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Posts Tagged ‘Lee McGarrigal’

Interview with Lee McGarrigal of Fitness Venues

Monday, March 1st, 2010

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Lee is the creator of an awesome site called fitnessvenues.com this site covers all aspects of health, fitness, nutrition and wellbeing.  The site is packed full of reviews, articles, a forum, and listings of health professionals and gyms.  It is a great resources for anyone into health and fitness.

We talked to Lee about how the site came about and what the future holds for fitnessvenues.com.lee_mcgarrigal

TG: Hi Lee, for those of you who don’t know you, you are the man behind FitnessVenues.com.  Can you tell us a little about your background in the wellbeing and personal training industry?

LM: I have been interested in health and fitness since my teens. Because of this I enrolled onto a health and fitness degree and then a post graduate course in Exercise Physiology. It was during this course in 2000 that I came up with the idea of setting up a health and fitness web site with the primary idea that the site could point people to local health clubs and personal trainers. I understood though that to get people to the site I’d need to pad out the idea with fitness, exercise and weight loss content.

TG: So what got you started on the idea behind fitnessvenues.com?

LM: Well, I create then sold a very popular health and fitness web site in 2005. To be honest that site wasn’t everything it could have been … I had to manage the web site in an archaic way, including having trainers and gyms email me with their details, which I’d then cut and paste into a very basic directory. Also,  if I ever added a new page or change the site in any way I had manually change ALL pages of the site to show new pages and then upload the WHOLE site again onto our server!

So, I spent some of the money made selling my first site to develop a health and fitness site which could be run in a more automated way. So now people can add and manage their own listings AND view stats on their listings and I can add new content that automatically appear on the site. Not only that but FitnessVenues.com also includes online quizzes, interactive tools as well as up-to-date news and much more.

TG: How long was the site in development and what kind of hurdles did you have to overcome?

LM: I started FitnessVenues.com in August 2006. Up until July 2007 the site simply listed health clubs and personal trainers. Enrolling personal trainers and gyms was hard work – cold calls and lots of discussions about why listing on FitnessVenues.com was a no-brainer … all listings are free.

Adding content to the site was a little harder still. I came up with the idea that personal trainers and other industry experts could contribute stories and content in exchange for better coverage of their business on FitnessVenues.com. This idea worked. So now FitnessVenues.com has a wealth of writers and contributors who all benefit from giving us content because time and again we send them quality business leads.

TG: What do you feel sets Fitnessvenues.com apart from other fitness based sites?

LM: FitnessVenues.com is everything a fitness site should be – interactive, relevant, up-to-date and interesting. What separates us from the rest is that we add ‘news’ stories almost daily, which means we are up to the minute in terms of health, fitness and wellbeing news.

As our listed businesses are concerned we drive quality business leads to their services for FREE as well as giving them full access to their advertising stats – impressions, web click numbers, emails sent via FitnessVenues.com (and more) … something NO OTHER web site does, not even the likes of Google.com!

TG: What is the best thing about your job?

LM: I have created many sites in the past, some in and some outside the fitness industry and the real thrill is creating something from scratch that people really appreciate and interact with – FitnessVenues.com now has a readership of over 80,000 + users a month

TG: What does an average day in your life look like?

LM: To be perfectly honest working solely in the IT industry holds very little interest for me. Sure I enjoy watching the site grow in terms of pages, readership and income but as the site is full automated I found the site needed very little management. So a few years ago I trained to become a primary school teacher. So my typical day sees me teach 5 and 6 year olds. Needless to day, as you can imagine, each day is very different … not to mention full of laughs and endless entertainment supplied by the children.

TG: I have been particularly impressed with the forum, I have been a member for a few years now.  What is the future for this particular aspect of your site?

LM: Well, the forum, for me was a little disappointing. It hasn’t grown as rapidly as I’d have liked. Sure, some people do post – you for example, but not enough people interact with the forum to make it a place for people MUST visit and post Q & A’s.

So, I’ve decided to focus user interaction in comments within stories. In the very near future users will be able to post their comments on any story that interests them. This, I hope, will keep discussions alive and allow stories to grow organically based on the comments users make.

TG: What are your top tips for weight loss?

LM: Weight loss is all about calories in versus calories used. You can exercise until the cows come home but if you eat more calories than you burn you won’t lose any weight at all.

TG: What would be your top three tips to improve your overall levels of wellbeing?

LM: I believe wellbeing is all about the mind so I’d suggest the following:

  1. Exercise & eat healthy foods – it makes you feel good, gives you energy and helps you to focus on mental tasks.
  2. Get enough sleep. I personally need 7 – 8 hours a night.
  3. Expand your experiences – meet new people, go on holiday to somewhere different, eat new foods.
  4. Set yourself achievable goals and reward yourself when you reach them. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 lb, as soon as you do go out and buy yourself some new clothes as a reward or go out for a meal at your favourite restaurant.

TG: What’s in store for the future of the site?

LM: Good question. I have new ideas all the time, some good, most not. However, I think over 12 months my main aim will be to expand the site in terms of content – more stories and new channels etc rather than investing in site development.

That said, as mentioned before I will be developing a ‘Add your comment section to each story. But in terms of cost, this is a relatively cheap update.

TG: It has been great talking to you Lee, good luck for the future!