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December 2010

The UK’s No 1 fitness industry magazine

Opportunities as well as challenges

Staff learn of closure in posted P45s By Christina Eccles A SHOCKED fitness instructor has spoken out after the gym she worked at closed suddenly – without any warning to staff or members. The Nuyuu club in Livingston closed its doors at the end of October with debts of over £2m. Pamela Brown taught classes there and she told Workout, although she had heard rumours that it was closing, she had been given no formal notification – until she received her P45 in the post. She explained: “I had heard rumours about a possible closure, but when I phoned to ask what was happening, all of the staff were in the dark. All they knew was there would be a meeting on the Monday and we'd know what would happen then. However on the Friday morning we all received a P45 through the post, no letter of explanation was attached to it.” Pamela also worked at the club when it belonged to LA Fitness and she added that she isn’t shocked it closed down, although she is surprised at how suddenly it did. She added: “In all honesty I'm not

surprised it closed. Since Nuyuu took over, they had done very little to promote the club outside of its facilities. “They took away the swimming pool and were supposed to replace it with a weights area that never happened. A lot of members left when the swimming pool disappeared. They reduced the membership prices but people soon found out that things they had previously as an LA Fitness member they would have to pay over and above as a Nuyuu member. What I am surprised about was the speed it closed at.” Pamela revealed she had also spoken to former members who were also left stunned by the closure. “Having spoken to a few of them, they are very surprised by the speed of it all, more surprised that none of the Livingston staff were informed of what was happening and were as much in the dark as the members.” Angry members have also vented their fury on Nuyuu’s Facebook page, branding the company ‘cowards’ and a ‘disgrace’. The club – backed by Dragon’s Den star James Caan – was one of five gyms under the Nuyuu branding – the other four have been bought by the Energie Group.

No 207 £3

The NoVAT4Gyms petition has been delivered to Number 10 Downing Street as independent operators continue the fight for a level playing field. The document was handed over by independent gym owner Angela Lee and Wayne Heath from Club Manager on behalf of a number of independent clubs who are appealing to the government to remove VAT from gym memberships across the whole industry.

THE government’s Consumer Spending Review presents both challenges and opportunities for those working in health and fitness, according to a key industry figure. Results included cuts of about 30 per cent for Sport England and UK Sport and ring fenced public health budgets for local authorities. But, the FIA’s executive director David Stalker claims although there are challenges ahead, there are also opportunities. He said: “As expected, there have been blows to our industry – notably in the squeeze on local government funding and the end of central funding for the PE and Sports Strategy, but there are opportunities too. “The ring-fenced public health budgets mean those who are geared up to delivering services with demonstrable health outcomes could benefit and the investment in apprenticeships present an opportunity for our sector to benefit from training and development. “For those who are bold and creative in the provision of public services, the environment has never been more receptive to new ways of approaching the challenges we now face."


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TV drama’s Krunch time boosts gym’s profile By Christina Eccles AN independent club enjoyed a taste of the limelight when the stars of a hit TV show filmed an episode in the gym. Stars from ITV2 show The Only Way is Essex visited Krunch Gym in Waltham Abbey after a couple of members who train there told owner Neale Cranwell that the producers were looking for venues to film in and recommended he got involved. The gym was featured in a recent episode, which showed one of the programme’s stars Kirk Norcross and his trainer Ben working out in the club ahead of a boxing match. Neale told Workout that since the programme aired there has been a lot of interest in the gym and he is hoping that its increased profile will boost membership. He explained: “It has been a great way to reach a national market as it has been mentioned on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and has grabbed a lot of interest. “We have even had people in who live locally but didn’t realise there

was a gym here until they saw the programme. “The show has asked to come back so I’m hoping they will film down here more often.” Neale also said he believes it is important for gym owners to be pro-active with their marketing and make the most of opportunities such as this to get the word out there about their club. He added: “Prior to owning this gym, I worked in the chains and to compete against them is almost impossible as a sole trader. “They have the money to put into advertising but it is harder for the small, independents to keep up. “This is an easy way for us to get the brand out there without spending money.” The gym is also working hard to attract new members over Christmas and New Year and has recently launched a special festive offer where members can buy a goody bag for friends or family as a Christmas gift, which contains items such as branded T shirts and stickers as well as three months’ gym membership.

The stars of The Only Way is Essex

Andrew joins sales team FITNESS solutions supplier Precor has announced that Andrew Dearling has joined their sales team as regional sales consultant for the Southern region. A new recruit to the equipment supply sector of the fitness industry, Andrew brings over 15 years of sales management and account manage-

ment experience to the role and has a keen interest in keeping fit and healthy. He said: “I believe in offering real value to my clients and will endeavour to provide outstanding customer service to Precor customers – always striving to meet and exceed expectations.”

Advertising

www.workout-uk.co.uk

Sales and marketing director: Tony Barry Assistant sales managers: Daniel Lloyd Tel: 01226 734699 Danielle Hornby Tel: 01226 734707

Editorial

Official media partner of the Fitness Industry Association

Group Editor: Andrew Harrod Tel: 01226 734639 Fax: 01226 734705 Email: ah@whpl.net Reporters: Christina Eccles

Tel: 01226 734463 Email: ce@whpl.net Louise Cordell Tel: 01226 734694 Email: lcordell@whpl.net

Production Group Deputy Editor: Judith Halkerston Tel: 01226 734458 Email: jhalkerston@whpl.net Wharncliffe Publishing Ltd. 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS.


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Chain sets record for helping unemployed THE world’s largest health and fitness group, Fitness First, has set a new industry record by creating work opportunities for 50 young unemployed people. The chain has been offering employment opportunities and work experience, as well as exercise and wellbeing advice, to disadvantaged youngsters who have been trained by TAG. John Gamble, Fitness First MD, said: “We are very pleased to be working with TAG to provide young people with the work experience they need. “My managers know that young people from TAG are good quality staff and possess the skills and talents to become members of the team and to impress and build relationships with customers.” The TAG model is a six month programme designed to help young people aged 18 to 24 who are not in education training or employment secure a fitness qualification, a four month paid work placement and to build a career in the health and fitness industry through gym businesses. Fred Turok, TAG chairman, said: “The commitment of operators like Fitness First sends a very clear message to the government and that message is ‘we have the will and the capacity to partner with you to help the million young people who just need extra support to break their welfare trap’. “TAG is a catalyst and operators like Fitness First are role models, not just for employers in our sector, but across the economy.”  Fitness First has chosen Asthma UK to be its charity of the year for 2010/11. As part of the deal, the company will raise money for the charity with employee and member fundraising, as well as raising awareness that regular exercise is good for everyone, including people with asthma. It is hoped that during the year, Fitness First and its members will be able to raise £100,000 and planned fundraising activities include ‘Follow the Flame’ – an Olympic themed relay, passing a ‘flame’ between key Fitness First clubs along a route spanning the UK.

Boxer Ben and trainer team up to open gym By Christina Eccles PROFESSIONAL boxer Ben Day has joined forces with his trainer Scott Borthwick to open a new gym in London. Ringtone Fitness and Boxing is located in the heart of the city – just minutes away from Euston station, Soho and the West End – and its owners are hoping to attract a new kind of clientele into the ring. The club has been open for about two months and Scott told Workout, the news is already spreading thanks to clever marketing techniques and word of mouth. To capitalise on its central location, a big push was done to make sure that locals knew about the gym ahead of its opening. As part of this, Scott and Ben took to the streets, taking part in open air boxing demonstrations and handing out flyers to promote the club.

Ringtone is also situated in a basement, underneath a health food store – providing the perfect opportunity for both businesses to cross sell and promote each other. Scott said: “We are trying to target the ‘white collar’ – people who may feel a bit intimidated to walk into a gym and get involved in boxing. We are after a certain clientele and want to go a bit more upmarket to give people the opportunity who have never boxed before. “Our location is perfect – we are bang in the middle of everything. After months of walking all over London and looking at premises, we found a basement underneath a health food shop and thought it was an opportunity we couldn’t let go. The businesses complement each other and we can work together.” Both owners come from a boxing background and met about six

years ago when Ben walked into the gym which Scott used to box for and Scott started to train him. And Scott also said that their experience – and the fact that sessions are affordable – will add to their ability as personal trainers to keep ahead of the competition. He added: “Our boxing background means we can add to what we offer as personal trainers. Ben also gets rave reviews so he is proof that it works.” Although the gym hasn’t been up and running for long, Ben and Scott are already thinking about the future – and have plans to open four more gyms in London over the next few years. “We are now getting the word out there. Once people are in, they love it and are spreading the word. “We are ambitious. “If you don’t set goals, you don’t get anywhere.”


