safe. There is extensive CCTV throughout the gym, there is always someone working in the club no matter what time of day or night they visit, and they know that additional assistance is only

seconds away, with a call button within easy reach no matter where they are within one of our gyms.’ Both Pure Gym and another 24/7 provider, The Gym, have panic buttons linked to the emergency services that members can press if needed when using the gym overnight, and members will also have had an induction upon joining so they know to use the equipment. With measures like these in place, going to the gym shouldn’t be a concern for users in terms of security – but it’s clear that users need to be continually reassured that their safety is of paramount importance to the gym owner, and that security needs to be an ongoing priority. Issue 1//April 2016



Integriti not only offers unrivalled security and building management for your gym or fitness chain but can also solve many of the business issues you will likely experience as a gym owner. A game changer for the gym industry, the intelligent system is already favoured and trusted by a multitude of well-known gyms across the globe. Here’s a flavour of what Integriti offers:  24/7 unmanned gym access fully meeting duty of care requirements – no problem for Integriti

limits on the number of members or buildings – Integriti scales with your business!

 How often do you staff forget to turn off heating, lights or air-con? – Integriti’s got it covered with intelligent automation and remote management

 Centralised management –remotely manage the security and building automation for all your premises from one system

 Managing more than one gym? Integriti is cost effective whether you run a small local gym, a national chain or you’re a global fitness franchise. Moreover, there are no

 Simple administration – intuitive in design, your staff will love the easy-to-use interface. It can also be securely managed via any internet-enabled PC, tablet or smartphone

LET INTEGRITI BECOME THE POWERHOUSE OF YOUR FITNESS CHAIN The company behind Integriti is system integration pioneer Inner Range. Integriti has been developed as a ‘friendly’ system that likes to ‘talk’ with others. How does this benefit you? Well, it allows you connect systems or assets you use such as your gym management system, lockers and vending machines and cleverly manage all via Integriti. Watch this video and discover more about Integriti for gyms: If you’re heading to Elevate in May ( we’ll be exhibiting on Stand 195. Drop by and see Integriti in action. Call Inner Range today on 0845 470 5000 or email Advertising Feature


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0845 470 5000 Issue 1//April 2016



Fit Kit

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

Words: Heather Stephen


CLIP-FIT IPHONE 6/6S ARMBAND If you need your phone while you work out to view your fitness app or to listen to your favourite music, this bit of kit could be just what you need. Made from breathable and hand washable neoprene, the armband is adjustable and comes with a shockproof case for your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, which clips on and off easily and gives you access to all ports and buttons. £35 from

This state-of-the-art monitor links up with your phone to tell you just how healthy you really are. All you have to do is step on the scale, and it not only charts your weight, but also measures body fat, muscle and bone mass, physique rating, metabolic age, basal metabolic rate and even hydration levels. Results can then be transmitted via Bluetooth to the free Tanita Health Planet app so you can view all your fitness data on the go. £160 from John Lewis or £141.97 from

FITBIT BLAZE This sleek new smart watch by Fitbit could give your personal trainer a run for his or her money. As well as tracking your activity stats, the Fitbit Blaze offers on-screen animated workouts. And this clever device even recognises and records different exercise categories in the Fitbit app for you to map your progress in everything from kickboxing to yoga. £160 from

BEURER AS80 ACTIVITY AND SLEEP TRACKER The two tracking functions on this stylish wristband monitor your movement and sleep patterns. The OLED display sets targets for your daily exercise, counts calories and measures activity. And all results can be recorded on the HealthManager app that’s free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store. £49 from


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AVON ACTIVE COLLECTION Avon isn’t just about makeup and hair products these days – the company has now launched an affordable range of gym clothing and equipment for women. Prices start at £12, and the collection includes everything from pretty paisley print trainers to breathable sportswear and fitness equipment like skipping ropes and toning wheels. So next time your Avon lady calls, check out the leggings as well as the lippy! Available through www. or your nearest Avon representative on 0333 2345678.

