Gut Microbiome & My Health


Inbound Marketing For The Fitness Business

In a new world dramatically altered by the COVID lockdowns, most buyers of Fitness Business do their purchasing research online, familiarizing themselves and making preliminary decisions long before even contacting the seller. A quick look at the implications

Marketing has experienced a considerable shift over the past few years as people have turned more to social media and the internet world for all their work and most of their play. Add to this, a situation as dramatic as the COVID-19 crisis and lockdowns have meant that all businesses completely re-adjusted their marketing approach. Let’s look at how business such as the fitness business can adapt and succeed in this completely different new world.

In the first of this series, we look at inbound marketing – an approach that is proving to be much more effective than traditional push marketing.

The COVID-19 Impact

The COVID-19 crisis has considerably affected the digital marketing sphere. We can see and feel the impact of COVID-19 on a business of any size. By now, many have refactored their business logic by cutting expenses as much as practical and offering remote options among the numerous measures.

Like everyone else, those of us who work in the Fitness Business have seen a dramatic disruption to our work and daily lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But social distancing also places a unique spotlight on our industry. The more society leans into social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the more each of us will rely on media, especially digital media, to keep us informed, working, learning and entertained.

With an onslaught of news and the biggest social disruption in generations, it’s not surprising that consumer sentiment is constantly evolving around the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it’s very important for brands to lean into consumer sentiment tools. By understanding the topics and trends audiences are engaging with, brands can determine if, where and how they want to engage in the conversation.

Old styles of push marketing have a limitations

Old styles of marketing have been losing their effectiveness and we have known this even prior to the COVID crises. Older styles of marketing are just not recognized by younger, target generations and they tend to be more expensive too, especially when factoring the time, energy and money spent for your message that is then ignored. Mashable report that about 44% of direct mail is never opened and 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.” In a world seeped in advertisement overload, businesses are increasingly turning to more effective forms of advertisement, such as inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing or Pull Marketing is a relatively new marketing concept where marketers attempt to “pull” in potential customers with interesting content. Also called content marketing, inbound marketing involves creating blog posts, social media, infographics, white papers, email newsletters, and other content that people actually want to read. Inbound marketing is the concept that rather than paying to get customers to your website using ads and other in-your-face tactics, you instead give them a compelling reason to want to be there.

Creating content that is useful to your target market will help you turn up in search results and get found by those people that will eventually become your customers.

Inbound is known to be more effective than outbound marketing because with inbound, you can generate organic traffic to your site. Organic traffic is cheaper, lasts longer, and is more predictable than paid traffic. The following are some startling findings in this Mashable reports :

– Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing.

– 3 out of 4 inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel

– 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog

Inbound Marketing Funnel

As we saw, the rules have now fundamentally changed for the buying process
and sales cycle. Buyers are now firmly in control, often completely ignoring
traditional advertising channels and actively searching for product or service
information online to make an informed purchasing decision with little or no
input from the seller.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining for marketers to this new paradigm.
Inbound marketing provides a new avenue for reaching the modern buyer on their  own terms – providing valuable, objective information that can gently guide the buyer into a relationship with the seller without the taint of “advertising.” Inbound marketing creates warm leads who see value in what you have to offer and want to engage with you.

Eighty percent of all search traffic are queries to find information about a
topic, including challenges consumers face such as “what product / service will
make this problem go away?” By providing objective, educational information
regarding that problem and possible solutions, you’re improving your chances of engaging that interested prospect, gaining their trust, and eventually their

Unlike traditional marketing which pushes generic messages out to a passive,
mass audience, inbound marketing is focused on attracting interested prospects through relevant and helpful content that provides educational value and is personalized to them and where they are in their journey for information.
What makes inbound marketing so powerful is that your content reaches
interested prospects when, where, and how they prefer, as they’re actively
searching for a “cure” to their “pain.” The content created for each stage of
the funnel automatically nurtures prospects by guiding them toward a discussion with sales.
The basic premise of the inbound marketing funnel is that not all visitors to a
web site or blog are equal and more importantly, they’re not all looking for
the same thing. The inbound marketing funnel is broken up into three different parts. Each is perfectly suited for the buyers’ journey.


Global Physical Activity Economy

Interesting statistics from the Global Wellness Institute indicate that the physical activity economy will surpass $1.1 trillion by 2023. Let’s look at some key stats

Interesting statistics from the Global Wellness Institute indicate that the physical activity economy will surpass $1.1 trillion by 2023.
• Asia-Pacific will overtake North America as the largest market accounting for an eye-opening 40 percent of all global growth through 2023.
• China and India together will drive nearly one-third of all growth.
• Mindful movement will be the #1 growth sector (12 percent annually from 2018–2023).
• Technology will be the second-fastest-growing market (8.6 percent annually).

As the world moves towards a greater awareness of the need for physical activity, are you poised to join this revolution?

Let’s be active, Let’s keep Fit


HbA1C – What is it and how it is used

The term HbA1C refers to glycated Haemoglobin or Glycosylated Haemoglobin. It develops when Haemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, joins with glucose in the blood, to become ‘glycated’.


HbA1c levels are reflective of blood glucose levels over the past six to eight weeks and do not reflect daily ups and downs of blood glucose. For people with diabetes this is important as the higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

When the body processes sugar, glucose in the bloodstream naturally attaches to Haemoglobin.

The amount of glucose that combines with this protein is directly proportional to the total amount of sugar that is in your system at that time.

Because red blood cells in the human body survive for 8-12 weeks before renewal, measuring glycated haemoglobin (or HbA1c) can be used to reflect average blood glucose levels over that duration, providing a useful longer-term gauge of blood glucose control.

If your blood sugar levels have been high in recent weeks, your HbA1c will also be greater.

Amelia German

Aseema talks to the well-travelled Amelia German, who is currently based in the beautiful island of Masirah, just off the coast of Oman. We discuss her incredible journey from Ecologist and Researcher to one of the biggest Yoga trainers in her region. She also shares her take on navigating the online space and how she seeks to marry her connection with nature and wildlife and her passion for Yoga!

Practising yoga gives me the feeling of calm and contentment, something I cannot find in any other sport or activity.

Hi Amelia! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you got into the fitness industry?

