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In January, Nuffield Health introduced health mentors to all of its gyms. More than just a PT, mentors are tasked with providing a tailored service for each member. We spoke to one of the operator’s first mentors

How many years have you worked in the leisure industry? Seven years, initially as a climbing instructor and trip leader at a summer camp in the US while studying for my degree in Sport and PE at UWIC. I was an avid gym-goer, so I decided to turn my passion into a career.

You spent more than two years in New Zealand, specialising in working with amputees. Tell us more. I made loads of friends from New Zealand while working in America. When I graduated in 2007, I decided to move out there. I worked as a marketing consultant initially, but one of my clients had a fantastic wellness centre. The owner soon realised I was really passionate about the industry and, once aware of my background, offered me a position at the centre. Working with the neuro-physios at the centre taught me so much, and the clients I worked with were so inspirational. I genuinely loved getting up for work each day, so I knew this was the industry for me.

How did you end up working at Nuffield in the UK? Having had my fi rst taste of understanding true wellbeing, I knew I wanted to work for a company that shared this wellbeing- focused, collaborative way of working. When I came back to the UK, I searched for a company sharing this ethos; this is when I found Nuffi eld Health.

And you also were involved with Great Ormond Street Hospital? Exercise has been shown to improve lung function and life expectancy in those with cystic fi brosis, so Great Ormond Street and Nuffi eld joined forces to provide a fi tness programme aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the illness. I was lucky enough to get involved with the programme and Sarah Rand, a specialist physiotherapist at the hospital,

March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013

explained more about the condition and how we as trainers could help. It was an absolute joy to be a part of.

How did you end up becoming a Nuffield health mentor? When I was fi rst introduced to the wellbeing membership concept that Nuffi eld Health would be offering, I knew straight away that it was something I wanted to be a part of. It’s a really exciting time for us – it’s something no-one else in the industry is offering, and I truly believe it can, and will, help so many people reach their wellbeing goals.

What do health mentors do? What’s your typical day? I wouldn’t say there is a typical day (which is what makes it such a great job!) Our role is to help people realise their health and fi tness goals, and support and guide them throughout their wellbeing journey.

Is it important for operators to provide personalised services? It’s absolutely imperative that a more personalised service is made available to customers. When it comes to fi tness and wellbeing, there’s no single best way for everyone to achieve their goals – it isn’t a one-size-fi ts-all venture. I think the industry needs to understand this if we are to increase the number of gym users and, in turn, improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.

What’s the number one weakness in the fitness industry? Historically, the lack personalised services and the lack of collaboration between trainers, physiotherapists, physiologists and other health professionals. I think the gym can be quite an intimidating place for new users, so I’m really pleased to be part of a programme leading the way in offering a joined-up wellbeing service.

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