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nuffi eld unveils london refurb Jan Middelkamp


PEOPLE PROFILE


Olympic rower Alex Partridge has helped officially unveil Nuffield Health’s new-look health and wellbeing centre in Covent Garden, London, following a £2.5m overhaul. Covent Garden Fitness


and Wellbeing Centre has undergone a two-phase refurbishment, the second of which comprised a £500,000 transformation of the venue’s wet facilities. T e centre now off ers a bespoke hydrotherapy and spa area with sauna and steamroom, with visitors able to benefi t from hydrotherapy facilities in the 20m swimming pool area. Work on the £2m first phase of the


renovation was completed in December 2010, with a full overhaul of the branding and the construction of a new health clinic. T ree new-look studios, upgraded changing facilities and a new 100-station gym – which


How many years have you worked in the health and fi tness industry? I started as a judo teacher in a health club when I was 15 years old. At that time, I was a member of the Dutch national team. After three years of being a judo teacher, the club owner asked me to do fi tness classes too, and a few years later he asked me to become the club manager of fi rst one club and later of two clubs.


budget chain klick fi tness begins roll-out


Klick Fitness, the budget arm of Fitness First, has entered the UK market and was scheduled to have nine clubs operating by the end of last month. The chain opened its


encompass two sites in Manchester and one each in Aintree, Bradford, Ipswich, Sheffield and Stoke. Each Klick Fitness site offers a group exercise studio and functional training areas for small groups. Jason Worthy, head of central operations


for Klick, told Leisure Opportunities that the company is looking to open more clubs under


Could you tell us about the new book? What is the overall idea, and what topics does it cover? The main purpose of the book – The State of Research in the Global Fitness Industry – is to collect, describe and disclose all the scientifi c research that has been done on fi tness clubs worldwide – this has not been done before. The book looks at around 500 very interesting studies across a number of different topics, including: industry/ market data, retention, marketing and sales, management, group fi tness and PT.


training zones. This is great news, as they’re not only excellent for offering effective training routines, but also fantastic for member experience. It’s very easy for a club to make the


I the lc completes £80,000 extension programme


An expanded free weights area and a new group cycling studio have been unveiled at T e LC in Swansea, following an £80,000 expansion. Additional weights and benches have been


provided in the free weights area, while the group cycling studio features new bikes,


What was the motivation behind the book? We wanted to stimulate research in general, but thought that it would be important to fi rst know what had already been researched. To my surprise, there is a lot more research on fi tness clubs than everybody thinks. We’ve found studies in scientifi c databases from markets as diverse as China, Brazil and Austria.


decision to install one of these zones. Based on the shift in popularity and the equipment being very cost- effective, clubs are very keen to get with the times and go for it. However, it’s not that simple. Club


owners need to realise that this type of equipment is generally very new for the member and not particularly intuitive. For this reason, the success of these zones is heavily based on the club training team: it’s vital to have a knowledgeable team that can


january 2012 © cybertrek 2012 october 2011 © cybertrek 2011


july 2012 © cybertrek 2012


t’s happening across the UK – all the big chains are looking to find space for functional


You also have a masters degree in leisure – what did you study? I studied exercise science at the University of Utrecht and specialised in exercise adherence (retention), management and youth sports.


How long have you been involved in research projects? It started when I was at university, in 1994 – I worked for three years at the university in Utrecht – so 18 years now.


first site in Wakefield on 5 September and its second in Bromborough, Merseyside, on 15 September. The other locations


Who is the book targeting? Its intended readership comprises club owners, managers, industry associations, banks and so on.


What are the book’s key thoughts you’d like to offer operators? It’s crucial that the fi tness industry develops a body of knowledge. We have to build our products and programmes based on evidence – this is vital if we are to build trust with consumers, banks and so on. It’s very strange that, for example, group


TOMMY MATTHEWS, MD, OPTIMAL LIFE FITNESS Klick, the budget arm of Fitness First, opened its fi rst clubs last month


educate the members in functional training methods. Without this, the zone will become a space for stretching and doing Swiss ball exercises. This zone is all about activity and


fun. It should be the centrepiece of the gym fl oor and draw members in. To do this successfully, we need to have a product: a structured training programme that introduces members to the kit, continually challenges them and keeps them coming back. Well- structured small group programmes are essential to create the buzz – for example Move IT, by Optimal Life Fitness and Escape Fitness, that helps clubs to launch, promote, sell and run small group training (image above).


fi tness programmes are still launched globally without knowing in detail what the benefi ts are for participants. We know even less about what works in terms of sales and marketing, employee satisfaction etc. More is known on retention, but even here there are some huge knowledge gaps.


the Klick banner. “T is is a market that we expect to grow very quickly,” he says. Memberships will be available at a monthly


rate of £9.99 and an annual rate of £99.99, including a certain amount of classes.


What do you hope to achieve with the book? We’ve already had a lot of support from EHFA, and we hope that EHFA will co- ordinate the next steps in terms of research. I believe that the fi tness industry has to create a masterplan on research, to ensure all of the important topics are investigated. EHFA should co-ordinate this at a European level. IHRSA could also help on a global level.


disco lights and a sound system. Technogym supplied the gym equipment. LC general manager Nic Beggs says: “T e


investment refl ected conversations we had with our members and it’s been great to see these suggestions come to fruition.”


What’s the number one weakness of the fi tness sector? We need a stronger focus on the behavioural aspect of our members. The biggest issue is still the low levels of retention and loyalty among members.


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A former club manager, Middelkamp has recently co-authored a book that rounds up 500 key fi tness studies from across the world – giving an overview of research conducted on a number of topics


T e new swimming pool at Nuffi eld’s Covent Garden club in London


was predominantly supplied by Life Fitness – have also formed part of the overall scheme. ViPR, TRX and Power Plate also supplied


equipment to the gym at Covent Garden Fitness and Wellbeing Centre. T e club will focus on everything from nutrition to sport injury prevention and rehabilitation.


Were there any unexpected fi ndings while writing the book? Yes – not least the amount of research nobody knows about! Keep in mind that this book is not about one or even a few investigations. It aims to give an overview of all the scientifi c research available – and there are some very, very interesting studies out there.


news and jobs updated daily on www.healthclubmanagement.co.uk


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