I’m originally from England. I moved to Wales at nineteen to study and then to Scotland to do my masters. I then worked there for another six years as a researcher, before branching out to the Middle East- I love to explore life in new cities!  My career teaching yoga started in Bahrain where I was teaching biology in a school for a little bit. I ran an after-school yoga club and from there on it developed into private classes with some people in Bahrain. I also started organizing my own events and classes such as hot yoga in the desert, full moon yoga and the like. Just something different; something to bring together my passions for both nature and yoga! During this time, I would always come to Oman to explore the mountains and all these beautiful places. That’s how I eventually moved here.

I like to encourage people to get outside and get that Vitamin D, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. It’s a pretty big problem in the Middle East- somehow, despite having the most sun anywhere, people here have got the highest Vitamin D deficiency! I think people shouldn’t be so worried about putting themselves through extremes. It’s not that bad to be sweating or to feel hot or cold because that is how you strengthen your body.

How did you come into yoga?   

The first time I did yoga was when I was 21, at University. One of my friends invited me to join her at a yoga course for beginners and I ended up really liking it! I studied Biology and went on to study Ecology and Environmental sustainability in Scotland and then worked as an ecologist there, but through all this time I practised yoga as a personal interest. I’d wanted to do the teacher training for years but I didn’t get around to it till four years ago (I did my teacher training in Spain in 2016). It’s a big investment and when I was just starting my career as a graduate, I couldn’t necessarily go through with it. When I moved to Bahrain, I taught both biology and yoga at school and realised I wanted to focus on yoga much more.  

What do you love most about teaching?

That it’s physical, it’s active, and it’s very much about dealing with people! Most of my time as a researcher was just me on my own going through muddy fields or rainy mountains or sitting at the lab on my computer- which was really amazing, but I was always on my own! I used to work as a teaching assistant and through that I learned that meeting and teaching other people and learning what it means to be a good teacher was something I was really passionate about. So that’s what brought me into teaching.

But it’s not like I’ve put away my career in biology and ecology, no way! That’s why I’m on this island, which is very fascinating in that aspect. I hope at some point to be able to tie these two passions, nature and yoga, together.

Any challenge yoga helped you overcome?

When I was doing this training, I honestly could not imagine standing in front of a class of students. I was so nervous! It can be very scary at first. Just the fact that I’m now able to stand in front of a class of students and that people are enjoying it and gaining something from it, has really helped boost my confidence.

Even doing online classes now has me pushing myself out of my comfort zones. You’ve got to keep telling yourself that it will make you stronger and more confident each time.

Are you affiliated with a club, or do you freelance?  

I used to teach at a resort here, before lockdown. We were actually beginning to organise yoga retreats for tourists- it was supposed to happen now actually! Of course, we’ve had to put a pause on all that for now. But otherwise, I teach clients online mostly. There isn’t a very big awareness about yoga among the people on the island just yet, so I try not to limit myself to this geography.

What does a day in your life look like?

My schedule is really varied actually because I’m always doing different things. Now in lockdown I usually I have one or two classes a day online and then maybe I’ll be contacted to deliver a talk about yoga. For instance, the other day I conducted a corporate workshop on yoga and how it could be used for stress management. Tomorrow I’ll be starting a yoga teacher training for six hours a day for three weeks, which will be my second teacher training. My days are very busy- they seem to just fly by! I’m also still working with the hotel to organise yoga retreats, to be ready for when everything opens again. I also spend time in communicating with relevant companies online- which is how I came across Aseema Health actually! And it’s great to see opportunities such as this for working together towards developing a professional offering and bringing yoga to more and more people.

Could you tell us more about your Instagram presence?

I started my Facebook page about four years ago and Instagram just after. I spend a lot of time travelling around Oman, Jordan, the UAE and Bahrain so I share pictures from all of these places. Most of my content is yoga related but it also shows something about the place I’m in. It also helps to just create that awareness, because especially on the island, yoga hasn’t fully grown into what it is in many other parts of the world today.

I’d been meaning to try going online for a while, but I just didn’t get round to it because there was no real ‘need’ as such, you know. I felt a bit self conscious too, so I kept putting it off. Then as soon as lockdown started and everyone was indoors, I decided ‘that’s it, we’re starting tomorrow’. I mean I couldn’t have in-person classes, so it was great having people come to learn twice a day and being able to connect with them. Quite a few of the people who take online classes from me now actually come from those who were following the page.

Your page is incredible! Are you following any kind of digital strategy?

I don’t really have a digital “strategy” as such. I do it more in a way that I’m totally just being myself; I’m not trying to show something to gain more followers. Any videos or content I have on there right now has a ‘homemade’ feel to it since I’ve just started, so there’s no professional lighting or anything! It’s just – “this is how I am” and if people like it and they want to join then that’s great; everyone is welcome!

Where do you get your fitness inspiration from?

There’s a lot of learning that comes with training others. There are a few teachers that I really like at this moment- one is Yoga with Kassandra. She’s very clear, and I really like her sequences. Travis Eliot as well, his style is completely different. He teaches power yoga and I like how he films himself teaching students real time.  

I also really admire the teachers at the Sivananda school (one of the biggest schools in India). I was doing their classes everyday.

Could you tell us about your 15-day challenge?

Yeah! I’m doing a 15-day weight loss challenge where people join me for two yoga sessions a day. I don’t give them a strict diet plan because you know, these people are coming from all around the world. I just give guidelines on when to eat and what not to include, but not what their breakfast should be or anything. I think with lockdown people are keen to have regular classes, which is very beneficial for them. My main focus is more on getting yoga into their daily lives and making it a daily habit.

I teach yoga for beginners, deep stretching, vinyasa yoga and meditation as well. So I have different classes for anyone who’s looking to learn and I think these kinds of challenges for a specific number of days is a great way to start.

Do you have any advice for trainers looking to enter the industry?

I would say, just the desire to do it is enough. A lot of people think “I’m not good enough at yoga or “I’m not flexible enough” but the point of teacher training is that you learn all of this. From going to regular classes to doing your yoga teacher training, your learning grows exponentially. Not all of the people in there are really flexible or have been doing yoga for years. All you have to do is have the desire and commitment to do it. And everything else will come into place, your understanding of yoga, your confidence.

