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ukactive and Sense launch partnership THE ukactive Research Institute has announced a three-year research project with national disability charity, Sense, which seeks to better understand the needs of parents and families of disabled children. Parents of disabled children are encouraged to feed back on the challenges they face when it comes to accessing sport and physical activity, by completing an online survey by March 15. Matthew Wade, senior researcher at ukactive, said: “Our partnership with Sense marks an exciting chapter in our work to understand the inequalities facing families with disabled children who want to be more active. “ukactive’s members want to create a level playing for all children, with opportunities for every child to be more active, no matter where they live or what disabilities they have. “Through our research with Sense, we aim to produce evidence that will help make physical activities more accessible for every family and child.” The project will explore the barriers and motivations of the families, and also look at access to provision, the challenges of
families being active together, the impact on siblings with no disability, and if there are differences between community and education provision. Following the initial research, Sense will establish an activity programme for disabled children and evaluate the impact of it on the child and the wider family. Sense is a charity dedicated to ensuring that no one – no matter how complex their disabilities – is isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential. Its research with children and young people with complex disabilities shares parallels with the work of the ukactive Research Institute. The project will be divided into two phases, beginning with a consultation to understand the needs of families with disabled children in order to inform the development and delivery of sport and physical activity sessions, family days and other initiatives. The second phase will see ukactive’s Research Institute undertake the measurement and evaluation of interventions that Sense provides for families with children who have complex disabilities and non-disabled siblings.
Nominations to open for 11th annual accolades
OPERATORS wanting to put themselves forward for industry recognition have been urged to enter the 2020 National Fitness Awards. Nominations for this year’s event open on February 10. The awards, organised by Script Events in partnership with Workout and headline sponsor ServiceSport, recognise excellence and achievement in all corners of the fitness industry. And with more than 20 categories up for grabs, there’s something to suit every type of gym and trainer. New for this year is the return of the Gym Team category. National Fitness Awards’ director Judith Halkerston said: “We’re extremely proud that the National Fitness Awards are for every club – our awards are free to enter and our judging A new campaign is seeking to address and put an end to the criteria means that it’s not taboo surrounding eating disorders within the fitness industry. down to the size of your workEDout was launched in 2019 as a collaborative effort facility but how you run it!” between Carly Wilkinson, a fitness instructor, and Leah Newton, Trophies will be handed who had previously battled an eating disorder before attending out at a glittering ceremony Carly’s class during her recovery. The aim of their campaign is on Friday November 27 to open up the conversation about eating disorders within the at the Athena in Leicester fitness industry, and empower fitness professionals to educate themselves in recognising, approaching and referring clients with where the industry’s best will gather for a fun filled eating disorders. Full story on page 14. night.
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£4m Alderley Park Sports Complex opens to public A NEW gym and sports complex in Cheshire has recently been unveiled and is welcoming its first wave of visitors. Designed by Pozzoni Architecture on behalf of property developers Bruntwood SciTech, the £4m Alderley Park Sports Complex boasts a range of modern indoor and outdoor facilities, within the landscaped grounds of Alderley Park near Alderley Edge. Martin Bransby, director at Pozzoni Architecture, said: “Alderley Park’s Sports Complex really breaks the mould of the traditional leisure centre. We were given a unique, offpiste brief and a stunning site to work with. From the outset, we tried to bring the feeling of being outdoors into our designs for the building. “We’ve used traditional and sustainable materials in some
innovative ways, to give a fairly simplistic building a dramatic appearance and genuine curb appeal. We’re extremely satisfied with the end results and hope the public get fantastic use out of the centre.” Operated by local charitable trust Everybody Sport and Recreation, the 2,000sq.m leisure complex opened its doors to the public at the end of 2019. The modern building features a four-court sports hall, a fitness suite, a group exercise studio along with a dedicated group cycle studio. The group cycling studio has been designed with no external glazing, enabling it to host immersive events such as the Les Mills ‘The Trip’ experience. Outside, three floodlit tennis courts and a five-a-side 3G football pitch are served by their own changing facilities, complete with dedicated
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changing rooms for match officials. To reflect its natural and landscaped surroundings, Pozzoni’s designs for Alderley Park Leisure Centre include complementary and reconstituted materials wherever possible. The vertical fins – made from recycled plastics and wood – mimic the surrounding woodland, while a Gabion wall employs stone from across the site. Work started on site at Alderley Park in December 2018 and was completed in October 2019. Construction work was carried out by GMI Construction Group PLC.
Smethwick Swimming Centre has launched a new and unique fitness class called Aquaboards for a different and fun work out experience. The Black Country facility – run by Sandwell Leisure Trust, which manages services in partnership with and on behalf of Sandwell Council – has invested in state-of-the-art BECO BeBoards, which are designed for optimal sensorimotor training. The BEboard is a floating fitness mat for training on the water surface, which helps with better control of the muscles and their interaction. Water also has a calming effect and training on the BEboard provides that perfect balance between exercise and relaxation – ideal for body and mind. There are two levels of Aquaboard class – Stability and the more advanced High Intensity Interval Training. Advertising
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Fitness education firm becomes an employee-owned business A COMPANY which provides fitness education to personal trainers and sports coaches nationwide is one of the first in the industry to become an employee-owned business. Strength and Conditioning Education has undergone a seven figure buy-out, supported by a loan from Mercia. The deal gives the staff control of the business while allowing founder and CEO Brendan Chaplin to retain a minority share. The business has now joins the ranks of organisations like John Lewis and Waitrose by becoming an Employee Ownership Trust. Strength and Conditioning Education delivers education and development for fitness professionals from 20 locations across the UK. The Leeds-based business, which specialises in strength and conditioning, trains around 1,000 students each year, ranging from independent coaches to staff from gym chains such as David Lloyd. Brendan, who has worked with clients including UFC fighters, Huddersfield Giants, British Tennis and England Golf, set up the firm in 2011 and was instrumental in deciding to convert to employee ownership. He said: “We are very much a people business. Our staff, led by
Brendan Chaplin with Chris Pestell of Mercia and Anne Haworth and Ashley Suter of RSM. managing director Paul Dorkings and congratulate Brendan and the team. operations director Dave Christophi, Employee ownership is becoming are at the heart of our success and in an increasingly popular option recent years they have been playing for businesses, particularly those an increasing role in driving the looking to engage and reward staff, business forward. and can be a genuine alternative to a “I wanted to empower them further management buy-out. and allow them to benefit directly “We want other business owners to from its success.” be aware that funding is available to The deal was supported by a loan support those going down this route.” from Mercia’s EV SME Loans fund. Martin Cooper, Anna Haworth, Chris Pestell, investment director Ashley Suter and Helen Wood of RSM with Mercia, added: “We would like to advised Brendan on the deal.
City’s baths set to open after refurb
THE City Baths, Newcastle, reopens its doors to the public shortly following a four-year-long restoration effort after the building was successfully saved from closure. The £7.5million project, launched in 2016, has seen new life breathed into the Grade II building, with facilities sensitively restored and many original features retained. Phase one of the project welcomes the reopening of the venue’s swimming pool and introduction of a new state-of-theart fitness suite with studios, with phase two – the introduction of the renovated Turkish baths and luxury spa--set to launch soon after. First opened in 1928, the venue is one of only 11 Victorian Turkish baths in the country. The City Baths was originally closed in 2013 as part of £100million budget cuts by Newcastle City Council, until a campaign by the group Reopen Newcastle Turkish Baths & City Pool successfully applied to have the baths listed as an asset of community value in 2014. Two years later, sports and leisure management specialist Fusion Lifestyle Ltd was successful in its bid and granted a lease for the site, with plans approved to renovate the building and restore the baths.
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Top accolade for operator’s CEO TOTAL Fitness CEO Sophie Lawler bagged the top award at the annual National Business Women’s Awards. A year after taking the helm of the Northern-based mid-market health club operator, Sophie scooped the Business Woman of the Year (Large) at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London. The awards look to celebrate female excellence in industries up and down the country and in particular aim to champion those who promote gender parity within their field and organisation. Sophie has been recognised by the judges as a truly standout individual for leading a people-powered business transformation of Total Fitness which, in the space of a single year, has reversed the health club’s fortunes. Following a decade-long decline, Total Fitness’ has seen sustained organic revenue and membership growth under her leadership. Customer satisfaction scores are up by an average of 28 per cent across the brand’s 17 health clubs.
The judges were also impressed with Sophie’s approach to leadership, championing transparency, fairness and empowerment at all levels of business. She said: “I’m really chuffed to be recognised in a non-industry, cross sector award like this, and that what we’re achieving at Total Fitness is recognised as championing women in business. “I’ve never seen gender (or diversity) as an obstacle; I believe ability, authenticity and a growth mindset is all anyone needs to succeed. “While I represent Total Fitness this award absolutely represents the achievement of an entire team; as a CEO you’re only ever as strong as those leaders you build around you – and without our team I wouldn’t be where I am today.” This is the latest in a string of business developments for the leading health club chain, following its acquisition of Pro-Fit Personal Training in November, in a move to put the fitness offering back into the heart of the business.
