NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Nov 8th, 2012.
A Wrexham gym has defied difficult economic times and continues to thrive after almost a year since they opened their doors.
Inspire Performance Centre (IPC) in Gwersyllt shies away from traditional consumer gym set ups, instead prioritising member engagement, training sessions and bespoke body conditioning. Recently we caught up with one of their elite coaches, John Aby, to see how their first year had gone:
Q: How do you think the slightly unconventional approach you have here has been embraced by members?
It’s been about education really, educating people in strength and conditioning and knowing they are not here to be lifestyle members. Once we got that education out there things snowballed but we know we’re never going to be a gym with 1000 members because of the time investment commanded by the members we have. It’s been a process of organic growth, and for us that’s the best kind of growth.
Q: Last time we reported that your gym were going to introduce a ‘personal touch’ when it comes to member engagement. Do you think you’ve been able to do that successfully?
Absolutely. It’s our unique selling point. We’re not personal trainers, we are experts in our particular areas and we share that knowledge and experience with the people that come here on a regular basis. It’s important to us that the environment we set is conducive to learning.
Q: Stepping back and taking a look at the 12 months since the start has it been easier or more difficult than you expected it to be?
It’s been a steady progression upwards. I expected it to be difficult and to be honest I would have been disappointed if it wasn’t.
What has been challenging is training coaches. We now have sports science students coming here but have also been approached by sixth form colleges and schools too.
Q: So has it been more community-orientated than you thought it might have been?
Not really, I wanted it to be community-orientated. We’re local people, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced sport at the elite level and I’ve also developed it from grass roots level. This needed to be for the community – it was about time we got away from too much of a commercial angle and developed a serious interest in this type of gym whilst giving people care and attention.
Q: Do you think you’ve created a blueprint to take elsewhere?
I think it is a blueprint to take it elsewhere. But this place is only as good as the coaches that work here – it’s not easy to find a group of people like what we have here. If the quality of coaches are out there with the same passion and interest as me then it could happen.
Q: How many training sessions do you hold each week?
We hold over 15 sessions a week at the moment ranging from our matted area to our strength and conditioning area. All our sessions are coach-based and what we try to do is empower the people that take part with information. That way the more they come here we find the less information they need and they actually are able to empower others.
Q: What future plans do you have (for this gym in particular)?
Keep educating people. Keep bringing people in. The key aspect is the people who are here need our attention, that’s how we’ve been successful so far and hopefully will continue to be.
Members of the gym were pleased to have access to a facility which allowed them to train for particular purposes. Shaun Strudwick, a local rugby player, said the gym had allowed him to work on specific conditioning for rugby and had allowed him to progress significantly. He also praised the work and expert advice of the coaches who are always on hand.
Andy Jones, who has only recently joined the gym had previously struggled to find the kind of gym he was looking for:
“I used to box, and was looking for somewhere which would allow a structured approach to strength and conditioning. Many of the local gyms are limiting in terms of the movements you can make with the equipment which just aren’t practical in the real world nor in sport really.”
“There’s nothing like here locally either, I think to find somewhere even similar to here you would have to travel to Liverpool or Manchester.”
Andy was appreciative of the support (albeit strict!) from the coaches too:
“When you’re training on your own it’s easy to lose technique, but here they pull you up on technique and make sure you do it properly before you can finish!”
If you would like to find out more about IPC you can visit their website here.