Carlos Méndez

Aseema talks to Abu Dhabi based Carlos Méndez about life as one of UAE’s most sought-after fitness specialists. With an ever-growing base of happy clients who vouch for this effectiveness, Carlos certainly knows a thing or two about keeping fit and active. His highly effective and customized training methods have made him one of the most in-demand personal trainers not just in the UAE, but also as far away as Mexico, Lebanon, Italy, Spain and Ireland.

Carlos has one of the most interesting and specialized backgrounds that we’ve come across. A double degree Engineer by training, Carlos realized his true calling in Fitness training which he took to with gusto (he is even trained in specialized areas such Neuromyofascial Release in addition to TRX, Yoga, Pilates, Lagree, UFC, Spin & 7 Lesmill).

Today Carlos continues to be a hugely respected figure in UAE’s fitness industry, as he helps a happy base of clients transform into their most fittest selves. Carlos talked to Aseema about the fitness principles that he lives his life by.

“Getting to the gym is the first step. Being consistent in the gym, that’s what’s going to get you results.”

Hi Carlos! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you got into the fitness industry?

I was born and raised in Mexico, where I completed University. After that I lived in the States for a year and then in Italy for another, where I got my double degree in engineering. In 2005 I started working in telecommunications till 2009 when the crisis came around. Unfortunately the firm I was with went bankrupt globally. When there’s massive unemployment in the whole country it’s hard to get back on your feet. That’s when I started going to the gym – to release stress. One thing led to another and they told me I could be an instructor at their club! So I went from taking one class to three, then four programs and since 2009 I’ve pretty much been certifying myself in this field. My last certification was in Neuromyofascial Release, and I’m here now, in Abu Dhabi since 2015. Been in the fitness industry for eleven years.

Would you recommend any certifications for those looking to get into the field of personal training?

I recommend that you do a physical education or sports science degree or get some kind of physiology exposure. I was privileged to be born in a family where my dad was a doctor and my mom, a nutritionist. So conversations and habits around healing and keeping healthy were a constant at home so it was never new to me. Bones, muscles, ligament tissues- my dad taught me much about the human body. And they always encouraged me to do volleyball, karate, swimming, so I was always into sports. I could do a 400 m track in under a minute, which was quite fast for a teenager!

Another thing to note – my body was a mess! I had crooked knees. When I was ten years old I used to I sleep with an iron bar between my heels, to set my feet sideways like (think Charlie Chaplin). So there was always this concern about ‘my knees being bad’ and that I was going to suffer if I didn’t exercise.

But yes, I recommend people to study. You can’t really go out there and tell people “Yeah now do ten push-ups and then ten sit-ups” because you saw that in a YouTube workout! You need to know about healing and about the other person’s background.

Could you elaborate a little more on your specialization- Neuromyofascial Release?

Fascia is the connective tissue, the glue which holds us together by connecting one part of the body to another, giving the body much of its strength and support.  Neuromyofascial Release attempts to identify strain patterns in the fascia and their effects on body function, both locally and as a whole.  It is a way to connect your brain to your body more. In a way that if I’m asking you to do a push up, I’m asking you to place your body along the train lines in the anatomy; Tom Myers identified certain lines of the human body and when you move, you move in certain patterns. If done wrong, you are more prone to injury. It’s not something new, we just know more about it recently because it’s influence in this area is being studied more now.

Who are your clients?

I’ve been working with five year olds as well as clients at the age of 65. I go all the way! I work like an engineer; I like to find what’s wrong and fix it. I like to work with kids because it’s still early to fix things. I know exercises that can help prevent illnesses, build better coordination and games to improve their fitness as well. I worked with a client who had stomach cancer and could not move. I work with pregnant women for both pre-natal and post natal. It’s always like, if I can help you, i’ll do it. I don’t specialise in diet and nutrition to be able to guide you but I can help you move, release stress through yoga, Pilates, HIT, TRX etc.

Are you affiliated with a club in the region or do you freelance?  

I’m sponsored by a club here, but I would say I’m more of a freelancer. I do group fitness for studios but I also give services to private clients. Now though, I’ve only been on zoom all through quarantine.

Of course! What has the lockdown been like for you?

I’ve been here in Abu Dhabi the whole time and it’s been pretty good actually.

One thing I’ve noticed is that as much as some people have been stressed about safety in gyms- they’ve found that in an online class they can be on the other side of the screen, where no one is watching them. So even if they were afraid to try something new in a regular class, where they would probably hide in the back, they’re more open to trying it out now, behind the safety of their screens. Normally as instructors you’re worried that that person at the back is going to hurt herself. But now because of the screens, I can just look and correct it. Zoom gives them a lot more confidence. Even now, with gyms opening, people are saying, “Carlos, can you keep online classes for me please, I don’t want go back to the gym!”

What is the current state of clubs and studios in your region?

Clubs are doing a great job of following the guidelines of the sports council and the Abu Dhabi Health & Safety Authorities to keep people safe. They’ve demarcated areas, and you have to stay within that square- whether you jump, run whatever, you don’t get off the square. I think it’s fun- in the past we’ve seen members sometimes fight for their spot in a class!  And another thing is the sweat. Imagine a very intense class where you are running, jumping, doing burpees, the whole deal, and you have the person that never sweats next to the guy that is dripping in sweat. So where there was maybe some discomfort, now there’s none because everyone is isolated from each other!

Do you think online classes may be here to stay?

I think there’s going to be a good balance between people going back to the gym and those staying at home.

I don’t think it’s going to be a trend; I think it’s just the need of the hour. I want to hope that in the future, there won’t be the fear of a virus and we can go back to the real normal, not this new normal, but one where we can be closer to each other. But in the meantime I think a lot of people will like to stay home, more because of the fear of putting themselves and others at risk than anything else.

“Seeing or hearing about the positive impact of what I do in people’s lives- that’s what keeps me going.”

Are you building an online presence?

I was never really comfortable putting myself out there doing push-ups, showing my six pack and saying come to my class! I was always a word-of-mouth guy. This virus forced me to open Instagram. I think I got on Instagram two years ago, and maybe had what, 4 posts in the whole of that year? But since March, there’s been this pressure to get out there. My plan is to have a website sometime soon, to have structured programs. But for now, I’ve just been working. So far I’ve been getting more clients and more classes purely based off recommendations, which I’ve been really thankful for.

