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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

People profile: Helen Quirk

Exercise psychology researcher, Sheffield Hallam University

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 10
Quirk develops techniques to help people live an active life
Quirk develops techniques to help people live an active life
A fitness club can have everything on paper to make it the best in the business, but its longevity depends on how well it understands the basic psychological needs of its members

What does an exercise psychologist do?
As a researcher in exercise psychology, I use psychological principles to help understand how to promote and maintain physical activity and exercise participation in people across the population. I’m interested in what people think about physical activity and exercise, their experience of taking part and developing evidence-based techniques to help people initiate and maintain an active lifestyle.

My current research projects involve developing ways to promote physical activity among patients with type I diabetes, exploring the ways that physical activity is experienced by people living with a serious mental illness, and helping to bring the benefits of Parkrun to more people with long-term health conditions.

You played an advisory role with fitness studio TRIB3. Tell us more about that
When the boutique HIIT concept TRIB3 first opened its doors in Sheffield and boasted to be the ‘hardest workout in the north’, there was little doubt I wanted in on the action. This was a fitness studio that had paid attention to every detail of its members’ journey. Although I wasn’t directly involved in the design of the TRIB3 studio, I initially spoke with the CEO, Kevin Yates, about his creation and the psychological principles underlying TRIB3’s concept development. I’ve since helped reinforce why the TRIB3 member journey works, hosted a psychology evening for members and have written psychology blogs for the company’s website.

As TRIB3 continues to expand, keeping in mind the fundamental needs of its members will ensure the essence of its flagship Sheffield studio is replicated for the rest of the world to enjoy.

How can clubs benefit from using psychological principles during the design process?
Getting inside the mind of members should be the driving force behind the design of fitness clubs. A club can have everything on paper to make it the best in the business but its longevity depends on how well it understands the basic psychological needs of its members. Who is your target audience, what are their fundamental needs and how can you satisfy them?

At a basic level, people have three psychological needs; the need to feel competent, the need to feel autonomous and the need to feel connected. Fitness clubs that carefully consider these needs in every aspect of the member journey will offer clients a unique and enjoyable experience that differs from competitors.

Building design, furnishing, décor, sounds, smells and staff all contribute to this experience. It means creating an environment in which members enter feeling optimistic, excited, motivated, enthusiastic, connected with others and that they belong. If they’re enjoying the journey, they’re more likely to keep coming back.

Fitness club designs fail when members enter the facility feeling demotivated, intimidated, disconnected from others, uncomfortable and insecure.

How else can gym operators use psychology to help their health and fitness businesses?
Looking at group dynamics in order to understand behaviour is beneficial, as feeling like we belong to a group satisfies our psychological need for connectedness. Gym operators should consider their club’s community and focus on creating a culture in which new members feel a sense of belonging to that group.

Clubs with a strong culture notice that whilst members may not know each other, as a group they have a shared purpose and are in pursuit of a common goal. Members with a strong connection to the group will then want to be branded with the group name.

Another way to strengthen community spirit is to encourage a lively online community too. A research study assessing the impact of promotional messages and motivational videos on exercise participation, compared to anonymous online peer group support found that the promotional messages had almost no long-term effect on exercise participation. The peer group was more effective at motivating people to exercise and the effect became stronger over time. These findings suggest that more time should be invested into social groups than mass promotional materials and campaigns.

What are your thoughts on using psychology to get more people moving?
As kids, our default behaviour was to play. We would run, skip, jump, throw and lift without even thinking about it and without a single care about what we looked like! We did it simply because it was fun.

As adults, we have a very different relationship with these behaviours. Exercise often becomes something we feel we ‘should’ do more of. Somewhere along the line from childhood to adulthood, physical activity loses its enjoyment. Psychologists can help address this problem by helping people to understand themselves.

A great place to start is with ‘why’– why do you exercise? Once we know this, we can begin to understand our motivations, what’s driving us, and how this is helping or hindering our exercise goals. If exercise is something we think we should do, we can’t expect to sustain it for a long time. But if it’s something we want to do, then this is more likely to lead to long-term behaviour change.

Maybe the answer to getting people moving more is to go back to basics – do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do!

