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CoverMe Ltd: on-demand group exercise cover app| @FitTechGlobal company profile
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Gold COMPANY PROFILE

CoverMe Ltd

Contact  |  Updates
CoverMe is transforming group exercise class cover, matching instructors with gyms across the UK
CoverMe is transforming group exercise class cover, matching instructors with gyms across the UK / CoverMe
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. / CoverMe
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. / CoverMe
About us
CoverMe Fitness is an on-demand group exercise cover app that connects qualified and insured instructors with clubs across the country in three easy steps. With reporting to recognise and reward your best instructors, the app helps you find and retain talent.

CoverMe is a real-time community, streamlining cover provision quickly, reliably and safely. We make sure slickly choreographed, big-impact, big-fun group exercises classes actually happen, so your in-house team can concentrate on growing the business and looking after the member experience.

Why? Research shows a third of members experience cancelled or disrupted classes regularly (once a week or more) or quite often (twice a month), and a third would consider cancelling their membership or looking elsewhere for classes if this continued.

CoverMe has been developed by fitness club owners who saw first-hand the need to improve the process for covering classes. The app has been developed and tested in a live club environment over the last two years and has recruited high-profile industry leaders including John Treharne to the Board.

Key products and services
CoverMe revolutionises studio management by matching inspirational, qualified, insured and vetted freelance instructors with gyms/studios to minimise timetable disruption and keep member experience high. The prototype was created in 2018 and the technology has been thoroughly tested and improved through use in clubs since.

The app gives operators full management of their existing group exercise instructors and also helps source new talent with the ability to post audition requests to recruit new instructors for permanent positions.

CoverMe digitalises the matching process, linking venues seeking instructors with a network of talent seeking work. Its algorithms and analytics identify the most suitable freelance instructors, factoring in skills, proximity and availability – all in real time – so managers can source and book class cover in three steps and less than 30 seconds.

Reward and recognition is also built into the app - instructors earn points and badges by being part of the community.

On joining the app, all instructor qualifications and insurance certificates are verified by CoverMe’s in-house team, so managers can be assured their group exercise cover is certified, insured and of the highest quality.

The app’s unique QR code system enables instructors to scan in/out of the club, so managers can track who is teaching and when, and generate reports around class cover. The QR code automatically generates invoices to save time and administration.

In an ongoing pilot study at a club with 150 live classes a week, jobs were posted within 72 hours of the app going live with 95% of cover roles accepted in less than 20 minutes of posting. On average, 97% of group exercise classes that require cover, get cover.

The app gives instructors the opportunity to maximise their income. They set up their profile, upload their documents and insurance and accept a job, whenever and wherever they want.
case study: Transforming group exercise cover at Studio Society
Studio Society has been working with CoverMe since October 2022 to make the process of finding group exercise cover quicker and easier.

The fully immersive group exercise-based club, in London’s trendy West Hampstead, offers more than 250 classes a week including Body Pump, HIIT, boxing, yoga and Spinning. Finding class cover is an ongoing exercise for general manager Tony Zimmerling.

“We have 40 permanent instructors. Before using the CoverMe app, finding cover instructors would take hours of my time and was always in the back of my mind,” he says.

In the past, Studio Society’s instructors would post messages on their Facebook groups when they needed cover. Zimmerling would then receive an email from potential cover instructors, who he would research on social media before inviting them into the club to meet them and discuss how the classes work etc. The process was even more challenging for last minute cover.

“If one of our instructors phoned in sick, it would be left to me to find cover. I’d have to scour Facebook groups and message all my different WhatsApp contacts to try and find someone. Everything else would have to be put on hold until I’d arranged cover. It was really stressful,” he explains.

The CoverMe app has entirely transformed the process, allowing Zimmerling to source cover in minutes. “It’s so much easier now. Instructors just log into the app, post the dates they need covering with details of the class and rates of pay and the message goes out to all instructors within the chosen radius of the club. I see the job post, get notified when potential cover instructors respond and can accept or reject them,” he says.

“I love how easy it is. I posted for cover for a yoga class this morning and had responses from two qualified instructors within 15 seconds. And looking at the app now I can see I have 26 confirmed covers and three posts awaiting a response for cover needed over the next four weeks.”

The app’s automatic invoicing function saves considerable time at month end too. Instructors scan a QR code to access the club when they come in to teach, which generates an invoice that is sent to management.

“Instead of working through loads of documents on my PC, I just download a report from CoverMe, which details how many classes each instructor has taught and how much they are owed so I can process the payment. Payroll used to take a massive amount of time out of my day, but last month it only took two hours to process payments for 70 instructors, 30 of which were covers.”

An additional benefit of the CoverMe app is that it has acted as a source of new group exercise talent, says Zimmerling. “We have found some amazing new instructors through the app, which we wouldn’t have discovered without using the app.

“CoverMe is brilliant for us. Our permanent instructors love using it because it saves so much time. Many of them work in other clubs and still have to use the old way of finding cover. They love the fact they don’t have to do that here – it makes life so much easier for them and for management too.”
With the CoverMe app, sourcing group exercise cover takes minutes instead of hours at Studio Society / Studio Society
case study: Serco Leisure: finding cover for group exercise instructors
Choosing CoverMe to solve the problem of finding cover for group exercise instructors was an absolute "no brainer”, according to Serco Leisure’s National Commercial Programming Manager, Stephanie Wiltshire, a former a group exercise instructor who went on to manage group exercise for Serco’s leisure centres in Kent.

Serco Leisure, which manages 39 facilities with health and fitness operations across the country, recently went live with CoverMe at its Kent sites; Lockmeadow Leisure Centre in Maidstone, Maidstone Leisure Centre and Swallows Leisure Centre in Sittingbourne. Around 150 classes run each week across the three venues, and CoverMe is efficiently and effectively sourcing instructors around three to four times per week, when the regular team is on holiday or off sick.

Wiltshire, who has been working in the industry for 16 years, explains: “After spending years as either an instructor or managing group exercise, it was a no brainer to jump onboard an app where everything is in one place and cover can literally be arranged at the click of a button.

“A year ago, when I was Kent Health and Fitness Manager for Serco Leisure, finding cover for classes fell entirely on my lap for all our sites. It takes a lot of time out of a health and fitness manager’s day. It can also get very messy and diluted when you’re using different forms of communication – some instructors want to be contacted via group chats, others don’t, some prefer email and some like a phone call. It’s easy to make a mistake when the messages aren’t in one place.”