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Jordan swaps rays for sprays amid concerns By Christina Eccles AN OLDHAM gym owner has ripped out his sunbeds and replaced them with a spray tanning booth after addressing concerns from a worried member. Jordan Smithies read comments in Workout from Gill Nuttall – founder of charity Factor 50 – in which she explained why she campaigns against the use of sunbeds in gyms. Gill attends spinning and body pump classes at Jordan’s gym Tara Sport and Leisure and after speaking to him, he agreed that if she could find a suitable alternative to the sun beds, he would replace them. The three sunbeds have now been removed and a spray tanning booth has been installed at the club, which Gill has been trained in using. And although Jordan said he had initial concerns about losing revenue and the reaction from members, the decision has proved to be

Jordan and Gill

Project brings ‘more joined-up approach’ By Louise Cordell THE European Accreditation Fitness Project has succeeded in establishing a more joined up approach to vocational training across Europe. The project has enabled training providers and national associations across the EU to be accredited against European Health and Fitness Association Standards – and 26 organisation have now signed up. The EHFA Standards are the European benchmark for vocational education and training within the health and fitness sector and, to qualify, the organisations involved must be independently

verified to ensure they meet the standards.

in order to make the accrediation process more accessible.

The project was led by the UK’s CYQ and EHFA and Jenny Patrickson, director of awarding at CYQ, said: “The significance of this project is that it has established a more joined up approach to training and qualifications across Europe.

Follow ups have revealed that many of the providers have found that accreditation has improved their business and it is hoped that many more will sign up in the future.

“For individual trainers this means that their qualifications can now be recognised, allowing for improved mobility and for registration with the European Register of Exercise Professionals.” A team of European External Verifiers have now been trained up and dispatched throughout the EU

Herman Rutgers, EHFA executive director, said: “The EA Fitness project has given energy and resources to help the accreditation process and we are now at an important crossroads of the next stage. “We would like to thank CYQ and the other partners for a very significant journey that has only just begun, thanks to this European project.”

successful. He explained: “I was a bit worried because although the use of sunbeds has dropped off, they were still earning us money. “But I bought into Gill’s idea that we are a health club and are trying to promote health awareness. “At first, a few people said that whether they used sunbeds or not was up to them but they were pleased that we had an alternative available.” Gill added that she was really pleased with what Jordan has done at the club and is now hoping that other gyms will do the same. She added: “I thought it was a brave move, particularly for an independent gym to take that step and stop advertising sunbeds. “I am really pleased and if he can do it, others can. I would love to see other gyms follow suit and I would applaud anyone who follows in his footsteps.”

New online boost to secondary spend KEISER UK has launched a new online shop to help gym owners increase secondary spend in their clubs. The shop will feature products such as Tshirts, workout towels and sports water bottles after the company acted on customer requests for branded goods. Managing director Tim Colston said: “Our new online shop is a response to regular requests from our customers for Keiser branded goods. “By supplying high quality, affordable items online, operators can always ensure that they have a regular supply of saleable products to generate secondary spend. “Customers using the online service also benefit from regular discounts on these items.”


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Duo marches on Scots boot camp market By Dominic Musgrave

Scheme rolled out across city A SUCCESSFUL Sheffield fitness scheme which helps patients suffering from severe health conditions is expanding across the city. Dave Birds, pictured above, has taken on the role of exercise referral manager to deliver a consistent approach to the exercise referral programme operated across five venues by Sheffield International Venues (SIV). The 12-week course prescribed to patients who need exercise to tackle medical conditions such as stroke, heart bypasses and obesity is currently in operation at Ponds

Forge International Sports Centre, Hillsborough Leisure Centre and Concord Sports Centre. Dave will now be rolling out the programme at Don Valley Stadium and the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield to give one to one coaching, as well as standardising the current service available across SIV. He said: “I have always had a drive to improve the poor health statistics in the area. “I want our GP Referral scheme to be the best in the country and my new appointment is another step towards that.”

AN ambitious duo from Scotland have told how they were prompted to set up their own boot camp after being asked to deliver group fitness classes to a local business. Burn It Bootcamp has been created by entrepreneurs John Laurie and Paul Duffy after the pair achieved massive success promoting physical wellbeing, weight loss and team effort for the business and its staff. They then looked into the outdoor fitness offering in Scotland, found a gap in the market and set up in Livingston, Bathgate and Linlithgow. Exercise techniques at the camp include push-ups, squats, suspension training and burpees, interspersed with running and competitive games – and plans are also in the pipeline to expand to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Stirling. To achieve success with clients, John and Paul use social media to keep in touch with members away from sessions and keep them motivated.

John explained: “Not only did we set out to provide a first-class workout routine, but we send reminders to all participants by text and motivational tips by email and Facebook as well after each session when the participants receive nutrition advice to help them through the coming week. “Too many weight loss solutions leave users relying on their own system to maintain the weight loss, but we want to educate and empower our clients so they can take ownership of their own wellbeing. “Although boot camps originated in the military and many camps still have a military feel, the latest are a new breed of exercising all together with results gained twice as fast as conventional training.” Paul added: “With less reliance on gym memberships, these camps have already taken the US and Australia by storm because they are designed to push people a little bit further than they would normally push themselves in the gym alone.”


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‘We are not a gym ... we’re a studio’ By Christina Eccles THE owners of a new gym in Jersey are aiming to stand out from the crowd by being the first fitness facility on the island to offer Gravity training equipment. Gravity Jersey, which has just opened in St Helier, is owned and run by physiotherapist Paul Devaney, fitness instructor Simon Stratford and Pilates instructor and personal trainer Karen Murphy. The studio has installed six Gravity Power Towers and will offer 15 one-hour classes each week including cardio resistance, Pilates and group strength. Thanks to a two-week period of free taster sessions before the club opened, Pilates classes are now fully booked until Christmas and

Simon told Workout that the take up and interest in the studio has been ‘overwhelming’. He said: “Gravity brings something new to the Jersey fitness scene and the taster sessions that we have been offering pre-launch have proved hugely popular. “We are finding that even those people that don’t traditionally enjoy exercise are enjoying Gravity, and they are seeing results too. The versatility of the kit means we are able to offer a range of classes and sessions on the same machines.” A full-page feature in the local newspaper, flyers and word of mouth have all contributed to getting the word out that the club is open for business. But at present the gym is not

offering membership – instead classes can be paid for on a pay-asyou-go basis or booked out in blocks of eight. Simon and the team aim to offer a complete package for everyone who goes there – incorporating individual workouts with personal training, physiotherapy and nutritional advice. The long-term aim is to move towards memberships. With members being able to choose between straightforward membership and a slightly more costly package which includes free physiotherapy sessions, should they get injured. He added: "You have to offer something different. Nobody can offer what we do. Being a small island, the traditional gyms are

fighting for business. Our statement is we are not a gym. We are a studio. We don't have mirrors so people don't feel uncomfortable. “We decided to be completely different, which is why we concentrate on the Gravity machines.” According to Simon, the Gravity system is also ideal for people who can't afford to devote a lot of time to working out. A full workout can be completed in half an hour on just one piece of equipment – eliminating changeover and queuing times from one machine to another. Plans are already being discussed to expand the studio as Simon feels they have found a niche in the market, which no other club in the area can compete with.


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Slashed prices ‘no long-term solution’ SLASHING membership prices to compete with cheaper rivals is not a sustainable long term plan, according to one independent operator. Steve Hammond – owner of Sundance Ladies Gym in Bristol – was among a panel of independent club owners who shared their experiences at this year’s Independent Operators Unite seminars. Speaking at the event, he told delegates that unless a gym has specifically chosen to be a low cost club, drastically cutting prices is not the right thing to do as it devalues the product. He explained: “If we keep reducing prices, we aren’t going to survive anyway. I am convinced that underselling is not the way forward unless you have chosen that as your model. If people want something, they will pay for it. We are not going to go cost cutting.” Instead Steve – who has 16 years’ experience as a gym owner – has urged other operators to find a gap in the market where their club can sit and use that as a way of attracting new members without having to

lower fees. He also revealed that his gym’s premises had previously been a hairdressing salon and aerobics studio – meaning there were already ladies coming and using these facilities, which created a target market for the club when it opened. He added: “My advice is that you need to find a niche – you have to be something to someone and believe in it. This has kept us going over the years.” In recent years, the internet has also played an important role in the club’s success by increasing interaction between the gym and its members and making the joining process easier for them. “Four years ago we didn’t have a website, but we reinvented our logo and built a site and that has definitely been a really good move as people are now able to join online. “It also keeps members happy as they can check class timetables online. We have also now got a Facebook site, which brings the human factor into the club.”

The Ministry of Sound has released a new dance workout DVD featuring Gareth Walker. The moves are demonstrated by some of the most talented dancers in the country, who have featured in world tours and in music videos with the worlds biggest stars. The soundtrack includes number one chart tracks from Roll Deep and Dizzee Rascal, and other hits from the Black Eyed Peas, Rhianna, Ellie Goulding and Alex Gaudino.

ZigZag peddles new software ZIGZAG’S internet-linked Expresso bikes have launched new software that allows riders to share their exercise milestones on Facebook and Twitter. The software is the first of its kind and will allow health clubs to interact with their members in a completely new way – linking the cardio floor with social media sites. Managing director Fergus Ahern said: “This is a really exciting new

feature for the fitness industry. “It will guarantee publicity for health clubs as they are automatically promoted every time one of their members posts or Tweets a ride on the Expresso bikes – nothing else does this. “With Expresso riders around the world completing almost two million courses a month, it’s an ideal way for club operators to market their facilities through social media.”


