Two diehard Manhucunians have pivoted during the coronavirus pandemic, closed the doors to their gym for good and started a journey that involves delivering fitness in a completely new way and competing with a leading world fitness brand.
Nick and Louise Phillips, both aged 38, were the owners of Hub Fitness in Radcliffe, which had to close its doors on March 23. Rather than await further developments, they made the decision to seize the day and build HubLive – a business based on the MINT principle of ‘Metabolising in No Time’.
They also boldly decided to try to take on global virtual cycle fitness brand, Peloton, and are making preparations to launch their Mancunianised version – LuvCycle, free of American schmaltz and full of club mix tunes, on July 4, at new premises in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The couple had viewed the new premises at 52 Newton Street, Manchester, prior to lockdown when contemplating launching a boutique spinning studio. Lockdown gave them the vision of using this space as a filming studio instead, with a full-on club vibe in terms of mood, décor, lighting and tunes, and a 70-inch screen which allows Nick to deliver personalised feedback live to clients seen on camera.
To test whether virtual fitness could work, they cleared out the children’s toy room and streamed live lockdown workouts via their website, using Zoom Technology, for all their core premium fitness programmes – Strong, Boxing and Shred – plus yoga and pilates.
These have also been available ‘on demand’ to anyone not able to join the live session and this way of delivering fitness has gone down a storm. 7am sessions have seen as many as 27 people coming together, in virtual space, to exercise.
The intensity has been just as full-on as in the gym and participants have noted that their session has been a “hot one”, posting pictures on social media of themselves cooling down in a paddling pool. HubLive has been fun and fabulous.
HubLive is now the couple’s future, as they remove the need for customers to spend precious time driving to their gym, (whenever gyms can reopen), exercising, showering and dashing back home or to work. HubLive subscribers can simply roll out of bed, log on and join a high-energy virtual online fitness session, metabolising in no time.
This has not only kept people physically fit, but also assisted those relying on exercise for good mental health, as various clients have noted.
From July 4, sister brand, LuvCycle, will set virtual challenges for those cycling from the comfort of their own homes and, if they choose, let them ride to the beats of their choice. The July 4 launch studio live playlist will be full of club mixes, whether it’s Gold Dust by DJ Fresh and SHY FX or 9TS (90s Baby) by Redlight.
A special deal has been negotiated on Stages SC1 and SC2 advanced technology bikes – an investment for fitness fans to make, but far more affordable than Peloton’s bikes. A new ‘bubble’ of indoor cycling fans will be spinning away, ironically in a city once known for its dark satanic mills.
From 8am to 1pm on July 4, anyone, anywhere, will be able to tune in and join classes, which will be free all weekend for those not just wanting to get hooked on fitness but also fancying becoming honorary Mancs.
HubLive and LuvCycle will extend the Phillips’ reach across the UK and Nick and fellow trainer, Paulina Samitowska, will be able to engage with fitness seekers anywhere, at any time, whether they want to jab, cross, lift, sweat, stretch or achieve mindfulness.
The HubLive family are set to enjoy many happy Mondays, and weekly fitness sessions, without ever leaving home, and all for just £29.99 a month. This business, which spun out of coronavirus and a crisis, is hugely confident that subscribers, wherever they are based, will be ‘mad fer it’.