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Health Club Management

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People profile: Dr Samir Kapoor, Multifit India

Dr Samir Kapoor: MultiFit India: co-founder

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 11
Dr Samir Kapoor and his partner Sally Jones-Kapoor
Dr Samir Kapoor and his partner Sally Jones-Kapoor
India has severe health issues due to poor diet, lack of exercise, and long working hours. If reports are correct, by 2020 more than 65 per cent of all mortality will be linked to chronic diseases

When was MultiFit India established and why?
Myself and my partner, Sally Jones-Kapoor, established the business in July 2015. We both had careers in banking, before retraining as personal trainers, and fulfilling our dream of launching a chain of health clubs. Our vision is to create a community of dedicated fitness trainers and reach out to more people all over India, introducing them to a socially engaging approach to fitness.

What is the USP?
The Indian market has predominantly been an equipment-based market, but this doesn’t lead to great customer engagement. We believe there are two components to running a great fitness club: the hardware, which is the equipment, and the software, which is the trainers. Our highly motivated trainers are the soul of our gyms.

Unlike the west, in India, there are hardly any formal qualifications after schooling to help a person study to become a PT, which makes hiring staff a challenge. We work on hiring national and international athletes, and currently have more than 20 working with us as full time trainers, including Olympian, Arjun Awardees, and swimmer, Jeet Kune Do.

Many of our trainers are accountants, lawyers and engineers who have left their careers to become personal trainers, purely due to a passion for fitness. We’ve also been joined by trainers from the UK.

What does the concept involve?
Apart from strength training and functional training areas, we offer more than 14 classes a day, covering HIIT, yoga, looping (indoor cycling), calisthenics and intense functional interval training (iFIT), using body weight exercises.

Our Palaeolithic workouts are often done outdoors and involve actions that mimic those of people living in the Stone Age, such as chopping wood with an axe or drawing water from a well.

Boot camps are also organised in the countryside and feature 48 hours of rigorous exercise in the form of cycling, swimming and trekking.

How quickly are you expanding?
Within two years we’ve built up a chain of 15 fitness studios across four Indian cities: Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur. A further 12 are under construction, in three new cities – Hyderabad, Salem and Mysore.

We plan to launch our first international studio in the UK before the end of the year. Sally is from the UK and understands the market well.

We run a unique franchise model in which the franchisee acts as a finance partner, while the gym is run by MultiFit. This maintains consistency across the brand. Every employee has to work with us for at least a month before he is shifted to a franchise, so we ensure the DNA of the gym stays the same.

What are the main challenges of operating in the Indian market?
The property costs and quality of talent. We’re trying our very best to address at least the latter with the launch of the MultiFit Exercise Sciences Academy (MESA). Trainers who have studied and taught fitness and sports science are welcomed as our speakers and trainers, and we have a diverse range of people from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, India who manage the training of people who are passionate about the business of fitness.

What are the main trends currently in the Indian fitness market?
Functional fitness and yoga are growing in popularity, and people are becoming more serious about their fitness.

However, India has severe health issues due to poor diet, lack of exercise, long working hours and the overall lifestyle. If reports are to be believed, by 2020 more than 65 per cent of all mortality will be linked to chronic diseases.

This is a really serious issue that needs to be addressed by every individual and it’s time for them to start making healthy choices. I hope that we’re able to achieve our aim of making fitness a lifestyle choice.

What are your future ambitions?
We would like to expand to other countries, starting with the UK. By the end of 2020, we aim to have 160 fitness studios across India, the UK and UAE.

The couple has a vision to create a network of dedicated fitness trainers who can engage Indian communities
The couple has a vision to create a network of dedicated fitness trainers who can engage Indian communities
In two years, the couple have established 15 fitness studios in India
In two years, the couple have established 15 fitness studios in India
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'India has severe health issues due to poor diet, lack of exercise and long working hours' – Dr Samir Kapoor, co-founder of Multifit India on creating a socially engaging approach to fitness in India
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