SONY NWWS414 WALKMAN Enjoy your top tunes anywhere – even the pool. Sony’s new waterproof headphones with integrated MP3 player work in water up to 2m deep for up to 30 minutes. And in ambient sound mode, special microphones allow you to tune into your fitness instructor or talk to friends without missing a beat. On full charge there’s an impressive battery life of 12 hours, but if you are short on time, boosting the Walkman for just three minutes will give you 60 minutes of music to power you through your workout. £100,



On those days when you’re too busy for the gym, take a tip from celebrity personal trainer Kelly Sephton and Made in Chelsea star Binky Felstead. They both swear by this topselling home fitness product, which combines push-up bars, ab wheels and dumbbells to give your abs, arms, chest and shoulders a workout in minutes. This compact device comes with an instructional DVD and stability pad so you get the most out of every exercise. The two models – beginner at £30 and advanced at £40 – are available from


These new super-light training shoes for men and women combine flexibility with anatomical design to aid movement and provide comfort and support through every stretch, squat and lunge. Designed especially for the gym, can you afford to be without them? £30, from

BIOSKIN COMPRESSION SHORTS If you’ve overdone it on your fitness regime, these compression shorts by Ossur Webshop could help you on the road to recovery. These ultra-thin lightweight shorts are ideal for a hamstring or groin injury as they decrease muscle vibration and pain helping you to keep active while on the mend. £50 from www.

Tired of tees emblazoned with oversized logos? You might want to try a new premium fitness wear range for men, which specialises in tailored kit in natural fabrics so you don’t have to leave your style sense at home when you hit the gym. The collection includes premium cotton tees, sweat pants and hoodies, and start from £50 for a lightweight super soft cotton workout vest to £130 for a premium cotton fleece hoodie;

If you have a product you would like us to feature, please contact Tracey at

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Designed Gyms and health clubs have evolved hugely over the past decade, making them more desirable places to spend time and inspirational in terms of what they offer. So what’s the latest in gym design, and how can it help attract more members? Words: Sarah Juggins What is the ideal gym? Just what are customers looking for? It’s a tricky question because customers’ expectations are so varied. Some people want a total lifestyle experience – for them, fluffy towels and wellbeing spas are as important as the quality of the treadmill and the availability of Kettlebells for others. And some gym goers are more concerned about getting a workout done as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Steve McIntosh is director of operations at Fitnut, a company specialising in gym and health club management. He has this to say about the future of the gym scene: ‘There has been little change in the past five years but, in the next five years, gym users could be looking for lower membership fees and higher value for money. That may mean less qualified staff, so there is likely to be far more reliance on technology.’ McIntosh also believes that the obesity crisis will push gyms into an important role in healthcare. ‘As the obese population increases and, if they are to be classified as disabled, then exercise prescription will need to change accordingly. Gyms need to be ready to cope with a new type of customer.’ Currently, there are three main competitors in the market for gym memberships: the 24/7 budget gym which offers basic workout opportunities with no frills; the luxury gym offering health and fitness, wellbeing, wet-side facilities, plus facilities for activities such as tennis and squash; and the council or trust-run leisure centre. It is this last type of facility that is currently picking up the majority of the burden of obesity, with many gyms forging partnerships with local doctors’ surgeries. 20

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A 24/7 society Pure Gym and The Gym Group are two leading budget gym operators. Here, it is all about convenience. Users want to be able to workout at any time of the day or night with minimum fuss. These customers expect the gym to be clean and functional, with the latest equipment. What they don’t need or want are the added extras. With more than 520,000 members, Pure Gym is feeding an appetite for this type of gym. It currently has 98 gyms operating across the UK and, since May 2015, has rolled out a further 30 sites as part of its on-going expansion plan. One of the leading names in the high-end, luxury gym market is David Lloyd Leisure. While equipment is at the core of David Lloyd gym facilities, there is also emphasis on the look and feel. Colour charting, generous use of space, mood lighting, cuttingedge design – it is as much about the sensory experience as the workout experience. David Lloyd centres have been undergoing a makeover recently, and the result is a zone-based gym. Previously, the gym would have been divided into three main areas: cardiovascular equipment, weights/free weights and an area to stretch. David Lloyd centres now offer functional fitness zones, sport-specific training zones, community zones, strength zones and cardio zones.

for life? All change One of the most recent centres to undergo a refurbishment is the David Lloyd Centre in Hatfield. Among the new facilities on offer as part of the £1.3m project are:  A dedicated group cycling studio, incorporating instructor-led and virtual classes  Revolutionary new gym packed with the latest equipment

 New DL Kids activity area  Bespoke DLicious cafebar  Refreshed spa facilities  Adult-only lounge offering a work space

