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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Gymtopia series: Frozen

Ray Algar reports on a gym that’s been built at Antarctica’s front door

By Ray Algar, Gymtopia | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 1
Programming support is offered via email to encourage gym use
Programming support is offered via email to encourage gym use

For this month’s Gymtopia
story you will need your coat, because we’re off to Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent and officially recognised as the coldest place on the planet: during 2010, a temperature of minus 94.7C (-135.8F) was recorded.

This is an extraordinary project involving Megatlon – a leading Argentinian health club chain – alongside the Argentinian Air Force and scientists who were putting on weight as fast as the local elephant seals.

Good science, bad lifestyle
Marambio Base is a permanent year-round base founded by Argentina in 1969. Located on Marambio Island, Antarctica – which lies around 1,167km from the southern tip of Argentina – the base acts as a strategic hub for Antarctic scientific missions, as its runway can accommodate aircraft using conventional landing gear. For this reason it’s known as ‘Antarctica’s entrance door’, supporting over 100 intercontinental flights each year.

Operated and maintained by the Argentinian Air Force, Marambio Base is home to 200 permanent crew and scientists undertaking a diverse range of geological and atmospheric experiments, with missions usually lasting a year.

For those living in Antarctica, their lifestyle is tipped on its head. With less than three hours of daylight during the winter, and 120km/h winds, the tendency is to hunker down and ‘fuel-up’ in the 24-hour kitchen and ‘Casino’ – a recreation room complete with bar, smoking area, card and pool tables. Consequently, physical activity levels plummet, while bodyweight balloons.

Enter Megatlon
Megatlon operates 23 clubs across Argentina, as well as 10 corporate workplace centres. Arturo Dewey, who heads up the corporate division, was contacted by an officer from the Argentinian Air Force asking for advice on improving the wellbeing of Marambio Base members. The big idea was a fully operating gym, but there was neither the money nor the obvious space at the base.

At this point Fernando Storchi, Megatlon’s CEO, became involved and committed to supporting the project. Hitching a ride on the next available Hercules, Storchi and a senior officer surveyed the base for potential gym locations, eventually deciding to use part of the Casino. Storchi then committed to funding the entire gym fit-out, providing programming input and maintaining all of the equipment. The vision was to create a ‘mini Megatlon’, offering the same look and feel as if people were back home in Buenos Aires.

I asked Storchi why he agreed to finance the gym, and he explained: “Because our mission as a company is to improve the quality of life of people through physical activity, and we knew we could contribute to the daily lives of our compatriots. They spend a whole year at the base, rarely venturing outside, and we had the opportunity to make their time there a little better.”

Discussions took place about where in the Casino the gym should be located. Space was eventually secured with large windows facing the Southern Ocean; this gym may have one of the world’s most remarkable views.

Storchi and his team continued to work closely with members of the Argentinian Air Force, co-ordinating the complex transfer of fitness equipment from Argentina. Precious space on Hercules aircraft was negotiated to transport an array of strength and cardio machines, which was flown piecemeal over several trips.

In March 2010, the Marambio Base gym opened and is now a core part of enriching the Marambio Base experience; operating 24 hours a day means there’s now an alternative to the temptations of the always-open kitchen.

Megatlon looks after the gym as though it were one of its mainland sites: as well as financing the initial gym fit-out, it provides programming support via email and maintains all of the equipment.

In addition, a few Megatlon staff have been invited to visit the base, flying out just two at a time as space is so precious. The staff are there to encourage use of the gym, but also so they can experience first-hand the role their company is playing on Marambio, a place of significant global scientific importance.

Deep sense of pride
I asked Storchi how he and his team feel about playing a part in a base that acts as a gateway for the world’s scientific community. “We feel a deep sense of pride that the base authorities trusted us to collaborate on this project,” he answered. “It triggers strong emotions because we never imagined having a connection with Antarctica. Projects like this simply allow us to be closer to our compatriots who are doing great work in inhospitable conditions.”

What’s your business story?
What I find interesting about projects like this is that they make the business, well, interesting. With the world awash with vanilla and mediocre fitness offers, it’s refreshing to share stories about a brand that cares about more than just the value of next month’s direct debit run.

