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Club Industry
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Club Industry
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

HCM People: Aaron Brooks-ThornettFreely Given PT: founder

A donation-based payment system creates a non-discriminatory environment and empowers people to give what they think the service is worth. This also challenges me to keep service levels high

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 3
Brooks-Thornett’s PT sessions take advantage of Cornwall’s natural beauty
Brooks-Thornett’s PT sessions take advantage of Cornwall’s natural beauty

What’s your USP as a PT?
Nature is a great healer and offers the chance to be playful, so I conduct my sessions outdoors as much as possible.

As I’m based in Cornwall, I like to meet clients at the beach, or in the woods, and we do a mixture of cardio and bodyweight exercises using minimal equipment.

I encourage them to appreciate what they have on their doorstep, as many of them don’t make the most of the natural environment that’s all around them.

As our physical, mental and emotional selves are all connected – for example if you put on weight it’s not just your body which is affected – I like to take a holistic approach. I start and end each session with meditation, encouraging people to relax, centre themselves, take in their surroundings and look at the sky.

Exercise has always been a release for me. I have personal experience of using exercise to create a better and healthier life and to feel better about myself, so my aim with Freely Given is to reach out to people who need it most, many of whom are disadvantaged.

How have you gone about this?
I’ve reached out to GP surgeries offering to work with people as part of the social prescribing scheme. Because many of the people who could benefit the most from personal training can’t afford the service, I work on a donation-based system, so people pay what they can afford via an honesty box or an internet link.

A donation system sounds laudable, how does it work out?
I find it works really well. I was inspired by a donation-based meditation retreat I attended, and by the community waste food cafés using the same model.

I encourage people to pay what they can afford – so if money isn’t a problem to give generously in order to let me work more cheaply with those who wouldn’t usually be able to afford PT.

I was very keen to be able to reach out to people who need personal training and not to exclude those who could most benefit from the service.

A donation based system creates a non-discriminatory environment and empowers people to give what they think the service is worth. This challenges me to keep service levels high. I don’t live a lavish lifestyle – that’s not what I aspire to.

My business costs are low and I go to cool and exciting places – both outdoors and people’s homes. Working this way feels exciting and creative and allows me to show my values and attitudes.

Plus, I believe the current economic system is outdated: continuous growth in a finite climate is a farce. I’d rather grow the business for the benefit of people, not money. I like trusting people’s natural trait to want to give and be generous.

You have to have faith and give people the opportunity to show their nice side.

What has been your experience of finding clients?
In Cornwall, it’s easy to find people from marginalised backgrounds – through GP surgeries, food banks, clothing banks. It’s much harder to find affluent people, so far they have come through networking and word of mouth.

Is money the main barrier for low income clients?
Money is a big issue, but sometimes people just don’t know how to get started – where to go or what to do – and need support with their confidence.

Many of my clients are intimidated by gyms and think they’ll be unfriendly environments full of fit, good looking people. I think operators could help to overcome this by offering a buddy system: inviting, or incentivising experienced members to accompany newbies on their first few visits.

What are your ambitions?
My dream is to be able to continue my work and have a positive impact on as many people as possible. I’m also looking for external sources of funding to help me do this and have applied to the National Lottery and also to the Tudor Trust. I hope I can find a source of support which will enable me to extend my work to other vulnerable groups.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Brooks-Thornett works with clients using a donation system for payments
Brooks-Thornett works with clients using a donation system for payments
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/60535_648647.jpg
This personal trainer works on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, allowing him to reach those most in need...
Aaron Brooks-Thornett, Freely Given PT: founder,Aaron Brooks-Thornett, Freely Given, personal trainer
People
Our facility isn’t for everyone. In daring to be different, we’re attracting people willing to commit to a fresh way of approaching health and fitness
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The reopening of the industry, encouraging confidence in consumers and maintaining business is a collective responsibility
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HCM people

Dr Darshan Shah

Next Health: co-founder
Our vision is that health is not the absence of disease but the abundance of vitality
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A like or a share on Instagram has never paid the rent. MZ-Remote has allowed me to continue revenue streams during Covid-19 that covered my operating expenses and effectively kept my business open
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Talking Point
Bristol University has commited to embracing body positivity, creating more inclusive physical activity environments, rejecting diet culture and raising awareness of eating disorders across its sports and fitness provision. Should the rest of the fitness sector follow suit? Kath Hudson reports
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Letters
EuropeActive's David Stalker and Jack Shakespeare from ukactive write to HCM
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Research
New research shows that UK public sector health and fitness is on track for recovery, but operators face shifts in their member profiles that mean operators will need to adapt to thrive
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Stats
Deloitte has produced a report in partnership with EuropeActive, analysing the impact of COVID-19 on the European health and fitness market, as Karsten Hollasch reports
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Editor's letter
Our sector is still misunderstood by those in power. It’s time to accelerate the fight to change this by creating a new vocabulary to define what we do, why it matters and how we can contribute
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Fitness tech firm JaxJox will accelerate the launch of its connected home fitness solution, InteractiveStudio, ...
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The UK government has provided a lengthy response to a petition which demanded that gyms ...
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Gym and health club operators in Germany are believed to be considering joint legal action ...
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The latest study into the infection rates recorded at gyms has shown that the average ...
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A new mobile fitness platform delivers personal training sessions to people at home by combining ...
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Europe's largest gym chain, Basic-Fit, has published its trading update for the first nine months ...
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Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Power Plate kicks off campaign to support fitness industry deliver health and wellness in one solution
Power Plate, the global leader in whole-body vibration training equipment, is encouraging its community to stay fighting fit this winter with a campaign intended to encourage comfort and confidence, as well as boosting health and wellness.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Red Light Rising teams up with ITRM Clinic to supply red light therapy for injured athletes
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Video Gallery
A new Zone is here
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A new zone is here for your club, for your members and for you. Read more
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Company profiles
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Supplier Showcases
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Trade associations
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Lockers/interior design
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Fitness equipment
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Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
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Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
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03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
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08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
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02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

HCM People: Aaron Brooks-ThornettFreely Given PT: founder

A donation-based payment system creates a non-discriminatory environment and empowers people to give what they think the service is worth. This also challenges me to keep service levels high

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 3
Brooks-Thornett’s PT sessions take advantage of Cornwall’s natural beauty
Brooks-Thornett’s PT sessions take advantage of Cornwall’s natural beauty

What’s your USP as a PT?
Nature is a great healer and offers the chance to be playful, so I conduct my sessions outdoors as much as possible.