With CoverMe, operators are connected with inspirational, qualified and vetted instructors, filtered through the app’s algorithms and analytics, which identify the most suitable freelance instructors, factoring in skills, proximity and availability – all in real time – so managers can source and book class cover in just three steps.

“Having been responsible for finding the cover instructors myself, I would say CoverMe is saving our health and fitness managers around five hours plus per week. CoverMe significantly improves their work life balance; they are no longer the victim of multiple group chats, being contacted on every social media platform possible, every hour of every day,” continues Wiltshire.

The ability to have more than one admin on the app means staff can truly have time off and, when at work, can focus on other activities when they need to, knowing another member of the team can handle the cover request.

“For example, Caroline, our health and fitness manager at Swallows Leisure Centre, was on the gym floor delivering inductions the other day when a notification for cover came through on the app. She quickly approved the cover request, finished her appointment and then checked the app again to see that the cover had been arranged. Historically, the stress of trying to find time to send and manage all those messages, emails and calls would have been immense. As a result, we’ve definitely seen fewer class cancellations.”

Wiltshire has been impressed with CoverMe’s instructor portal, which requires all necessary certification and insurance documents to be uploaded and vetted by CoverMe’s staff before they are approved on the app. She says: “We require a £10 million public liability insurance from our instructors, and it’s really important to us that the CoverMe app can take that into when vetting suitable instructors. If an instructor is not compliant they cannot teach for us; it’s just another headache we no longer have to worry about. The same with insurance. CoverMe takes ownership, making sure these things are correct and up to date, with the parameters set by the club. CoverMe flags up when someone’s certification or insurance is due to expire and freezes their account if it’s out of date, so we always remain compliant. Before now this has been hard to keep tabs on.”

Wiltshire concludes: “The onboarding process was also super smooth and easy. CoverMe did 99.9% of the work for us, making it a stress-free and easy to manage process. It’s been a great tool for Kent so far and I will be overseeing the process as and when it launches across our other sites too.”
Group Exercise class at Serco Leisure / Serco Leisure
case study: Fitness instructor Elli uses CoverMe to find classes that work with her schedule
Keep on moving
Elli, 25, is a self confessed fitness fanatic, who recently moved back to the UK having worked abroad for three years in Canada and Greece as a ski, snowboard, fitness and yoga instructor.

She explains: “I started teaching fitness classes after graduating in the Bioprocessing of New Medicines (Business & Management) in the middle of the pandemic. I didn’t want to start my first job behind a desk whilst working from home, and realised how much I loved fitness, yoga, skiing and snowboarding, and wanted to share that with other people!”

Elli qualified as a group exercise instructor in 2020, going on to certify as a yoga instructor a year later, followed by her ski and snowboarding qualifications in 2022 and 2023 respectively. But her passion for doing group exercise started as a 16 year old. She says: “I found my love for group exercise at a weekly Zumba class that I went to with my friend and our Mums!

“I now teach every type of class I can from Yoga to Circuits, Legs, Bums and Tums to TABATA and Zumba to Aqua! But Yoga is my favourite to teach as I can be so creative with the class plan, and also hybrid strength/cardio classes with lots of heavy weights and loud music. I love the energy in the room when you create an amazing class!” 

Mixing it up
“I've been doing seasonal work for the last three years, spending the summer in Greece and the winter in Canada. The nature of this work meant I would often be back in the UK for a month between seasons, where I would go to the local gym to try to pick up cover shifts and classes. The management at Studio Society in London where I was covering shifts recommended I download CoverMe to pick up cover classes and I've never looked back. CoverMe made this so much easier and less labour intensive.

“Now I’m in the UK permanently and looking to start a full-time career in London, CoverMe has given me the flexibility to pick up different classes that work with my schedule, I can even choose the distance I’m happy to travel and the rate I want to work for. All the cover work I get is through CoverMe.

“It’s definitely made the visibility and ease of finding classes much easier, especially those in central locations as I’m keen to teach at just two or three different clubs to minimise my travel time around London. Plus, I know if I travel abroad again, I can come back and find work.”


Elli’s advice to other instructors using CoverMe for the first time: “It’s important to have a high quality profile as it’s your first impression to a potential employer. Make sure to highlight your key skills and add a bit of personality to your bio. A great, active photo in your favourite class will also draw people in!”
Fitness Instructor Elli / Elli Edwards
CoverMe Ltd video gallery:
Plans for the next 12 months
Our aim is to transform the delivery of group exercise, raise industry standards and to create a thriving community of exercise professionals of the highest calibre.
Over the next year we will be expanding our reach across the UK in geographical regions, with the aim of establishing the largest network of group exercise professionals, sports coaches, swim coaches etc of any platform. Within the first year we also expect to roll out the app to North America and Canada.
Key personnel
Rosanna Tucker, co-founder and CEO
Beverlee Brinkworth, co-founder and COO
Louise Crossland, head of commercial
Shey Shehovich, brand ambassador
Edith Meredith, head of onboarding
Key customers
All venues, from boutique studios to big-box fitness sites.
Multi facility clubs have also asked us to assist them with the recruitment, retention and cover for other staff including swim coaches, sports coaches and lifeguards.
We have also attracted fitness modelling companies and fitness film studios.
Testimonial
“This is a fantastic concept and exactly what all class operators need to enhance efficiency, member satisfaction levels and avoid the frustration of classes being cancelled or changed at short notice.”
– John Treharne, founder, The Gym Group and executive chair and non-executive director, CoverMe
"The advancement of technology puts everything at our fingertips 24/7: food, fashion, and fast cars. And now the same is true for group exercise instructors - CoverMe is the ‘Uber' of class subbing.”
– Emma Barry, co-founder, Good Soul Hunting and non-executive director, CoverMe
updates & press releases
16 Feb 2024
Return on investment in CoverMe app touches all aspects of the business for Reynolds Group
Running more than 200 group exercise classes across three sites every week presents challenges, especially when superstar instructors fall ill or take a holiday. Stephen Turner, Director for the Reynolds Group, a seasoned professional with experience across public, private and golf hospitality, understands these challenges only too well.

“A stretch class is never a great alternative for yoga and we would consistently receive complaints when our specialist freelance instructors had to be substituted by our employed instructors,” says Turner.

After adopting CoverMe, a digital platform that simplifies group exercise management for clubs and instructors, these complaints became a thing of the past.

