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December 2017

The UK’s No 1 fitness industry magazine

Physical activity should be made a ‘national religion’ By Christina Eccles

BARONESS Tanni Grey-Thompson has called on government to help make physical activity a ‘national religion’ and harness its potential to tackle some of the biggest challenges faced by society. ukactive chair Tanni used her keynote address at the organisation’s National Summit to call for urgent action to tackle the UK’s mounting physical inactivity crisis. The Crossbench Peer described physical activity as society’s ‘golden thread’, outlining the significant impact it can have on major issues such as Britain’s ageing population and social care crisis, the future of the NHS, childhood obesity, mental health, crime and economic productivity. She said: “Physical inactivity is one of the biggest crises we face. Every day, parents, grandparents, wives and husbands are dying because they live in a society that doesn’t place enough emphasis on the importance of physical activity. For many, physical activity is becoming a national religion – something we love and cherish. Something that serves as the glue, holding communities together. “And yet, there has been too little policy emphasis, and for too long, on what contributes to the health and happiness of a person, a family, a

community.” Tanni also highlighted the role which leisure facilities play as ‘pillars of society’, with their impact going far beyond offering physical activity. She added: “When communities were rocked this summer by awful tragedies like the Manchester bombing and the fire at Grenfell Tower, it was in leisure centres – like Holmes Chapel, Kensington, Swiss Cottage and Westway – where people gathered to make sense of the atrocities and provide charity to those who needed it most. “Far from being places to simply gym and swim, these centres are pillars of society, steadfastly supporting communities through thick and thin. But many of these pillars are crumbling – in need of urgent repair and renovation to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose, fit for those communities they serve. “For far too long it’s been the case that sport and activity are placed in a box for DCMS to deal with, while for other departments activity is just an afterthought. It’s like Westminster is sitting on the winning lottery ticket, but is too timid to claim the prize. “This agenda must fully break out of its Westminster box, so that all Government departments understand, integrate, and implement programmes that embrace physical activity.”

No 291 £3

Platform to streamline recruitment process

Gym chain 24/7 Fitness has launched a new winter fitness regime, based on hit TV show Game of Thrones, starring Kit Harington (pictured). Game of Zones will see each club offer five themed training areas – free weights, cardio, functional, resistance machines and studio. Marketing director Sarah Francis said: “For months now, the entire country has been glued to their sofas and screens with the latest season of Game of Thrones keeping viewers under a spell. Now that’s over, we’re launching our Game of Zones themed campaign, designed to get fans fired up and back in the gym, immersing them in a fitness plan with a difference.”

A NEW platform has launched to bring fitness professionals and sector employers together – streamlining the recruitment process for both parties. GymCareer allows jobseekers to upload their CV, create profiles and search for vacancies based on criteria such as location, contract type and salary. Profiles are kept secure and viewed only by approved employers. In order to find the perfect job, candidates can also set up job alerts which notify them when vacancies that meet the desired search criteria become available. The private messaging system allows employers and candidates to easily communicate and discuss job specifics and employers also have access to information regarding their adverts, including number of views and new interest. GymCareer’s Sean Coutts said: “We’ve put a lot of effort into simplifying the recruitment process and we’re excited to help enthusiastic professionals find the job of their dreams.”



Mid-market gyms must learn valuable lessons By Christina Eccles

OPERATORS have been given an insight into the future of the fitness industry, with the mid market being advised to pick up valuable lessons from the boutique and budget sectors. President of FHRSA Christophe Andanson was among the presenters at the IHRSA European Congress in London where he spoke to delegates about different, successful business models – from low cost to premium – and their strengths and weaknesses. He told the audience that low cost and boutique clubs have grown in popularity because they spotted a gap in the market which other operators weren’t addressing; leading to a ‘squeezed’ mid market where more traditional operators have been forced to raise their game or die. He explained: “Gyms are facing completely new types of competition. The middle market is under attack from both low cost and boutique. “As soon as you leave a space, someone will get it. Successful low cost clubs have identified unmet needs.” Christophe added that the model of high price plus high value works – such as in the boutique sector – as does the model of low value and low

Christophe Andanson. Photo credit: Jack Terry price. Boutique gyms, in particular, are But the model of high price doing well at servicing members’ plus poor value is dead; meaning needs, according to Christophe, mid market clubs which aren’t with small details such as being able performing need to raise their game to pre-book your bike in an indoor and re-examine their member cycling class, or attend a class taken proposition. by a ‘celebrity’ instructor with a big He revealed unsatisfied members following creating a better overall typically go three ways; to budget experience. clubs where they pay less for less He added: “We don’t measure service, they drop out of the industry things enough. If you know what altogether or they pay for a more people want, it will be easier. expensive membership in the hope a “They want things such as dance higher priced club will deliver. classes, yoga and functional training. But he believes ‘traditional’ People are looking for friendship. operators are in a position to change “We are in a great place to fulfil this – if they concentrate on what these needs. We can make them makes members happy. happy – and change their lives.”

“Gyms are facing completely new types of competition. The middle market is under attack from both low cost and boutique.”

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Blackpool Council has outsourced its leisure marketing and business development, with plans to use strategic marketing to promote health and wellbeing to the local community. Bigwave media has won the contract to support the council in the expansion of a number of key business areas, as well as investigating future growth opportunities. A key focus will be developing the income potential of health and fitness and the council’s learn to swim programmes, where Bigwave’s insight research has identified opportunities for a 50 per cent growth in participants over four years.   The partnership will also include the design and implementation of targeted marketing campaigns and promotions. Director at Bigwave media Tom Gozna said: “We are underway already, planning innovative and targeted projects, using insights and analysis to ensure a totally bespoke solution to help Blackpool Council shape the promotion of its excellent facilities.” Advertising


Sales manager: Danielle Hornby Tel: 01226 734709

Editor: Christina Eccles Tel: 01226 734463

Sales manager: Daniel Lloyd Tel: 01226 734699

Sales and marketing director: Tony Barry Tel: 01226 734605

Group Editor: Judith Halkerston Tel: 01226 734639

Reporter: Olivia Taylor Group production editor: Dominic Musgrave Tel: 01226 734407

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Ladies only workshop benefits two charities By Christina Eccles

AN independent gym in West Yorkshire has held a successful ladies only workshop; splitting the ticket proceeds between female-focused charities CoppaFeel and Wellbeing of Women. The half-day event, held at The Lifestyle Studios in Scissett and attended by both members and non members, was organised by gym owner Claire O’Meara who wanted to highlight the importance to women of looking after their health. Topics discussed included balancing your hormones and eating the right foods for your body type and hypnotherapy as a tool for wellbeing, as well as a personal journey from a CoppaFeel ‘Boobette’ ambassador who shared her own breast cancer story. Claire explained: “The main aim of the event was to raise awareness of the two chosen charities, ditch the taboo around women’s wellbeing and get people openly talking about gynaecological problems, learning how to check their breasts and other signs and symptoms to look out for. “I chose the charities because of my passion for women’s wellbeing and also the fact that a few of our ladies have been through breast cancer,

The event at The Lifestyle Studios in Scissett raised £400 that was split between CoppaFeel and Wellbeing of Women. between the two charities. had fertility issues and many are “The touching story from ‘Boobette’ now going through peri menopause, Tracie on her own personal journey so as our hormones change we need to know how we can best with cancer and the signs and symptoms to look out for is one I assist ourselves to make it easier.” know many women will have taken Attendees were also able to enjoy away with them. a practical workshop based around “On the 15th of each month, a weight lifting techniques and a pop reminder will go out to all ladies from up shop by award winning athletic wear brand ZaaZee. the workshop and on our Facebook Claire added: “The morning was page as a reminder to check those a great success, raising £400 split boobs.”

Top personal trainer Matt Roberts is to open his first healthy eating cafe in London’s Mayfair, in partnership with cold press juice producer, Daily Dose. Matt Roberts Daily Dose will specialise in high quality protein-based products, with smoothies developed by Matt and his in-house performance nutritionist SarahJane Holt forming the focus of the menu. Matt said: “Over the years, I have come to realise that we need a more holistic approach to health, as working out and going to the gym is just one part of staying healthy. Eating and drinking the right things is just as important, so opening the café with Daily Dose seemed like a natural next step.”



App-based PT service makes lives easier

BUSY Londoners have had their lives made easier with the launch of a new app-based personal training service. Vyta enables users to schedule a workout into their hectic diaries by offering vetted trainers at a fixed price of £50. Clients are able to track their trainers in the app 30 minutes before a session is due to start, allowing them to see when they are en-route to maximise their training time. Requests for one-to-one personal trainers will also be answered in just 90 minutes, quicker than any other personal trainer app and clients can request a trainer to come to their house, local park or place of work. Founder Joshua Ashley said: “We are transforming the trainer-client relationship and putting the customer in charge so that training becomes more convenient. As a result, fewer sessions are cancelled and more people achieve their health and fitness goals. “We aim to allow customers to book their favourite trainer to the place and time that best suits them, in as little time as an hour, all within a few taps of their phone.” Matrix Connected Solutions









Lauraine goes from front desk to fitness instructor By Christina Eccles

A FITNESS instructor from Stockport has revealed how she turned her love for fitness into a new career. Just two years ago, lifelong administrator Lauraine Iles changed her life, initially by taking a role on reception and now as a fully qualified fitness coach. Currently helping to pilot actilife100 – a new 100-day membership programme developed by Life Leisure specifically for people that have been inactive for a long time – Lauraine believes her specific route into coaching has given her valuable insight. She explained: “I’d been attending all sorts of classes at Life Leisure Romiley and really enjoying my time there, so when I saw they were advertising for a new receptionist, I thought, why not? “I loved it straight away, mainly because it gave me a front line – or rather front desk – understanding of how people’s lives really were being changed. Members would chat to me about wanting to lose weight because they wanted to be more active with their kids, or about how they were taking steps to rehabilitate after a serious health problem. And I’d see them achieve those goals. That’s when I started thinking, I’d like to help people make1 those changes.” 220x158_2311_PR.pdf 23/11/2017 14:24

Lauraine Iles Between shifts on reception, Lauraine started taking part in more classes and courses to gain a better understanding of training techniques and also received mentoring from Life Leisure coaches. Convinced this was definitely the path for her, she started training as an instructor. She added: “I felt such as sense of achievement when I qualified. I’d completely changed my career direction. “Becoming active again, or getting into exercise when you’ve never been active before, can be very intimidating and difficult. “I should know. Because that’s exactly how I felt when I first joined Life Leisure as a member. But the

support I received made such a difference. It made me enjoy being active – so much so that I went from nervous member, to qualified coach. “So when I found out that Life Leisure wanted to pilot actilife100 in Romiley where I live and work, I knew I wanted to be involved and help people get over their own personal fitness hurdles. “Having the right support to take those first scary steps makes a huge difference. “My work now is so varied. In the morning I can be taking a cardio class and in the afternoon, simply getting out for a walk with members literally taking their very first steps towards a more active lifestyle. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of that.”

Matrix has a whole host of enlightening connected solutions designed to fit in with everyday life. They are easy to use and familiar to members, functioning in the same ways as phones and tablets. All designed to support health and wellness in the gym, and beyond.