What is your favourite part about this career?  

Looking or hearing about the positive impact of what I do in people’s lives. As an engineer I was happy telling myself that by connecting centres at Chicago or New York I was helping a lot of people! I was happy doing it, but now that I get to see the person come in to my class regularly and say that they feel so much better, or that they don’t have this pain anymore, or that their anxiety has reduced- that’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me want learn more. If there’s something I don’t know, I want do a course about it so that I can learn, and I can help. That’s the thing I love most about what I do.

One memorable moment in your journey that you’d like to share with us?

That’s hard. There’s too many that could make me cry right now!

One was the client with cancer. He had his tumour removed. We were still exercising while he had it. His passion was playing soccer. So naturally, he was very frustrated mentally and emotionally, because of the feeling of being stuck. Through coaching, breathing, yoga and other exercises we started doing, he’s now back at it and how! He went back to playing soccer three months after his surgery!

What does a day in your life look like?

Very busy thank god! I’ve had a lot of work; I have a lot of private clients that I train online so I schedule them back to back. I’m connected to the phone the whole time! I start from 6:30am till 8 at night. I’ve also started doing classes for Mexico on request so I now teach in Spanish 3 times a week! And then log in here in the UAE. Lockdown has me working with clients in Lebanon, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Mexico. So yeah, it gets pretty busy. I do switch off in the weekends though! I take that time for myself.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start working out or start yoga?

It’s all about your mind set. People think that just going to the gym will change them. Getting to the gym is the first step. Being consistent in the gym, that’s what’s going to get you results. Find a schedule that works for you. And stick to it. You don’t have to go through painful workouts to get results, but it’s about getting there and getting moving.

Don’t look for results in the short term. Wait for a month. If you want to weigh yourself (which I do not recommend), weigh yourself at the end of a month, don’t do it everyday. Get into the mind set that you’re going to create a new lifestyle.

Also, focus on what you eat. That’s the game changer. Again, it’s a lifestyle choice, not a 4-day detox. Temporary solutions will get you temporary results. Mind set is the key.

Do you have any advice for trainers looking to enter the industry?

Be humble. Be honest with what you’re learning and what you’re giving to the client. Don’t try to sell because you’re in a hurry to sell. If you don’t know, say you don’t know, and learn. Help people in whatever way you can. In the end that’s what this is about.

Hari, Bangalore: Lifestyle Coach

Hari is one of the acknowledged trainers in Bangalore and has an active emphasis on lifestyle factors in his training methodology. Read on to know Hari better.

Hi Hari! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you got into the fitness industry?

I’ve always been an active guy right from childhood. I loved trekking and the outdoors- I could never sit at a desk and work 8 hours a day! I did my diploma, worked in the defence segment for two years and then did four years of engineering.

After working for about ten years, I decided to leave corporate in 2008. I returned to India from Germany where I was working and decided to start something of my own. That’s around when my fitness journey really started. Given my background, I took up a lot of widely recognised international fitness courses. Even now, I do at least one new course every year from anywhere in the world, just to keep learning!

I believe fitness is a lifestyle. A lifelong journey. So I don’t actually call myself a fitness trainer- I call myself a lifestyle coach.


Could you elaborate a little on your role as a trainer?

I have been in the fitness industry in Bangalore for about 20 years.

I believe fitness is a lifestyle. A lifelong journey. So I don’t actually call myself a fitness trainer. I call myself a lifestyle coach because it’s been quite the process, understanding various perspectives of fitness. I’ve trained in pretty much most of the forms out there – Water Therapy, Cross Fit, Olympic lifts, Healing Yoga from Tibet, Strala Yoga from New York, Ashtanga Yoga, Pilates – you name it. I am a freelancer and outside of offering personal training in and around Bangalore, I also take classes for a couple of fitness companies here.

I’m also part of an education dance trust, Attakalari Centre of Movement Arts, where we run one of the most internationally recognised dance diplomas. I deliver a syllabus on body commission and injury prevention. People come from around the world to train here.

What is your training specialisation and who is your training ideal for?

A lot of my clients are businessmen; they don’t want to become body builders, but yes, by and large everyone wants to be fit, or rather, healthy, and everyone has their own lifestyle. So within that, as trainers, we aim to create a balance.

I would say my specialty lies in treating clients who suffer from chronic pain and those recovering from injuries or surgery. Usually when you go to a doctor, you receive symptomatic treatment. My approach is geared more towards addressing the root cause, “Why does this person have this pain and why is it coming regularly?”

That’s most of my client base. We don’t get to train athletes all the time! One of my clients is 76 and he stands on one leg on a Bosu ball!

How has this lockdown experience been for you?

Lockdown has been a very different ballgame for me. When you’re not working for a gym or a company, there’s a lot of uncertainty. I’ve seen a lot of people move online to market themselves; I myself have done a little bit on Instagram, given the need of the hour, but otherwise I have never really been an online guy, right from childhood.

Is online going to stay?

I think so yeah. Everything is moving online. There is the convenience of doing everything sitting inside your house. Although, I go around telling people to avoid sitting with these gadgets. They cause so many issues, especially down the line. 

I attended a medical conference last year, where the committee said they expected an exponential boom in problems associated with the trapezium muscle, over the next 3-4 years.

Trapezium muscle?

It’s also know as the emotional muscle (back of your neck, at the base) – it works as per your mood. The whole concept of yoga, meditation and “stress management’’ is targeted at alleviating the pressure on this muscle. You hold a mobile or a bag-  this muscle is constantly active.

Sit for hours on a gadget or your computer? Your traps is definitely active! 

These become chronic pains and the muscles become weaker. So many problems can come from just poor posture. The human body is designed to move, climb, run. That’s why we say sitting is the new cancer. If somebody completes an intense workout in the morning, takes a shower and goes to work to sit at a desk – it’s like taking a well-serviced Ferrari and parking it in the garage!

How would you recommend we tackle this?

Do whatever little you can, given your circumstances. Just get out of your chair. Even just standing involves so many new muscles working compared to sitting. That is the main research backing the trend of standing work stations actually.

Food also plays a very important role. You can become healthier by just eating better. But to get ‘fit’ you definitely need to exercise. The journey goes from healthy to fitness. Everything is interrelated. Sleep, food and physical exercise. Not everyone needs to run 20km.