“Finding cover was a daily issue; taking up a significant amount of admin time – approximately 24-hours a week across our three sites. Since introducing CoverMe in November 2023, we haven’t had a single complaint about group exercise. The technology has allowed us to restructure so individual clubs are responsible for finding their own cover, which has saved valuable time and resources,” says Turner.

Ellie Morgan, Head of Fitness and Group Exercise, previously spent 40 hours each week managing group exercise across the group. With the introduction of CoverMe, she now enjoys a more member-facing role, teaching an additional eight hours of classes on-shift, overseeing fitness and group exercise and helping to grow the business.

“As a result of the restructure, we’ve made savings of around £28,000, which we are reinvesting in member services, such as adding new classes,” he says.

CoverMe revolutionises the way fitness professionals manage group exercise classes, providing the ability to source the best freelance exercise instructors in just three steps and less than 30 seconds.

Turner highlights the app’s impact during one of the most operationally challenging times of the year between Christmas and New Year.

“We used CoverMe to find an instructor to take a holistic class at The Retreat, where our Day Pass costs £65 per guest. Two members of the public paid to trial the club. They took the class and both converted to full membership because of the fantastic experience they’d received. That’s two 12-month memberships paid in full generating £2,600, which demonstrates the return on investment CoverMe is generating across all departments.”

Easily accessible and all in one place

Prior to CoverMe, the Reynolds Group managed the process of finding cover manually using different WhatsApp groups for each site. Turner says: “CoverMe is the only thing we now use for finding cover instructors. It’s compulsory and will be part of the self-employed agreement going forwards because it’s so great for organisation and compliance, as well as networking and clearer communication. Previously I would have to read about 40 WhatsApp messages to work out who was covering a class. With CoverMe I don’t have to do that.

“Everything is in one place and easily accessible. Being able to cross reference class cover with the relevant invoices streamlines our procedures and ensures the accounts are correct, which is fantastic.”

The app’s unique QR code system enables instructors to scan in at the club, so managers can track who is in the building. It produces class cover reports and generates automatic, accurate invoices to save further time and administration, and can also be used to find new permanent instructors to take group exercise classes, something the Reynolds Group has successfully achieved.

CoverMe’s Chief Operating Officer and the app’s onboarding manager facilitated a smooth integration process for the Reynolds Group. Turner explains: “The team ensured that both management and instructors were comfortable using the app. There were some minor teething issues, especially among instructors less confident using new technology, but with Beverlee and Edith’s support we easily overcame these.”

Now fully operational, the app has reduced the burden on general managers and front of house teams and has also allowed employed staff to earn additional income.

“Staff are more happy to volunteer to take regular classes off-shift, knowing if they are ill or something comes up, they can easily find class cover,” says Turner.

Desktop version helps present more professional front

CoverMe has also improved communication and workflow for the customer-facing teams. Turner says: “The solution has improved the team’s confidence dealing with member enquiries. The desktop version means staff aren’t glued to their phones on WhatsApp, while reception staff can easily see what’s going on and reassure members about who’s covering a class.
 
“We still have to make some last-minute cancellations, but since launching the app we’ve covered approximately 80% more classes than normal, and haven’t had to deal with any escalated complaints. I would recommend the app to operators managing employed and freelance instructors who are bogged down with messages, cover requests and group chats. It’s great for your network to be in one place.”

Despite initial concerns about losing instructors to other clubs, the opposite has been true.
“Instructors have referred the CoverMe app to other clubs they work with because it makes their lives so much easier, which simply broadens our network of instructors. Our freelance instructors work for themselves, but we treat them well so they are very loyal,” says Turner.

“CoverMe has more than lived up to our expectations. It has improved the work-life balance of management and instructors, both employed and self-employed, helping them as much as us. We’ve said goodbye to Excel call lists and hello to digital and a brand-new community of likeminded clubs and instructors. It’s a solution-based app that does exactly what it says on the tin, and if I ever move companies it would be one of the first things I would take with me.”
Prior to CoverMe, the Reynolds Group managed the process of finding cover manually using different WhatsApp groups Credit: Reynolds Group
15 Jan 2024
CoverMe app reduces pressure of missed group exercise classes for master trainer
As an instructor with more than 20 years’ experience under her belt, Syreeta Stracey knows only too well the struggles of finding cover when she’s unwell or a holiday means she cannot take her regular classes. Being introduced to the CoverMe app has changed that.

“The ease of finding cover when I need it has been such a blessing. I don't have to worry about finding the cover myself, as I did before, I just post the classes that need covering on the app and go and enjoy my time off. CoverMe does the rest. It’s so much less stressful.”

Syreeta has been an instructor at Studio Society in London since the club opened in 2017, where she teaches Zumba and Strong Nation, as well as indoor cycling, strength training, Yoga and a raft of other classes.

She says: “I love the community we have built at Studio Society over the last six years. The members are amazing and I've been lucky enough to create a lot of strong friendships, which I will be forever grateful for. I don't have a favourite class. When I teach I feel blessed and happy in that moment and think this is my favourite class, but then I go and teach another class and feel the same way.”

Syreeta has danced and taken part in competitive sports since childhood. Determined to work in the industry, she trained in a range of disciplines to teach multiple classes. Now a high-profile fitness professional, Syreeta has been a master trainer for various dance and fitness programmes, training students to become fitness instructors, and is currently a presenter for Zumba and Strong Nation (formally Strong by Zumba), showcasing them on stage at national and international fitness events. She also teaches sport to children with disabilities. 

In addition to allowing Syreeta to enjoy some well-earned downtime, without the stress of souring replacement cover herself, CoverMe helps freelance group exercise professionals like Syreeta to maximise their income. Free to download, the app allows instructors to find work when and where they want by raising their profile with gyms, studios and clubs in locations that suit them. CoverMe sends personalised class cover notifications direct to instructors’ mobiles – all they have to do is hit a button to accept and earn more by teaching more of the classes they love.

"Before CoverMe, I found work via other instructors, social media platforms and WhatsApp groups. Being part of the CoverMe community has increased my earning potential. It's comforting to know that if extra work comes up I can choose to apply or not. Extra work means extra money, and if I do more training courses or become qualified to teach other classes I can add these to the app and get even more offers of work – so my potential income is uncapped,” she says.