“The whole Matrix cardio offering now allows input, data capture and activity. Whether you need motivation, encouragement, guidance or support, Matrix’s connected solutions cater for all.” “The real value of our connected technology solutions is they save time and improve communications for gym owners, PTs and gym members.” Rob Knox, Product Director at Matrix Fitness To find out more about the Matrix Workout Tracking Network, Personal Trainer Portal, Asset Management, and other connected solutions that could boost your offering and transform your members’ fitness experience, call us on 01782 644900 or visit



Operator to sell healthy products PARKWOOD Leisure is now providing healthier choices for customers; announcing new plans for the vending machines at its 85 sites. From January 2018, 95 per cent of all drinks sold will be below the sugar tax threshold along with all confectionery bars of less than 250kcal. The new regulations adhere to the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation guidelines. CQUIN is an NHS led national framework aiming to continually improve the healthcare industry. Director of catering at Parkwood Leisure Matt De’ath said: “Our vending operations have always provided a very balanced range of products, allowing our customers to make informed choices. We’ve seen a gradual move towards the healthier ranges, driven by both our local authority clients and customer demand. As a leading leisure operator, we are proud to align our goals for healthier vending with the standards set by CQUIN. “By implementing these changes and adhering to the same vending criteria as the NHS, Parkwood Leisure is demonstrating its commitment to offering customers healthier food and drink choices to match their active lifestyles.”

PT urges others to do their bit to tackle obesity epidemic By Olivia Taylor A PERSONAL trainer is urging other fitness professionals to do their bit to tackle the current childhood obesity epidemic. Ben Green founded Activ8 Fitness Camp with a vision of improving fitness and wellbeing within local communities throughout Essex and London. He said: “I’ve been in the fitness industry for 12 years now and I like to use exercise and fitness as a tool to engage children and families. Sometimes I pretty much feel like Super Nanny.” Activ8 Fitness Camp isn’t your average personal training company; working closely with schools to give struggling children the help they need through the power of exercise. Ben added: “Schools bring me in and I ask them what they want me to do to help them out. I’ve been working with an autistic boy at a school in East London. You can’t talk to a child with autism like you would another child, a lot of it is about mindset. “You’ll get kids that either want to do it or don’t want to do it. It’s all about stepping stones and building a relationship. That’s the key, building that rapport with the child first.” Ben spent time working closely with

Ben Green a 16-year-old autistic boy; attempting to tackle his anxiety, communication and confidence issues. He added: “He’s a very clever lad but his anxiety was through the roof, he didn’t like being around people. It took me five weeks to even get him outdoors and in the gym. “We started off with once a week and eventually he was there four times a week. It was amazing actually getting him to even talk to me.” Ben didn’t come into this industry with a vision of making a huge profit, instead his aim is to help people help themselves by changing their lifestyle. He added: “You get a sense of fulfilment from helping people, but I

don’t just like to help, I like to change their life for the better. “I don’t do this for the money, I do it for those moments. Just to see the young lad smiling in the gym warmed my heart.” Ben and his team’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Activ8 Fitness Camp winning a National Adversity award for the community work they do. Ben added: “When we won the award I did sit back and think about what we do, which I don’t do very often, and it gave me a massive confidence boost.” He is now calling on the industry to take more of an interest in the health and wellbeing of children and believes obesity can be tackled if the sector comes together to get youngsters moving. He said: “Children’s fitness is completely overshadowed and disregarded. We need to intervene early – if we get kids exercising early on we can tackle obesity. “I think everyone needs to be more involved, especially in the industry. I want to be someone that other fitness professionals can come to for guidance. “There are so many fantastic personal trainers out there that have got the knowledge, they just need a bit of guidance to engage the children.”



Three leading exhibitions to run alongside each other THREE leading exhibitions within the physical activity, sports performance and rehabilitation sector have joined forces. Elevate, COPA Series and the Elite Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Expo will run alongside each other for the first time on May 9 and 10 2018. The combination of events will form the largest gathering of sport, health, fitness and rehabilitation professionals in the UK; attracting an audience of over 8,000 people. Visitors will be able to enjoy a range of innovative products, features, workshops and over 300 free-toattend seminars. Each event will keep its own entrance, exhibition, content and features, but attendees will be able to access all areas with one badge.

Elevate founder Max Quittenton said: “The audience for all three shows share closely connected expertise and it’s widely accepted that tackling physical inactivity requires exactly this type of cross-sector collaboration. “The synergies between rehabilitation, sport, fitness and health are clear. By collocating we are firmly establishing the UK’s largest physical activity trade event. In turn, even more attendees will enjoy choosing from an even broader range of products and free-to-attend seminar content. “The benefits for exhibitors are reasonably obvious. Put simply, if you are professional responsible for helping people become more physically active you simply must be at ExCeL between May 9-10 2018.”

Club launches fun challenges

A HOTEL health club has introduced MYZONE member challenges to make keeping fit more fun. The Health Club at Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa on the shores of Windermere has created a competition using the app, with the top three performers each month receiving prizes. Andy Sharples from English Lakes Hotels Resorts and Venues, who manage the health club, said: “Everyone has different fitness

levels which can change over time. MYZONE measures heart rate and recognises individual performance with effort points called MEPs. “It works a bit like a golf handicap on your fitness, so we decided to offer members the chance to participate in a monthly competition which rewards their hard work. Prizes can be anything from a free meal at our sister hotel The Waterhead through to fitness accessories or spa treatments.”

Bassetlaw regional manager Glyn Davies, Olympic swimmer Ellie Faulkner and corporate aquatics manager Simon Ferrarelli.

BPL makes a splash BARNSLEY Premier Leisure’s commitment to swimming provision has been recognised at the prestigious Swim England National Awards. BPL won the Swim England Facility Operator of the Year (1-22 wet sites) Award for their work growing participation over the past 12 months. Working closely with the Swim England Insight team, they identified two key groups to focus on. Adults aged 40 plus who wanted to discover or re-ignite a love for swimming were targeted with a ‘swim for £1’ campaign, while a fitness focused campaign highlighted the benefits of swimming as a great way to exercise. Over the last 12 months, BPL, which operates facilities within Barnsley

and Bassetlaw, has also increased the number of community groups accessing the pools and has seen a 2.4 per cent increase in adults learning to swim. Corporate aquatics manager at BPL Simon Ferrarelli said: “Our pools are local community hubs. We want to get the message out there about the benefits of swimming and have as many people utilising them as possible. “The award is recognition for us as a company on how we have invested in aquatics to get it back to the forefront of our facilities.” The award was presented by former Olympic diver and commentator Leon Taylor and current Olympic swimmer Ellie Faulkner.



Technogym awarded University contract

Operator helps women to transform their lives OPERATOR tmactive is helping four women from the local community to transform their lives through healthy eating and exercise in the tmactive150 Challenge. Karina Littlechild, Sarah Moughtin and Alexandra Lawrence from Tonbridge and Rebecca Pascoe from Larkfield in Kent have pledged to transform their lives over 12 weeks after being selected to take part in the free initiative. Inactive for at least two years, each participant has received a bespoke exercise programme which focuses on cardiovascular and strength training to boost their overall fitness and are also benefiting from advice on nutrition and healthy eating. Each week, the women take part in a personal training session as well as a group activity to encourage them to work as a team towards their goals.

They are also using MYZONE and Swimtag to track their activity. tmactive, which runs Larkfield Leisure Centre, Angel Centre and Tonbridge Swimming Pool on behalf of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, decided to re-launch the challenge following its success last year. Health and wellbeing coordinator at tmactive Natalie Smith said: “The 2016 tmactive150 Challenge demonstrated that with the right guidance and support, we can help people to transform their lives with healthy eating and physical activity. “This year we have included a weekly group session so the ladies can motivate each other while enjoying some healthy competition. “They have really bonded and already consider each other as friends.”

TECHNOGYM has been awarded a five year contract to supply equipment and digital software to Loughborough University. Creating a new Technogym Centre of Excellence, the first instalment of this is a £500,000 refurbishment of Powerbase at the Loughborough campus. Powerbase is one of the country’s largest strength and conditioning gyms, used by everyone from Olympians and Paralympians to Loughborough elite squads and world renowned athletes from a multitude of sports. The gym will have over 100 Technogym stations including 11 Olympic Power Racks and Pure Strength plate-loaded equipment. There will also be a dedicated cardio mezzanine floor overlooking the strength area, housing kit including the EXCITE treadmills and bikes and SKILLMILL Connect.

Managing director at Technogym UK Steve Barton said: “We are delighted to align Technogym with Loughborough University, another world-leading brand. “We have a long heritage of involvement with elite sport, having been the official supplier to the last six editions of the Olympic Games, and our partnership with the world’s best sporting university is a testament to our continued commitment to elite sport at all levels. We look forward to seeing some of the UK’s best athletes using our equipment at Powerbase.”

Ben appointed new Grenade chairman NUTRITION company Grenade has appointed Ben Clarke as chairman. In his new role, Ben will oversee the development of the company and liaise closely between shareholders and senior management. Ben brings substantial global experience in growing food brands from more than 20 years’ working in the industry.

Co-founder and CEO of Grenade, Alan Barratt, said: “Ben’s appointment is an exciting step forward for us, and we look forward to working with him to drive the business to the next level. “His experience working with and growing food brands on a global scale will be hugely valuable to us as we continue to grow.”



Advertiser’s announcement

Introducing altitude training An interview with Harvey Galvin (MSc) Sporting Edge Sports Performance Scientist. Can you tell us more about altitude training and how it works? Traditionally altitude training has been to go on an eight week or longer trip up a mountain to live and exercise in a “hypoxic” environment. All hypoxic means is reduced oxygen. In the short term this reduction in oxygen makes the body work harder. Heart rate and breathing increases to try to help the muscles overcome the deficit, making any workout seem tougher. In the long term, the body adapts by producing more haemoglobin in the blood, meaning when you are finished, your oxygen carrying capacity has increased. There are other non-blood cell responses that also help with performance that are currently being researched in altitude chambers. Meaning anyone can access this environment, not just those up a mountain! What difference does it make to a training session? I’d love to introduce you to some of the athletes I’ve worked with in the past who thought altitude was just a gimmick. In a word, it makes sessions ‘hard’. The body struggles to keep up as it does normally and it’s definitely a shock to the system for the first two sessions. While this sounds daunting, really, it’s just a much smarter way of getting to your limits and pushing boundaries without going for too long and injuring yourself. Train smarter, not longer is the ethos, and so perfect for today’s time poor, gym enthusiasts. Who can benefit from altitude training and why? The benefits are dependent upon the type of training you do in altitude. It’s the flexibility of this equipment that is key for me; you can fit your goals and training around what you choose to do. We’ve had everyone from athletes in Olympic sports, team sports like football and rugby, skills sports like tennis, all the way to recreational cyclists and people that just want to keep fit in a short space of time. The specific training benefit remains, the altitude just makes it tougher, and thus more time efficient.   What sort of activities/classes can it be used in? How big is your chamber?! Whatever you can do in a studio gym, you can do in altitude. My favourite has to be a mixture of boxing and rowing to really push the body away from the traditional running conditioning.    What are the benefits to operators who introduce altitude training into their facilities? It’s a key differentiator. It’s not for everyone. It’s for your clients who want results, perhaps quicker and are willing to pay for it. There are very few things that sports


scientists have researched at the highest level that would make a big difference to those in a gym setting. So on one hand you’ve got something with 20+ years of research behind the results you will get for your current clients and also it’s something that can really be used to draw new people in. How many places can you train as if you’re at Mt Kilimanjaro?! What does a club need to deliver it effectively in terms of space, equipment, staff training? This is where you can get creative. If you’ve got a space, we can turn it into an altitude chamber. If you want to get really fancy, you can combine with some nonmotorised woodway treadmills and even get some sprinting training in a small space. Staff training is on basic physiology and then performance research, what works and what to expect with those that find it tough.   How easy is it for a club to adopt an altitude training intervention? Sporting Edge do all the hard work. All installs are bespoke, but for bespoke don’t read increased cost. We essentially install into the fabric of the gym, and once finished we leave it looking like the chamber was always meant to be there. We provide all the building considerations and work hand in hand with your builders to ensure there are no surprises when we arrive. Simple systems can be installed in as little as three days, with minimal fuss. With our standard five-year warranty, you can be sure that the system will continue to operate just as day one, for many years to come. The systems have a life expectancy of over 20 years.

without it! Once the staff realise the potential benefits they could get for their clients they can build “real world” case studies to complement the high level research proving its usefulness. And then what’s the best way to grab attention of new members? Fight away against other gyms, or introduce something truly different, actually proven not just another fitness gimmick, and get the pick of dedicated new members. Tell us more about your plans for next year? What response have you had from

the industry so far? More and more we are seeing the university researchers wishing to combine altitude with heat training, as there appears to be an even greater training stimulus. The research in today’s universities, is invariably tomorrow’s gym interventions. Whilst this has been the preserve of universities until now, we are seeing more and more commercial altitude gyms, enjoying success. It is only a matter of time until we see a dedicated chain of altitude spin studios!