Technogym named official supplier to Tokyo Olympics TECHNOGYM has been named as the official and exclusive supplier of fitness equipment and digital technologies for the athletes’ preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Games will be the eight for Technogym after Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018. Nerio Alessandri, president and founder of Technogym, said: “We are very proud of being chosen for the eighth time as the official supplier of the Olympic Games. “We work every day to create the most innovative products and digital technologies to support athletes all over the world in reaching their goals. “This important achievement represents a victory not only for Technogym but for the entire Madein-Italy system.” In Tokyo, Technogym will equip 30 training centres for the athletes to train prior to and during the Olympic Games. The main centres will be the Olympic and Paralympic Village. Other training centres will be
located at additional competition venues with a wide range of equipment, specifically designed to meet the athletic preparation needs of the different disciplines. A total number of approximately 1,200 pieces of equipment will be made available to the 15.000 athletes – between the Olympics and Paralympics, coming from more than 200 different countries and performing in 33 different disciplines. Moreover, Technogym will provide a team of professional athletic trainers to support the athletes as well as all related services (gym layout, installation and technical service). Tokyo 2020 athletes will have the possibility to train on a selection of innovative products covering all training areas such as cardio, strength and functional training. All Technogym equipment will be fully integrated with the Mywellness cloud, Technogym’s digital platform enabling athletes to stay connected to their own personal training programme directly on the equipment itself and via their mobile devices.
Company awarded leisure contract for East Herts EVERYONE Active has been awarded a leisure contract with East Herts Council for a further 15 years. The new agreement commenced on January 1 and means that Everyone Active will continue to manage Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, Hartham Leisure Centre and Ward Freman Pool. For the next five years it will also operate Leventhorpe Pool and Gym and Fanshawe Pool and Gym. The council is also investing £33m to improve the facilities at Grange Paddocks, Hartham and Ward Freman. These projects aim to support the Council’s vision for leisure across East Herts by providing facilities available to the whole community and contributing fully to the health and wellbeing objectives of the Council. Eric Buckmaster, executive member for wellbeing, said: “We are looking forward to continuing to work with
Everyone Active throughout the new contract. “Our pools and gyms offer excellent facilities for everyone in East Herts and we are committed to seeing more people getting active to help improve their health and wellbeing.” Everyone Active is currently the second largest leisure operator in the country, managing 198 sites in partnership with 61 local authorities. Duncan Jefford, regional director at Everyone Active, added: “We are delighted to be extending our work with East Herts District Council. The leisure centres are pivotal in providing a wide range of facilities to the community and engaging people from all backgrounds in exercise. “The new contract includes significant investments that will help to create improved opportunities for people to be active. I am delighted that we have been chosen to support these visions.”
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Quest and the RD-Dash analyse what makes great team-work TAKING Sport England’s quality assurance mark, Quest, online makes it easier for operators to analyse their performance in key areas, lending insight to business planning. Accessing Quest’s assessment data through the online portal, operators can benchmark their performance UK-wide and identify ways to bolster their efforts to stand out. Hosted by DataHub, the RD-Dash was developed by Right Directions, which manages Quest. In each issue of Workout in 2020, we’ll dig into data held by the platform, drawing out learnings on one theme. This month, we put ‘Team and Skills Development’ in the spotlight.
“They have access to resources that help them to provide a good service. When under scrutiny by our mystery visitors, they performed duties to a high standard. “On the other hand, our mystery visitors saw that staff don’t always work as a team and are sometimes not managed as well as they could be. And, assessors found that while mandatory training is generally in place, additional developmental CPD is not high on management’s agendas. “Facilities can see this as an opportunity. Setting goals to do better in these areas could be an important part of their strategy for the year ahead.”
Facilities score well overall In the latest Annual Quest Review, ‘Team and Skills Development’ was the highest scoring facilities core module, ranked ‘Very Good’ overall. This encouraging trend can be explored further by using the RD-Dash to uncover detail on the areas in which facilities excelled and aspects that could be improved. Caroline Constantine, managing director of Right Directions and Quest’s operations director, said: “It’s great to see the industry performing well in the ‘Team and Skills Development’, module, especially considering how difficult it is recruiting. “However, there are always opportunities to do better and capitalising on these can drive improve efficiency and effectiveness.”
What does best practise look like? In Quest’s ‘Team and Skills Development’ module, best practise is defined in a number of ways. Facilities should demonstrate they have a clear collective purpose and their shared vision and values should be regularly communicated to staff and stakeholders. There should be strong organisational and governance structures and plans for training and skills development for departments and individuals. Succession mapping should be evident. Procedures, policies and standards should be well communicated internally and externally and there should be enough trained staff to deliver a quality service to customers. Successful team and skills development relies upon communicating with, and motivating, staff at all levels. Encouraging individuals to grow into new responsibilities not only enhances their progression, it also works towards achieving organisational goals. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional and knowledgeable staff One of the strengths identified by Quest’s Review was the professionalism of staff as they carry out their duties. Nearly half (46 per cent) of all facilities mystery visited were ranked as ‘excellent’, 26 per cent were ‘very good’ and 18 per cent were ‘good’.
Facilities were found to be investing in resources that supported staff to perform well, demonstrating knowledge, professionalism and a friendly manner. The allocation of resources was scored ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ for 82 per cent of facilities. Team-work and training could be better Areas for facilities to improve include working as a team and delivering effective training.
In Quest’s Review, for staff working as a team, 20 per cent were ranked ‘satisfactory’ or lower. In terms of developing training that makes a positive difference, seven per cent were deemed ‘satisfactory’, while two per cent were ‘unsatisfactory’. Always striving for excellence Caroline added: “It’s clear that staff have a good awareness of processes, procedures and legislation relevant to their roles.
Mumpreneur wins £10,000 support package for business MUMPRENEUR Gemma Dobson, founder of online fitness for mums business The Mummy Maintenance Project, has won a £10,000 business support package. The prize was awarded after Gemma successfully pitched her business idea over two rounds at a Dragoness Den competition in Cheltenham, run by the Women’s Business Club. Speaking after receiving the news of the award, Gemma said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won this support. “It has been a huge confidence boost and validation that my business is going in the right direction.” The support package includes a full business analysis, a sales mastery programme, coaching and development support, and a luxury brand photography session among other things. Gemma said: “While the value of
this package is £10,000 it’s actually going to be invaluable to my business. I can’t wait to get started.” Gemma set up the business following her own experience of motherhood. As an avid Ironman Triathlete, she found it difficult to both prioritise
her newborn and still have time for her fitness. She knew that other women would be in a similar situation, and sought to offer a solution to the issue. She added: “As a mummy myself I understand the pressures and stresses and how difficult it can be to
find time for yourself. “I am also really passionate about helping women to workout from the comfort of their own home, reducing the barriers to exercise and helping them to regain their body confidence. “Winning the Dragoness Den is an important and valuable business milestone and I’m looking forward to pushing the business forward to help more women take those first steps into getting fit and healthy.” The business already has members lined up for the classes, which cover cardio, strength, tone and pregnancy exercise. Classes are unique, with members logging in through their smartphone, laptop or smart TV. The classes also offer an interactive experience with the instructor because they allow them to motivate attendees, correct their techniques and adapt exercises to suit differing abilities.
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Scheme to reduce sugar is a sweet success A NATIONAL leisure operator has exceeded the ambitious target it set as part of a commitment to reduce sugar in its centres. In September 2017, Everyone Active pledged to remove three tonnes of sugar from its food and beverage offering over the coming three years – the biggest commitment of its kind made by a leisure operator. Since then, it has been working with suppliers to make significant sugar reductions, resulting in its initial target being drastically exceeded. In just two years, it has removed more than six tonnes of sugar from its cafes and vending products. This has been achieved by replacing high-sugar products with low-sugar alternatives in all Everyone Active’s centres, and introducing a core kids range of no-added-sugar or sugarfree products. It has also introduced a ‘traffic light’ system to drive customers towards healthier options by grading products in line with their sugar content. Group food and beverage manager, Andy Coupé, said: “Making our café and vending offer healthier has been a priority for us for a long time. “We believe any organisation that offers food options to the community has an obligation to provide healthier alternatives and help people to understand the small changes they can make that have a big impact on their overall health and wellbeing. “Our vending planograms have been a particularly effective way of supporting people to make healthier decisions without eliminating their
choices. We have reviewed the placement of products across all our vending machines to ensure drinks that are high in caffeine and sugar feature less prominently, and the ‘traffic light’ system makes it simple for customers to understand their options.” Working in partnership with suppliers Britvic and Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Everyone Active has removed more than 4.5 tonnes of sugar from its in-centre drinks range. 80 per cent of these products are now sugar-free or low-sugar, 17 per cent are specialist sports drinks
and the remaining three per cent maintain customers’ choice to select sugary alternatives. LRS has reduced sugar levels in all its products to under 5g per 100ml, and in 2019 the sugar content in Britvic drinks reduced by more than 1.2 tonnes, down a further 38 per cent from the previous year. In partnership with Nestle, Everyone Active has also ensured all chocolate bars meet the Government standard of under 250 calories. Nestle is also planning further 30 per cent sugar reductions across a number of its products.