Syreeta’s advice for other instructors looking to raise their profile is don’t hold back. The more information you can provide, the better: “Employers will always look at your profile when you apply for a job at their fitness facility via CoverMe, so the more detail you have on your biography, including pictures and videos of you teaching the class they’re looking to cover, the more likely you are to get the work.”
Syreeta has been an instructor at Studio Society in London since the club opened in 2017 Credit: CoverMe
12 Dec 2023
Face of CoverMe secures regular teaching job through the app
In 2020, 36-year-old Aparna started teaching yoga in her home country of India, following a successful 10-year career as an actress and model and a two-year stint as a flight attendant with Qatar Airways.

She explains: “As an actress and model I worked with some renowned names, but when opportunities became slower in 2017 I got a little restless and joined Qatar Airways in order to travel.

“I visited about 50 different countries around the world before coming back to Mumbai to start my yoga teacher training courses, almost four years ago now.”

10 months ago, Aparna moved to London with her husband, the comedian and actor Aadar Malik, and was keen to continue teaching yoga, as well as her modelling journey.

She says: “I reached out to studios to find work, and started teaching a few times a week at different venues near to my home, where I was also introduced to the CoverMe app.

“The best thing CoverMe has done is secure me a regular teaching job. I started using the app to find cover classes and went on to get a permanent class at a local studio, which I’m thrilled about. I also became one of the faces of CoverMe, securing one of my first UK modelling assignments through the app.”

Showcasing qualifications
Aparna is deeply invested in her teacher training, having dedicated 500 hours to different courses, including a Yoga Sutra course with India’s prestigious Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute & Research Center.

She is certified in Trauma Informed Yoga and teaches Vinyasa flows, Hatha flows, Slow flows, Power Yoga, yoga and meditation, as well as breathwork and meditation.

She has also completed a certified course on Samkhya philosophy; the base philosophy of yoga. But her biggest passions are leading Chakra Yoga, breathwork and meditation and Yoga Nidra sessions.

She says: “The most important thing for me was the ability to add all my training certificates to the CoverMe app. I'm proud of my qualifications and want to showcase them to make me stand out from the crowd”.

Aparna believes her strong bio also helped her get noticed by club managers.

She explains: “I listed my styles of teaching, areas of expertise and the things I’m most passionate about in my CoverMe profile to give potential employers a good idea of who they would be hiring.”

This, along with lots of images showing Aparna teaching, proved a winning formula, helping her to find regular work teaching the classes she loves within months of arriving in a new country.
 Credit: CoverMe
05 Sep 2023
New research reveals wide impact of short-notice group exercise cover
A series of new research projects have shed light on the significant challenges faced by leisure operators and group exercise instructors in finding short-notice cover for classes, as well as its impact on members.

One study, conducted by Leisure-net Solutions on behalf of on-demand group exercise cover app, CoverMe, finds that sourcing high-quality freelance cover when instructors fall sick or are absent is one of the most significant challenges faced by club managers. The task not only consumes hours each week but often results in class disruption and cancellations, which are detrimental to both operators and their customers.

Another survey conducted by EMD UK found that group exercise instructors avoid taking time off due to the stress of finding cover, with almost a quarter of instructors (24%) juggling up to seven different WhatsApp and social groups for the different classes they teach.

According to Leisure-net’s Operator Report, a staggering 63% of leisure operators offering group exercise programmes reported spending valuable time each week trying to source replacement instructors to cover classes and prevent cancellations that would disappoint their customers. Even more concerning, nearly one-fifth of operators (17%) said they have to allocate time every single day to find class cover.

Despite their best efforts, operators often face difficulties in securing adequate replacement instructors, leading to unavoidable class cancellations or changes. In fact, 41% of operators are forced to cancel or change their group exercise classes every week due to their inability to find suitable cover.

The impact of disrupted and cancelled classes are far reaching. Researchers also surveyed individuals who had participated in group exercise classes within the last six months and found that a third (33%) regularly or quite often experienced disruptions or cancellations to their classes. As a result, 36% of participants stated they would not recommend a club to a friend if they encountered frequent disruptions to the group exercise timetable, while 16% said they would cancel their club membership altogether.

Very often, finding class cover falls to the instructor themselves in the event of illness or holidays. This means calling in favours from their instructor colleagues or posting messages in WhatsApp and other social groups, all of which is very time-consuming. As a result, more than half (54%) of instructors say they simply avoid taking time off, while half (49%) say they find the process stressful.

Failing to find cover has significant implications for instructors. In most cases, classes are simply cancelled causing instructors to lose income. Beyond this, many instructors worry that failing to find class cover risks letting participants down, losing customers and damaging their reputation.

Sue Wilkie, Head of Instructor Support at EMD UK says: “It’s hardly surprising that group exercise instructors feel so stressed about finding cover for their classes when they are sick or go on holiday. Research shows that half of instructors regularly view one to three different social groups when trying to source cover, while 7% keep track of eight to 14 social groups. And almost a quarter of instructors (23%) say they don’t know where to source cover, which increases the risk of class cancellations and is clearly bad news for instructors, clubs and clients.”

Today’s operators benefit from advances in technology in almost all areas of club management, yet when it comes to sourcing freelance instructors, managers still rely largely on substitute instructor lists and seeking help from other instructors through messaging platforms like WhatsApp. Very often, club managers are forced to accept whatever cover is available, rather than the ideal cover that would ensure a great member experience. The CoverMe App’s algorithm matches inspirational, qualified and insured freelance instructors, vetted by CoverMe’s own in-house team, with gyms and studios, factoring in skills, proximity and availability – all in real time – so managers can source and book class cover in less than 30 seconds.

“Sourcing high quality group exercise cover is one of the most time-consuming and challenging aspects of club management. That’s why we are delighted to be working with an increasing number of club operators, including Nuffield Health, Serco and BXR, to solve this problem, improve efficiency, enhance member satisfaction and eliminate the frustration and operational time consuming activity of class changes,” says Rosanna Tucker, CEO of CoverMe.
Sourcing high-quality freelance cover when instructors fall sick or are absent is one of the most significant challenges faced by club managers Credit: CoverMe
CoverMe Ltd: featured in HCM and FIT tech magazines
Our ambitions are to expand globally to introduce Studio Society to key markets, reshaping fitness paradigms
CoverMe Ltd
Tel: 07891 503525
Address: 5 Hyde Road , Paignton, Devon, TQ4 5BW, England
Louise Crossland, head of commercial, CoverMe Ltd
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Gold COMPANY PROFILE

CoverMe Ltd

Contact  |  Updates
CoverMe is transforming group exercise class cover, matching instructors with gyms across the UK
CoverMe is transforming group exercise class cover, matching instructors with gyms across the UK / CoverMe
.
. / CoverMe
.
. / CoverMe
About us
CoverMe Fitness is an on-demand group exercise cover app that connects qualified and insured instructors with clubs across the country in three easy steps. With reporting to recognise and reward your best instructors, the app helps you find and retain talent.