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
TRIB3 has applied psychological principles to its fitness concept
TRIB3 has applied psychological principles to its fitness concept
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/455879_567455.jpg
Exercise psychologist Helen Quirk explains how psychological principles should be incorporated into gym design
Helen QUirk, PhD, Exercise psychology researcher, Sheffield Hallam University,exercise psychology, gym design
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
People
As a society, we all need to make a conscious effort to be more active and our industry is in the best position to help people do that
People
We believe affordable fitness will be a very substantial part of all significant gym and fitness markets in the future
Features
feature
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
Features
feature
The owner of Nisus Fitness in County Kerry, Joe O'Connor explains how MZ-Remote helped grow memberships during the pandemic and transform Nisus into a hybrid boutique
Features
feature
Hussle is offering operators the opportunity to take part in a pilot for its new MAP service to enable them to secure new members without upfront costs. Hussle’s Jamie Owens tells us more about the insights that drove this initiative
Features
feature
As the fitness industry grapples with the challenge of optimising digital, Volution’s Adam Norton shares his vision for a customised data-centric approach that will lead operators into a new era of success
Features
Body scanning
COVID-19 is driving huge consumer interest in health, creating the opportunity for operators (with the right kit) to offer body scanning and analysis. We look at some of the top options
Features
Editor's letter
The hard work is paying off and we’re earning a reputation for safe operations. Now it’s time to tackle the next set of challenges – increasing capacity, yield and memberships, deepening engagement and rebuilding profits says liz Terry
Features
Insight
As the physical activity and sports sector unites to fight its corner in making a case for government investment, Sport England has commissioned a research study to prove the economic value of activity, giving weight to the argument. Tom Walker reports
Features
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 ...
Latest News
Gyms in Liverpool,UK, have been given the go-ahead to reopen, following a dramatic week of ...
Latest News
Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness ...
Latest News
Rod Hill, former president of TRIB3 and director general of Anytime Fitness Iberia, has signed ...
Latest News
Persistent and rising levels of lifestyle disease across the world have exacerbated the effects of ...
Latest News
Customer experience software provider, AskNicely, has announced it will host a new virtual event called ...
Latest News
In breaking news, HCM understands the UK government has removed gyms and fitness facilities from ...
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: Volution explains how to drive the lifetime value of members through virtual engagement
In April 2020, two-thirds of the world’s gyms went into temporary closure due to COVID-19.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Ritz Carlton co-founder joins Frontline Summit 2020 as keynote speaker
Frontline work has never been more important and frontline workers are the largest class of workers on the planet, as well as the most impactful group on the experience customers get.
Video Gallery
Freemotion FUSION Team Training
FreeMotion Fitness
The High-Intensity Cardio-Strength Training. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Harlands Group
Harlands Group is the leading provider of membership management services to leisure operators, processing over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness is more than gym equipment, we offer innovative solutions for all ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Digital gym floor
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
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

features

People profile: Helen Quirk

Exercise psychology researcher, Sheffield Hallam University

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 10
Quirk develops techniques to help people live an active life
Quirk develops techniques to help people live an active life
A fitness club can have everything on paper to make it the best in the business, but its longevity depends on how well it understands the basic psychological needs of its members

What does an exercise psychologist do?
As a researcher in exercise psychology, I use psychological principles to help understand how to promote and maintain physical activity and exercise participation in people across the population. I’m interested in what people think about physical activity and exercise, their experience of taking part and developing evidence-based techniques to help people initiate and maintain an active lifestyle.

My current research projects involve developing ways to promote physical activity among patients with type I diabetes, exploring the ways that physical activity is experienced by people living with a serious mental illness, and helping to bring the benefits of Parkrun to more people with long-term health conditions.

You played an advisory role with fitness studio TRIB3. Tell us more about that
When the boutique HIIT concept TRIB3 first opened its doors in Sheffield and boasted to be the ‘hardest workout in the north’, there was little doubt I wanted in on the action. This was a fitness studio that had paid attention to every detail of its members’ journey. Although I wasn’t directly involved in the design of the TRIB3 studio, I initially spoke with the CEO, Kevin Yates, about his creation and the psychological principles underlying TRIB3’s concept development. I’ve since helped reinforce why the TRIB3 member journey works, hosted a psychology evening for members and have written psychology blogs for the company’s website.

As TRIB3 continues to expand, keeping in mind the fundamental needs of its members will ensure the essence of its flagship Sheffield studio is replicated for the rest of the world to enjoy.