1.5 tonnes of sugar have also been removed from the operator’s cake range in partnership with supplier Fulfil UK. The chain has elected to stock the Honest Bakery selection – a range of lower-calorie snacks that offer reductions in sugar, fat, and salt among other nutritionals. While certain confectionary remains an option in Everyone Active’s cafés, much of this has also been replaced with sugar-free snacks, popcorn and lighter options. As well as making its food and beverage offer healthier, these reductions are also supporting the operator’s participating local authority partners in their quest to become Sugar Smart. Sugar Smart is a nation-wide initiative led by Sustain that aims to inspire a large-scale change in people’s eating habits and improve the nation’s health. Organisations can pledge to become Sugar Smart, which is what a number of the councils Everyone Active works with have done. Andy added: “Our involvement in the Sugar Smart campaign is all about giving people a choice and helping them to make healthier decisions. “Leisure centres play a huge part in educating people about the importance of healthy lifestyles, including the role of both physical activity and a good diet. “We will continue to work closely with our suppliers and Government agencies to ensure we lead the way in sugar reduction across the industry.”
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Operator honours an industry hero with a ‘passion for helping people’
Pool reopens after monthlong project
LIFE Leisure’s annual employee awards were charged with emotion this year, with the greatest honour of the evening going to much-loved colleague Martin Harriman, who passed away in May. Martin had worked at Life Leisure for 23 years. The dad-of-four started his career in the leisure industry as a lifeguard, steadily working his way up to becoming group operations director at Stockport’s Life Leisure with responsibilities spanning the organisation’s network of 13 North West sites. He was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of his dedication to the business, unwavering support of colleagues, and passion for helping people in the communities he served. His award was presented to his wife Michelle by his close colleagues Kate Egdell, group finance director, and Michaela Pennington, group operations director, who also shared a short film about Martin’s impact on the business and his colleagues – as well as his quirky sense of humour. CEO Malcolm McPhail said: “Martin was instrumental in the development of programmes, working practises and internal innovations that have resulted in many industry awards over the last decade. “On top of that, he was a truly inspiring and much-loved colleague, so it was fitting to present him with
CUSTOMERS made a splash at Kingswood Active Lifestyle Centre as both of the swimming pools reopened following a month-long £35,000 refurbishment project. Essential maintenance work to reline, re-grout and refresh the pools started in early December, with the facilities springing back into action early in the new year. The refurbishment project is part of an ongoing commitment from Circadian Trust, which reinvests its profits back into local Active Lifestyle Centres. Martyn Hinam, centre manager at Kingswood Active Lifestyle Centre, said: “As a not-for-profit organisation, we continue to reinvest money back into centres across South Gloucestershire so that we can offer the best possible facilities to our customers. “Our pools are extremely popular, and we feel privileged to have loyal members and learn to swim customers who regularly use them to keep fit, have fun and learn new skills. We hope they enjoy our improved pool facilities for many years to come.” The organisation has recently overseen redevelopment projects in Bradley Stoke and Longwell Green, with extensive work to refurbish the gym in Yate and establish a new conference centre in Thornbury.
Martin Harriman the evening’s highest honour.” Life Leisure hosts the annual event to celebrate the dedication and passion of staff across all its facilities in Stockport and Cumbria. Other winners on the night included the team at Cheadle Gym, who were awarded the Special Recognition Award for their quick thinking and resilience when there was a medical emergency at the gym. Grand Central was named Centre of the Year, and Hannah Lago, who is a receptionist at Grand Central, was named the PB (Personal Best) Champion of the Year for her ongoing dedication to the role and to
customers. Aidan Murphy and Sasha Moore shared the Sentinel of the Year award for their upstanding service and commitment to their roles within the company and Life Leisure customers. Hannah Ahmad and Jacob Kennerly both won the Alwin Thompson Award, and Andy Brooks and Ellen McDowall shared the David Hopkins Award, which are presented in honour of two former Life Leisure chairs and respected Stockport businessmen. Team of the year was awarded to the emergency swimming task team who went above and beyond to ensure swimming lessons and sessions could continue following the unforeseen closure of two swimming pools at two centres. Five further winners were chosen due to their individual approaches to the centre’s five WATCH principles – Winner, Authentic, Together, Caring and Happy, which staff are encouraged to follow. They were awarded to Kath Kinsley Jones, Alastair Dixon, Sarah Potter, Leigh Appleton and Kelly Hadfield respectively. Malcolm added: “This whole night was a fantastic success. It was emotional, but it was also full of joy as we celebrated our phenomenal team and showed all our staff how valued and important they are to us and our success as a business.”
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A new campaign is seeking to address and put an end to the taboo surrounding eating disorders within the fitness industry. Charlotte Rodgers found out more.
Campaign aims to end taboo surrounding eating disorders workEDout was launched in 2019 as a collaborative effort between Carly Wilkinson, a fitness instructor, and Leah Newton, who had previously battled an eating disorder before attending Carly’s class during her recovery. “Having suffered from an eating disorder for over five years, Leah had never known a positive relationship with exercise,” Carly said. “She considered returning to it in the early stages of recovery, however she was terrified of it triggering her eating disorder and she had no idea of where to begin, or who to talk to.” The two are not professional eating disorder experts; rather, their campaign was launched based on their experience navigating the blurry lines of eating disorders and fitness. Carly’s class was Leah’s first return to exercise, where she says found herself at ease, supported and “free from judgement within a safe environment.” The experience made her keen to explore other activities, but she felt she could only do so if she disclosed the history of her eating disorder to Carly in order to ensure there was someone on board who knew of her struggles so she could explore this avenue, safe in the knowledge that someone was looking out for her along the way. The aim of their campaign is to open up the conversation about eating disorders within the fitness industry, and empower fitness professionals to educate themselves in recognising, approaching and referring clients with eating disorders. “We always advocate fitness professionals remain within the remits of their qualification,” added Carly. “This means you can act as a confidant or trusted expert to a certain extent, but if an eating disorder presents itself, it’s important to be able to signpost a client to the medical professional (their doctor) or organisations such as Beat Eating Disorders Charity (BEAT) or Anorexia Bulimia Care charity (ABC).” The duo believe that the taboo stems from the fear of saying the wrong thing. “People are worried about potentially offending clients...and the consequences of speaking out,” said Leah. “All of these worries mean it can sometimes feel easier to say nothing at all.” Both acknowledge that it can be tough to recognise signs of an eating disorder, as different
Carly Wilkinson and Leah Newton. people may show signs of different eating disorders very differently. Leah added: “Very basic indicators to be sensitive towards are clients training for unusually extended periods of time, several times a day (particularly if they’re trying to hide this behaviour) or at an unsustainable intensity. “Clients setting goals of weight loss which seem extreme, or showing a pre-occupation with their weight...clients showing signs of exhaustion, physical weakness or fatigue. And finally, clients training to elite levels when this is not their occupation.” So, if a fitness professional suspects a client may be suffering from an eating disorder, how should they approach the topic? “We have spoken to numerous individuals who have suffered/are suffering from eating disorders to hear their thoughts on how they’d prefer to be approached,” both explain. “Many highlighted how they would appreciate it
if fitness professionals approached them showing general concern for their wellbeing, without specifically targeting aesthetics or physical weight.” Suggested icebreakers include ‘You’ve been working out here a lot this week, is everything okay?’ or ‘I’ve noticed that you don’t appear to be enjoying this class/gym session as much as normal…is this something you want to chat through with me?’ The campaign also aims to see education on eating disorders introduced for people studying to be fitness instructors. When taking her qualification, Carly says, eating disorders “weren’t even mentioned in the module dealing with special populations.” Until this training is implemented, she advises professionals to make clients feel “safe rather than shamed,” and to reassure clients ‘I’m here to chat about any concerns to do with exercise or food’ at the end of each class. Carly said: “We are campaigning to empower fitness professionals to seek further education, and do not and cannot take responsibility for educating people on how to recognise and refer clients with eating disorders.” Fitness environments are also encouraged to adjust how they address clients. “Language is critical,” Leah said. “In a group setting, instructors need to be aware that they may have a broad range of clients, with varying needs and histories in their classes. Therefore, their language must cater for all.” Fear-based motivation (‘shredding for the wedding,’ etc.) must be stamped out, she urges, as it can be triggering and highlight the need to exercise for aesthetic reasons, rather than to feel good in your body and mind. “Additionally, fitness settings often have multiple resources available for weight loss programmes or fitness challenges,” she concluded. “However, it’s rare to see signposting for eating disorder support.” They believe there will be individuals within a fitness setting who could benefit from seeing such information, and it could form a small, potentially significant part of their step to recovery. “It shows that fitness settings not only care, but also are aware that not everyone that walks through their doors are there for the healthiest reasons.”
Dutch boutique brand partners with Myzone BOUTIQUE fitness brand SWITCH The Gym has launched its second studio in The Netherlands, just three months after the launch of its first site in Veldhoven. A third studio is due to open this quarter. Founded by Terry Labee, the new studio in Eindhoven offers a timetable of high intensity group workouts led by a coach. A personal trainer for 10 years, Terry wanted to bring the benefits of PT to those who couldn’t afford one-to-one training “SWITCH is for everyone who wants to achieve results. It offers the fun and energy of group training with the attention and expertise of personal training, but without the expense,” he said. Data and technology sit at the heart of the concept, which includes striking LED lighting and cutting-edge surround sound. Terry has worked in partnership with Myzone to develop a bespoke SWITCH app that utilises the heart rate tracking technology to motivate participants during their sessions. All members wear a Myzone belt during the
workouts which sends real time data to screens in the studio as well as the app. “Data is only useful if it is user-friendly and easily understood, which is why we have developed the SWITCH app using Myzone’s algorithms and data,” he added. “The big advantage of heart rate training at SWITCH is that it makes all members equal because everyone trains at the same intensity regardless of their level of fitness. “It means everyone can train together, whether they are beginner or advanced, young or old. “This creates a really good atmosphere in the studio and keeps members motivated during the classes.” A third studio is set to open in Tilburg, The Netherlands this quarter, with further plans for expansion in Germany and Belgium. “We’ve enjoyed working with Terry and the talented team at SWITCH to help them take the first steps in realising their huge ambition, and we look forward to a successful partnership as both of our brands grow across Europe,” said Jonathan Monks, director, EMEA at Myzone.
