We are launching a new set up series, talking to gym and box owners about their experience of setting up a new training facility.
For our first piece, we caught up with Luke Binding, co-owner of Athlete Movement to understand his journey in setting up this Liphook based facility.
Reading time: 10 mins.
Designing, building and creating our own hybrid training facility was our dream for many years and, like most new companies trying to offer something different, we suffered a few setbacks along the way.
From losing out on properties in ideal locations, to dealing with planning applications and local councils we encountered our fair share of hurdles. All in all, it took just over two years to go from our original decision to pursue our dream until we opened and started to build a community.
Since opening our doors, a truly special community has developed at Athlete Movement and the feedback alone has made all the hard work worth it. It’s quite easy to forget about all the stress, strain and the fact we definitely had more hair at the beginning, when your community of members are coming back each day, making progress and building friendships.
Our mission was to create a gym that welcomed, encouraged and supported athletes from a variety of disciplines. Athlete Movement is founded on the principle that everyone should strive to train like an athlete; with focus, determination and dedication.
Our desire was not to specialise in one area, such as CrossFit or Powerlifting, but build a community of people committed to supporting each other in their goals. Again Faster understood our ambition perfectly and jumped on board from the beginning!
Funding is a crucial part in setting up any business and a gym is no different! There are lots of different strategies to funding a new gym but the main priority for us was not to cut costs where equipment was concerned.
Ensuring we had the highest quality equipment, and enough of it, for our members, was the main concern throughout our building process. So much so that we ended up adding quite significantly to our equipment order halfway through the build.
Giving ourselves enough time to properly set up our space was key in our building process. We had heard horror stories of gyms opening without being properly finished and we wanted to present our members with the highest value for money and show that we appreciate them choosing to spend their hard-earned money and time in our gym.
One of the big problems for us was letting people know we existed! Often people go about their lives and don’t pay attention to the new businesses opening around them and we wanted to make an impact on our local area.
We were lucky enough to capture a lot of attention through our social media marketing prior to opening and ever since then word of mouth has been amazing for us with lots of our new members coming down because a friend, family member or even their hairdresser told them about Athlete Movement!
Finding the perfect space was the hardest part of the whole process for us. We viewed lots of buildings that either were far too small, awkward or had no chance of being given consent by the local council to convert into a gym.
Eventually, on a cold Friday morning in October 2017, we found our perfect spot. We managed to find a huge 6600sqft warehouse with great parking and a flexible landlord willing to get on board with our project.
Choosing our main equipment supplier was a lot easier than we had planned. After speaking to a quite a few companies we had a fantastic chat with Again Faster and couldn’t believe their prices considering the quality of the equipment.
To say Again Faster were efficient would be an understatement – the same day we met our landlord for the first time, and viewed the property for the second time, Again Faster came down to measure up and talk about layout options
When we were ready our equipment was delivered, and we were faced with the daunting task of getting to work! We were grateful to be joined by some of Again Faster’s staff for some of our build and they put in two days of 7am – 11pm graft, building all our power racks, rigs and big pieces.
We were keen to avoid your ‘regular’ Personal Trainers when we started advertising for staff. We didn’t want to be snobby or elitist, purely find people that matched our passion and had something special to offer our members.
To date we’ve been incredibly lucky with the staff we’ve brought in; all have a specialist skill set, completely believe in our mission statement, and are fantastic at building relationships with people.
We offer a variety of classes and have structured them to ensure the gym is always open and accessible to members.
We run daily MetCon classes, with a focus on technique and skill acquisition as well work-rate and getting a sweat on. We also run specific classes tailored to strength and power, Olympic Weightlifting for both beginners and Club sessions for experienced lifters and a lot more.
Barbells were another big spend as we wanted a variety of bars and a lot of them – we have over 40 bars of various shapes and sizes.
Flooring was a tricky one for us and definitely something we’d recommend you spend time thinking about. We went for the larger, 1m squared, tiles in black and cleaning them in a big task each week. The smaller tiles and perhaps in a different colour might be easier to clean and hide the shoe marks a bit better.
We have continued to invest in new equipment each month and try our hardest to respond to our member’s needs and requests. Since opening we’ve added extra barbells, Watt Bikes, more Medicine Balls, Powerlifting plates and lots more – we’ve got Jerk Boxes coming in a couple of weeks!
Maintaining our equipment is a large part of our daily routine – there’s no bigger compliment in our eyes than someone entering the gym for the first time and remarking on how clean it is.
You can find out more about recommended Barbell Care here
Want to find out more about Athlete Movement? Read our Case Study
If you would like to be a part of our set up series, then don't hesitate to get in touch!