While the luxury gyms attract a large market share, for many people the monthly fees are out of their budget and, for many gym operators, the onus is on providing a great experience at an affordable price. Paul Badhams is fitness development manager at Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT), a charity that runs nine leisure centres and a golf course on behalf of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in the West Midlands. The latest healthclub to join SLT is the Wednesbury Leisure Centre, a sport, swimming and fitness facility located in the heart of Wednesbury. The centre boasts a 25-metre pool, a 12.5-metre pool, a 75-station fitness gym, a spin studio, two dance studios with the capacity to host a wide range of fitness classes, a three-court sports hall, meeting rooms and plenty of free parking. Badhams explains the design process: ‘My aim was to design a gym that would appeal both to new exercisers and hardened gym veterans, offering the best equipment currently available. I wanted a place where you could equally complete a crossfit-style workout while working alongside someone following a cardio rehab programme, or training for muscle growth. ‘We have to meet different demands. We have three studios, each with a specific purpose. You can take a spin class, take part in classes like BodyPump and Kettlebells, or do anything from yoga and Zumba to BodyAttack. The studios are an integral part of the success of the facility, and give us the ability to offer a wide variety of class styles to appeal to lots of different consumers. The studio also allows us to offer a large volume of classes throughout the week, sometimes more than 100.’

A fragmented market So what about the future of gym design? ‘I think the market will fragment further, with the budget sector and more specialist facilities becoming the main players, and the traditional health club-style facilities coming under more pressure,’ says Badhams. Like McIntosh, Badhams thinks that technology will play an ever-increasing role on the gym floor. ‘I believe the growth of technology – particularly apps – will have a major influence, both positively for those operators who adopt these as an opportunity, and a threat for those who don’t recognise this as an area to work in alongside the traditional gym model.’ And this should spell good news for gym owners. According to market analysts Cardlytics, gym membership has risen over the past year, with spending on gym memberships rising by 44 per cent. But with 6.5 million of us going to the gym, that still leaves a healthy number of people who are potential new customers. McIntosh has this advice for gym owners seeking to tap into the rich seam of clientele: ‘Stop focusing on the profit and numbers, and focus on making a positive difference to the health of everyone who comes through the door. While the marketing often makes gyms sound irresistible, unfortunately the experience doesn’t always match the hype. It would be great if gyms under-promised and over-delivered.’

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

Ease those knees Q. What's the best way of training older clients with knee injuries? We are seeing a lot of people coming to our gym after rehab and we want to vary their workouts. Chris Lawson, St Albans

Stefano Chiriaco, The Health & Fitness Coach (, answers: Older clients usually come along with some sort of pain, injury or limitation, and preventative measures – including good form and regular movement – are best. After the initial physio sessions, clients will want to try to get back to ‘normal’. The prime objective here is to promote a pain-free, full range of motion, which will provide functional and useful life movement. Unfortunately, things like running machines, exercise bikes and cross trainers are only going to provide impact on these areas without adding any integrity to the structure of the knees, so avoid these at the start. The quickest benefits will come from exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts. To ensure that every part of the quad is activated, I would recommend a wide squat position for the inner thighs, hitting the vastus medialis; a reverse neutral lunge to take the stress off the knees, stimulating the central quad area including the vastus intermedius; and a deadlift to build up the supporting hamstring muscle. Once these main motor movements are functioning well, painfree and with good form, then you can start to have a field day! I would only add variations to these movements once the basics are well established, say after four to six weeks. You can certainly speed things up by doing isolation exercises on the surrounding muscles of the knee. From there, cardiovascular sessions can be re-introduced, making sure that variety is applied to stop the same area of the knee being repetitively affected. I find that circuit training is more beneficial for older clients, preserving muscle mass, increasing metabolism and improving fitness. Too often I see older people moved off to the corner of the gym, given basic exercises and text book ’safe’ advice by trainers because they recommend exercise based on limited ideas of what can be achieved. My older clients have the time to invest in their bodies and are often very determined to maintain high levels of health, making some of them my best and longest term clients. Invest in them and they will invest in you.


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Variety is key Q. How can we encourage members to sign up for more classes and try new things? Sam Bovingdon, London

Neil Hutchinson, head of operations at St Peter’s Leisure Centre (part of Burnley Leisure) answers: Listening to and interacting with your members is key to ensuring they make more visits and try new classes. All of your staff – not just your instructors – need to be fully engaged and knowledgeable about any new products or classes. Group fitness classes should be an integral part of your staff training, alongside health and safety, and finance. We’ve used Life Fitness Academy – our equipment supplier’s fitness education programme – to train staff, and at Burnley Leisure, all our receptionists, lifeguards and cleaners regularly get to take part in spinning classes or an introduction to highintensity training so that they can genuinely talk to customers about our programmes. Encourage staff to talk, take pictures, Tweet and post updates on Facebook about new classes, and spread the word! If all your staff are fully engaged, they will talk about work when socialising, building a network of people talking about your business and making it easier to encourage repeat visits and launch new classes. You also need to ensure you have mechanisms in place to interact with and get feedback from members, either verbally, written or through social media. Why not ask people to post comments online about what they thought of your new class, or get them to tag a friend who might want to try it out? Top three things to try: 1. Ensure all staff are trained in the fitness business 2. Actively encourage interaction with customers 3. Use technology to your advantage


