What is a human powered gym?

Many of us feel that we need to do more to protect the environment.

The chances are that you probably already participate in behaviours that try to minimise your impact on the world around you: recycling regularly, taking public transport, opting for paperless billing or driving an electric car. 

You may be part of a company with an environmental corporate social responsibility policy.

But you might be surprised to hear that the fitness industry is looking to reduce its carbon footprint, too.  Eco-friendly gym equipment is becoming more popular with everything from bamboo yoga mats to electricity generating spin bikes.

That second one is important because eco-friendly gym equipment is going to become more important to gym members and prospective gym members in the future.

It makes sense.

If you’re interested in making conscientious buying decisions about products and services, companies and campaigns, then it’s very likely you’ll make more ethical decisions for your fitness, too.

And we know that younger people are willing to pay more in order to buy more socially responsible products.

If you own a gym or if you’re thinking of opening one up in the future, then you should look into clean-energy generating gym equipment.

Because gym power doesn’t just come from a socket in the wall; it comes from people, too.

By harnessing wasted human energy during a workout, gyms can generate clean electricity to power their premises.

A renewable energy gym powered by its members with any excess going into the grid to power homes in the neighbourhood.

Don’t worry, we’re not advocating Matrix-style human battery farms. Gym users get the workout they want but they’ll also have the added incentive of seeing their calorie burn turn into kilowatts. 

Find out more about Energym technology here

Energym has also developed an app that incentivises that clean-energy generation with rewards that can be purchased in an online marketplace.

It’s win-win gym power:  the user gets a great workout and the chance to work towards tangible rewards, the gym owner gets massively reduced electricity bills, and we don’t have to burn fossil fuels and harm the environment in order to do it.

How can exercise equipment generate electricity?

When we workout we expend energy.

At the moment, that energy is wasted; it does nothing but what if there was a way to take that energy and send it to a battery?  What if the power in that battery could be turned into the electricity that can power not just the gym itself but the neighbourhood, too?

Energym can install its battery system as new or retrofit the technology into existing equipment, so any gym can become a human powered gym without the need to buy brand new kit.

If you’d like to find out more about what we’re doing or if you’d like a demonstration, get in touch.

What are the benefits of power generating exercise equipment?

It’s easy to talk about the environmental benefits; they’re obvious.

We all know how bad fossil fuels are and how we can no longer rely on them in good faith.  As a business, you may not be aware of the Government’s commitment to a carbon-neutral society by 2040. It’s better to be ahead of this than broadsided by it later on.

Not ready for to be a sustainable gym?  There are ways you can make your business eco-friendly.

It’s easy to think, too, that green marketing and adopting eco-friendly business practices will be expensive or inconvenient.  We have to be realistic: it’s a tough economy and many business owners, gym owners included, don’t always have the spare cash to invest in eco-friendly gym equipment or to find energy generating gym equipment for sale.

But you shouldn’t let short-termism ruin your chance to reduce energy bills and establish your gyms unique selling point.

A gym that generates electricity doesn’t just help save the planet, it helps saves money, too. 

Power generating exercise equipment is the future of the gym, and we’d love to talk more about it with you. 

Drop us a message to find out how your business could benefit from Energym clean-energy technology.

Climate Change and the Threat to UK and International Sport

Climate Change and the Threat to UK and International Sport

The more obvious signs of climate change are happening thousands of miles from where we live: the deforestation in the Amazon and the melting permafrost in Siberia, for example. 

Australia’s bushfires happened in another time zone.

Whilst many of us are horrified, saddened or angry to see the devastation, it can feel like someone else’s problem.  

We can empathise but we often can’t imagine that something like that could happen here.

That could be about to change.

It’s hard to imagine what the melting of icecaps will mean for someone in Birmingham but what about when our favourite sporting events become affected?

Rain Affects Play

You’d have been hard-pressed in 2019 to imagine a scenario where thousands of global sporting events and fixtures were cancelled.

COVID-19 has seen the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed along with the European football championships, and Wimbledon.

The disruption to the sporting calendar is unprecedented but it’s unlikely to end with COVID-19.  We’re already seeing signs that the sports we love are under threat.

According to the BBC, by 2050 1 in 4 English football league clubs can expect to have their grounds flooded at least once a year.  This disrupts fixtures and hurts a club’s income.

