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Health Club Management

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Health Club Management

Health Club Management


People profile: Ed McCabe

Founder of Kelta Fit and Ceilidh Club

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 5
McCabe is bringing the ceilidh into the fitness and wellbeing industry
McCabe is bringing the ceilidh into the fitness and wellbeing industry
Ceilidh dancing is great; it’s full of fun and energy and after a night of it you leave happy, smiling and sweating

What’s Kelta Fit all about?
Our goal at Kelta Fit is to help people become happier and healthier, with a Scottish twist. We’ve taken a great Scottish tradition – a ceilidh – and developed a cardio workout around its dance moves and used traditional music.

We’re also interested in helping people with their diet and rest, as these are the other two important aspects of wellbeing.

How did you come up with the idea?
I started the Ceilidh Club in 1998. We hire halls and bands and aim to give people the best three hours entertainment in London.

Ceilidh dancing is great; it’s full of fun and energy and after a night of it you leave happy, smiling and sweating.

You can crank out several thousand steps over the course of the night. Lots of people comment, ‘I won’t have to go the gym this weekend’ and some people asked me if I could make a cardio workout based on this. I don’t have a dance background, so I asked one of the bands – Licence to Ceilidh if they were interested in working with me.

Ali Barnes who plays in and manages the band has a background in dance and music and put together the moves. Her husband Phillipe Barnes is a top class musician and arranged the music. The band recorded the music and Ali and Philippe had various friends who helped in the making of the DVD.

Kelta Fit started with just fitness DVDs, when did you launch live classes?
The idea behind Kelta Fit was always to bring the feeling of a real ceilidh into people’s homes and workout studios.

In order to make it into a class I approached Dance Base in Edinburgh and they put me in touch with Cat Perry who runs Dance Division. She created the dance routines for the class.

I then got the training programme accredited by REPS and commissioned Cat to write a programme suitable for primary and secondary pupils.

These programmes were accredited by Exercise Movement and Dance (EMD) UK. This whole process all took longer than expected and I didn’t have the time to concentrate on the project full time.

Late last year we held our first ambassador training in Edinburgh and the ambassadors have now set up their own classes, which are great. However, we are still at the early stages of offering classes.

Does having DVDs and live classes encourage beginners, who can try the workout at home first?
Yes, the DVD/download allows people to try it wherever they choose, as it’s not always convenient to get to a class.

However, a ceilidh is a sociable activity and we hope the classes will bring people together to support each other on their health and wellbeing journeys.

We see ourselves as facilitators and we are happy to work with anyone who wants to use our material.

Who is your main audience?
We have two main markets – those who would go to a traditional class, such as Zumba, and school pupils. We believe that the music is infectious and you can’t help moving when you hear it. We’re also really keen to help kids to move and this kind of dance can fit very well with other initiatives designed to make activity interesting, fun and rewarding.

What challenges have you faced during your journey with Kelta Fit?
One of the hardest things was understanding what REPS wanted and formatting the information to fit their templates so we could get the classes registered and authenticated.

I don’t know why it was so tricky – maybe because I don’t come from a personal training or dance background, however, it took a lot of brain ache and energy to get it right.

I also spent some time writing a traditional business plan, however, we’re now far more flexible. Yes, we have our target markets and we know what we want to do in the future, but we focus more on the next three months and what we want to achieve then, than being too obsessed about the future.

What are your plans for the brand?
We’re developing our Ambassador training programme – we had a training session in Glasgow recently and we’re planning a London training session in early summer this year.

We’re also talking with a variety of partners as to how we can work together to use Kelta Fit to be happier and healthier – with a Scottish twist.

Kelta Fit classes have been validated by REPs
Kelta Fit classes have been validated by REPs
The founder of Kelta Fit explains his fitness concept, which is based around Scottish ceilidh dancing, harnessing the social power of the traditional dance
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30 May 2019
Rimini Expo Centre, Rimini, Italy
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30 May - 02 Jun 2019
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