ISSUE 1 May
7 August 2020
YOUR REGULAR ONLINE UPDATE FOR THE UK FITNESS SCENE
Bear Grylls to kick off National Fitness Day
page 3 Cleaner is the most important person in centre says award-winning GM page 4
Myzone gears up to support customers out of lockdown
Fitness Unites Us event to bring communities together across UK THE biggest unified celebration of fitness in the UK’s history has been announced as plans are revealed for National Fitness Day 2020. The theme for National Fitness Day will be ‘Fitness Unites Us’, as communities across the UK come together to celebrate our common interest in fitness and the power it has to bring us together, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls are throwing their support behind the campaign this year, declaring their ambition to get 10 million people active on the day – up from more than four million in 2019. Bear Grylls, who will help kick-off the activities on the day with Be Military Fit, said: “Now, more than ever, we need to help our communities to stay active, healthy and positive in the face of this global crisis.” Gyms, leisure facilities and activity providers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will help make Wednesday 23 September the most active day ever, with organisers hoping to see up to 10 million people being more active as a result of the day. ukactive will once again coordinate the day, mobilising more than 4,000 ukactive members to host free activities that get people moving together in every corner of the UK. Regional events will be announced over the coming months, featuring a combination of safe and socially distant activities, and virtual activities available online via the National Fitness Day Activity Finder – powered by open data, according to OpenActive standards. National Fitness Day 2020 will form the backbone of the inaugural Great British Week of Sport, which will be officially launched in August. The week will kick-off on the same day as World United – a global festival of fitness delivered by ukactive Strategic Partner Les Mills, which will see fitness facilities and trainers worldwide provide Group Editor: Judith Halkerston Tel: 01226 734639 jh@scriptmedia. co.uk Group production editor: Dominic Musgrave Tel: 01226 734407 dm@scriptmedia. co.uk
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free workouts on Saturday 19 September. Last year’s National Fitness Day saw more than 5,000 sites across the UK host around 20,000 activities, challenges and classes, to encourage more people to find a way to stay active that they love. ukactive is calling for more gyms and leisure centres to register a free event for participants to attend virtually or in person via the National Fitness Day website, helping to turbocharge the campaign and showcasing their services to new audiences. Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “Physical activity has never before played such a vital role in our lives, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Physical activity forms the fabric of our society, from supporting better community cohesion to improving mental health and wellbeing, reducing loneliness and anti-social behaviour, and boosting productivity in the workplace. “National Fitness Day 2020 will truly unite us in recognising the myriad benefits that being active can bring to every person and every community across the UK, regardless of age, background, race or ability.” Organisations offering events can choose what they want to offer – from opening up a regular class to a free trial for new members, opening up an app for free, a virtual workout, all the way through to going for a world record. Previous years have seen events from 500m Row Challenges, to ‘Ride and Raves’, company-wide Plank and SquatOffs, and much more. For organisations, registering an event is quick and easy, and ukactive will help along the way. Register your event, activity or offer at nationalfitnessday.com to promote to the public – when the Activity Finder goes live. After registering your event, you will have access to download the free National Fitness Day digital marketing toolkit. To find out more, visit www.nationalfitnessday.com
Joining the TA6 team: Tamara Bailey
TA6 bolsters team with new appointment AS leisure facilities emerge from lockdown, TA6 – the client services division of Alliance Leisure, has announced a new appointment in a bid to meet unprecedented demand. Tamara Bailey, formerly Group Account Manager UK at MyZone, is set to join the team as Customer Engagement Manager within its TA6 brand from August 24. This newly created role will see Tamara lead the customer experience arm of TA6, focusing on supporting the implementation of highly effective customer engagement strategies for products and services across the leisure sector. Paul Woodford, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Alliance and Head of TA6, says: “Tamara is the perfect fit for TA6, her proven experience and passion for our sector creates so many positive opportunities for TA6 clients, we can’t wait for her to start.” Speaking of her new appointment
Tamara comments: “I couldn’t be more excited to join such an incredible team of people and industry experts. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of TA6’s future plans to support and advance the industry which I am so passionate about.” Despite the restrictions of lockdown, TA6 continued to support clients throughout, helping to prepare for reopening. Activities included: the provision of market insight via the TA6 national consumer survey, Covid-19 staff training – delivered via live two-way conferencing to help staff prepare for the ‘new normal’, plus the creation of the ‘Comeback’ campaign, launched in association with CIMSPA. TA6 is currently working with leisure providers up and down the country, creating and managing bespoke communications, sales and marketing campaigns that drive engagement and revenue.