Also try and do any kind of creative work, like dance for example, where both your brain and your body is working. Simple sports like table tennis or badminton that aren’t too aggressive can work too. It’s not all about lifting weights.

People want a silver bullet, but it’s all in the lifestyle- you cannot copy what someone else is doing. See what works for you best.

Do you have any advice for new trainers looking to enter the industry?

I do train a lot of newcomers and guide them on getting into the industry. Again, it comes down to their goals. The moment you say I want to become a trainer you need to know – Who is your target? Do you want to train an athlete or kids? Like any medical professional, you need to develop a varied knowledge base but you then also need to specialise. Don’t try to master everything!

Another thing I would say is that throughout your career, you need to take everything that comes as a learning experience. I’ve had bad experiences, both in corporate and fitness. But the knowledge you gain is never a waste. You never know when it could come in handy.

Co-Marketing For Your Fitness Business

Co-marketing is one of the must haves for a Fitness Business. Here’s a simple guide on developing strategic co-marketing partnerships to reach new customers through greater value adds and with lower costs.

If you are a fitness business of any size, you’re likely to have seen how digital marketing has changed the way studios compete and attract members. Many of us get overawed by the marketing terminologies and technologies. Yes, we’d like our marketing to be super-effective (whether for our studio or for our own profile as trainers), but all the technicalities seem scary!  

This series aims to simplify and bring easy to apply practices for Fitness Professionals and Studios.

You’ve seen and heard examples of how smaller businesses today punch above their weight. Being smart and savvy in their marketing and embracing digitization, these represent the current and continuing trends in succeeding in the Fitness business.  Today, marketing is a combination of deep customer insights, specialization, and collaboration. To have a chance of making any sort of impact, partnering up is a way to combine all the above for better results.

Co-marketing is probably one of the easiest to use and most effective and low-cost tactical approaches. It’s something every studio owner should think about incorporating into their overall marketing strategy.

So what is co-marketing?

Co-marketing is a collaborative marketing strategy that involves combining resources with another company that serves the same audience you do. Typically, the marketing partner isn’t a competitor but someone who can deepen market share or refresh brand sentiment by tapping more customers in your space. Co-marketing when done well, has major benefits for both partners When you think about it, co-marketing makes perfect sense – who wouldn’t want to decrease their budge by half while at the same time getting double the leads, double the resources and double the chance with the end consumer.

Heidi Cohen very succinct describes co-marketing partnerships as “Work with peers who target similar audiences but don’t directly compete with your business or your brand”.

Let’s look at a practical example to understand this better – let’s say you are a Fitness Studio looking to expand your member base. Sure, you have taken out ads in the local press, created various social media accounts, shared your blogs about current offers, and linked every post back to your website. These efforts have gained some interest and traction, but your conversion rates are low. What should you do?

After really getting to know your own brand as a Fitness Studio, you found out that you have a lot of the same values as the local Insurance broker. Their team specializes in promoting healthier and fitter lives for their clients, they take great pride in customer service, and their clientele is very similar to your own desired clientele.

After meeting with the team and pitching your idea for a co-marketed open house event, you decide to work as partners. Through this effort, you are able to meet many of their clients and, eventually, became the go-to Fitness Studio for their clients!

This fictional account of the Fitness Studio is just one example of the various ways co-marketing can be utilized to elevate your brand. If you have a Yoga business, why not team up with the local doctors and offer discounts on referrals made by the doctors? If you run a local sports store, you could partner with a sport training institute and distribute each other’s marketing materials either onsite or online.

Co-marketing is a proven way to grow your studio’s audience size by tapping into another brand’s influence and followers.

While big brands team up on co-marketing campaigns all the time, it’s an especially appealing strategy for smaller companies without a lot of money to spend on marketing. Traditionally, small business may not have dedicated marketing departments. More often than not, they’re sharing marketing duties with other functions like sales or accounting. That doesn’t leave much time available for marketing a business, does it?

Here’s some practical advice on how you could build the co-marketing advantage into your business

First be sure that YOU are ready for reciprocity (Be ready to give, in order to receive)

Reciprocity is the byword in the world of co-marketing. Co-marketing only works if you’re willing to offer up something that makes it worth your partner’s time and effort. You need to give before you get, but what you end up getting together is something you likely wouldn’t have gotten alone

The world of business might be competitive by nature, but co-marketing opens new doors through cooperation.

Know yourself, know your ideal client

Knowing your gym audience and what makes your gym special over the competition will help you use the correct verbiage when marketing your gym.  You first need to understand what your strengths are, particularly in the context of your main customers. While it is easy to wish that you attract all categories of clients, the fact is that without focus, your results are likely to get diluted. So we begin by imagining a ‘persona’ – a fictional character that’s the personification of your average potential lead or client. Work through and think about why they’re interested in your service and what the reasons they may or may not be convinced to purchase.

In the context of co-marketing, personas are especially important since knowing yours and your partner’s audience is a key part of creating content that ticks both your boxes.

Identify the right partner

Choosing the right partner for your business is perhaps the most crucial part of the whole process. If this goes well, the other parts of your plan would likely slot seamlessly into place. If not, you’ll risk wasting time and money on a project that won’t get off the ground. On a broad basis, here are some criteria on finding the good fit partner:

  • What does the other company bring to the table, from a more practical viewpoint. Can they bring skills and expertise that you will benefit from – or are they offering resources you already have in-house?  
  • They shouldn’t be your competitor—or better yet, they should complement you.
  • They have a sizable audience (social following, email list, etc.), and ideally your chosen partner wants to target the exact same audience as your business.
  • They are as hungry for business as you are, and are willing to put in the work needed for a successful collaboration.
  • They have a great brand reputation
  • Accessibility. If the partners are locked away in an ivory tower or behind “gatekeepers”, they’re likely not worth the energy and resources needed to engage them. They should have hunger and willingness to share with experts from other fields.
  • Relevance. Some professionals tend to specialize in one industry making them more relevant than non-specialists. For instance, if you are in the food industry, you may find specialists who specialize in sweet treats, pastries and the like. This relevance could work significantly in your favor if they were to get behind our new gluten-free prepackaged brownies, for instance.
  • Their offering and yours does not have any direct conflict of interests

Tonality What is the tone of the partner’s online and offline presence? Do they embrace or are they at lest open to brands new ideas, and other opinions? or are they clearly opinionated or critical in a way that could be damaging to your brand


Greater choices gives you the ability to select the best fit for both your needs. Additionally, first impressions can sometimes be misleading. However big and attractive a potential partner may seem, some alignments may just not work out equitably. In such instances, there is no bigger confidence booster than knowing that if the alignment with one partner is not working out, there are always other partners whom you can tie-up with.