The best classes target the whole body

Elizabeth Barker, 36, is a physiotherapist, mum-of-two and regular at the David Lloyd Leisure Centre in Cambridge. Although she has chronic arthritis, she’s determined to use exercise as a means of staying as mobile and healthy as possible Words: Sarah Juggins

How often do you go to the gym and how long have you been a member? I try to get four to five sessions in a week. I was a member of David Lloyd pre-children – that was eight years ago. I returned to the David Lloyd Centre in September last year. In the intervening years, I had been using a small gym slightly more local to me. What pieces of equipment or classes do you most regularly use? I tend to do classes more than use the machines – I find I need that extra level of instruction or motivation to work as hard as I can. If I do use the machines, it tends to be a warm-up on the cardiovascular equipment, then I do bodyweight exercises or use the Kettlebells. But I prefer classes. What are you looking to gain from your gym experience? Good health, first and foremost. If I get body shape changes, then that’s a bonus. But really, I am trying to prevent all the nasty ailments and diseases that are lurking out there. Looking at how the gym helps me achieve this, I think the range of classes on offer is fantastic. Do you try new classes and activities when they are offered? I try a range of classes, but the best ones target the whole body and I love anything that involves some form of cross training or functional fitness training. One of my favourite classes is run by a personal trainer called Jo Hopkins – she has completely changed the way I look at myself. Her Core-Fit class is just brilliant – it covers every aspect of physical fitness from nutrition to flexibility, and strength to endurance and cardiovascular work. What does your gym do well, and what could it do better? There is a huge range of classes, including some semi-formal classes that take place on the gym floor – a 30-minute strength class, for example. I do wish there were more classes in the afternoon. But they all tend to be in the morning or evening, and for mums like me, sometimes the afternoon is the only time we have to get to the gym. Issue 1//April 2016



Gym Owner Monthly has negotiated a discount for tickets to the World Power Show


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WHY THE WORLD POWER SHOW & EXPO UK IS DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER FITNESS EXPO We bet this will sound familiar, but as fitness and body strength nuts ourselves, we felt that something was missing in London. Whereas similar shows have existed in other parts of the UK, an all-out fitness expo was yet to find a home here in our capital city.


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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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Getting smart Whether it’s functional fitness zones, rigs or interactive wall spaces, today’s fitness experience is worlds away from the gym of yesteryear. We take a look at the trends in equipment and technology happening in a gym near you Words: Nicola Joyce

Fitness, strength and conditioning have gone mainstream. According to the recent State of the UK Fitness Industry (SOFI) report, the UK saw a 3.3 per cent increase in the number of gyms over the 12-month period to the end of March 2015, with market value up 5.4 per cent on the previous year. And penetration rate is at its highest ever: 13.7 per cent, with 8.78 million Brits holding a gym membership.

It’s never been a better time to run a UK gym facility. But to sustain this, we’ve got to get it right. We asked kit manufacturers and gyms to reveal how smart use of technology, kit and space can enhance the consumer experience, so that more of those 8.78 million customers renew their memberships.

Free up space

More space, more income

Functional fitness can’t be ignored. In fact, it’s seventh in ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) insightful ‘Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends’ this year. The PTs who speak to clients every day have seen the trend grow from the ground up.

‘Functional training areas create a less intimidating space for gym users,’ agrees Lloyd Salmon, key account manager at Physical Company. ‘PTs can easily train more people doing one-to-two and small group sessions. It’s really cost-effective for the club. You can pretty much kit out a functional zone for the cost of a piece of cardio equipment.