TEMPERATURES From -25 to +50°C


Is it safe? Sporting Edge has added every conceivable safety aspect to the system, with these now used all over the world. How can clubs who introduce this type of training promote it to their members and educate them on the benefits? I think results speak the loudest. The English Institute of Sport physiologists decided that a small block of altitude training (three weeks) is as good as an entire season

Sporting Edge UK Ltd, Unit J, Loddon Business Centre, Roentgen Road, Basingstoke, RG24 8NG, UK,

Tel: +44 (0)1256 84 44 84 •



Swimmer Use video and ensure you are on the launches first page of Google, advises expert new pool By Christina Eccles

AN award winning open water swimmer has opened a new pool to provide more opportunities for local people to swim. Padraig Mallon has launched Infinity Swim Academy, a purposebuilt 25m, three-lane indoor pool in Newry, which offers a wide range of swimming sessions from learn-toswim classes for children and adults to women-only sessions and open water swimming classes. The centre is also working with local triathlon clubs and coaches to introduce triathlon and aquathon options to the centre. Padraig said: “The waiting lists for swimming at local pools are colossal. Our vision is to ‘learn here, swim anywhere’ and we can see the seeds of that taking root, with more than 500 people already signed up to our swimming programmes.” The centre is also working with RLSS UK to offer Swim Survive and Save and Rookie Lifeguard programmes. Two members of staff have also been trained to deliver RLSS UK education including NPLQ and First Aid courses. Other facilities include the SATORI Wellness Centre, offering a range of fitness classes, an indoor cycling studio and an education centre with lecture facilities.

ENSURE your business is on the first page of Google searches and use video to promote your gym were just some of the tips given at a talk by a renowned sales and technology speaker. Frank Furness spoke to delegates at the IHRSA European Congress in London where he explained more about the impact of social media on the sales and retention of members. His advice for fitness professionals looking to boost their online profiles included writing one piece of high quality content per week, which you “create once, publish everywhere”; particularly focusing on channels linked to Google to heighten your presence in searches. He explained: “If you’re not on the first page of Google, your competition will be getting those leads. “Be part of the ‘Google’ family; whatever you do, think Google. Write an article, put it on Blogger and promote on Google Plus. Think how is Google going to sell me?” Frank’s other tips included thinking about when your customers are on social media and capitalising on peak times, such as first thing in the morning, lunchtime and evening which may expose your posts to a bigger audience. He also recommends using video as a great way to promote what you are

Frank Furness Picture credit: Jack Terry

doing in your gym and any additional services and expertise you can offer to existing – and prospective – members. He told delegates that online videos or Facebook Live can be used in a variety of ways including: n Explaining more about what goes on behind the scenes at your club. n Product demonstrations. n To showcase live events. n A live Q&A with staff. n Webinars on helpful topics for your members. n Club announcements. n Exclusive offers. And he advised operators to remember that most of this can be

done without the need for expensive equipment by using a smart phone and a few accessories to enhance light and sound. He added: “Get video testimonials. These are powerful to attract new members – and great staff. “It’s about doing things that none of your competitors are doing. In the health and fitness industry, we are all doing the same as our competitors.” n How do you use your website and social media to promote your gym? Let us know by emailing ce@ and your story could appear in a future issue of Workout.


9-10 MAY 2018 | EXCEL | LONDON






Jamie offers personal training for everyone By Christina Eccles

Olympian Rebecca Adlington is supporting the new swimwear policy

Operator introduces a new swimwear policy EVERYONE Active has introduced a new swimwear policy after finding that parents often avoid water-based activity because of what they have to wear. The operator commissioned a nationwide study that revealed one in two mothers in Britain has been put off taking their child swimming due to fear of being seen in a bathing suit. As a result, it has reviewed its swimwear policy to include more modest items including leggings, short and long-sleeved t-shirts and swim dresses. The policy has been commended by Rebecca Adlington and is launching across all Everyone Active’s 96

swimming pools with immediate effect. Everyone Active’s group swim manager Jacqui Tillman said: “When we looked into the reasons behind the decline in children being taught to swim, we learnt that body image concerns played a big part in preventing people bringing their children to the pool. “We want to ensure that anyone who visits an Everyone Active pool can swim wearing clothing they feel comfortable in, providing it complies with the safety guidelines. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this has on the number of young children learning to swim.”

THE owner of an Edinburgh gym is proving that personal training doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. National Fitness Awards’ finalist Jamie Kirk, who owns Diamond Gym, prides himself on offering fitness for everyone; making his one to one PT and small group training sessions accessible for people from all walks of life. He claims to be the most affordable personal trainer in the city and with a clientele which ranges from company bosses to people who are retired, he has created a place where no-one is priced out of being able to afford sessions. He explained: “I believe that looking after yourself and taking care of your health and wellbeing is vital. “Nobody deserves to miss out on the expertise of a fitness professional because of cost or time. No matter what your financial situation is I pride myself on being the most affordable personal trainer in Edinburgh. “I know I could charge £40 plus per hour like many PTs in Edinburgh but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to alienate my business to only being available to high earners. Everyone should be entitled and everyone should benefit from the help of a personal trainer.” To appeal to as many people and

budgets as possible, Jamie offers both 60 minute and 30 minute personal training sessions; drop in classes, which work out at £6.60 a class when booked in a block of 12, and a monthly standing order option of £40 which gives members access to up to six drop in classes a week. He added: “This may sound controversial, but I have said it many times and I wholeheartedly believe this and stand by it. If you are charging a fee that makes it difficult for people to afford you, you are simply sending the message that you only care about helping people who can afford you and that you don’t care about people who can’t. “Yes I have a high end but not everyone can afford that high end cost of service. However, I make sure there are other options. “This is fair and this allows everyone a chance to just get their foot in the door. Everyone deserves a chance to feel better.”



Is your head in the sand? By Leon Rudge FOR a couple of years now I have been pleading with operators to ensure their gym teams can program using the mainstream wearable technologies and the popular consumer apps, however, I’ve never actually seen this. I’ve yet to come across a gym where they say to members, “I see you’re wearing a FitBit so I’ll make sure your induction is with Leon; he is our specialist in creating programs around the FitBit, and we can make sure you get the most out of the product you’ve chosen to use.” I’ve also suggested that the facilities ensure they include messaging around wearables and apps in their marketing. FitBit has been the number one downloaded app for the past two years and again, I’ve never seen a marketing campaign. Sure, I’ve seen operators offering discounts on FitBit sales, for instance, but no real level of interaction with the product or the other apps and wearables. Last Sunday, I turned on my TV and noticed in my Sky Guide an icon for ‘Fit in 15’. Intrigued, I looked to find a fantastic series where the presenters can ensure you are in a particular heart rate zone simply by asking you to check your FitBit heart rate. I’m sure the hardcore trainers out

Leon Rudge there are going into a spin at this point about the accuracy of optical heart rate but that’s missing the point. The evolution and explosion of wearable tech and health and fitness apps is, and continues to be, the best opportunity this industry has had to grow and, if we are being honest with ourselves, our growth over the last couple of decades has been nominal. My point is that digital technology is changing the way people consume fitness. Ask yourself if your members could achieve their target goals using an app, would they be a member of your gym? Do you think you are doing enough to engage with the digital platforms

and products? Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, will get hundreds of thousands of people watching him do a 15-minute Facebook live stream at 6am. What is your gym team doing at 6am and why couldn’t you use Facebook as a free channel to market to your local area? Everything that Joe has at his disposal is available to you at a nominal cost. Amazon Alexa was one of the biggest selling products during last year’s Christmas period and Google has just released its competitor, Home. I can ask my Alexa what today’s workout is and it will take me through a seven-minute workout and help me get fit in my own home.

How is your business listing on Bing? It’s the search engine that we all forgot about, however, Bing is the search engine that powers Alexa. If I ask my Alexa to tell me what gyms are near me, I don’t get valid results because we all forgot about Bing and businesses are not promoted here. Some of the mainstream apps are even attacking us with ‘no gym, no problem’ and if you type this into YouTube you get 15.5m results. Take a moment to step back from your business and look from the outside in; we need to change as an industry and quite frankly we are pretty static. If anything, we are pretty aggressive in our response to how these digital companies will be short lived and we will be the surviving heroes. Remember, Blockbuster, Nokia and Blackberry? They didn’t think they needed to change either. You no longer need to go to a shop to shop, you no longer need a music store to find music, you no longer need to go to the store to get a movie and you no longer go to the bank to do your banking. You no longer need to go to the gym to workout. What are you doing to engage with your members, prospect where they are and bring them back into your club for the five-star service? n Leon Rudge is director – digital experience ISBU at Life Fitness.


Welcome to WorkOut Weigh In – it’s your chance to have your say and share your views on industry issues. You can email us at or you can message us on Facebook or Twitter.

This month’s top Tweets...

Picture of the month A big well done to all the gyms who held themed events for Halloween – we had some great pictures sent in. Those who got into the spirit included Warehouse Fitness on the Isle of Man who held a spooky spin class; Winners 2000 Paignton who held a charity body conditioning class, which raised over £100, and Jacks Gym in Saltash where members enjoyed a full evening of classes in Halloween fancy dress. Serendipity Ladies in Selby, pictured left, also got involved with some themed classes.

@esq2fitness: Esquared is delighted to be featured on the front page of this month’s ‪@WorkOutUK ‪#FitnessOnDemand @StudioHd8Claire: Browsing through ‪@ WorkOutUK and who do I spot in there, our good friends ‪@ZAAZEEUK ‪#sportbrandwinner

@MikeHindFitness: We have featured in the Spanish Muscle and Fitness mag this month but this little write up in the ‪@WorkOutUK has really made my day... thank you so much. @Fitcheck_‪: featuring in November’s issue of @WorkOutUK #fitness #fitcheck #raisingthestandard #magazine #article #healthy #body #sports #fitpro‬ @Fitpro_online: @ MOSSA_UK ‪#teamfitpro have a mention in ‪@ WorkOutUK all about ‪@ FitnessDayUK ‪@_ukactive. What a fantastic day, getting all ages active! @FTSFitnessTrade: Have you seen our show review in the latest issue of ‪@ WorkOutUK? Registration for 2018 is open soon! ‪#BusinessOfFitness

Editor’s Comment IT’S hard to believe this is our December issue already – how fast has this year gone?! It doesn’t seem five minutes ago that we launched the 2017 National Fitness Conference and Awards and as this issue goes to print, we are just a couple of days away from the fitness industry’s biggest end of year party, where representatives from some of the country’s best gyms will be gathering together to celebrate in their success and see our lucky winners crowned. Next issue, we will be including a round up of all the action from the awards night, including a full winners’ list, so look out for that. And if you are going to the conference or awards, please send us your pictures and feedback, as we’d love to hear what you think and see you and your team enjoying yourselves at our events. As Active IQ’s Jenny Patrickson says this month in her column on page 26, there is real value in entering awards such as the National Fitness Awards. Not only is the awards ceremony itself a great opportunity to celebrate

@Active_IQ: November issue of ‪@WorkOutUK is out! Read our MD’s editorial, the success of ‪@ FitnessDayUK and more. @OliviaGTaylor: Really enjoyed trying out insanity at ‪@bodydesignfit! Look out for a full feature in an upcoming issue of ‪@ WorkOutUK. @ChristinaEccles: What do you predict will be the biggest fitness industry trends for 2018? Let us know and we’ll include the best comments in ‪@ WorkOutUK!

