Read these documents from Sport England first. These give an insight to the questions and what they’re looking for.

In 50 words or fewer, what is the elevator pitch for your innovative solution?

Gym Jam is a fitness, health and wellness app for sustained change. Not just offering the usual exercise libraries, but we also offer an innovative way to help people achieve goals, by making small adjustments in regular behaviours and habits, all guided through in-app, weekly chats with virtual coaches. [49 words]

Which challenge are you responding to? (350 words)

Please tell us why you care about this challenge? Who is this challenge affecting in your community? What impact is it having on their lives and ability to be active? Is this new or has it been exacerbated by the current COVID-19 situation?

Our solution best answers the ‘Changes in Circumstances’ Challenge, though it also tackles mental health issues as well as digital exclusion to an extent.

It is a multi-faceted solution to the following problems:

  1. Education in healthy living and eating well is not reaching enough people, and definitely not the ones who need it most.
  2. Those who have the desire to make positive changes often lack the resources, finances, confidence or opportunity to do so.
  3. Whether or not the above 2 points apply, lack of real motivation, or the feeling that they’re not making progress after a period of time, is often what’s holding them back. We’ve seen many of our friends and families succumb to numerous ailments (not to mention the other 42% of the UK population who suffer from one or more chronic conditions) that could have, and should have, been prevented by better attention paid to their own health – physical and mental. Depression is an enormous problem, diabetes, heart conditions, cancer and more are all exacerbated by poor nutrition and poor health. We are aiming to do our bit to push those numbers, across the country, back down.

By creating small habitual changes; breaking bad habits and creating new ones – using the Behavioural Wheel type of psychology the goals are to make large tasks much less daunting; so it’s smart. Being very specific on a small change, that can be measured, is achievable, realistic and on a weekly basis – to really make what can be one daunting task, all within reach. For example it could be exercising three times a week, or meal planning to avoid the snacking. Every individual has their own ways and means and each needs to be addressed properly for sustained change.

We ask them to write their goals down, and commit, where our coaches will guide and support along the way, also making them accountable for their own actions. [321 words]

How do you think you can help? (500 words)

Please tell us about your solution and what makes it innovative? How did you arrive at this solution? What makes it different and better than alternative solutions? How do you know that your solution meets the needs of the community that you want to use it? Why are you well placed to respond to this challenge at this time?

Our solution is a fitness, health and wellbeing app with an emphasis on support, encouragement and motivation, called Gym Jam Fitness.

It is currently available for anyone to download.

Gym Jam is not like a regular fitness app. Yes, it contains thousands of exercises to show people how to keep fit and active, as well as video classes and nutritional programs and recipes too. But it’s more than that. The foundations of Gym Jam are in understanding WHY people want to improve their own level of activity, and their physical & mental health on an individual basis, and using these insights to motivate them to create positive, sustainable change in their lives. We use a mix of motivational interviewing techniques coupled with small habit & behavioural changes so users will make the change and it becomes habitual, not a chore. This could be anything from exercising 3 times a week to meal planning.

The cost to the user is also a fraction of what they’d otherwise be paying for alternatives. And we’re happy to work with organisations offering deals if they want to introduce this to their workforce, such as the NHS.

The entire concept has come from something we ourselves have been through with business, being an “Accountablity Club” where every week we had to say what we were going to do, in front of a group of people, write it down, and then tell everyone the following week if we’d done the tasks or not, and if not, why not. Taking this mentality, but on a much more encouraging format and less of being told off, it’s the perfect solution.

Now we’ve worked with clinical psychologists, mentors, life coaches and personal trainers we’ve developed a system that is tailored to each person, and the end result is a program for them to follow, with a mentor who makes regular contact with them to keep them on track, reminding them why they’re doing this (with their own personal reasons). We’ve tried dozens of other solutions and found them all lacking. Most of the time they are repetitive, boring, unrealistic, restrictive, and more often than not, completely unsupported after you’ve paid the fee! Gym Jam has been in the works for some time, but its need has been all the more apparent since Covid came into our lives. All of this works remotely, with or without access to gyms, equipment, outdoor space or any prior knowledge. And when the crisis is over, it’ll be just as relevant!   

