Business Awards 2020

70 MEA MARKETS / 2020MEA Business Awards , Best Fitness Studio 2020 - Kenya Reform Cycling & Strength Studio Established in 2015 ReformCycling&Strength Studio isNairobi’s first boutique fitness studio dedicated to indoor cycling and strength-focused classes. Thanks to its focus over the years on building a strong fitness community and its ability to pivot in various directions, it hasmanaged to navigate itsway through the Covid-19 pandemic and simultaneously assist vulnerable communities inKenya.We spoke to Founder, sportswoman, lawyer turnedfitness entrepreneur, Saloni Kantaria, who tells usmore about the internationally recognised studio. Based in Nairobi, Reform was the first of its kind in the city when it was opened by Saloni Kantaria, who saw the growing number of boutique studios in cities around the world and decided Nairobi needed its own customer-centric boutique fitness studio. Saloni’s ambition for the studio was to offer high quality indoor cycling and strength classes which were accessible to all fitness levels of the Nairobi fitness community. With that in mind, Saloni brought masters fitness instructors from Europe so that they could assist her team of hand- picked instructors in programming and creating Reform’s classes which were built on a safe and effective fitness foundation. Reform’s classes are designed to work for their clients, in hour-long classes that fit into busy lifestyles and customer service that goes above and beyond. Once a client decides to start their journey with Reform, they receive a warm welcome from Saloni herself with recommendations for classes based on their unique fitness objectives outlined in the client account. Clients are not just a number in the system, they are a valued member of the diverse and multicultural Reform community, who are celebrated for their fitness ability, age, ambitions, and lifestyle. In 2018, Reform partnered with Les Mills, a New Zealand based fitness company that offers virtual fitness classes, so that the studio could offer virtual fitness classes during our off-peak hours. Although the programme initially took some adapting to, clients soon fell in love with the versatility of Les Mills classes, which worked in perfect cohesion with Reform’s classes to create a well-rounded schedule that provided something for everyone. By January 2020, Reform had established itself as one of the premier boutique indoor cycling studios in Kenya with one client saying “Your studio, without a doubt, is my absolute favorite from all the spinning studios I have tried around the world. I have tried quite a few in UK, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong, US - I loved the performance displays allowing me to track my performance and your trainers are top notch.” Then Covid-19 hit Kenya at the end of February 2020. In March 2020, Reform’s classes stopped, but the Les Mills virtual classes continued running at the studio through the day with limited numbers to ensure social distancing. However, some clients were not comfortable traveling to the studio for classes, and were simultaneously offered an eight week home virtual fitness programme taught by Saloni. She says “getting everyone to embrace virtual fitness prior to the pandemic had not been easy but the pandemic forced members of the Reform community to embrace it because there was no other option. Our virtual studio and home offerings enabled us to financially stay afloat and also ensure the Reform community remained united in spirit during the ongoing pandemic”. Members of the Reform community commended Reform’s approach saying, “it’s Nov20636 amazing and I can’t thank you enough for introducing virtual training – it’s keeping us motivated and the class variety is fun.” Before classes resumed in August 2020, Saloni ensured Reform was remodelled with glass safety shields behind which the instructors taught, and markings were put in place to ensure clients stayed in the same spot to workout to comply with Covid-19 social distancing protocols and Covid-19 cleaning protocols enhanced at the studio. Members of the Reform fitness community applauded Reform’s efforts to keep the studio safe, one member saying, “thank you so much for going the extra mile to make sure everyone is protected”. Beyond just focusing on the health and wellbeing of its own fitness community, Reform has also become a crucial lifeline to underprivileged communities in Kenya which still sees the majority of the population facing daily challenges. Since its inception, one of Saloni’s goals for Reform was to assist underprivileged communities in different parts of Kenya. Since 2015, Reform has raised money through fitness challenges and carried out eight outreach programmes, which include focusing on amputees, communities impacted by political violence, underfunded public schools in northern Kenya, and more recently an orphan’s home in Eldoret town impacted by COVID-19. Having made an important and positive impact in 2020, Saloni is optimistic about the future: “2020 brought about extreme challenges for the world but it forced businesses to pivot and explore ideas and implement changes they otherwise would not have. Reform is no exception to this, but I realize that thanks to our strong fitness community being the backbone of the studio, we have managed to stay alive and simultaneously help other vulnerable communities to survive this pandemic.” Company: Reform Cycling & Strength Studio Website: Instagram: @reformnbo Facebook: @reformnairobi