How can clubs benefit from using psychological principles during the design process?
Getting inside the mind of members should be the driving force behind the design of fitness clubs. A club can have everything on paper to make it the best in the business but its longevity depends on how well it understands the basic psychological needs of its members. Who is your target audience, what are their fundamental needs and how can you satisfy them?

At a basic level, people have three psychological needs; the need to feel competent, the need to feel autonomous and the need to feel connected. Fitness clubs that carefully consider these needs in every aspect of the member journey will offer clients a unique and enjoyable experience that differs from competitors.

Building design, furnishing, décor, sounds, smells and staff all contribute to this experience. It means creating an environment in which members enter feeling optimistic, excited, motivated, enthusiastic, connected with others and that they belong. If they’re enjoying the journey, they’re more likely to keep coming back.

Fitness club designs fail when members enter the facility feeling demotivated, intimidated, disconnected from others, uncomfortable and insecure.

How else can gym operators use psychology to help their health and fitness businesses?
Looking at group dynamics in order to understand behaviour is beneficial, as feeling like we belong to a group satisfies our psychological need for connectedness. Gym operators should consider their club’s community and focus on creating a culture in which new members feel a sense of belonging to that group.

Clubs with a strong culture notice that whilst members may not know each other, as a group they have a shared purpose and are in pursuit of a common goal. Members with a strong connection to the group will then want to be branded with the group name.

Another way to strengthen community spirit is to encourage a lively online community too. A research study assessing the impact of promotional messages and motivational videos on exercise participation, compared to anonymous online peer group support found that the promotional messages had almost no long-term effect on exercise participation. The peer group was more effective at motivating people to exercise and the effect became stronger over time. These findings suggest that more time should be invested into social groups than mass promotional materials and campaigns.

What are your thoughts on using psychology to get more people moving?
As kids, our default behaviour was to play. We would run, skip, jump, throw and lift without even thinking about it and without a single care about what we looked like! We did it simply because it was fun.

As adults, we have a very different relationship with these behaviours. Exercise often becomes something we feel we ‘should’ do more of. Somewhere along the line from childhood to adulthood, physical activity loses its enjoyment. Psychologists can help address this problem by helping people to understand themselves.

A great place to start is with ‘why’– why do you exercise? Once we know this, we can begin to understand our motivations, what’s driving us, and how this is helping or hindering our exercise goals. If exercise is something we think we should do, we can’t expect to sustain it for a long time. But if it’s something we want to do, then this is more likely to lead to long-term behaviour change.

Maybe the answer to getting people moving more is to go back to basics – do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do!

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
TRIB3 has applied psychological principles to its fitness concept
TRIB3 has applied psychological principles to its fitness concept
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/455879_567455.jpg
Exercise psychologist Helen Quirk explains how psychological principles should be incorporated into gym design
Helen QUirk, PhD, Exercise psychology researcher, Sheffield Hallam University,exercise psychology, gym design
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 ...
Latest News
Gyms in Liverpool,UK, have been given the go-ahead to reopen, following a dramatic week of ...
Latest News
Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness ...
Latest News
Rod Hill, former president of TRIB3 and director general of Anytime Fitness Iberia, has signed ...
Latest News
Persistent and rising levels of lifestyle disease across the world have exacerbated the effects of ...
Latest News
Customer experience software provider, AskNicely, has announced it will host a new virtual event called ...
Latest News
In breaking news, HCM understands the UK government has removed gyms and fitness facilities from ...
Latest News
Globally, gyms have, on average, seen nearly 70 per cent of their pre-lockdown members return ...
Latest News
A UK government U-turn – just announced – will see gyms and leisure centres staying open ...
Latest News
"Dozens" of gyms in Liverpool, UK, have defied the government and stayed open for business ...
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: Volution explains how to drive the lifetime value of members through virtual engagement
In April 2020, two-thirds of the world’s gyms went into temporary closure due to COVID-19.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Ritz Carlton co-founder joins Frontline Summit 2020 as keynote speaker
Frontline work has never been more important and frontline workers are the largest class of workers on the planet, as well as the most impactful group on the experience customers get.
Video Gallery
Freemotion FUSION Team Training
FreeMotion Fitness
The High-Intensity Cardio-Strength Training. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Harlands Group
Harlands Group is the leading provider of membership management services to leisure operators, processing over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness is more than gym equipment, we offer innovative solutions for all ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Digital gym floor
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
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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