The article also points to the number of golf courses at risk from coastal erosion including the 450-year old Montrose course in Scotland which loses around 2-meters of course each year to the sea.

Reuters reported on a study released back in 2018, that said the UK’s proximity to the Atlantic what a part of the problem.  Coastal golf courses are particularly at risk because of ‘storm surges and a rise in sea levels, caused by a melt of ice from Greenland to the Himalayas’.

Cricket stands to be one of the sports hardest hit by climate change.  Rain-affected matches have doubled since 2011 and since 2000, 27% of matches have seen reduced overs played.  Speaking to The Cricketeer back in 2018, Dan Cherry, said:

“It’s simple: the less cricket we play at every level the fewer people will watch it, the less they will come to the ground and pay to enter, the less chance there is for young people to be inspired to take up the game.”

And it’s not just rain.  A Japanese typhoon in 2019 took out some of the Rugby World Cup Fixtures.  Australian bushfires at the start of 2020 affected the Australian Open.  The Scottish ski industry could collapse within 50-years because of a lack of snow.

No Snow, No Go

Research by the University of Waterloo found that only 8 previous hosts of the Winter Olympics would be able to host the games again.  Time Magazine adds that before the 1960s the average temperature during the Olympics had risen from around 33 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

With global temperatures rising, we’ll likely see outdoor sports being played indoors. Stadiums may have to be designed in a way that they’re kept at temperature-controlled levels.

Olympic hosts may be chosen more on the average temperature of their nominated cities than by anything else.

Whilst cricket in England and Wales may be rained off more frequently, in places like India and Australia, the higher temperatures may pose a threat to players’ lives.  The BBC adds ‘venues in Adelaide and Perth will see a 60% increase in days with temperatures over 40C over the next decade’.

Climate Change Affects Exercise

You don’t have to be an athlete or a professional sports fan to feel the effect of climate change on fitness.

If you exercise regularly, then you may also find your favourite activities affected by climate change. Bustle reported that Nike has teamed up with Climate Change Lab to explore how climate change is affecting fitness and exercise.

They found that temperature plays a key role in determining whether marathon runners clock their fastest times: their speed reduces when the outdoor temperature rises.

It’s as true for amateur runners as much as the professionals: you won’t be able to smash those personal bests when the mercury is so high.  Warmer temperatures also mean you have a smaller timeframe in which to workout.  At the moment, we’re told to avoid being out during the hottest part of the day (often 12 pm until 3pm), but that could have to be extended.  This may make it more difficult to exercise outdoors if you have a busy day job.

It’s not just those of us inside, either. In the UK, we’re not as well prepared for extreme heat. Our buildings are designed to keep the warm air inside.  Your gym may not be able to install the level of air conditioning required to keep you cool during your workout.  An increase in operating costs may be reflected in your membership, too.

One solution for gym owners would be installing clean-energy generating gym equipment so that human-power could provide free electricity.  This could help offset energy costs.

Outdoor runners, walkers and cyclists will also find that they’re inhaling more polluted air than may be safe. Air quality levels in urban areas are declining largely due to traffic.

Hot weather can put a real strain on the human body.  It makes those with health conditions vulnerable but it can also mean that fit and healthy people can develop heat-related health issues.  There have been several cases of even high-profile athletes dying from complications related to heatstroke.

We also have to remember that most gyms are in urban areas.  Urban areas suffer from urban heat island effect where the building materials and infrastructure create literal hot spots which could be up to 5 degrees hotter than the surrounding areas.  

If Consumers Want Sustainability What Does It Mean for Your Gym?

Sustainability is a powerful marketing and buying tool.  

Customers still want quality, affordable products and services but they also want to know that the brands and services they’re engaging with align with their values.

For example, if you’re against the use of palm oil then it’s likely you’ll avoid companies that use palm oil in their products. 

We know that Millennials are happy spending more money for socially responsible products and services but how can we apply that to the fitness industry and if consumers want sustainability what could it mean for your gym?

What is Sustainability?

One of the best descriptions of sustainability was coined in the Brundtland Report in 1987 as something that satisfies the needs of the present without adversely affecting the conditions for future generations.

For example, Coca Cola was criticised in January 2020 for saying that it would not stop using single-use plastic bottles.  Plastic bottles take around 450 years to decompose, leak toxic chemicals in the environment and are a threat to marine life.

