From a kettlebell class in a local church hall, to one of the South West’s premier fitness clubs – the rise of Frome’s Affinity Wellbeing has been rapid. This is down to the dedication and personal care of husband and wife team Paul and Katharine Roffey. Affinity now have 2 premises and more than 300 regulars, they are described as a ‘5-star fitness club’ in reviews from their clients.
With a variety of activities that would put many bigger gyms to shame, Affinity offer everything from Crossfit to HIIT, Bootcamps and even Yoga.
This detailed interview with Paul Roffey goes beyond the usual ‘work hard’ message, and looks at some of the secrets of Affinity Wellbeing’s success. You’ll find that Paul’s combination of incorporating ideas and training methods from all over the world, his focus on individuals and structured methodology all come though strongly in this interview.
You can find out more at www.affinitywellbeing.com
Affinity Wellbeing has been rated by your clients as a 5-star fitness club. Tell us about Affinity and the people behind this organisation.
We’re a wife and husband team which launched one Kettlebells class out of a Church hall 7 years ago this October. We started out with just 2 members carried all of our kit out around in a small Ford KA, gradually building up to what we have now, an Award Winning Gym (National Outdoor Community Fitness 2016) based in Frome, Somerset.
We have two 1200sq ft premises, ‘The Den’, which features a 20m long monkey bar section with varying heights throughout, a 5 X 6 metre rope climbs and various lifting platforms, rigs, racks, and training devices throughout. We also use the 2 outdoor spaces we have as often as we can. We now run over 70 sessions a week between us both: including CrossFit, Kettlebells, HIIT, Olympic Weightlifting, Pilates and Yoga sessions, as well as a multitude of external events from holidays, adventure weekenders, competitions, bootcamps, runs, parties and more.
Why did you decide to become fitness trainers? When did you first realize this was the right path for you?
I don’t think there was ever a point we decided to become “Fitness Trainers”, we both shared a passion for health and wellbeing, and thrived off keeping ourselves fit. My wife excelled at sport at school and it became a natural progression for her, while I always wanted to be a Graphic Designer and ran my own business as one. It was the meeting of our minds that brought about Affinity and change our actual directions in life. As Affinity grew, so did our ideas.
Affinity not only provides excellent facilities, but also has built a great community and atmosphere – what is your secret?
It wouldn’t be a secret if we told you would it… but it’s so important today to have your own USP. Pursue differentiation and discover new market spaces to create new demand. We like to think out of the box wherever we can, ignore any competition and just believe in whatever it is you’re doing, regardless of whatever anyone else says. Work hard, be prepared to give up everything, and be on level with everyone who passes through your doors.
At a base layer offer the most extreme, proven training methods from all over the world, some are incredibly old, some are borrowed and some we have created ourselves. We train to improve Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, Accuracy. From this we want to inspire people to grow so we offer events like OCR’s, CrossFit Competitions, Action Adventure Weekenders and Weeks, our own branded clothing lines, Parties, Awards… the list is endless. Anything that bonds and creates passion throughout our community we will invest time in.
What kind of facilities do you have an what types of services do you provide?
At Affinity you will not find rows of stationary bikes and weight machines. But you will find pull-up bars, ropes, gym rings, barbells, rowers, kettlebells, sleds, wallballs, tyres and wide open space for squatting, running, jumping, climbing, lifting and throwing – moving your body the way it is supposed to be moved. It means that all your workouts will be comprised of exercises that mimic movements performed in day-to-day life or sport. We focus on improving functional movements that are necessary and common in your daily activities.
With our constantly varied programming, you will never get bored. We rarely do the same workouts, but when we do we do so on purpose, to test progress.
At Affinity we believe that training should prepare you for the challenges that life throws at you, the unknown and the unknowable, and with Affinity our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.
Why do you think the presence of a coach is beneficial for the individual? How should someone choose the right PT?
Working closely together creates a bond that will help you to stay engaged and motivated throughout your process. As with any industry, having a Professional at hand will help you to achieve the best results. As a Coach and PT we’re trained to get the best out of everyone, we make sure everyone adheres to the correct mechanics, is consistent with them before we introduce intensity, which avoids overload and undue stress to their body. By spending time with clients as individuals it is easy to build a picture of exactly what they’re goal sets are and how best we can get them to them within the constraints they may have.
What is your training / program philosophy?
Define your coaching objectives.
Build and nurture relationships with athletes.
Help athletes manage their stress.
Always focus on the big picture.
On your website there are quite a few success stories – do you have any favourites?
We could never separate anyone out, everyone is part of everyone’s success story at Affinity. Each and every person has at one point inspired or motivated someone else to go beyond their comfort zones and achieve something awe-inspiring, be that weight loss, a PB or competition won. We’re amazed daily at people who step foot through our doors in the first place. That takes major courage. That first step is the real success story as that person has made a decision for change in their life. From that point our jobs easy, if they’re willing we’ll change their lives.
Who are your clients and what are their goals?
At Affinity we train athletes, we train professionals, we train individuals. Our clients come from all demographs, ranging from 3 through to 70+. The common thread binding them is will to suffer, to throw former selves on the fire, to overcome and to change.
Summer is on the way and everyone is keen to get in shape… what are the best exercises to lose weight and tone up?
Any routine involving a Kettlebell. The basic Russian Swing is a core to extremity exercise that will get your heart racing and build strength from your core to extremities, working everything from your core, to your shoulders, your quads, your hamstrings, your glutes, and your back.
What is your favourite gym equipment and why?
The Kettlebell. Kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength. The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shovelling or farm work. Nothing blitz’s calories more than one either.
What are the best home exercise products?
A Kettlebell, a TRX, your own body and access to YouTube.
What are your goals for 2017 – both personally and for Affinity? How do you see your business growing?
We’re in the early stages of hosting our first national competition, but at a base level we just want to knuckle down and focus on what we do best. Making The Den (the name of our premises’) the best training facilities around, this is no doubt an endless endeavor but it’s that pursuit of excellence that drives us.
Our aim is to become the best training facility in the south west so we listen, we learn, we improve to make our 300+ clients proud of who they’ve become and that they feel that they are a massive part of our continued journey and growth.
If you’d like to find out more about the classes and personal training at Affinity Wellbeing, or to get in touch with Paul. Check out their website at http://www.affinitywellbeing.com
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