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New app improves member retention

Operators will be able to take their business up a gear and tackle one of the biggest problems that gyms of all sizes face with an exciting new addition to ClubWise’s product portfolio.


ClubWise takes the stress out of gym management with its award-winning, FCA-accredited club management and billing solution, which integrates direct debit collection and club management software, leaving clubs time to focus on what matters most, their members.


ClubWise has developed FitSense to dramatically improve member engagement and retention, by converting members into regular, habitual gym users.


Scientific research revealed that when regular gym attendance becomes an enjoyable habit, members are much more likely to attend regularly for years to come.


FitSense works to help members form this association by satisfying their psychological needs and stimulating a healthy obsession with getting fit.


ClubWise Managing Director Julian Matthews said:


“We are always striving to offer our customers a unique and highly effective business solution and FitSense was a natural progression for us. FitSense gives gyms a platform to provide a personalised service to their members in a scalable way, and meet their members psychological needs, converting them into regular, habitual gym users.”


ClubWise will be showcasing FitSense prior to official release at Leisure Industry Week on 20th and 21st September at the Birmingham NEC.


To find out more visit: www.clubwise.com/clubwise

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Les Mills UK appoints new head trainer

Sarah Durnford, Les Mills veteran of 15 years, has been promoted to Head Trainer. Sarah’s main responsibility will be to oversee the training and professional development of the 87 employed UK Les Mills trainers.


During her time with Les Mills UK Sarah has delivered numerous, high-quality group exercise classes and training courses. She has also been instrumental in the delivery of key company initiatives including setting up the trainer team in Russia and developing the Presenter team and delivering development sessions globally.


Sarah comments: “Les Mills supports some of the most dedicated, inspiring and successful instructors in the world. It is the quality of our instructor training programme which sits at the heart of the brand’s success, with each individual completing a Level 3 Education Training Award.


Recently, a team of Regional Training Coordinators were activated to support trainers and instructors across the UK and I’m really looking forward to working with them in order to challenge boundaries and ensure we remain progressive and continue to set the industry standard in instructor training.”


Commenting on Sarah’s appointment, Les Mills Instructor Experience Director, Jean-ann Marnoch, states: “We’re thrilled to have Sarah on board, she’s a real asset and a highly respected member of the team. Her appointment comes at a really exciting time following the recent launch of our new IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ cycle session THE TRIP™ and as we prepare to celebrate 25 years of BODYPUMP™”.


Jean-ann adds: “The Les Mills Global Training Summit 2016 declared the UK ‘Best Trainer Team’ and we have no doubt that Sarah will continue to set the global bar when it comes to instructor standards.”


For more information about Les Mills, visit www.lesmills.com/uk


National Fitness Day 2016 hits new heights

Biggest ever National Fitness Day sees thousands engage in free activity sessions.


National Fitness Day 2016 saw more people get moving than ever before as over 18,000 events took part across the UK to make 7 September the most active day of the year.


The sixth annual event, organised by not-for-profit health body ukactive and sponsored by leading health and fitness retailer Argos, saw more than 6,000 venues across the UK hold multiple activity events throughout the day.


Thousands of UK gyms and leisure venues threw open their doors to engage the public in free physical activity taster sessions, while Argos celebrated NFD across its 800+ stores with activity operators hosting a range of fun fitness classes including in-store circuits, Body Jam sessions and outdoor workouts.


As ever, NFD saw a huge range of activity options enjoyed by participants of all ages, such as ‘plank offs’, yoga and Pilates classes, treadmill challenges, high-street HIIT classes, dance-offs, mass walks and many more.


The day kicked off with a special launch event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park featuring a number of activity sessions for the local community. Legendary ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell CBE showcased her DDMIX dance fitness class, alongside sessions from Motivate East, Our Parks and Exercise in the City.


Meanwhile, over at the Houses of Parliament, more than 40 MPs including Sports Minister Tracey Crouch tried their hands at hula-hooping, boxing, tai chi, tennis, boccia and samba as part of an outdoor activity taster session from ParkLives.


NFD 2016 participation levels across the country are still being counted, but with more than 18,000 events held nationwide, the final total is expected to reach in excess of 100,000 people.


One of the core drivers of engagement was an explosion of social media activity. NFD 2016 took Twitter by storm and was the UK’s number one trending topic for almost eight hours. Backed by a hive of activity across Facebook and Instagram as well, the total social media reach of NFD 2016 exceeded 49 million users.