Coca Cola cannot be considered a sustainable company because what it is doing right now will have a devastating impact on the environment for many years to come.

Although, it’s not unrealistic to assume that it will have to change that policy.  Before COVID-19, single-use plastic was the big enemy and undoubtedly will be again.  Despite what Coca Cola is saying now, it’s likely its already looking into more sustainable options because in business you have to give the consumer the product they want or they’ll go elsewhere.

Gyms are no different. 

What Does Sustainability Mean for Gyms?

People don’t just want sustainable products.  They want eco-friendlier services, too.  In recent years, there’s been a change in focus when it comes to why people exercise. People aren’t only fixated on getting that result as they are on having an experience and of feeling part of a community. Add into this the move towards self-care, mindfulness, hygge, and veganism, etc, and there’s an obvious need for connection and meaning in the things we do day-to-day.  Sustainability plays right into this because it’s about more than just what you’re doing; it’s about reducing the impact of right now on the future.

It’s not to say that you should throw out your MMA cage and start building a hot yoga studio, but you can draw some lessons from more environmentally enlightened ways of thinking.

And there’ll always be an intersection between fitness, health, and the environment. 

For example, processed food contributes to climate change; it also contributes to obesity, chronic health conditions and early death in adults.  All things that the NHS say can be massively reduced by regular exercise. We know that obese people tend to have bigger carbon footprints, too.

Food is fuel for anyone taking the gym seriously, but food waste is a huge environmental issue.  It’s one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Poor air quality caused by pollution in urban areas causes illness and an increased risk of death.  If you’re going to the gym to be healthier but then stepping out into toxic air pollution, then what’s the point?  We also know that a gym can have poor air quality because of cacogenic equipment and industrial cleaning supplies.

Why Gyms need to Become More Sustainable

Find out how your gym equipment can harvest human-energy and turn it into the electricity powering your building.

How Green Marketing Can Make a Big Impact on Your Brand

Clients and consumers are more environmentally aware than ever, and they’re choosing products and services that align with their beliefs and lifestyles.

Green marketing helps businesses create the stories behind their brand by delivering a positive environmental message that’s not just about building a customer or client base, but about creating a community.

What is Green Marketing?

Green marketing is a way of promoting environmentally friendly products or services to customers, clients or investors. You might also hear it called eco-marketing or environmental marketing. 

What Companies Are Using Green Marketing?

UK cosmetics retailer Lush announced in 2019 that it no longer uses eggs in its cosmetics because of cruelty in the egg industry. 

The decision strengthens the company’s reputation on animal and environmental rights.  It will have pleased many of its existing customers as well as attracting new customers who also align to that viewpoint.

Lush has a long history of being active in animal rights and does not test on animals.  It supports the ethical sourcing of ingredients and community recycling and has banned palm oil in its soaps; it also uses minimal packaging and by selling shampoo bars ‘saves nearly 6 million plastic bottles globally’. 

Environmentalism is at the forefront of what Lush does and by offering environmentally responsible products, it’s marketing is made easier and more coherent because it knows its target audience cares about the same things it does.

Lush has built a strong brand identity that goes beyond just nice smelling products.

Patagonia is an outdoor gear and clothing store famous for its stand on sustainability and environmental protection.  Its mission statement is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

According to the Green Market Oracle, Patagonia collects and refurbishes its old gear. It’s also heavily investing in the development of sustainable textiles for its clothing.  It has solar power for its offices, paid for 1,500 panels to be put on rooftops in Hawaii and also incentivises employees to carpool or use public transport to get to work.  In recent years, Patagonia has been highly critical of Donald Trump’s environmental policies.

The Content Writers website points out one important thing about Patagonia – the honesty about its shortcomingsIt still relies on fossil fuels for some of its items but is working on reducing and eliminating that dependency.

Other examples of green marketing companies include:

  • Unilever
  • Starbucks
  • The Body Shop
  • Ikea

What Impact can Green Marketing Have on Your Brand?

  • Eco-marketing can help build a community, too, which makes targeted ad campaigns more effective and easier to conceive. 
  • Businesses that reduce their carbon footprint often find that they’re able to save money by adopting eco-friendly practices.  It could be less money spent on packaging, transport, marketing, energy use, etc.