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Re-branded venue ‘there for everyone’ ONE of the UK’s largest community sports venues has been re-branded to push the message that it is open to all. Although 80 per cent of users at Norwich-based Sportspark are part of the local community, the venue wants to make it clearer that the centre is open all day, everyday for local people to enjoy. The re-brand includes a new logo, website, advertising campaign and promotional literature and was carried out after market research found there was still a perception that Sportspark was solely for those at the University of East Anglia or elite athletes. Director Keith Nicholls said: “It is really important that the local community are aware that we are open to people of all ages and abilities who want to get more active. “From those questioned in our market research we found 80 per cent of people in the local community don’t take part in any exercise or sport. “They agree that they should exercise for health reasons, but their perception is that sports facilities are geared towards the committed and elite, not the average person. Our new branding aims to demonstrate that Sportspark is open every day for all the community.”

Teaming up GLADSTONE Health and Leisure has teamed up with The Retention People as an official certified partner. Under the terms of the partnership, TRP will share their latest retention research with Gladstone on a quarterly basis and deliver educational workshops for their customers. Richard Grazier, Gladstone’s sales and marketing director, said: “We are delighted to become part of the Certified Retention Partner Programme. The e-mail research is a clear example of how this partnership will add further value to our existing customers and follows our commitment to continuing to support customers in all aspects of their business.”

Budget boss says there’s room for all By Christina Eccles THE owner of a new budget club has insisted he is not out to steal business away from independent gyms – and claims there is room in the market for everyone. Parm Singh opened Trugym in Maidstone in September – offering membership for £14.99 per month and no contract. The club is already getting close to its 2,500 member capacity and Parm said that there has been a fantastic response from local people who are attracted by its low price point and wide range of high quality equipment. But Parm told Workout that many of the members joining the club are new to exercise and the gym environment, rather than people who have come from rival gyms. He explained: “This is definitely the way that the industry is going. There is room for everyone, but I think it will encourage other operators to find a niche. “We are introducing new people into the gym environment. For people who want to use the gym as a social or health club, we don’t offer that. We are a gym offering facilities at affordable prices. About

40 per cent are new joiners, attracted by the price point and because they are not contracted in.” The club has recently started offering circuit classes for up to 10 people, which are run by freelance personal trainers and are priced from £5 per class. Parm originally comes from a healthcare background but has always worked with a low cost model. And he added that classes aren’t included in membership prices because the club feels that those who aren’t interested in taking

part, shouldn’t have to pay for them. Instead they are treated as an additional service which members can dip in and out of. Reaction to the new club has been so positive that there are already plans to open several new sites next year and to set up a franchise arm of the business. He added: “The area hasn’t got any low cost, affordable gym memberships. People can perceive low cost as low quality, but when they visit the club, they see that it’s brand new and fully equipped and they are pleasantly surprised.”


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Rewards could hold key to retention war REWARDING loyal members with incentives if they bring in referrals could help independent gyms to win the war on retention, it has been claimed. Energie Health and Fitness’ Innes Kerr spoke to independent operators at this year’s Leisure Industry Week – sharing his tops tips for clubs which want to improve their retention figures. His advice was to recognise members who show loyalty towards their gym – and reward them for their efforts. His tips included:  Try upselling to give people more value from their membership packages – encourage them to take add ons such as personal training and products which generate secondary income.  Offer guest passes so members can bring friends and family to try your facilities for free –then try and convert these into memberships.  Reward loyalty by offering incentives for members who stay longer – examples include loyalty cards, booking priority for studio classes and free personal training taster sessions.  Drive people towards areas in your club where they could spend more money.

Guy Griffiths The Retention People’s Mike Hills also urged gym owners to look at their members’ experience as a journey – and aim to make this journey as long as possible. Mike – who works closely with clubs to help them retain members – added that it is easy to look at retention as the end result but operators should also look at the other factors which encourage people to stay – or leave – a gym. He explained: “Look at the cus-

tomer experience as a journey – we need to make that journey as long as we possibly can. “It is critical that we engage with new members and add value in that early stage so people will stay. “Take a sample of members who would recommend you. You will also get struggling members who are not getting value. One of the best ways to turn that around is to have a good conversation with them and target who needs help the most. You will get people who want to leave, but see why they are leaving the gym. Look at the inputs which go into retention and focus your efforts where it makes the biggest difference.” Consultant Guy Griffiths from GG Fit added that clubs – particularly independents – should also be using retention systems in order to keep track of their members. He added: “Use a retention system – it can be a card file system or a sign in book. It doesn’t have to be a computer. Gyms with a few hundred members can manage retention manually. “You should also be recording visit history and members’ goals and writing them down. Staff goals are also important, so are working towards targets.”

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New trends tipped for top in 2011 THREE new fitness trends have been tipped for the top in 2011 and are set to start appearing in clubs all over the UK. Coleen Rooney is already a fan of Gravity Blast classes, a 30minute cardio resistance session that tones the body using just one piece of kit. The classes will appeal to those that don’t have time on their hands, as it combines muscular and cardio endurance, strength, agility and flexibility all in minimum time. For those wanting to get their children active, Vew-Do Boarding is becoming a popular family workout. The multi-directional balance board resembles a skateboard and utilises different bases to put the user’s balance to the test. Finally, predictions that exergaming would hit the mainstream have become reality as Virgin Active intall the Trixter Xdream bikes in their clubs nationwide. The bikes simulate the experience of riding outdoors through an LCD screen mounted in front of the moving handlebars and sensors embedded in the seat and pedals.


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The panel at Leisure Industry Week

The right sales and marketing techniques can help gym owners thrive – even in today’s tough market. In a special feature, experts reveal their top tips for success.

How to win through in tough times CFM’S business development manager Chevy Kelly: “It’s about going back to basics. We have an issue – the 12 per cent penetration rate. What we have to do is look at ways to step outside that membership pie. Look at your USPs – personal service is a unique selling point and something independents can do to differentiate. “Drive 12 to 15 minutes from your club in any direction at 5pm at night. This is your target zone in peak time. Then do it in off peak time. Also see where the competition lies. “Budget and the time to deliver is a key constraint. If possible, find a main driver such as leaflets and then have at least three other activities going on so you can hit people in different aspects of their daily life. “Multiple exposure is what helps marketing to be consistent and means people are able to associate your brand with you. “Operators can learn a lot more from outside the industry than

from within it. Look at how other brands have done it and adapt it to your club.” Sales and marketing manager at Clubwise Guy Foster: “Existing members are your best sales people. But if you are going to use membership referrals, make it a financial gain for members who refer – for example reduce their direct debit payments. “Make it easy for people to join the club – allow them to join online and keep that information so you are able to track them.” The FIA’s sales and marketing director Richard Blackmore: “Know what the big boys are doing. Take the opportunity to go out and visit your competition and see what they are offering. Use all the knowledge you can gain to make sure you have the upper hand. Two or three times a year, mystery shop clubs and critique them. “Take that knowledge back and share it with people in your facility.”

Third Space in top place LONDON-based health club the Third Space has been recognised with a prestigious award at the London Lifestyle Awards. The gym was named Best London Health and Fitness Facility at the awards ceremony, which recognised businesses that have made an outstanding contribution to London lifestyle. CEO Eric Dunmore said: “We are

thrilled that The Third Space has won the London Lifestyle Award for Health and Fitness facility. “It’s an honour that London’s respected industry leaders together with the public have recognised the leading integrated medical and fitness facilities and distinctive array of programmes and services that makes The Third Space so unique.”


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A new budget club in Wakefield managed to secure 3,000 members before the gym even opened – and its owner already has ambitious plans for expansion. Christina Eccles paid a visit.

Budget move was right one for Jon MANAGING director of Xercise4Less, Jon Wright, currently operates two low cost clubs in the West Yorkshire area and he told Workout he believes that this model is the future of the industry. Jon’s first gym at Xscape in Castleford changed to a budget club almost two years ago after he spotted a gap in the market. And since making the change, he has never looked back. He explained: “We flipped the Castleford club to a budget option in January 2009 and it was the best thing we ever did. We thought a budget model would suit the demographic so it just made sense. “When we flipped to this model we doubled the direct debit memberships within 12 months and the attrition rate dropped dramatically. In January 2010 we had to extend the gym to cope with the number of new members.” This success prompted Jon to think about expansion, so he began to look for other sites where he thought a budget club would work. The newly opened second site in Wakefield is a former carpet store and Jon said that its size and location – at the side of a busy main road and opposite a major supermarket – made it the perfect choice. The 27,000 square foot club includes a fitness suite with over 200 stations and – unusually for a budget club – a studio, offering over 40 classes per week. The equipment – worth more than £230,000 – was supplied by Physique and includes remanufactured Cybex resistance equipment and Life Fitness cardio vascular machines, as well as new Stirling free-weights. The club has also

