Insights into gym founding – interview with an expert

Interview: Founder series part 4

Tiegel Gym

If you have read parts 1, 2 and 3 of our gym founding series, you know how to approach starting a gym. Today you will get some insights into gym founding from an actual founder!

We have talked to Henning Humbert from TIEGEL Gym in Emsbüren, Germany. He and his partner Alexander are in the middle of building a new facility.

About TIEGEL Gym

TIEGEL Gym in Emsbüren, Germany with an area of over 1500m2 is a high- class fitness studio. You can train at 80 training stations with a total of 10 different zones.

The design of the studio was put together on the basis of the team’s many years of experience and the needs of the community: By athletes for athletes, so to speak. The aim is to create a very special atmosphere in which young and old can achieve their physical and sport-specific goals.

Even before the opening, the two founders, Henning and Alexander, regularly let the members, fans and friends know about the construction progress, e.g. via social media. They wanted to make sure that the community was able to follow the entire journey from the idea to the topping-out ceremony.

Image: TIEGEL Gym founders Henning and Alexander
The founders: Henning and Alexander

Interview with Henning Humbert from TIEGEL Gym

Dear Henning, thank you very much for taking the time to give us some insights in how you have founded your gym. We really appreciate it, especially since you are probably very busy right now!

What makes your gym special and what distinguishes you from other gyms?

Our gym was planned and built from scratch by athletes for athletes. The result is a gym with a holistic approach that encompasses all topics of sports and health in a very special atmosphere:

  • Universal training environment with 10 different zones
  • Brand new high quality equipment
  • Outdoor area with ball sports courts
  • Lounge as a large community area and meeting place for chats and entertainment
  • Seminars and workshops on various topics to support and educate members
  • Individual training planning and support
  • Integration of the wishes of the members

How did you come up with the studio name? Is there a story behind it?

When it came to finding a name, we had to think very hard for a long time. We decided on the word ‘GYM’ because it is defined as a place of physical and mental exercise (which fits our concept quite well). ‘TIEGEL’ is a German industrial term – more precisely a vessel in which new substances are created by heating.

Image: TIEGEL gym
A TIEGEL is a vessel where new substances are created by heating. It merges the training goals and environment.

At TIEGEL, the goals of our athletes and our training environment become one. The fact that our location is situated in an industrial area, which is called ‘Am Tiggelwerk’, certainly also played a role.

Why did you decide to build a completely new studio?

On the one hand, no existing building met our expectations. On the other hand, a new building gave us more freedom to design the training zones exactly as we wanted.

Image: training area TIEGEL gym
 A look at the training area in the TIEGEL Gym

Moreover, the property is an ideal location for the TIEGEL. It offers a lot of nature, enough space for outdoor activities and extensions (sauna, wellness centre, swimming facilities), we don’t disturb anyone and remain undisturbed ourselves. Moreover, it can be reached quickly and easily from the city centre but also from towns in the surrounding area.

Image: TIEGEL gym
That’s how the TIEGEL gym will look like soon

Which target group does your gym address and how did you go about finding the target group?

First, we gathered some info about what kind of athletes there are in the area. This was followed by a very detailed analysis, that included the analysis of what problems or challenges these athletes have in achieving their fitness goals and how we can support them with what is needed.

In the next step, we classified these needs under movement motives. From this, we developed final requirement profiles for which we then designed the training zones, among other things. With our concept, we want to address every movement motive, which means that every athlete should be able to train with us and set the right stimuli – from beginner to professional.

An example of target groups that we identified are ball and team athletes as well as fitness and health athletes.
We prioritize social interaction, development and want to create a community including all target groups – but in a casual way.

What role does social media play for you?

Especially in the early days, it is important to keep potential members informed about the progress of the construction, the interior and the concept. With our channels on Instagram and Facebook, we reach people who are interested in sports -our potential members. We want to provide them with valuable content and interact with them on social media. So far, we have not used analogue advertising too much – but we will do so in the future.

 Since the community is of central importance to us, these channels also serve as a platform of open exchange, transparency and a news hub for members and leads. With the help of social media we want to build a community.

Image: TIEGEL gym's instagram account
TIEGEL’s instagram account

What staff is necessary to open a studio?

It depends on the number of members and the objective of your studio. For example, there are chains that have several 1,000 members but only need very few trainers to implement their training concept. With our TIEGEL, only the ‘right stimuli should be set’. That’s why everyone initially gets a solid individual training support with appropriate recommendations.

Image: TIEGEL Gym team on the construction site
Part of the TIEGEL Gym team on the construction site

Afterwards, everyone has the possibility of receiving more specific and intensive support and to choose from various options. In addition to trainers on the floor there may be a need for additional service and cleaning staff, group fitness class trainers, employees in accounting, personal trainers, facility managers etc.

Why did you decide to use Magicline as a studio software?

A couple years back when we heard about Magicline at FIBO, we already liked that Magicline’s employees showed us everything and explained it precisely. The customer service at Magicline is awesome.

As a young company, we also remembered the chic, clear design and the way the software was paid for at the time. Today, the positive impression of the employees in particular has increased. Friendliness, competence and the good accessibility of my contact persons make the cooperation very pleasant – the right decision.

Image: Magicline gyms software's clear dashboard

What has been your biggest road block or surprise moment so far?

Besides Corona, it was actually the naming process. We had to withdraw our originally registered trademark and thus did a few more loops. In the end, however, the additional time was good for us and encouraged us in our venture.

Especially in times of Corona, it is also important to think about risks. How do you deal with risks/risk management? Can you prepare for them?

Yes, I think with big decisions it is very important to be aware of and consider some risks. Fortunately, our risk list could not stop us from starting the project. But I’m also sure if we had put even more energy into risks and planning, we wouldn’t be as far as we are now.

What advice would you give to a studio founder? What is your most important learning so far?

Plan to re-plan!

Image: TIEGEL gym's construction site
TIEGEL gym’s construction site

Henning, we wish you all the best for building and opening the TIEGEL Gym and for all adventures to come in the future! Thank you very much for the interview!

If you are also planning to open a gym and need some advice, especially in terms of gym software and all advantages of using a holistic management software, reach out to us!

Any questions?
Maike from Magicline will help you.

Want to know more about how Magicline can support you when founding a gym? Reach out!

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