    For example, you could add energy-generating equipment to your gym.  Imagine the savings if you turned human energy into usable electricity to power your premises or neighbourhood. You’d be helping to protect the planet from carbon emissions and getting free energy.
  • Green marketers understand the importance of good PR.  A brand can easily demonstrate its clean credentials by engaging with local and global environmental issues: supporting charities, donating volunteers to communities, developing new and innovative products and services. 

    Good deeds don’t have to go unsung.  The environmental angle is ideal for social media and press releases; it shows a company is putting its time and money where its mission statement is.
  • Company sustainability is important to a lot of young people.  In one survey, 40% of Millennials said they’d taken a pay-cut to work at an environmentally responsible company.  That’s pretty astounding, and it shows that adopting an eco-conscious ethos can impact your business on both the outside and inside. It can help you retain current employees as well as make you more attractive to new ones.

What are the Challenges of Eco-Marketing?

  • It may cost more money upfront and has to be part of a long-term campaign.

  • Companies have to be genuine in their pursuit of a green reputation.  Greenwashing (where a business either exaggerates or fabricates its environmental credentials) can cause serious damage to a brand.  You don’t want your customers questioning your integrity.

  • You have to hold your company to a higher standard in the marketplace and that’s a challenge for some people.  

How do You Do Green Marketing?

Marketing tells the story of your brand.  Green marketers understand that people want to feel a connection to the products they’re buying. It could be out of a genuine desire to save the planet but it could also be a way of alleviating environmental guilt – the penance for driving a petrol-guzzling car, for example.

Businesses could:

  • Use eco-friendly packaging, non-toxic or organic materials, biodegradable items, or things made from renewable sources or easy to recycle

  • Go digital and reduce the amount of paper wastage

  • Use eco-friendly energy sources like solar power to show off green credentials and save money.

  • Find ways to carbon off-set.  It’s not a perfect method but it is one way of reducing your impact on the environment.

  • Create products that can be re-used, easily fixed or conveniently recycled.  Discourage the use of products that will quickly end up in a landfill.

  • Think about the entire journey of a product from concept and design through to transport and production and look for green opportunities at each stage. Include this in your brand’s story.

  • Join up with like-minded companies and environmental groups.

  • Be honest about where you’re at and where you’re heading.  You can’t save the planet overnight so don’t sell what you can’t deliver.

Green marketing makes it easier for customers and clients to engage with your brand.  As well as giving them the option to buy eco-friendlier products, you’re also helping to boost your sales, increase brand visibility and create a community around your product.

And whichever way you look at it, building a more environmentally friendly business is the right thing to do.

COVID-19: Europe’s Green Recovery Plan

On May 20th, a European Media agency leaked details of the stimulus package that would help the EU economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

EuActive said the leak came from a ‘trusted source’, and one week later, in a speech given before the European Parliament, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the EU’s 750 billion euro recovery plan will be focused towards ‘green and digital transitions’.

The deal has gone down well with investors. 109 of them had previously sent a letter to EU decision markers asking for an emphasis on green recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edie.net reported that investors wanted ‘…to ensure public money is helping support a cleaner, more resilient future’.  

What Does the EU’s Green Recovery Include?

  • 91 billion euros to increase home energy efficiency
  • 25 billion euros for renewable energy projects like wind, solar and hydrogen power.
  • 20 billion euros for cleaner cars
  • 2 million additional charging points in 2-years
  • 60 billion euros towards carbon-neutral trains
  • The production of 1 million tonnes of clean hydrogen
  • 1 million ‘green jobs’ created along with help for those in non-green industries to retrain and re-skill.

European economies badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic are eager to see what can be done to help them recover from the damage caused by extensive lockdowns, border closures and travel bans.

Formal negotiations will start on June 11th, but the deal won’t go ahead without the backing of the 27 EU member states. The BBC has reported that Germany and France have both backed plans for the money to be raised on the capital markets.  The emphasis on re-training people from traditional industries with high levels of pollution is to appease those member states – like Romania, for example – where much of the economy is still based on fossil fuel use.

Money could be raised to help pay for the mix of grants and loans through several taxes including digital tax, carbon tax, and a non-recyclable tax.

Whilst the deal does have its critics, overall, it’s been well received.  The devastation of COVID-19 across Europe, in particular, highlights how global problems can create serious problems in EU economies.  The Guardian reports that in her speech, Ursula von der Leyen said “sooner or later we will find a vaccine for the coronavirus. But there is no vaccine for climate change. Therefore [we] need a recovery plan designed for the future.”