Managing director of Xercise4Less Jon Wright and his new club in Wakefield been working with Harlands Group whih has been dealing with direct debit collections. Jon added: “The equipment at Castleford is now five years old but still looks brand new. Using remanufactured equipment significantly reduces our capital costs and so we can afford to operate at such low prices. I don’t know why anyone would put new equipment into a gym now.” The Wakefield club attracted 3,000 members in the pre-sale by using tools such as newspaper advertising, leaflets, on site sales, signage and word of mouth. And now it has opened, the biggest sales tool will be referrals. Jon added: “I firmly believe we will get to 10,000 members. Up to January, we will hit existing members for referrals then we will do another big push. “The site is in a great location. That pricing point and model with the exposure we could get was

always going to do well.” But Jon also warned other operators thinking of making the switch to a budget club that there are many factors which need to be considered in order to do it well. “I think this is the future of the industry and in terms of pricing, £15 is the right point. “But you need a big facility – this gym is 27,000 square foot. Because property prices are so cheap, we can take on new units, because we can cut staffing costs down. But you have got to have sufficient equipment to cope and you have to have the space to get the level of membership you need at that price point. “The buzz thing in the industry is the budget model. But a lot of people will make the mistake of thinking they can open up a budget club, put bad equipment in, choose a poor location and it will work. “But the economy and society are different. We are now in a period of

austerity where people are interested in value for money. So you need to provide facilities which are fantastic but with no frills. “The studio is central – not having classes means the gym lacks variety. It also takes people off of the gym floor in peak training times, which means we can increase members even further.” Jon already has big plans for the future and is looking forward to opening more new clubs. “We now intend to roll out the Xercise4Less model as quickly as we can and open another 10 – 15 sites within the next five years. We are in advanced negotiations to open our third club in spring 2011 and have two more earmarked for later on in the year. “I’m really excited and can’t wait to get going. We have got a great team on board and we are aiming to completely over exceed people’s expectations in terms of what you get for your money.”


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Iwan lays down fitness challenge OLYMPIC athlete Iwan Thomas has invited the public to take him on in a fitness challenge – launched to promote his new website. Iwan has created www.pickagym.co.uk in order to increase gym memberships in the UK. On the site, visitors can state their goals, the facilities they require and enter their postcode to search for a gym. They can then view details of the gyms closest to them, see special offers and print a pass to visit. And to promote the site, Iwan is giving people the opportunity to compete against him in a head to head contest in the sport or activity of their choice. He said: “I am pretty competitive and I am ready to take on whatever people throw at me. “I am pretty sure that with a bit of training I can get the hang of most sports. I am hoping for a really unusual challenge.” Since its launch about two months ago, the site has seen over 140,000 visitors.

UK FITNESS SCENE

Are fitness sales people born or made? By Dave Wright, Creative Fitness Marketing PSYCHOLOGISTS have been arguing for years about the interaction between nature and nurture and the importance of these twin factors on your ability to achieve (or not) in your life. There is no doubt that some fitness salespeople seem to be more naturally suited to the job than others. Whether due to their genes, their upbringing, their education or their family and friends, by the time they reach maturity some people find ‘communicating’ (or what you would call ‘selling’) much easier than others. But of course nature isn’t everything. As we know some footballers can be less gifted than others, but outshine through practice, repetition and discipline – so too it is for fitness sales people. Working on sharpening your communication skills and understanding the benefits of exercise is something that you can never stop improving. For example, how could you ‘sell’ the benefits of a Zumba class four years ago if you’d never

seen one and didn’t know what it did, nor how it helped get someone in shape? It sounds ludicrous but it’s true. Let it be said that I’ve never seen any baby that was born with an ability to understand buying drivers or complex needs of a potential visitor to a health club. This understanding comes from focus, commitment and application that are specific to that area of the fitness industry. Therefore sales is a skill that is made and not born. But of course some people may be naturally more people oriented than you. It might well be that some people are naturally more resilient to rejection than you; they may be keener than you to leap to their feet when a prospective walks into your club because they want to pass on the benefits of exercise to them in an enthusiastic manner. Whatever it is, it simply represents where you are today. So if you want to succeed at sales in our industry (which is vital to your success in this industry), you need to forget where you are now, you need to stop making excuses

Dave Wright for your personality, your upbringing and your skill set and you need to set your mind to learning and developing the skills and attributes that you need to encourage more people to be more active more often. And if you can do that, there’s some good money to be made!


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Matthew’s new fitness venture could be just what the doctor ordered ... By Louise Cordell A YOUNG Pendle entrepreneur is taking advantage of Government cutbacks to launch a new concept in fitness. With NHS budgets likely to be reduced, GPs will be restricted in the number of patients they can refer for exercise therapy, and Matthew Haworth is determined to take full advantage of this. The 27The 27year-old has launched the Inspire Health clinic, a centre which uses innovative strategies and personalised programmes to make

sure exercise works for every individual client. Matthew works by continuously monitoring and changing the programmes he creates to make sure they produce the best effect, and combines this with nutritional advice to help clients get maximum benefits in a short time. He is accredited by the Wright foundation and is also qualified to undertake GP referrals for patients who have health problems. To do this he has kitted out an exercise suite with the latest equipment to help people suffering from conditions including angina, stress, depression, cerebral palsy, diabetes and obesity. Matthew said: “I decided to start my new business venture because funding cuts may see patients’ choices of rehabilitation through exercise becoming more limited. “A private centre will ensure

customers receive the service they need and deserve and I hope my personalised approach will help the client improve their health and achieve their goals.” Matthew has designed the exercise rehabilitation centre to have a non-intimidating atmosphere, as well as creating a motivating environment where clients can improve their physical, mental and social wellbeing. He has used his decade of experience in the fitness industry to select a combination of resistance and cardiovascular machines, together with free weights, for the studio, to help his clients get the best results. He aims to provide a suitable solution for everyone, with clinic clients given the choice between opting for either one to one personal training or signing up for small size classes, specifically designed to provide effective exercise rehabilitiation.


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Why gyms should be the ‘hub’ of their community By Christina Eccles GYMS should be positioning themselves as ‘hubs’ in the heart of the community, instead of just a place where people come to work out, according to an expert. Leisure and Fitness Exchange’s Graeme Hinde has led a focus group on community hubs as part of the industry’s consultation on the TwentyTen Commission – an ambitious five-year plan for the health and fitness sector. The plan will be focused around five areas – community hubs, exercise as medicine, data and consumer insights, upskilling the workforce and work-

New sites lined up for chain

place activity. And this group discovered that there is a great opportunity out there for the industry to become more involved with local communities. Graeme explained: “Our industry has become the ‘nation’s lifeguard’ but we need to work hard to build up our community reputation. “We must offer a compelling service with a new generation of skilled fitness professionals. We should be telling people outside our industry that exercise is good. We need to get out there more in communities to prove that what we do works.” Graeme is now appealing for

BUDGET chain Pure Gym is to open a number of new sites following investment worth £10m. Three clubs in Belfast, Southampton and Birmingham are due to be open by Christmas and the group’s first London site in Kennington is set to be in operation by next April. Chief executive Peter Roberts said:

the industry to take a joined up approach to deliver these ideas – instead of clubs working alone without any support. He added: “Our industry is very much about people with good ideas doing things in isolation. But it’s not about individuals, it’s about working together to achieve a national goal. “We have to reach out to communities to talk to them in our language – and make them feel comfortable and secure in enjoying our facilities.”  How is your gym engaging with the local community? Let Workout know by contacting our editorial team on 01226 734463 or emailing ce@whpl.net

“The success of the initial gyms has demonstrated the strong demand for low cost operators in the market. With a strong product offering and funding in place to grow the brand, we have ambitious expansion plans.” The expansion of gyms is also set to continue with a further six sites in the pipeline for early 2011.

Vibrogym has introduced bling into the gym with the launch of its latest exercise machine – which is covered in over 65,000 Swarovski Elements crystals. The Diamond VG Evolution costs £43,500 and the company is promoting it as the perfect product for girls who want to shine while they exercise.


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FIA targets teens in new fitness scheme By Louise Cordell

Fitness fan Madonna is set to open a chain of gyms in major cities around the world. The singer – in partnership with her manager Guy Oseary and New Evolution Ventures – will open the first Hard Candy club at the end of November in Mexico City. Features of the gyms will include an extensive class timetable, a bike studio, state of the art cardio equipment, free weights and a juice bar. More clubs are also set to be rolled out in locations including Argentina, Russia, Brazil and Europe.

A NEW fitness programme from the FIA aimed at teenage girls is showing promising results. Findings from the first stage of the Go Curves scheme have shown that over half of the participants were taking part in 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week, when the programme finished. The free, six-week course, which targeted 15 and 16 year old girls from local schools was designed to increase physical activity to the recommended levels and improve confidence within this hard-to-reach group. The programme consisted of an hour-long session each week, made up of 30 minutes’ strength and resistance training and 30 minutes’ education, covering topics including nutrition, heath and attitudes. The girls were offered tailored packages, certificates were awarded on completion and they were also encouraged to ‘buddy up’ with a friend or family member to support them to continue. When the scheme started, of the 200 students who took part, 60 per cent

were unhappy with their bodies and wanted to become more active, almost two thirds did less than three hours of physical activity a week and only 50 per cent did enough to raise their heart rate. Despite less than 60 per cent wanting to do something about their fitness before the programme, nine out of ten teenagers reported increased confidence levels and said they would continue to exercise after it finished. A quarter of the girls reported feeling more confident exercising in an all-girl group and others believed that making exercise fun and interactive was the reason for their motivation. Dave Stalker, FIA executive director, said: “Teenage girls are not an easy group to reach in terms of their health and fitness choices. So we are delighted with the results from GO Curves so far; students have seen changes in behavior and attitudes towards exercise and their body. “Such positive results will not only have an impact on their health and fitness today, but if supported to continue, will help to reduce the risk of obesity related diseases in years to come.”