CoverMe is a real-time community, streamlining cover provision quickly, reliably and safely. We make sure slickly choreographed, big-impact, big-fun group exercises classes actually happen, so your in-house team can concentrate on growing the business and looking after the member experience.

Why? Research shows a third of members experience cancelled or disrupted classes regularly (once a week or more) or quite often (twice a month), and a third would consider cancelling their membership or looking elsewhere for classes if this continued.

CoverMe has been developed by fitness club owners who saw first-hand the need to improve the process for covering classes. The app has been developed and tested in a live club environment over the last two years and has recruited high-profile industry leaders including John Treharne to the Board.

Key products and services
CoverMe revolutionises studio management by matching inspirational, qualified, insured and vetted freelance instructors with gyms/studios to minimise timetable disruption and keep member experience high. The prototype was created in 2018 and the technology has been thoroughly tested and improved through use in clubs since.

The app gives operators full management of their existing group exercise instructors and also helps source new talent with the ability to post audition requests to recruit new instructors for permanent positions.

CoverMe digitalises the matching process, linking venues seeking instructors with a network of talent seeking work. Its algorithms and analytics identify the most suitable freelance instructors, factoring in skills, proximity and availability – all in real time – so managers can source and book class cover in three steps and less than 30 seconds.

Reward and recognition is also built into the app - instructors earn points and badges by being part of the community.

On joining the app, all instructor qualifications and insurance certificates are verified by CoverMe’s in-house team, so managers can be assured their group exercise cover is certified, insured and of the highest quality.

The app’s unique QR code system enables instructors to scan in/out of the club, so managers can track who is teaching and when, and generate reports around class cover. The QR code automatically generates invoices to save time and administration.

In an ongoing pilot study at a club with 150 live classes a week, jobs were posted within 72 hours of the app going live with 95% of cover roles accepted in less than 20 minutes of posting. On average, 97% of group exercise classes that require cover, get cover.

The app gives instructors the opportunity to maximise their income. They set up their profile, upload their documents and insurance and accept a job, whenever and wherever they want.
case study: Transforming group exercise cover at Studio Society
Studio Society has been working with CoverMe since October 2022 to make the process of finding group exercise cover quicker and easier.

The fully immersive group exercise-based club, in London’s trendy West Hampstead, offers more than 250 classes a week including Body Pump, HIIT, boxing, yoga and Spinning. Finding class cover is an ongoing exercise for general manager Tony Zimmerling.

“We have 40 permanent instructors. Before using the CoverMe app, finding cover instructors would take hours of my time and was always in the back of my mind,” he says.

In the past, Studio Society’s instructors would post messages on their Facebook groups when they needed cover. Zimmerling would then receive an email from potential cover instructors, who he would research on social media before inviting them into the club to meet them and discuss how the classes work etc. The process was even more challenging for last minute cover.

“If one of our instructors phoned in sick, it would be left to me to find cover. I’d have to scour Facebook groups and message all my different WhatsApp contacts to try and find someone. Everything else would have to be put on hold until I’d arranged cover. It was really stressful,” he explains.

The CoverMe app has entirely transformed the process, allowing Zimmerling to source cover in minutes. “It’s so much easier now. Instructors just log into the app, post the dates they need covering with details of the class and rates of pay and the message goes out to all instructors within the chosen radius of the club. I see the job post, get notified when potential cover instructors respond and can accept or reject them,” he says.

“I love how easy it is. I posted for cover for a yoga class this morning and had responses from two qualified instructors within 15 seconds. And looking at the app now I can see I have 26 confirmed covers and three posts awaiting a response for cover needed over the next four weeks.”

The app’s automatic invoicing function saves considerable time at month end too. Instructors scan a QR code to access the club when they come in to teach, which generates an invoice that is sent to management.

“Instead of working through loads of documents on my PC, I just download a report from CoverMe, which details how many classes each instructor has taught and how much they are owed so I can process the payment. Payroll used to take a massive amount of time out of my day, but last month it only took two hours to process payments for 70 instructors, 30 of which were covers.”

An additional benefit of the CoverMe app is that it has acted as a source of new group exercise talent, says Zimmerling. “We have found some amazing new instructors through the app, which we wouldn’t have discovered without using the app.

“CoverMe is brilliant for us. Our permanent instructors love using it because it saves so much time. Many of them work in other clubs and still have to use the old way of finding cover. They love the fact they don’t have to do that here – it makes life so much easier for them and for management too.”
With the CoverMe app, sourcing group exercise cover takes minutes instead of hours at Studio Society / Studio Society
case study: Serco Leisure: finding cover for group exercise instructors
Choosing CoverMe to solve the problem of finding cover for group exercise instructors was an absolute "no brainer”, according to Serco Leisure’s National Commercial Programming Manager, Stephanie Wiltshire, a former a group exercise instructor who went on to manage group exercise for Serco’s leisure centres in Kent.

Serco Leisure, which manages 39 facilities with health and fitness operations across the country, recently went live with CoverMe at its Kent sites; Lockmeadow Leisure Centre in Maidstone, Maidstone Leisure Centre and Swallows Leisure Centre in Sittingbourne. Around 150 classes run each week across the three venues, and CoverMe is efficiently and effectively sourcing instructors around three to four times per week, when the regular team is on holiday or off sick.

Wiltshire, who has been working in the industry for 16 years, explains: “After spending years as either an instructor or managing group exercise, it was a no brainer to jump onboard an app where everything is in one place and cover can literally be arranged at the click of a button.

“A year ago, when I was Kent Health and Fitness Manager for Serco Leisure, finding cover for classes fell entirely on my lap for all our sites. It takes a lot of time out of a health and fitness manager’s day. It can also get very messy and diluted when you’re using different forms of communication – some instructors want to be contacted via group chats, others don’t, some prefer email and some like a phone call. It’s easy to make a mistake when the messages aren’t in one place.”


