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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Everyone's talking about...: Gyms for all?

Is the health and fitness industry truly responding to everyone’s needs? Or are we providing an offering which in practice means the fit get fitter, while the fat get fatter?

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 1

There are still vast swathes of the population who are not walking through the doors of health clubs. Are we not meeting their needs? Or is it because they are put off by the media’s representation of the sector?

Never has it been more timely to provide a service that caters for all. The obesity crisis reflects how important it is to bring the sedentary population into exercise, while the Paralympics were a great leveller, proving that having a disability does not preclude someone from participating. Elderly people and children, meanwhile – often insufficiently catered for – are in as much need of interesting opportunities to participate in activity as anyone else.

So is the sector providing these opportunities, or are we too elitist? With hardcore workouts such as HIT and CrossFit grabbing the headlines, are we putting off the overweight 40-somethings who haven’t done any exercise since school? (see HCM NovDec 12, p3). Is the trade-off at least that HIT workouts succeed in attracting a younger audience, getting people into the habit of staying fit even though they no longer play team sport? Will this help prevent another sedentary generation?

How can we ensure clubs appeal to the super-motivated gym goers as well as those who are just setting out on the path to a healthier lifestyle? Does segregating the hardcore crew from the newbies work? Or is it more motivating and aspirational to have everyone in together? Helen Tite, who runs The Core fitness studio in Cornwall, mixes cancer patients, people with disabilities and people of all abilities in her GRAVITY classes, and says the psychological impact for special populations taking part in a regular class can not be underestimated.

Are we in fact already offering the right mix of activities – do we simply need to get the message out there more effectively? We ask the experts...

Phillip Mills,

CEO,

Les Mills International

“The new HIT trend is bringing some valuable things to our traditional club industry. It’s attracting a new, younger market to fitness: people who are not long out of school or university and who have stopped playing sport, but who are not attracted by the traditional club stereotype.

Typically delivered in a format which feels like traditional sports team training, HIT creates bonding and is likely to increase retention. It gets good results and is highly motivating. From a club point of view, people are prepared to pay much more than for traditional memberships.

Personally, I’ve found it difficult to attract people to low intensity workouts: even the deconditioned don’t stay for long. People seem to respond far better to ‘intimidating’ campaigns that the PC line of thinking in our industry counsels against.

By all means use sensible induction processes, like booking people into introductory workouts and suggesting they do half classes for the first few weeks. Creating a separate area of the club for HIT workouts is also good practice for many reasons. But I’d suggest that, rather than trying to tone down this great opportunity, we jump on the wave and ride it.”

Mark Jones,

Business Manager for Health, Medical and Sport,

Technogym

“With market penetration teetering around 12 per cent for 10 years, I don’t think gyms are reaching out well enough to the people who don’t exercise.

I believe outreach is key to engaging with non-exercisers. As a starting point, I would recommend finding out what health initiatives the PCTs and health boards are running in the area and linking in with them.

Also, to communicate the message that health clubs are for everyone, gyms need to strike up relationships with the local press. We’re too used to hearing the same stories, such as everyone joining in January and leaving in March, or about the latest intimidating workout. We must feed the media positive stories: find champions in your club to use as case studies, based on real issues like weight loss and reduction in disease risk.

Once people have found the courage to walk through the doors, the induction is all-important. Staff attitude is vital to make all members feel welcome. On the gym floor, they need to focus their attention on those who need encouragement. To make gyms a lifestyle choice, we need to be constantly aware of members’ aspirations and stay abreast of their goals.”

Richard Coates,

Director,

Stars Gym

“Stars Gym started out specialising as a martial arts gym, but we realised we needed to provide a broader offering to increase our membership at the rate we wanted and to encourage members to try new things.

I think the best way of making all user groups feel comfortable is to create a community. There are various ways of doing this, including providing a mix of activities and people in one space. This removes barriers to trying new activities and breaks down preconceptions: boxers are often regarded as beefy men with tattoos, but this is not true, with bankers and mums among the converts. We’ve also started running gym circuits: a fun, social class where people feel they’re part of a group and chat to other members, but in which they can also go at their own pace. A member-to-member notice board has also helped our members to interact.

Attention from staff is important to make everyone feel comfortable and stay motivated. We’re now using KPIs to incentivise our staff to look after members. Newcomers have to be acknowledged quickly and staff are required to spend time with people on the gym floor.”

Geraldine Tuck,

Operations director,

ukactive

“Partly as a result of the recession, the health and fitness sector has looked at provision and tried to be more inclusive, conveying the message that everyone is welcome. Local authority leisure centres are particularly strong in this respect.

