Welcome to the next instalment of our new interview series, Making Gains.
At Insure4Sport, we love speaking to industry professionals to get their insights into what it takes to reach the top and stay there.
We recently brought you an interview with James Griffiths of Wild Training – give that a read if you haven’t already.
For this next instalment, we’re sitting down with Luke Beastall, an experienced personal trainer, founder, and head coach of Nottinghamshire-based Musclecoach UK, a health and wellbeing brand determined to bring a sustainable, self-disciplined approached to fitness.
After some early career setbacks, Luke dusted himself down and launched Musclecoach UK back in 2018.
We sat down with him to find out more about his journey.
1. Tell us about your career leading up to launching Musclecoach – what was your background, and where did the idea come from?
Before I entered the fitness industry, it was always my dream to be a professional footballer. That was my passion as a kid, and I didn’t see myself ever doing anything else.
That is, until early 2015, when I decided to take a step back and make a career move.
You could say that the number of setbacks I received when I was younger gave me the nudge to try something different. To give you some perspective, I emailed more than 300 different football clubs but only received a handful of responses.
However, I did manage to find a few footballing opportunities abroad. The first one was in Cologne, Germany, playing for a third division side over there. Moving to Germany on my own at the age of 19 was a scary experience, but one that I’m grateful for.
I later moved to Madrid and worked part-time in a bilingual Spanish school, teaching English as a foreign language. This meant I was able to pay rent and play semi-professionally for a Spanish league club.
I decided it would be good to recruit an agent to help me find newer opportunities, and I managed to get one onboard via LinkedIn (so I thought). Numerous conversations led to landing a deal for LA Galaxy U23s (again, so I thought).
To summarise, it was a scam. I thought my dream had come true, only to have it snatched away again 24 hours later. Tears of joy soon turned to tears of disappointment. It crushed me mentally – and I completely lost my love for the game.
The gym soon became my stress release and started becoming more serious as the years went on. Then, my parents suggested becoming a professional personal trainer – so I signed up for a full-time, six-week course with the Training Room.
After I passed my course, I landed a job with Steiner International, working as a trainer on a cruise ship. I went to Vancouver and lived aboard for nine months. During this time, I set up the online domain for Musclecoach UK, but had to put things on hold while I soaked up the ship life.
Three years later, I came home and launched the business fully in August 2018.
2. Talk us through a typical day running Musclecoach – what does it look like?
I spend four days a week at our base, Anytime Fitness in Sutton-in-Ashfield, coaching clients on the gym floor – usually for 30-35 hours across the week.
I’m up at 4.30am and get home at 7pm – so, yes, they’re very long days.
Wednesdays are my admin days, and I don’t work weekends anymore – but it wasn’t always like that, and I’ve worked hard to get myself into this position. I’ve done 60 and 90+ hour coaching weeks over the years.
The rest of my time is taken up messaging clients, analysing training videos, networking, working with my team of coaches, and running the Musclecoach clothing brand.
My life is NON-STOP – but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
3. What have been the biggest challenges of owning a fitness business, and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me has been learning how to switch off. When you’re so passionate about something, all you do is think about it and the next move you’re going to make.
But you can do too much at once and burn out. I’ve overcome this by strictly taking weekends off, making more of an effort with my social life, and organising my diary to suit my lifestyle.
I always felt guilty for not wanting to enjoy myself too much because of work the next day. But I can finally say that three years into Musclecoach UK, I’ve found the right balance.
4. What’s your proudest career moment to date?
There have been a few, but I’d have to say coaching seven different individuals for their first-ever photoshoot in lockdown.
Because of lockdown, most of the prep was done at home with minimal equipment. It was tough and a fast turnaround, but we did it and gained some great exposure with London TV, too.
5. What are the five most successful marketing strategies you have used for Musclecoach?
The five biggest ones for me are:
- Word of mouth – if you’re delivering a high-quality service, you’ll never need to offer discounts to gain new clients or pay for mass advertising. Word of mouth is important.
- Social media – if you haven’t got it, get it. I use Instagram mainly, both for inspiration and to show off our brand.
- Collaborations, sponsorships, and charity work – supporting local businesses, in particular, is a great way of giving something back and gaining fresh, local exposure.
- Having a professional marketing team – investing in quality will accelerate your business growth in the long term.
- Practising what you preach – you’re your own product, so your clients and audience need to see you do it yourself before offering help to others.
Related: How To Blog As A Personal Trainer
6. How much has your personal brand helped Musclecoach to thrive?
It’s very important to have a personal brand, as it shows you the ‘real’ person behind the business. I work with my clients to build a relationship – not a ‘commisionship’, shall we say.
If I can’t discover what brings people out of their comfort zone, the chances of them staying with me for more than three months are slim.
You have to show your audience your personality so that they feel you want to achieve the best results for them. They mustn’t just be a ‘number’ to your business.
7. How do you make sure you retain your clients?
My team and I retain our clients by building a community of like-minded individuals at Musclecoach UK.
The relationship between our trainers and clients is strong and always has been. We pride ourselves on our communication, too. In a society where communication is often lacking, we know how important it is.
8. Should personal trainers act like role models to their clients?
One hundred per cent, yes. If you want to attract clients in the first place and keep hold of them, you have to be authentic and prepared to show them the real you. It’s underrated.
9. What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a newly qualified personal trainer?
As soon as you start worrying about what other coaches are doing, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
If your energy is wasted on someone or something else, you’ll be distracted from the most important thing and the reason why you started in the first place –to help people.
Don’t undersell your service, either. Be confident and know your worth from the start. In time and with consistency, people will see what you offer for themselves and won’t ever question your price.
10. How important is having specialist insurance in running your business?
Having insurance for your business is very important. When training clients, you’re running several risks at a time, so having the comfort blanket of insurance definitely helps.
You can’t run a coaching business without it.
Many thanks to Luke for his insights.
You can follow Luke on Instagram and find the Musclecoach team at:
Unit E, The Broad Centre
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