With CoverMe, operators are connected with inspirational, qualified and vetted instructors, filtered through the app’s algorithms and analytics, which identify the most suitable freelance instructors, factoring in skills, proximity and availability – all in real time – so managers can source and book class cover in just three steps.

“Having been responsible for finding the cover instructors myself, I would say CoverMe is saving our health and fitness managers around five hours plus per week. CoverMe significantly improves their work life balance; they are no longer the victim of multiple group chats, being contacted on every social media platform possible, every hour of every day,” continues Wiltshire.

The ability to have more than one admin on the app means staff can truly have time off and, when at work, can focus on other activities when they need to, knowing another member of the team can handle the cover request.

“For example, Caroline, our health and fitness manager at Swallows Leisure Centre, was on the gym floor delivering inductions the other day when a notification for cover came through on the app. She quickly approved the cover request, finished her appointment and then checked the app again to see that the cover had been arranged. Historically, the stress of trying to find time to send and manage all those messages, emails and calls would have been immense. As a result, we’ve definitely seen fewer class cancellations.”

Wiltshire has been impressed with CoverMe’s instructor portal, which requires all necessary certification and insurance documents to be uploaded and vetted by CoverMe’s staff before they are approved on the app. She says: “We require a £10 million public liability insurance from our instructors, and it’s really important to us that the CoverMe app can take that into when vetting suitable instructors. If an instructor is not compliant they cannot teach for us; it’s just another headache we no longer have to worry about. The same with insurance. CoverMe takes ownership, making sure these things are correct and up to date, with the parameters set by the club. CoverMe flags up when someone’s certification or insurance is due to expire and freezes their account if it’s out of date, so we always remain compliant. Before now this has been hard to keep tabs on.”

Wiltshire concludes: “The onboarding process was also super smooth and easy. CoverMe did 99.9% of the work for us, making it a stress-free and easy to manage process. It’s been a great tool for Kent so far and I will be overseeing the process as and when it launches across our other sites too.”
Group Exercise class at Serco Leisure / Serco Leisure
case study: Fitness instructor Elli uses CoverMe to find classes that work with her schedule
Keep on moving
Elli, 25, is a self confessed fitness fanatic, who recently moved back to the UK having worked abroad for three years in Canada and Greece as a ski, snowboard, fitness and yoga instructor.

She explains: “I started teaching fitness classes after graduating in the Bioprocessing of New Medicines (Business & Management) in the middle of the pandemic. I didn’t want to start my first job behind a desk whilst working from home, and realised how much I loved fitness, yoga, skiing and snowboarding, and wanted to share that with other people!”

Elli qualified as a group exercise instructor in 2020, going on to certify as a yoga instructor a year later, followed by her ski and snowboarding qualifications in 2022 and 2023 respectively. But her passion for doing group exercise started as a 16 year old. She says: “I found my love for group exercise at a weekly Zumba class that I went to with my friend and our Mums!

“I now teach every type of class I can from Yoga to Circuits, Legs, Bums and Tums to TABATA and Zumba to Aqua! But Yoga is my favourite to teach as I can be so creative with the class plan, and also hybrid strength/cardio classes with lots of heavy weights and loud music. I love the energy in the room when you create an amazing class!” 

Mixing it up
“I've been doing seasonal work for the last three years, spending the summer in Greece and the winter in Canada. The nature of this work meant I would often be back in the UK for a month between seasons, where I would go to the local gym to try to pick up cover shifts and classes. The management at Studio Society in London where I was covering shifts recommended I download CoverMe to pick up cover classes and I've never looked back. CoverMe made this so much easier and less labour intensive.

“Now I’m in the UK permanently and looking to start a full-time career in London, CoverMe has given me the flexibility to pick up different classes that work with my schedule, I can even choose the distance I’m happy to travel and the rate I want to work for. All the cover work I get is through CoverMe.

“It’s definitely made the visibility and ease of finding classes much easier, especially those in central locations as I’m keen to teach at just two or three different clubs to minimise my travel time around London. Plus, I know if I travel abroad again, I can come back and find work.”


Elli’s advice to other instructors using CoverMe for the first time: “It’s important to have a high quality profile as it’s your first impression to a potential employer. Make sure to highlight your key skills and add a bit of personality to your bio. A great, active photo in your favourite class will also draw people in!”
Fitness Instructor Elli / Elli Edwards
Plans for the next 12 months
Our aim is to transform the delivery of group exercise, raise industry standards and to create a thriving community of exercise professionals of the highest calibre.
Over the next year we will be expanding our reach across the UK in geographical regions, with the aim of establishing the largest network of group exercise professionals, sports coaches, swim coaches etc of any platform. Within the first year we also expect to roll out the app to North America and Canada.
Testimonial
“This is a fantastic concept and exactly what all class operators need to enhance efficiency, member satisfaction levels and avoid the frustration of classes being cancelled or changed at short notice.”
– John Treharne, founder, The Gym Group and executive chair and non-executive director, CoverMe
"The advancement of technology puts everything at our fingertips 24/7: food, fashion, and fast cars. And now the same is true for group exercise instructors - CoverMe is the ‘Uber' of class subbing.”
– Emma Barry, co-founder, Good Soul Hunting and non-executive director, CoverMe
updates & press releases
16 Feb 2024
Return on investment in CoverMe app touches all aspects of the business for Reynolds Group
Running more than 200 group exercise classes across three sites every week presents challenges, especially when superstar instructors fall ill or take a holiday. Stephen Turner, Director for the Reynolds Group, a seasoned professional with experience across public, private and golf hospitality, understands these challenges only too well.

“A stretch class is never a great alternative for yoga and we would consistently receive complaints when our specialist freelance instructors had to be substituted by our employed instructors,” says Turner.

After adopting CoverMe, a digital platform that simplifies group exercise management for clubs and instructors, these complaints became a thing of the past.

“Finding cover was a daily issue; taking up a significant amount of admin time – approximately 24-hours a week across our three sites. Since introducing CoverMe in November 2023, we haven’t had a single complaint about group exercise. The technology has allowed us to restructure so individual clubs are responsible for finding their own cover, which has saved valuable time and resources,” says Turner.

Ellie Morgan, Head of Fitness and Group Exercise, previously spent 40 hours each week managing group exercise across the group. With the introduction of CoverMe, she now enjoys a more member-facing role, teaching an additional eight hours of classes on-shift, overseeing fitness and group exercise and helping to grow the business.

