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Les Mills
Les Mills
Les Mills
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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

HCM People: Dan BondOwner, CrossFit Fort Ashton

We’d explained leading up to the lockdown that if everyone decided to freeze or cancel, then there would be a possibility of not having a gym to come back to

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 6
Bond reports that only 10 per cent of members froze payments
Bond reports that only 10 per cent of members froze payments
My advice would be to keep members in the loop on what’s going on or on what you’re thinking

Can you give us a short overview of your career background?
I started training under the CrossFit methodology in early 2012, began working in the fitness industry later the same year and opened CrossFit Fort Ashton in 2015. My time in the fitness sector has been a mix of me working as a personal trainer at David Lloyd, coaching generic fitness classes at local gyms and coaching at a number of Bristol based CrossFit boxes.

How was the Fort Ashton club tracking before COVID hit?
Pre-lockdown, CrossFit Fort Ashton was as busy as it’s ever been. Fully booked classes with waiting lists, consistent joining enquiries and a solid membership base of around 300. Obviously our core programme is CrossFit, but alongside that we also run a weightlifting programme and more recently we had begun a weekly gymnastics class.

How have you looked after your members during lockdown?
When the announcement was made that we would be closing, we actioned a few protocols that we felt would help our members whilst they had no access to the gym.

We lent the majority of our equipment out to members. Barbells, weights, kettlebells, dumbbells, sandbags, skipping ropes and more. We tried to make sure as many members as possible had something.

We began a ‘home workout’ programme. This consisted of daily workouts, which had bodyweight options for people with no kit, and limited kit options for those with something. We also created a YouTube channel where we uploaded demonstration and explanation videos to go alongside the daily workouts.

We began online classes via Zoom; this way people could still receive coaching while they were training. On top of the Zoom workout classes, we’ve also been doing a Friday night social on Zoom, which has included quizzes, scavenger hunts, Bingo, games of Cards Against Humanity and more.

Basically, we’ve been doing as much as we can to keep the members engaged with us and to keep them fit throughout lockdown. We’ve also done some live Q&As, and nutrition content with the coaches.

In what other ways have you kept in touch with members during closure?
Alongside our online classes and all of the above, we’ve been sending out a weekly newsletter every Sunday evening. This consists of relevant information regarding the gym and all that’s going on, plus useful information and content such as stretching and mobility videos, shout-outs to members on their birthdays and just letting everybody know what’s happening and that we’re being proactive in our approach to the situation.

We also sent every member a hand written, wax sealed letter – a little note to let them know we’re thinking about them and that we’re here if they need us.

How have you managed memberships during this time?
We closed at the end of March. We took payments for April as usual and during that month we had around 10 per cent of members freeze. From there we reduced our membership fees by 40 per cent, and since doing that we’ve only had a few people freeze.

We’d explained leading up to lockdown that if everyone decided to freeze or cancel then there would be a possibility of not having a gym to come back to. The culture and community at CrossFit Fort Ashton is incredible and the support from members has been amazing. We’ve been able to keep some staff wages going and make some improvements to the actual gym space.

How did you feel about the controversies surrounding Crossfit CEO Greg Glassman [who resigned after posting a racist tweet]?

What I will say is this; I communicated our position in relation to this matter to our members and it has been fully supported. We didn’t agree with Greg Glassman’s comments and HQ’s silence [in relation to Black Lives Matter] doesn’t align with our values as a gym.

However, I do believe change can be better achieved from within and at the time of this interview we will be remaining as a CrossFit affiliate.

Do you have advice for other operators on how to look after members during difficult times?
From what I’ve witnessed, especially locally in Bristol, everyone has been on top of this and doing a great job. Nationally, most CrossFit gym owners have been doing similar things and the sharing of information has been next level. The community within CrossFit has been invaluable to us.

My advice would be to keep members in the loop. Even if you’re unsure, communicate that. It’ll be appreciated over silence and uncertainty.

A hand-written note with wax seal was sent to every member
A hand-written note with wax seal was sent to every member
Bond has made improvements to the gym during lockdown
Bond has made improvements to the gym during lockdown
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/988252_138982.jpg
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features

HCM People: Dan BondOwner, CrossFit Fort Ashton

We’d explained leading up to the lockdown that if everyone decided to freeze or cancel, then there would be a possibility of not having a gym to come back to

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 6
Bond reports that only 10 per cent of members froze payments
Bond reports that only 10 per cent of members froze payments
My advice would be to keep members in the loop on what’s going on or on what you’re thinking

Can you give us a short overview of your career background?
I started training under the CrossFit methodology in early 2012, began working in the fitness industry later the same year and opened CrossFit Fort Ashton in 2015. My time in the fitness sector has been a mix of me working as a personal trainer at David Lloyd, coaching generic fitness classes at local gyms and coaching at a number of Bristol based CrossFit boxes.

