In 2014, Daniel Christie, owner and head personal trainer at Oxford Performance Centre had a vision to create a boutique personal training and group training gym that focused on individualised training and nutrition. He believed that to maximise our bodies, people needed to feed their bodies with complimentary nutrition that aligned with their training regimes and physical outcomes. Oxford Performance Centre understands that every body is unique and with that understanding comes a truly innovative boutique gym that provides nutrition plans with personal training.
Christie's role extends further than a personal trainer as he oversees the marketing, management and expansion of Oxford Performance Centre. First Class Wealth asked him to sit down with us to discuss his process and experience of establishing a successful small business.
1. Can you tell us a little about the Oxford Performance Centre and what do you specialise in?
Oxford Performance Centre is a personal training and group training gym in Darlinghurst, Sydney. We offer group training, Personal training & nutrition consulting. Our group training involves two styles of sessions, HIIT (high intensity interval training), where the sessions are fast paced, focused on burning body fat, toning muscles and improving cardiovascular fitness, all using light to medium weights and bodyweight exercises, kettlebells, battle ropes, sleds, boxing and dumbbells are used to mix it up and keep things interesting.
Our Strong & Lean sessions are as the name suggests, teaching people to lift weights in a safe and controlled environment. The focus is to burn body fat, build lean muscle and increase strength. Exercises including barbell squats, deadlifts, pull ups and bench press are some of the foundation exercises we use.
Our second level is our private personal training studio, where our trainers work 1 on 1 with their clients to achieve their goals. These sessions are programmed to the client’s needs and wants, everything is customised to the individual client so that we can get them their results as fast as possible in a safe and healthy manner.
A big part of Oxford Performance Centre is our focus on nutrition, nutrition is the foundation of health and if someone is wanting to make a small or large change to the physique it all starts with improving health and nutrition. We offer 28 Day to 12 Week Challenges with the combination of training and nutrition, where we achieve amazing results!
We specialise in body transformations here at Oxford Performance Centre, a lot of our clients come to us looking to lose body fat, improve their fitness and feel stronger. Utilising strength training and high intensity interval training we use the two best training methods to create change. That’s what we are about here at Oxford Performance Centre, using the best & safest method to get someone to where they want to be, avoiding the fads and sticking to what works.
2. What is Oxford Performance Centre’s differentiating factor compared to other gyms out there?
The difference that I have always wanted to create with Oxford Performance Centre is the focus on the client’s health and wellbeing, to create results that will last long term we need to consider nutrition, training and lifestyle habits. We make sure we understand what the client wants to achieve with us and then work out how we get them there as quick as possible while making them feel healthy, strong, full of energy and fit. The training and nutrition needs to be manageable long term, otherwise the client will rebound a few weeks or months later. We avoid this by improving the client’s knowledge about nutrition, using safe and effective training methods, while also considering their lifestyle, stressors that may be preventing or slowing their progress.
This is and should be the focus of all gyms but often the client’s health and wellbeing gets lost in the chase to reach the goal, where the training and nutrition plans are too much for the client to handle or maintain long term.
3. How does Oxford Performance Centre innovate the fitness industry and personal training?
We are a very “back to basics” gym, get the small things right and everything will fall into place. I think that is one of the main things I try to explain to trainers, that you don’t need to chase the latest training fad or diet plan for clients to get results, start with the basics, improve nutrition, focused training and manage lifestyle stressors.
4. What are your plans for Oxford Performance Centre over the next three years?
My plan for Oxford Performance Centre over the next 3 years is to continue to build the brand of Oxford Performance Centre, make this gym known as the best personal training and group training gym in Sydney. Creating a reputation as the top of the industry.
I would like to look to open a second performance centre, location unknown at this moment but in Sydney toward the end of this year or the beginning of 2018
5. Most small businesses understand, it sometimes means juggling between being a manager, marketer and in this case, a personal trainer. How do you juggle the different roles required to operate this business?