Christina Eccles the success of your business with your hard working staff and members, being involved is also a really useful evaluation process. Winning is undoubtedly the icing on the cake, but often being shortlisted is enough to generate valuable publicity, boost team morale and let your customers know they are part of one of the region’s – and potentially

the country’s – top gyms. Filling in the application and going through an interview process is also a great chance to take a minute to reflect on the success of your business, the lessons learned and your future plans. Overall, there’s a lot to be gained from putting yourself forward and we’re already excited to see what entries we get for next year, as well as featuring success stories from this year’s finalists and winners over the next few issues of Workout. So what are you waiting for? While you’re planning your gym’s Christmas events, New Year campaigns and plans for 2018, why not think about how you can get recognition for all your hard work next year. Whether it’s an industry event like the National Fitness Awards, a local business awards ceremony, a customer service award or a fantastic achievement by one of your staff or members, shout about it and let people know! As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. And you really have got nothing to lose.

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas from all of the team at Workout and the National Fitness Awards. We’ll look forward to hearing more of your news and views in the New Year, so please keep us updated with all the latest from your clubs.

This month’s hot topic: How do you think technology in the fitness industry will grow in 2018? What will be the biggest trends and hottest products to look out for in this area over the next few months?

Send your answers to or contact us via Twitter or Facebook. We’ll print the best responses next issue.

Follow us on Twitter @WorkOutUK or contact us on Facebook at


A West Yorkshire functional training gym is proving that even the most intense fitness classes can be accessible for everyone. Workout reporter Olivia Taylor tried one out.

Body DesignFit in Pontefract’s down to earth attitude attracts a variety of people to its classes.

Studio’s functional classes are accessible to everyone BODY Design Fit in Pontefract is a ‘pay to play’ exercise studio; attracting a variety of people to its functional style classes every day because of the club’s down to earth attitude. Owner Simon Longstaff said: “We’re not about egos here. If you walk in with an attitude and your headphones in, this isn’t the gym for you. We’re a family here.” The club provides members with classes like Insanity, TRX, BoxFit and other functional training style sessions, proving that functional fitness is accessible for everyone. Simon added: “For me when it comes to a class like Insanity, the boundaries are within the instructor’s imagination. “The whole ethos behind Body Design Fit is not discriminating people on terms of ability. That’s why we scale each move down to make it

easy for everyone.” Each session has a minimum of 30 people taking part, so Simon provides each class with at least two instructors to ensure all participants are using the correct technique He added: “We always have

multiple instructors in each class because that’s what we’re about, giving people a good experience. “We don’t try to make this a family environment, it just kind of happens. “We’re a pay and train facility so it’s great for us that our members keep

coming back, not because they feel obliged to because of a contract, but because they want to.” Because each class is tailored for all fitness abilities, a variety of people take part, with mothers, daughters, fathers and sons all exercising along side each other in the same class. Simon added: “Life isn’t like it used to be, not all families sit and eat their tea together every night now. We like to get families in to spend that training time together.” Following success with its classes, the club is now looking to expand its offering, exploring different technological options to enhance group exercise even further. Simon added: “We already use the MYZONE stuff and it all goes down really well. “There’s a lot of technology out there we can utilise – my imagination is running wild.”

Fun session was one of the hardest I’d ever done WHEN I walked into Body Design FIT’s functional training studio to take part in an Insanity class, I was quietly confident... until one of the members looked at me in shock and said ‘wow, good luck!’ When I arrived at the club I was greeted by Simon, the owner and I instantly felt welcome. Body Design Fit has a real family feel to it – and I was immediately welcomed into that family. When I started the class I thought it was fairly simple, I did break a sweat, but I thought I was doing quite well and was keeping up with the instructor and the rest of the class. I was pleased with how I was performing, until I realised that was just the warm up, then I wasn’t so pleased with myself. That’s when the real work began.

Insanity is an interval training style exercise programme made up of intense, three-minute workouts that are paired with 30 second rest periods. It might sound simple on paper, but in reality it was one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever taken part in.

After the warm up, the energetic instructor, Harley plunged the class into another set of exercises made up of squats, sit ups and star jumps. But she ensured each exercise could be scaled down for class participants like me, who were finding Insanity exceedingly difficult. For one of the exercises, Harley

opened the gym doors and made the class run around the block! I was very tired but the rest of the class built me up so I didn’t stop – I carried on going. The thing that stuck out to me was the fact that I was having fun. I had sweat running down my face, my legs felt like they were going to fall off and I wanted to vomit, but I was having a laugh. There were at least 60 people in the class and at first I was confused why these people wanted to continually put themselves through the agony of Insanity, but when I finished the class I knew why they did it. Because it was fun! Insanity at Body Design Fit isn’t just hardcore interval training, it’s a group of friends empowering each other to do well.



And the winner is... By Jenny Patrickson

CHRISTMAS is coming so that can only mean one thing…. it’s awards season for the leisure industry, with three key events in quick succession; namely the Association of Colleges WorldSkills UK, the Active Training Awards and the National Fitness Awards. Within the space of a fortnight, we will gather to celebrate the great and good within our industry. Whether you are a sponsor, finalist, winner or simply among the guests, these events are far more than a glitzy gala dinner…. To steal the sentiment of Pierre de Coubertin – founder of the International Olympic Committee – it’s not about winning, it’s about taking part. From the moment you decide to enter an award, through the process of gathering your evidence and proof of your suitability to be considered, to the coming together of the team to assemble your entry and the sense of achievement once you’ve sent it off – all stages are valuable and affirming. And that’s before you even hear if you’ve been shortlisted. Awards stimulate communication and connection – both internally among your colleagues and externally among your customers and clients. The process of analysing your skills, achievements and abilities to present them to the judging panel is hugely

valuable: when else does a business scrutinise itself so closely or seek to measure its success? Having entered an award, the PR and marketing aspects hold great value. The association of your brand or business with an awards event and letting people know you’re taking part generates conversation and awareness. If you’re lucky enough to be shortlisted, the pride you feel and the chance you have to let people know you have been recognised as a finalist is valuable. Usually you can use a finalist’s logo

and the organisers will include you in their PR, raising your profile and giving you credibility, setting you among the industry’s elite who have also been selected for special praise. Many businesses consider industry awards as a key part of their marketing strategy and set aside budget to sponsor, enter and attend key events to experience the industry buzz, maximise the networking opportunities and enjoy the halo effect of being involved in these positive celebrations of our industry. Considering the accepted view that advertising is when you tell people how good you are and PR is when

others tell people how good you are, it’s clear that being an awards finalist or winner is one of the best PR opportunities available. A win adds credibility to your business, encourages others to look at you afresh and gives the ultimate seal of approval. It also swells pride among your workforce and clients. Savvy businesses and individuals know the awards event itself is not just a big party: they have serious networking and business building potential. Play the situation to your advantage and network with other sponsors and finalists, seek out the chance to speak to suppliers and high-profile guests and add to your contacts. Awards events inevitably attract like-minded businesses which can inspire and motivate you: but you’ll have to consciously reach out to these people and avoid the temptation to huddle with your own team. Active IQ is proud to sponsor, enter and, occasionally win industry awards. Supporting other businesses in our role of sponsor and putting ourselves through the stringent process of application and judging as an entrant have greatly enriched our company. When we win, that’s simply the ‘icing on the cake’ – the true value of industry awards lies in the process. n Jenny Patrickson is managing director of Active IQ.

Turning ambitions into reality #beginwithbetter

Active IQ is an awarding organisation recognised and regulated by Ofqual within the Active Leisure sector, designing qualifications that support clear career pathways. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service whilst providing high quality resources for our qualifications, enabling training providers and employers to offer positive learning experiences.

Find out more at:



Methodology X to be rolled out to a wider audience By Christina Eccles

CELEBRITY trainer Dan Roberts is rolling out his popular Methodology X workout to a wider audience, following success with a 28 day online programme and trial in a boutique London studio. Methodology X is an empowering body weight fitness regime aimed at women who like to train smart and hard. Initially created by Dan for the fashion models he was working with, the system utilises a mix of Pilates, athletics, mindfulness, meditation, plyometrics, yoga, boxing and dance, along with unique moves which Dan created for clients preparing for modelling shoots and catwalk shows. After receiving great feedback with initial classes at Blok Studio, Dan has now launched his instructor course to allow more people to enjoy the workout in a group exercise environment. He explained: “Blok trialled it there and it has gone really well. “The workout is good for general fitness but it’s also quite skilled based. We want people to see the functional benefits first and then the vanity benefits second. Fitness is about functioning better and making people feel more empowered.” The instructor course has been

Dan Roberts endorsed by the national body for group exercise EMD UK, with classes also accompanied by soundtracks mixed by global Ministry of Sound DJ Jon White. They can be taught everywhere from a gym studio to a park or a beach, with only minimal kit, such as gym balls and yoga mats, needed. Trialling the class at one gym for a year has also enabled Dan and the team to fine tune the concept and train up their first instructors;

creating a detailed training course, which is robust enough to give teachers the confidence to successfully deliver their sessions while being flexible enough that they can put their own stamp on them. He added: “We’re really focusing on educating our trainers and helping them, but we don’t want to micro manage. “There’s lots of information on the course, so we want them to have the confidence to deliver it anywhere.”

A Lake District hotel has appointed a kickboxing champion to join the fitness team at its newly refurbished health club. Kalum Heywood-Byatt, a former World Kickboxing Association World title holder, has been recruited as a new fitness instructor at Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa. In his role, Kalum is leading new classes in Boxfit, as well as helping to oversee a variety of sessions from spinning to Fat Burn Extreme. Kalum said: “Joining the team of instructors at the Health Club at Low Wood Bay and teaching the new Boxfit classes is a fantastic new challenge for me and I have already benefited from lots of different activities and on the job training. I hope that my tournament experiences will help me forge a career here and develop new skills.”



Experienced instructors join forces to launch Hau2 Fitness concept By Christina Eccles TWO experienced instructors have created a new class concept, which delivers the benefits of interval training without the high impact. Former owner of National Fitness Award winning Club Zest, Debra de Luen and business partner Claire Hanson have launched Hau2 Fitness, a low impact, interval tempo training (LiiTT) workout, which combines high intensity moves utilising functional, combat, balance and compound exercises, all set to the tempo of classic house music. Instructors who complete the course are qualified to teach the original class – Deep Hau2 – plus easy to follow dance class Funky Hau2. Deep Hau2 and Funky Hau2 can also be combined to create whole body workout, Hard Hau2. Debra explained: “As an instructor, teaching technique and good form is of the utmost importance to me, but in fast moving HIIT classes it can be difficult to help everyone at once. Watching people struggle to master the controlled and precise techniques required for a safe and effective HIIT session always troubled me. “For many, the well reported benefits were just never going to outweigh the inadequacy they felt

Debra de Luen and Claire Hanson. whilst attempting to tuck jump as high as others in the class, especially whilst trying to hold down their t-shirt to hide their stomach, or clutching their chest because they didn’t have the right sports bra on. “I wanted to create a workout that gave all the high intensity benefits of interval training but which removed the impact.”

