All four panellists were unanimous in stating that women customers dominate the fitness industry by a ratio of 3:1 at the CampsBay Sport Business Forum on March 27, 2018. The Big Business of Women’s Fitness lived up to its billing as we welcomed four of the country’s top fitness entrepreneurs.
Bunmi George, founder and CEO of Shreddergang, Sola Omonayajo, Client Relationship Manager at April Laugh Ltd, Ihuoma Nwigwe, Nigeria’s leading Strong by Zumba trainer and Olympic gold medallist Enefiok Udo-Obong, CEO of Fitness Options, all participated on the panel.
Udo-Obong, the only male panellist listed the major challenges that exist in the fitness industry as education and professionalism. He used his company Fitness Options as yardstick for measuring the growth of the industry, with his outfit having three established centres in Ikeja, Victoria Island and Surulere with a fourth opening up in Apapa and valued the company at about 300million naira. He stated four reasons why people visit the gym as follows: cosmetic purposes, health reasons, social agenda and professional growth.
He also said the sports industry and fitness industry are different entities but they should collaborate to rival the entertainment industry which is very much achievable. One of the impacts of the fitness industry is that it provides an opportunity for people to get jobs as consultants, trainers in the gym, etc.
With regards to regulation, Mr Udo-Obong stated that there is a body called the Medical Rehabilitation Therapeutic Board (MRTB) which exists but has not been functional for 60 years and the Institute of Registered Exercise Practitioners (IREP) which has been set up to ensure that all trainers are certified before they carry out activities. These bodies are not functioning optimally.
Mrs George, who is the first Nigerian to start a fitness programme on Instagram in 2013, pointed out the importance of social media in the growth of the industry but did not regard it as the most important thing to drive the business. She stated that the fitness industry in Nigeria has evolved and it is not what it used to be.
Her business was built on her personal success having lost 55kg and she advised that the lesson everyone should take is to keep going and stick to what they believe will work. She said she took her own advice and Shreddergang is what she has to show for it. The company’s Instagram account has more than 106,000 followers on Instagram.
Zumba trainer, Mrs Nwigwe emphasized that fitness is not just about losing weight but being healthy. Fitness is about your total look, she said. She said social media is a great tool for promoting her vision and she regularly hosts small classes across top gyms around Lagos.
Mrs Omonayajo said that fitness involves mental readiness. One has to give it everything it takes. She entered the industry after losing her post-partum weight through the recipe of Lola, the founder of April Laughs Ltd and has been helping many women find their best selves.
The panellists were unanimous that there is room for growth in the fitness industry following the feedback from some audience members who stated that there is a shortfall in customer service and customer retention.
Customer service and customer retention are key in the fitness industry if they are to thrive and practitioners should be more proactive i.e, if subscribers do not go to the gym, the gym should come to the subscribers.
The March edition of the CampsBay Sport Business Forum is the third in the series. It is supported by market analysis and research company TWOREPORT, communication firm Pooja Media, The Busy Buddies, TreGong TV, Ezra Pearl Online and PetBamok limited.
Reporting by Tolu Fawale