SWITCH The Gym founder Terry Labee.
UK FITNESS SCENE
Amor Fitness with Technogym Skill Line and Teambeats AMOR Training, a new gym and training studio in Cambridgeshire, has hit the ground running. Owner Tom East tells us why he chose to partner with Technogym to fulfil his dream of a high-end gym suitable for all.
Nothing but the best “Amor Training isn’t even a year old,” said Tom. “But we have already signed up more than 165 members, with 100 on small group training and PT packages. “We won’t be beaten on the service we offer, our care and support, or on equipment offering. I made sure everything is the best from day one.” Before opening Amor Training, Tom East was a busy PT. Fourteen years (and 17,000 sessions) of personal training gave him a great insight into local facilities. There was customer demand for a high-end, friendly with amazing equipment and services. “I wanted to create a gym that would give clients everything they need,” he added. What makes Amor Training different? Amor Training is a deceptively large facility in Hardwick, opening out into a gym floor with L shaped cardio area, Amor branded speed track, and separate small group training area for classes. The gym floor has free weights and fixed resistance machines, squat racks and lifting platform. Paired with Technogym Teambeats adds a USP to small group training classes, appealing to those with a competitive edge and providing live stats for extra motivation. “The gym has a nice flow, whether clients are in for personal training, for a class, or just to use the gym,” said Tom. “There is no waiting for equipment, no cluttered areas, and no dead spots. Everything can happen at once, and there is a great community feeling. “We often hear from members that the gym looks welcoming and inviting, even though we actually have a lot of kit in here.” The Amor Training philosophy Amor Training aims to show people
how to love training as part of a healthy lifestyle. “The industry is changing, and gym members now include older clientele who see the importance of getting healthier,” added Tom. “We specialise in helping people who want to invest in looking after themselves for a better future. “Our offering is built around four pillars: Lifestyle – a structured programme to guide the fitness journey. Personal Training – one to one training to achieve fitness goals. Nutrition – a healthy eating plan that fits user’s lifestyle. Sports Therapy – providing a helping hand to keep members at their best. “We want everyone to love coming here, to achieve this we are able to completely tailor each plan, regardless of age, ability, or goal. “And we can spend lots of time getting to know each member, delivering their training, and supporting them. That’s the best way to help people love going to the gym.” Delivering the best with Technogym The resistance and cardio equipment at Amor Training is all Technogym. Tom explains why he decided to invest in Technogym from the start. “There was never any doubt, I knew I wanted Technogym throughout my gym,” he added. “I wanted Amor Training to be high-end, offer the very best, and be capable of delivering a quality experience without compromise. “With Technogym equipment, I
have created an upmarket look so I could appeal to the type of clientele I want. “Technogym equipment looks great, and offers my members so much truly adding to the experience. “They love the variety of exercises and training techniques they can do on the Skill Line, particularly great is Skillrun as it offers so much training variety as a Treadmill, Sled, Parachute alongside biofeedback on running technique making it a great tool for personal training.” Training the next generation of personal trainers Tom has two business goals with Amor Training: to help more local people improve their health and love training, and to develop great personal trainers. “Our member growth has been fantastic in under a year,” Tom said. “But I’m also excited about how I am able to support other PTs. I was self-employed for nearly 13 years, and I understand how tough it can be. “One of my goals here is to help talented PTs become successful under the Amor brand.” One of Amor Training’s Personal Trainers started when the gym opened, but is already delivering 25 sessions a week. “I want to contribute to a more professional fitness industry,” added Tom. “Having a high-quality facility with great equipment means I can train quality PTs, help them build their business, and match the best PT to each client.”
Member feedback helps build a brand With his background in Personal Training, Tom knows the value of word of mouth for building a business. “Everything we do is about the members,” he said. “And I’m glad to say that our members are happy. They are on the right packages, getting great results, and talking about it. Member feedback is great. “They love the look and layout of the facility, and they all love the Technogym equipment. “It was 100 per cent worth putting in that extra investment. Technogym helps supports the Amor philosophy and fit with the brand; gives members lots of variety, helps with motivation, and is brilliant for beginner and rehab clients.” Member feedback includes: “Amor Training isn’t like any other gym I have come across. Their equipment is the best and most advanced I have ever used. The facility is always clean and the staff are so friendly and helpful. I can’t recommend them enough!” Jason “I’ve fallen in love with Amor Small Group Training. I love the fact it caters for all abilities, ages, fitness levels, different personal goals, you will benefit immensely!” Julie “The team are so encourage & have inspired me to persevere & achieve amazing things.” Dawn Future plans for the Amor brand Amor Training hasn’t celebrated its first birthday yet, but Tom already has clear plans for the growth of his brand. “My goal is to have three Amor clubs within five years with four PTs in each facility,” he concluded. “I can see the Amor brand working across wellness, health and even beauty – but I’ll start with the gyms.” Tom clearly knows exactly where he wants the brand to be, with the support of Technogym and the hard work of his talented team, he will have a lot to celebrate in the future.
UK FITNESS SCENE
Why all personal trainers, fitness instructors and sports coaches need specialist insurance IF you’re a personal trainer, fitness instructor or a sports coach it’s vital to protect yourself and your clients with specialist insurance. Without this cover, you could end up severely out of pocket and your professional reputation could be at risk. Here’s what this insurance is and why it’s essential: Public Liability Public Liability insurance protects your legal liability if a claim is made against you for injury to another person or property damage. Fitness instructor Charlotte knows how important it is to have Public Liability insurance. During a body pump class a participant dropped a barbell from above head height, causing significant damage to the studio floor. She said: “I just saw it as a no-brainer to protect myself with Public Liability. “That way I’m covered if anybody in my class damages equipment or injures themselves. I’m not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have my Insure4Sport policy to fall back on.” Professional Indemnity This covers you for the advice you provide to clients and participants. Let’s say, for example, a participant
suffers a sprain or broken bone as a result of an exercise you’ve instructed. Personal trainer Paul creates ‘homework workouts’ for his clients to carry out in-between sessions. Recently, Paul was rushing towards the end of a session and gave his client their ‘homework workout’ exercises without thoroughly explaining them. The client attempted the shoulder exercises and after a few weeks, they had damaged ligaments in their shoulder. He blamed Paul for giving him the incorrect advice that caused the injury and the claim ended up in court. Paul was found to have been negligent and ordered to pay the client compensation. He added: “This whole process has been a huge learning curve for me. I’m so relieved that I had the support of Insure4Sport throughout the whole process. “Having to pay the legal fees and compensation costs out of my own pocket would have left me and my business in a financial pickle, to say the least.” Personal Accident You also need Personal Accident cover in case you suffer injuries while
training or coaching. After all, these injuries could keep you out of work for long periods of time. Personal Accident covers a range of injuries, including loss of limbs, dental treatment or physiotherapy for your injuries. When you take out Personal Accident cover, you can also get optional Loss of Earnings cover. Loss of Earnings This provides financial support if you receive an injury whilst training or coaching and you are unable to work. During a one-to-one session, Eric stepped off the treadmill and went over on his ankle. This injury left him out of action, and work, for a lengthy period. Luckily, Eric had both Personal Accident and Loss of Earnings cover on his Insure4Sport policy. “I’m so thankful I paid that little bit extra when taking out my Insure4Sport policy,” he said. “Having witnessed first-hand the benefits of personal trainer insurance, I cannot believe any PT or fitness instructor would take the risk of working without it. “The Loss of Earnings weekly allowance has also saved me from getting into money troubles, by helping me keep up with my monthly bills for my rent, car etc. “The physio treatment has helped
me recover and get back to training even sooner than expected.” Employers’ Liability If you employ staff, it’s a legal requirement to have Employers’ Liability insurance. If someone you employ got injured while working for you, they could hold you responsible, whether the incident took place on or off-site. Having Employers’ Liability insurance would mean that you were protected against claims like this and your business wouldn’t be affected. Equipment Cover As you’ll know, items like dumbbells, kettlebells and training sets don’t come cheap. That’s why you need Equipment Cover if you transport equipment to and from a gym or to coaching sessions. It could be that someone broke into the boot of your locked car and stole your equipment, or your client accidentally damaged a piece of equipment during a session. With Equipment Cover, you’ll be compensated if your equipment is lost, stolen or damaged. As a Workout reader you’ll receive an exclusive 25 per cent off insurance today. Visit www.insure4sport.co.uk/WE220 or call 0800 158 5530 and quote ‘WE220’.
UK FITNESS SCENE
Physical well-being a state of mind claims leisure operator Sasha with Katie Oman from Sport Scotland.