With a low licence fee, a one day training course and the flexibility for teachers to choose their own music, Debra and Claire wanted to make it as cost and time effective as possible for instructors to qualify. Debra added: “This was built for instructors by instructors. We wanted to develop something that had a lot of ‘bang for its buck’, which was affordable and delivered a lot of content and support.” Sunderland-based Club Zest was the first facility to have in-house training and has just launched regular classes, following some great feedback from members who attended taster sessions. Interest from the wider industry is also already high, with the pair holding masterclasses at upcoming industry events including Fit Jam in January, as well as rolling out their first instructor training days. Debra added: “At Club Zest, members couldn’t wait. Feedback has been phenomenal. “House music appeals across all ages. And because they are having fun, they didn’t realise how hard they were working. “We want to encourage people out of their comfort zones but at the same time, leave every session with a sense of achievement.”

Studio takes indoor group exercise out on the roads A CYCLING facility in South Wales has become the only one of its kind in the area to offer group exercise sessions along with on-road training. Cycle Specific offers state of the art testing in their Athlete’s Lab, using Wattbike technology, and sessions tailored to science based performance goals or to those training for a particular type of event. These workouts replicate courses cycled by resident professional cyclist, Jack Sadler who has raced for Rapha Condor JLT and Team 3M. During the winter months, the studio houses over 200 clients who train at the studio each week. The training, within the studio

or on the road, also caters for road races, triathlons, sportives and those training for Ironman Wales. Co-founder Helen Morris said: “Cycling groups can be intimidating, but we pride ourselves on providing the most personal touch to our group exercise. We work to get the best performance out of everyone, regardless of starting points. “We take time to position people within our studio in the right place, and around the right people to drive and progress their ability. “Bikes will always be set up to their adjustments before the class and our coaches fill up water bottles for the members throughout the class.”


The instructor revolution By Emma Forward

AMERICAN sports teams vote each season for their MVP, their ‘Most Valued Player.’ The BBC gives recognition every year for local Unsung Heroes. In my view, group exercise instructors are both the MVPs and Unsung Heroes of the fitness world. Supporting a participant market of 3.86m* weekly classgoers, the predominantly self-employed group exercise instructor keeps around a third of all health club members happy and services multiple members every hour. Helping keep the nation healthy and potentially saving the NHS up to £90m* a year, they are your brand ambassadors, sales force, and income generators all in one. So, these superheroes must demand a lot in return surely? Great pay, benefits and professional development? Not exactly. Generally speaking, (we know there are some exceptions) the rate of pay for a group exercise instructor has not increased for many years (17 years in one proven example). As a self-employed professional, instructors do not get any basic rights such as sick pay or holiday pay, any investment in training and definitely no benefits. They are deemed dispensable and seriously undervalued. Consider the value to your business of a group exercise instructor training in your facility in between classes or on a day off. They interact with members, chatting and advising about their classes and others on the

Emma Forward timetable, help new classgoers, help other instructors (in the case of any injury or technical issues, for example) and even get called on at the last minute to cover a class. And yes, they will most probably buy a coffee or two. Basically, providing great customer service and positively impacting on member retention. For free, in their time off, and in many cases paying for the privilege because allowing them to use the facilities for free is deemed a benefit of employment and therefore taboo to the self-employed. So why be a group exercise instructor? The 2016 Working in Fitness survey showed us that 70 per cent of the group exercise workforce do it because they have a passion for fitness and 44 per cent because they want a job that helps people. On the flip side 45 per cent stated low income and poor conditions as a reason for leaving. Group exercise as an activity is also often seen as the poor relation to personal training or the latest piece of new kit in the gym. How many times have you heard a sales consultant proudly announcing that the prospective member gets ‘all the studio

classes for free’? How many of you can identify with a studio budget being cut to make way for a new treadmill? It’s this endemic devaluing of the very essence of group exercise from those with budgetary control that is, in my view, the main cause of these issues. Hopefully, the growing base of evidence showing the real impact of group exercise will help turn the tide. Research has shown us that 29 per cent of all current participants* were previously inactive and most recently that group exercise is better at reducing stress** than working out alone. Industry experts from FitgroupUK are currently leading the charge to put group exercise on the map and change the corporate mindsets that are holding it back. As the national governing body for group exercise, EMD UK is working hard to provide the best support possible to instructors and to lobby for and champion the needs of the workforce. Their recent event, ’The Instructor Revolution – Leaders of Many’ brought together instructors from across the country to address some of the challenges faced and provided the launch pad for future activities. The revolution is coming! * EMD UK National Survey 2016 ** University of New England 2017 n Emma Forward is the chief operating officer of EMD UK and an active group exercise instructor. For more information visit

Active IQ introduces advanced Level 4 Pilates qualification ACTIVE IQ has launched an advanced Level Four Qualification in Instructing Pilates Matwork, enabling Level Three Pilates qualified teachers to extend their skillset. The qualification has been developed in close collaboration with Body Control Pilates, who was the first training provider to deliver it, and is now available to other providers seeking to offer this advanced qualification. In order to achieve the certificate, students must gain a minimum of 18 credits through course attendance and by passing the assessments related to the three mandatory units and the special populations unit. Head of product development at Active IQ, Lee Buck, said: “We welcomed the chance to work alongside Body Control Pilates and fully support this initiative to offer a Level Four Pilates qualification to help advanced teachers differentiate themselves in the marketplace. “A Level Four certificate represents a high level of achievement within the health

and fitness industry. This new qualification will demonstrate that instructors have the advanced knowledge required to teach Pilates across a very broad spectrum of clients, including

special population groups. “As with PT qualifications, we hope to see a raised standard and greater uptake of Pilates classes and instructing as a result.”




Studio gearing up for world record attempt

Synergy Group Fitness in Livingston

Bespoke classes help members to get results By Christina Eccles A FORWARD thinking gym is using the power of group exercise to help members get results – and have fun. Synergy Group Fitness in Livingston has devised bespoke classes to introduce people to a more functional way of training; attracting members of all fitness abilities who enjoy the social side and supportive atmosphere which comes from working out in a group environment. Groups are also kept small enough that everyone gets help with form and technique from an instructor, helping them to progress with their training in a safe way. Owner Ross Paterson said: “Despite having people all around you, gyms can be very lonely and intimidating places. “I wanted to open a functional, group fitness gym where we created our own gym culture. One where regardless of age, sex, background or experience, you were instantly welcomed and made to feel part of the family by everyone at Synergy. “One where there were no judgements or stereotypes. One where you can lift weights and flip tyres, and succeed and fail, without

that ever being a bad thing. “We’ve created a community of real people who work hard for their results and a team of trainers working equally hard to create a group fitness experience which is a fun, effective and positive one.” From Olympic lifting and calisthenics to functional training and HIIT, no-two sessions at Synergy are the same, keeping members engaged and enjoying the variety that comes with trying different kinds of workouts. Ross added: “We perform the best when we are in a positive and social environment, and group fitness, when done right, can be the perfect platform for bringing the best out in people. “We’ve developed a selection of bespoke group fitness programmes where every session is led by an experienced personal trainer and is designed and personalised specifically around those attending each class. “For us, group fitness is about people coming together to have fun and get fit, in an environment which is positive, effective, supported and engaging.”

Hatton launches Fight Camp HATTON Boxing has launched its new group exercise class, Fight Camp. Developed by Hatton Boxing founder Jon Eade and his team of master trainers, Fight Camp is an intensive programme designed to ensure progression and development of technical boxing skills alongside overall fitness levels. The sessions also teach participants the basics of pad work. Fight Camp is delivered by Hatton Academy-qualified instructors, who undergo two days’ training to learn boxing techniques, drills and session plans to equip them with the knowledge they need to deliver Fight Camp safely and effectively. Gyms can utilise Hatton Academy’s network of qualified instructors to deliver Fight Camp or enrol their

own staff on the two-day course. Jon said: “British boxing is booming on the pro stage and we’re seeing national interest transferred into the gym, where members are recognising the benefits of boxing for fitness and instructors are incorporating boxing skills and drills into sessions to meet the demands of their members. “We’re working with an increasing number of gyms who want to improve the quality of their boxing for fitness classes and we’ve developed Fight Camp to provide instructors with a structured training programme that caters for complete beginners right up to advanced level boxers, combining boxing and fitness into sessions that are both safe and effective.”

A BOUTIQUE fitness studio in Richmond is gearing up for an indoor cycling Guinness World Record attempt. Digme Fitness has teamed up with charity partner Dallaglio RugbyWorks to attempt the world record for the most participants in a static cycling relay in 24 hours. Each of the 50 bikes in the stadiumstyle studio will be sold on an hourly basis, with all proceeds going to the charity. Bikes can be booked for a single hour, multiple hours or the entire event, with options to block book sections of the studio for teams, groups of friends or colleagues to add some team-building to festive celebrations. Former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, a keen cyclist and Digme regular, will launch

the event, which takes place on December 15. In conjunction with the ride, there will be a raffle and an auction on the Saturday afternoon to supplement the fundraising and there will also be satellite events in the Oxford and City studios so the wider Digme Fitness community can get involved. It is hoped 500 participants will take part. Founder of Digme Fitness Caoimhe Bamber said: “The Digme Fitness community is wonderfully collaborative and supportive, and we know they will rise to this challenge and give generously with their time and money to a great cause.” The partnership will continue to develop as Digme Fitness supports the 2018 edition of the Dallaglio RugbyWorks Cycle Slam, with training sessions and fundraising events.

£1m redevelopment of centre gets underway OPERATOR tmactive is investing more than £1m in Larkfield Leisure Centre to meet growing customer demand for group exercise. The leisure trust, which operates the centre on behalf of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, has appointed Alliance Leisure Services as development partners for the project, which will create three new studio spaces and extend the existing gym by an extra 1,200 sqft. An extension to the front of the centre will house two new group exercise studios, complete with sprung floors, LED mixed lighting and inspirational graphics, allowing tmactive to provide a significantly increased and varied group exercise class programme. The project will also create the centre’s first dedicated group cycling studio, while the extended gym will feature new top of the range cardiovascular and resistance equipment from Technogym, a functional training rig more than

twice the size of the current rig, and an expanded freeweights offer. Chief executive of tmactive Martin Guyton said: “The number of people coming to Larkfield Leisure Centre for group exercise classes is growing year on year and we are delighted to be able to respond to this demand with some fantastic new studios. “The redevelopment will allow us to accommodate even more users from the local community with an even wider range of group exercise classes. “The extension to the gym also reflects patterns of use with increased investment in freeweights, functional training and digital connectivity to ensure our customers gain maximum benefit from working out at Larkfield.” Work has now started with the two new group exercise studios scheduled to open in early April 2018. The gym extension and Spin Studio are due to complete in May 2018 and the centre will remain operational during the works.


NEW FOR 2018

As another year draws to a close, experts in the fitness industry have been predicting their biggest trends to watch out for in 2018. Workout rounds up some of the hottest topics you need to be thinking about next year.

