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Posts Tagged ‘Virgin Active’

Interview with Malcolm Armstrong (Virgin Active)

Monday, March 22nd, 2010


TG: Hi Malcolm, thanks for being interviewed. Could you start off by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?

MA: I started at a Fitness instructor in September 2000 at Holmes place, Nottingham. I held the positions of Personal Trainer, Gym Supervisor and then Fitness Manager at the club.

In January 2006 I was promoted to Regional Fitness Manager covering 14 clubs from North London, Essex, West London and the North.

In November 2006 I then took on the role of Regional Fitness Manager for Virgin active when they acquired the Holmes Place business, I covered all of the Northern and Essex clubs (16 in total)

In January 2008, I was then promoted to National Personal Training Manager for Virgin active, the position I currently hold, managing the strategy for PT across 72 UK clubs.

TG: What would you look for in a personal trainer?

MA: I look for personality first and foremost, technical skill and knowledge can be taught…a desire to help and a commitment to get a client the result they crave is most important to me

TG: What are the top 3 traits of a great personal trainer?

MA: 1) Confidence & tenacity (without arrogance)
2) Passion & energy for people & life
3) Disciplined and organised.

TG: What differences can a good Personal Trainer make in a clients life?

MA: Everything….a client wants or needs to change, the client puts their trust in a better future with the help of a PT. When a client hands over money, they receive absolutely nothing, how many times do we pay £300-£500 and only receive a plan, a dream? Very rarely,…there is a lot of trust put in a Personal Trainer, trust that we will help change and improve/lengthen their life…..a good PT takes that responsibility seriously…..that level of accountability makes a real difference.

TG: What is it that a personal trainer can give a client as opposed to the client working alone?

MA: Regular Motivation, un-parrelled support and clever coping strategies. These 3 factors help maintain focus, belief and confidence of success.

TG: What are your top 3 tips for weight loss?

AH: 1) Healthy balanced diet is the most important factor
2) Regular cardiovascular and resistant training
3) Variety – most wt loss clients get bored and de-motivated quickly…..if the sessions and weeks are varied, clients stay committed for longer and longevity is critical

TG: How important is it that an individual sets themselves realistic weight loss goals?

MA: Crucial, weight loss isn’t about quick fixes, it’s about building an exercise and lifestyle habit with understanding good, regular nutrition.

Long term goals are critical in understanding why the client wants what they want, realistic short term goals keep them on track and help understand what works and doesn’t work

TG: What would you do to get the nation back on the road to health if you were the Prime Minister?

MA: I would focus my attention on our children first and foremost…prevention is much better than cure and if we are to make a long term impact we must promote regular activity along with a healthy diet from an early age.

VA offers family memberships and there are lots of things for our Junior members to get involved in….If we can get families active, then we would kill 2 birds with one stone.

TG: What role do you think that the chain gyms have to play in helping communities get fitter?

MA: I think they have their place in providing a rounded offering to all, however I don’t think they are critical in getting communities fitter as they may not be ‘local’ enough for the majority… clubs are inclusive and have everything under 1 roof, however if a community needs to improve then simple non gym activities like walking, team sports or day to day activities like walking the dog or gardening are sound ways to make a real difference.

TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you Malcolm?

MA: I plan to continue to grow the Virgin Active Personal Training product and program to be the best in the World, we have over 650 Personal Trainers and the best employee model in the business….I want to recruit and train the best in the industry, who subsequently help more and more VA members in achieving their lifelong goals.

TG: Thanks for your time Malcolm, and we wish you all the best for the future