Time to introduce the man at the helm of a rather unique business. Harvey Platt founded the fitness review platform My Fitness Advisor last year. We heard about the response thus far and hopes for the future…
Ringwood boy Harvey Platt turned away from the traditional career path for an Economics graduate. Instead of heading into investment banking, he took two problems he found in searching for fitness services, and created My Fitness Advisor. A fitness review website serving as an information hub for anyone looking for gyms, personal trainers, yoga classes and more. The mission behind this business is twofold. To increase the trust and transparency of the fitness industry. And to help people on their fitness journey…
WHAT BACKGROUND DO YOU HAVE IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY?
In terms of business experience within the fitness industry… not very much. I have always been into health and fitness… I’ve gone to the gym quite a lot – especially at uni. It allows you to manage stress and your wellbeing. I worked at David Lloyd Leisure between the ages of 16 and 19. There I was a children’s team leader, coaching football, and also running some of the summer camps.
WHAT LED YOU TO START A BUSINESS WITHIN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY?
I have always wanted to do something for myself. There has always been a burning urge. I remember going to an assessment day for a large investment bank. My degree is in Economics, and that is the standard route you go down — either into investment banking or data analysis. And I just didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t right for me. I thought, “This isn’t something that I can get along with in the future”. I think that was the catalyst that made me think, “I need to do something for myself”.
WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR A FITNESS REVIEW WEBSITE?
In my third year at uni, I was getting quite stressed out about exams and coursework. And I took up meditation through the Headspace app. It’s a really good app, but I wanted to take my practice a bit further and go to an actual class. Going to uni in Sussex, there were a lot of classes in Brighton, but there wasn’t much information or reviews about what each class had to offer and what made them different.
So, after looking for a while on Google and thinking, “Which class do I go to? Is it going to be right for me?” I never actually managed to go to a class. Searching just became too demotivating. And then I thought, “If I’m having this problem finding a meditation class, surely others are having a problem finding a gym. Or finding a PT”.
With the quick-fix culture we all have, people want instant results. You get Deliveroo within 30 minutes, and Amazon’s next-day delivery. With fitness, you need consistency, you need hard work, and persistence over a long period of time to see results. And I feel like, because of that, companies and people have been latching onto it to try and make money. Selling programmes like “Get Ripped Abs in 30 Days” or the other classic headlines and thumbnails you see on YouTube and Instagram. It’s just a money-making scheme and not actually benefitting the consumer in the way it should.
WHAT PROBLEMS ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE WITH MY FITNESS ADVISOR?
There’s the misinformation and the mistrust in the industry, as I just talked about. I also feel like there’s a social media bias that people have. Just because someone has X amount of followers on Instagram, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right PT for you. They may not know what you need to meet your fitness goals.
They’re the conflicting problems within the industry that I’m trying to solve with the website. It’s quite complex, and it’s not just one or the other. There are a lot of factors pulling against each other, through the way we all live our lives.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE MY FITNESS ADVISOR CONCEPT?
I’m trying to create a hub for the fitness industry where everything is in one place. You have gyms, you have PTs, you have yoga classes… and I’m about to add fitness professionals. People like physiotherapists, nutritionists, sports masseuses. All in one place, so you don’t have to faff around. Going to different tabs, or keep browsing through social media and Google and it just being endless and demotivating, eventually.
All the information in one place about the stuff you actually care about. If you’re looking for a gym, there’s membership prices, contract lengths, the different facilities. Can you change there? Are there lockers? Also, their social media links, so you can see their social media from one page. PTs as well: class prices, qualifications, their specialities. So it’s all one package.
The second side is the specific review criteria for each different service. Each review criteria is tailored to each service and what you actually care about. Say you were to review a gym on the My Fitness Advisor website, you’d rate it on how clean it is, the range of equipment, the availability for you to book into a class, value for money, and then an overall rating. PTs get rated on friendliness, how motivating they are, how safe they make their clients’ exercises, and again value for money and overall rating.
That gives an element where people are reviewing what you want these services to be reviewed on. You want to know how friendly your PT is, and how motivating they are. Because that is effectively what they’re there to do. It allows people to see the bigger picture of what a fitness service provides.
YOU LAUNCHED IN OCTOBER 2020. WHAT WAS THE INITIAL RESPONSE LIKE?
The response was really positive. A lot of people said, “This is a really great idea,” and, “This is really needed”. And then, through networking, a few people have said to me, “I was looking for a PT a couple of years ago and I wanted them to have a specific focus…” or “I wanted a female-specific PT after my pregnancy and I couldn’t find someone”. So that was really positive to hear.
Obviously, lockdown put the brakes on. And, of course, fitness services are shut. But otherwise the reaction has been really positive. I feel it has resonated with people — the message I’m trying to convey. It’s there to help people. The purpose of our social media content is to educate and inspire and motivate.
WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS FOR THE BUSINESS?
My next step is to create a foundation and a community within the Bournemouth area, to start with. There are some charities I really want to work with. Some, I’m already about to be in partnership with. I feel that exercise can help the people they’re involved with. Essentially, to create a sense of community. And enable My Fitness Advisor to keep growing organically through that community. Before branching into different areas as we begin to grow.
WHAT IS THE DREAM OR END GOAL FOR YOU AS A BUSINESSMAN?
I think the dream is to create a hub for the fitness industry where you can find anything you need within a few clicks. Read honest feedback from real people. Enable people to see the bigger picture of what the fitness industry is about. I think a service like this is needed — the fitness industry is a minefield in my opinion. And it needs to be stripped back to basics. Fitness is all about bettering yourself, and I think it’s been distorted into comparing yourself to others. It needs to be about yourself and the reasons you’re doing it.
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