This week we chat to Jonathan Freeman, founder of Club Active, an over-50s'
physical fitness community that seeks to improve people's physical, mental
and social wellbeing and alter the way they age.
JF: Unfortunately, nearly all mainstream gyms don't look after the ever expanding over-50s market. The muse came from the lack of opportunity for this demographic to exercise in a safe, fun and non-intimidating environment.
Providing expert guidance by allied doctors such as exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and dietitians is really a major difference for us. Nearly all gyms don't have a service like this, while we ensure our members have the utmost professional service by university-trained practitioners. And also gives a full-service facility, Club Active is creating a health and fitness community to the neighborhood.
JF: With our average age being 62, gyms can be
intimidating for this market. They frequently have a very different reason as to why
they want to exercise – essentially, it's for function and a healthy
retirement, as opposed to vanity or performance. We focus on creating inclusion
where anyone, no matter their health and fitness level, can seem to be comfortable.
Our specialised medical-grade equipment attracts the common aches and pains the over-50s might experience. A personalised program designed by our allied health professionals, such as exercise physiologist and physiotherapist, provide services that can be rebated through Medicare and private health insurance.
We also have our very own fifty/50 group fitness classes that is 50 minutes in duration. There are three types and anyone can come and try out a category.
JF: I think the biggest challenge was brand awareness, it takes time.
Yes, funding the company is a challenge but ultimately that does not take as
much time as creating a brand, it's definitely a marathon and every step of the
way every decision is important to what your brand does and will also be perceived
JF: COVID was definitely challenging for most gyms. Fortunately, as we
operate an allied health clinic inside all of our facilities, we were able to
still help members under essential services. We also have an online
membership option through our branded app which enabled the majority of members to
continue their program in the comfort of their home. We continue to provide
online services that has been forced upon most fitness facilities through
COVID, however i feel ultimately Club Active can come out of this very strong, as
more and more over 50s understand the importance of exercise to boost immunity
and remain healthy into retirement years.
JF: We believe every Australian over the age of 50
should have the opportunity to change the way they age by exercising in a safe,
fun and non-intimidating environment with expert guidance. We currently have
five franchise locations and have another 4 opening this year with the
audacious goal of opening as many as 100 in Australia over the next 5 years and
moving into international expansion.
JF: Self-reflection and taking it upon yourself for professional
development are grossly under-estimated. Reading and learning from those who
have done it before is invaluable with regards to decision making, especially
if you're trying to scale a business.