The Four Pillars

The Four Pillars for a successful training gym

In his recent Legends of Fitness interview with Quoox, industry mentor Thomas Plummer spoke about what he sees as being the essential elements of a training gym of the future (2021 onwards).  Considered by many as the father of the small group training gym, Thom has rarely (if ever) been wrong in his predictions.

Whilst many facilities are understandably having to operate predominantly tactically at present, half-an-eye focused on the strategic future of your facility will help place you ahead-of-the-curve when there is an eventual return to stability.


What are the four pillars?

Back prior to 2014, when Plummer used to talk about “the four pillars”, this was a more general reference to the “four pillars for a balanced life” – namely personal development & family; a sense of community; creating wealth in your life; and the search for faith.  He later reflected that “I have come to realize, through my own life and talking to so many I respect who live at a higher level, that if you want to accomplish anything of true substance in your life, and live up to your talent, you have to be in a constant rotation between a life in balance and a life driven by an intense surge and focus chasing something wildly important to you”.

The four pillars that Thom espouses today are much more established in the context of the foundations to the continued/future success of a personal training gym.

As well as “online”, which is an entire separate blog topic in itself (coming soon), the four pillars break down as training; nutrition; stress reduction; and movement.

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn, as well as how they can be practically and efficiently delivered via the right gym management software.

You have to build a foundation that allows me to maintain control of my clients. I need to know where he is at all of the time, and have the support tools to use with him. That should be managed with good software.

There haven't been a lot of choices in the past few years. I greatly admire what Quoox is doing, because it's the next generation. It is illustrating what is possible.

Thomas Plummer
Pioneer of Small Group Personal Training


Well, duh! Ok, so this one is pretty obvious.  Your facility has to provide a high quality of training sessions.  But what does that actually mean?

Just being a good coach does not separate you anymore. It does not guarantee money anymore. So being a good coach is like a learner’s permit to drive your car the first time – Thomas Plummer

These days pretty much every personal trainer has a good grounding on technique and program writing.  Granted, those trainers with 5+ years experience will be more adept than those in their first year, but it is no longer a differentiator.

For the modern training gym, it is the delivery of this “pillar” that is critical.  Your members expect more.  They expect (and deserve) the truly personal element to personal training.

On-floor roll-callTools like Quoox‘s roll-call and medical profiling enable you to know everything about those members stood in front of you.  Even if you haven’t seen them for a couple of weeks, the notes your colleague has made in the system will bring you right up-to-speed – and allow you to regress and tailor your program for them accordingly.  They know you haven’t seen them recently, but that you know about and work around their recent injury takes your service above-and-beyond.

Everybody knows that Myzone is a brilliant tool for providing motivation and feedback. Quoox enables you to streamline for easy belt purchases; on-boarding; and progress tracking. Members can see their progress in the app and, most importantly, you can see their progress in your Quoox dashboard – enabling you to provide that valuable feedback.

Nurturing should not be something reserved for new members and those doing their trial. It is important to reach out to all of your members on a regular basis, providing them support, re-assurance and guidance. The highly flexible nurturing sequences in Quoox are perfect for this, and also play a key role in the delivery of the other three “pillars”.


Most of the more enlightened facilities have been providing nutritional guidance for their members for some time.  But, as with training, the expectations for nutrition now go above-and-beyond.

Diet planNutrition based upon weight loss is all fine, and most gyms have this covered one way or another. But this needs to stretch into everyday well-being.

Chucking out the same set of template based recipes bought online for £25 per month are a short-term stop-gap, and using Quoox‘s in-app document library is a great way to do it, but this will likely fall short in the longer term.  It is Thomas Plummer’s assertion that facilities need to have at least one staff member with a good, solid grounding in nutrition.

Use Fitflix to deliver cooking demonstrations and nutritional sessions.  These can be delivered live via Quoox scheduled Zoom sessions. These can be watch-and-learn, or how about getting your members more involved with a “cook along” session?  Record the sessions, and then deliver them back via the app for members to access at any time, on-demand.

Stress Reduction

This is a broad category that is significantly growing in importance for the modern training gym.

Home meditationThe member experience needs to be far beyond the 2-3 hrs per week that they spend at your facility.  This needs to include all aspects of wellness, including stress relief and meditation.

It is unlikely, and perhaps impractical, for members to come into meditation classes.  Many facilities are starting to offer yoga sessions, both online and in-person, and this is a good step forward.

Stress relief can take many forms.  These might include meditation sessions, delivered by Fitflix.  They could include eBooks, delivered by the app library, with topics that aid relaxation and a separation from the stresses of every day life.

Using Nurturing and other tools available to you in Quoox, establish a continuous feedback cycle with your members. Act on exceptions and those struggling, as well as continuing to encourage those who are succeeding.


Many of us spend much of our day tied to the desk. With more of us working from home, there is typically less reason for moving around.  Many people are working even longer hours, often sat in the same place for 8+ hours a day.

Office stretchUse Fitflix, XRcize and/or Nurturing to deliver short movement sessions to your members, say 3-minutes a go. Fire them off at lunchtime, and get people moving.  If they have the time, get them to go for 2 or 3 rounds.

Make the sessions practical.  Few will likely have a foam roller to hand!

Consider other ways to get your members moving.  If most of your members live in the same area, provide maps of short, local walks that they can do in 15-20 minutes during a lunchtime.

Have your members record their activities on their FitBit, and track their progress in the member portal.

It is Thomas Plummer’s firm belief that all of the above are critical elements of a successful training gym of the future.

Many facilities do some of these things already, but we’re just at the beginning of this new world of expectations.  The delivery of these things need not be hard, and Quoox provides a wealth of tools to help in these areas – with further, innovative ideas already in the pipeline.

It is important to maintain the personal element of personal training.  If you rang just four clients a day for a brief “how are you doing” chat, most facilities would get to speak to every member, every month.  These gestures make a huge difference.  For those you cannot reach, drop a personalised 60-second piece-to-camera into Fitflix in their app.  This feels so much more personal and caring than a text message or email.

All of these elements position you ready for the future, and ahead of your competition.  It is much easier to justify £149 per month for a membership when you can point to the wealth of areas that differentiate you from the £20 box gym down the road.


For now, these remain challenging times.  There will be a return to normalcy.  Stay strong, and we are here to help our customers in any way we can.

Chris Windram signature

Chris Windram | Co-Founder

a: Quoox Ltd. | 71-75 Shelton Street | London, WC2H 9JQ
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