‘It’s a no-brainer to open up gym floor space, creating versatile functional training environments that allow your trainers to add value,’ says James Griffiths of Wild Training. ‘When I have a decent amount of floor space with enough equipment, I can create a real buzz that will encourage more members to get involved with instructor-led training sessions – leading to better retention and more referrals.’ The equipment providers agree. ‘Bespoke functional S&C [strength and conditioning] rigs support the more advanced training methods being introduced into clubs,’ says Richard Sheen, national sales manager for global equipment provider Pulse Fitness. ‘Gyms are branding their own functional training zones to attract different demographics and maximise usage.’ In April 2015, Pulse was chosen to supply fitness equipment to Total Fitness’s new health club in Wrexham. The installation was part of a £1 million refurbishment and included a new functional training area. ‘Pulse’s in-house product design team personalised the kit to enhance the brand,’ says Sheen. ‘The Wrexham installation has now been used as a blueprint across the Total Fitness portfolio.’ 26

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‘It’s a lot simpler than you imagine to fit out a functional zone, and the downtime is usually only a couple of days. It’s usually a case of moving – not removing – kit to accommodate. Functional zones bring in extra revenue, too: gym floor classes, extra PT sessions and retention as members get a boost in motivation.’ Rigs are the ultimate piece of functional training equipment, believes Garry Taylor, international commercial manager at RFE International, which designs and manufactures equipment globally. ‘Functional training gives the operator the opportunity to appeal to a broader range of clients,’ he says. ‘The Reebok Functional training concept is completely scalable, so you can manage your space and usage requirements as well as your budget. The Tri Rig and Power Station offer multi-configurable opportunities, with a full storage solution too.’

in the gym It’s not just the kit But gym equipment is no longer limited to the standalone items you place in your gym. What about the flooring, walls, and lighting themselves? These spaces can be utilised just as well as floor space in today’s high-tech gym. Flooring manufacturer PAVIGYM’s 3.0 range includes PAVIGYM Sprint for interval training and PAVIGYM Vertical, an interactive wall. With integrated LED lights controlled by touch-screen software, the products have direct applications to all market segments, allowing users to train or be active in a variety of ways. But it’s not always easy to justify the business case for interactive products, according to Simon Heap, founder and creative director for Rugged Interactive, which has CardioWalls in Fitness First, Bannatyne’s and David Lloyd. ‘Finding a partner with a real understanding of the market was crucial, and Pulse Fitness recognises that interactive equipment likes ours can play a key role in getting more people active.’ Society is becoming increasingly more technologically savvy, and your next generation of gym users will have been raised on tech. It’s clear that the fitness industry needs to adopt technology and offer interactive experiences to clients to lead this wave of change in the fitness arena.

Getting Interactive S&C rigs aren’t right for every client. What about users who need a more fun and engaging solution to attract them through your door? ‘Fun, interactive products attract users who would not otherwise visit a gym, and provide active solutions for special population groups,’ says Chris Johnson, managing director for Pulse Fitness. Interactive gaming system Funky Moves ( is creating a lot of interest in facilities and sports centres, with its multi-sensory active units and game plans to encourage users – both young and old – to move to the different lights and sounds. It’s innovations like this that are helping dynamic gyms attract – and retain – more users, making the whole experience much more like fun – and much less like hard work.

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The lowdown Do you see clients pumping iron til their body drops, stressing about missing a training session and constantly worrying about their appearance? Then they could have ‘bigorexia’… Words: Ben Coomber

Body image issues are classically considered to be female concerns, but this is a huge mistake. Men are, in the modern world, under just as much pressure from society to appear in a certain way, and while many men aren’t too concerned about it, a growing number are – especially in gym culture. Of course, women can and do experience some ‘male’ body image issues, but the prevalence is far lower. The reasons for this are diverse, but generally it comes down to societal norms that display men as large and powerful, while women are small and dependent – be these stereotypes right or wrong. Male body image issues are somewhat different to those often seen in women. The most common causes of concern for heterosexual men include bodyweight/fat, penis size and height. Head hair is another issue but it’s not as prevalent, possibly in part down to the increased societal acceptance of baldness or head shaving. But one of the biggest areas that concern heterosexual men is that of muscularity. Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder (MDD) is popularly known as ‘bigorexia’ (a reference to it being a reversed anorexia) in the media, and there may be good reason for this. MDD is not an exercise in vanity where someone simply wants to look good and get compliments – those with MDD genuinely see themselves as small or weak, despite what the mirror shows and what other people think. Therefore they make what they view as the necessary steps to remedy the situation.

“One of the biggest areas that concern heterosexual men is that of muscularity.”