“As a result of the restructure, we’ve made savings of around £28,000, which we are reinvesting in member services, such as adding new classes,” he says.

CoverMe revolutionises the way fitness professionals manage group exercise classes, providing the ability to source the best freelance exercise instructors in just three steps and less than 30 seconds.

Turner highlights the app’s impact during one of the most operationally challenging times of the year between Christmas and New Year.

“We used CoverMe to find an instructor to take a holistic class at The Retreat, where our Day Pass costs £65 per guest. Two members of the public paid to trial the club. They took the class and both converted to full membership because of the fantastic experience they’d received. That’s two 12-month memberships paid in full generating £2,600, which demonstrates the return on investment CoverMe is generating across all departments.”

Easily accessible and all in one place

Prior to CoverMe, the Reynolds Group managed the process of finding cover manually using different WhatsApp groups for each site. Turner says: “CoverMe is the only thing we now use for finding cover instructors. It’s compulsory and will be part of the self-employed agreement going forwards because it’s so great for organisation and compliance, as well as networking and clearer communication. Previously I would have to read about 40 WhatsApp messages to work out who was covering a class. With CoverMe I don’t have to do that.

“Everything is in one place and easily accessible. Being able to cross reference class cover with the relevant invoices streamlines our procedures and ensures the accounts are correct, which is fantastic.”

The app’s unique QR code system enables instructors to scan in at the club, so managers can track who is in the building. It produces class cover reports and generates automatic, accurate invoices to save further time and administration, and can also be used to find new permanent instructors to take group exercise classes, something the Reynolds Group has successfully achieved.

CoverMe’s Chief Operating Officer and the app’s onboarding manager facilitated a smooth integration process for the Reynolds Group. Turner explains: “The team ensured that both management and instructors were comfortable using the app. There were some minor teething issues, especially among instructors less confident using new technology, but with Beverlee and Edith’s support we easily overcame these.”

Now fully operational, the app has reduced the burden on general managers and front of house teams and has also allowed employed staff to earn additional income.

“Staff are more happy to volunteer to take regular classes off-shift, knowing if they are ill or something comes up, they can easily find class cover,” says Turner.

Desktop version helps present more professional front

CoverMe has also improved communication and workflow for the customer-facing teams. Turner says: “The solution has improved the team’s confidence dealing with member enquiries. The desktop version means staff aren’t glued to their phones on WhatsApp, while reception staff can easily see what’s going on and reassure members about who’s covering a class.
 
“We still have to make some last-minute cancellations, but since launching the app we’ve covered approximately 80% more classes than normal, and haven’t had to deal with any escalated complaints. I would recommend the app to operators managing employed and freelance instructors who are bogged down with messages, cover requests and group chats. It’s great for your network to be in one place.”

Despite initial concerns about losing instructors to other clubs, the opposite has been true.
“Instructors have referred the CoverMe app to other clubs they work with because it makes their lives so much easier, which simply broadens our network of instructors. Our freelance instructors work for themselves, but we treat them well so they are very loyal,” says Turner.

“CoverMe has more than lived up to our expectations. It has improved the work-life balance of management and instructors, both employed and self-employed, helping them as much as us. We’ve said goodbye to Excel call lists and hello to digital and a brand-new community of likeminded clubs and instructors. It’s a solution-based app that does exactly what it says on the tin, and if I ever move companies it would be one of the first things I would take with me.”
Prior to CoverMe, the Reynolds Group managed the process of finding cover manually using different WhatsApp groups Credit: Reynolds Group
15 Jan 2024
CoverMe app reduces pressure of missed group exercise classes for master trainer
As an instructor with more than 20 years’ experience under her belt, Syreeta Stracey knows only too well the struggles of finding cover when she’s unwell or a holiday means she cannot take her regular classes. Being introduced to the CoverMe app has changed that.

“The ease of finding cover when I need it has been such a blessing. I don't have to worry about finding the cover myself, as I did before, I just post the classes that need covering on the app and go and enjoy my time off. CoverMe does the rest. It’s so much less stressful.”

Syreeta has been an instructor at Studio Society in London since the club opened in 2017, where she teaches Zumba and Strong Nation, as well as indoor cycling, strength training, Yoga and a raft of other classes.

She says: “I love the community we have built at Studio Society over the last six years. The members are amazing and I've been lucky enough to create a lot of strong friendships, which I will be forever grateful for. I don't have a favourite class. When I teach I feel blessed and happy in that moment and think this is my favourite class, but then I go and teach another class and feel the same way.”

Syreeta has danced and taken part in competitive sports since childhood. Determined to work in the industry, she trained in a range of disciplines to teach multiple classes. Now a high-profile fitness professional, Syreeta has been a master trainer for various dance and fitness programmes, training students to become fitness instructors, and is currently a presenter for Zumba and Strong Nation (formally Strong by Zumba), showcasing them on stage at national and international fitness events. She also teaches sport to children with disabilities. 

In addition to allowing Syreeta to enjoy some well-earned downtime, without the stress of souring replacement cover herself, CoverMe helps freelance group exercise professionals like Syreeta to maximise their income. Free to download, the app allows instructors to find work when and where they want by raising their profile with gyms, studios and clubs in locations that suit them. CoverMe sends personalised class cover notifications direct to instructors’ mobiles – all they have to do is hit a button to accept and earn more by teaching more of the classes they love.

"Before CoverMe, I found work via other instructors, social media platforms and WhatsApp groups. Being part of the CoverMe community has increased my earning potential. It's comforting to know that if extra work comes up I can choose to apply or not. Extra work means extra money, and if I do more training courses or become qualified to teach other classes I can add these to the app and get even more offers of work – so my potential income is uncapped,” she says.

Syreeta’s advice for other instructors looking to raise their profile is don’t hold back. The more information you can provide, the better: “Employers will always look at your profile when you apply for a job at their fitness facility via CoverMe, so the more detail you have on your biography, including pictures and videos of you teaching the class they’re looking to cover, the more likely you are to get the work.”
Syreeta has been an instructor at Studio Society in London since the club opened in 2017 Credit: CoverMe
12 Dec 2023
Face of CoverMe secures regular teaching job through the app
In 2020, 36-year-old Aparna started teaching yoga in her home country of India, following a successful 10-year career as an actress and model and a two-year stint as a flight attendant with Qatar Airways.

