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Transforming Fitness Education – Exclusive Interview With Christian Roach

Christian Roach is the Director of Redefining Fitness a multi award winning UK based education and consultancy company. He is also the Author of Becoming Superhuman: 99 Ways to Become Your Own Superhero and a highly sought after Fitness Educator and High Performance Coach.


Christian has worked in the fitness industry, internationally since 2009, accumulating over 10,000 hours of experience and has personally helped hundreds of clients to improve their health, wellbeing and mindset.

In this time, he has also helped over 2000 aspiring and existing personal trainers to achieve their qualifications, mentoring dozens more in building and developing their career.


He is known for transforming the quality of fitness education through defying the industry norm by creating a learning experience which helps students to become the most inquisitive, confident and successful version of themselves.


Image photo of Christian Roach

Christian Roach, Director


Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.


My names Christian Roach and I’m a UK based Fitness Educator, High Performance Coach and Gym Manager who’s been in the industry since 2009.

 

I have held various roles in education, management, operations, sales and group exercise/personal training and have been fortunate to work with over 300 clients and have helped influence over 2000 students’ careers, working across five countries in the process – accumulating over 10,000 hours of real-world experience in my field whilst becoming one of the most vocationally qualified fitness professionals in the industry.

 

I’m also the Author of Becoming Superhuman: 99 Ways To Become Your Own Superhero and the Director of Redefining Fitness – a UK Fitness Education company that helps aspiring fitness professionals to achieve their qualifications whilst also helping to build their business when they graduate.


What motivated you to establish Redefining Fitness LTD, and what is the core mission or philosophy driving your business?

 

Redefining Fitness was co-founded by me and Samuel Lynch back in 2020 and initially became a side project born out of frustration when it came to the quality and standards in the fitness industry, especially with the way personal training courses were being delivered.

 

After myself and my team had worked for most of the industry’s leading training providers over the best part of a decade, we decided we wanted to do better and do something different to disrupt the status quo.

 

We did this by creating a better level of education experience through a highly engaging and well-designed e-learning platform which hosts all our content in the form of PowerPoint presentations, narrations, PDFS, audio links and a cutting-edge exercise library. These tools clearly demonstrate and articulate all the information our students need to pass their exams and assessments whilst also receiving one to one or small group in person tutor time in a fitness facility.

 

Our courses are unique because they also allow out students to shadow live health consultations, fitness classes, personal training sessions and sales tours in our partner gyms. This gives them an added benefit and real-world experience of what to expect so they are better prepared for the industry.

 

We also operate differently to most companies as we operate on our key core values quality driven, innovation, inclusivity, value for money, integrity and competence first. These core values are embedded in everything we do which has helped us to gain highly positive from our learners and peers.

 

Inclusivity is one that stands out for us as we believe that everyone should have access to qualifications and education regardless of protected characteristics and to help students engage with us, we have trained most of our team in how to work with Special Educational Needs so as dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, mental health disorders and many more challenges – with many of the team having overcome these hurdles themselves.

 

All our education team are still successful and practising personal trainers or managers within the industry which bring a diverse and complementary set of skills and ideas to the table, allowing us to work in a collaborative manner.

 

Our mission is to become the number one training provider by 2030 however we are not here to make a quick buck or play the numbers game, we want that reputation to be built on integrity, quality and value for money so rather than being a provider that only cares about bums on seats and fast turnaround times, we will continue to heavily invest in our students even after they finish their qualifications with us.


How do you ensure personalized support and guidance for your clients, particularly in the digital realm, where interaction may differ from traditional in-person training?


All our students have an assigned tutor who works with them directly. Our workshops and assessments are unique as they are booked in as and when the student is ready and due to our team, all being practising personal trainers, they can schedule learners around their current clients. This is a win-win for both learner and tutor.

 

Our workshops are between four and eight hours long and this flexible approach is highly beneficial for those who are working full time or have other commitments as it prevents the need to take extended annual leave, be forced to cram learn and to essentially rush through the course by ticking the boxes.

 

We also have a student support administration who works as a virtual assistant to the company, and he answers admin related or coursework related queries to help remove the burden from our tutors.

 

In our business section, which is part of the personal training qualification, students also must build their own business plan from scratch and with our guidance they come away with a robust plan that covers everything from marketing, branding, sales planning through to profit and loss and how to have basic financial literacy.