How was the Fort Ashton club tracking before COVID hit?
Pre-lockdown, CrossFit Fort Ashton was as busy as it’s ever been. Fully booked classes with waiting lists, consistent joining enquiries and a solid membership base of around 300. Obviously our core programme is CrossFit, but alongside that we also run a weightlifting programme and more recently we had begun a weekly gymnastics class.

How have you looked after your members during lockdown?
When the announcement was made that we would be closing, we actioned a few protocols that we felt would help our members whilst they had no access to the gym.

We lent the majority of our equipment out to members. Barbells, weights, kettlebells, dumbbells, sandbags, skipping ropes and more. We tried to make sure as many members as possible had something.

We began a ‘home workout’ programme. This consisted of daily workouts, which had bodyweight options for people with no kit, and limited kit options for those with something. We also created a YouTube channel where we uploaded demonstration and explanation videos to go alongside the daily workouts.

We began online classes via Zoom; this way people could still receive coaching while they were training. On top of the Zoom workout classes, we’ve also been doing a Friday night social on Zoom, which has included quizzes, scavenger hunts, Bingo, games of Cards Against Humanity and more.

Basically, we’ve been doing as much as we can to keep the members engaged with us and to keep them fit throughout lockdown. We’ve also done some live Q&As, and nutrition content with the coaches.

In what other ways have you kept in touch with members during closure?
Alongside our online classes and all of the above, we’ve been sending out a weekly newsletter every Sunday evening. This consists of relevant information regarding the gym and all that’s going on, plus useful information and content such as stretching and mobility videos, shout-outs to members on their birthdays and just letting everybody know what’s happening and that we’re being proactive in our approach to the situation.

We also sent every member a hand written, wax sealed letter – a little note to let them know we’re thinking about them and that we’re here if they need us.

How have you managed memberships during this time?
We closed at the end of March. We took payments for April as usual and during that month we had around 10 per cent of members freeze. From there we reduced our membership fees by 40 per cent, and since doing that we’ve only had a few people freeze.

We’d explained leading up to lockdown that if everyone decided to freeze or cancel then there would be a possibility of not having a gym to come back to. The culture and community at CrossFit Fort Ashton is incredible and the support from members has been amazing. We’ve been able to keep some staff wages going and make some improvements to the actual gym space.

How did you feel about the controversies surrounding Crossfit CEO Greg Glassman [who resigned after posting a racist tweet]?

What I will say is this; I communicated our position in relation to this matter to our members and it has been fully supported. We didn’t agree with Greg Glassman’s comments and HQ’s silence [in relation to Black Lives Matter] doesn’t align with our values as a gym.

However, I do believe change can be better achieved from within and at the time of this interview we will be remaining as a CrossFit affiliate.

Do you have advice for other operators on how to look after members during difficult times?
From what I’ve witnessed, especially locally in Bristol, everyone has been on top of this and doing a great job. Nationally, most CrossFit gym owners have been doing similar things and the sharing of information has been next level. The community within CrossFit has been invaluable to us.

My advice would be to keep members in the loop. Even if you’re unsure, communicate that. It’ll be appreciated over silence and uncertainty.

A hand-written note with wax seal was sent to every member
A hand-written note with wax seal was sent to every member
Bond has made improvements to the gym during lockdown
Bond has made improvements to the gym during lockdown
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/988252_138982.jpg
CrossFit Fort Ashton’s owner shares insights into how he built his tribe and got them through the COVID-19 lockdown
Latest News
Peloton is expanding its reach within the online fitness market with the launch of a ...
Latest News
Dr Giles Yeo, a geneticist at Cambridge University in the UK, has written a new ...
Latest News
Plans have been revealed to build the world's deepest pool in Cornwall, UK, which would ...
Latest News
People with depression should be prescribed exercise and then monitored for the first 12 weeks ...
Latest News
Frequent strenuous exercise increases the risk of developing motor neurone disease (MND) in people with ...
Latest News
The UK government has extended the ban on commercial evictions until 25 March 2022. Announcing ...
Latest News
Operating a further four weeks at reduced capacity will place serious pressure on English fitness ...
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Opinion
promotion
While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Is broken gym equipment killing your business potential?
You’re pumped and ready for your workout. Then you see it, the dreaded ‘out of order’ signs hanging from treadmills, weight machines or cross-trainers.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
Featured operators news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operators 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.
Company profiles
Company profile: Fisikal Limited
Fisikal helps fitness professionals, operators and education organisations improve efficiencies and service through its online ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness UK
A global innovator of innovation and variety in fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a True Fitness ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Funxtion
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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