Awards success for sports coach
A YOUTH sports coach has bagged yet another national award for her outstanding work within the Stockport community. Sasha Moore, who works for Life Leisure, runs the centre’s ParkLives and R Time projects delivering fun and engaging activity sessions for kids across Stockport. By increasing opportunities for young people and coming up with inventive ways to encourage youngsters to engage with sport, such as creating an orienteering games based on the popular computer game ‘Fortnite’, Sasha has seen more than 500 children attend her sessions. This has had a direct result on anti-social behaviour in the communities she works with, has increased activity levels, and has reduced holiday hunger and social isolation.
SANDWELL Leisure Trust has partnered with the Council whose services it manages to produce a thought provoking video about the benefits of physical exercise to our mental health and general state of well-being. Called Healthy Mind, Healthy Body it stars Sandwell Council’s director of public health Lisa McNally, who has first-hand experience of mental health issues having self harmed as a teenager. She said: “It’s something that I’ve had to deal with the whole of my life and in my younger years particularly I suffered with anxiety and self harmed quite badly. My release turned out to be running, because it helps me feel calm and the sense of achievement makes me feel good about myself too. “Exercising with others also helps enormously as it brings you out of your shell, they can offer support when you need it, plus you get to make some really good friends along the way. “Some people have a diagnosed problem and are prescribed treatment, but for many others it’s hidden away and they suffer in silence and feel so isolated. “Consequently, joining a club or gym can be really daunting, but the main thrust of my job is to help young and old take that first step towards being physically active, so that it improves their feelings of self worth
and self esteem.” The video also highlighted some of SLT’s recent and current wellbeing initiatives, like the Couch to 5K programme that saw hundreds of local people go from not being active at all to running 5,000 metres. The looks on their faces when they complete is indeed a sight to behold. Ash Rai, CEO of SLT, added: “The video has been very well received by Sandwell opinion formers and citizens alike and is part of SLT’s continued recognition of the fact that physical and mental health go hand in hand. “Hopefully it will also engage a
wider audience to take an interest in some of the fantastic activities – leisure centres, gyms, running tracks, parks and canals, etc - available in Sandwell, which is a great place to get out and about. “We think taking a proactive and positive approach is vital and we’re very grateful to Lisa for using her own experiences to highlight just how much difference the right support and backing can make.” This January also saw the launch of the eight-week Move a Mile initiative, which encourages gentle running and lots of fun doing it for people of all ability, age and physical condition.
UK FITNESS SCENE
The Modern Training Gym – are you ready for the revolution? By Jean-Claude Vacassin THE Modern Training Gym is the new paradigm in the fitness industry. Large, spacious rooms of useless equipment are being replaced with versatile open space; poorly incentivised, unmotivated staff are being replaced with experienced coaching teams; and the pay-andstay-away approach is being replaced with community-driven models and customer centric, service driven ideals. The result: people are enjoying rather than enduring their time in the gym. They’re coming more consistently, achieving better results, and sticking around for the long haul. The Modern Training Gym revolution is currently busting its way to the top of the industry, gaining momentum every day. Who are the Modern Training Gym’s clients? Looking for a service They don’t just want to be shown around the gym and left to their own devices. They want support and guidance, a community, and a proven framework to structure their fitness journey. Discerning and sophisticated They’ve done their research. They’ve looked at the alternatives – the budget, traditional, and boutique models – and have decided that the training gym is for them. They expect a lot and won’t put up with shoddy standards. They’ll react much better to a gym that has a philosophy or a strong set of core values they can buy into, and
expect excellent levels of customer service.
be attended to, giving the client a 10-star service from the moment they walk through the door through to the follow-up text message to make contact after their training session.
Results-oriented They’re looking to make a change and are willing to at least try to commit to the work it takes to get there. Willing to learn and invest They want to understand the mechanics of the training they’re doing, and why it works. They want continuity and robustness of programming that they can trust. They expect high levels of instruction and a service that’s tailored to their specific needs. Value conscious They’re willing and able to pay a premium price for fitness; but they expect a premium service in return. They can’t be bought with deals or discounts – they want the genuine article, and a fair fee. They prefer a tiered membership offering so they can choose the option that satisfies their specific needs. The Modern Training Gym offers a premium service to its members. This isn’t about simply renting out gym space or selling a product in isolation like one-to-one personal training; it’s about creating an experience that meets your members’ fitness needs, from beginning to end. Don’t forget that you’re not trying to be everything to everybody – you’re not trying to compete with everyone else in the fitness industry. In fact, if you do your job right, you’ll be meeting your narrowly defined market’s needs so well that
Jean-Claude Vacassin you’ll become a market of one, monopolising your niche. There are some key principles you’ll need to follow if you want to create a premium service. The product at the heart of this service is training people to exercise in a way that meets their needs. This product needs to be 100 per cent on point, 100 per cent of the time – a consistently outstanding experience. No amount of Facebook ads or talented salespeople will wriggle you out of this fact when push comes to shove. You need to have the technical knowhow, the skill to coach well, and the ability to teach this to your employees. You need to be able to programme correctly for your market and the individuals in it. You need to be able to design sessions that work for your members. You also need to put outstanding customer service at the top of your list of priorities. Every detail should
Setting the standard for consistent excellence The most overlooked – and one of the most crucial – aspects of providing a premium service is consistency. It’s no good making clients happy 85 per cent of the time. You need to ensure that your standards are outstanding, across the board. You need to create systems to ensure that every thing you do, every process that every member of staff executes, is completed in the same way to get continuity of results. And this isn’t just for training; the consistency rule holds from the front to the back of your business, including everything from onboarding and staff training to health and safety. Everything needs to be consistently excellent. Hand in hand with your product and your consistent excellence comes your overall approach to the business. If you want to charge a premium price for a premium service, you need to have your ducks in a row. All of the elements of your business need to fit together and purr along like welloiled clockwork. When it comes to the Modern Training Gym, it’s not just about the training itself; the entire end-to-end experience needs to be effective, polished, and focused relentlessly on the needs of the client. n Jean-Claude Vacassin is managing director of the IFBA.
One minute of weekly exercise enough to provide health benefits to elderly JUST one minute of exercise per week is enough to provide health benefits to people over the age of 65, according to new research. The study, from Abertay University in Dundee, saw groups of 65 to 75-year-olds participate in either once or twice weekly training sessions for a period of eight weeks. Each had been living a sedentary lifestyle, and had not been taking part in regular exercise. The participants took to stationary bikes, and were asked to cycle as hard as they were able to for six seconds before resting for at least a minute. They would repeat the process until they had exercised for a total of one minute. Experts found that the once weekly session was enough to produce improvements in blood glucose control and general mobility. As people age, they lose the ability to take glucose out of their blood which results in insulin resistance.
This can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, and problems with the heart and liver. Dr John Babraj, who led the study, said: “We’ve found that sprint interval training, whether it’s done once a week or twice a week, improves the ability to get glucose
out of the system. “While those participating in the twice-weekly sessions observed a greater improvement, those taking part in the single session also observed change. “Importantly, they also observed a difference in general function,
greatly improving their ability to do everyday tasks such as getting up to answer a door and walk up and down stairs. “These are major issues for older people. As we lose physical function, we start to become socially isolated, and as we become socially isolated our quality of life declines significantly.” John now wants to see sprint interval training introduced to the government’s physical-activity guidelines. “Currently, older adults are advised to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week, and that can be difficult to accrue,” he added. “Both of our groups produced greater adaptations than what we would expect the smallest worthwhile change to be. “Our results provide further support for the inclusion of this form of training in the guidelines as one of the methods to gain health benefits.”
UK FITNESS SCENE
Poor levels of cleanliness directly impact leisure operators’ bottom line, study finds ANALYSIS of Sport England’s National Benchmarking Survey has found that good levels of cleanliness in leisure facilities are absolutely critical to the customer experience, driving satisfaction and consequently revenue, be it through retention or acquisition. Data from the survey, conducted by customer insight and business intelligence firm Leisure-net Solutions, shows there is a direct correlation between cleanliness and customer satisfaction. Leisure facilities which received lower scores for cleanliness also received poorer scores for satisfaction. Centres with the highest scores for cleanliness – 4.5 out of 5 – received an overall satisfaction score of 4.6 out of 5. By contrast, venues which recorded the lowest scores for cleanliness 3.4 out of 5 – were also deemed less satisfactory by users, scoring 4 out of 5. “The data confirms what most operators instinctively know: that poor cleanliness negatively affects the customer experience,” said Mike Hill, director of Leisure-net Solutions, which carries out NBS on behalf of Sport England. “By analysing the data, we can now see to what extent there are correlations between cleanliness
and satisfaction, satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS), and cleanliness and NPS.” Cleanliness scores positively correlate with NPS scores, with leisure centres in the bottom quartile for cleanliness – scoring 3.3 out of 5 – reporting an NPS of just zero per cent. This is in stark contrast to the venues with the highest scores for cleanliness – 4.5 out of 5 – which have
an NPS of 57 per cent. The current Leisure-net industry average for NPS is 42 per cent, while the best operators in the sector regularly get scores of between 50 and 60 per cent. Leading international companies using NPS like Apple and Amazon achieve scores of between 70 and 80 per cent. Research by leisure floor
maintenance specialists, Slip Safety Services, in 2018 highlighted the areas within a leisure centre where cleanliness has the greatest impact on members. These are: n Changing rooms – 83 per cent. n Showers – 82 per cent. n Toilets – 72 per cent. n Poolside – 68 per cent. n Gym – 55 per cent. n Café – 40 per cent. Christian Harris, founder of Slip Safety Services, added: “Changing rooms and showers are areas that nearly all members visit, where they are stationary long enough to notice issues and where my decade plus of experience tells me most operators struggle to achieve high brand standards. “Getting cleanliness right is a challenge for all sorts of reasons, but it definitely is possible to drive improvement and this will have a huge impact on a club’s performance. “We conducted a deep clean of the changing facilities at Spalding’s Castle Swimming Pool after Parkwood Leisure took the contract last year. In the first month, the site had experienced a 500 increase in new members vs the same period the prior year. Local councillor Gary Taylor credited this increase with the ‘clean and fit for purpose’ facilities on offer.”
