The future will be all about data...

As an estimated 80 per cent of CV equipment will be able to link up to Apple’s GymKit within a few years, the future will be all about data. Rather than threaten the role of the PT on the gym floor, I think data driven equipment will have the opposite effect and people will need more help, advice and reassurance on how to interpret it most efficiently. And, just as the car industry is having to adapt to the presence of electric cars, the fitness industry will also adapt. It will be more software than equipment led. With Apple, the largest tech company in the world, moving into our space and making it a data game, people’s perceptions of exercise will change. The gym is likely to be incorporated into everyday wellness habits like walking and climbing stairs. Data will give PTs the opportunity to get more involved with their clients between sessions, give personal push notifications, see what their clients are doing when not at the gym and praise them. This innovation will also involve more people from different levels of society, as one of the reasons why lower income groups don’t engage is because they often don’t know where to start. Operators will be forced to adapt, because their clients will adapt, but they should embrace the change. 

David Minton

Original Source: Health Club Management - issue January 2018, pg. 37

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Last week an article was published in the Investors Chronicle discussing how 'The Listed Gym Sector is Bulking Up Again'. LeisureDB's statistics and David's insights were quoted. 

"Between 2007 and 2011 the industry ticked along quite effectively, but with limited growth due to little innovation. It takes a while for new technology and innovation to have an impact on an industry. Smartphones have revolutionised the way consumers record their daily activity and check their health. The interest in tracking devices and wearable technology could help maintain general interest in fitness and be good for the industry.

The penetration of private health clubs (not under local authority control) has grown from 7.5 per cent to 9.1 per cent in the past four years and the joint public-private penetration is an impressive 14.3 per cent - an all-time high. Although we can point the finger to the rapidly expanding low-cost market for most of this growth, it is worth looking at the underlying technology that makes it possible.

Low-cost clubs are a hub of technology, relying on immediate data science and enterprise security software. Their presence on social media and ability to communicate digitally with customers is impressive and also allows for secondary spend across their mobile platforms.

Timing has played its part in bringing fresh technology, vision, innovation, interest and finance into an industry that we have always believed has enormous potential. Parts of it have been driven from 'data poor' to data-driven businesses and some consumers have turned themselves into walking, running, cycling, swimming and fitness data hubs.

The Gym's successful IPO in November 2015 reintroduced the fitness industry to the City and Pure is about to list, while we understand Bannatyne could also be seeking a flotation. US-based fitness and technology expert Bryan O'Rourke believes the global fitness market will grow by 300 per cent in the next decade. If this happens, it will mean great opportunities for UK brands."

David Minton, Director of The Leisure Database Company

Original article: Investors Chronicle, Bradley Gerrard - The Listed Gym Sector Is Bulking Up


This Week in the Fitness Industry


Activity Equivalent Calorie Labelling

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in Britain is arguing for ‘activity equivalent’ calorie labelling in order to reduce the UK’s obesity problem. Packaging could be utilised to not only provide nutritional information but also advise ways to change behaviour. Writing in the British Medical Journal, the chief executive of the RSPH, wants labelling to “prompt people to be mindful of the energy they consume and…to encourage them to be more physically active”.

FIBO 2016, Cologne

FIBO broke world records last week with a total of 153,000 visitors including 83,000 trade visitors from over 100 nations. According to the Deloitte study presented at the exhibition, some 52.4 million people are members of gyms at this time and growth of the European fitness market is at 4.9 per cent. The event gained a lot of media attention with nearly 1,000 accredited journalists attending from over 30 countries. Fitness technology, personalised training, functional training and group fitness remained as some of the hottest trends seen at FIBO this year. 

New public openings

Chard Leisure Centre – The new £500,000 centre, managed by 1610 Trust, officially opened on 4th April and it boasts a state-of-the-art gym and the UK’s largest Prama studio. 

Atherton Leisure Centre – Built on its former site, the new £14.7 million council-run Atherton Leisure Centre also opened on 4th April and is equipped with two swimming pools, a 100 station gym and two dance studios.  

Gym Bacteria

Nobody expects to hear that a toilet is cleaner than their gym equipment but unfortunately it looks to be true. A recent study done by Fit Rated involved swabbing 27 pieces of gym equipment at 3 different gyms and they found some pretty gruesome results. Luckily for us though they made these fun infographics to learn all about the bacteria that lingers on our gym equipment…

FT Article - Pay-as-you-go gyms increase in popularity over longer contracts

Interesting article in the FT yesterday looking at the rising popularity of pay-as-you-go gyms in the UK containing the following quote from David.

“New technology puts the power into the users’ hands,” says David Minton, director at The Leisure Database Company. “We just haven’t been in that position before and what we are finding is that the consumers love it.”

#ThisGirlCan but more importantly #ThisGirlDoes!

