Tim Hayes has been a celebrity trainer and movement expert for 15 years, and has trained a whole host of well known clients. Aside from putting A Listers through their paces, Tim recently set up Peach, an app connecting busy Londoners with the highest level of personal trainers. Passionate about busting fitness myths and the lack of quality control in the personal training industry, we chatted to Tim about Peach, the fitness scene and the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur:

For anyone that isn’t familiar with the brand, can you tell us a little bit about Peach?

Peach is an app that connects busy Londoners to the highest quality of personal trainers available in the city – you can browse specialties, reach out to trainers and pay all through the app. We’re in the process of setting up international versions too for a seamless experience.

I created Peach to improve the quality of our clients’ lives. That may seem like a strange thing for a personal trainer to say, but it’s essentially what all clients want.

The fitness industry is too focused on losing weight and having 6 packs, and the main issue with the personal training market is the lack of qualifications. I created Peach to hold my trainers accountable to furthering their education and qualification with the up to date research in both human movement, lifestyle coaching and nutrition coaching. We’re hoping Peach will change the fitness industry globally and set the standard for what clients are looking for!

What is it about Peach that makes it different from other PT apps?

Our USP is our trainers. The market as it stands is unregulated; every trainer on the planet says they are the best, because by nature they’re motivators.

The problem is unfortunately there is a huge lack of education and ongoing mentorship for trainers. I hand pick our trainers based on personality, life and industry experience and most importantly, an ongoing commitment to education. Our academy ensures our trainers remain current in exercise science.  And on top of that, our app has intelligent filters to match clients based on specific goals with trainers in those specialties.

What’s been the feedback so far?

To date we have a 100% commitment rate on clients that meet our trainers after a consultation, and on average clients work with us for a minimum of 6 months because of the service we provide. People have said the app is simple and easy to use, but we’re constantly working on building more features as we grow, and always listening to our customer and trainer feedback.

Why did you decide to start Peach when you already had a successful fitness brand under your own name?

My brand was predominantly about me as an individual and as such I could only influence those clients I trained personally, whereas my goal for Peach was to affect the industry at large on a global scale. I wanted to give trainers a community that feeds and grows off each other which, in turn, gives our clients the power of many minds and decades of experience, which is coming together quite nicely at the moment.

What’s been the biggest challenge setting up this business compared to your own personal training brand?

With any new brand it takes time to build trust and gain traction from the market.

My own personal training brand naturally grew out of the client base of my own that I simply expanded and built upon, whereas with Peach the first 6 months were spent focusing on building our brand online, and getting our message on point. Once this happened then clients started to come though our digital marketing, referrals and direct partnerships.

I can’t say what the single biggest challenge is as on the whole as it’s a much larger scale project. One thing is more time spent pitching to investors and having to think outside the box to secure capital. It also means there’s a much greater number of people involved; we’re always working on how best to streamline our internal communications, from the newest personal trainers to our copywriters to ensure everyone feels like their voices are heard.

Even with the economy fluctuating, people continue to spend more and more on personal health related businesses. Why do you think this is?

Health is becoming more present than ever, but despite the boom in health and fitness, obesity is on the rise. Corporates are now seeing the impacts of absenteeism and presenteeism. The market is becoming more intelligent to fad diets, and fad training methods, and people are looking more at quality fitness and lifestyle solutions, which although more expensive, have a far greater impact on their lives.

Can you tell us some of your funniest or weirdest experiences when training celebrities? (they can remain anonymous!)

Gosh, I’ve had many and I can’t name any names, but I would say my highlight would be when a certain client I was working with sat down and lit up a cigarette 20 mins into the session. When he saw the look on my face he said “oh sorry did you want one?”. I declined, waited patiently and continued with the session – that’s rock stars I guess.

I also had a singer who trained with me who kept turning her ankle on stage, she’d had previous trainers and physios but nothing was changing. It turned out she always wore high heels on stage, so I got her into the studio in those shoes and trained her ankles to be strong in that environment. I got a lot of strange looks from the other trainers, but she got stronger!

And what about one of your most inspiring experiences with clients of Peach?

A lot of people choose personal training because of low self esteem, often they don’t realise that’s the reason, but fundamentally if their focus is on being thinner then ultimately self esteem is an issue.

I had one particular client who came to me to drop two dress sizes, but when we started to talk we realised that even when she got to that goal she still wouldn’t feel happy in her own skin. So we changed the goal to focus on things that were important to her; like being able to do a proper push up, and being able to do a full pull up, something that women for some reason often feel isn’t achievable. The smile on her face when she started to do these exercises was powerful, both to me and to her! As the months went on she started to love training, her body moved really well, and she stopped weighing herself. One day when we were training her yoga pants fell down, it was very funny, she’d just bought some new pants which were a size 10 – she was a size 16 when we first started.

She cried, hugged me and thanked me and I cried too; she had reached goals that had become far more important than weight loss, she was happy in her own skin, strong and fitter than ever before.

What’s the easiest way for people to exercise around a busy schedule?

Look at it this way: exercise is just a form of movement. Don’t beat yourself up about not feeling motivated to smash out a Barry’s Bootcamp class – just go to yoga if you’re feeling sleep deprived, or try integrating a run, walking or cycling into your commute into work. Consistent movement is key!

I would also say, if you’re time poor, it’s worth considering that how we move directly effects the results we get. Taking the time to focus on movement in the exercises we are doing, tracking progress and adapting and refining constantly is crucial. If you’re doing the same workouts every time not much is going to change.

Tell us a bit about your personal background and what first motivated you to get into the fitness industry?

I always enjoyed exercise, activity and the gym, and graduated in 2000 with Bsc Hons, but I went straight into the corporate world in the city. I made good money and had fun whilst I was young but it didn’t really fulfill me. I wanted to help people, so I thought about becoming a teacher, trainer or therapist, I guess now I’m all three! When a client says thank you Tim it’s beautiful; to take a client on a journey, to make an impact in their life – there is no other feeling like that, so that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to get into the health and fitness industry?

Don’t fall into the pitfalls of promoting quick fixes and look at what will motivate you and keep you fulfilled in five or ten years time from now. If you’re serious about becoming a personal trainer bear in mind that the standard of education is unregulated, in my opinion most of the mainstream education companies are very limited in what they teach trainers, which results in frustrated clients. Aspiring PTs should definitely do their research and get the highest standard of education possible in order to provide the best results for their clients.

What are some of the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur?

The thought of what we can achieve with Peach and who we can help is what excites me as an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t say there are any lows – an entrepreneur always looks at solutions not problems!

What’s next on the horizon for Peach and where do you want it to be in 5 years time?

At the moment Peach only operates in London, but as the brand builds we aim to be in a minimum of 20 cities globally. We look at Toni and Guy as a model of where we want to be; they created a standard in the hairdressing world and an academy for all its stylists. Hopefully we’ll be close to that in five years time!

What do you think is the latest health and fitness concept/trend? 

Although I don’t like to get involved in fitness trends as they’re often too short term focused, I do think the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) could have huge implications for the fitness industry and it’s something we will be looking at integrating into our service in the long term future. I would like to say that Peach is the new trend, although we are here to stay of course.

For more information on Peach, visit the website here