IndigoFitness creates new training focal point for Firehouse Fitness FIREHOUSE Fitness was founded in 2013 by former firefighter Rob McGuigan. Rob wanted to inspire a fitness community by delivering a group training experience that combined his firefighter training methods with his firefighter team values – a communal, supportive and inclusive way to train, the Firehouse way. The formula found success, and by 2019 there were gyms in Leeds and Sheffield and a growing team of personal trainers. Looking to expand their presence in Sheffield, Rob came to IndigoFitness with a vision of creating a new, larger, facility that built on the values and experiences they had established. They were very clear that as well as providing a facility for their members that catered for all their training requirements, they also wanted to retain the ethos of hard work and community feeling. With such a strong and clear vision, it made sense for IndigoFitness to invite the Firehouse team into the heart of the design process. This consisted of a series of meetings, where different ideas were discussed and layouts and equipment mixes were changed around, all supported with the
latest in 3D design software so the Firehouse team could visualise exactly what each idea would look like. This consultative design process eventually led to the creation of the ‘Drill Yard’ – a large functional group training area that serves as the main focal point of the facility and captures that special Firehouse community spirit. The Drill Yard measures 18m x 11m and is covered with artificial
turf – giving them a multi-functional surface that can be used for a wide range of activities such as their unique Drill, Accelerant and Firefight classes. The Drill Yard also houses a 16m long custom designed functional rig that features squat stations, punch bags stations, and ball targets, to really provide a full-service functional training solution. Whilst keen to ensure much of the facility was as multi-functional as possible, they still wanted to offer a
dedicated strength area. They were able to choose equipment from the wide range of IndigoFitness in-house manufactured selectorised and plate loaded stations, plus specialist items such as half racks with integrated lifting platforms, GHDs, a prone row bench and belt squat. As a designer and manufacturer, IndigoFitness were able to create all the custom elements, and finish the equipment in a custom colour scheme that tied in with the Firehouse Fitness brand image. 30mm thick rubber tiles were the flooring choice for the strength areas, and the gym was finished with a selection of RAZE training equipment such as Olympic plates and bars, kettlebells, PU dumbells, plyo boxes and five Renegade Runners. Indigo is very proud to have worked with the Firehouse Fitness team on this project and provided a full 360° solution – covering initial consultation and design, flooring solutions, custom designed equipment, and complete install. The result is a fantastic training space that delivers on the original goal of creating a communal, supportive and inclusive way to train – the Firehouse Way!
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REFURBISHMENT AND INSTALLATION
Affordable on-site pad repair can revitalise your gym space What a difference a day makes... Worn out pads and ripped covers are unsightly, unhygienic and unappealing to gym customers. Changing the upholstery in your gym can completely rejuvenate the space, improving the look and cleanliness of your equipment and making it more appealing to current and potential clients. Gym Wizard’s nationwide on-site upholstery service offers a quick and affordable solution with minimum disruption to your day-to-day operations. Their promise is to refit a typical gym within a day, which means gym operators no longer have to worry about machines being out of action for days. Luke Walker, of Bawtry Health and Fitness, said the service provided exceeded expectations. He added: “I found Gym Wizard to be a first-class outfit. “They came in while my gym was open, at a time suitable to me, and re-upholstered all 16 pieces of
equipment without disturbing any gym members.” How does the on-site service work? Gym Wizard operates two fully equipped mobile workshops providing professional upholstery services to gyms across the length and breadth of the UK. Each vehicle is installed with a comprehensive range of upholstery tools, along with the materials needed to undertake the highest standard of pad repairs and replacements. This includes a wide choice of fire-resistant, stain-resistant and waterproof fabrics, which can be colour matched to existing equipment to avoid unsightly mismatches. Using only the highest-quality durable vinyl also means the pads need repairing less frequently. Dominic Rowley, deputy manager at GymBox Stratford, added: “In the last two years, we haven’t had to re-upholster many of the pads on our gym equipment that they have worked on previously.
“Which with more than 3,500 members says a lot about their standard of work.” The vans are also equipped with foam and wood for rebuilding pads that are in a poor state of repair, though even in these circumstances there is minimal noise or disruption to gym operations as all repair work takes place in the vans. The on-site teams work on pads from a couple of machines at a time, leaving a polite sign for customers saying the machine will be ready to use again soon. On average this process takes 30 minutes before the pads are replaced and the team moves on to the next two machines. Is the service expensive? While every gym has different requirements, a typical gym can be re-upholstered within a day, which equates to the cost of replacing the deck and belt on two treadmills. Gym Wizard can refurbish all the equipment in the gym or simply re-cover a handful of pads and match
them to the existing colour. The company also offer services from their base in Lancashire, which include bespoke pad manufacture, a pad exchange service which replaces old pads for new, and an embroidery service for the personalisation of equipment. With more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, it’s safe to say Gym Wizard know what they are talking about. Their hassle-free upholstery service is used by some of the biggest gym chains, along with councils, universities, prisons and major equipment manufacturers. Dominic added: “I have used Gym Wizard for years and they always communicate with quotes, lead times and ETA very quickly (easily within 24 hours). “The work itself is always at a very good standard and they are a fantastic company – quick, efficient and overall amazing standards.” For more information visit www.gymwizard.com or call 01535 633100.
UK FITNESS SCENE
DFC enters into a knockout partnership with UFC GYM UFC GYM, the first major extension of world-leading mixed martial arts brand, Ultimate Fighting Championship, has entered the UK market and partnered with DFC. DFC is an experienced revenue management solutions provider and, as an expert in Direct Debit collection, is already standardising and simplifying the membership process. The partnership will support UFC GYM UK, initially with the first UFC GYM located in Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, by removing arduous administrative tasks, and will make the membership process easier, quicker, and more consistent for customers. What is UFC GYM? The first to combine mixed martial arts and fitness, UFC GYM have developed a dedication to “Train Different” for long term and consistent results, for the whole family, with membership options starting from the age of six years+. Offering state-of-the-art equipment, top-notch coaching with accredited UFC GYM Coaches, and a passionate community of movers and motivators, UFC GYM brings worldchampion level training to fitness enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Since its inception in 2009, it has opened more than 150 gym locations worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Bahrain, Mexico, Chile, Oman, Philippines,
and overarching sense of corporate responsibility, they were a true stand out.”
Taiwan, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, and now the United Kingdom. Standing out from the crowd As with many gyms and fitness providers, managing memberships effectively while offering a high-end fitness experience is paramount to UFC GYM. Joe Long, director at UFC GYM UK, said: “We looked at working with a few Direct Debit collection companies, but it was the enthusiasm, energy, and expertise of the DFC team that stood out to us. “Going with DFC ended up being a gut feeling, and it really paid off. They are experts in their field – and their understanding of the fitness industry is second to none. “DFC provides everything we need to put together going forward, including Direct Debit collection from members and reporting capabilities. When combined with their flexibility
Fuelling growth Continuing their mission to bring professional-level fitness training to everyone, UFC GYM UK recently opened a new, 18,000sq ft fitness facility in Nottingham. The new Nottingham gym provides the UK with a revolutionary fitness and training environment specifically designed to combine the best elements of mixed martial arts and traditional fitness to create a family friendly training hub. The Nottingham studio is the first of over 105 clubs to be opened across the UK and Ireland over the coming years. Visit www.ufcgym.co.uk for further information. DFC – doing things differently DFC is a leading revenue management solutions provider in the leisure industry. An expert in managing end-to-end Direct Debit collection processes for health clubs, they aim to remove the faff from collections for busy fitness organisations. Through a commitment to maximise income, streamline administration processes and reduce customer churn by improving customer relationships, DFC can ensure that health clubs retain members whilst freeing up valuable time. Find out more at debitfinance.co.uk
M Sport Pro coming soon THE M Sport Pro indoor cycle from Gym Gear has undergone an upgrade. Already established as a sturdy and reliable cycle used in many leisure centres, gyms and PT studios, it now has even more performance features. Alongside the obvious colour and aesthetic changes, a new cycle computer has been fitted to provide more performance based information including watts and resistance level alongside the standard distance, RPM, speed, Av. Speed, time, calories and HR. Users can now accurately set their resistance level with 16 levels of magnetic resistance to choose from, all controlled from the conveniently located central resistance lever. At the end of a class or training session users can stretch on the integrated stretch blocks found on either side of the rear stabiliser to help prevent future injury. Visit www.gymgear.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Wellness with Solid Infinity System REACH Wellness are exclusive distributors in the UK and Ireland for Solid Infinity System – a patented wall mounted functional training equipment and storage solution imported from Manly, Australia. Using Solid Infinity System as a fitness solution was the idea of Chris Drake, son of Trevor and Nikki, owners of ‘Solid Racks’; global leaders in the manufacture of surf racks. As a talented surfer, and fitness fanatic, Chris came up with the concept whilst on an internship at Manchester City Football Club where he could see the increase in popularity of functional training. Solid Infinity System provides a space saving modular solution with each polymer panel (2,400mm high x 1,200mm wide) being able to be connected to each other and fitted
Jeff Davis, managing director of Reach Wellness.