Precor Preva stats show positive bounce back across Europe ... DATA released this week, taken from Precor’s fully-networked fitness solution Preva, shows a glimmer of hope for UK operators. Regions across Europe are bouncing back to preCOVID attendance levels incredibly quickly. Preva stats comparing total workouts per day in June 2020 with last year’s figures are showing that – in countries where re-opening is well underway – numbers are well on the way to being on a par with previous years. In Germany, where re-opening started from mid-May, workouts on Preva networked cardio machines are in
excess of 25,000 per day. Allowing for a year on year growth in equipment across the country’s clubs, the figures indicate returns to the gym are already at 71%. And in Austria, which started to re-open facilities at the end of May, workouts have matched those in the same period last year. “The rapid return to working out in those European countries that are ahead of the UK in terms of lifting their lockdowns is incredibly positive,” says Steve Carter, Managing Director, Precor UK. “The stats show a steady growth across EMEA, most positively in
Germany and Austria who opened earliest. This is a hugely optimistic sign for all the UK operators who now finally have the green light to have re-opened from 25th July.” Preva is a powerful cloud-based suite of tools which is connected to more than 123,703 networked units in 100 different countries and has recorded more than 900 million workouts to date. Preva Business Suite is a web-based platform, which provides operators with tools to service and manage equipment usage, and market their brand to existing and potential members.
Award-winning GM pays tribute to ‘most important person in centre’ THE general manger of North Herts Leisure Centre says he was shocked to receive the highest scores for satisfaction and the highest scores overall in the latest National Benchmarking Service (NBS) Report. The NBS benchmarks report, managed by Leisure-net Solutions, shows how core facilities in public sport and leisure services are performing, how this performance is changing over time, and how it varies between different types of centres. “I was completely surprised when my line manager informed me of the email saying we’d won. We undertook the NBS to find out how our customers felt; I never expected us to win anything,” says Robbie Di Rubbo. Located in Hertfordshire’s Letchworth Garden City, the centre has approximately 2,500 members and caters for some 2,300 children and adults in one of the largest learnto-swim programmes in the country. Its wide range of community services include a successful exercise referral scheme run by a full time member of staff, free use of facilities for those at retirement age on Mondays, cardiac and pulmonary
rehab sessions and a new wheelchair dance class. Di Rubbo puts the centre’s NBS success down to its philosophy of putting the customer first. “I believe leisure is all about people and that the customer comes first. If you can get your staff to believe that too, it will reflect in the service you provide,” he says. The team works hard to engage with its customers. Examples include calling people rather than sending an email and encouraging regular customer feedback. Digital screens have been installed in the centre, allowing people to leave comments about anything they may have an opinion on. These messages are sent directly to the duty manager, who can act on them within minutes if required. In addition, the centre has introduced a He Said, She Said, We Did board; a simple, but effective way of communicating with customers. “Once a month, we have a team meeting to go through all the customer comments we receive and decide how we are going to respond. We then display our responses on the board. So, if a customer had asked
for more kettlebells for a particular class, we leave a message on the board explaining that we’ve ordered the kettlebells and when they are due to arrive,” explains Di Rubbo.“It lets our customers know we are listening to them. If a customer leaves their contact details, we will call to discuss their comments, but they can post anonymous feedback if they choose.” It’s important to display negative as well as positive comments says Di Rubbo. “Someone might complain that the changing rooms were dirty at 4pm on Wednesday. We will post this comment on the board and explain what we will do to avoid this in future. Sometimes we get it wrong, but customers appreciate that we are being open and honest with them and putting measures in place to improve the service in the future.” Di Rubbo has a close working relationship with the local authority partner, North Herts. District Council, which he describes as very supportive. He meets his contract manager formally once a month and they speak on the phone every other day. “We are all on the same page; we
want to provide the best service for the community,” he says. But what has contributed most to the centre’s success is the workforce, which is no doubt aided by Di Rubbo’s unpretentious management approach. “I don’t believe in sitting in an office, I’m always walking around the centre, talking to people and staff. The first thing I do every day is say good morning to every member of staff on site – we employ 180 people here so it takes time, but I think it’s important. We are one team here – from the cleaners to the lifeguards to the café staff – there’s no sense of hierarchy. In fact, the most important person is the cleaner because cleanliness is the most important factor of a customer’s visit. We work together as a team and we have each other’s backs – and that comes across in our dealings with our customers. “Our customers know they will be listened to and as a result they support what we do. We are not always perfect, but we do the best we can, always looking to improve every area and our customers are happy with that.”
