FEEL GOOD @ THE DEN Life has a funny way of carrying you along on its swelling tide IF you choose to go with it as I seem to do (sometimes it’s good to be spontaneous, and sometimes that can bite hard!) During this whole pandemic (I’m trying hard here to use ANY word other than unprecedented as it’s been way overdone lately!).. we’ve all had to make some tough and painful decisions on both personal and business levels, and I doubt anyone has come away unscathed. So I ask not for sympathy with my story as it is only one of millions but I hope at the very least to survive, (and thrive given the chance). I know I was probably the first to chose to close as it was getting untenable. I was also probably the first to close for good, as I could envision exactly how it would be. It was an incredible experience I feel I was in a dream and all the equipment flew out in 10 days flat. I had to be brave and hold my nerve – and I have no regrets other than there being no Club in Hay (that was really hard to bear but it would have been miserable once we opened again and I would likely have been bankrupt, paying for this vast space but with so few going in once we reopened. I’m no hot-headed hard-nosed entrepreneur and I know my weaknesses (not paying enough attention to the minutae and going on gut instinct alone can be hair raising and I’ve probably lost a fortune over the years) … BUT I’m still here, after two major recessions, and this dreadful Covid business. And I have not given up hope. So I was talking to my mate ‘Matt the boxing statistician’ about life in general a couple of weeks ago and he was saying that now the Club has closed, he was considering going to a gym miles away in Kington and saying how we never knew we had it so good with the Club before. (loads of equipment and on his doorstep)
Something in me was enraged (that I’d had to lose it due to no fault of my own, and the town now had no facilities), but also engaged! I was listening hard and an idea started to formulate (I tried to stop it, but to no avail -- it had taken hold)!
You see - I’d already started to mourn my position and visibility in the town as a leading health and fitness provider and although I knew I’d done the only thing I could do under these circumstances – I’d started to realise the ONLY way forward for me was to have a base. It’s just so hard to operate without one. So I asked Matt to keep an eye out for me for premises in the town – smaller than the Gym & Tonic one (as I said – with the overheads that would’ve killed me) I’d seen a unit next door to my very first Gym – up on Castle Street – but it was likely TOO small and the sellers were hopeless at getting back to me. God was watching!
Because just by chance I saw a hand written sign up in a window for a shop by the clock tower and I just knew. Light airy and an interesting shape with a good space to work in, and best of all – right on the street by the Thursday market too (as opposed to behind it as with G&T’s – which made our ‘presence’ hard work, I was constantly marketing to make it work)
Long story cut short, I rang the number – I knew the owners, looked it over, and shook hands the very same day and have spent this week decorating and ordering all I need to run a Personal Training studio for small group and 1-2-1 training. PERFECT for me as I love the intimate work I do with clients. (As well as my classes = my other passion). Even AFTER Covid I want to keep it small numbers. The idea is that it will work like my old Castle Street venue – by appointment – and clients will get a very bespoke service with me once a month (with follow on appointments each month). I’ll give them a tailored programme and they can access the premises and follow through. For them it’s good value as they pay approximately what I normally charge for one 1-2-1 session anyway, but they get the space in which to follow through (up to four times a week).
We’ve worked on the pricing structure (always the hardest bit), and the name and logo – it’s been quite extraordinary just how much we’ve achieved, and when I say ‘we’ I AGAIN refer to my daughter who is superb at feedback (she has so much belief and never lets me undersell myself which I am wont to do). She’s so good at the marketing and design side, we’re making a great team and it would be so hard without her… But also her dad who has really helped me out this week putting up the lights, and the plumbing next week too. My son with his uncompromising opinions (!), but it’s all good as it so helps to formulate what I hope will be an ideal training facility. (his worry about lack of privacy has dictated how this will look and operate – a max of 3, and the booking system will ensure lots of room).
I’m gutting all that was there before. There was a loo in one room and a hand basin in another. Now all brand new facilities, and in the same room. The previous washroom will now be a kitchenette, with new unit/sink.
All the decorating they did the week before I took it on, was a waste of time as it’s all in the process of being totally redone (it was in a green exactly the same as the outside of G&T’s – all a horrible reminder and in any case - not in our brand colours at all).
Everything is being replaced! (right down to the letter box). Whereas G&T’s was funky, I want this to be intimate, luxurious, and spacious. A really nice light airy space to workout in.
One thing I was never keen on was machines (especially ones that didn’t ‘pull’ their weight); so I’ve homed in on just two which are brilliant for the whole body; a Concept 2 Ski Erg and the Cardiostrong EX90 Plus (elliptical), which has electronic stride adjustment for all heights, and multi hand positions (as well as a small footprint)
My focus now is very much on weights, Gripr’s (I’ll explain another day), outdoor training, walking, and Nordic walking) and the disciplines I teach but in small groups – Freestyle Fitness Yoga, Barre Conditioning, (I got my Barres back!), Freestyle Restorative Pilates, Athletic Pilates, and Metabolic Mastery!). Instead of lots of equipment there will be just single items of exquisite quality, all selected only if they offer value to a fully functioning body.
Nutrition will be based on my beloved Bio-Typing and clients can choose what they want their PT sessions to be (a blend of the above disciplines, nutrition, or bespoke). It’s all coming together now. They can work out with their pals by booking same times slots, and herbal tea will always be on offer (free!) I’m also offering an elite 1-2-1 service for clients that want the extra attention and accountability this gives. All clients will have a folder with their prescriptions and progress detailed. ‘The Adventures of Cat Wyllie-Fox’, and ‘The Wilderness Workouts’ online sessions will still continue – annoyingly, at the moment with Covid (no campsites yet), and the relentless RAIN lately – the travel has had to be stalled and all workouts studio based – BUT as soon as I am able it will happen and I cannot wait! (in the meantime I have a studio to film in and get my front room back!) It’s going to be very busy for a few months, my shoulders and neck are on fire with sanding, and painting ceilings and walls but I am seriously excited for the future! This will take me to my late 60’s and I see no reason to stop. I worked non-stop all week (and did my training / walked my 3 doglets) – I feel as fit as ever!
As a friend said this week – this gives me the chance to design my life on my terms. So true, and at this stage in my life, after decades in this business - why not?! (as long it suits you too!)
So to finish this very long blog, here’s what is proposed 3 tiers: ‘Cubs’
The Wilderness Workouts alone (online sessions 6/7 days) £25.00 pcm
Includes small group training once a month together, pop-up sessions outdoors (indoors too when Covid is done), and access to the studio as a member up to 4 x a week, £50 up front pcm, £60 on d/d (min 3m membership). If you miss your session you still have The Wilderness Workouts to catch up
‘Vixens Plus’ All the above, and 1-2-1 Elite PT training, once a month with dedicated 3 x a month ‘check-up’ consultations a month (remote). £250 pcm
The studio is to be called ‘The Den’ – all very foxy!
So see you soon at The Den (and if it all goes horribly wrong I can blame Matt!)