to a solid wall (preferably brick or blockwork) continuously to facilitate functional training (including suspension training) and storage (including dumbbells, kettlebells, Swiss balls and med balls etc.) via a comprehensive range of accessories. The various attachments are made from marine plywood that makes them light and portable and are secured in position via blocks each fitted with a ball-pin that provides an ingenious locking mechanism that is simple and effective. “The beauty of the Solid Infinity System is in its simplicity. Users can quickly change the set up and reconfigure the accessories on the wall to provide a unique and bespoke workout that is challenging and effective,” said Jeff Davis, managing director of Reach Wellness. One of Reach Wellness’ first clients for Solid Infinity System in the UK was the European Tour Performance Institute which provides physiotherapy and fitness/ conditioning services for professional golfers. SIS was fitted to the internal walls of the mobile European Tour’s physio unit; a truck that is driven to the majority of European Tour Events to provide a unique functional training and storage solution. Nuffield Health Clubs hve Solid Infinity System installations at a number of their UK sites, including Nuffield Health Derby (5 x Panel),
Nuffield Gloucester (3 x Panel) and Nuffield Guiseley (2 x Panel). Barnsley Premier Leisure installed SIS (3 x Panel) at both Retford and Worksop Leisure Centres, Atrium Fitness in Ely (2 x Panel) and Liberty Physiotherapy in Lincoln (3 x Panel). New York City FC and Melbourne City FC have also invested in SIS in their fitness facilities together with a number of schools and colleges. The versatility and scalability of Solid Infinity System means that it can make effective use of existing wall space and can be fitted to size (and to meet a specific budget) while significantly retaining valuable floor space required for other functional
training purposes (e.g. sled tracks, plyo boxes etc.) and for personal training. “We are delighted to see the diversity of installations of Solid Infinity System in professional sports clubs, major gym chains (in both public and private member clubs), single site clubs, PT studios, physiotherapy clinics, and home gyms including garage conversions” added Jeff. To find out more about how to incorporate Solid Infinity System, FIVE Concept and SensoPro into your facility or workplace visit www.reach-wellness.com or email email@example.com or call Reach Wellness on 01777 711798.
UK FITNESS SCENE
The UK’s top PT talks Fit3D Body Scanning
Keep on top of servicing and maintenance KEEPING fitness equipment in tiptop condition is crucial to the smooth running of any gym facility. Losing a treadmill, stair-stepper or exercise bike can be a major inconvenience, reducing the capacity of the gym and impacting on your members’ enjoyment of their visit. Your equipment is the lifeblood of your facility – ‘out of order’ signs are frustrating for customers and could lead to them looking for a gym elsewhere that has well-maintained machines. Keeping on top of maintenance and servicing will provide the best workout possible for customers and also reduces the chance of injuries. Preventive maintenance can make a massive difference to the lifespan of your equipment. It can easily can add four or five years to a machine, reducing overall running costs.
Machines take a pounding over the course of numerous workouts, so ensuring they’re in the best shape possible is crucial to the success of your business. Overlooking maintenance can significantly shorten the life of your machines, ultimately costing you more in replacement costs. In addition to maintaining your equipment, it’s also important to remember the cleanliness aspect too. Keeping equipment clean and sanitary on a daily basis helps keep everything working and prevents the spread of germs. It also shows that you care about your customers’ experience of your facility. Removing sweat, dirt and dust will help the electronics and upholstery last longer. Moisture can cause corrosion, while dust and dirt can contribute to a heat overload causing a machine failure. www.servicesport.co.uk
CPD Boxing Instructor courses THE Boxing School of Great Britain Ltd offers a variety of CPD accredited courses for you to instruct others in the art of technical boxing to complement your training and fitness portfolio, starting with our Level 1: Boxing Instructor Course which has a value of 11 CPD credits. The course explores the correct technique and mechanics of each action in a boxers repertoire and
is externally accredited having been developed by our Boxing Development Team comprising boxers, boxing coaches and judges with more than 40 years in boxing. The course can be used as the first steps into opening your own Boxing School under The Boxing School of Great Britain. For information on all of our courses email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.boxingschoolofgb.co.uk
MIKE Hind, Mas Body Gym owner and winner of the personal trainer of the year award at the National Fitness Awards for the past three years, talks Fit3dBosy Scanning. What is Fit3D? Fit3D Body Scanning is designed to track all member body changes to ensure that clients are meeting their goals. It incorporates a 3D image of the client, measurements across the whole body, wellness metrics and body composition metrics too. Most members at Mas Body use Fit3D monthly to check their achieving their goals. Before Fit3D how did you measure client success? Before taking on a ProScanner the system for assessing client progress was long and frankly boring for clients. It involved the Harris Benedict Formula and other methods to work out basal metabolic rate and calorie requirements for members which was lengthy, painstaking and sometimes an inaccurate process. By now using the ProScanner for member analysis it makes assessments accurate, comprehensive and quick. My clients seem to trust the results more too, knowing that it’s impossible for the callipers to be squeezed or for the tape measure to be pulled during their progress assessments. How has Fit3D changed the way you work with your clients? Fit3D has made it a lot easier to pinpoint our members’ goals and therefore easier to ‘prescribe’ the right programme for them. We can also use the results to advise on nutrition using BMR, which Fit3D works out, to give the client the correct diet advice for them. On top of the obvious benefits in using results
to give the right advice it’s also sped up our fitness tracking process with a scan time of only 35 seconds per client. How does Fit3D Body Scanning affect members in your gym? When on-boarding new members we always recommend taking a scan, it gives the client a true representation of themselves which is extremely motivating to sign up. Clients tend to look forward to their monthly progress check, it proves their hard work is paying off and keeps them going until the following month. We’ve also noticed it increases competitiveness between members too especially amongst friends in group classes. How has Fit3D impacted your business financially? For assessments we charge £40 a scan, as part of this I sit down with each client to run them through the results. After checking the scan stats on the ProScanner’s Software… since we took it on we have completed 678 Fit3D scan which works out at £27,120 in revenue. We paid £10,000 for the ProScanner so it’s a good profit machine too. To find out more about Fit3D Body Scanning please contact Toby, sales director, on email@example.com or 01788 220459.
How Feel Good Mercure generated £28,000 in gross memberships on a gym open day YOU’RE about to read something that could give your health club the boost it needs. And it won’t cost thousands of pounds or take hundreds of man hours. Many gyms and hotel leisure centres are looking for ways to increase their membership sales, but don’t know where to start. Open days are a great option. That is, if you do it right. Most club managers think running a successful gym open day is like climbing Mount Everest, challenging, time consuming and a little scary. Will anyone show up? Will I get any new sign ups? Or will they all be time wasters after a freebie? Feel Good Health Club Mercure Hotels have discovered the secrets to signing up loads of new members during their open days. And it’s not rocket science. Let me explain, last year at four of their sites, they generated on average just over £20,000 in membership sales during their open days. The best result being at their Maidstone site generating over
£28,000 in gross revenue. So, how did they do it? The top keys to success were organisation, promotion and urgency. Organisation is vital, from timing, to the events on the day. Thursday or Friday’s proved to be the most successful days of the week. Taking the carrot approach to draw people in, a reduced membership offer and/or a free gift worked a treat. They offered free use of the club & swimming pools, plus refreshments and prizes to members who referred their friends. The promotion of the event started one week prior and was multifaceted, including leaflets, social media, newsletters, emails and text messages. Finally, creating urgency around the day with the special offer limited to one day only is crucial. Although it is totally feasible for clubs to run their own, the open day’s at the Feelgood Mercure’s were included as part of a membership drive by Creative Fitness Marketing.
With no upfront cost to the clubs, this is an attractive option for many health clubs. The open days were only a small part of very successful seven week campaign. “It has been a huge success
generating over 350 members,” said Sam Baker, Feel Good Mercure Bewdley. To find out if your club qualifies for a CFM campaign you can check out cfm.net to download an information pack or call CFM on 0115 777 3333.
UK FITNESS SCENE
Power Plate extends popular Trade in Trade up initiative POWER Plate has extended its Trade in Trade up initiative for 2020 due to popular demand. If a facility has one or more Power Plate machines, registered before 2014, and in good working order, they could be eligible to save up to £1,700 on their new Power Plate model. “The beauty of this programme is that no matter how old the product, it will be eligible for trade in, giving health clubs the opportunity to offer something new to members at an exceptional price point,” said Davide Ferreira, Power Plate’s commercial key accounts sales manager. With plans to donate some of the existing product that is swapped out for new to chosen charities, Power Plate’s programme enables clubs to change their current product and upgrade to new. Power Plate is a vibrating platform that helps users ‘Prepare Faster, Perform Better and Recover Quicker’. It makes you feel better by stimulating natural reflexes, increasing muscle activation and
improving circulation. Power Plate enhances any movement, simple or complex typically performed on the ground. It’s versatility means that Power Plate can be integrated with other equipment or utilised as a standalone solution allowing PTs and operators to refresh their offering, drive differentiation, increase engagement and create a stronger exerciser experience. As the business of fitness continues to evolve, Power Plate works seamlessly with clients and members to deliver accelerated health, fitness and wellness results whilst continuing to cater for a wide variety of demographics, populations, exercises, training styles and activities – creating faster results in less time. The programme will run throughout 2020, with a five-year price promise on subsequent Power Plate trade ins for 2025. Find out more about the Trade in, Trade up programme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 7317 5000.