The event also made waves across mainstream media, with live TV coverage and dozens of radio broadcasts across the UK on the day taking the total media reach of NFD 2016 to 55 million.


Steven Ward, Executive Director of ukactive said: “National Fitness Day 2016 was our biggest and best event yet and we’re delighted to see the physical activity sector and wider partners such as Argos team up to get the nation moving.


“It’s a fun day with a serious message and the important thing now is to build on this momentum and make serious ground in overcoming the UK’s physical inactivity crisis.


“We’re already working on next year’s event and want to engage more members of the public and our sector to ensure that National Fitness Day in 2017 reaches wider than ever before.”


Amy Whidburn, Argos' Head of Corporate Responsibility, added: 

"As a leading health and fitness retailer, our view is that the fun and enjoyment of physical activity can bring a whole host of well-being benefits, and that's why we were delighted to see so many of our colleagues and customers taking part in National Fitness Day.


"We are passionate about celebrating that fun of fitness and increasing activity levels and we have a whole range of products to help with that."



eGym presents selected integrated partners at LIW

eGym demonstrates their connected fitness solution at Leisure Industry Week 2016 alongside key selected integrated partners, MATRIX Fitness UK and ClubManager, who are digitally connected to the eGym eco-system.


During the show, eGym will exhibit the eGym smart connected fitness equipment in combination with the eGym Fitness app and Trainer app - providing a complete tracking solution for both inside and outside of the gym.


Managing Director UK at eGym, Jochen Michaelis, said: “As a software driven company, collaboration with like-minded third parties is rooted in our core values. Our technology platform has been open to partners from the start, inviting key fitness business’s to connect to the training floor and be a part of the eGym ecosystem. I’m delighted that two of our selected integrated partners, MATRIX and ClubManager, join us at the LIW, so that customers can see and experience our connected training solution.”


As part of this, gym equipment manufacturer Matrix Fitness will be demonstrating how eGym can work in collaboration with its cutting-edge u7xi upright bike and other leading fitness products. As well as Club Manager showing the seamless integration of their Membership Management Software to the eGym Trainer App, helping gym owners to know more about their members.


The eGym Fitness app already tracks exercise habits in and outside of the club. Recent updates have added a number of exciting new features for club members designed to encourage members to stay longer with their gym.


Trainer Carolin Meyn has used the eGym Fitness app. She said: “When members look at themselves in front of the mirror after training and they don’t see a difference straightaway, they can easily feel deflated.


“No longer do they have to think ‘Have I worked hard enough?’ or ‘Did it make a difference to my fitness?’.


“The eGym Fitness app makes it simple and easy for everyone to see the health and fitness benefits of their activities. That’s a great feeling.”


eGym will be exhibiting with Matrix Fitness UK and ClubManager on stand D20 at LIW 2016.


Life Leisure tasks Ethics Leisure to extend reach of Actilife

Not-for-profit leisure trust Life Leisure has signed up leading health and fitness consultancy Ethics Leisure to help take its innovative Actilife programme out into the industry.


The Actilife programme combines wearable technology, an online interactive programme and remote coaching to help people become more active and manage their weight. The programme particularly aims to target the 87% of people not engaged in regular physical activity. Participants are given a ‘pebble’ to wear which tracks and records their physical activity throughout the day by recognising the difference between light, moderate and vigorous intensity. Actilife participants monitor their daily activity online and an Actilife coach can also access their results on the secure platform and use this as the basis for personalised advice and motivation.  People can also choose to take part in a range of challenges set by Actilife to encourage them to be more active.


The Actilife programme has been running for the past two years in Stockport and Cheshire and has seen fantastic results. In the last 18 months, over 1,000 people have accessed the programme with participants ranging from people with chronic health conditions to those taking part in workplace health initiatives. Over the last nine months, Actilife has enrolled over 500 people from 15 organisations including the NHS, local authority and private companies, together achieving a fantastic 182, 389,170 steps. Over 82% of people followed up after three months felt that the programme successfully increased their physical activity levels from baseline.


