Body Design FIT, Pontefract, was recognised as Northern Gym of the Year in this Winter’s National Fitness Awards.

The gym, which has been open since 2011, is run by owner Simon Longstaff who has more than 25 years personal training under his belt. This was the second win and fifth nomination the gym had received since 2016, thanks to its ambition to become recognised as the UK’s Functional Gym of the Year. A partner of Fisikal since 2016, here, Simon introduces us to their story.

“Growth has always been a key factor for us. We outgrew our current facility some time ago and in the last 12-24 months have focused on creating community hubs with locals schools, government projects and charities to emulate the experience that we create for our members in our own club. Our core business is small group classes and personal training — extending from bodyweight products to TRX, to metcon, right through to 121 — across the multiple facilities in the local area, which we serve.”

“The need to identify a single tool to manage the scheduling and payments for all BDF products across every location became clear to me as the business gathered pace — but I needed something that wasn’t going to be too difficult for someone who isn’t yet overtly technically literate; to get me converted to social media had already been a pretty big push! It had to feel friendly to our customers too from our youngest to our oldest.”

“We’d looked at four systems already prior to speaking with Emma and Rob. I had been searching for a web-based system that felt as efficient as possible: I didn’t want to worry about taking payments and waitlists and I wanted my customers to be able to pay online and get in to class straightaway.”

“When I met with Fisikal. I was like, okay, this is a solid mainstream system used in big health clubs across the world so progressive, that through adaptations over the years was now accessible for people like myself who has a small studio and 600 people attending sessions each week.”

“The entire process felt consultative. Rob really helped explain the system to me and my options. It seemed so simple for me to integrate it in to my business without needing to compromise on any of the features I needed.”

“We launched with personal training, online payments and scheduling to begin. For us Phase One was about setting strong foundations and instilling an organised, systematic approach for our team and our customers. As we increased out class sizes and locations in more recent years it made the process more manageable. In the last 12 months we have been able to use the system to adapt to GDPR compliancy and take our entire business virtually paperless. In Phase Two now we’ll launch all of our email marketing through the platform and mobilise our online shop.”

“In the last 12 months we have been able to use the system to make us entirely GDPR compliant and paperless.”

“As a business owner the biggest impact for me is that now everything is entirely quantifiable. I can analyse what an individual has been doing and not doing — those inside the business, and our customers. I can take an analytical review of our demographics and their behaviours, their consumptions, the impacts of holiday periods and time of year as regularly as I need. This higher level of consistency in data has allowed us to look at the complete business structure from a managerial perspective, right down to opening hours — not just the management of our class schedule. From a data point of view, my visibility is unlimited. This transparency means that I can really serve my customers what they need.”