Innovation Plus Fitness Equals… Brilliance

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-By Tracey Hilderley

When asked what he thought might be the secret to staying young, healthy and in good shape, Nigel Miller, National Sales Director of Plus Fitness Health Clubs, responded, “Have a good balanced lifestyle including everything that you do in moderation.”

It’s advice that some of us may have heard before. And we often have excuses for not taking it. ‘If only I had the time to find someone to watch little Charlie so I could take a Zumba class, lift some weights, watch my favourite show while getting in my cardio, then enjoy a nice relaxing massage to de-stress.’ Sounds like I’m living in some sort of fantasy land, right? Actually, all this and more can be attained at one place. Plus Fitness Health Club locations have all the wonderful amenities anyone would deem exceptional, yet they are all available to anyone with a membership.

Where the smaller Plus Fitness 24/7 clubs do not have the child-minding option, Plus Fitness traditional gyms do offer free child minding for up to 60 kids at once while mums or dads are having a work out or taking a class. The children are supervised by certified care-givers. Nigel explains, “It turns out this service is quite expensive to run, but it is a service the members need and it is free to them.” And needed it is. If such a service was not available, parents might well have to wait close to five years – until their child entered school – to find the time to visit the gym.

“Most people join a gym and then very quickly, after about five or six weeks, they quit as they are not quite sure what they should be doing. When you join a Plus Fitness you are provided with a one hour fitness assessment and programme at no additional expense. If a member cannot afford a personal trainer once or twice a week, every six to eight weeks a trainer provides a tailored review with one free half-hour session to get them back on track.” Says Nigel, “When given the guidance they need, new members are more likely to stick with their programme and continue on to achieve their goals.” They achieve this success with help, encouragement and constant reinforcement from a special kind of staff that few other clubs offer. Plus Fitness puts the primary emphasis on good customer service and going above and beyond industry standards, resulting in far fewer cancelled memberships. Mr Miller adds, “with ongoing support provided, there is always someone available to coach you, and with that kind of one on one personalised service, members are more likely to stay around.”

And regarding the notorious intimidation which seems to be a global trend many (women especially) feel while working out at a gym, Nigel explains, “In the Plus Fitness 24/7 gyms we have a simple strategy of keeping our dumbbells to a maximum of 45 kilograms.” This deters those with the more intimidating physiques from coming in and showing off too much. “We are very particular about the layout of the gym as well. We believe we are one of the best in the business when it comes to floor plans.” Nigel and his business partner John Fuller have used their experience in the industry to “come up with an exceptional floor plan with not just aesthetics in mind but also consideration to the members and having them feel like they are not being stared at while they are working out. John will place the cardio equipment so it is not facing the doorway… stationary equipment will never face a doorway.” Nigel confesses, “We get quite a lot of recognition for the way we lay out our gyms.”

Some amenities within the Plus Fitness Health Clubs include Massage, Beauty Treatments and Physiotherapy to name a few. The space to house these services is sublet and the proprietors of these small businesses are contracted through Plus Fitness Health Clubs, a business relationship that benefits all parties. As Nigel illustrates, “We get a tenant in the facility while providing another service to the members, and the person that owns this small business gets very favourable rent and also a target market straight away by being within the same environment as potentially 2000 attending members.” And although these services are not included in a membership, there are some complementary services under the banner of Plus Fitness that are offered to members of good standing. “Whether you require physio, massage or beauty services,” many options are available to meet member needs.

With the craze for popular fitness classes like Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, and Boot Camp being offered at the Plus Fitness Health Club locations and with Les Mills (who have been around at least 15 years) dominating gyms in Australia, Plus Fitness feels that even though it is expensive to run, it is worth it to be at the top of the class curve. Plus Fitness Health Clubs are always keeping up with the latest releases and instructional technology. Instructors are invited to attend seminars, training camps and workshops to stay updated and keep their certification fresh. Sometimes even members will approach staff and management to request special training and gain experience regarding a particular class. With opportunities like these, it is obvious why there is no shortage of fitness instructors.

When I asked Nigel about the type of equipment Plus Fitness uses across its two gyms models, he answered, “only the very best equipment in the business.” At the smaller Plus Fitness 24/7’s, SportsArt is a main supplier of the state of the art equipment one would expect to see at a reputable gym facility. “SportsArt is the third largest distributor of commercial grade gym equipment used in America, and is number one in Eastern Europe,” Nigel shares. “We have a great working relationship with them and go to Taiwan to meet with the family that formed the company at least once a year to network and keep a good business relationship.”

Being a strong community supporter that sponsors local sporting groups, Plus Fitness also work with childcare centres and local schools promoting nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. “Last month a chain of childcare centres had a health awareness week and we sent in personal trainers for free to educate the children on the benefits of regular exercise and healthy lifestyles.”

A Plus Fitness franchise opportunity, Nigel shared, is one with great potential for success. “With any new business there are risks, however all of our Franchisees are financially successful and continue to grow due to our fool proof systems and support.” Nigel has yet to experience a non profitable club and has even seen some operators open a second and third club. Nigel and John are also at the head of an outstanding property selection and fit-out team that searches for new and pre-existing sites for Franchisees. “We have training provided through modules at our head office, and we also go into the new gym and train new Franchisees with existing Franchisees, their employees and their managers. Once a franchise is opened, a Franchise Support Manager will keep working with them ongoing to assure their success.”

And the company is ever evolving. One of its newest innovations is “Classes on Demand,” a virtual group exercise class available in Plus Fitness 24/7’s, 24 hours a day, with the added benefit of very low operational costs for the Franchisees. It’s just another example of how Plus Fitness is leading the way in this dynamic industry.

As Mr Miller affirms, “We just have a really solid culture in our business. Your culture is what drives your reputation and success; if you haven’t got a good reputation you haven’t got a good business, if you haven’t got a good business you’re gone.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 5:32 PM AEDT