Experts reveal their hottest trends to watch out for ... Rosie Cook

WE’RE expecting sustainability to become an increasingly prominent trend in the fitness and leisure industry in 2018. Our swimwear is made from recycled and regenerated consumer waste materials and we have found our sustainable story has really resonated with customers. Consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious and ethical and environmental factors are becoming much more powerful in consumer buying decisions. As a result, smart athleisure and fitness brands are responding to this accordingly with ranges of apparel that uphold a consumer’s values. What’s more, regenerated fabrics often have additional valuable qualities and so they make for better performance fabrics, too – for example our swimwear fabrics are twice as durable against chlorine, sun cream and oils. Fast fashion often has significant environmental and social implications. It’s no wonder as awareness of the industry rises, that smart and conscious consumers are demanding higher standards from their suppliers and brands and we’re delighted to be at the forefront of that. Rosie Cook, CEO and founder, Deakin and Blue Steve Marshall

TECHNOLOGY is a trend to stay and expand upon next year. Technology will continue to be a leading driver in fitness advancements. Through instantaneous data collection, and the ease of sharing data, training will become more tailored to work to the numbers. And now with widespread wearable

technology and more apps than ever before, users can now cover their fitness data both inside, and outside of the gym, allowing for a total, databased fitness overview. The idea of ‘zoning’ boutique areas within studios has been on the rise all year in an effort to innovate the more traditional layouts, but I believe we’ll see an even greater shift toward smaller, more boutique style zones within the larger gyms. Internationally, we’ve noticed that the use of fitness and gym networks to provide health care assessments is growing, and set to come to the forefront in 2018. In these cases, if people have health insurance, they can see a reduction in their premiums by proving their exercise. In short, the emphasis will really be put on the data driven individual this year for all aspects of training and fitness. Steve Marshall, UK sales manager, Wattbike

Stuart Stokes EXERCISE on Referral is fast becoming the go-to public health service. At ReferAll, our customers have experienced continued increases in both uptake and completion rates from 2016 to 2017. Contrast EOR with smoking cessation programmes and the data presents an interesting comparison. Uptake for EOR from 2015-2016 was 58 per cent, with 52 per cent completing programmes, while smoking cessation has seen a decrease in these numbers for the fifth consecutive year. In fact, the number actually stopping smoking decreased to just 16 per cent for 20152016. We have more than 180,000 individuals referred to public health programmes through our system alone, but it is some of our customers’ individual success stories that really showcase EOR’s benefits. Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure is a prime example. In 2015/2016 the trust saw an increase in the number of participants accessing and completing EOR and in continued ongoing activity. In addition, the number of participants showing weight loss

and reduction of initial BMI and waist circumference six months after completing its EOR programme stands at an impressive 88 per cent. Vision Redbridge has reduced the use of clinical and GP services by its participants by over 65 per cent in this 12 month period. If I were investing in a service I know where my money would go! Stuart Stokes, commercial director, ReferAll John Halls

WE expect to see the continued growth of boutique studios offering users specialist expertise and programmes including station-based training, wellness, combat and HIIT. Larger operators and leisure centres will look to adopt similar offerings within their facilities. Successful US models continue to appear in the UK including group training based on each participant working at single stations that comprises multiple functional training options. Rather than taking a separate bench, dumbbells, bands, balls etc and setting up single stations, a smarter way to do this is tuck all the necessary kit into a purpose built multi-functional bench with integrated storage.  We are ahead of the curve here and are soon to launch an accessiblypriced unit to allow facilities to implement boutique-style training zones in their gyms and studios.  When the session is done, the kit simply tucks back into the bench for neat, safe storage. We will also see a move towards ‘free range training’ as customers seek a really individual experience each time they visit the gym. The ‘battery farming’ set-up of a gym with rows of machines and stacks of weights that offer a ‘lookalike’ set up are losing favour.  One size doesn’t fit all and gyms should be set out to allow users to roam freely, pick up what they want to do, have the space to do it and be supported by gym staff who can show them new ways to work.  Clubs who offer distinct workout zones – such as rigs, boxing/MMA rings and sprint tracks – will entice customers away from ‘the norm’ to enjoy new experiences. John Halls, managing director, Physical Company

James Foley IN order to engage whole communities, local authorities are recognising the need to provide a leisure service which reflects the diversity of the community. This trend will continue in 2018 and we will see more examples of developments which step away from the traditional pool, gym, sports hall model and redefine pubic leisure provision through the creation of inspiring, multi-activity hubs which ignite the imagination and encourage participation from all walks of life. Our recent development of Salt Ayre Leisure Centre in Lancaster has seen a £5m investment result in a participation increase of 72 per cent. Here, as part of a wider development, a largely unused sports hall was developed into an adventure play area and X Heights climbing wall. Since it opened in September, the area has welcomed over 10,000 visits and attracted more than 200 new junior members. This is a shining example of how a community will embrace an active lifestyle if the right facilities and services are available. As a sector, we need to work hard to evidence the far-reaching health, social and economic outcomes that investment in leisure provision can deliver to encourage more councils to invest in this area. James Foley, commercial director, Alliance Leisure

Brian Firth OVER the next 12 to 18 months, we’re going to see a consolidation and integration of technology.

NEW FOR 2018 As a result, solutions will emerge that open up things such as personal programming, health monitoring and even lower cost fitness and health solutions. We will see the ‘Millennial Approach’ become the norm, where individuals build their complete fitness programme from several specialist providers. For example, they may belong to a budget gym where they use the strength equipment, attend a boutique yoga studio with friends and row with a team. They may also pay as they go for other activities, depending on their mood. At the core of this, lifestyle changes will lead to the rise of the ‘Super Boutique’ with several specialist offerings in one luxury location, budget gyms will continue to grow as the largest providers of equipment-based gyms. Lastly, we’ll see a rise in operators offering age friendly services such as walking and cycling groups but we may also see new ways for operators to engage with the grey champion using technology to guide individuals to appropriate activities in the wider community. Brian Firth, CEO of FitQuest

OVER the past few years, there has been a huge uptake in water-based fitness like triathlon, stand-up paddle boarding, water polo or even poolbased yoga. However, most pools are underused and offer little innovation which means many operators are in fact missing a major opportunity to capitalise on this trend. Over the next year though we believe that with the right programming that is all set to change. To do this effectively, operators need to expand their view of the audience for water-based activity. It’s not always the triathlete. It might be a regular member who just wants to lose half a stone. They aren’t likely even considering the pool as a part of their fitness programme. The biggest opportunity is to partner with a specialist and educate PTs and members to view the water as a credible way to meet their fitness goals. For instance, at Swimming Nature we are working on Water Fitness product that is sold like PT for the pool. The benefits of this model are immense because it allows an operator to be a real innovator. It is also a great development opportunity and differentiator for PTs and it offers members something different which aids in engagement and retention. Michael Clark, business development director at Swimming Nature Duncan Jefford

This longer, less intense session will cater for people new to exercise, those recovering from an injury and the growing number of consumers for whom taking their body to the absolute limit holds no appeal. Group training will also see some changes as more creative forms of group work are developed by ingenious trainers making the most of innovative equipment. We will see plenty of functional, strength and conditioning moves incorporated utilising rigs and associated equipment and circuit based team work to keep motivation levels high. Technology will continue to influence and enhance exercise. From live streaming of fitness classes over apps and platforms like YouTube to fitness trackers being integrated into group exercise. Allowing class members to track their own progress such as calories burned, average heart rate, distance travelled in indoor cycling sessions will boost motivation and some friendly competition among those who seek to compete with others as well as themselves. Wearables will continue to develop in terms of sophistication, integrating apps and sharing meaningful, wellpresented data for users. Needless to say, instructors and PTs will need to keep up with the technology and enhanced training and upskilling programmes will come into play to support them. Jenny Patrickson, managing director, Active IQ Mark Holland

Paul Swainson IT’S generally accepted that people don’t want ‘exercise’ – they want fitness results – be that more muscle, less fat, improved well-being or athletic performance. The ‘end goal’ has long been the focus. However, we’re seeing another shift towards people wanting an ‘exercise experience’ – something good enough to entice them in for 30-60 minutes, three to four times a week. 2018 will see operators add more entertainment with exercise as savvy coaches and gyms realise they’re not just competing with other PTs and facilities; they’re competing with whatever else people would rather be doing in their leisure time. The rise in trampoline parks, nightclub-themed classes, dedicated obstacle race training venues and Ninja Warrior-style gyms shows that people want to be entertained.  2018 will see more creative concepts to attract people into doing something they love: fun will be as much a motivation as fitness.” Paul Swainson, head of Future Fit School of PT

THE traditional local authority leisure centre is a thing of the past as standards of facilities, programming and service continue to be raised. Leisure operators such as ourselves are continually looking for ways to improve the offering, further closing the gap between private and public sector standards.  Everyone Active is striving not just to match but in many cases, surpass the private sector, and as we introduce more spas, hot yoga studios and climbing walls into our centres we are perfectly placed to do so. With the local authority leisure market able to offer a greater range of services and facilities, at a lower price point, the private sector will feel the increasing competition in 2018. Duncan Jefford, regional director for Everyone Active

Michael Clark

Jenny Patrickson WE will see a shift towards LIIT (Low Intensity Interval Training) – the younger, gentler sibling of HIIT.

EMS Training is a trend that is gaining popularity globally due to its targeted and time saving benefits. 2018 will see a huge increase in this type of workout in the UK with the opening of more dedicated, boutique studios like Bodystreet. Conventional training – such as a session at the gym or an exercise class – requires about 60-90 minutes, at least twice a week to deliver visible results and only appeals to a small percentage of the population. In an era where we are all increasingly busy and time truly is of the essence, the UK population are constantly seeking ways to fit exercise into their daily routine with as little fuss as possible. An EMS workout promises visible results with just one weekly 20 minute session, with associated benefits including increased muscle tone and strength, fat reduction and injury prevention. With its quick and comparatively pain-free results, EMS also appeals to those who live sedentary lifestyles with little or no interest in exercising, as well as those who feel intimidated in a conventional gym environment. As our fast pace of life continues and obesity remains an increasingly concerning problem, EMS training offers a real solution for many people, regardless of their age or fitness levels. Mark Holland, managing director of Bodystreet UK


Chris Phillips RAISING the profile of the benefits of physical activity must surely be our number one goal for 2018? We in the industry know it to be, unquestionably, the answer to a host of physical, mental, medical and societal issues. Without doubt, physical activity delivers genuine health improvements and a sense of wellbeing unlike anything else we do. As the Government, and the general populous, slowly catches on to the magic pill we offer, the leisure sector is being put under ever greater pressure. We are expected to deliver exceptional service, to an ever wider range of the population, often without additional funding. In line with this, the tracking and evaluation of the services we deliver and the people we deliver it to is coming under increased scrutiny. Data capture lies at the essence of this evaluation. Data is the key to understanding the activity habits of the population, or lack thereof. It allows us to interpret and monitor trends, which in turn allows us to deliver the best and most appropriate services, which will drive increased activity participation, better health and wellbeing, and several other socieconomic benefits. Only when we can truly trust the data we are collecting, fully understand it and how it relates to the leisure industry, can we then qualify our submissions for increased funding and truly represent the social value our sector is delivering to the communities we serve. Chris Phillips, head of sales at 4Global’s the DataHub

Ariana Alexander-Sefre THE UK is slowly catching up with what the US’s Soulcycle and Les Mills pioneered a few years ago – engaging multiple senses through immersive fitness experiences. However, what constitutes as ‘immersive’ is having a re-haul with the development of new AI and virtual reality technology, that simulate very real experiences. Urban Yoga in Sydney began creating ‘underwater’ Yoga classes with projections that take guests into modern-day escapism at its best.

