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Arron Collins-Thomas - Episode 2 - TONIQ

Watch Episode 2 here


If you would prefer to read Arron & Amy's latest vlog - check out the video transcript below

Amy Williams:

Hello, it's Amy Williams and welcome to the U perform channel! We are back here this week with Arron, our U perform fitness and performance expert. So Arron - TONIQ your gym. You have it on your top with a Q, tell us why the name?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

I've got a brand called TONIQlife and a tonic is like the life of elixir, right? So it's about balance. It's like that kind of water that you can't live without. It's the elixir of life. So hopefully you can't live without TONIQ. But we obviously couldn't use it with a C because that's quite well used out there now, but the Q looked quite cool and we liked the way the way it looked and it sounded so we went with that one and it's worked out really well for us actually.

The fact that we're called TONIQ has meant that we've got a local company that sponsors us with some gin and also have Fever Tree tonic who sponsor us as well. So once a month when we're not in lockdown, we actually throw a gin and tonic party in the gym. We have a DJ in for the last class of the day and everyone just comes and has a big social, has some drinks.

Amy Williams:

Think you're going to get everyone signing up already free gin and tonics in a gym, that's perfect. Now that kind of like vibe and energy, not many people would know unless they follow you on Instagram. Number one, your gym is dark. You've got black paint everywhere and neon lights. Tell us about that.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. It's just trying to bring a different vibe to the gym. I think gyms can be quite clinical spaces. Often when you go to a gym class somewhere often, it's a big, bright room with lots of mirrors everywhere and it can be quite daunting if you're just new to fitness. So we created a space that hopefully would feel a bit more comfortable with people. Hopefully they felt like they could let go a little bit in it, because it's quite dark. I mean, it's light enough that you can see what you're doing. It's perfectly safe. But it's that darkness so that when the music's up, and you're kind of in the zone, no one's watching you. You don't feel self-conscious, you don't feel like everyone's, paying attention to what you're doing. There's not a lot of mirrors to see wobbly bits and things in.

So hopefully we're kind of creating a different vibe for people, different energy. When you walk in the room, what we want is for you to feel uplifted, and you do feel like that when you go into a nightclub or you enter a bar, so why not feel that when you go to a gym? So the energy of the space was all about kind of creating that nightclub vibe. I suppose I combined things that I love to do, I like clubbing and I enjoy fitness, right? So put those two together and create a really fun for people to interact with them and love.

Amy Williams:

So do you then find your clients are a lot younger in their twenties or have you got a good mixture? Have you got your middle aged mum of four kids coming along?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

It's a huge mixture. I mean, when you start up a business, you kind of think about, this is my demographic, this is what I'm going for, and it's just done that. I mean, you pinpoint who's there. I mean, everyone seems to enjoy it no matter. Different ages, sexes, walks of life. Our oldest client is 68 and she trains like four or five days a week and absolutely loves it. She refuses to do burpees. She just doesn't, I'll do everything else, but I will not do a burpee. And I'm like, you're in the gym and you're joining these high intensity classes with people half your age. So we will let you off the burpees. I'll give you something else to do. So we have a huge mixture of people, um, in, through the space, um, and people training for different things.

Amy Williams:

So you mostly do classes don't you, correct me if I'm wrong, it's not a gym that you can just rock up and do your own little session or can you? Is it just kind of your timetable of classes, sign up monthly, get your personal one-on-ones - how does it actually work?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah, so it's very flexible fitness. Okay. So we've got a membership option. be then you can do passes to drop in because it's mostly classes. In the afternoons when we've got some free time in the classes you can take on a personal trainer to look after you in that space. The good thing about it is actually quite a big space and it's quite private. So we only have one or two people in there at a time when we do personal training. So it's a really nice space for that. But it's flexible in that you're not signed into a long contract if you're there, that its monthly rolling. I think in the world at the moment when we know this uncertainty, you don't want to tie yourself in for 12 months, so each month you just pay as you go kind of thing. And then if you just want to drop in some classes, you can do that as well. So nice and easy for people.

Amy Williams:

So what are your classes like, take me through a typical, I'm rocking up on my first day. Someone watching now wants to come along. HIIT classes? What's the style and what are they going to expect from a 45 minute class? Take us through it?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah, it changes every day and there is a structure to our week to make sure that we are progressive in our training so people still get results from our personal trainers. I really want to make sure that people were still improving enough and they do not just turn up to a class here and there. And I was hoping to get results, right? We want to make sure people are really getting results, getting stronger, getting fitter and getting their body shape changes that they want.

So, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is our signature sweat class. Based around kind of high intensity workouts. Lightweights and fast paced, get that high heart rate and just feel really good and energized while you do it. And obviously sweat! Tuesdays and Thursdays is our stronger class. Okay. So we take it back a little bit in terms of the pace we lift some heavier weights.

