Support, guidance and time management key to completions: Rampage Fitness

April 4, 2017

In his previous life as a carpenter, Mark Stewart’s life revolved around willing the clock to hit 5pm so he could go to the gym. Now, Mark spends his days at Rampage Fitness, the independent New Plymouth gym group that he co-owns with his wife Alexandra and two business partners, Allan and Fiona Ross.

Allan and Fiona are the original founders of Rampage Fitness. Ten years on and it now has three gym facilities spread out over the New Plymouth district. The Rampage Fitness facilities include wellbeing services onsite, such as physiotherapists, sports massage therapists, hair stylists, beauty therapists and more. For parents with time constraints there is a crèche at the Rampage City branch.

Mark says what he loves about working in a gym is witnessing the positive change in people over time, not just physically, but also in terms of confidence.

“I see a lot of people who start out hesitant and shy, and through their journey I see their confidence grow.”

When asked why Rampage uses on-the-job qualifications for its staff, he says the benefits are similar. Rampage works with Skills Active and some 20 staff members have gone through either the Foundation Skills Level 2 qualification or the Exercise Consultant Level 3.

Mark says there is a lot of satisfaction in being part of a staff member’s learning journey. They begin as passionate but untrained fitness lovers, and become qualified, reputable exercise consultants.

Having experienced trade training himself, Mark is a big fan of learning on the job. “There are situations that might arise in a work environment that textbooks just can’t teach.”

One challenge for Rampage’s trainees, he says, has been adhering to the qualification timeframes – because many of the trainees are part-timers with other jobs, completing the study in their own time, on top of all the usual commitments – family, social life, and of course staying fit.

Rampage helps trainees deal with time pressure by providing support and guidance as they proceed through the qualification. Rampage Fitness has three onsite staff who are qualified Skills Active assessors, which in turn helps streamline the qualification process.

Mark comments that one of the reasons for the gym’s high completion rate is the “scouting process” for new employees who exhibit the kind of passion and commitment that’s needed to become qualified.

“We don’t actually advertise for new employees. Since I’ve been involved in an ownership role, the employees we’ve hired have been members of the gym. We build a rapport, and then sound them out. This way we’ve chosen people who already fit the Rampage mould.”

Five years from now Mark sees Rampage continuing to grow, while staying true to its primary belief that people of all ages who perform quality exercise can maintain lifelong fitness and as a result enjoy longer, happier and healthier lives.

With an ongoing commitment to staff training and growing the skill base, the organisation will be able to adapt to changing times, and won’t get stuck in its ways, he says.

“For me, the fitness and wellbeing industry is all about lifestyle. You’re never going to have a million zeroes next to your name, but knowing you’re turning up each day to a positive environment makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning. It’s very rewarding when your business is providing an environment where people can better their lives.”