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Refits provide opportunity for gyms By Louise Cordell LEISURE centres in East Ridings are using a combination of new equipment and specialist technology to provide members with the best possible service. The local authority has carried out several gym refits at its clubs over the last two years and plans to have refurbished all the facilities by 2012. The most recent work has taken place at the Pavilion Leisure Centre in Withernsea where the gym

received a complete new set of Matrix equipment, supplied by Powerhouse. Kevin Hadfield, leisure services manager, said: “We are using the refits as an opportunity to make our whole service more customer-centric. “We have designed a specialist IT system that tracks members through the facility and this allows us to carry out interventions based on members’ individual needs. “This means that we are now very

focussed and it is helping retention massively. “We are meeting people’s individual requirements so it is hard for them to leave us because we show we care and work with them.” The new equipment means that the clubs are able to take on a lot more rehabilitation and GP referrals, providing the opportunity to tap into this growing market. Staff have also been trained in motivational interviewing and combining this information with the software

results to work for behavioural change. Kevin added: “Our new system also works with NHS agendas and this means we are winning contracts from them. “For example, people who are on waiting lists for bariatric surgery are told to come to us for a 26-week programme instead. “We are helping them avoid surgery with a cheaper, healthier and happier option and we are getting brilliant results.”

Contractor to offer services at Yorkshire health club LEISURE management contractor 3d Leisure is to offer consultancy services at a Yorkshire-based health club. The company will be working in the club at the Crown Hotel in Boroughbridge and also at sister hotel, The Kilima, in York. Facilities at the hotel include

gym, pool, spa and solarium and 3d has been brought in to develop membership levels, which have dropped in recent years due to local competition. The two new additions takes the number of sites operated by 3d Leisure to 49.

New online system aimed at low-cost operators Gym chain secures The Landmark Place in Cardiff

new site in Cardiff LOW cost gym chain Fitness4Less has secured a new site in Cardiff, with the club due to open early next year. The 17,500 sq ft unit is located within the high profile Landmark Place development on Churchill Way and was secured by Christie + Co. Fitness4Less marketing director Emma Edwards said: “We are very excited to have secured an excellent location in the centre of Cardiff,

cementing our profile in Wales’ capital city and furthering our expansion in the South West on the back of new clubs in Newport and Bristol. “We remain keen to acquire second clubs in both Bristol and Birmingham and our low cost fitness model continues to prove very popular. Our expansion plans will see us increasing the rollout of Fitness4Less clubs over the next two years.”

LEISUREPOINT is a new online system for independent and low-cost operators managing all aspects of finding, keeping and servicing members.

For an all-inclusive low monthly fee, you can manage all areas of sales, membership, front desk and bookings. LEISUREPOINT VIEWS enables you to quickly view business performance without the need for time-consuming reporting or spreadsheet analysis. Views keep everything online in a secure reporting area where operators can check performance in specific areas with easy to understand charts

and tables and compare reports for previous months or years. For a limited time LeisurePoint Views is free for all LeisurePoint users. SDACONNECT has all the campaign tools required to quickly and easily create subscriber email campaigns, including creating email templates, selecting recipients and reporting on performance. The simple pricing model means there are no monthly or hidden fees – you only pay when you're actually sending a campaign. Contact: 0870 607 1966 www.leisurepoint.net


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Pole fitness boss calls for health and safety regulations By Louise Cordell GYMS that offer pole fitness classes are being urged to join the campaign for sport-wide regulation. Claire Wright, director of pole fitness company Pole Secrets has spoken out following accidents where people have been injured in training classes. She believes that the lack of a governing body and universal rules and advice for pole fitness is putting customers at risk. She said: “I really feel that this is an issue that the public need to be informed of – an injury is any instructor’s worst fear. “I get very upset when I hear about such incidents, but also angry that sometimes regulations aren’t in place

to stop it happening – and that is what we need to address. “I genuinely believe in the fitness benefits of pole dancing, but unfortunately there are schools out there that, due to incorrect training and a lack of health and safety, are putting people at risk.” Claire’s company has come up with a range of qualifications, working with awarding bodies like ESL to develop the educational syllabus and exams. However, although these and other qualifications are available, because of the industry’s lack of regulation, no one is actually required to pass these tests in order to teach. This means that there are ‘instructors’ around the country who are charging for classes without any official training or fitness education at

all. Claire added: “Pole fitness is fun, but it is also serious training, and it is important to remember that. “We are constantly working with sports science experts to make sure that our lessons are safe as well as entertaining, with health and safety, and the way our instructors teach, all being taken into account. “If you are teaching something surely you need to be qualified – other classes available within the fitness industry are vetted – so why not pole fitness classes?” Claire is encouraging gyms who are hiring pole fitness instructors to specify the qualifications they want and to get proof that they are genuine. She is also hoping to get more research carried out into the sport, so

that all clubs can follow universal safety advice – for example, most clubs don’t use crash mats or allow members to wear shoes for health and safety reasons, but some do. She added: “I think that in the future two different types of product will appear to cater for people’s different agendas. Some will just want to dance for fun, but for those who are interested in pursuing it for fitness then it is essential that there are more stringent safety guidelines. “Until that happens I would advise gym owners and members to do their research and make sure they are demanding a top quality product. “Hopefully this will mean that the best clubs will flourish and more people will be safe.” A team of soldiers has run the first ever Kabul Marathon to raise money for charity. The soldiers from York’s Two Signal Regiment were sponsored by supplements store Affordablesupple ments.co.uk and raised just under £4,000.


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Why not cater to this growing market by girly-fying your club? By Wendy De Knoop, Escape Fitness THERE are lots of myths surrounding the female species and the most favourite one of all is that women will cost you money, clothes, shoes and handbags. It’s true us women love to spend money, but what if I was to tell you that the females among us could actually make you more money than ever before. Think about it, fashion is a multimillion pound industry, cosmetics is a billion dollar industry both largely due to women and the truth is the fitness industry is no different. Women total 54 per cent of health club and gym members – making them the fastest growing consumer group in the fitness industry. So why not cater to this growing market by girly-fying your club to boost business while doing something for the greater good. Cure those muffin tops and help combat cancer 40,170 women died in 2009 due to breast cancer, with predictions of one out of eight women developing this illness. Regular exercise can cut the risk of breast cancer by up to 30 per cent?. Also findings show that females who exercise regularly

between the ages of 12 and 35 have a substantially lower risk of breast cancer before menopause compared to those less active4. This is an important message which could save thousands of women’s lives, which is why Escape Fitness have created two great pieces of functional fitness tools, which will help you get the message that an active lifestyle can help stave off breast cancer. Bounce toward a better future Get your members fit and healthy, as well as help make a difference to a fantastic charitable cause and get your hands on the fabulously pretty in Pink Dura Ball (10 per cent from each ball sold goes directly to The Breast Cancer Campaign Charity). Used by fitness experts like Kelly Reed, the Pink Ball originates from the AOK Ball family which means there are no limits to any workout or class with this fun, light and easy to use exercise ball. Ree-fresh your Studio With all of the proven benefits that have made it the industry best seller, the Reebok Pink Step has the added bonus of a high performance splash of pink fusion which will get noticed in even the busiest gym. Recent find-

ings conducted by the Empire State Research group showed that 90 per cent of gym goers prefer working out in a group, add this to the fact that Ree-bok’s survey over 5000 women found that females are motivated to work out by vibrant colors and the Pink Step could be the problem solver you have been looking for. So why not think pink, boost your business and do something for the greater good today. Contact the Escape Fitness team of functional business experts to find out more. References: 1. The American Cancer Society 2. Journal of the National Medical Association Vol. 102, No. 3, March 2010 3. November 2008 – Journal of Breast Cancer Research 4. May 2008 – Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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Campaign fails to save leisure centre A LEEDS leisure centre has been closed by the city council, despite a campaign by residents to keep it open and take over the site themselves. Campaigners have been fighting to save the South Leeds Sports Centre in Beeston because they believe that alternative facilities are too far away. The council have claimed that the decision has been made because the centre has been costing £25,000 a month to run, due to low and falling visitor numbers over the last few years. However, they have also confirmed that they will continue negotiations with Tiger 11, the community group that wants to take over its management. The executive board will now enter into a six-month agreement with the group to allow them to work with the coucil to further develop their proposals for a possible takeover. Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council executive member for leisure, said: “The decision to close the centre is one that we have taken reluctantly but we are optimistic that we can work with Tiger 11 to ensure the facility can once again be viable and well used by the local community.”

