Want to know the importance of technology and mental health in the fitness industry? In this episode Richard chats with the Chief Operating Officer of LIFT Brands Andy Peat. Andy was 17 when he started out in the industry, conveniently not having to tell anyone his age… he was a personal trainer, worked on cruise liners and then became a SNAP fitness franchisee and from this he became the CEO of SNAP fitness Australia at the age of 25. Now he is the COO of LIFT Brands and the creator of technology fitness and nutrition app ‘Nomergy’. Take a read or watch the full interview…
What are the fundamentals of growing in the fitness industry?
Andy’s quick progression in the industry was a credit to timing, luck and proven skills. He also emphasises the importance of putting yourself out there and know what people want to hear, from this he got the opportunity to learn and prove himself once he was in the role as CEO.
When Andy started as CEO he has no right to the job, he didn’t have a degree or much experience but he was great at selling franchises and selling gym memberships, but obviously running a $100 million business was next level! So he talked to the right people, educated himself and delivered results!
How do you deliver the results when you are still learning?
- Observe and learn – During the first three months as CEO Andy he took a back seat and observed what the operators did, he learnt the goods and the bads within the industry from this.
- Back yourself – Andy had to back his own ideas and add his own flavour to the business. Andy believes “It’s one thing to back yourself but actually going in and doing it is another.” A big thing that distinguished him was that he followed through with his ideas.
- Work WITH people – Andy always enjoyed working with people and building relationships. He has a lot of empathy because he was a previous SNAP franchisee so the SNAP franchisees were able to relate to him and be on the same page because of his experience.
- Educate yourself – Outside of work during the early stages of Andy being CEO, he was in a relentless study mindset. He studied business, he became a student of business, fitness and of the industry. He learnt from people 100 years ago and explored the tycoons of the industry today. He read and listened to everything he could in his free time. At the time he wasn’t sure it was working but over time he realised he was using things he learnt.
Did the need to educate yourself come because you had the job or did it come because you wanted to know it in the future?
It was a bit of both for Andy, but there was an urgent need to educate himself because he had the job. He didn’t tell anyone his age so people assumed he was older. The motivation came to learn ‘adult talk’ early so he could stand at the same level with the franchisees and give himself enough time to deliver results.
He knew he could get the results but he wanted to buy some time to be able to develop a stronger understanding and back himself on different things in the industry. The true test was dealing with adversity, since he was still young he could get stuck into fixing problems rather than delegating others to do them.
Looking into the future, saw the problems with sales, mental health and has created an app.
At the time Andy was CEO of SNAP fitness in Australia he noticed acai bowls and smoothie bowls were becoming popular and everyone began caring more about nutrition. Andy stresses that if you are going to be a gym operator or fitness professional and want results you have to offer some nutrition education. He couldn’t find what he was looking for to adapt with the nutrition trend so he figured, “if you can’t find it, just build it”.
From this philosophy he partnered with a couple of experts and created a business called Nomergy which is about using food to create more energy for people. The business model didn’t work out but he believed in it and took it upon himself to turn it into a fully functional app for fitness professionals and for SNAP. The team ended up commercialising the technology to build personalised apps for gyms and personal trainers that offers more in nutrition, programming, connecting to members and creating a stronger member community. This technology also helps to:
- Make it easy to manage reviews for the fitness centers that use the apps.
- Use the power of tech and machine learning to make it as personalised as possible.
- Reduce attrition within the snap network,
- Sell more myzone belts through the technology than any other country – rather than selling a belt it is about selling a solution.
- Coming up with great features that launch next month to improve member experience
What do you mean that all businesses are technology, what do you mean by that?
Andy believes that in the future all businesses will become technology businesses they will just offer different services and products. Andy will always offer fitness as a service. Offering additional services through technology allows the SNAP brand to keep their yield high and attrition low.
Through the use of technology LIFT Brands are the pioneers of onboarding new members and have special things being released to ensure the public that they are caring about the long term relationship with members, rather than just being a sales machine.
Why did you decide to make your technology app available to anyone?
Andy likes technology and with technology you either go broke or become a billionaire, but money isnt a driver for Andy it just allows him to do things he likes. He saw an opportunity with it so he has commercialised it. Nomergy for any wellness/fitness business is 90% of what they want in their own app so it is cheaper for these businesses to use because Andy builds the app they want rather than them doing it themselves.
Why is mental health important for fitness businesses?
Mental health is such a big part of society. A lot can be achieved when someone moves a little bit better, eats a bit better and connects with other people so people can feel like they are part of something bigger. A couple of years ago Andy developed the Snap 6 week challenge to raise money for charity for mental health. Now he is using his technology to educate people, providing them with tips and tools that can improve their mental health.
A lot of it comes back to gratitude, the app includes has a gratitude diary as well. It is important to form positive habits to create a healthy lifestyle. Social media has a big part to play, it can be good and bad because people compare themselves but people need to remember it’s not reality.
“Regardless of brands, if you own a fitness facility and you want to be successful in the future you need to create a plan to show that your club and membership goes beyond the four walls of your gym and you are there for someone’s wellness , not just their fitness and that is both mental and physical. The industry is going from a fitness industry to a wellness industry, if you are going to be apart of it you have to offer fitness, nutrition and the mental side of it. You will never be a counsellor or psychologist and don’t try to be because that is dangerous but let people know about things like gratitude and social connection because that can really change peoples lives.”
What tips do you have for anyone in the industry to continue through the hard times?
Business, like life, is full of adversity and your character comes out in those tough moments. Just know that you go through peaks and valleys and you only go through the valleys to make the peaks even better. When you are going through the rough parts just remember why you are there. Use your heart and gut and back decisions up with the logical and analytical side of things.
If it makes sense to keep going, if you get into trouble mentally, financially there is so many people that can help you. Ask people for guidance and help and know that you are taking action. Take action and follow up.
It’s a beautiful industry to be apart of and its full of opportunity for everyone and remember you are doing social good as well as creating great living and great commercial life for yourself. So enjoy the ride, make mistakes and own them, don’t make the mistake again and just GROW!
If you want to find out more about Andy peat or contact him, visit his linkedin profile here.