Look for opportunities to connect with as wide a set of potential partners as is practical. give some great ideas on potential opportunities avenues to connect, including social media sites like LinkedIn, networking in person, attending conferences and networking events among others. You also have custom built co-marketing solutions such as Aseema, which help connect with local Health and Fitness partners, as well as with client groups such as large corporates and insurers.

Define roles and expectations

Once you’ve found a company to partner up with, you need to define clear roles and expectations for what you aim to achieve. It is important to lay out the groundwork before anything else. By working out the details in advance there will be no confusion about what you expect out of one another. The last thing you want to have to do is have an argument halfway through the project.

Key discussions that you need to include; timeframes, costs and responsibilities. It’s important to clearly define early on who’s responsible for what aspects of the project, to reduce any risk of complication further down the line.

Trial and review

Hopefully, your new partnership will bring great business to both parties for years to come. However, life isn’t always perfect. For that reason, it’s perfectly acceptable to trail a relationship for a few weeks or months and call it quits if things aren’t working out.

Sometimes, the relationship may be great, but the offer that you combined together isn’t attractive to clients. If you go with the trail mind-set, it is much easier to go back to the drawing board and re-look at how you could improvise or change.

Having put the initial considerations aside, now let’s look at specific aspects that you could co-market with

Co-branded events

Partner up to target similar clients on co-branded events. A co-branded product release can be a massive benefit to both partners. Talking about how McDonald’s Happy Meals Toy and movies such as Peanuts or Minions benefit each other through co-marketing, observes that “Kids get the characters in their Happy Meals and beg their parents to see the movie. McDonald’s benefits from additional Happy Meal sales, and the film companies benefit from additional tickets sold to their movies.”

You get all of the benefits of co-marketing, including reaching your mutual audience as well as your separate audiences plus the added benefit of revenue from your new product Co-marketing can be especially important during key events such as product launches and opening of facilities. That’s why it helps to have a partner to pull it all off. You can use these events to sell products or to strengthen your brand image.

Couple your content

If you are putting efforts on content marketing, co-marketing may be a great idea is for you. You can trade blog posts, videos, infographics, etc. or you can team up to make something together.

If you are interested to know about the ins and outs of content marketing and in-bound marketing for the Fitness Sector, you will find more information on this post.

Trail session coupons

Trial sessions to your yoga session do not only have to be placed on your studio. Explore co-marketing opportunities with others such as your local organic store. Both partners benefit and there’s no beating the fresh positive buzz.

These could be done on-site and through your online and social media presence.

Exchange social posts

All you need to pull off some co-branded social posts is a little bit of time and some creative resources. To identify the right partners, think about someone who has some expertise or a product that complements what you have.

Digital Tools

As with everything else in life, Digitization has made online marketing and co-marketing much simpler. It is not uncommon to find smaller companies punching higher than their weight and achieving remarkable market results thanks to the numerous online tools that are currently available.

Some of the most useful tools currently available include HubSpot, WordPress, Mail Chimp, Aseema, BuzzSumo, Google Ads and HootSuite among others.

If you are interested to know more about these tools and how they help your Fitness Business, click here for a comprehensive look.


Co-marketing offers a myriad of benefits for companies of all sizes, whether you’re a fledgling startup or a global enterprise – which is why all the best brands are doing it! It’s true what they say that two heads are better than one.

Hopefully by now you’ve been persuaded that co-marketing is an effective strategy for your business, and you’re feeling confident in how to run a successful campaign. Have you tried co-marketing before and if yes, what has been your experience – where did things go wow, and what did not work well. I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments.

Fitness Businesses – The Top 10 Online Marketing Tools

Fitness Businesses need to have the right tools to ensure that your online marketing plan succeeds. Here’s a list of the Top 10 online marketing tools specific to the Fitness Business

The IHRSA reports that in 2018, there were 210,000 clubs globally, serving 183 million members. The fitness industry in the U.S. has been growing by at least 3 – 4% annually for the last ten years, with about 20% adults having a fitness club membership.

In the UAE, Trevor Brennan gives insights that there are over 800 fitness clubs with 523,000 or approximately 6% of the eligible population.

With a number like this, all small business owners are looking for a competitive edge. If you happen to be one, chances are you’re looking for strategies to get your leg up on the competition.

Is it all about large multi-liner Fitness studios and do boutique fitness really need to rue that they can’t compete with the large dollar spends of the big brands? Not really.. Business Insider notes that Boutique fitness as a category was the fastest growing brick-and-mortar exercise fitness business, seeing membership growth at a staggering 121% between 2013 and 2017. Obviously, luck isn’t the only reason behind the success of the successful ones. A lot of hard work, patience, resilience, and strategic thinking went into making their businesses successful. To step into the business market, meet customer needs, and achieve success in the long run, you will have to work hard on both your digital marketing strategy, as well as your core B2B and B2C sale strategy, hence marketing gets to be a major concern specially of small Fitness businesses.

There are obviously offline as well as on-line components that are needed to make your marketing effective. In this post, however, I’m going to outline some online marketing tools that you’d find extremely helpful. You may be familiar with some of these tools while others might be completely new. The intent here is to introduce you to the best tools that can help you simplify your online – social media marketing efforts so that you have adequate time to pitch sale your business in the real physical world, and to run your business.

What factors are important?

On selecting the best Online marketing tools, Digital Agency Network lists the following four key points as essential to consider:

  • Optimizing conversion rates
  • Gtting more leads
  • Reaching your target audience with an efficient budget and
  • Analyzing them.

Fortunately, there are quite a few online marketing tools available now that can drive traffic for businesses of all sizes.

Are you ready to grow your business through online marketing? Let’s start with the list of Top 10 Marketing tools specifically for the Fitness Business..