But with the US and China – the world’s two biggest polluters – ducking out of long-term environmental commitments, it’s difficult to say how effective the EU’s green policy will be in the wider scheme of things, but it’s a good start and it’s good to see a political institution recognize the value of a central green policy and not just as a short-term recovery plan but for the good of everyone for decades to come.

Get on Your Bike for World Bicycle Week

Get on Your Bike for World Bicycle Week

There’s been a boom in bike sales since the UK entered lockdown back in March.  Bike chain Halfords has reported a 23% jump in shares as more of us take to two wheels as a means of exercising and commuting safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It would be great to see people continuing to cycle post-lockdown.  Many of us will have forgotten the sense of freedom and joy of riding through neighbourhoods, along country lanes and alongside rivers the way we did as children. 

Whether you’re an age-old biker or a reluctant newbie, there’s never been a better time to start cycling.  COVID-19 has put the brakes on many celebrations in 2020 but there are two dates to put into your calendar for June: World Bicycle Day is June 3rd and Bike Week is running between June 6thand 14th. 

For Bike Week, Cycling UK along with Cycling Scotland has put together several activities that you can participate in whilst respecting social distancing measures. 

Why is Cycling Good for Us?

Cycling is great for beginners. 

Most people will have mastered the basic skills as children.   

It’s worth brushing up on your bike safety skills, but the actual act of riding a bike is straightforward. It’s a skill unlikely to have been forgotten even many years later. 

A basic bike is relatively inexpensive to buy.  Cycling has a low barrier of entry: you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get started.  Bikes can often be bought second-hand and you may already have one in a shed or garage. 

Cycling is great for heart health.  Bike Radar writes that around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be prevented each year if people were fitter. Cycling 20 miles a week could cut your risk of heart disease in half.

Moderate exercise can also boost immunity.  We know it’s less likely that you’ll suffer from an upper respiratory illness if you participate in exercise. 

Exercising at a moderate level can also reduce your risk of developing cancer, diabetes or having a stroke. 

Cycling is great for weight loss, too, and it can also help reduce the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. 

Going for a bike ride is something the entire family can enjoy doing together.  When the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, it’ll also be a great way to meet new people through clubs and organisations.

How Cycling is Good for the Environment

The United Nations believes we have less than a decade to minimise the damage of climate change.

In 2019, the UK Government declared a climate emergency.  The effects of global warming are becoming more and more visible throughout the world in everything from flooding, increased sea temperatures to drought and coral bleaching.  

Cars are a huge threat to the environment. They’re one of the biggest contributors to poor air quality and carbon emissions.  We all rely on them to get around but the damage they’re doing to our health and the planet cannot be understated.  Cycling is one way of reducing the impact of those emissions by using peddle power instead of horsepower. 

Public transport outside London can be sporadic and expensive.  Cycling offers people a carbon-free way of getting around for less.

And saving the environment through cycling doesn’t only have to be done outside. Energym is developing spin-bikes for commercial and domestic use that converts human-generated energy into useable electricity to power gyms and homes. 

Whether you do it indoors or outdoors, cycling is one way of playing your part in saving the planet without feeling as if you’ve had to give something up. 

How Can You Take Part in Bike Week?

You can still celebrate bike week even during the lockdown.  The Government recently relaxed the rules on exercising outdoors so there’s no reason not to get outside and go for a bike ride. 

You don’t have to go far, either. It can be a quick ride down to the shops, around a local park or a quick trip around your neighbourhood. 

UK Cycling has launched 7-days of cycling to coincide with bike week.  It wants people to aim to ride every day for a week and then to share their activity via a photo, video or story using #BikeWeek and #7DaysofCycling on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  If you can’t do the full 7 days, don’t worry.  You can join in as much or as little as you like. 

Selected participants will also receive a prize. 

We’re looking forward to following the hashtags this week and to see where everyone is heading for their rides.  Remember to be considerate to other road and pavement users during this difficult period and ensure that your bike is safe to use.  You can find bike safety tips on the UK cycling website. 

Interested in how the energy from your spin bike workout could power your premises or home?  Visit the Energym website to find out more and to see the technology in action.