[417 words]

What are the next steps for your solution? (350 words)

What are the ideal next steps to progress your solution? What support or resources have you got in place to help you achieve these, especially in this challenging coronavirus environment? What support could Sport England provide? Is there anything stopping you from delivering this solution within the next six months? What will you do if you don’t get support from us?

We already have an amazing team all working voluntarily on this project whilst furloughed in their main jobs, we have the technical know-how, the platform is already built; and we have a lead Coach guiding and supporting the psychological aspect of the platform.

However, we need to

  • Get funding to
    • bring this team on board full time when furlough ceases
    • advertise, publicse and get into the press to get traction and revenue coming in
  • Build a team of coaches and mentors to deliver ongoing support and motivation
  • Continue to develop the product as the landscape, and people’s priorities, change.
  • Talk with investors and potentially run a Kickstarter campaign.

Sport England could be a huge platform in raising awareness of what we’re doing and endorsing the product, as well as providing essential funding for covering basic overheads.

[142 words]

What does success look like in six months’ time? (500 words)

Please tell us where your solution will be in six months’ time? What impact do you expect to have for the community you are trying to support? What inequalities have been addressed? What will you have learned and how will you have applied this? What are the key risks that you will need to manage to be successful?

In 6 months, Gym Jam could become the ‘go-to’ solution for everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

It is our aim to make a society-wide change to the lives of people who have, for whatever reason, been unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being able to help people achieve their goals, see them successfully improving their awareness of health and wellbeing and looking after themselves, sustainably is our ideal.

Whether they’ve been excluded, marginalised, unequipped or lacking in confidence, knowledge or motivation, we will be able to reach these people through the right communication campaigns and give them the tools they need.

We will continually learn how different groups of people feel towards a healthy lifestyle, what challenges they face and how to overcome them. These are likely to be related to their pre-existing physical and mental condition, age, religion, gender and socio-economic background, though we will examine an ever-increasing number of factors to give us the greatest insight possible. The risks that need to be managed are purely financial. We have an opportunity to do an incredible amount of good for millions of people, but without the necessary resources our growth is likely to be too slow to get to a point of sustainability, at which point the chance is lost.   

[184 words]

Please describe briefly what you or your organisation has achieved over the past 12 months:

(Key milestones, successes etc.)

Gym Jam has been on the mind of Jonathan & Thorfinn, the founders of Rough Runner for a while. Due to Covid-19, Rough Runner has had to be put on hold as a business as no one is buying tickets to an outdoor mass participation sports event!

But this meant the focus was placed 100% on the development of Gym Jam Fitness. A brand new entity and in a very short period of time we’ve managed to build, launch, get 100 beta-testers on board, and have an abundance of Personal Trainers, Nutritionists and Health and Wellness Coaches desperate to be a part of this concept.

The founders, Jonathan and Thorfinn built Rough Runner successfully from nothing to having over 45,000 participants each year, complete an obstacle course event that’s based on the well loved TV game shows, such as Gladiators, Total Wipeout and Ninja Warrior. The whole premise for Rough Runner was to create an event, that was unlike all the others who were competing to be the most macho, or ego driven and grueling event, to being more accessible to everyone, of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and abilities – and they succeeded – creating a profitable, £1.5m turnover business over 5 years.

However an app was always on the cards as it fits nicely with the audiences of Rough Runner, where the event is the “goal” that someone having trained for can achieve. 

Now the focus lies in the successful launch and running of Gym Jam Fitness as this can truly affect the lives of many, for the better.  Jonathan firmly believes that all fitness apps do the same thing – just ask for your money and give you some exercises to do, on your own. What everyone neglects is the interactivity, the engagement, the why are you doing this and how can we help you on your journey. This also goes for Gyms – very often you maybe given a workout program, but then you’re left on your own and rarely does anyone simply ask “how are you getting on? Is there anything you want changing on your program?”. All too often the customer will have simply gone elsewhere as they’re bored or not seeing the results they wanted, and everyone loses. 

This has all also stemmed from the Accountability Club that Jonathan and Thorfinn attended. It was an eye opening experience that delivered, successfully. And it’s because you write down goals, and are held accountable. 

It’s the only way forward to sustainable change!

Jonathan also runs his own tennis club; and he knows only too well to keep people going, you have to keep them motivated and engaged. But yet no one does this in the fitness, health and wellness world.