New models installed SHROPSHIRE-based Teme Leisure has installed the Power Plate pro6 model in three of its sites. Members at Teme Ludlow, Teme Cleobury and Teme SpArC can now experience the combination of cable resistance and vibration training on the new machines. General manager Lee Hassan said: “As a non-profit distributing organisation, it’s our mission to provide the local community with the very best service and equipment. “The pro6 machine helps to set us apart from other fitness facilities in the local area.”

Bright forecast for flood gym By Dominic Musgrave A FAMILY-RUN gym that was devastated in last year’s Cumbrian floods has reopened after almost a year. But John Wilson, who runs Lifestyles Fitness in Cockermouth with his daughter Jackie Clarke, says he has still not received the full payout from the insure, though he has been told it is imminent. He told Workout magazine that the new gym has been kitted out with equipment costing in the region of £130,000. “The existing members are trickling back in and we have also attracted a few new members in the opening weeks,” he added. “We still haven’t had the total settlement from our insurer like many commercial properties in the town, but we are told it is on its way. “We had to scrap all of the old equipment, and its value was quite high – into four figures, and although it was hard work we are feeling a lot better and confident

about the future. “Our insurance premiums have increased significantly since the flood, and there is talk that businesses in flood risk areas won’t be able to get insurance from 2013.” Many of John’s 3,000 members have continued to train at the local authority run centre nearby at a reduced rate, while another independent gym let them train for free. He added: “We had a lot of interest when we held an open day to inform people of our opening, and held a competition for people to win an annual membership if they filled in a questionnaire. “We also do deals for people who only want to pay for 10 or 20 sessions, and will suspend the membership of those who are sick or go away. “Thankfully we have also managed to keep hold of most of the team of staff, who have worked so hard to get us back on our feet again.”

Above: The gym once the water had receded and, top, the newly-reopened Lifestyles Fitness


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New centre on the crest of a wave By Louise Cordell

Lonsdale has announced a renewed sponsorship agreement with Olympic Gold winning Middleweight Boxing Champion James De Gale MBE. The new agreement means that ‘Chunky’ De Gale, from North West London, will continue to train and box using Lonsdale equipment and apparel. Sunny Singh, Lonsdale’s head of sports marketing, said: “We look forward to continuing our support for James, the rising star of British boxing as he punches his way to even more success dressed in Lonsdale.” Picture: Sally Kettle

ONE of only three indoor surfing centres in the country is set to open at the purposebuilt Heworth Leisure Centre in Gateshead later this month. The FlowRider surfing machine generates a sustained wave effect, giving people the opportunity to have a go at surfing and body boarding while being supervised by the centre’s specially trained team. Gatehead councillor Linda Green said: “Who would have thought that you’d be able to surf in Heworth? It’s an incredible opportunity for our residents and the wider public to take up a new sport and develop new skills, achieving a central aim of our active and healthy programme.” The new centre will also have a four-lane, 25-metre pool, children’s fun pool, 40-station gym and a multi purpose studio area for aerobic, dance and other classes.

Coun Green added: “We set out with the aim of making it easy for people at grass roots up to elite sporting level to access the very best in leisure facilities and the Heworth Leisure Centre is the latest in a long line of new build and upgrade projects to maintain our position as a world class sport and leisure destination.” Locals wanting to take part in a taster session on the FlowRider will be able to book and take part in a free preview weekend, before the facility opens to the general public. Heworth’s leisure centre is the second of two purposebuilt leisure centres to open as part of £36m being invested by Gateshead Council. The investment also funded the £8m redevelopment of Gateshead Leisure Centre, which opened earlier this year, and the redevelopment of Birtley and Dunston pools; the full programme is scheduled for completion by Spring 2011.

Trainer Jem launches new website PERSONAL training company BodyUK has launched a new website to encourage people to take the first step towards achieving their fitness goals. Jem Scragg, trainer and company owner, decided to create the site after deciding that developing a user friendly, interactive forum that holds accurate information and advice is critical in the fitness field. She said: “The BodyUK website has been developed with the client needs at the forefront of our minds. “In addition to information about the services we provide, it also offers advice on nutrition and exercise programmes. There are also videos demonstrating accurate exercise techniques, which are useful tools to help clients keep on track when they are exercising alone.” Jem’s aim is to help people who want to get fit, but who also want to have fun along the way and she hopes that a supportive online environment will be key in her clients’ fitness journey. She added: “Whether people are interested in building core strength, decreasing body fat or improving their balance and coordination, we can provide a motivating training programme either on a one-to-one basis, within groups and now online.”


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Fitness First’s latest group exercise class – Get Fit with Mel B – has kicked off at clubs around the country. The class is endorsed by the Spice Girl and fitness fan and moves include burpees, bunny hops and more traditional squats, lunges, press ups and tricep dips – finishing with a core section. Fitness First’s UK national fitness director Derek Crawford said: “Mel’s enthusiasm for fitness and keeping healthy mirrors the Fitness First ethos and we’re incredibly excited to bring that to the members through a group exercise class format.”

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‘A thoroughly modern model’ By Louise Cordell THE Anytime Fitness gym franchise has finally arrived in the UK, opening its first club in Bristol this month. The centre is being headed up by former tennis professional Robin Drysdale and personal trainer Ben Palmer and attracted over 600 members while still under construction. Robin said: “I am excited about bringing the franchise to the UK because it is a proven successful business model. “It is low cost, fairly recession-proof and operational costs are low so there is less risk involved. “It also encompasses the values you used to get in health and fitness clubs – a more personal and customer friendly service because the owner is more involved. “I think it is a club for these times – a thoroughly modern model.” The gym has opened near Bristol University, kitted out with Precor CV and strength equipment and aims to attract both students and local people with membership at just under £24 a month. It will stay open 24 hours a day, staffed from 6am to 11pm, but at other times members will be able to enter using a security key and will be monitored by a safety surveillance sytem. Robin added: “The site is great because it is busy and high profile, with good visibility and a large local population - all crucial for this kind of affordable, convenient fitness model. “I also like the 24 hour idea because it is something different, and even if only ten per cent of the members use the services, it is still offering something to those who are not usually catered for - like shift workers who often find it difficult to access health and fitness.” Since it was launched in 2002, Anytime Fitness has launched more

than 1,300 facilities in countries including Canada, Australia and Japan, with clubs set to open in Holland and Belgium soon. Members who join one gym can also use any of the other worldwide clubs at no additional charge.

Robin added: “We have had a very encouraging response with over 600 memberships sold before we even opened – we are aiming for around 2,000 members overall. We want to be affordable, convenient and offer a customer friendly service.”

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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT An independent club in Warrington is helping members to ‘fit in’ and enjoy exercising in a friendly and flexible facility. Christina Eccles found out more.

Why Sue’s members all ‘fit-in’ nicely ... BEFORE opening Fit In just over a year ago, Sue Williams undertook extensive research to find out what potential members wanted from a gym. From speaking to people, she found there were three main points which kept cropping up – time, flexibility and costing – as did the phrase ‘fit in’. She discovered that people don’t always have much time to devote to exercise, want their membership options to be flexible and can’t afford to pay costly fees. She also found that many of them wanted to feel as though they could belong in a gym environment, which is where the name came from. Sue explained: “When we opened last year, we did a lot of research. We are in the middle of a lot of gyms but felt there was a need for something different. “We started to talk to people to see what they wanted and three very strong points came out of it – time, flexibility and costing. “We thought let’s tick these three boxes and we are going to get people coming.” To combat the time issue, a 30 minute circuit was introduced and to deal with flexibility and costing, three pricing options were put in place to give members the choice of signing up or pay as you go. When members join, they are also given a Fresh Start form to fill in, which the gym uses to find out more about each person and what they hope to achieve. As well as a background in the fitness industry, Sue has also worked in sales and marketing and she believes the most important part of sales is listening to what people want and homing in on their goals – so this is something which she has encouraged her staff to do in the gym. She added: “We have very low attri-

‘Put Zumba on your timetable’ ZUMBA has taken off at the gym in a big way – with four classes a week consistently selling out. Sue explained: “Zumba is massive. We have put four classes on the programme and every class is full. We are even thinking of moving things around and making the circuit area a studio for the classes to create more space. “The reason it works is because people don’t think they are doing exercise – it’s so much fun.” People also pay extra to come to Zumba – which generates valuable secondary spend income for the club – and members pay a tion because we follow a pattern. If someone joins, they get a seven-day follow-up call, a 21-day call and a one-to-one session where we invite them in for a chat about how everything is going and check if they have reached their goal. “We want people to fit in and enjoy

reduced rate on the non member fee of £4 per class. Sue added: “We look at it as secondary spend and decided to make Zumba and Thai boxing classes separate. “We now have members who are paying £35 per month and also paying extra to come to Zumba. “We have also got members of other gyms coming to us just for Zumba and doing pay as you go. We could put a class on every day. “If any other gym needs a push, put Zumba on your timetable and it will bring people in.” themselves. Our aim is to get people in who wouldn’t normally go to a gym.” Sue is now looking ahead to next year – with the possibility of bootcamps starting in January and more Zumba courses in the pipeline.