Gyms need to create the sense of being a hub, linking members to other activities they can do outside of the club in order to maintain an active lifestyle – for example, creating links with walking clubs. Broader activities in-club can help with this too, such as running healthy eating sessions, or marathon and triathlon training, so clubs become places people value for lifestyle advice.

In some cases, clubs don’t need to change their offering so much as improve the in-club marketing. Each member has to have their journey laid out, with human touchpoints along the way, and everyone must be treated individually.

Media representation is important too: ukactive is proactively working across all media channels to promote more stories about the importance of a healthy body image and body confidence. We have made great strides towards changing perceptions of the sector and encouraging active lifestyles.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_1about.gif
Is the health and fitness sector responding to the ever-more diverse needs of its potential customer base?
Phillip Mills, Les Mills International • CEO, Mark Jones Technogym • Business manager for health, medical and sport, Richard Coates Stars Gym • Director, Geraldine Tuck ukactive • Operations director,health and fitness sector,
HCM magazine
The speed of the bounceback has been staggering. By the end of July, we’d regained our pre-pandemic membership levels
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Booming membership sales, busy suburban clubs and members visiting during the working day. Operators are reporting it’s good to be back. Kath Hudson finds out what business has been like since the re-set button was pressed
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How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM
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HCM people
Health and fitness have always been a big part of my life and since my days playing football, I’ve always found I’m at my best when training as part of a team
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We first started talking to KSL over two years ago, so this was not a rushed partnership
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Sponsored
Billed as the ‘2021 Experience Tour’, Egym has taken its connected gym floor experience on the road around the UK
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Tokyo Olympics
GLL is best known for running leisure facilities on behalf of local authorities across the UK, but a lesser-known part of its remit is its GLL Sport Foundation which supports Olympic hopefuls. Liz Terry finds out more
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Letters
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
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Sponsored
Andy Janes and Jamie Whisken explain the vision behind R1SE Bournemouth, and why Technogym was their choice of partner in delivering their unique fusion boutique
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Hybrid
The Gym Group has taken its digital hybrid strategy full circle, piloting in-gym workout pods and studios with its home workout delivery partner, Fiit. HCM talks to the team driving the project
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Latest News
People should concentrate on exercise and staying fit – rather than dieting and weight loss ...
Latest News
Sibec Europe, scheduled to take place in Cologne, Germany, from 2 to 5 November 2021, ...
Latest News
Swim England has warned that 2,000 swimming pools could be lost forever unless the government ...
Latest News
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, has joined gym-goers this morning to kick-off the annual National Fitness ...
Latest News
A new high-end workspace, designed for the use of personal trainers, coaches and other health ...
Latest News
VAT reform, adjustments in business rates and a fitness-led high street regeneration push could see ...
Latest News
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
Latest News
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Technogym awarded “Supplier of the year” at ukactive awards 2021
The best in class of the physical activity sector have been revealed at the ukactive Awards 2021.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Shipping gym equipment from Europe to the UK
Despite the Prime Minister’s claims that trade with the EU would be tariff-free post-Brexit, the reality has become very different when importing gym equipment from the EU.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Everyone's talking about...: Gyms for all?

Is the health and fitness industry truly responding to everyone’s needs? Or are we providing an offering which in practice means the fit get fitter, while the fat get fatter?

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 1

There are still vast swathes of the population who are not walking through the doors of health clubs. Are we not meeting their needs? Or is it because they are put off by the media’s representation of the sector?

Never has it been more timely to provide a service that caters for all. The obesity crisis reflects how important it is to bring the sedentary population into exercise, while the Paralympics were a great leveller, proving that having a disability does not preclude someone from participating. Elderly people and children, meanwhile – often insufficiently catered for – are in as much need of interesting opportunities to participate in activity as anyone else.

So is the sector providing these opportunities, or are we too elitist? With hardcore workouts such as HIT and CrossFit grabbing the headlines, are we putting off the overweight 40-somethings who haven’t done any exercise since school? (see HCM NovDec 12, p3). Is the trade-off at least that HIT workouts succeed in attracting a younger audience, getting people into the habit of staying fit even though they no longer play team sport? Will this help prevent another sedentary generation?

How can we ensure clubs appeal to the super-motivated gym goers as well as those who are just setting out on the path to a healthier lifestyle? Does segregating the hardcore crew from the newbies work? Or is it more motivating and aspirational to have everyone in together? Helen Tite, who runs The Core fitness studio in Cornwall, mixes cancer patients, people with disabilities and people of all abilities in her GRAVITY classes, and says the psychological impact for special populations taking part in a regular class can not be underestimated.

Are we in fact already offering the right mix of activities – do we simply need to get the message out there more effectively? We ask the experts...

Phillip Mills,

CEO,

Les Mills International

“The new HIT trend is bringing some valuable things to our traditional club industry. It’s attracting a new, younger market to fitness: people who are not long out of school or university and who have stopped playing sport, but who are not attracted by the traditional club stereotype.