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on bigorexia Stopping point But why is this a this a problem? Someone who is simply dedicated to training and eating right, and is driven, will have a stopping point – a point where they look in the mirror and think, ‘Yeah I’m happy with that, I look good’, but a sufferer of MDD will not. They will always want more – often an amount that will never end – and for some, this will be unachievable without the use of drugs or steroids. People with MDD will train through injury, sacrifice social situations regularly so that they can train/eat the meals they think are needed to reach a goal, and find that their preoccupation with their image interferes with relationships, career and education. They will often refuse to take holidays or other multiple-day trips for fear that their gym regime will be interrupted, and frequently take steroids when they realise that their natural capacity to reach their ultimate goal is limited. The vast majority of MDD sufferers also suffer from depression. Of course, there is a spectrum of MDD, and we must be mindful that someone with dedication and serious training goals may exhibit similar behaviour to those with MDD, so context is always key. Sufferers may:  Train around injury (something that is actually beneficial)  Train for multiple hours per week  Choose to skip certain social situations (big nights out or meals)

Could it be MDD? Other symptoms to look out for include:  Excessive time exercising that impacts on day-to-day life  Genuine panic and distress at the thought of missing a workout, rather than simply mild annoyance  Unplanned overreaching or overtraining, and training through (rather than around) injury  Disordered eating habits  Compulsive checking of one’s physique, and comparing to others, possibly on social media  Prioritising training over everything else, all of the time  Other concerns such as fat level, loss of hair or penis size.

 Look to find a gym while on holiday because they enjoy training None of these things are indicative of a problem per se, but if the gym-goer feels that they are impacting their life – and yet they feel compelled to continue – there is a good chance that MDD is a problem. Another thing to consider is that a bodybuilder or powerlifter who is simply dedicated to fitness will not have a distorted body image and, though they feel improvements could be made, they will generally be happy with their body. The best thing to do if you know someone who may have MDD is to talk to a professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an extremely effective method for dealing with MDD but, just like any other body image issue, the person must be ready to seek help. If they are not, then forcing the issue may make it worse. If a friend or loved one is affected, be supportive and understanding while informing them clearly of your concerns in a neutral and non-provocative manner. Remember, they aren’t vain and they are not narcissistic – they have a recognised psychological disorder and must be helped, rather than judged. Ben Coomber is a performance nutritionist (BSc, ISSN), speaker and writer. Visit

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PT’s Viewpoint

“It is our job to form happy relationships with members” Andy Lee has been a personal trainer for 10 years and works at DW Sports Fitness. He specialises in strength and body conditioning, postural correction and boxing training During my 10 years as a trainer, I have seen a lot of changes within the fitness industry, and my gym in general. Possibly the biggest change was seeing the change of ownership from LA Fitness to DW Sports Fitness. As a freelance personal trainer working in a commercial gym, I think it is important that trainers work together with their gyms. From the moment people join the gym, it is our job as trainers to form happy relationships with members and help the gym to increase retention.

Gym owners have a tendency to focus on sales and not on retention. As a result, members feel unhappy and ignored, so they leave. Also, they can sometimes make trainers feel like spare parts – this is a problem. One of the best tools for retention are personal trainers – the people on the frontline of the gym. They are the ones that develop relationships with your members and are the ones that will help you keep those members at your gym. At the end of the day, we

All change When I first started out, gyms were standard cardio and weights stations, with fitness instructors doing gym inductions. Studio classes were Step, hi-lo aerobics, body conditioning and yoga. Now they are different, with Zumba, HIIT training, Insanity, Les Mills classes and spinning covering the studio timetable, while there are a lot of budget gyms like PureGym, The Gym and Fit4less popping up. Gyms are moving away from having fitness instructors on their gym floor, which might be a good thing for personal trainers as they can potentially get more clients by doing gym inductions and taking some of the small groups classes. I believe that good personal trainers are an asset to any gym. This is a service that you can provide for your members without having extra costs. Freelance personal trainers do not cost a gym anything, but can help the gym by providing additional services like gym induction, fitness workshops and studio classes. As a trainer in a commercial gym. I teach about five spin classes, a boxing workshop and a Kettlebell workshop each week. I also take gym inductions for new members, making sure they all feel at ease with the equipment. By doing this, I find I build relationships with all my members and have built up a good strong client base. So let’s start working together – and make your gym great.


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all want to be busy training people and improving their lifestyle. There are a lot of things that gym owners could do to improve gym retention. Set up workshops on whatever the trainers’ specialties are – for example, nutrition, boxing workshops or Kettlebells training. These are great tools for gyms to get people through the door and for the trainer to potentially gain new clients.

The Big Interview

‘Being in a successful business is an exciting place to be’ In the first of our regular Q&A sessions, Justin Musgrove, chief executive officer at The Bannatyne Group, looks at the challenges facing the business in a changing sector, achievements and goals – and how the ‘Dragon’ approach is firing up employees Words: Phil Lattimore

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?

