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Les Mills International
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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

HCM People: Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan MoosaOwners, Retrofit

We decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of gyms we’ve loved

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 6
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
In today’s world, physical health and mental health have never been more important and fitness is pivotal to both of these

Tell us about Retrofit
It’s a new boutique club in South Kensington, London, with a gym and ‘Retrocafe’ at street level and boxing, cycling and yoga studios below ground.

My husband Shahnaan Moosa and I raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development. The club is around 9,000 sq ft and has a membership capacity of between 800 and 1,000.

What’s the dream?
We’ve always shared a passion for fitness, but trained in completely different ways at different gyms across the UK and in different parts of the world.

At the beginning of 2020, we decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of the gyms that we’ve loved. With this in mind, Retrofit London was born as a boutique-style fitness club where casual gym goers and hardcore athletes can train under the same roof with the best equipment.

What makes you different and special?
An affordable premium service. There’s a plethora of low budget operators in the area, and on the other end, very highly priced operators, so our goal is to bridge the gap between the two and provide a luxury facility at an affordable price.

Our member journey and community feel sets us apart from similar providers. We’re also proud to have one of the first Technogym Skillbike Studios in London and one of the first Technogym Biocircuits in England.

What are the membership rates?
We create bespoke personalised packages for our members. We have a flexible monthly contract, which gives members full access to the gym, as well as group exercise classes. We also offer a PT membership, priced depending on each individual’s needs and goals. In short, there’s an option for everyone!

What were your priorities when deciding on gym layout?
The project actually began pre-COVID and our initial priorities were working with our contractor, Fit Out Management, to maximise functional space, while maintaining a natural flow-through.

COVID-19 restrictions meant adjustments had to be made, such as prioritising a one-way system. This resulted in changes to the equipment layout and the removal of some pieces to allow a safe distance to be kept when training.

It was also important to us that members had an area where they could relax and socialise, so we added our Retrocafe, where members can grab a smoothie or healthy snack.

How will you evolve the offering?
We aim to replace our equipment every five years to make sure we have the latest and best technology on the market. As a club, we’ll be doing monthly challenges, for our staff and members, to develop member relationships and motivate.

We’re always on the lookout for pieces of kit we can add to improve our member journey.

Feedback is something we take very seriously and when our members request something, we listen.

Tell us about the secondary spend
It represents about 10 per cent of our turnover – this includes our café and two treatment rooms, one of which we’re renting out to The French Touch Physio and members get a £10 discount per session. The other will soon be rented to a sports massage therapist.

Who’s your typical customer?
We don’t have a typical customer per se. Our members range from 20 – 70-years-of-age, with the majority being in between 30 and 40 and are working professionals who either live or work in the South Kensington area in London.

What are your business goals?
To provide a safe, inclusive environment for members, where we can break the boundaries of indoor training, together as a community. We aim to create a bespoke personalised service, so each and everyone’s fitness goals are achieved.

Do you plan to expand?
Yes. This is just the beginning. We aim to expand our business, first around London, and then around the rest of the UK.

How and why did you get into the industry?
In today’s world, physical health, as well as mental health, has never been so important. Fitness is pivotal to both of these. It’s not just about going to the gym to do a workout anymore, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting members feeling confident and happy in their own skin.

What’s the secret to you working together as a couple?
Quite simply, it’s a shared passion. We have separate workloads and each have our own roles within the company – most of the time it’s as though we’ve had separate working days which we can discuss at the end of it.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to open their own health club?
Patience is a virtue! Be prepared to change and adapt the way you approach the business, as the fitness industry is always growing and changing. It’s important to stay ahead of the game and think of fresh ideas to separate yourself from competitors.

The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/840686_935161.jpg
The owners of Retrofit, Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan Moosa, raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development of their club
HCM magazine
A new study claims being physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is not enough for those who spend the rest of their time being sedentary
HCM magazine
HCM People

Stelian Iacob

Stelian Iacob, CEO and senior VP, Therme Group
We’re seeing a much greater focus on the need to integrate healthy living into daily life and reconnect with nature and each other
HCM magazine
We offer medical checks which provide a precise overview of a member’s risk factors and tailor-make solutions for physical and mental health, based on actual data
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
With gyms reopening as the fitness industry recovers from the impact of lockdowns, members are seeking social interaction and engaging training experiences in a small group setting
HCM Magazine
Training
GM Active has launched a training programme to create a new generation of transformational leaders, as Liz Terry reports
HCM Magazine
Everyone’s talking about
With local authority facility management companies and councils under financial pressure due to the pandemic and issues emerging around health inequalities, will we see a trend towards councils insourcing the management of facilities? Kath Hudson rounds up views
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Empowered Brands has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of a new chair and CEO following the untimely death of founder, Jan Spaticchia
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Jo Farrier, head of commercial and resources at Active Northumberland, talks about how a strategic partnership with Technogym is changing public perceptions of council leisure facilities
HCM Magazine
Specifier
Rigs have been central to gyms for years. Now suppliers tell us how they’re evolving to meet the changing needs of clubs and clients
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
The pandemic has disrupted everything and as businesses across the leisure industry reshape themselves to survive and thrive, new competition is emerging that will change the sector
HCM Magazine
Latest News
The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due ...
Latest News
Speaking exclusive to HCM, Ralph Scholz and Nathalie Smeeman have confirmed that B2B trade show ...
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
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 supplier news
Featured supplier news: miha bodytec EMS-PT: an irresistible way to boost your in-club offer
Post pandemic, technology continues to shape the way consumers access fitness. Apps and wearables are helping people reach their goals while digital offerings – which grew exponentially during lockdowns – continue to thrive.
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.
Featured operator 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.
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness UK
A global innovator of innovation and variety in fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a True Fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Pendex Fisio S.L.: Exercise equipment
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
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