Typically delivered in a format which feels like traditional sports team training, HIT creates bonding and is likely to increase retention. It gets good results and is highly motivating. From a club point of view, people are prepared to pay much more than for traditional memberships.

Personally, I’ve found it difficult to attract people to low intensity workouts: even the deconditioned don’t stay for long. People seem to respond far better to ‘intimidating’ campaigns that the PC line of thinking in our industry counsels against.

By all means use sensible induction processes, like booking people into introductory workouts and suggesting they do half classes for the first few weeks. Creating a separate area of the club for HIT workouts is also good practice for many reasons. But I’d suggest that, rather than trying to tone down this great opportunity, we jump on the wave and ride it.”

Mark Jones,

Business Manager for Health, Medical and Sport,

Technogym

“With market penetration teetering around 12 per cent for 10 years, I don’t think gyms are reaching out well enough to the people who don’t exercise.

I believe outreach is key to engaging with non-exercisers. As a starting point, I would recommend finding out what health initiatives the PCTs and health boards are running in the area and linking in with them.

Also, to communicate the message that health clubs are for everyone, gyms need to strike up relationships with the local press. We’re too used to hearing the same stories, such as everyone joining in January and leaving in March, or about the latest intimidating workout. We must feed the media positive stories: find champions in your club to use as case studies, based on real issues like weight loss and reduction in disease risk.

Once people have found the courage to walk through the doors, the induction is all-important. Staff attitude is vital to make all members feel welcome. On the gym floor, they need to focus their attention on those who need encouragement. To make gyms a lifestyle choice, we need to be constantly aware of members’ aspirations and stay abreast of their goals.”

Richard Coates,

Director,

Stars Gym

“Stars Gym started out specialising as a martial arts gym, but we realised we needed to provide a broader offering to increase our membership at the rate we wanted and to encourage members to try new things.

I think the best way of making all user groups feel comfortable is to create a community. There are various ways of doing this, including providing a mix of activities and people in one space. This removes barriers to trying new activities and breaks down preconceptions: boxers are often regarded as beefy men with tattoos, but this is not true, with bankers and mums among the converts. We’ve also started running gym circuits: a fun, social class where people feel they’re part of a group and chat to other members, but in which they can also go at their own pace. A member-to-member notice board has also helped our members to interact.

Attention from staff is important to make everyone feel comfortable and stay motivated. We’re now using KPIs to incentivise our staff to look after members. Newcomers have to be acknowledged quickly and staff are required to spend time with people on the gym floor.”

Geraldine Tuck,

Operations director,

ukactive

“Partly as a result of the recession, the health and fitness sector has looked at provision and tried to be more inclusive, conveying the message that everyone is welcome. Local authority leisure centres are particularly strong in this respect.

Gyms need to create the sense of being a hub, linking members to other activities they can do outside of the club in order to maintain an active lifestyle – for example, creating links with walking clubs. Broader activities in-club can help with this too, such as running healthy eating sessions, or marathon and triathlon training, so clubs become places people value for lifestyle advice.

In some cases, clubs don’t need to change their offering so much as improve the in-club marketing. Each member has to have their journey laid out, with human touchpoints along the way, and everyone must be treated individually.

Media representation is important too: ukactive is proactively working across all media channels to promote more stories about the importance of a healthy body image and body confidence. We have made great strides towards changing perceptions of the sector and encouraging active lifestyles.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_1about.gif
Is the health and fitness sector responding to the ever-more diverse needs of its potential customer base?
Phillip Mills, Les Mills International • CEO, Mark Jones Technogym • Business manager for health, medical and sport, Richard Coates Stars Gym • Director, Geraldine Tuck ukactive • Operations director,health and fitness sector,
Latest News
People should concentrate on exercise and staying fit – rather than dieting and weight loss ...
Latest News
Sibec Europe, scheduled to take place in Cologne, Germany, from 2 to 5 November 2021, ...
Latest News
Swim England has warned that 2,000 swimming pools could be lost forever unless the government ...
Latest News
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, has joined gym-goers this morning to kick-off the annual National Fitness ...
Latest News
A new high-end workspace, designed for the use of personal trainers, coaches and other health ...
Latest News
VAT reform, adjustments in business rates and a fitness-led high street regeneration push could see ...
Latest News
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
Latest News
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
Latest News
In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Technogym awarded “Supplier of the year” at ukactive awards 2021
The best in class of the physical activity sector have been revealed at the ukactive Awards 2021.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Shipping gym equipment from Europe to the UK
Despite the Prime Minister’s claims that trade with the EU would be tariff-free post-Brexit, the reality has become very different when importing gym equipment from the EU.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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