She explains: “As an actress and model I worked with some renowned names, but when opportunities became slower in 2017 I got a little restless and joined Qatar Airways in order to travel.

“I visited about 50 different countries around the world before coming back to Mumbai to start my yoga teacher training courses, almost four years ago now.”

10 months ago, Aparna moved to London with her husband, the comedian and actor Aadar Malik, and was keen to continue teaching yoga, as well as her modelling journey.

She says: “I reached out to studios to find work, and started teaching a few times a week at different venues near to my home, where I was also introduced to the CoverMe app.

“The best thing CoverMe has done is secure me a regular teaching job. I started using the app to find cover classes and went on to get a permanent class at a local studio, which I’m thrilled about. I also became one of the faces of CoverMe, securing one of my first UK modelling assignments through the app.”

Showcasing qualifications
Aparna is deeply invested in her teacher training, having dedicated 500 hours to different courses, including a Yoga Sutra course with India’s prestigious Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute & Research Center.

She is certified in Trauma Informed Yoga and teaches Vinyasa flows, Hatha flows, Slow flows, Power Yoga, yoga and meditation, as well as breathwork and meditation.

She has also completed a certified course on Samkhya philosophy; the base philosophy of yoga. But her biggest passions are leading Chakra Yoga, breathwork and meditation and Yoga Nidra sessions.

She says: “The most important thing for me was the ability to add all my training certificates to the CoverMe app. I'm proud of my qualifications and want to showcase them to make me stand out from the crowd”.

Aparna believes her strong bio also helped her get noticed by club managers.

She explains: “I listed my styles of teaching, areas of expertise and the things I’m most passionate about in my CoverMe profile to give potential employers a good idea of who they would be hiring.”

This, along with lots of images showing Aparna teaching, proved a winning formula, helping her to find regular work teaching the classes she loves within months of arriving in a new country.
 Credit: CoverMe
05 Sep 2023
New research reveals wide impact of short-notice group exercise cover
A series of new research projects have shed light on the significant challenges faced by leisure operators and group exercise instructors in finding short-notice cover for classes, as well as its impact on members.

One study, conducted by Leisure-net Solutions on behalf of on-demand group exercise cover app, CoverMe, finds that sourcing high-quality freelance cover when instructors fall sick or are absent is one of the most significant challenges faced by club managers. The task not only consumes hours each week but often results in class disruption and cancellations, which are detrimental to both operators and their customers.

Another survey conducted by EMD UK found that group exercise instructors avoid taking time off due to the stress of finding cover, with almost a quarter of instructors (24%) juggling up to seven different WhatsApp and social groups for the different classes they teach.

According to Leisure-net’s Operator Report, a staggering 63% of leisure operators offering group exercise programmes reported spending valuable time each week trying to source replacement instructors to cover classes and prevent cancellations that would disappoint their customers. Even more concerning, nearly one-fifth of operators (17%) said they have to allocate time every single day to find class cover.

Despite their best efforts, operators often face difficulties in securing adequate replacement instructors, leading to unavoidable class cancellations or changes. In fact, 41% of operators are forced to cancel or change their group exercise classes every week due to their inability to find suitable cover.

The impact of disrupted and cancelled classes are far reaching. Researchers also surveyed individuals who had participated in group exercise classes within the last six months and found that a third (33%) regularly or quite often experienced disruptions or cancellations to their classes. As a result, 36% of participants stated they would not recommend a club to a friend if they encountered frequent disruptions to the group exercise timetable, while 16% said they would cancel their club membership altogether.

Very often, finding class cover falls to the instructor themselves in the event of illness or holidays. This means calling in favours from their instructor colleagues or posting messages in WhatsApp and other social groups, all of which is very time-consuming. As a result, more than half (54%) of instructors say they simply avoid taking time off, while half (49%) say they find the process stressful.

Failing to find cover has significant implications for instructors. In most cases, classes are simply cancelled causing instructors to lose income. Beyond this, many instructors worry that failing to find class cover risks letting participants down, losing customers and damaging their reputation.

Sue Wilkie, Head of Instructor Support at EMD UK says: “It’s hardly surprising that group exercise instructors feel so stressed about finding cover for their classes when they are sick or go on holiday. Research shows that half of instructors regularly view one to three different social groups when trying to source cover, while 7% keep track of eight to 14 social groups. And almost a quarter of instructors (23%) say they don’t know where to source cover, which increases the risk of class cancellations and is clearly bad news for instructors, clubs and clients.”

Today’s operators benefit from advances in technology in almost all areas of club management, yet when it comes to sourcing freelance instructors, managers still rely largely on substitute instructor lists and seeking help from other instructors through messaging platforms like WhatsApp. Very often, club managers are forced to accept whatever cover is available, rather than the ideal cover that would ensure a great member experience. The CoverMe App’s algorithm matches inspirational, qualified and insured freelance instructors, vetted by CoverMe’s own in-house team, with gyms and studios, factoring in skills, proximity and availability – all in real time – so managers can source and book class cover in less than 30 seconds.

“Sourcing high quality group exercise cover is one of the most time-consuming and challenging aspects of club management. That’s why we are delighted to be working with an increasing number of club operators, including Nuffield Health, Serco and BXR, to solve this problem, improve efficiency, enhance member satisfaction and eliminate the frustration and operational time consuming activity of class changes,” says Rosanna Tucker, CEO of CoverMe.
Sourcing high-quality freelance cover when instructors fall sick or are absent is one of the most significant challenges faced by club managers Credit: CoverMe
CoverMe Ltd: featured in HCM and FIT tech magazines
Our ambitions are to expand globally to introduce Studio Society to key markets, reshaping fitness paradigms
CoverMe Ltd
Tel: 07891 503525
Address: 5 Hyde Road , Paignton, Devon, TQ4 5BW, England
Louise Crossland, head of commercial, CoverMe Ltd
Louise Crossland, head of commercial
CoverMe Ltd video gallery:
Key personnel
Rosanna Tucker, co-founder and CEO
Beverlee Brinkworth, co-founder and COO
Louise Crossland, head of commercial
Shey Shehovich, brand ambassador
Edith Meredith, head of onboarding
Key customers
All venues, from boutique studios to big-box fitness sites.
Multi facility clubs have also asked us to assist them with the recruitment, retention and cover for other staff including swim coaches, sports coaches and lifeguards.
We have also attracted fitness modelling companies and fitness film studios.