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The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
features

Design: McFit gets a makeover

McFit, the original budget gym is undergoing a transformation with a new look and estate-wide overhaul, as Liz Terry reports

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 3

When the late, great Rainer Schaller conceived the idea for McFit in the mid-90s, the health and fitness industry in Europe was approaching stagnation in its economic lifecycle and having boomed through the 80s and into the 90s, was starting to plateau, with decline not far off.

This general malaise was exacerbated by the recession that had gripped the world in the early 90s, meaning it was a volatile time for the sector.

The launch of McFit in 1997 was to change all that, resetting the industry and unlocking unbelievable areas of growth with its new budget pricing model that put health club use within reach of the majority of the population by largely removing price resistance, with Schaller having the ambition to make fitness training ‘affordable for all’.

The first location
The first McFit was located in Bavaria and as word about it spread through the industry, the club became a magnet for operators and investors, who were interested to see the new business model in action and understand its potential.

As it turned out, Schaller had a ten-year head start with McFit, but the following decade, entrepreneurs began to launch their own budget concepts, John Treharne at the The Gym Group in 2007; Jan Spaticchia with énergie and JJB with MiFit in 2008; Peter Roberts with PureGym and James Caan with Nuyuu in 2009; Spaticchia again at FitLess (which became Fit4Less) in 2010; and Mike Balfour’s Fitness First budget concept, Klick Fitness, in 2011 – the same year Rene Moos opened the first Basic-Fit. These were a few of the early pioneers. Some survived and thrived. Some didn’t.

But it’s hard to catch a first-mover, especially when that person is Rainer Schaller and they have a decade on the competition and so McFit scaled steadily, reaching 243 clubs by 2017, when HCM spoke to the top team (www.HCMmag.com/McFit2017).

Having pioneered the sector and grown the McFit brand, Schaller widened his remit, renaming the company – previously The McFit Group – to be the eponymous Rainer Schaller Group (RSG) and launching businesses and brands across numerous health and fitness verticals until his untimely death in October 2022, aged just 53.

These multiple concepts – the product of is creative imagination – included everything from the high-end John Reed and Heimat to John & Jane’s and Gold’s Gym. There was also a super-budget concept, HIGH5, which undercut McFit, as well as restaurants, night clubs, fit tech and nutrition businesses and modelling agencies within the diverse group.

Although many health club businesses have exceeded McFit in terms of scale, the brand is still lauded as a groundbreaker, so news that the estate is to have a major overall got HCM interested and here we share with you the new look and feel for the McFit estate – playful bright and social – which is currently being rolled out across all clubs following trials in Vienna, Austria and Heilbronn, Germany.

In addition to refitting the clubs, RSG continues to fine-tune its McFit portfolio, having just sold its 47 Spanish clubs to Basic-Fit, in a deal that concluded on 27 March.

McFit Mark III: What to expect

• Spacious womens’ areas with comprehensive strength training facilities. Some with separate access

•  A larger range of equipment

•  A bright, modern colour scheme with the main materials being steel, concrete and wood

•  More functional training: functional hubs, assault bikes, rowing ergometers, glute booster racks and functional towers

•  Cardio areas with treadmills, ascent trainers climb mills, cross trainers, recumbent and seated bikes and rowers

•  Strength areas with athletic half-racks including platform, reverse hyper extension, squat machine and dumbbells up to 50 kg

•  Special features such as a table tennis table in the studio

The history: McFit refits

McFit had its first major refit and reorientation in 2012, when the concept moved from the original ‘affordable for all’ concept to be the ‘Home of Fitness’ – a change that was completed across the estate by 2017.

The pricing was still discount-scale, but the offering looked and felt more premium. Modular training systems were added to the gyms, which also had group exercise added in the shape of cyber training.

Fast forward to December 2023 and RSG opened the two pilots for the new-look club with a fresh concept and design. Following these successful pilots, the first completely new studio is expected to open in Cologne in the second quarter of 2024.

Look to the future

Following Schaller’s death, new co-CEOs, Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch & Hagen Wingertszahn told HCM their strategy was to remain ‘one of the most successful fitness companies in the world over the next 25 years’ by growing the portfolio: “We see the greatest potential in the diversity of our fitness club concepts,” they said. “Across the spectrum – from McFit to John Reed to Gold’s Gym and more – Rainer has managed to give each brand its own distinct personality. Every fitness concept delivers a completely different experience to its members. We plan to build on this and push it even further and it’s also possible that another brand will be added in the future if it fits well into our portfolio,” they said.

“Alongside the European market, we see the US as offering the greatest overall growth potential for RSG Group,” they explained, “We’re also planning further studio openings for Gold’s Gym, McFit and John Reed in their respective core markets across Europe and the US.”

Read the complete interview at www.HCMmag.com/RSG2

We’re planning further studio openings for Gold’s Gym, McFit and John Reed in their respective core markets
Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch & Hagen Wingertszahn / photo: RSG Group
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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In today's rapidly evolving fitness industry, where many online courses promise secret formulas for entrepreneurial success, the reality is that few provide the necessary knowledge to thrive in this fast-changing profession.
Orbit4 is a leading FitTech brand that provides gym operators with a comprehensive software solution ...
CoverMe Fitness, an app for seamless, on-demand management and cover solutions for sports and fitness ...
Core Health & Fitness: level up your HIIT game
Core Health & Fitness
Looking to level up your HIIT game? Meet the dynamic duo that’s about to revolutionize your workouts: the StairMaster HIIT Rower and HIIT Ski! Read more
Get Fit Tech
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Lockers
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Digital
Spa software
Cryotherapy
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain

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features

Design: McFit gets a makeover

McFit, the original budget gym is undergoing a transformation with a new look and estate-wide overhaul, as Liz Terry reports

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 3

When the late, great Rainer Schaller conceived the idea for McFit in the mid-90s, the health and fitness industry in Europe was approaching stagnation in its economic lifecycle and having boomed through the 80s and into the 90s, was starting to plateau, with decline not far off.