 

As the business element of the course was written by successful fitness professionals, this gives our students a real and useful insight into what they need to do to hit the ground running once they start work in the fitness industry.


In what ways do you leverage technology or innovation to enhance the fitness experience for your clients, both in terms of training and tracking progress?


Our online learning platform caters for all learning styles and for those with English as a second or third language which has led to a 98% first time pass rate on theory exams. These exams are arranged and regulated by an external awarding body in a separate online portal so there is no room for cheating or fraudulence. This shows that the learners are engaged and taking everything in.

 

Our philosophy throughout is about creating a robust but malleable thought process and to help students to solve their own problems by creating a solution focused approach to fitness.

 

We also understand that technology can be daunting for some, so we still provide hard copy textbooks if required however we are moving to a completely digital framework in 2025 as we are driving to improve eco sustainability by reducing our carbon footprint. This year we will be exploring how to create a digitalised by user friendly system for all future coursework so there will be no more physical paper trail.

 

Our online portal allows us to see when students have completed a lesson or practise exam so we can establish where they in their course but as they are working closely with the tutor in a one-to-one capacity, keeping track of learners is quite straightforward. We do have the help of tools such as Dropbox for end point storage, which is an underrated tool for businesses, especially SME’s along with the utilisation of various CRM systems.


Can you share some success stories or testimonials from clients who have benefited from your programs, and how do you measure the effectiveness of your training methods?

 

Yes we have various online here at www.redefiningfitness.co.uk but also on google reviews. These are from past graduates who have taken a course with us and are mostly working in the industry now.

 

We measure the effectiveness of our delivery through a range of methods including direct learner feedback, learner reviews, referral rates, our high pass marks and how many of our graduates are still in the industry twelve months after starting work.

 

The industry norm is sadly 6-8 months whereas a survey in Nov 2023, showed that 93% of our graduates who had started work, were still in work a year or more later. We will also explore the possible use of tools like Medallia for NPS scores but as we are still a microbusiness in our infancy, this is one for the future.


Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.

 

We were fortunate to win Fitness Training Provider of the Year at the Prestige Awards in 2023 and Fitness Education Company of the Year at the same awards in 2024. In 2024, we also made it onto the Elite Business Top 100 UK SME’s despite being a micro company competing with multi-million-pound businesses which admittedly I was taken aback by as we are still a small entity operating with a slow but consistent long-term approach.


If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?

 

The notion that to get into personal training, you should just get the piece of paper from any provider and figure things out yourself. Unfortunately, this is a thought held by many fitness professionals who feel let down and that the state of education and relevance is substandard across the UK.

 

The fitness industry has a couple of negative perceptions in that – personal trainers are in those roles because they aren’t good at anything else, that personal trainers can make a lot of money without doing any real work and that it’s easy to become one due to some providers allowing people to pass in as little as a weekend.

 

To combat this, our flagship courses for personal training typically takes between 6-12 months to complete and we want to become the standard to aspire to because it’s more than just a job – it’s about changing lives and helping the collective to become fitter, healthier and happier versions of themselves.


Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.


I’ve had a few pivotal moments, and some made my ask myself some very difficult questions. The overriding one was when I was working for another provider before we started the company and despite having the highest pass rates, strongest buy in from learners and the best reviews, I was having to work with inconsistencies within my educational peers.


There were some excellent educators but also some poor ones and when I say poor, I refer to a lack of credibility in the industry and a lot of failed personal trainers who got into tutoring. I found that my growth mindset was not being shared by everyone and this hampered the learning experience for learners, but it also hit home when I realised, we were all being paid the same, regardless of performance or how hard we worked.


This led me to hit burnout a good few times and most of it was having to work with people with unrealistic and unethical expectations and morals, even going as far as being willing to coerce learners into writing five star reviews. This didn’t set well with me, and this was when I realised, I was done and decided to be the catalyst for change.


Also working for companies that have an autocratic and all-knowing approach to everything can be particularly frustrating, especially when there’s a strong argument for those decision makers being wrong. Ironically, two of the biggest providers in the UK I was working for (I won’t name names) have dissolved since then and some of the others have had to pivot and refine their approach.


This is when I realised, I wanted to create a strong company with clear and fair core values that would surpass what everyone else is doing. We are not there yet; we are on our way and getting traction, but we know we aren’t the finished article which is why we will keep continuing to grow. We may never get to where we want to be and we’re okay with that because we know that trying to be better every day already puts us ahead of most and that’s all we can do.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


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