As I’m based in Cornwall, I like to meet clients at the beach, or in the woods, and we do a mixture of cardio and bodyweight exercises using minimal equipment.

I encourage them to appreciate what they have on their doorstep, as many of them don’t make the most of the natural environment that’s all around them.

As our physical, mental and emotional selves are all connected – for example if you put on weight it’s not just your body which is affected – I like to take a holistic approach. I start and end each session with meditation, encouraging people to relax, centre themselves, take in their surroundings and look at the sky.

Exercise has always been a release for me. I have personal experience of using exercise to create a better and healthier life and to feel better about myself, so my aim with Freely Given is to reach out to people who need it most, many of whom are disadvantaged.

How have you gone about this?
I’ve reached out to GP surgeries offering to work with people as part of the social prescribing scheme. Because many of the people who could benefit the most from personal training can’t afford the service, I work on a donation-based system, so people pay what they can afford via an honesty box or an internet link.

A donation system sounds laudable, how does it work out?
I find it works really well. I was inspired by a donation-based meditation retreat I attended, and by the community waste food cafés using the same model.

I encourage people to pay what they can afford – so if money isn’t a problem to give generously in order to let me work more cheaply with those who wouldn’t usually be able to afford PT.

I was very keen to be able to reach out to people who need personal training and not to exclude those who could most benefit from the service.

A donation based system creates a non-discriminatory environment and empowers people to give what they think the service is worth. This challenges me to keep service levels high. I don’t live a lavish lifestyle – that’s not what I aspire to.

My business costs are low and I go to cool and exciting places – both outdoors and people’s homes. Working this way feels exciting and creative and allows me to show my values and attitudes.

Plus, I believe the current economic system is outdated: continuous growth in a finite climate is a farce. I’d rather grow the business for the benefit of people, not money. I like trusting people’s natural trait to want to give and be generous.

You have to have faith and give people the opportunity to show their nice side.

What has been your experience of finding clients?
In Cornwall, it’s easy to find people from marginalised backgrounds – through GP surgeries, food banks, clothing banks. It’s much harder to find affluent people, so far they have come through networking and word of mouth.

Is money the main barrier for low income clients?
Money is a big issue, but sometimes people just don’t know how to get started – where to go or what to do – and need support with their confidence.

Many of my clients are intimidated by gyms and think they’ll be unfriendly environments full of fit, good looking people. I think operators could help to overcome this by offering a buddy system: inviting, or incentivising experienced members to accompany newbies on their first few visits.

What are your ambitions?
My dream is to be able to continue my work and have a positive impact on as many people as possible. I’m also looking for external sources of funding to help me do this and have applied to the National Lottery and also to the Tudor Trust. I hope I can find a source of support which will enable me to extend my work to other vulnerable groups.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Brooks-Thornett works with clients using a donation system for payments
Brooks-Thornett works with clients using a donation system for payments
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/60535_648647.jpg
This personal trainer works on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, allowing him to reach those most in need...
Aaron Brooks-Thornett, Freely Given PT: founder,Aaron Brooks-Thornett, Freely Given, personal trainer
Latest News
Fitness tech firm JaxJox will accelerate the launch of its connected home fitness solution, InteractiveStudio, ...
Latest News
Snap Fitness has ended its agreement with its master franchisee for the UK and Ireland ...
Latest News
The UK government has provided a lengthy response to a petition which demanded that gyms ...
Latest News
Gym and health club operators in Germany are believed to be considering joint legal action ...
Latest News
The latest study into the infection rates recorded at gyms has shown that the average ...
Latest News
A new mobile fitness platform delivers personal training sessions to people at home by combining ...
Latest News
Europe's largest gym chain, Basic-Fit, has published its trading update for the first nine months ...
Latest News
Boutique operator, The Refinery E9, has launched a personal trainer (PT) service with a twist, ...
Latest News
Gains made getting people more physically active over the last few years were all but ...
Latest News
Mid Ulster District Council (MUDC) in Northern Ireland has won a landmark VAT case, which ...
Latest News
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...
Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Power Plate kicks off campaign to support fitness industry deliver health and wellness in one solution
Power Plate, the global leader in whole-body vibration training equipment, is encouraging its community to stay fighting fit this winter with a campaign intended to encourage comfort and confidence, as well as boosting health and wellness.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Red Light Rising teams up with ITRM Clinic to supply red light therapy for injured athletes
Red light therapy equipment supplier, Red Light Rising, has partnered with Aidan Robinson of ITRM Clinic in the UK
Video Gallery
A new Zone is here
MyZone Group Ltd
A new zone is here for your club, for your members and for you. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness
A global innovator of high-performance fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a Nautilus, Inc. brand, continually redefines ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Hedgehog Concept Ltd
Ground breaking leisure and fitness club management software. Software that has incisive focus on the ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Digital gym floor
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
Diary dates
08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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