NEW FOR 2018

36 These fitness experiences transcend beyond the purely physical and at times create real emotional responses, where the use of art and powerful music taps right into our happy hormones. Leaving an immersive class, I.e. Sweat and Sound’s Yoga and Meditation with Live Orchestra, guests have reported feeling an emotional release and mental clarity more effective than some less-active mindful practices. With the constant pressures of modern city life, new ways to escape normality will always capture people’s interest. Experiencing the unknown is what fuels the world of social media (everyone loves to be the one in the know) and ultimately helps inspire guests to adopt a new mindset. Powerful, positive art and music has been heavily linked to helping ease anxiety and depression, two of the most prevalent mental health issues in most cities. As we are discovering new ways of combining the arts with fitness, the overall benefit is undeniable... and also a whole lot of fun! Ariana Alexander-Sefre, founder at Sweat and Sound

Kerstin Obenauer AS more embrace the concept of a totally connected environment, driven by the consumer’s demand for fingertip access to work out data, the next 12 months will focus on how collated data can be better utilised to influence positive health outcomes. Digitalisation, technological developments and a willingness of suppliers to work cohesively has made it possible to collate and utilise intelligence from multiple sources. Moving forwards, this data will be fed back to users in easily digestible formats to motivate and inspire, driving performance and health improvements. We will also start to see this data being used more intelligently to create programmes and to monitor outcomes which positively influence specific health conditions, such as diabetes. Data will enable the sector to evidence the true impact physical activity has on health, creating stronger links between the fitness and health care sectors. Retention remains a huge challenge but through evidencing the health value of regular physical activity we will help users to better understand the worth of their investment. This will result in higher engagement and a longer-term commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle. The next 12 months will see the sector embrace the data opportunity to drive better engagement and improve the overall health of the nation. Kerstin Obenauer, country director, eGym

Craig Cocking DIGITAL is quickly shaping the sector and we’re all using it as consumers, however, in the industry we continue to see a number of organisations that don’t have a digital strategy. Having one in place and a plan of what it means for your customer journey mapping will lead you to the most effective and efficient solution for your members and your organisation. With new developments, I expect to see more in the form of digital and software advances, rather than any significant hardware developments. The leisure industry is in danger of being left behind in the whole technology / digital race, as we’re now seeing people from outside our traditional industry creating experiences which are driving activity and adherence, and unless we embrace the open nature of this digital revolution we will lose the ability to engage with our end customer. Our focus, not surprisingly, will be to keep up and hopefully overtake the digital innovation we are currently seeing from wearable tech and mobile apps. Craig Cocking, sales director, Life Fitness UK

Simon Rodman THE leisure industry’s use of video will continue to grow during 2018; with low cost operators, in particular, already leading the way. Gyms from all parts of the sector can really benefit from using video to showcase their facilities, promote the knowledge and expertise within their team or generate interest in an event they are holding. It’s also a time effective way to introduce new members to pieces of kit or deliver online inductions, and for suppliers, using video can help to promote the latest products to potential buyers or shout about their services. Tech savvy operators are already using video for walkthroughs, testimonials and online fitness tips, so if you haven’t thought about how it can benefit your business, now is the time to start. If you haven’t used video before, a good starting point is to seek the expertise of a professional who can talk you through the benefits, advise on themes and content and help you get the best value for money. A polished, corporate video like the ones we have done for industry clients, such as Lifestyle Fitness and Harlands, can really sell your club or service to a wider audience. Once you become more confident, you can then think about additional content and creating some of your own – perhaps uploading video on social media – which can give potential customers another insight into your offering and the people behind your brand. In an increasingly digital world, the popularity of video is only going to grow over the next few years – don’t get left behind. Simon Rodman, video producer, Script Media

Dave Wright AS consumers demand results in the quickest amount of time, credible data collection through wearable technology continues to grow. The smart phone and the cloud continues to be able to distribute that data instantaneously and without delay, helping coaches and personal trainers to better analyse their clients to provide actionable training tips – even from a remote location. Consumers themselves are now more eager to collect their performance statistics as they benefit from the gamification and motivation that many of the wearable device platforms offer. Dave Wright, CEO/Creator, MYZONE

Paul Ferris 2018 will see the popularity of HIIT continue to rise. However, we’ll start to see HIIT becoming more accessible to a wider demographic looking for

personalised training options. Operators will be looking for ways to make high intensity appealing to a broader membership base – the focus will be on high intensity, but low impact. That’s why Speedflex is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this trend. Another growing trend we’ll see explode in 2018 is the use of technology to keep members more connected and engaged. Including tracking systems in studios will allow people to get instant feedback on how they are progressing and will be a key component in keeping them committed to a long-term fitness programme. Far too often members end up leaving a gym because they aren’t seeing the results. The use of technology to keep members connected allows us to increase retention and provides a social element as participants can engage in friendly competition while viewing each other’s stats. This trend will only become more prevalent as time goes on. Paul Ferris, CEO, Speedflex

Julien Lavault I PREDICT that in 2018, people will start to get tired of competition and comparing themselves to others. They’ll start to reject fancy fitness tracking devices, because they’ll realise that only those who are the strongest and most fit find them gratifying. Competition frustrates a lot of people, especially when it comes to physical results. So it’s time to find a more positive approach and go from competition to co-operation… not for people to compare themselves to others, but rather to support each other. In 2018, I think the fitness industry will go back to basics and what really matters – which is using exercise to achieve personal fulfilment. We’re starting to see signs of people wanting to go back to simpler living, such as eating a healthy, wholesome diet, minus dietary supplements, and moving their bodies on an everyday basis just because it makes them feel better. It’s time we start listening to those who want to get fit and healthy, and foster mutual encouragement among the fitness community to grow each other’s confidence. My belief is that the market will see a shift from the pursuit of better health to simply, the pursuit of happiness. And health is the key to happiness. Julien Lavault, founder, FizzUp


Guernsey spa wins again THE Health Club and Spa at St Pierre Park Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort in Guernsey has scooped the award for Best Spa in the Channel Islands for the second year in a row at the Good Spa Guide Awards. Re-launched last summer following a £2.5m investment, the Health Club and Spa at St Pierre Park is owned by Hand Picked Hotels and facilities include five treatment rooms, indoor swimming pool and outdoor terrace with spa

pool. It was commended for its creative use of space, outstanding facilities, range of treatments and customer service. Group health club and spa manager at Hand Picked Hotels Lesley Bacon said: “I am thrilled for the spa team and all at St Pierre Park who have worked tirelessly since re-launch to offer a truly premium spa experience for our loyal spa members and hotel guests.”


Pool opens after £1.4m refurb THE swimming pools at Yate Active Lifestyle Centre have reopened following a £1.4m major refurbishment. Funded by South Gloucestershire Council, the project saw the pool closed for essential maintenance and refurbishment, which included replacing pipework and installing environmentally friendly new equipment. An official opening took place with partners, staff and contractors involved in the project gathering to watch South Gloucestershire councillor Ian Blair cut the ribbon. Chief executive of Circadian

Trust, which manages and operates the centre on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, Mark Crutchley said: “We’re committed to offering the best facilities to our customers and this work will ensure that we continue to do so. When people come to use the pool, I think that they’ll realise that it was well worth the wait. “As a not for profit organisation, we can continue to reinvest money back into Active Lifestyle Centres across South Gloucestershire, which means responding to demand and offering our customers a top-class lifestyle experience.”

ClubWise shares best practice alongside Prime Minister at Parliamentary Review CLUBWISE appears alongside Prime Minister Theresa May in the 2016/17 Parliamentary Review. Established by former minister The Rt Hon David Curry in 2010, The Parliamentary Review’s September release is now a key fixture in the political calendar. ClubWise features alongside the Prime Minister and a small number of outstanding organisations in a document that looks back on the year in industry and Westminster. The main aim of the review is to showcase best practice as a learning tool to the public and private sector. Across all policy areas, The Parliamentary Review is sent to over half a million leading policymakers. The articles in the Review act as both a blueprint for success and a template for reform. The Prime Minister commented that ‘this year’s Parliamentary Review

follows a significant year in British politics’ and this is reflected in the articles from leading journalists and best-practice representatives alike. The PM’s former cabinet colleague, Sir Eric Pickles, who was recently appointed chairman of the Review, said: “It has never been more important for government to hear the views of business and the public sector in a constructive forum. It is also a vital time to share best practice and progress.” The Parliamentary Review’s director Daniel Yossman concurred, saying: “ClubWise and other hardworking organisations from across the country have come together to make this

year’s Review possible. “Sharing knowledge and insight with both peers and government is essential work and I am delighted that this year’s Review will reach every corner of the British economy. “It’s always a real joy to hear from policymakers who tell me that something they have read in the Review has had an effect on their thinking. “It is my belief that innovation is contagious, if only it is given the platform to spread. It is the Review’s purpose to provide this platform and I am confident we are fulfilling it.” ClubWise managing director Julian Matthews attended the launch event in September. He added: “I was both surprised and honoured to be selected for entry in this year’s Parliamentary Review. “As a business, we feel it’s important not only for customers ,but for the

fitness industry in general, that we continue to innovate and look ahead at technologies that can simplify the means of how clubs operate and assist in creating more stimulating member experiences. “By doing this, clubs will be more readily able to compete and sustain membership growth. “Ultimately, this will contribute to a strong industry while also aiding the general health of the public. To have the opportunity to showcase our contribution to this crucial industry, was a real honour.” An e-copy of The Parliamentary Review can be viewed here: https://www. editions/technology/businesstechnology-software For more information visit http://www. call 01844 348300 or email



Jo appointed sales director at Stages JO Headington has been appointed UK sales director of Stages Indoor Cycling UK to continue to grow the business in the UK market and manage the sales Jo Headington team. Jo’s career in the fitness industry spans more than 18 years and includes roles with major UK fitness brands, including Places for People and Nuffield. Her most recent role was UK head of regional sales at Precor, where she joined in 2006. She said: “The customers that I have worked with over the past 11 years have been amazing and it has been great to play a part in what makes a gym and fitness facility attract and engage with customers to stay active. “Stages has a fantastic brand, a great team and they’re a really focused company. They are the best in the world right now in power measurement and indoor bikes. “As an active indoor and outdoor cyclist, this is a really neat fit for me and I am extremely excited to be joining the team.”

Getting fit for investment By Matthew Januszek NO matter how focused club owners might be on the here and now, most successful entrepreneurs always have one eye on the longer term. An issue on the minds of owners eager for growth is how they can attract investment into the business. It was interesting to read recently on about a trend that every club operator in the UK should be aware of: the fact that the boutique sector is increasingly attracting capital from private equity investors. The recent purchase of a stake in Club Pilates (operating 253 clubs across the USA) by TPG Growth is a good example. As Bloomberg reported, the boutique studio sector is flourishing. It’s the fastest growing part of the US health club industry and, as IHRSA reported last year, studios serve more consumers and attract more income than any other fitness industry segment. The boutique sector may be relatively new in the UK but, if the US experience is anything to go by, it’s one that can look forward to a bright future. It’s also a future likely to involve considerable investment. A big driver for this success is the way that operators like Barry’s Bootcamp have tapped into the huge spending power of millennials and Generation Z. Investors like the fact that the boutique sector serves these markets. They also like the sector’s premium pricing. Clubs whose members are

Matthew Januszek happy to pay prices well over the average understandably come onto an investor’s radar. Being the best of the best This could all be good news for ambitious studio owners who have a vision for growth, but who need some investment to make it happen. However, operating in the boutique space alone isn’t a guarantee that investment will be obtainable. As boutique gyms continue to spring up in greater numbers, competition in the sector will intensify.

Investors are well aware of this and will be especially interested in a club’s potential for growth in the face of competition. A particular challenge for operators is the shift away from membership subscriptions to pay-as-you-train models. Investors tend to like businesses that have ‘sticky’ customers; the ones who come back again and again. When looking at a club that has moved away from the subscription model, they will want to see evidence of loyalty and customer retention. The best boutiques create this loyalty and retention by excelling across all areas of the business and the customer experience. From the use of technology through to amazing classes and the quality of post-exercise smoothies, attention to detail is everything. They also build strong brands, and that is often just as important as far as investors are concerned. For anyone already operating in the boutique space, or thinking about where to take their business next, the opportunity is very clear. From what I see working with clubs across the US fitness scene, my view is that UK operators and entrepreneurs should get ahead of the curve. Planning now for where the market is heading is essential in order to get in a strong position for attracting investment. n Matthew Januszek is customer solutions director at Escape Fitness.