I think this was the biggest readjustment for me to make, it’s something I still struggle with today. Time management and out sourcing where possible is very important. I also like to plan my days out, everything has allocated times slots for each role that I need to do, time set aside where I only focus on marketing, creating content for blogs, Facebook adds, Instagram post. Time where I’m available to work with clients, staff meetings and so on. Tim Ferris, Garry Vaynerchuk and the book ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, have all been strong influencers on how I manage my time and run my day.
6. Can you talk us through your path towards becoming a personal trainer and how you gained the knowledge to establish a successful gym?
I started weight training when I was 16 at the local gym, with no real idea of what I was doing and a lack of knowledge from the people working in the gym, I began my own research (books, magazines, internet), my main focus was on bodybuilding, but also a lot on nutrition as I always thought that it must play a big role on its effect on body composition.
After getting good results with my own training, members started asking me for help and advice over the trainers that worked there, the gym owner asked me if I ever thought of becoming a trainer, I didn’t know what I wanted to do work wise, so I went and did a course. From there I worked in a commercial gym for a few years, working with as many people as I could to get as much experience with lots of different cases. I realised early on that I didn’t know a thing about nutrition and proper strength training, also realising what I didn’t like about commercial style gyms and that one day I wanted my own gym where everyone would have structure in their training, be taught how to lift properly and if needed, a nutrition plan. They wouldn’t be just going into a gym and doing whatever and getting nowhere, but instead coming in and knowing that what they were doing has been planned and thought out and it’s moving them closer towards their goals, their whole reason of coming to a gym.
I have always looked to learn from the best and so when I wanted to improve the service I offered I found the best in the world and the best in Sydney and did internships, courses, training sessions, education sessions, I invested in myself as I saw this being the way I could improve the results I could get for my client. When the time came to open Oxford Performance Centre I did the same thing, I sat down with successful gym owners and discussed what they had done, what mistakes they had made and what things they believe I needed to take into account. I believe this is what has got me to this stage, continuing education is a big part of being a trainer at Oxford Performance Centre.
7. What are some of the common pitfalls that personal trainers might make when they are trying to setup and/or expand their own business?
I would say the most common pitfall is understanding that being a personal trainer and being a business owner are two totally different jobs and it is very hard to do both. Someone can be an amazing trainer, but when it comes to running a business they can struggle with marketing, accounting, people management and if you’re a busy trainer it’s hard to find the time to both learn about these areas and also have the time to stay on top of them.
8. What advice do you have for someone wanting to set up their own personal training service, some wisdom for the up and comers?
1. Work with as many different people as you can, this teaches you how different people are, how to adjust to different people and situation and that what works for one may not work for another, you create a huge knowledge base of how to work with and help different people.
2. Go and learn from the best, just doing your cert III & IV isn’t enough if you want to really make a difference and have a successful business in such a competitive market, invest in yourself first.
3. When you’re ready to start your own business, go and sit down with a gym owner that has a gym similar to what you want, I took the owner of a similar style gym out to lunch, I had two pages of questions ready to ask him, everything I could think of and then added every question that came to mind during our discussion, I was writing the entire time. This was one of the most valuable learning experiences I have had about running a gym, it was an insight into what I was about to try and build.
9. What advice do you have for someone who is looking for a personal trainer/gym?
1. Do your research and see if they have done what you want to do, if your goal is fat loss, then make sure the trainer you’re going to has a track record of working successfully with fat loss clients.
2. Ask for a trial session, it’s always good to test a trainer out and get a feel for them, most people will know if they are going to get along with someone after spending an hour with them and you will also see if you like their style. There is no point in jumping into a program if you don’t enjoy the trainers company or the training, you will be more likely to cancel sessions and not give 100%, in the end it is only wasting your money and detrimental your results.
10. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned over the years in operating a business and what is one thing you wish you knew before you started down this path?
Not to rush into things, to really take your time and make sure everything is going to work in your favour long term. It’s easy to get excited with a new venture and jump straight in without taking everything into account. Create a business plan and get people who know and understand business to go over it and pick it apart. It might be tough to take at the time but you will be thankful later on. So I would say, make sure everything is right for success before starting, other opportunities will always come up if the one you’re looking at isn’t 100%.
For more information about Oxford Performance Centre, visit their website http://www.oxfordperformancecentre.com.au/