FBA 01: Introducing the Fitness Business Asia Podcast

Welcome to the Fitness Business Asia Podcast with Jack Thomas, founder and CEO of BASE, which was voted Asia’s Gym of the Year 2018.

This is Asia’s number 1 fitness industry resource for coaches, business owners and investors looking to raise their game.

Don’t just be a listener, get a pen and paper ready and if you hear something that resonates with you, commit to taking positive action today.

Jack is on a mission to help fitness professionals in Asia start their own business so if you want to raise the business side of your fitness game, both in the region or beyond, this is the podcast for you.

Listen to the Podcast | Download full Episode | Subscribe to iTunes | Listen on Stitcher |

What to expect in coming episodes

  • Creating your fitness brand
  • Running your fitness business and building a strong, successful team.
  • Finding the right business partner or investor
  • Day to day operations, marketing and sales advice
  • Interviews with fitness industry leaders

Recommended further listening

Episode transcript:

My name is Jack Thomas and welcome to a very special episode, which is episode 1 of the Fitness Business Asia podcast!

Now before I tell you a bit more about myself, I’d like to go into who this Podcast is for and who will benefit from our content:

Coaches who want to learn more about the business side of fitness

Aspiring business owners – those who are interested in, or actively working towards, starting a business in the fitness industry

Current fitness business owners – those who currently own a studio, gym or other business but are either looking to take their business to the next level or are struggling and need some help to get back on track.

Investors – those looking to invest in this growing, exciting sector of fitness, wellness and health.

Anyone in the fitness industry can benefit – how to recruit a strong coaching team, which will be our next episode, things to consider when creating your fitness concept or branding and marketing for gyms and studios. These are applicable to anyone in the industry worldwide.

My fitness business experience is in Asia, so whilst anyone in the industry will be able to gain insight and knowledge from this podcast, much of the information will be specific to this region – for example we might be looking at the current state of the fitness scene in HK, or we may consider some of the cultural sensitivities that you may encounter when doing business in the region.

other entrepreneurs – Many of the principles of fitness business are applicable to other industries, for example, building a strong brand and a productive, happy team in fitness follows the same principles as many other industries, so other business owners or people interested in entrepreneurship can gain something too.

like to tell you a bit more about myself and my fitness industry journey:

My name is Jack Thomas and I’m the founder and CEO of BASE.

BASE is a Bangkok-based fitness studio that’s been running for two years and we’re the only studio in Thailand to be sponsored by Adidas. This sponsorship deal was secured before opened our first branch and seems to be of interest to other studio owners I’ve met, so this is something I’ll be going into further detail on in a future podcast.

We launched our first BASE studio in 2016 and this was my first experience of running my own fitness business.

After a strong first year we launched our second studio in the business district of Bangkok in 2017 and both studios are running strong and profitably today.

Each of our locations has presented its own set of challenges which I’ve learnt a huge amount from. Our two locations were not overnight successes – they required hard work, testing times, trial and error marketing and close management of a growing team.

This year we won the Asia’s Gym of the Year 2018 award at the biggest regional award ceremony beating competition from top gyms based in HK, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia. To be recognized on the international stage was a great achievement for the team at BASE and it was great to bring some recognition to Thailand’s fitness scene.

I brought 5 years of experience in the fitness industry into BASE, worked for a studio called The LAB. We opened in 2012 we really pioneered boutique fitness training in Bangkok. I started at the company as a coach before becoming fitness manager and then eventually running the company as Managing Director after the owner moved abroad.

Now all this experience was invaluable for me and without these 5 years of coaching and management, I would have found starting my own fitness studio very hard. I think it’s common place in this industry for coaches to start studios without respecting or understanding how challenging and different running a fitness business is compared to just focusing on training clients. The jump can be made, but it should not be underestimated, and the pros, cons, risks and rewards should be fully considered. This is another subject we’ll be touching on in a later podcast.