The studio has got a pull up rig system in it. We've got lots of Olympic bars and weights in there. We teach people to lift properly and safely. In each class there's two instructors to make sure that we can watch over everyone. And at the moment with COVID, there's only 12 in a class, but normally we'd have a maximum of 20 in a session. So it's quite personal. We're still kind of getting that personal training kind of vibe in there.

Then on a Saturday morning, our session is called burn and it's a combination of the sweat and the stronger. So you do a little bit of weightlifting along with some faster stuff. And so that's kind of a really good fun class. We get a lot of people turning up for that one. We do a lot of yoga, a couple of sessions a the week at the moment. A lot of that's delivered online because people got so comfortable it from their own home, which is great. So we do that. We teach Qi Gong.

We've got our Monday evening sessions, which is called TONIQ chill. Monday nights, 8:00 PM. We do a mix of different things each week. So it will be either meditation, breathing, coaching, Qi Gong, foam, rolling. It's all about recovery and repair. And it's a great way to start the week on a Monday evening, just to kind of set you up in a nice routine for the rest of the week.

There's more, there's always more! We do nutrition workshops a lot of nutrition talks and things online as well. So lots on offer.

Amy Williams:

Fully packed, hey! You said about your talks there. I know we were signed up to do something weren't we a little bit before lockdown with David Flatman, which I know we will do. You do set up talks that people can come on and join in an evening and learn a little bit more about a certain person of personality or whatever. Tell us a little bit about that.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. So I think TONIQ is about educating people and inspiring people, and that's what we try and do in our classes, but we also want to reach more people and get into old parts of your lifestyle. It's not just about what you do in the gym. It's about then changing lifestyle habits. And so we do these informative talks where we help to hopefully inspire and motivate people.

So we've had Sam Murray in there, um, who talked to us about the Olympic journey and then what she's doing now. I had a talk with Lulu Lemon and Ed Jackson at the beginning of the year. We did kind of mindset and goals for the year ahead. And then I was supposed to be interviewing you and David about, uh, your life obviously, and what you're up to now. So hopefully informative talks with people to kind of teach them a bit about what you guys were up to, but also to teach them a bit about lifestyle and how they can train and the different things that are out there for different people.

Amy Williams:

So are there any other events that we need to keep our eyes open for that you're planning?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

There's always something in the plans. Um, you know, we ran something last year - the TONIQ games, which was for our members, which was really successful and people really loved it. So we decided to team up with our Bath FitFam, the Instagram account in Bath. Who kind of bring people together in the community and offer a lot of free fitness events. So we teamed up with them to create something called the Bath Games. We had a big event that we were going to launch this year, bringing lots of people from all over the area together. So hopefully, if we're allowed with COVID, we're going to bring that big event to everyone next year, it's going to be a bit of a festival of fitness and health and yeah, just about community and bringing everyone together.

Amy Williams:

You definitely have that vibe. How have you found then obviously you've not all been getting that community together in lockdown. How has that changed the business and how have you had to cope?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

It's been tough in a tough change ever, but I mean, everyone's business has been the same. We just had to react really quickly. When, when we got locked down, we knew it was coming, we got plans and we went straight away online. So we were delivering fitness classes for all our members. We did a couple of day. We actually lent out pretty much every bit of kit from the gym so that people could still get something from their workout at home rather than just doing the same body weight stuff altogether. We were in that for four months, so we needed to keep it changeable for people. Just doing your squats and burpees over and over again, getting quite tiresome. And in fact, the first couple of weeks, a lot down my body was so sore. I've never done so many squat jumps, burpees. I was in such pain.

I was delivering that every day for the classes. But I'm lucky. I've got an amazing team of instructors who really rallied round. They brought loads of energy to every class we delivered online. People still felt that they were interacting with us and they would sign onto the zoom class a few minutes early and have a chat with each other. Or we did like a quiz online, that kind of stuff. And we just try to keep offering people as much as we could to help them, you know, people have lost balance in their lives. So kids weren't at school, they were homeschooling. Everyone was kind of in a bit of stress about what's going on in their lives.

They didn't know when they were going back to work, how long this was going to be going on for. And so we needed to keep some kind of normality for people. We did a lot of talks online for free for everyone, talking about mental health, to how to deal with stress, thinking about how to inspire your family and your children to do fitness with you as well. It's looking at that balance and trying to make sure that people still had some fitness in their lives as they went through lockdown.

Amy Williams:

It's that kind of balance that we've touched on in the last two weeks now - a little bit of your Qi Gong. Are we going to get a little bit more in the next few week?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

So yeah, if you tune in next week, I'm going to be teaching you a little bit about Qi Gong and I might even throw in a few moves for you.

Amy Williams:

Oh yeah. Well that sounds awesome. And thank you very much, again, been so fascinating listening. So please subscribe, hit the bell, share the love of the U perform channel with your friends and we will see you next week.


Tune in next Tuesday for Episode 3!

See you then!

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