This general malaise was exacerbated by the recession that had gripped the world in the early 90s, meaning it was a volatile time for the sector.

The launch of McFit in 1997 was to change all that, resetting the industry and unlocking unbelievable areas of growth with its new budget pricing model that put health club use within reach of the majority of the population by largely removing price resistance, with Schaller having the ambition to make fitness training ‘affordable for all’.

The first location
The first McFit was located in Bavaria and as word about it spread through the industry, the club became a magnet for operators and investors, who were interested to see the new business model in action and understand its potential.

As it turned out, Schaller had a ten-year head start with McFit, but the following decade, entrepreneurs began to launch their own budget concepts, John Treharne at the The Gym Group in 2007; Jan Spaticchia with énergie and JJB with MiFit in 2008; Peter Roberts with PureGym and James Caan with Nuyuu in 2009; Spaticchia again at FitLess (which became Fit4Less) in 2010; and Mike Balfour’s Fitness First budget concept, Klick Fitness, in 2011 – the same year Rene Moos opened the first Basic-Fit. These were a few of the early pioneers. Some survived and thrived. Some didn’t.

But it’s hard to catch a first-mover, especially when that person is Rainer Schaller and they have a decade on the competition and so McFit scaled steadily, reaching 243 clubs by 2017, when HCM spoke to the top team (www.HCMmag.com/McFit2017).

Having pioneered the sector and grown the McFit brand, Schaller widened his remit, renaming the company – previously The McFit Group – to be the eponymous Rainer Schaller Group (RSG) and launching businesses and brands across numerous health and fitness verticals until his untimely death in October 2022, aged just 53.

These multiple concepts – the product of is creative imagination – included everything from the high-end John Reed and Heimat to John & Jane’s and Gold’s Gym. There was also a super-budget concept, HIGH5, which undercut McFit, as well as restaurants, night clubs, fit tech and nutrition businesses and modelling agencies within the diverse group.

Although many health club businesses have exceeded McFit in terms of scale, the brand is still lauded as a groundbreaker, so news that the estate is to have a major overall got HCM interested and here we share with you the new look and feel for the McFit estate – playful bright and social – which is currently being rolled out across all clubs following trials in Vienna, Austria and Heilbronn, Germany.

In addition to refitting the clubs, RSG continues to fine-tune its McFit portfolio, having just sold its 47 Spanish clubs to Basic-Fit, in a deal that concluded on 27 March.

McFit Mark III: What to expect

• Spacious womens’ areas with comprehensive strength training facilities. Some with separate access

•  A larger range of equipment

•  A bright, modern colour scheme with the main materials being steel, concrete and wood

•  More functional training: functional hubs, assault bikes, rowing ergometers, glute booster racks and functional towers

•  Cardio areas with treadmills, ascent trainers climb mills, cross trainers, recumbent and seated bikes and rowers

•  Strength areas with athletic half-racks including platform, reverse hyper extension, squat machine and dumbbells up to 50 kg

•  Special features such as a table tennis table in the studio

The history: McFit refits

McFit had its first major refit and reorientation in 2012, when the concept moved from the original ‘affordable for all’ concept to be the ‘Home of Fitness’ – a change that was completed across the estate by 2017.

The pricing was still discount-scale, but the offering looked and felt more premium. Modular training systems were added to the gyms, which also had group exercise added in the shape of cyber training.

Fast forward to December 2023 and RSG opened the two pilots for the new-look club with a fresh concept and design. Following these successful pilots, the first completely new studio is expected to open in Cologne in the second quarter of 2024.

Look to the future

Following Schaller’s death, new co-CEOs, Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch & Hagen Wingertszahn told HCM their strategy was to remain ‘one of the most successful fitness companies in the world over the next 25 years’ by growing the portfolio: “We see the greatest potential in the diversity of our fitness club concepts,” they said. “Across the spectrum – from McFit to John Reed to Gold’s Gym and more – Rainer has managed to give each brand its own distinct personality. Every fitness concept delivers a completely different experience to its members. We plan to build on this and push it even further and it’s also possible that another brand will be added in the future if it fits well into our portfolio,” they said.

“Alongside the European market, we see the US as offering the greatest overall growth potential for RSG Group,” they explained, “We’re also planning further studio openings for Gold’s Gym, McFit and John Reed in their respective core markets across Europe and the US.”

Read the complete interview at www.HCMmag.com/RSG2

We’re planning further studio openings for Gold’s Gym, McFit and John Reed in their respective core markets
Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch & Hagen Wingertszahn / photo: RSG Group
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Alexa can help you book classes, check trainers’ bios and schedules, find out opening times, and a host of other information
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

Our results showed a greater than 60 per cent reduction in falls for individuals who actively participated in Bold’s programme
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

35 million people a week participate in strength training. We want Brawn to help this audience achieve their goals
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features