A fitness business – which uses evolving technology to deliver, across the globe, expert tuition in training – is going from strength to strength, five months after a major makeover.
Since October the number of customers using its app – who include US soldiers and truck drivers – has doubled.
They come from more than 10,000 cities in 200 countries, are aged between 18 and 80, and have now completed more than 200,000 workouts using training programmes provided by the Newcastle-based team.
The company was launched as Gym Gurus in 2014 by Paul Slater – the former head of a design firm – and Dave Stidolph, his personal trainer and a highly qualified instructor. They were joined a year later by Mark Hemmings, now chief technical officer, who brought expertise and experience in app platform development.
Fit Gurus started life as a website giving guidance on fitness, muscle-building and weight-loss, but after significant support from investors has been developed into an app. In October the app was redesigned and re-branded to Gym Plan.
Gym Plan delivers its customers an expertise in both intensive training and nutrition and offers the flexibility their lifestyles require. It also provides feedback, tips and encouragement through conversations via the app – whether the user lives in Afghanistan or Australia. A further enhancement to the app, which will make it even more personal for each user, is about to be launched.
“There are people out there who simply need a personal trainer there telling them what to do,” said Paul.
“The market’s changed. Many gyms are open 24 hours a day now. People need 24/7 support.”
Dave added: “If you’re serious about training – and our customers have to be because it is intense training at times – you need to know what to do. We provide the expertise to guide them, but they have to walk the path themselves.
“Training can be a very lonely business. Our app and team can be a gym buddy for anybody, anywhere and anytime.”
Gym Plan’s flexibility has, for example, helped a serving US soldier maintain his fitness, even when living in a tent during his deployment to the Middle East.
It has designed a nutritional and training programme for a customer in Iran who was desperate to lose weight.
Dave has also created a military-ready programme for American men and women preparing for the gruelling fitness tests for potential recruits to the armed forces.
Gym Plan is proving popular as well with truckers who are taking part in a major fitness campaign in the US, where – for instance – gyms are being built at truck stops. The campaign aims to improve the health of the high number of obese people who drive the country’s 2.5m trucks in, what has been described as, America’s unhealthiest job.
Gym Plan founders Paul and Dave and CTO Mark Hemmings have been committed trainers since they were young. Dave worked in a number of jobs before becoming a professional personal trainer.
“I started training Paul and he loved the style of training I was doing with him,” said Dave. “He was looking for a business to start up and so was I. That’s where it started: the niche idea of a fitness-based app which could provide the sort of training I was providing Paul, but for a more global audience.”
Before teaming up with Dave, Paul had set up a successful design company – whose clients included Dräger, the Tyne Tunnel and Northumberland College.
“Gym Plan could not be more different, but the foundations of a quality product and personal service are exactly the same,” he said.
Mark uses his own app to help his training for rugby. “It gives me direction, rather than just walking into a gym and doing three sets of 10 on whatever equipment is free,” he said.
“Unlike other apps, Gym Plan adds character, variety and intensity to training. The best part of the job for all of us is hearing our customers’ success stories – which are brought about by a lot of hard work with help from our app.”