Page 72

We’ll be opening our own fitness studios, offering a mixture of group and personal training, and bringing our own consumer products to market via a new partnership with Moda Living

JOE GAUNT The founder of health and wellbeing provider Hero talks to Kate Cracknell about its blended approach to wellbeing What’s your background and how did it lead to the creation of Hero? My whole life, I’ve had a strong interest in people and health. I studied anatomy and kinesiology at college, as well as leisure, and then studied for a degree in psychology. My whole education was centred around an understanding of people – the physical, mental and social reasons why we are who we are, and why we do what we do. I had every intention of becoming a clinical psychologist, but was advised to get some life experience first. Given my huge passion for helping people with their health, I went to work at Fitness First. I worked my way up the business in Malaysia and Australia, then joined Virgin Active where I was promoted to operations director and then to sales director. 72

It was a great 10 years, but I couldn’t help feeling that the fi tness industry had an opportunity to close the loop, by fi nding new solutions to help people even more. So this is where my other big passion came in: technology. I’d always wanted to run my own business and passionately believed I just needed to find the right idea: I wanted to see if I could create something really meaningful. When the idea for Hero came to me – a wellbeing technology product designed to genuinely help people – I decided to resign from my job and get started on this. I was just about to get going when WeWork approached me and offered me the MD role. I did that for a year, but then decided I really did want to follow my passion.

healthclubmanagement.co.uk January 2019 ©Cybertrek 2019

This was 2017, and was when I decided to formally launch Hero. What was the opportunity you identified? Health is such a personal thing. For a certain percentage of the market, the health and fitness industry absolutely ticks the boxes. However, there are also people who fall into other categories: those who turn up at the gym and feel intimidated, so never go back; those who go to the gym, but who do the same routine; those who do well at the gym but have no holistic overview of their wellbeing the other 23 hours of the day – are they getting the right amount of sleep, the right level of social interaction, does their nutrition support the effort they’re making in their training?