If you need a better reason to begin re-writing your own organisational story, here’s one. Deloitte Consulting has just published its 2014 Global Human Capital Trends Report. The report discusses how to engage a 21st century workforce and focuses on Millennials – those born since 1980 (aged under 34). Look inside your organisation and it will be brimming with Millennials who are projected to make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025. Yes they will turn up for a pay cheque (for a while), but what truly motivates them is the chance to be part of something with real meaning and purpose. Megatlon is leaving its mark in Antarctica – where will you leave yours?

Gymtopia

A place where clubs do social good

Ray Algar,
Ray Algar,

Gymtopia was conceived by founder and chief engagement officer Ray Algar, who believes the global health and fitness industry has enormous influence and potential to do good in the world, beyond its immediate customers. The idea of Gymtopia is simple: to curate and spread remarkable stories in which the fitness industry uses its influence to reach out and support an external community in need. It was created with the generous support of five organisations: Companhia Athletica, Gantner Technologies, Les Mills, Retention Management and The Gym Group. Gymtopia received an Outstanding Achievement Award in the ukactive Matrix Flame Awards 2014.

Read more stories and submit your own: www.Gymtopia.org

IN A NUTSHELL

Project by: Megatlon, Argentina
Website: www.megatlon.com
Project status: Ongoing and long-term
Impact: Marambio Base, Antarctica
Gymtopia keywords: Health & Wellbeing

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Megatlon CEO Fernando Storchi visits the base
Megatlon CEO Fernando Storchi visits the base
The gym offers jaw-dropping views over the Southern Ocean
The gym offers jaw-dropping views over the Southern Ocean
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/723258_473026.jpg
Ray Algar reports on a pioneering fitness facility that’s been built at Antarctica’s front door
Ray Algar,Antarctic, Megatlon, Argentina, Gymtopia, Marambio, Fernando Storchi
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features

Gymtopia series: Frozen

Ray Algar reports on a gym that’s been built at Antarctica’s front door

By Ray Algar, Gymtopia | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 1
Programming support is offered via email to encourage gym use
Programming support is offered via email to encourage gym use

For this month’s Gymtopia
story you will need your coat, because we’re off to Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent and officially recognised as the coldest place on the planet: during 2010, a temperature of minus 94.7C (-135.8F) was recorded.

This is an extraordinary project involving Megatlon – a leading Argentinian health club chain – alongside the Argentinian Air Force and scientists who were putting on weight as fast as the local elephant seals.

Good science, bad lifestyle
Marambio Base is a permanent year-round base founded by Argentina in 1969. Located on Marambio Island, Antarctica – which lies around 1,167km from the southern tip of Argentina – the base acts as a strategic hub for Antarctic scientific missions, as its runway can accommodate aircraft using conventional landing gear. For this reason it’s known as ‘Antarctica’s entrance door’, supporting over 100 intercontinental flights each year.

Operated and maintained by the Argentinian Air Force, Marambio Base is home to 200 permanent crew and scientists undertaking a diverse range of geological and atmospheric experiments, with missions usually lasting a year.

For those living in Antarctica, their lifestyle is tipped on its head. With less than three hours of daylight during the winter, and 120km/h winds, the tendency is to hunker down and ‘fuel-up’ in the 24-hour kitchen and ‘Casino’ – a recreation room complete with bar, smoking area, card and pool tables. Consequently, physical activity levels plummet, while bodyweight balloons.

Enter Megatlon
Megatlon operates 23 clubs across Argentina, as well as 10 corporate workplace centres. Arturo Dewey, who heads up the corporate division, was contacted by an officer from the Argentinian Air Force asking for advice on improving the wellbeing of Marambio Base members. The big idea was a fully operating gym, but there was neither the money nor the obvious space at the base.

At this point Fernando Storchi, Megatlon’s CEO, became involved and committed to supporting the project. Hitching a ride on the next available Hercules, Storchi and a senior officer surveyed the base for potential gym locations, eventually deciding to use part of the Casino. Storchi then committed to funding the entire gym fit-out, providing programming input and maintaining all of the equipment. The vision was to create a ‘mini Megatlon’, offering the same look and feel as if people were back home in Buenos Aires.