As a result of the programme’s success, Life Leisure is extending its availability to other organisations and businesses and has been working with Andy Gill from Ethics Leisure to help expand the programme’s reach.  So far the partnership has proved to be a great success with Actilife now being taken on by Cheshire East Council and a range of colleges within the Stockport area to help get students engaged in physical activity. Over the next few months Life Leisure, with the support from Andy, will be rolling out the programme to four new companies with the specific aim of supporting inactive people to increase their activity levels.


“We are delighted to be working with Andy Gill on this project and his on-going support and knowledge of the fitness industry has proven to be invaluable to us,” says Malcolm McPhail, CEO for Life Leisure., “We are confident Actilife can broaden its reach and bring support and motivation to many individuals looking for encouragement or incentives to get active.”


”The ActiLife Programme is an innovative initiative that I am proud to be supporting Life Leisure on. The programme has a huge potential to reach those who typically may not feel confident in visit their local leisure centre and the technology behind it is very simple to use,” says Andy Gill, Managing Director for Ethics Leisure. “At a time when we are facing a growing obesity crisis, my brief from Life Leisure has been to help push this product out to wider audiences. I am confident that my 25 years of proven experience within the industry will ensure we can reach out to other organisations and members of the community who may not currently be engaged in fitness in their day-to-day life.”

Men’s hidden body fat fears fuelling gym attendance

Men’s hidden fears about body fat are fuelling gym attendance motivated by feelings of guilt and shame rather than a desire to build muscle, new research has shown.


Psychology researchers from the UK and Australia discovered that while male attitudes towards muscle or body mass index (BMI) did not predict how frequently they would attend the gym, their perceptions of body fat did.


The researchers found that men worried about body fat were more likely than others to undertake spontaneous, unplanned work-outs - and warned that these ‘sporadic’ exercise patterns tend to be difficult to sustain over time.


The findings raise questions over the effect portrayals of the ‘ideal body’ online and in the media have on healthy exercise behaviours in an era of ‘selfies’. This has important real-life implications for health and exercise professionals and their intervention programmes, the researchers suggest.


The study is the first of its kind to examine men’s body attitudes alongside both their conscious (explicit) and non-conscious (implicit) motivations for attending the gym. The findings could help health and fitness professionals improve gym attendance in the long-term by focusing on pro-active goal-setting and personal autonomy, rather than body image.


The study was carried out by Dr David Keatley from the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, UK, and Kim Caudwell from Curtin University, Australia.


Dr Keatley, a specialist in the study of complex patterns of behaviour and motivation, said: “Coaches, trainers, and even ‘gym buddies’ need to be aware of individuals’ motivations and reasons for attending a gym. Spontaneous gym goers are more likely to be motivated by guilt, shame or pressure, so it’s important to turn this around and place a focus on positive feelings of achievement and pride, fostering a long-term healthier behaviour change.


“Anyone can be affected by what they see online, the social cues images can give, and the popular conceptions of an ‘ideal body image’. With the recent growth of ‘selfies’ and the return of muscle-bound Hollywood hero icons like Vin Diesel and Hugh Jackman, there’s a real risk that males may be more influenced to attend the gym more regularly and workout to a point where it becomes dangerous or detracts from their wellbeing.


“This study is important in showing that whilst they may be more unlikely to admit it, body dissatisfaction and dysmorphia can and do affect males as well as females, and therefore should be investigated fully.”


To assess their motivations for exercising, 100 men completed a self-report questionnaire and a second test which evaluated their non-conscious motivation by measuring how long it took them to associate particular words with themselves.


All participants had a slightly elevated BMI and said they work out for around an hour, two or three times a week. Nearly 60 per cent of the men listed health and fitness as their primary reason for attending a gym or fitness activity. Just 16 per cent labelled appearance or amateur body building as their motivation, and eight per cent said training or competing was their main focus.


Participants responded to a series of statements about body image, for example “seeing my reflection makes me feel bad about my body fat and muscularity”. They also evaluated a series of statements about their motivation, such as “I feel under pressure to exercise or work out regularly from people I know well”. These were scored on a scale from one to four, with one being not very true and four being very true.


To examine hidden, non-conscious motivations, the researchers also asked participants to complete an Implicit Association Test (IAT), a task designed to assess automatic associations. It paired positive and negative feelings about exercising, such as ‘spontaneous’ and ‘willing’ or ‘restricted’ and ‘forced’, with words relating to the self and others, such as ‘me’ and ‘mine’ or ‘they’ and ‘theirs’.


The study is published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.