Edge Cycle, Indoor Cycling Studio, Holborn. Get Fit - Get the Edge.

Edge Cycle, Indoor Cycling Studio, Holborn. Get Fit - Get the Edge.

In those winter months when you look out the window and the wind is blowing the bin down the road, or rain is lashing against the window, the last thing any of us want to do is grab our trainers and go for a run. How do you drag yourself out the door once you’ve returned from work, braced yourself to get changed, and then get back out the door in the freezing cold? The trouble is, Spring is on its way and there will just be more excuses, it’s not only the weather that can put us off leaving the house. I can assure you there are many times when I would rather enjoy a glass of wine than 45 mins on a spin bike. So what is the best way to motivate ourselves to get our freak on, as the Sport England campaign so eloquently puts it?

Our New Year’s resolutions have been and long gone, most of them didn't make it to the end of January and Summer still seems a little too far off to be worrying about that beach body. It doesn't matter who we are, we all need to be motivated in order to wiggle into our costume and make it to the pool, without being distracted with something that is much more important. But what really is the secret to finding this motivation that we all need?

The problem is that everyone is different. All of our fitness goals vary from person to person. Very few of us have the same needs when it comes to our fitness regime. And what works for one person isn't going to work for everyone. I have always believed that if you don’t like sports it’s because you haven’t found the right sport for you. From Zumba and Pilate’s, right through to Weight Lifting and Netball, the classes and training are so vastly spread that there must be one thing you enjoy. I always noticed at school that the girls who ‘hated’ PE, seemed to thoroughly enjoy trampolining and dance. It’s just about our personal tastes.

The second problem I feel comes from the way we advertise and discuss fitness. We make it seem like a chore and that everyone who chooses to visit the gym or join a club, does so based on guilt. Such a negative view on the fitness industry is not the most justifiable basis for a fitness plan. I'm sure most of us have said it at one stage or another ‘I have to go the gym tonight because of the rubbish I ate at the weekend’ or ‘It’s OK I can eat those crisps because I went spinning at lunch time’. By using exercise to make us feel less guilty we are using our HIIT class as a punishment for our junk food crimes. It’s an endless cycle that just creates negativity causing us to give in and stay home with the box of chocolates and think about how terrible you will feel when eventually Summer arrives and you have to dig out the bikini again.

So I have decided to take it upon myself to enjoy my sport and to visit the gym for the thrill and the buzz I receive from it. When I first took up netball at the age of 13 it was for the pure love of sport, the desperation to win and the sense of achievement I felt after I had work my butt off, regardless of the result. This is still true; I still experience this buzz, and funnily enough netball has never felt like a chore. Why? Because I choose to go for the love I first felt as a teenager. But I decided this isn't enough. It’s time I felt like this about all exercise. I've chosen to stop using the gym as punishment. So instead of sitting in my spin class and counting calories, I now get up on that beat and think about how good it feels to actually be able to take part.  At the end of the class I love the sense of achievement and the thought that yes ‘this girl can' but more importantly 'this girl does'. I leave the gym with a smile on my face itching to get back. I even enjoy it so much that tonight I'm off to my third spin class of the week, something I never thought I would be doing.

So I challenge all of you to stop thinking about how cold and painful your next run is going to be and instead find a reason that will help you fall back in love with your exercise - no matter what it is, just make it genuine and make sure it has nothing to do with that tiny bikini at the back of your drawer!


Jennifer Schooling - The Leisure Database Company

1Rebel - Natalie and I check out the launch and try a Rebel Ride Class

The long anticipated 1Rebel @1Rebel_uk opened this week in the City of London between Liverpool St and the Gherkin on St Mary Axe. Covering 8,000 sq ft that is divided into 2 large studios, 1Rebel offers 2 different classes - Rebel Ride (spinning style indoor cycling workout) and Rebel Reshape (combination of resistance exercises combined with intense bursts on treadmills).  These high intensity group exercise classes are available on a pay per visit basis, with no contract and no hidden fees.

Both being keen cyclists, Natalie and myself went along to try out Rebel Ride. What a great lunchtime class! We loved the pumping sound system and the new smooth Matrix bikes which have Look and SPD cleats on every bike - JJ can you make this the new common standard and can all manufactures fall in line? Both of these greatly enhance the experience for the user and when your paying £20 per ride (when you buy 10 sessions up front) or £22 per ride (when you buy 4 sessions) its essential to do everything possible to make sure each ride is the best one yet.

The showers, see photos below, are a work of art and are the best I've seen since Crunch opened. Changing rooms also have heated seating, nice products and fluffy scented towels. Roots & Bulbs are doing the refuelling. 

I look forward to my next ride in a few weeks time when it's settled in and before the second site opens at Broadgate in April.