Fitness brand launches post-lockdown training program AS gyms across the country reopen, Fitness Savvy will help those who have lost their pre-lockdown physiques regain their fitness levels with the launch of a free physical training program, developed with the aid of scientific DEXA body scans. The fitness routine has been carefully constructed to aid in weight loss while building muscle, and is being offered at no cost to help the nation get fighting fit under the ‘new normal’. The help comes just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson launches an antiobesity campaign to help Britons lower their risk of illness in the face of COVID-19. With all gyms forced to close in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit, a lack of physical activity and extra time at home during the stay-at-home orders has hit the nation’s waistline hard. The prices of weightlifting, fitness and other gym apparatus skyrocketed due to high demand when lockdown kicked in, and only the lucky few were able to secure worthwhile equipment. As a result, both mental and physical fitness has
suffered around the country – something many will be keen to address as the nationwide lockdown is gradually lifted. Fitness Savvy is the only dedicated fitness equipment comparison brand in the UK. It is committed to supporting gym-goers recover pre-pandemic fitness levels and newcomers to get moving. As part of this effort, it has produced a series of unique training guides designed to help those piling on the pounds during lockdown to get back on their feet, lose weight and rebuild lost muscle in the shortest time possible. The brand’s free fitness routine focuses on body composition and details how to train and diet to achieve dramatic, positive changes quickly and sustainably. Fitness Savvy’s CEO, Robin Young has been working with DEXA Bodyscans to develop the program. As Fitness Savvy is built on delivering price comparison, discount codes and offers for various gym and fitness equipment, the brand is not burdened
by a need to charge customers for training programs and advice. “Instead, it is able to offer specialist advice and fitness resources at no cost. Young said: “Those who were not lucky enough to get their hands on weights and weight lifting equipment will have found it almost impossible to continue their standard workout routine at home. “When we stop lifting weights, it doesn’t take long for our muscle to break down. This problem, combined with eating more, means people’s body composition will have suffered. “I’ve personally spent the past three years experimenting with body re-composition and as a brand we’re happy to offer a complete programme which people can use to get back in shape.” The Fitness Savvy programs include exercise tutorials, rep by rep instruction and macro breakdown nutritional advice. To find out more, visit: https://www.fitness-savvy.co.uk/body-recomposition-lose-fat-gain-muscle/
Myzone to support its clients out of lockdown MYZONE – the effort-based wearable fitness brand enjoyed in over 7,500 clubs in 84 different countries – has announced plans to restructure its senior leadership team to support its incredible growth across the globe. Many governments are increasingly emphasizing the importance of physical activity and the demand continues to grow for motivating wearable fitness technology, this restructure will help to maintain Myzone’s position as the industry leader, whilst also supporting existing and new customers during these challenging times. The restructuring will see Mike Leveque, currently Myzone’s Chief Operating Officer, add the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Americas. With over 30 years of experience in the commercial health and fitness industry, Mike has been responsible for developing relationships with key customer accounts as well as heading global product and support since 2011. As a seasoned executive based in California, he has extensive knowledge of the industry and is perfectly placed to take the helm in the United States. Mike commented: “I am greatly looking forward to expanding my role in the US and feel extremely confident that we will continue to provide the best services to support our existing portfolio of oper-
ators while we introduce our member engagement platform to many others. “I anticipate great things for Myzone, our clients, and their members in the coming years.” Emmett Williams will return to his homeland of Australia to focus on driving further growth across Asia-Pacific as CEO. Emmett is a strategic and inspirational leader and has been fundamental to the rapid growth of Myzone since its inception. His passion to help clubs attract, engage and retain members will be invaluable in this market and his immense energy will help clubs implement positive change. Commenting on his move, Emmett is thrilled to be focusing on a new market: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my nine years at Myzone, launching the technology with the very first operators in the US and ensuring those gym facilities retain their members. “It will be fantastic now to focus my energy on the Asia Pacific region and bring the ‘feel good’ Myzone experience to members in this rapidly growing market.” Completing the team, David Stalker will continue his role as Myzone CEO for EMEA. David, previously the Chairman of CIMSPA (Chartered Institute
Management of Sport and Physical Activity) and CEO of UKactive, will also remain as the President of EuropeActive, continuing to support Myzone with his wealth of wisdom and experience. Myzone has experienced 40% compounded annual growth, and enjoys working with many industry leading brands including; Anytime Fitness, David Lloyd, Fitness First, GoodLife Fitness, Midtown Athletic, Snap Fitness, and Vasa Fitness. There is an incredible growth opportunity across the Asia Pacific area and having already employed two senior account managers in Singapore, the growth continues. Myzone CEO Dave Wright explains, “Myzone technology ensures each operator attracts and retains members and it is our leadership team that delivers this effectively. “Our committed team understands the health and fitness industry, which means we can support the industry far beyond the system we provide. “We continue to innovate and adapt which ensures we stay ahead of the curve – during lockdown, we dedicated time and resources to MZ-Remote so operators could offer a world first solution that allowed instructors and members to connect and workout together from the comfort of their own home or club.”
