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Health Club Management

Health Club Management


People profile: Darryl Preston, Core Nation Fitness

Founder, Core Nation Fitness

Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 4
Darryl Preston has 
30 years’ experience 
in the fitness industry
Darryl Preston has 30 years’ experience in the fitness industry
I was approached by my rowing club to do more with their amazing facility, which is located on the river. I decided to create a comprehensive, branded group exercise experience

You’ve created a group exercise offering within a rowing club. How did this come about?
I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over 30 years, working with many of the UK’s founding fitness brands and leading cruise line brands, developing fitness programmes and consulting on studio design.

I could see that the industry was ready to reinvent itself. There appeared to be a shift away from the big chains as people started to demand more from their classes, their instructors and the overall experience of exercising. There was a call for a more intimate facility, not too far removed from the initial industry experiences in the early 1990s.

I was approached by my rowing club – Eton Excelsior Rowing Club – to do more with their amazing facility, which is located on the River Thames at Bray, Berkshire. After some deliberation, I decided the time was right to commit to the project and create a comprehensive, branded group exercise experience.

What is the offering?
The Core Nation Fitness programme has been created by industry professionals with decades of experience. The aim is to inspire all generations of participants and to assist them in reaching their goals. We use a pay-as-you-go model, with no contracts, no membership fees and no cancellation policy.

Classes take place in a quiet, dedicated studio space within the rowing club, which overlooks the Thames. We offer a range of functional training, pilates and yoga classes. We’re also introducing indoor cycling to the schedule this summer.

All of our classes have been designed as high quality, user friendly, non-intimidating and achievable programmes that are delivered with professional instruction in an inclusive and motivating environment.

What are the benefits for the club?
Even though Core Nation Fitness will be operating as a separate business, income generated by the programme will be passed on to Eton Excelsior Rowing Club, allowing it to grow and mature.

Additional revenue is essential for any volunteer-managed rowing club, and the revenues that are raised will allow for the purchase of more rowing-based equipment and upgrades to the club house, which in turn improves the overall experience for the rowing members.

In addition, bringing members of the public into the club will no doubt result in some of them deciding to get involved in rowing, which will mean a growing membership base for the club itself.

The programme is also providing additional training opportunities for the rowing club members, allowing them to crosstrain more effectively and improve their own rowing experience.

Do you plan to include any rowing machine classes?
I have started to introduce rowing machine training in my GFX45 (Group Functional X-Training) classes. In addition, we have a complete rowing machine-based HIIT class format that I created a number of years ago and have successfully implemented.

Are there any plans to expand to other spaces?
The Core Nation Fitness product has been created with expansion in mind. I’ve built a fully integrated online platform for the specific requirements of both the operator and the end user, which means that this programme could be implemented in any similar sports facility around the country or implemented in a standalone studio site.

Darryl Preston has created a group fitness offering in his local rowing club, providing extra revenue for the club and a great workout with views of the Thames for clients...
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