Matt Bolam

Job title Operations Training Manager

Employer Speedflex

Everyone loves something new and exciting, the next best thing if you will. Well, how amazing would it be to be working for the next big thing in a company that is forever growing.

Matt Bolam is lucky enough to do just that. In this interview he discusses Speedflex, a company that firmly believe that they will soon be the face of the gym industry, his job at the company and how he worked his way up the career ladder.

“High intensity interval training with a twist,”

What do you do for Speedflex?

My official title is Operations Training Manager for Speedflex UK and Ireland. Speedflex is group training concept which offers high intensity interval training with a twist, due to our unique hydraulic machine-based technology. Our sessions are performed in a group of up to 16 and the machines allow participants to perform traditional exercises such as power clean and press, squats and shoulder press. The machines generate personalised resistance levels, so every individual can train at their optimum level. A typical session includes a combination of eight Speedflex machines and eight auxiliary stations. This combination provides an ever-changing dynamic exercise experience and delivers all the benefits of HIIT but does so without the risk of injury. The machines also reduce post-exercise pain (something usually associated with this type of training), as the machines respond to the user’s force, as opposed to the addition of weights.

We have 14 studios in total and as Operations and Training Manager my role is to manage our sites, recruit new staff and to develop and train our trainers.

“Consistency across the brand.”

What are your main responsibilities?

My main responsibilities include overall day-to-day management of our teams and ensuring we have consistency across the brand.

Last year, we entered a partnership with Bannatyne’s to roll our concept out across some of their sites. I have been tasked with taking the lead on this partnership, ensuring the concept is rolled out correctly and that staff across the Bannatyne Group are taught correctly. The partnership is going well and so far, we have launched eight new studios with a new site in Belfast due to open in July.

We’ve also entered a partnership with Everybody Active, a local authority trust to launch a studio at Wilmslow Leisure Centre. As part of my role, I have been supporting the trust with recruitment.

“I love the variety within the job and getting to travel”

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’ve worked for Speedflex for six years in total now, so it’s been great to see the brand develop throughout that time.

As we grow the brand its been really exciting to be part of developing the concept and rolling out our partnership with Bannatyne’s. I love the variety within the job and getting to travel is also great. We have a studio out in Dubai so it’s great that I get to visit the team out there and support them as well.

I also really enjoy managing our team and getting to interact with our members on a daily basis.

If, like Matt, you know that you want your career to be centred around fitness then check out our article here, it discusses our top tips on how to make your dream a reality. We also have lots of top tips over on our YouTube channel, check that out here.

“Very competitive market place,”

What are the biggest challenges in your role, or facing your industry generally?

I think my biggest challenge is ensuring we deliver a consistent product and experience for members as we grow the brand.

We are also in a very competitive market place, particularly within London as there are so many boutique fitness studios popping up so its about ensuring we are consistently offering a competitive and exciting concept that is keeping our customers engaged whilst also staying true to who we are.

“I knew personal training was the right career path for me.”

How did you get to where you are now?

I have always had a passion for being active and keeping fit so I knew personal training was the right career path for me. I qualified in 2004 and was a personal trainer for seven years at a luxury five-star hotel in the North East. Whilst there, I was lucky enough to become the Gym Manager while still training my own clients. While working at the hotel I had a client who told me about this new concept called Speedflex. I was then brought on board to the company in 2011 to help develop the concept and helped set up and manage our first ever site in Newcastle.

Speedflex has a licensing model, which will allows people to set up their own facility. I then went to work for one of our licensees to help them develop their facility and ensure the concept and classes were being developed correctly. Since then I have played a crucial role in training new staff and ensuring the brand is being consistently delivered across our portfolio of sites as well as helping to grow the brand.

“We’re keen to develop new staff that possess the key attributes”

What experience does your kind of career require?

I think having a genuine interest in sport and physical activity is important in this industry.

We look for personal trainers that have several years’ experience but we’re also keen to develop new staff that possess the key attributes to become exceptional trainers. As our sessions attract people of all ages and abilities it’s key that we have trainers that can deliver sessions that always remain inclusive. 

“I’m looking for people that have enthusiasm for what they do”

What makes people stand out when you are recruiting?

When it comes to recruiting, I’m looking for people that have enthusiasm for what they do and for our brand. Once piece of advice I would give is to really make sure you are prepared for an interview and have done your research about the brand. It makes such a huge difference when someone comes into the room and can talk confidently about why they want to work for you.

I’m also looking for someone that is team player and is keen to develop and progress.

“Get out of your comfort zone”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I think it would to be to get out of your comfort zone more often. It’s the only way to grow and develop.

There are companies all over the country that are working hard to grow and achieve, just like Speedflex, check some of them out here. Alternatively, if you aren’t sure if this sort of job is for you but you still want to be involved in the health and fitness job sector, check out our other career profiles here, or on our YouTube channel here.