Virtuagym has appointed Quinten FranckenBosman, formerly of Photobox, Whistl and PostNL, as its new Chief Operations Officer (COO). Francken-Bosman is Virtuagym’s first COO, and first female board member. Co-founder of Virtuagym, Paul Braam says: “Quinten’s experience at a large corporate (PostNL) and a successful tech scale-up (Photobox) perfectly matches the growth Virtuagym is currently experiencing. I am proud that we have added Quinten and her unique experience to our team.” “Virtuagym has a great team and a real people culture. I am looking forward to taking the different departments to an even higher operational level and contributing to the further growth of the company,” said Quinten.
IHRSA goes virtual with Innovation Summit IN THE blink of an eye, the landscape of the fitness industry changed. Now is the time to come together with the best minds in the industry to innovate, connect, and thrive in the new economy. That’s why the IHRSA Innovation Summit was created. This one-day interactive, virtual event will be held Thursday, September 17 on a unique digital platform. Watch inspiring, world-class keynote presentations, participate in timely and engaging education sessions, and interact with industry peers through online chat—all from the comfort of your home or office! Highlights will include: Two world-class keynote speakers: Best-selling author and Paralympian Josh Sundquist’s inspiring presentation, “One More Thing, One More Time”, will remind us that all our stories are interconnected and even our smallest actions and decisions impact the world around us. And Futurist, technology strategist, and author Crystal Washington will keep our eyes looking forward as she discusses innovative ways technology can impact your business in her address, “Imagine the Future”. ⇒ Panel Discussion on The Future of the Fitness Business: After months of restrategizing, innovating, and rebuilding, the fitness world continues to adapt into a different version of what it once was. Gym closures, temporary shutdowns, and staff changes have forced the industry to embrace change in order to survive. Hear about the experiences of executive club leaders from around the world as they provide key learnings from the past few months and discuss how they have navigated changes, provide excellent customer service, and rebuild their teams. ⇒ Classes: Choose from several compel-
ling options, including: Innovate, Motivate & Engage Your Members to Build Loyalty with Diva Richards, Founder & CEO, Hard Work No Excuses Preparing Budgets for Every Scenario with Larry Conner, CPA, President & General Manager, Stone Creek Club & Spa Developing an Innovation Strategy for You, Your Business, & Your Team with Michele Melkerson-Granryd, General Manager, Castle Hill Fitness 360 and José Teixeira, Head of Customer Experience, SC Fitness Reimagine Your Sales Strategy with Luke Carlson, CEO, Discover Strength CEO Leadership Panel Discussion: Hear from the experiences of supplier executive leaders as they drive innovation, provide for their clients and their members, and reinvent the fitness community IGNITE! - A fast-paced, 60-minute event where guest speakers have 5 minutes to convey a concept they are passionate about, themed around innovation Sponsor Marketplace: Industry suppliers have come up with a variety of solutions to help clubs navigate the crisis. Displaying the latest equipment, programming, and technology, the Sponsor Marketplace will allow you to browse and connect directly with event sponsors via chat messaging or video call. ⇒ Social Hour & Networking: Connections have never been so important! Join IHRSA for a creative networking hour. Reconnect with old friends and make new connections during this event. Visit ihrsa.org/innovation-summit to learn more and to register. Workout UK readers can save 10% on their registration by using the coupon code WORKOUT at checkout.
The study showed that impact training such as skipping led to meaningful improvements in participants’ bone and muscle health
Training impact for Crohn’s is revealed in new research IMPACT and resistance training boosts bone strength and muscle function in those with Crohn’s disease, according to new research. Research from Northumbria University, Newcastle, has shown the important role specific types of exercise can play in the management of bone loss, fatigue and muscle dysfunction for those with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease which is estimated to affect about one in every 650 people in the UK. It causes inflammation of parts of the digestive system, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. People with Crohn’s are also more at risk of developing thinner and weaker bones – osteoporosis – due to factors such as inflammation of the gut, low levels of calcium and vitamin D, taking steroids or removal of parts of the small bowel. Reduced muscle strength in comparison to the general population is also common. Having thinner or weaker bones can lead to them fracturing more easily.
