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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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People profile: Geoff Bamber

Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 11
Geoff Bamber started Digme Fitness with his wife, Caoimhe Bamber
Geoff Bamber started Digme Fitness with his wife, Caoimhe Bamber
I think we’ll start to see more pay-as-you-go concepts, as they offer better value for money and flexibility. HIIT will stay popular and we will see more use of data in workouts to engage people

What’s Digme Fitness all about?
Named after Digme beach in Hawaii, which is the start of Ironman, Digme is a boutique, pay-as-you-go spin and HIIT studio.

After launching the first site in Richmond in 2016, we now have four in London and one in Oxford.

The business came about following a carpe diem moment for my wife, Caoimhe, while she was running in the park on maternity leave. She decided she wanted to leave her job as a lawyer and start a health and fitness business.

Both of us are keen athletes and met at a spin class, so we wanted spinning to be part of the concept. As there’s a lot of competition in this area, we felt it was important to stay at the technical cutting edge in the sector.

Has the concept evolved as you’ve expanded?
Each of our studios is slightly different. Richmond is spin only, the original site and home to head office. The second site, in Oxford, was too large for just spin, so we added HIIT to the mix. It sits well alongside spin: they’re both high energy, high sweat activities, with lights and music. Oxford has an incredible community and the atmosphere is brilliant, with a great connection between the customers and staff.

By nature of their location, the City of London studios are slightly more transactional – the members are typically employees of nearby companies rather than residents, so they’re very busy and in a little more of a rush! The Moorgate site is shared with Barrecore so has a different vibe and Rathbone Square is the newest and biggest club. It’s our flagship site which has benefited from the brand maturing.

What have been the main challenges?
Every day is a school day, and we’re always learning. Dealing with preconceptions is one of our challenges, as many people assume we’re just a club for serious athletes, when in fact we welcome everyone and offer something for every level of fitness.

We’re constantly striving to get the message across that coming to our club is not about being an elite sportsperson, but being the best you. The data aspect can also be construed as intimidating, (Digme uses Spivi cycling software to control and log performance in most workouts) but we’ve seen that once people get accustomed to using the data, the numbers they get out of the system serve as a real motivator.

What are the exciting trends in the health and fitness industry?
I think we will start to see more pay-as-you-go concepts, as they offer better value for money and flexibility to consumers, who like variety and to do a mix of activities. HIIT will stay popular and we will see more use of data in workouts to engage people.

What are your future plans for Digme?
Going forward we want to create a self-sustaining business, which offers customers a great experience and staff great career paths. During the next four years we’ll be looking to create a business of genuine scale, with plans to launch 15 more clubs over the next four years, both in London, nationally and ultimately internationally.

Inside track

  • The founders: Geoff Bamber has an MBA from Stanford and Caoimhe Bamber was a city lawyer
  • Digme uses Spivi cycling software to control and log workout performance
  • Classes: The Ride signature class; Perform, a data-based class; Matrix, a full body workout; Matrix Run, with the Technogym SkillMill; Matrix Core, with SkillMill and floor-based exercise; Matrix Meta, metabolic workout; Power Flow yoga; and The Beat, a music-based class (no data).
  • Credits pricing, from £20 for one credit to between £899 and £1,695 for annual unlimited packages.
  • Membership rates from £89 a month
  • Digme cycling classes use Keiser M3i bikes
  • Running workouts use the Technogym SkillMill
  • All classes are available on Classpass
  • The studios are available for private event hire
  • F&B: Digme offers water, fresh pressed juices and Innermost protein shakes
  • PT is available outside London

Find out more www.digmefitness.com

The signature ‘Ride’ class is high-energy and high-entertainment
The signature ‘Ride’ class is high-energy and high-entertainment
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