I asked Storchi why he agreed to finance the gym, and he explained: “Because our mission as a company is to improve the quality of life of people through physical activity, and we knew we could contribute to the daily lives of our compatriots. They spend a whole year at the base, rarely venturing outside, and we had the opportunity to make their time there a little better.”

Discussions took place about where in the Casino the gym should be located. Space was eventually secured with large windows facing the Southern Ocean; this gym may have one of the world’s most remarkable views.

Storchi and his team continued to work closely with members of the Argentinian Air Force, co-ordinating the complex transfer of fitness equipment from Argentina. Precious space on Hercules aircraft was negotiated to transport an array of strength and cardio machines, which was flown piecemeal over several trips.

In March 2010, the Marambio Base gym opened and is now a core part of enriching the Marambio Base experience; operating 24 hours a day means there’s now an alternative to the temptations of the always-open kitchen.

Megatlon looks after the gym as though it were one of its mainland sites: as well as financing the initial gym fit-out, it provides programming support via email and maintains all of the equipment.

In addition, a few Megatlon staff have been invited to visit the base, flying out just two at a time as space is so precious. The staff are there to encourage use of the gym, but also so they can experience first-hand the role their company is playing on Marambio, a place of significant global scientific importance.

Deep sense of pride
I asked Storchi how he and his team feel about playing a part in a base that acts as a gateway for the world’s scientific community. “We feel a deep sense of pride that the base authorities trusted us to collaborate on this project,” he answered. “It triggers strong emotions because we never imagined having a connection with Antarctica. Projects like this simply allow us to be closer to our compatriots who are doing great work in inhospitable conditions.”

What’s your business story?
What I find interesting about projects like this is that they make the business, well, interesting. With the world awash with vanilla and mediocre fitness offers, it’s refreshing to share stories about a brand that cares about more than just the value of next month’s direct debit run.

If you need a better reason to begin re-writing your own organisational story, here’s one. Deloitte Consulting has just published its 2014 Global Human Capital Trends Report. The report discusses how to engage a 21st century workforce and focuses on Millennials – those born since 1980 (aged under 34). Look inside your organisation and it will be brimming with Millennials who are projected to make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025. Yes they will turn up for a pay cheque (for a while), but what truly motivates them is the chance to be part of something with real meaning and purpose. Megatlon is leaving its mark in Antarctica – where will you leave yours?

Gymtopia

A place where clubs do social good

Ray Algar,
Ray Algar,

Gymtopia was conceived by founder and chief engagement officer Ray Algar, who believes the global health and fitness industry has enormous influence and potential to do good in the world, beyond its immediate customers. The idea of Gymtopia is simple: to curate and spread remarkable stories in which the fitness industry uses its influence to reach out and support an external community in need. It was created with the generous support of five organisations: Companhia Athletica, Gantner Technologies, Les Mills, Retention Management and The Gym Group. Gymtopia received an Outstanding Achievement Award in the ukactive Matrix Flame Awards 2014.

Read more stories and submit your own: www.Gymtopia.org

IN A NUTSHELL

Project by: Megatlon, Argentina
Website: www.megatlon.com
Project status: Ongoing and long-term
Impact: Marambio Base, Antarctica
Gymtopia keywords: Health & Wellbeing

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Megatlon CEO Fernando Storchi visits the base
Megatlon CEO Fernando Storchi visits the base
The gym offers jaw-dropping views over the Southern Ocean
The gym offers jaw-dropping views over the Southern Ocean
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/723258_473026.jpg
Ray Algar reports on a pioneering fitness facility that’s been built at Antarctica’s front door
Ray Algar,Antarctic, Megatlon, Argentina, Gymtopia, Marambio, Fernando Storchi
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We provide a full turn-key solution for clients from design and consultation, through to bespoke ...
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Perfect Gym is a global software provider specialising in fitness and recreation facility management solutions. ...
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Power Plate UK press release: Power plate + red light therapy: life-changing ‘biostacking’
“We combine Power Plate and red light therapy in all our small group classes,” says Natt Summers, founder and owner of Accomplish Fitness in Hungerford, Berkshire.
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