Likewise, muscle dysfunction can cause physical disability and contributes to fatigue which is a common symptom. Until now, scientific evidence of the effects of exercise on people with Crohn’s disease has been sparse – studies have focused on modes of exercise which have proven to be less effective in improving bone health, such as walking, cycling or yoga. In this latest research, published in the medical journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics online today, scientists investigated the effects of an impact and resistance training programme on people with Crohn’s. They found that these types of exercise led to meaningful improvements in participants’ bone and muscle health, therefore decreasing their risk of sustaining a fracture. Led by Dr Garry Tew, Associate Professor of Exercise and Health Sciences and Katherine Jones, PhD student from the Department of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation at Northumbria, the research is a collaboration with clinical colleagues from Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
New online music licence launched for fitness instructors EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise, has launched a new music licence for fitness instructors and personal trainers. The licence, created in partnership with PRS for Music, gives instructors the legal right to play original artists and copyrighted music online in their virtual classes for the first time. Since the UK went into lockdown on March 23, many instructors and fitness brands have taken their group exercise classes into an online setting However, the complexities of music licensing meant that many were now unable to use the playlists that their class goers knew and loved. Due to legalities around synchronisation rights and royalties, music used in public settings cannot be used in the same way for online classes. This created a huge problem for instructors, where music is one of the key components of class enjoyment. As the national governing body for group exercise, EMD UK sought to solve this issue for the fitness industry. In April 2020, they entered into a dialogue with PRS for Music, who represent over 140,000 artists, producers, composers and songwriters. Following agreement
from all parties, an agreement was formed, and the music licence was launched on 29 July 2020. Brett Pearson, Head of Sales and Marketing for EMD UK, led the campaign for the music licence to be created. He explains how complex the situation is: “When you think of any song, you don’t necessarily think of the amount of people involved in its creation. Uptown Funk, for example, has eleven different contributors who between them are represented by five different publishers That’s five separate agreements to negotiate before heading off to the record company to pay for the right to use the sound recording; that’s just for one track.” Despite the challenges, Brett was able to work with PRS for Music to get all peoples represented to agree to the new licence; “We’re thrilled to be able to offer this to fitness instructors. They have battled huge obstacles in keeping their businesses afloat during lockdown whilst providing an online exercise service to communities across the UK. This licence will make a huge difference to many and mean that more instructors can create sustainable online fitness businesses, now and beyond lockdown.”
One such instructor who knows the struggles of music for online classes is Anna Martin, owner of Always Moving Forward; “The lightning speed with which fitness instructors had to move online was made more difficult by having to tiptoe around music licensing laws. For some instructors, this meant dropping classes completely which has had a huge impact on their individual businesses as well as on those of the companies who offer branded concepts in the UK. Thanks to this license, we now have the freedom to both pre-record content for our participants and live stream our classes using our clients favourite tracks. This enables us the flexibility to choose between the incredible license-free music on the market as well as chart music keeping everyone happy. It is a giant leap forward for the future of the UK’s fitness industry levelling the playing field between the independent community instructor and the multi-national online fitness companies. Thankyou EMD UK”. Instructors across the country had to adapt quickly when lockdown began, seeking out appropriate platforms on which to stream their classes, setting up a safe space at home to film them and
adapting all session plans to an online environment. Discovering then that that couldn’t use their regular class music was a huge blow. Claire Goodliff, Director of Community Fitness Network, explains why the licence makes such a difference: “During a really uncertain time for the fitness industry, especially those without one venue in which they operate; the new music licence is a fantastic opportunity for instructors to offer virtual fitness to their communities through their own websites or using popular conferencing software, whilst not having to compromise on their music selection or content.” PRS for Music were very welcome to introducing the new licence. Andy Provan, Head of Licensing (Productions & Sales), PRS for Music said “PRS for Music is very pleased to be working alongside EMD UK to offer an easy and affordable licensing solution for instructors wishing to use our members’ songs to teach their classes online. “Through offering the Limited Online Music Licence with synchronisation rights included, we are helping instructors to adapt to the new ways of working, whilst also providing great value to both EMD UK and PRS/MCPS members.”
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