The last 2 years of running my own studio has been an incredible journey with many ups and downs. I’ve learned a lot about myself, running a business, building a team and a brand and about the fitness industry in general and I’ve decided that I’d like to help other fitness industry professionals develop themselves and help better the industry as a whole.

I made a decision about a year ago to listen to less music and more podcasts, and so in my frequent trips around the city I started listening to the best podcasts I could find on fitness and business. This has been incredibly useful to me and has really highlighted how much impact is possible with a mic and an internet connection.

Listening to other great speakers and motivators has in turn motivated me to help fitness business owners get started and thrive.

The successes and failures of the last 8 years – and especially the last 2 running BASE – puts me in a strong position to help by sharing my experiences, stories and thoughts.

If there’s an area that I’m less experienced or knowledgeable in, I’ll be calling in industry guests to share their knowledge and expertise.

Ok, so that’s a little about me and the inspiration behind this podcast. Now I’d like to go through what you can expect me in the coming episodes:

  • Running a fitness business, which will cover developing those first ideas to building a strong, successful and happy team.
  • Defining what your fitness business is about, who you are aiming at and how to get started
  • Funding your fitness business – investment, finding business partners
  • Day to day operations
  • Marketing and sales advice
  • Creating a fitness brand
  • Interviews with fitness industry leaders, or people who can offer something to the fitness industry. For example, I think branding is an area that many studios could benefit from getting help with, so we will be looking at branding guys or girls who can help with this, even if they may not focused purely at the fitness industry

What this podcast is not:

  • specific training programs, exercise science or anything detailed or specific on the training theory side. There are many great resources and podcasts on that and this is not trying to be that.

During the last year of podcast listening I’ve heard all sorts of great and not so great podcasts so this has helped to shape in my mind what I want this to be.

  • I like short podcasts that don’t go off on crazy tangents and go on for hours so I’m aiming to keep podcasts to no more than 30 minutes max, which is 20 minutes if you play at 1.5x speed like me.
  • My podcasts will be to the point and each will have a strong theme and take home message
  • I will be introducing industry guests but the first few episodes will be just me, sharing some of my thoughts and insights to get the ball rolling with this thing
  • I don’t like podcasts that take 5-10 minutes to get properly started so we’ll be getting into the meat of the subject quickly without adverts

To wrap up this intro, I’d like to give a shoutout to some of the podcasts that have added huge value to me over the last 12 months. I’ve scrapped, deleted and given up on a lot of podcasts so you can save time by going straight to these and listening to the relevant episodes in their back catalogue.

First up, Bedros Keuillean and his Empire podcast with Craig Ballantyne – they put out high quality content every week on various channels and has a great and inspiring story. This one is highly recommended and is the only podcast of which I have listened to every episode.

Simon Lovell of Fitpreneurs is a great resource that is discontinued but much of the content is still relevant. Go back through the episodes and see which ones look beneficial to you.

The Fitness Business Podcast is run by an Australian lady Chantel Brodrick and each episode interviews a fitness industry leader in a range of different areas. It could be 24/7 gyms, high end boutiques, fitness tech, business experts – pretty much all areas are covered.

I’ve recently started listening to the FitBiz Journey by Daniel Nyiri after reading his book. His fitness business appears to be growing from strength to strength and him and his team share insights into their journey. Definitely worth a listen.

Finally, a couple of podcasts that aren’t fitness related but offer a lot:

I like the MFCEO Andy Friscella who offers a brash, no-nonsense approach to entrepreneurship that is pretty entertaining and inspiring. He doesn’t go much into the specifics of business but if you’re looking for a burst of inspiration and a fresh and honest perspective, then he offers that.

I also follow The Disruptive Entrepreneur, Rob Moore, who offers a ton of great advice on how best to view the problems and challenges that come with entrepreneurship.

So that’s it – episode 1 of the Fitness Business Asia Podcast. Thank you for listening and if you have any questions or topics you’d like covered, please drop me an email on jack@basebangkok.com

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