Game-changing the kit repairs business THERE’S a big cost in getting a service technician onsite. There’s investment in job training, the van, fuel, spares, tools, plus the behind the scenes stuff like job scheduling software, office staff, insurance and warehousing. Then there’s profit which I see as a legal requirement if you happen to be a director of a non-charitable organisation as I am. The more successful companies tend to look toward both the efficiency of their operation (ie. keeping costs low and maintaining profitability) and improvements in customer service (ie. building a great reputation) but these are not easy things to manage and hence the current price just to get a technician onsite is as much
as £140+VAT and these levels are simply too high for many small gym owners. We need a downward step change. A game-changer. We must re-invent the way we approach onsite repairs and avoid the need to have a technician onsite in the first place. By providing the expertise on how to do the job, we can enable a local handyman or indeed the gym owner. Of course, the expertise itself (and provision thereof) comes at a price but it’s not bundled in with the cost of the van, fuel, spares and tools etc. How much lower? Take a look at my website. Call 01386 555630, visit www.northwickassociates.co.uk or email email@example.com
Clubbercise launches first online workout DANCE fitness phenomenon Clubbercise has created a unique twist on its original ‘healthy clubbing’ class concept exclusively for TV.FIT. This exciting new online workout mixes street dance and aerobics moves with a soundtrack provided by DJ AFISHAL and his amazing LED drum kit. The moves are designed to be easy-to-follow with a choice of high and low-impact options to suit all abilities. Roughly 100,000 people regularly participate in live Clubbercise classes, predominantly in the UK and Australia. Now, thanks to TV.FIT, Clubbercise Online is available to a global audience for the first time. Since launching on Boxing Day 2018, TV.FIT has achieved sustainable growth across 68 countries in seven continents. TV.FIT is a world-leading flexible fitness solution for all levels, allowing everyone to workout in their most preferred, comfortable environment – and at their own pace. TV.FIT aims to bring something to the table for everyone on any leg of their fitness journey, making the Clubbercise brand a perfect fit for the platform.
TV.FIT member Rachel said: “I can honestly hand on heart say to anyone to try it and you won’t regret it. Best thing I’ve ever done and I won’t be stopping here.” People at home doing the Clubbercise Online workout are encouraged to dim their lights and grab some glow sticks – if they happen to have them to hand – but the majority of the magic happens on screen. Clubbercise presenter and Master Trainer Anna Martin puts them through their paces, while international superstar DJ AFISHAL plays some seriously sick beats and mesmerising visuals on his custom made drum kit. Claire Burlison, Clubbercise founder and brand director, added: “We’ve constantly been getting messages from people around the world who can’t get to classes asking if we have a DVD or online workout... “So when we were approached to create a workout for TV.FIT I jumped at the chance. I’m also excited because a considerable number of TV.FIT’s subscribers are in the USA and this is a new market for us. 2020 is already shaping up to be a big year for Clubbercise.”
Highlights from IHRSA’s Profiles of Success report IHRSA has released its 2019 Profiles of Success, which analyses the performance of leading health clubs, including results in key metrics such as revenue, membership growth and retention, traffic, payroll, non-dues revenue and EBITDA. The following are 10 key findings: 1. Revenue—Responding clubs reported a median revenue growth of 4.3 per cent between 2017 and 2018, though the figure varied by club type. Facilities that were part of a chain reported greater revenue growth (+7.1 per cent) than independent ones (+ three per cent). 2. Retention—Overall, the respondents indicated a median retention rate of 65.8 per cent. Independent clubs managed 73.2 per cent, while clubs that were part of a chain posted a 62.3 per cent rate. 3. Revenue per member—The
median annual revenue per member was $753.80 in 2018. The figure for the large-club segment (60,000-plus square feet) was $1,134.80, while, for the smallest clubs (under 20,000 square feet), it was $523.50. 4. Membership growth—The month of January produced the highest percentage (10.3 per cent) of all new accounts acquired during 2018. December, at 9.1 per cent, wasn’t too far behind. 5. Membership costs—Median sales and marketing costs per member were $123.59 in 2018—a 20.4 per cent increase over 2017, when clubs spent $102.61. 6. Labour costs—Clubs, overall, spent 41.9 per cent of total revenue on payroll in 2018. Multi-purpose clubs spent 44.5 per cent and fitnessonly facilities spent 34.1 per cent. 7. Capital expenditures—Clubs,
overall, reported reinvesting a median of 5.6 per cent of total revenue ($284,000) in their business in 2018. A median of 1.3 per cent of total revenue ($66,795) was spent on fitness equipment. 8. Nondues revenue—Of the seven profit centres analysed, personal training was number one with respect to sales volume, producing 8.3 per cent of total revenue in 2018. 9. Profitability—Small-group training was the most profitable department among the seven profit centres analysed, producing a margin of 43.7 per cent. 10. Facility costs—Approximately 8.5 per cent of total revenue was allocated to building expenses and land rental in 2018. Real estate and property taxes consumed a median of 1.8 per cent of total revenue.
The full report is available at ihrsa.org/profiles
Membership payments are going swimmingly for Sporting House SPORTING House has chosen Harlands Group to provide a flexible, cost-effective membership payment solution, allowing customers to be better serviced and free up staff time. Sporting House is a leading operator of children’s activity brands – Becky Adlington’s SwimStars, Total Swimming Academies and Beth Tweddle Gymnastics. The business seeks to enrich the lives of children across the UK with world-class gymnastic and swimming programmes developed by Olympians. Recurring card membership payment solution headaches Faced with inflexible, costly and admin heavy membership payments, Sporting House looked to Harlands for a membership payment solution for its portfolio of Olympic-led children’s activity brands. Use of recurring card payments was not only costly for Sporting House, with payments made on a termly lesson block basis there were often payment failures. The need to resolve failures via phone during regular business hours, rather than online,
was time consuming for the business and occasionally resulted in long telephone queue times. In addition, where refunds were needed, the process of was costly and administration heavy. Customised Direct Debit membership payments The Harlands team worked closely with Sporting House to build a customised membership payment solution that has helped resolve these challenges and supports future growth.
With Sporting House customers able to book online through the bespoke websites of each brand, the ability to set up Direct Debit payments online was introduced. Harlands built a customised solution integrated into each online booking tool delivering a seamless customer experience, while ensuring Sporting House has up-todate information on membership payments in its CRM. The introduction of the Harlands solution allows for monthly payments to be taken on a specified date –
which was not possible previously with block payments required. Plus, automatically resubmitting for failed payments, coupled with follow up credit control processes and the availability of an online management portal, reduces payment failures for Sporting House. The result has been improved customer journey and retention, while payment failures have been reduced, administration hassle removed and income for the business has increased. “Working with Harlands Group allows us to focus better on building world-class swimming and gymnastics businesses that reach more children,” said Karen Mosley, business systems lead at Sporting House. “Not only are we able to improve affordability with monthly payments, we’ve cut the amount of time and the cost of payments while reducing payment failure rates to recover income.” For more information call 01444 449157, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.harlandsgroup.eu
Matrix Fitness supports MemoryFlex™ INDEPENDENCE & Well Being, providers and innovators of adult services in the UK, opened the doors to MemoryFlex™ Gym at Bridgewood House in Enfield. The gym is designed to improve the confidence and engagement of those living with dementia. Julia Glenn, executive director of innovation at Independence & Well Being, said: “The positive effects of exercise for people with dementia are well documented and our MemoryFlex™ gym provides an inclusive, safe space for people with dementia – allowing them to experience highly tailored exercise programmes while enjoying sensory, personalised reminiscence content via multiple channels. “Our managing director, Marc Gadsby, has always had a vision to bring a gym to Bridgewood, so it has been really exciting to work together with the team to make this happen. “Our residents work out while enjoying highly personalised, multisensory reminiscence content. We find that peoples’ memory recall and
story-telling capacity is increased while they exercise and we are talking to potential university partners regarding the completion of a formal research project.” Having worked with Matrix Fitness to source a set of inclusive gym equipment, including a treadmill,
exercise bike, cross trainer and functional training equipment, the Independence & Well Being team completed the install in March 2019 and have seen a hugely positive response from patients and their families since. “The Matrix Fitness gym equipment
enables us to provide a safe, inclusive space for everybody who wants to exercise,” Julia added. “Exercise and access to our specialist gym is extremely important to our residents. We tailor classes to individual needs and loved ones are comforted knowing that we are running such meaningful, and beneficial activities for those who live with us.” Subject to timetabled activities for the Bridgewood House residents, the gym is also open to non-residents for supervise, personalised sessions. Tim Grainger-Smith, head of sales at Matrix Fitness UK, concluded: “It has been really positive to see the fantastic work that the Independence & Well Being team is doing to create an accessible and encouraging space for dementia patients to enjoy physical activity. “Knowing the layout needed considerable thought, and scope to change in the future. We worked with Julia closely throughout the project to ensure the design and equipment chosen would best suit their needs.”
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