What sets you apart from your competitors?

I worked for Center Parcs for 20 years before I joined Bannatyne’s in 2007 – primarily to develop Bannatyne’s spa business. That was the area I specialised in at Center Parcs. Over the past nine years, I’ve moved into a commercial role, becoming MD and then CEO in the last two years.

Service is key. We’re not just a gym, we’re a place to come and enjoy the experience and the surroundings with friends. Food and beverages is important as well – we’re a central location where you can come and chat, even if you don’t use the gym.

What is your vision for Bannatyne’s? We want to establish Bannatyne’s as the most successful national wellness company across the UK. We already have a good geographic presence. With our spa business, our health club business and our hotel business we want to create a truly successful wellness brand so that we are able to help people address some of the challenges that modern life presents.

And if you’re using the gym, we also want you to get great service. The modern gym floor is changing – it’s now more functional fitness, with free weights and other innovative things. This requires education, instruction and explanation, so we have highly-trained people on the gym floor to show members the way. We also have great treatment rooms, highly trained therapists – all our own staff, not outsourced. We control the brand, and have a highly standardised offering wherever you visit. And we’re fully tech-enabled.

What are the biggest challenges your organisation faces? The pace of change – because we’re changing at a rate of knots. We have a major refurbishment programme of our gym estate underway. Sixty per cent of that has been achieved, and we’ll complete the rest this year. Cultural change within our business is important, too. We’re embracing change – we want to find great staff, and if we can’t find them we want to train them, to ensure we’re providing a world-class service.

How do you motivate your team of gym managers? Our senior team regularly meets and speaks with our gym managers, so we’re at the front-end of business. Also, we get all the gym managers together once a year and have a group meeting, where they contribute to the

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The Big Interview next year’s strategy, and we have a celebration – and an awards evening that’s good fun.

Is training important? We have a variety of training programmes. The gym managers’ training module has been running for six years. But a key change in strategy for Bannatyne’s over the last two or three years has been to try to promote from within. This industry hasn’t got a great reputation on staff retention, and we’re trying to change that. It’s not just about training, though. It’s about creating a positive environment, a business that recognises good results, gives constructive feedback when things aren’t done right, that is progressive, and where employees can see we’re listening and getting them involved. If they feel they’re part of the strategy and helping to drive the business with new ideas, it’s a good place to work. And being in a successful business is an exciting place to be.

What major changes do you foresee over the next five years?

I see the budget sector consolidating. There are too many operators at the moment, so three or four of the big operators will probably gobble up the others. After a consolidation in the budget sector, the mid-market will probably reappear at some stage, when things settle down.

What have been the highlights of your career to date? With Center Parcs it was establishing its highly successful Aqua Sana spa brand. At Bannatyne’s, it is establishing the Bannatyne Spa brand, which has become one of the top three spa companies in the UK. And now, it’s establishing the Bannatyne Health Clubs and the Bannatyne brand as the number one wellness company in the UK.

What are your own personal fitness goals and how do you achieve them? Variety is the spice of life for me. I like to work out at the gym, combined with outside activities such as mountain biking and skiing. And my recent love is yoga. I’ve found it to be absolutely fantastic

What effect is the spread of personal fitness technology having? It’s definitely an opportunity. It’s having a growing impact on the sector – many people are now using devices like Fitbit and Apple Health, and these are complementary to the gym experience. The more information you can get – from both inside and outside the gym – the more metrics you’ve got to monitor your performance, and the more you can set yourself a challenge and achieve your goals. We’re trying to integrate that and make it easy for our customers. We’re looking to unify all of the common, most popular apps and wearables through our new Bannatyne app, which is due to launch in April 2016. Through this, we’ve created a ‘one-stop shop’ where your 360, 24/7 fitness analysis is being monitored and pulled together in one convenient central location. 32

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and I do it twice a week. I tend to swap my fitness goals around every two years – sometimes they’re class-based or weights-based or functional based; I like to keep changing things around.

What’s it like to work with a former ‘Dragon’? Interesting! It’s always a learning experience. An entrepreneur’s perspective is usually very different from an operator’s. Entrepreneurs make decisions on a sixpence, and my job has been to interpret how Duncan [Bannatyne] would see a decision and do it how he would do it. We try to get staff to embrace that approach. We want people to believe it’s their business. We’re creating an entrepreneurial work environment where people can contribute, we’ll listen to their ideas and when we find a great idea we’ll roll it through. This approach is also having a positive effect on staff retention. I want this to be the place where we have industry-leading staff in everything we do. It’s the building blocks of a good business if we can hold onto our people and develop them.