Price: Free to $3,200/month for enterprises

When it comes to marketing, sales and CRM software, HubSpot has become one of the top players. From attracting visitors to closing customers, HubSpot brings your entire marketing funnel together.

They are top-notch on their marketing software solutions – which is so versatile that it feels like a ‘swiss army knife’ for you marketing efforts. That’s why it’s a top choice for those who are starting a business.

With HubSoft’s software, you have access to tools that help with:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Website
  • SEO
  • Lead Management
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Email
  • Marketing Automation
  • Analytics


Pricing: Starting from Free to US$ 45 / month for eCommerce sites

No introductions needed for WordPress – this is the default goto resource for all Bloggers, new or established.

It has a powerful publishing software used mostly by bloggers, authors, digital companies, and content marketers to create and publish content, and build robust website.

With this free and helpful WordPress software, you can design a website within 20 minutes. There are tens of thousands of free themes and plugins to make your website as professional and dynamic as you want.

WordPress has a simple and powerful content management system (CMS), which is extremely user friendly and effective.


Price: Zero set-up fees, 10% AFTER THE SALE IS MADE

Do you find yourself asking this question: what’s working and what’s not about my local B2B marketing? One of the most effective ways is to tie-up strategically with large corporates (think local companies, large Insurers and corporates in your region). Unfortunately, things are not as easy as they seem – it is not easy to access the big businesses, technological and human gatekeepers (receptionists, executive assistants, bureaucrats and anyone who has the power to slow stop or accelerate access to the key people within these organizations), make it ridiculously difficult to tie-up with the corporates.

This is where Aseema comes in. You can use Aseema to connect with Insurers and large corporates directly and this is unbelievably effective in generating better results.

When you’re new to your business, you don’t want to spend countless hours dealing with Marketing issues. Unfortunately, this often happens when it comes to starting online marketing. Unless you use Aseema, of course.

The solution is packed with features, that allow you to:

  • Pitch your services directly to large Insurers and corporates (a huge win, and one with no gatekeepers to contend with).
  • Coordinate co-marketing activities with the best local specialist businesses (think fitness, diet, organics, coaching)
  • Analysis and reporting
  • Platforms and business integrations
  • Targeting and personalization
  • Multi-modal communications
  • Pitch to participate solutions such as the Insurer’s chronic disease management program (if you’re lucky, you work directly along with top healthcare providers and the Insurers).

A tool that helps you understand what your B2B business, so you can maximize your sales and leads, means that you have to give Aseema a try. It’s one of those tools that you don’t know you need, until you use it one time.


Price: Tiered pricing, plans start free and range up to $299

Email marketing use of email to develop relationships with potential customers or clients. Email marketing isn’t something you should wait on. Instead, you should implement an email marketing strategy from the very beginning. Consider the following statistics:

  • 91% of email users check their email at least once a day.
  • Email marketing returns an impressive $42 for every $1 spent.
  • 59% of survey respondents say email influences their purchase decisions.
  • Email marketing has a conversion rate of 2.3%, compared to 1% for social media.

The huge advantage of email over social media is that prospects and customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Just posting something on social media doesn’t mean that everyone you want to see your message will see it. However, an email will sit in an inbox until it’s read.

With more than 12 million customers, MailChimp has claimed its spot as one of the top email marketing providers in the world. While there are alternatives, this tool remains one of the best.

Free plan for those with less than 2,000 subscribers and those who don’t send more than 12,000 emails per month.

Kiwi Fruit

The humble Kiwi is no ordinary fruit! Did you know that eating the Kiwi fruit an hour before bed may help you sleep better.

Great To Help You Sleep Better And A Powerhouse Of Antioxidants

Studies are proving that the humble Kiwi is no ordinary fruit! Did you know that eating the Kiwi fruit an hour before bed may help you sleep better. Add to this the nutritional composition, this fruit is a must have addition to your routine diet.

Several Studies indicate that people who consumed kiwifruit before bed each night got an extra hour of sleep. The researchers hypothesized that Kiwifruit might be an effective sleep aid due to the antioxidants and Serotonin that the fruit contains.

Serotonin deficiency has long been associated with depression and mood disorders. It is also key to good sleep. Serotonin in the body contributes to several aspects of sleep, including helping to initiate sleep onset and to maintain sleep during the night. Serotonin appears to interact with Melatonin, another hormone essential to sleep, in helping to regulate the body’s 24-hour circadian cycle as well as other physiologic functions.

These study results are promising for those with sleep disorders, and are especially significant given that the long-term health ramifications of sleep disorders like insomnia.

Studies dating back to a few years ago associate sleep disorders with increased mortality, suggesting that an optimal amount of sleep to get per night is seven hours.

Kiwi also has many other useful and interesting aspects

Loaded With Vitamins and Minerals

Kiwi fruit is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

If you thought that lemons and oranges were the highest sources of Vitamin C, then think again! According to the nutritional break-up of kiwi fruit, per 100 grams contain 154 percentage of Vitamin C, which is almost twice that of lemons and oranges.

Great Source of Dietary Fiber

The Kiwi is loaded with dietary fiber, which helps in the prevention of numerous diseases. According to researchers, high fiber foods keep one full for longer and control metabolic markers like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. It also facilities weight loss and is often recommended to diabetics.

Other foods that can help us sleep better

While Kiwi is thought to be among the best, it isn’t the only identified sleep-boosting food out there. Foods rich in calcium help to boost Melatonin levels. So you might look towards dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, and whole grains – which are all strong sources of calcium. Dark leafy greens, bananas, nuts, seeds, citrus, tomatoes, and whole grains are rich in Magnesium and potassium, which is said to help promote relaxation and circulation.

The definitive research finding is yet to be out on the mechanism by which Kiwi promotes sleep. Having said that, the possibility that natural foods like Kiwi can be used as a low-cost, non-pharmacologic, natural aid for sleep is an exciting one, and worth further investigation. Give a shot at Kiwi if you have trouble falling asleep. Not just is it great to help with your Zzzz, it is also great for it’s many nutritional benefits

The Corona Virus Outbreak – Strategies For Effective Remote Work

As the corona virus story unfolds around the world, we’ve put together some effectiveness tips to help people and organizations adopt effective remote work strategies

Effective Remote Work What Strategies Can We Adopt

As the corona virus story unfolds around the world, we’ve put together some effectiveness tips to help people and organizations adopt effective remote work strategies.