More than just a gym THE gym also acts as a community hub and organises workshops and social events to encourage members to interact with each other. Sue added: “On Fridays we decided to put on a class where we have topics – generally health related – and talk about them. “We also hold Are You Being Served? on a Thursday where a member of staff is there to find out if members are happy, which gives them a chance to talk about what they want.” Social evenings are also held at the gym, with upcoming events including a Tom Jones tribute act. The gym’s website and Facebook page are also popular tools – allowing members to book classes online and leave comments and feedback.


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UK FITNESS SCENE

Carl outside the gym

Carl gives helping hand to freelancers By Louise Cordell FREELANCE personal trainer Carl Prince has come up with a new business concept to help others start working for themselves. He started out working as a trainer in a health club chain, while taking on his own clients in his spare time. However, the private work soon piled up and he went into working freelance full time. Carl said: “I preferred the flexibility of working for myself and there was a lot of business out there – I soon had too many clients and had to start getting other trainers involved and passing work on to them. “I was then contacted by our local leisure club, the Brentwood Centre, because they wanted us to establish a private personal training service there. “I went in with others who were freelancing for me, and we estab-

lished a Targetfit branded team at the club two years ago.” Once he had established this ‘freelance team’ model, Carl was keen to open up his own PT gym to take the idea further. He found his ideal location in a former high street shop and refitted and expanded to provide a gym floor, a boxing area and a therapy room. The gym is now home to four personal trainers, a massage therapist and a sports injury therapists, who all rent the facilities to use with their own private clients. They are also able to use the Brentwood Centre facilities with their clients, and as the clubs are 15 miles apart they have the benefit of being able to market themselves in two separate areas. Carl added: “I aim to provide a platform for personal trainers who want to be self employed, but who also like the support of having a team around them and the use of

two kitted out gym floors. “Their clients are happy with the model too as they like the fact that the gym offers the privacy of just them and their trainers there.” Carl’s focus is now on expanding and he has recently carried out a recruitment drive, aiming to show personal trainers that they can have a freelance career – without the risk. He is also planning to launch a physiotherapy service, working on the same freelance basis, as an extra service for all his trainers’ clients. He added: “I believe that freelancing is a real growth area for the fitness industry, especially as the business has been profitable since we opened in September 2009. “Targetfit is a fresh take on creating a personal training team that isn’t restricted to one gym or to one set of members and I now want to take this new model further.”

Powerlifting success for Ripped members TWO members of an Essex gym have achieved success in a top powerlifting competition. Domenic Fazzini and Sebastian Wajncetel both train at Ripped Gym in Harlow and competed at the World Powerlifting Federation World Championships at Bath University. Domenic was crowned WPF Teenage World Champion 2010 and Sebastian took the titles of WPF World Champion, Bench Press and best Bench Presser of the competition. Domenic Fazzini

Gym owner Michelle Meade said:

“We have been waiting for Sebastian to bring home a World title and we are so absolutely delighted and proud that he has achieved this. His next aim is to try and break the World Record which is currently held at 307.5k in the USA.” Of Domenic, Michelle added: “We are speechless at the talent this young man has, he is an up and coming star and we foresee him becoming a huge name in the Powerlifting world. Both men are a pleasure to have train at the gym and are an inspiration to us and our members.”

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PRODUCT NEWS

Jordan: proud to keep up with current trends JORDAN Fitness are continually expanding their product range of functional fitness equipment. Keeping up with current trends is something that Jordan Fitness prides itself on. Combat zones within health clubs and fitness studios are growing in popularity. These zones may include a boxing station with punch bags, speed ball and punch ball. This creates a whole body workout with aerobic and anaerobic benefits. With functional fitness in mind this type of regime helps hand-eye coordination, balance and timing. Combat also lends itself to circuits as well as group exercise. An example of the new Jordan Combat range is the leather Training Glove. These are a quality leather glove with ‘Cool flex’ lining. This lining keeps the hands cool with its moisture wicking palm and mesh finger area. The glove incorporates a strong wide wrist support with velcro fastener. It has a wide comfortable punch line with high density impact resistance foam. Available in sizes 8oz, 10oz and 12oz. Prices start at £27.00 ex vat for an 8oz pair. This form of exercise is very popular because above all it is fun and many people like the ‘stress busting’ quality to the actions. As with all Jordan Fitness

products, they have managed to keep prices competitive as items are manufactured and stocked in large quantities while overheads are kept to a minimum. These products compare in quality (often better) to similar products on the market that are much more expensive. As always Jordan Fitness recognise the benefits and necessity for education and training. The Jordan Training Academy runs nationwide training courses which are REPs accredited for this discipline as part of their large portfolio of courses for in-house instructors and fitness professionals. For more details contact ben@jordanfitness.co.uk For the full range of Jordan functional fitness equipment visit the website www.jordanfitness.co.uk Contact sales@jordanfitness.co.uk or 01945 880257

Ways to control building costs WE all know that there are financial issues all over the country at the moment. Almost anybody that you talk to would say that you have to control your costs if you are attempting to build your own gym or leisure facility. One of the best ways to control your budget is to find a specialist design and build company that will sit with you and go through the whole of the gym building project from start to finish – allocating every penny so there will be no surprises. With design and build it is the contractor’s responsibility to obtain permisions, carry out the design – taking into account the client’s wishes, agree the budget before the project begins and provide a fully detailed quotation which ultimately forms part of the contract, along with a programme showing the start and finish dates. This means that in reality the final cost payable by a client is agreed before the

project goes ahead, therefore there is no risk to the client. It is quite surprising to find out for example, that if you wanted to have juice bar but can’t afford it, funds could be allocated from the price of changing room tiling for instance. Saving a small amount per tile could add up to a significant sum and this will allow you to implement the juice bar and stay in budget. When shopping for supplies you can go to the hardware stores or you could use the design and build company to source them for you. This is a major saving as you would be passed on the discount from bulk buying power. Labour costs are very difficult to control, but wouldn’t knowing what you were paying from the very start give you peace of mind? Total Leisure Solutions is a specialist design and build contractor. Visit them at www.totalleisureltd.co.uk

Providing a solution whatever the sector EZ-RUNNER is continually developing its software and our aim is to provide your business with a solution no matter what sector you are in. Our systems are highly configurable, because we understand the flexibility that our customers demand from their management software. Our online solutions not only allow you to add value to your customers but also to manage their account in their own time. Life is forev-

er getting busier, and the internet runs parallel with our lifestyle, so why not give your customers the option to manage their accounts online. Our solutions allow you to:Pay debt online, Buy multiple sessions such as PT, Manage classes and courses Purchase goods through our retail area, Contact your business through our contact system. View and buy recommen-

dations – such as people who bought this also bought … Join online, PARQ online, Pay debts online, Packages online, Buy SPA treatment online, Book treatments online, Book classes. For more information contact 0844 847 5827 or email us at sales@ez-runner.com


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SUPPLEMENTATION AND NUTRITION

Kickboxing champ opens new store BRITISH kickboxing champion Ross Gladwin has opened a new sports supplement store in Blyth. At the opening of RhinoX Sports and Nutritional Supplements store, RhinoX ran special promotions and giveaways, while staff and Ross were on hand to answer questions on fitness, training and nutrition. Managing director Mark Chapman said: “There has previ-

Rosemary criticises latest diets LEADING diet and fitness expert Rosemary Conley has spoken out against diet plans which encourage followers not to count calories. While WeightWatchers is discarding its famous fat and calorie-based ‘points’ plan, in favour of a new points system that allows alcohol and fast food, Rosemary thinks that dieters don’t buy into the concept that this is reserved for special occasions only – and this may affect their weight loss. And she revealed she believes that calorie counting and healthy eating is the best way for dieters to lose weight and keep it off. She said: “Our slimmers consistently achieve astonishing weight losses because my diets are based on calorie counting. “I really question whether WeightWatchers understand the mentality of the dieter with their U-turn on their calorie-based principles.”

ously been a lack of choice of specific supplements in the area, so there is clearly a gap in the market. Many stores offer supplements as just one of their wide range of products and, as a result, only stock a small selection of the wellknown brands, which may not always be the best products available to meet peoples’ needs. Many up-and-coming brands are well

worth trying and it is our aim to expose these products locally and place them alongside the betterknown brands that our customers will recognise.” The store will be providing free weekly taste tests so that customers can sample products before they buy and a shake bar where customers can buy products to drink on the premises or take away.


