Ask the Expert: Tamer El-Guindy
You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Tamer El-Guindy, the senior vice president of global franchising for UFC Gym, on the franchise’s success and trends he’s keeping an eye on.
From your perspective as a 20-year fitness veteran, what do you think makes UFC Gym great as a brand?
TE: UFC Gym has three distinct competitive advantages. The first and most obvious one is the remarkable global media presence of the UFC. This allows gym owners around the globe to maximize member acquisition opportunities by combining the multimillion dollar marketing efforts of the UFC with their local strategy.
The second is the incorporation of state-of-the-art MMA training and functional training into the programming. This training is inspired by the MMA athletes, who we consider to be some of the best athletes in the world. This has enabled our members to experience incredible results, giving them the opportunity to learn a discipline and expand the functionality of their bodies.
The third and most important competitive advantage of our brand is our laser focus on our youth program. This particular program makes the UFC Gym a true family environment, where a child as young as 5-years-old can be a member of our gym and take classes on the weekends that are specially designed to be taken with their mother or father, creating a family event that goes beyond fitness.
What can other club operators learn by looking at UFC Gym’s success?
TE: The inclusion of a multitude of different activities inside the gym is a way of the future. A member can walk into a UFC Gym and see several different classes ranging from MMA to resistance training to functional training — all happening at the same time. The UFC Gym combines traditional fitness with several different micro-gym classes inside their space. Community is fundamental in the new age of fitness. The UFC Gym focuses on creating a classroom setting that provides gamification, positive competition and a sense of community among all of its members. In life, everyone is fighting their own individual fight, and at the UFC Gym everybody is fighting together. Everyone is a fighter at the UFC Gym.
What trends are you witnessing right now in fitness and personal training?
TE: Consumers today expect constant variety in their workout programs. The utilization of techniques that maximize calorie expenditure with functionality is the expectation of today’s fitness consumer. To achieve that, the use of HIIT in conjunction with total-body functional training is the new norm. Studios and micro-gyms started this trend that is now prevalent in health clubs across the country.
How do you think clubs can better connect with and reach the millennial market?
TE: The best way to connect to the millennial market is by creating a sense of community and purpose. You must communicate a clear message of social meaning that goes beyond fitness. Health and fitness impacts family relations, economics, work productivity, public health and so on. Creating a sense of community has never been more important to fitness facilities. Millennials, more than any other generation, yearn and aspire to be a part of something that they believe in and can belong to. This is one reason why group training has become a growing trend. Effective marketing messaging and clear communication is the perfect vehicle to portray a sense of community and purpose to your millennial members.