Remote working, or the practice of working for an extended period outside the formal office, is growing steadily in popularity, enabled by a whole host of digital tools of virtually every description. From Web conferencing and e-mail to mobile collaboration applications and virtual event platforms.

I’m sure each of us hopes that Corona Virus won’t become a major health event in their part of the world, but as we see the epidemic unfolding, the reality points the other way.


The following are three strategies that support remote work and help make your efforts in this direction more fruiful. We look at covering both the technology and the human factors in this post:

Strategy 1: Create a safe and effective base for remote digital access. First and foremost, this means providing secure access to IT resources within the business as well as to the internet itself. This is typically done through an internet provider and virtual private network. You need to asses every part of the connected tech stack, from internet access itself to providing secure means to reach and interact with corporate networks, communication channels, applications being used and the data.

Internet access. Be prepared to invest in mobile hot spots and associated data plans, for the colleagues who do not have optimal internet access. Don’t assume that your staff always have adequate online access at home or elsewhere. While many will, some won’t have reliable or fast enough service or only a mobile device.

Ensure that you have a clearly articulated remote work policy along with a plan, communications program, budget, training, and support for ensuring sufficient internet access wherever the worker will be working remotely.

Allow for adequate slack in your production targets since it may be difficult to know at first the bandwidth that workers will need to be optimally productive. Your line of work may involve needing a lot of data going back and forth regularly. How fast it goes will determine remote work productivity.

Remote work devices. There are two major forks in the road when it comes to devices. Either a) workers can use their own, which is a bigger security risk, but quite a bit cheaper and faster to deploy if their devices are up to the task, or b) a company can provide the devices that are needed. Given that the prevalence of Shadow IT (workers using unsanctioned, unofficial apps to get their work done) is generally higher than most enterprise IT departments are willing to admit – meaning that company data is already on many personal devices anyway – it is advisable to seriously consider assessing workers’ existing computing hardware to see if they are capable, as they are least expensive and quickest option to enable for a crash remote work program.

Your specific type of business requirements would dictate the kind of devices that are needed. Ideally your colleagues are likely to need at least one smartphone and one computer or tablet, plus any internet access hardware. Assess, use your judgement and be objective.

Secure remote access to business assets and online services. Typically this is provided by a virtual private network (VPN) solution, which sits on the PC, laptop, or mobile device and creates an encrypted network connection that makes it safe for the worker to access IT resources within the organization and elsewhere on the Internet or other networks.

In general, the worker should never do any work for the organization without the VPN on their device(s) being turned on. This includes online services on the internet. This is because the VPN ensures a higher level of security and safety between the remote worker and the service.

It’s important to note that the VPN will be the single most important link in your remote work chain, so ensure your solution works on most target devices, works reliably (there is a surprisingly wide gamut of effectiveness, depending on where workers are actually located, which can get complex with global organizations using local internet services, with many IP addresses blocked for a variety of reasons). In addition, strongly consider two-factor authentication (2FA), instead of just user IDs and passwords, to significantly boost security.

If VPN is not your choice of solutions, you don’t need to despair. There are several alternatives, but secure remote desktops can often do the job if you don’t have the IT resources, skills, or budget to operate a VPN everywhere it needs to function.

Simple Precautions That Will Help You Avoid the Coronavirus at your Workplace

Let’s look at some of the Do’s to avoid the risk of Corona virus at your workplace

  1. Don’t go to work if you feel sick, and don’t let your employees come in either: Given concerns about the new illness and the fact that it’s flu season as well, you should make certain that your employees don’t come to work sick either. You might also review your paid time off or sick day policy to make sure employees never feel compelled to come in if they don’t feel well. They won’t be doing you any favors if they do.
  2. Wash your hands. A lot: People worry about catching viruses when other people cough or sneeze in their vicinity, and of course that is one way of contracting the flu and most likely the coronavirus as well. But it’s also alarmingly easy to catch the flu or another virus if you touch an object or surface that was touched by someone who was contagious any time over the previous 48 hours, especially if you then touch your nose or mouth. This is where frequent hand-washing comes in. The more often you wash your hands, the less likely you are to infect yourself if you’ve touched something that had virus on it, and to give any virus you may have to someone else. This is where frequent hand-washing comes in. The more often you wash your hands, the less likely you are to infect yourself if you’ve touched something that had virus on it, and to give any virus you may have to someone else.
  3. Unless you’re a health care worker or you have flu symptoms, don’t wear a mask: If you’re healthy, wearing a mask is unlikely to help you in most situations, especially if you don’t wear a new one each time you go out. On the other hand, masks have been shown to protect health care workers who may be exposed to the coronavirus and other illnesses in the course of their work. Because of panic over the new virus, some health officials are concerned about a shortage of masks for those health care workers who need them most — and if they get infected, the disease is likelier to spread. In other words, though it’s counterintuitive, wearing a mask when you don’t need one could actually increase your chances of getting the coronavirus, or another virus. If you’re coughing or sneezing, though, wearing a mask may prevent you from sharing your cold or flu with anyone else. In Asia, many people wear masks because it’s considered polite to do so if you have cold or flu symptoms.
  4. Give careful thought to your supply chain: Even if no one in your office gets sick, the coronavirus could be a headache for your business because dealing with the outbreak may interfere with China’s ability to be the manufacturing juggernaut we’ve all come to depend on for just about everything. If your company is dependent on products or product components made in China, it might be smart to stockpile a little more than you normally would in case there’s more widespread disruption to manufacturing if the disease continues to spread. If the virus is contained right away, you may wind up with some extra supplies. If it isn’t, you may be glad you have them on hand.
  5. Remote Work a growing reality: With the growing threat of coronavirus hitting on a wide scale, don’t ignore the prospect of ‘remote work’ or (having to work for prolonged periods outside the formal office). You can find some strategies and recommendations to help adopt effective remote work strategies in this post

The increasing uncertainty and anxiety about the personal dangers from the Corona Virus outbreak is a fact that we cannot hide from. The present times calls for consciously adopting safe practices and a common sense approach to your daily lives.