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SUPPLEMENTATION AND NUTRITION Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) originally became popular as an energy-boosting supplement but fell out of favour when studies to support these claims failed to deliver solid evidence. However, as Andrew Hamilton, explains, MCTs could still have plenty to offer …

Why there’s still a place for out-of-favour MCTs What are MCTs? Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a class of fatty acids occurring naturally in some foods such as coconut and palm oils and milk fat and human breast milk. Compared to most fats, MCT molecules have relatively short carbon chains in their backbone. This shorter chain length alters the biochemical properties of these oils; MCTs require far less energy for uptake and storage in the body and as a result, they’re easier to digest and absorb than ordinary fats. Why use MCTs? Studies show that MCTs are more rapidly absorbed by the body than longer chain fats, and are more efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles. Because of this, scientists initially believed that MCTs might be able to boost energy and extend endurance during exercise. Unfortunately, the evidence for this effect was thin on the ground but the good news is that MCTs could have other benefits, particularly for those trying to lose body fat. A number of recent studies have shown that supplementing the diet with oils rich in MCTs seems to

Powerlifter Lee Marshall and his two teenage sons made a recent competition a family affair when they all picked up gold medals. Lee and his sons Jake and Brodie each won gold in their categories at this year’s Global Powerlifting Committee World Championships in Prague – with Team GB bringing home the overall championship title. Lee – who has just joined the USN team of sports ambassadors – squatted 260kg, benched 160kg, and sealed the win with a 320kg deadlift. All of Lee’s lifts were world records and he also won the best master lifter award.

help increase the proportion of energy derived from fat burning, thus promoting fat loss. Another bonus is that in some studies, MCTs were shown to be particularly effective at reducing abdominal fat (most associated with coronary heart disease), and they also reduced blood cholesterol levels into the bargain! Who can benefit from MCT use? It’s too early to be able to make an ‘across the board’ recommendation for MCT use, but if these recent studies are confirmed, consuming some of your daily dietary fat in the form of MCTs could be of benefit for anyone trying to lose weight or maintain a lower level of body fat. To date, scientists aren’t sure how MCTs function in the body produce these benefits. However, one theory is that they help to induce a ‘starvation mode’ in fat storage cells in the body, which encourages the cells to increase fat burning. How should you use MCTs? The studies suggest that adding around 20 grams a day of MCT-rich oil to your diet for 12-16 weeks can produce a significant benefit. Although adding fat to your diet

sounds counter-intuitive, 20 grams amounts to no more than 200 calories per day. The key however is substitution; the 200 odd calories of MCTs you consume each day should replace 200 existing calories. The best calories to replace of course are those derived from junk/fast/processed/sugary foods! Where can I find MCTs? Although they fell out of favour to some extent, MCT-rich oils can still be purchased as a sport supplement. However, if you’d like to add these oils from a dietary source, it’s worth bearing in mind that coconut oil is fairly inexpensive and has a relatively high MCT content. Indeed, the balance of MCTs to other oils in coconut oil compares very favourably with the pre-prepared oil blends used in the studies mentioned above.  Andrew Hamilton BSc Hons, MRSC, ACSM is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American College of Sports Medicine and a consultant to the fitness industry, specialising in sport and performance nutrition: www.andrewmarkhamilton.co.uk

Andrew Hamilton


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SUPPLEMENTATION AND NUTRITION

‘Total tastiness for exercising tongue muscles’ ISOPURE by Nature's Best, the number one (RTD) sports nutrition brand in USA, is offering a premium range of products with an extensive ready to drink protein range, making them ideal for health clubs and fitness centres. Nature's Best offers an extensive range of protein drinks and shakes, energy and fat burning drinks, protein powder and bars. ISOPURE Zero Carb proteins contain 100 per cent ion exchange whey protein isolate, zero fat,

zero carbs, zero lactose, and are free from preservatives and aspartame. Available in both powder and ready to drink forms and come in refreshing fruit flavours, they are light, easy to digest and provide the fastest method of replenishing the body after a workout, and available in three different sizes and nine flavours. Launching December 1, the first and only smoothie of its kind. Berries, pomegranates, oranges, peaches in protein smoothies?

That never happens. And that's not the only surprise. Each of the three unique flavours is lactose-free and packed with 32 grams of 100 per cent whey protein isolate, 7,400mgs BCAA's and tastes amazing. Or, as we like to say, it's total tastiness for exercising tongue muscles. For more information visit www.isopure.co.uk and www.theisopurecompany.com Body Temple, the UK’s leading importer and distributor of sports nutrition, have recently launched their new trade website. After undergoing a complete revamp, the new site boasts features including a media section to provide the trade with the tools to utilise to help make their individual businesses succeed. Marketing manager Gemma Hawkesworth said: “We have made the commitment to support our wholesale customers and have removed our retail presence within the industry in a bid to demonstrate to our customers that we are not their competition and that we support them 100 per cent.” New brands have been added to the Body Temple inventory, including Muscle Pharm, Extreme Nutrition, and the latest brand to hit the UK, Anabolic Designs, with monthly special offers on many brands available.


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PRODUCT NEWS

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‘GB Fitness does it right ... again’ GB Fitness and its director, Cain Leathem, have a motto – “don't just do it, do it right!” They live by this and prove, whether it be in the qualification courses that they run or their personal clients, success is the only option. This is why Cain has personally advised over 70 British champions in very varied sports including athletics, boxing, bodybuilding and even ballroom dancing.

100% natural energy bars GLOUCESTERSHIRE based manufacturer of healthy and nutritious snacks Pulsin’ (www.pulsin.co.uk) have launched their own energy bars using 100 per cent natural ingredients making them ideal as a snack on the move. The range of eight flavours makes them a complement to any special diets including vegan, gluten free and with no added sugar they are perfect for anyone.

He has helped many exceed their limiting beliefs and go on to become World and Universe Champions – even as far as World Record Holders. He achieves this by offering unrivaled and indepth services that include detailed assessments including blood analysis, strength and conditioning programmes and bespoke nutrition regimes, as well as utilising his skills as an NLP Master Practitioner to motivate and inspire. He is proud that he instills the same professionalism in students that study for their personal trainer and nutrition qualifications with him and now several of them are highlighted in an upcoming television programme. He tells us that he cannot reveal details at present, but it will be very clear why another GB Fitness motto is “Not like the rest, trained by the best!”

Company creates new performance meals

They are also perfect for intensive athletics training and are currently used by marathon runners, cyclists and Premiership football clubs to boost energy levels. Requiring packaging that would enhance the brand they turned to Yorkshire based packaging specialists National Flexible for assistance. National Flexible offered their extensive knowledge and expertise and they recommended a film that provided the optimum shelf life and pack appearance to ensure the energy bars reached their target market. National Flexible’s in house design agency NXL Design created the artwork for the packaging and ensured it artwork was print ready from start to finish. From their bulk stock of base material, National Flexible was then able to print and slit finished material in order to meet the customers launch date. Nick, Ben and Simon, directors of Pulsin’, said: “National Flexible really helped to get the project off the ground we are very impressed with the finished bars.” For more information contact: National Flexible, Battlefield View, Birkenshaw, Bradford BD11 2PT, call: 01274 685566, email: sales@nationalflexible.net or visit: www.nationalflexible.co.uk.

SOUND & VISION

Cain Leathem

NATURAL Sports Nutrition is an independent company born out of the desire to provide convenient meals that support active lifestyles, whether you’re involved in sports, fitness, bodybuilding or simply want to eat well without any hassle.

Nutrition have created a revolutionary new sports nutrition product: Performance Meals.

To achieve this, Natural Sports

Performance Meals’ ingredients are sealed into air and watertight pouches prior to cooking, this locks the all important nutrients into the pouch.

Taking foam rolling to a whole new level ESCAPE Fitness are proud to announce that they are now the official distributors of the revolutionary Grid. Forget everything you've ever known about traditional foam rolling – The Grid has landed here in the UK and it's going to take foam rolling to a whole new level. The Grid was designed with everyone in

mind from professional athletes to home fitness fans and has created a mass following Stateside. Whether you're looking to massage your lats, quads, lower back, large muscle groups, or trying to achieve a killer core body workout, The Grid is certain to suit your or your members’ needs. The Grid is the most versatile and comprehensive foam roller and workout tool on the market today but don’t just take our word for it, visit www.escapefitness.com to find out more.

WANTED

Performance Meals are high protein, complete meals, developed through a leading UK University, by qualified sports nutritionists working alongside experienced food technologists.

Due to the minimal processing method Natural Sports Nutrition uses, there is no requirement for any artificial preservatives, flavours or additives – ensuring that Performance Meals are 100 per cent natural. They can easily be kept in your kitchen cupboard as there is no requirement for refrigeration. Perfect for when you get home from the gym: simply cook in less than five minutes to give you a great tasting complete meal that supports your training. For a trade information pack or to place an order contact Natural Sports Nutrition on 0800 046 7672 or email: trade@performancemeals.com


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CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT

To advertise in this classified section call 01226 734615

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CLASSIFIED

52 EQUIPMENT

SUNBEDS

HYGIENE

NUTRITION

FINANCE

NUTRITION

MARKETING


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CLASSIFIED SERVICING

LOCKERS

LOCKERS

SOFTWARE

SOFTWARE

TRAINING

HYDROTHERAPY

TRAINING

To advertise in this classified section call 01226 734615

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CLASSIFIED

54 ID CARD SUPPLIES

INSURANCE

FOR SALE MARKETING

MANAGEMENT

WANTED

FLOORING

DIRECT DEBIT COLLECTIONS

RECRUITMENT

UPHOLSTERY

INSURANCE


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Work Out December 2010  

The UK's No1 fitness industry magazine

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