HCM People: Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan MoosaOwners, Retrofit

We decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of gyms we’ve loved

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 6
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
In today’s world, physical health and mental health have never been more important and fitness is pivotal to both of these

Tell us about Retrofit
It’s a new boutique club in South Kensington, London, with a gym and ‘Retrocafe’ at street level and boxing, cycling and yoga studios below ground.

My husband Shahnaan Moosa and I raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development. The club is around 9,000 sq ft and has a membership capacity of between 800 and 1,000.

What’s the dream?
We’ve always shared a passion for fitness, but trained in completely different ways at different gyms across the UK and in different parts of the world.

At the beginning of 2020, we decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of the gyms that we’ve loved. With this in mind, Retrofit London was born as a boutique-style fitness club where casual gym goers and hardcore athletes can train under the same roof with the best equipment.

What makes you different and special?
An affordable premium service. There’s a plethora of low budget operators in the area, and on the other end, very highly priced operators, so our goal is to bridge the gap between the two and provide a luxury facility at an affordable price.

Our member journey and community feel sets us apart from similar providers. We’re also proud to have one of the first Technogym Skillbike Studios in London and one of the first Technogym Biocircuits in England.

What are the membership rates?
We create bespoke personalised packages for our members. We have a flexible monthly contract, which gives members full access to the gym, as well as group exercise classes. We also offer a PT membership, priced depending on each individual’s needs and goals. In short, there’s an option for everyone!

What were your priorities when deciding on gym layout?
The project actually began pre-COVID and our initial priorities were working with our contractor, Fit Out Management, to maximise functional space, while maintaining a natural flow-through.

COVID-19 restrictions meant adjustments had to be made, such as prioritising a one-way system. This resulted in changes to the equipment layout and the removal of some pieces to allow a safe distance to be kept when training.

It was also important to us that members had an area where they could relax and socialise, so we added our Retrocafe, where members can grab a smoothie or healthy snack.

How will you evolve the offering?
We aim to replace our equipment every five years to make sure we have the latest and best technology on the market. As a club, we’ll be doing monthly challenges, for our staff and members, to develop member relationships and motivate.

We’re always on the lookout for pieces of kit we can add to improve our member journey.

Feedback is something we take very seriously and when our members request something, we listen.

Tell us about the secondary spend
It represents about 10 per cent of our turnover – this includes our café and two treatment rooms, one of which we’re renting out to The French Touch Physio and members get a £10 discount per session. The other will soon be rented to a sports massage therapist.

Who’s your typical customer?
We don’t have a typical customer per se. Our members range from 20 – 70-years-of-age, with the majority being in between 30 and 40 and are working professionals who either live or work in the South Kensington area in London.

What are your business goals?
To provide a safe, inclusive environment for members, where we can break the boundaries of indoor training, together as a community. We aim to create a bespoke personalised service, so each and everyone’s fitness goals are achieved.

Do you plan to expand?
Yes. This is just the beginning. We aim to expand our business, first around London, and then around the rest of the UK.

How and why did you get into the industry?
In today’s world, physical health, as well as mental health, has never been so important. Fitness is pivotal to both of these. It’s not just about going to the gym to do a workout anymore, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting members feeling confident and happy in their own skin.

What’s the secret to you working together as a couple?
Quite simply, it’s a shared passion. We have separate workloads and each have our own roles within the company – most of the time it’s as though we’ve had separate working days which we can discuss at the end of it.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to open their own health club?
Patience is a virtue! Be prepared to change and adapt the way you approach the business, as the fitness industry is always growing and changing. It’s important to stay ahead of the game and think of fresh ideas to separate yourself from competitors.

The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/840686_935161.jpg
The owners of Retrofit, Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan Moosa, raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development of their club
Latest News
The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due ...
Latest News
Speaking exclusive to HCM, Ralph Scholz and Nathalie Smeeman have confirmed that B2B trade show ...
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
Latest News
Leisure-net has revealed plans to transform its active-net business event from an annual face-to-face gathering ...
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 supplier news
Featured supplier news: miha bodytec EMS-PT: an irresistible way to boost your in-club offer
Post pandemic, technology continues to shape the way consumers access fitness. Apps and wearables are helping people reach their goals while digital offerings – which grew exponentially during lockdowns – continue to thrive.
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.
Featured operator 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.
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness UK
A global innovator of innovation and variety in fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a True Fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Pendex Fisio S.L.: Exercise equipment
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
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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