On your marks… Opening a new gym is no mean feat, as Adam Wilson well knows. Here he takes us through his first month as owner of Anatomy 37 in Tonbridge, Kent

In January 2016, I realised a dream of mine – I opened my very own gym. I can tell you that the first month hasn’t been glamorous, and that there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to ensure that we opened my new gym on time – and to ensure that it is the very best facility it can be. Before I let you know how our first month in business has been, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’ve worked in fitness for more than 15 years. Since leaving school I’ve known fitness was my passion, and I’ve worked hard to ensure I’m the most qualified and knowledgeable trainer I can be. During my time as a personal trainer, I’ve worked at a number of different facilities, beginning at a local sports centre then moving to a luxury state-of-the-art gym and finally an independent fitness centre. I like to think I’ve learnt a lot!

Standing proud I must say, our first month in business is one of the things I’m most proud of in my career. From finding my premises – a massive achievement alone over a two-year period – to renovating the building, selecting equipment, employing staff and – last but not least – actually opening, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve been able to get the gym facility exactly how I’d like it, with the very best equipment including, assault bikes, TRX, Olympic weightlifting and Kettlebells. We’re definitely not a gym where you can just pound the treadmill for 30 minutes and be done with it – namely because I won’t allow a treadmill in my gym!

What sparked me to want to open my own gym in the first place was the desire to run my own business and focus on my clients. Having been a personal trainer for the past 10 years, I wanted to be able to showcase functional training in a boutique environment with a results-driven attitude.

Now is the hard part – attracting members. As an independent gym, we’ll be limiting the number of members we sign-up, no more than 150. We’re currently at about 25 per cent, so the next couple of months is going to be about promotion of the new business to get these numbers up.

As well as my role as head trainer, I’ve selected two personal trainers to work alongside me; I’m going to work with them to build up their own client base. The one thing I’ve struggled with most is having cover for reception. As a new business, I can’t employ a full-time receptionist straight away. So, with the help of family, friends, and part-time hours from a local student, we’re getting there.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what it takes to get an independent gym off the ground, stick with my column for the no-holds barred truth. In the meantime, you can visit the Anatomy 37 website at www.


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Top 6… fitness apps With the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) having recently named wearable technology as the number one fitness trend for 2016 in its annual report, we look at the top 6 fitness apps for PTs and gym-goers Words: Tracey Lattimore

#1 Coach’s Eye

#4 Fit Gurus

This innovative app gives PTs an invaluable tool to help them share and analyse their clients’ technique and help them to improve their performance. It can link with the camera on a phone to record high-quality video of an athlete’s performance, and reviewed in slow motion and in split-screen mode.

Fit Gurus is an app with gym workouts from personal trainers all over the world who guide users through the moves. Videos are included, as well as an in-app chat to ask the personal trainers any questions about the workout. Sessions can be based on muscle groups or goals, and use a variety of training methods including free weights, resistance machines and bodyweight exercises.

Cost: £3.99 More info:

#2 Find A Player Need another player? This app enables sports team captains to organise their games in one easy process, and links people looking for a sports game to local sports events in need of bodies. Simply create a profile, list the sports you play and your availability, and distance you can travel – the app does the rest. Cost: Free More info:

#3 Wattbike Wattbike Hub works with the Wattbike indoor bike, and is an app that provides tests, workouts and plans – as well as feedback and workout analysis – for the fitness consumer. The app acts as a portable personal trainer that users can take with them wherever they go, regardless of whether they’re training at home, in their gym or abroad. It’s also a great addition for PTs and coaches to track data, clients’ progress and create further training plans. Cost:Free More info:

Cost: Free More info:

#5 Custom Fit Created by Fitness First, this allows users to create their own workout, choosing from exercise type, equipment, skill level and length, and features more than 800 exercises. Fitness First members also have a direct link between the app and the trainers in their club, allowing bespoke workouts to be created in-club and automatically published to users’ personal profiles on the app. Cost: Free More info: customfit

#6 The Fitness Link The Fitness Link PT app, from personal trainer JP West, is designed to enhance a member’s gym experience with more than 100 exercises with videos that can be downloaded to any smart phone or device. Designed for gyms to customise and offer to members as a supplementary training aid, gym-goers can create a bespoke training plan that integrates indoor and outdoor activities, strength and conditioning, and functional training. Cost: £1.49 More info:


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