New book focuses on the secrets to ageing healthily and happily "An inspiring insight into the healthy living secrets of the older generation.” Christina Eccles Workout magazine

TO ORDER YOUR BOOK CALL 01226 734695 or order online at:

RESPECTED fitness industry veteran Ken Heathcote has released a new book, which focuses on the secrets to ageing healthily and happily. What does a fitness class that is now in its 86th year have to do with retaining your mental capacity well into your 90s? Why do these people eat what they want; ignore the experts on the Mediterranean diet and the five-a-day and drink tea to hydrate themselves? Why do they value the company of others above the exercises they do in a class? All of these questions – and much more – are answered in We’re Going to Live Forever. The book contains stories from inspirational older people, interviewed by Ken, who has observed their habits when it comes

to movement, exercise and nutrition, as well as the social benefits they gain from being physically active. Telling the story of everything from an exercise class which is enjoyed by people well into their 70s, 80s and 90s to Ken’s own Lake Windermere open water swim at the age of 82, the book reveals their secrets to eternal youth. Ken said: “We’re Going to Live Forever was inspired by the people of this book and a television programme of the 1970s called Fame. “It would seem almost incidental that the best brains in the world agree with what these people do and how they do it and why it works. “I, on the other hand, just watched it unfold, joined in the fun and started a journey of a lifetime.” For more information or to purchase a copy of Ken’s book visit


Getting GDPR ready: what you need to know – part two ... LAST month we looked in detail at what the new general Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) actually is. With May 25 2018 getting ever closer, this month we focus on the changes that are most relevant to leisure providers and how best to prepare for them. Getting personal The GDPR gives the definition of ‘Personal data’ a makeover. It will be amended to include all online identifiers, like IP addresses and cookies. Also changing is the meaning of some personal data. Raoul Lumb, data protection associate at law firm SM&B, explains: “Special category, sensitive personal data refers to information relating to, for example, someone’s sexual orientation or their political or religious beliefs. This category has been amended to now include genetic and biometric data.” This means that leisure providers collecting customer data on, for example, athletic performance or a members’ health markers will now need to count this as ‘personal data’ and treat it accordingly. In both cases, what really matters

is making sure valid consent has been obtained to collect such data. If a member specifically asks for their health data to be monitored, this will most likely be permissible, but any wholesale monitoring, especially if it’s carried out without members’ knowledge, will need to be addressed. Lastly, take extra care with any data about under 13s – always class it as more sensitive than an adult’s. If you’re signing up a child, ensure you now get a parent’s signature, even if they’re a teen. A new definition of ‘consent’ Marketeers beware, change is coming – and it will mean enhancing consent rules and privacy policies. Current laws ensure people have ‘opted in’ to receiving marketing emails; the GDPR is considerably more hard line. “Until now lots of leisure providers have hidden consent terms and conditions in the small print, or collected it as part of a mandatory T&Cs tick-box required to sign up or join,” explains Utku Toprakseven, director of sports intelligence at 4 global, which manages the DataHub, a data sharing community for sport

and leisure sector organisations. “This will no longer be permitted. The intention to collect data for marketing purposes must be clearly and precisely stated, not just implied.” Consent information will need to be clearly separate, with its own specific, time-bound wording. Operators will also need to keep records proving how consent has been given, why they’re collecting personal data and how they intend to use it, as well as giving a clear option to withdraw consent at any time. Going forwards leisure providers must also always name third parties who may have access to the data – just saying ‘selected third parties’ won’t be enough. Wakey wakey What does all this mean for sleeper members? The GDPR’s Privacy by Default clause states everyone is now duty bound to ensure only personal data necessary for ‘specific identified purposes’ is processed. “Data can take so many different routes through an organisation, so it’s going to be vital to clean-up membership databases, thoroughly

assess what data has been collected, how long it has been stored for, whether it’s up-to-date and ultimately if it needs to be kept,” says Utku. “The GDPR makes it vital to plan where data will add most value to your business upfront, as this will inform what is collected at the point of capture.” This may well might mean waking sleeping members by making contact and asking them to re-consent to their details being stored. n Next month we’ll round off our GDPR series by looking at readers’ questions. Got a question? If you have any specific queries about the GDPR, changes you need to make or how it may affect your business, contact Workout at and we’ll endeavour to answer in part three. The Information Commissioner’s Office is a good place to start for further information: https:// data-protection-reform/ and the DataHub has created a White paper to guide operators: https://www. pdf




Top 10 fitness trends for 2018 By Dave Wright

such as Insanity are enticing more people to get more active with less equipment every day.

EACH year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) produces the results of an industry survey to establish the top 20 trends for the year ahead. The survey helps the global health and fitness industry to make critical programming and business decisions to prepare for the future. The top 10 fitness trends for 2018 are: 1. High intensity interval training (HIIT) HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Popular due to the maximisation of intensity in a short period of time. 2. Group training With the influx of boutique group training offerings, there is no surprise that group training remains high on this list. Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals through intentionally designed group exercise classes. Group programmes are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals in their classes achieve fitness goals. 3. Wearable technology For the third year in a row, wearable technology remains in the top three trends for the year ahead. That technology does not seem to

5. Strength training Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise programme for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.) 6. Educated and experienced fitness professionals Rightly so that our people and their knowledge still remain in the top 10 trends. Given the large number of organisations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programmes that are accredited by CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity). Dave Wright go away and it includes heart rate monitors, fitness trackers, smart watches, and GPS tracking devices. 4. Body weight training Body weight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness. Scalable deployment methods

7. Yoga Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilises a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others. 8. Personal training More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that

they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentials for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them. 9. Fitness programmes for older adults As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active. 10. Functional fitness This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programmes for older adults are closely related. n Dave Wright is the CEO of CFM (Creative Fitness Marketing), CEO and creator of MYZONE, owner of the Feelgood Fitness and Voyage Fitness Club Chains, a former Board Director of UK Active and founder of the IOU. With offices in Chicago (US), Nottingham (UK) and Melbourne (Oz), Dave’s companies have worked directly with over 5,000 health clubs across 30 different countries, encouraging people to be more and stay more physically active. He may be contacted on



The rise of Direct Debit in the leisure industry UNLIKE the majority of industries which operate using one payment model, leisure facilities encompass them all. Some customers come in on a PAYG basis; others commit to annual memberships and many set themselves up on a standing order. But as we know, the success of a leisure organisation hinges on member retention. Fitness professionals are cottoning on pretty quickly that Direct Debit is the most sustainable way to tick this box. A step in the right direction Take, for instance, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles (IHL). A charitable enterprise, IHL operates 11 leisure centres and various other fitness and culture facilities across Wigan, Selby and Cannock Chase. In 2008, their leisure customer base was split between upfront annual memberships and pay as you go, with only a small chunk on Direct Debit. They decided to utilise Direct Debit to its full capacity and start encouraging more members to sign up this way. Like many other organisations, Direct Debit drew them in thanks to its ability to reduce payment failures, its ease of fee flexibility and cost spreading for members and its capacity to cut down on the amount of admin time for processing. Around this time they partnered with leading leisure Direct Debit Collection bureau DFC. This meant that they could migrate members across to Direct Debit and leave DFC to manage the payment process for them, an even easier time and money saving tactic.

Positive growth The popularity of gyms is at an alltime high. This year, we’ve seen industry memberships up 5.1 per cent on the previous period, reaching nearly 10m across the UK, according to statistics from the Leisure Database industry. Whilst a number of factors, think budget gyms and the rise of social media, have contributed to this, the convenience and ease of accessibility of Direct Debit has certainly played a part in the volume of gymgoers choosing a membership over pay-asyou-go. Since choosing to push Direct Debits and working with DFC, IHL have increased the number of Direct Debit memberships from just 300 to now over 22,000. Members have been easily encouraged to sign up thanks to DFC’s handy online joining portal, FastDD, and internally IHL have been able to focus their attention on the parts of the business that truly matter to them. They are now looking to fully integrate FastDD with their current CRM for greater in-house cohesion. Head of business development at IHL Chris Derbyshire said: “DFC has been fantastic at managing our collections. “Transitions have been seamless and they’ve offered solutions at every turn. “They’re always taking into consideration our needs and are willing to go above and beyond. As a result, we’ve been able to increase our memberships.” For more information visit

Life Fitness kits out Ipswich health club LIFE Fitness has equipped a new fitness suite at Riverhills Health Club and Boutique Spa in Ipswich, Suffolk, following a major refurbishment. Formerly known as Clarice House, the family-owned, independent business rebranded in March 2016 following the sale of the Clarice House sites in Bury St Edmonds and Colchester to the Bannatyne Group. To strengthen the luxury retreat’s premium offering, the Health and Fitness Club at Riverhills has benefited from an investment worth up to £300,000. The new-look gym offers an extensive range of Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment, providing the latest in technology and long-lasting durability. Cardio stations include Life Fitness Elevation Series Treadmills, Cross Trainers, Upright Lifecyle Bikes, FlexStrider Variable-Stride Trainers, PowerMill Climbers with Discover SE Consoles, Life Fitness Row GX Trainers and IC6

Group Exercise Bikes. For effective and engaging strength training sessions, members can enjoy the Insignia Series Strength Range and Hammer Strength HD Elite racks. To meet growing demand for small group training, a Life Fitness SYNRGY360XS has been installed as a gym centrepiece, creating a fun, inviting and meaningful workout experience for exercisers of all fitness levels. Managing director of Riverhills Health Club and Boutique Spa Stuart King said: “The Riverhills Health and Fitness Club has undergone an impressive transformation this autumn and the investment was worth making for our valued members. “We selected Life Fitness for the quality of their equipment and the advanced digital solutions they could provide, which perfectly complements our premium and professional offering.”

Gym Angels to the rescue

Indigo Fitness is UK distributor for the Revvll Pro Rope Trainer THE Revvll PRO is an alternative to stand-alone and expensive rope training simulation machines – yet offers more versatility and fun. The Revvll Pro is great for beginning or advanced use within all facility types. Ideal for functional training areas, personal trainers, circuit integration and group classes. It features: n Variable resistance – select from six levels of intensity with easy one-touch adjustment dial. n Mobility – mount the Revvll high to low and virtually anything, anywhere.

n Polyurethane endless cord – the ergonomically designed surface is soft to the touch, easy to grip, and nonporous for easy cleaning. n Quality construction – the Revvll Pro is designed and manufactured in Germany. The electromagnetic resistance provides years of durability and reliability. Make your training space stand out from the crowd – get the Revvll Pro Rope Trainer today. For more information e-mail info@ or visit https://

A NEW consultancy company that provides solutions for gym operators – new or existing – has recently been launched. For operators of large or small gym businesses, Gym Angels will be looking to offer help, advice and solutions to improve business performance. Co-director Andy Tee said: “We are thrilled to be launching this new business. “There are so many new and existing operators in our industry that would benefit from a fresh pair of eyes looking at their business. “In a market that is continually growing and changing, with more and more public and private operators setting up it’s key to have all the right processes and systems in place. “Areas such as sales and marketing, software solutions, gym design and layout, class and timetable planning, gym equipment and maintenance, not to mention health and safety cannot afford to be overlooked.” A senior consultant for Gym Angels, Sarah Palmer, comes from a fitness and management background with

a huge amount of knowledge and experience in the leisure industry. Sarah began her career as a fitness professional. She has in recent years been successfully managing gyms at club level and regional level – turning struggling gyms around, increasing membership bases and improving retention. Sarah added: “Being a part of Gym Angels is very exciting for me. “It’s going to be very satisfying helping a range of operators, from those that have just set up their own gym to existing operators who want to push their business to the next level.” For an informal chat with Gym Angels contact




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Workout UK December 2017  

The UK's No 1 Fitness Industry Magazine

Workout UK December 2017  

The UK's No 1 Fitness Industry Magazine