In preparation for Active London we caught up with Dave Stapleton, Founder and CEO of BUA FIT, member of the Sport Tech Hub community, and resident at House of Sport.
Covering all things related to physical activity provision for delegates attending London Sport’s Active London, the impact of C-19 on BUA FIT, how the business is eradicating barriers to participation and what is in the future for this fast growing SportTech start-up.
What can Active London delegates expect from BUA FIT across the 12-15 October?
Expect a smorgasbord of online exercise classes. All workouts are accessed online. Some are live and in real time, and others you can catch up with on demand. Live sessions will be available on demand too. Classes range from 30 to 45 minutes.
All abilities, ages and tastes are catered for and absolutely everyone is welcome. Sessions are led by a professional trainer with bags of enthusiasm and experience. They’ll direct attendees through the workshops with ease, whilst tweaking postures, advising, and answering any questions. All activities in the classes can be done in small spaces so attendees don’t have to worry about moving furniture.
What is BUA FIT offering to Active London delegates?
Ten live workouts and four on demand workshops are ripe and ready for attendees.
Some of the HIIT sessions will be curated by Coach Saima from Women’s Health and C4’s Sunday Brunch and another by our Irish gem, Casey.
With the final pitstop across the week being a full blown vinyasa yoga session. Embrace a workout that is word-in-the-ear intimate, but mountain-range massive.
Full schedule and description of each activity can be seen below!
Kicking off the live schedule is Bamboo Flow. A slow-paced yoga inspired workout built to release tensions and soothe problem areas.
Box HIIT is a combo class of boxing sequences and bodyweight exercises (where you use your own body as a weight rather than any accessories) in a HIIT fashion. HIIT means alternating short periods of intense exercise followed by short recovery periods. A super-efficient workout and unmissable if you’re keen to give boxing a bash.
Join Pilates for a full-body workout that literally will help you do everything better. It’s low-impact but will transform your posture and flexibility through slow and precise movements. Pilates is a great recovery class for cyclists, footballers, and runners.
War On Your Core, does exactly what it says on the tin. Core strength is vital if your back and shoulders are tight from working from home whilst perched precariously on your kitchen chair, stool, or sofa.
Yoga & Meditation is a corker of a class for those seeking some peace. Log in and tune out.
Barre is a fusion of the best bits of ballet, Pilates and yoga. Leave the class feeling longer, leaner, and graceful.
The last live session is Yoga Flow Mojo. A faster paced session of vinyasa sequences. These sequences will have you seated and standing, conquering front and back bends easily, whilst mastering your breath.
On demand sessions include a nutrition workshop led by our head nutritionist, Healthy Mays, covering all the essential fuels our bodies crave.
A big focus of Active London is exploring how physical activity and sport can ensure it doesn’t exacerbate inequality of access and opportunity. In simple terms how easy it is for a delegate to join and what will they need?
Anyone anywhere can access these live and on demand workouts. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and a device. Access in The Studio is easy and quick from the Active London platform, simply by clicking a link. There’s no need to worry about what you’re wearing as you can turn off your Zoom screen if that’s what makes you feel comfortable. Attendees can do push-ups in their pjs and lunges in their lounges.
All anyone needs to bring is their brilliant bodies, a mat (if they have one, but no problem if not), and gallons of tap water.
Zooming slightly out, with the covid-19 pandemic having thrown into sharp relief the inequalities experienced by many Londoners, what has BUA FIT been doing to counteract this?
Like many other fitness businesses, ours came to a jerky halt when lockdown hit. BUA was built to supply outdoor, group fitness classes to the masses all over London, and with socialising out of the question, so was our business model. We had to think fast about how to ensure our users could access exercise easily despite increasingly restrictions. So, we launched virtual, live and group fitness sessions and reached out to trainers who had suddenly became jobless following the closures of gyms nationwide.
The numbers and diversity of our trainers skyrocketed, as did our clients. For the first time ever, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection could log in and enjoy being part of the community. Trainers and clients spilled in from around the globe, with clients spanning ages of 20 – 65, of all genders, backgrounds, and races. Language barriers broke down as movement became the mother tongue.
The group online classes gave a new routine to clients and became a lifeline to many, especially those living alone and those craving normal social interaction. The live and group elements to the online classes were vital to our success; trainers were able to interact with their audience and vice versa in real time, and clients were able to socialise together. NHS workers also joined our community and enjoyed complimentary classes as a thank you for their help in the effort to combat Covid.
Today we continue running online classes, alongside outdoor activities. Online classes suit many with children and hectic work schedules. One noticeable trend is that clients have ramped up their attendance of outdoor classes and supplement their regime with lunchtime and very early morning online classes.
BUA can now also accommodate parents with children in their outdoor classes and are running private classes for many ‘baby & me’ groups.
How has BUA FIT been operating over the last 3-6 months and continuing to provide a service to existing and new users?
BUA FIT has perfected social fitness. Our outdoor classes were capped at 5 people for a number of months, all equipment is heavily sanitized, and social distancing is adhered to. Locations are all over London so clients don’t have to use public transport.
As mentioned previously, we released live and online workout classes on the platform during lockdown. Staying healthy physically has aided our mental health throughout.
What is next for BUA FIT?
BUA FIT is set to become the biggest outdoor group fitness community in London. Covering every nook and cranny in all boroughs and running classes for the masses whatever their exercise taste. Increasingly workouts are taking place in weird and wonderful locations, including St Paul’s, along the Thames, or amongst the ruins of beautiful churches.
Our next biggest objectives are the perk packages for the public sector and corporates. Here employers can offer their employees something on trend that goes beyond a standard gym membership. BUA have tailored classes to build team spirit, created sessions to get the office ready for a company-wide fitness goal (i.e. completing a triathlon together), and offer bulk class credit packs.