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Making The Podium

Welcome to “Making the Podium” – a fortnightly podcast for ambitious, bold and daring business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals who want to be at the cutting edge of innovation in the sports, health and fitness, and wellness industries. 

Making the Podium
Making the Podium
Making the Podium
Making the Podium

New Episodes Fortnightly

Released Thursdays

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Let us know, who you would love to hear on the show!

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MEET YOUR HOST

Chris Sharman

With over 25 years experience in the leisure industry, your host, Chris Sharman, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Topodium Group, has been lucky enough to work with businesses across the globe developing innovative products and cutting edge brands for the links of Virgin Active, David Lloyd, Challenger Sports, Thomas Cook & Disney. 

He’s seen plenty of trends and initiatives emerge, though what remains at the core of growth in our sectors is the passion to impact and motivate people. Each episode we’ll get to the heart of topics on all marketeers minds from the development of new technologies such as AI, AR & VR, to the challenging demands of consumer expectations. 

A photo of Chris Sharman

Check out all the episodes!

Latest Episodes

Featured Image- Natalia Karbasova

Episode 8

Launching a global FitTech community with Founder of FitTech Summit, Natalia Karbasova

2020 saw an 80% growth in demand for fitness apps, cementing FitTech as a compelling space to enter. Making the connections to do so can be an intimidating task, one that Natalia Karbasova has been helping countless businesses to achieve as Founder of the FitTech Summit. 

With a vision of a future that combines preventative health benefits with unique fitness solutions, Natalia joins us on Making The Podium to share the value she places on storytelling in business, how to find the right people to work with, and enforcing a “No asshole” policy…

This episode covers:
  • The future of gyms, and combining health with fitness
  • Massively increased demand on fitness apps in 2020
  • Growing the profile of the incredible FitTech Summit
  • Working with the right people, and Natalia’s “No asshole” policy
  • Natalia’s focus on storytelling as the most important thing in marketing

 

Yaniv Shneiderman- Main Image

Episode 7

Developing the World’s Leading Reaction Training Startup with Founder & CEO of BlazePod, Yaniv Shneiderman

It may come as a surprise to many that one of the key tools for today’s top athletes started life as a smart children’s toy. However, BlazePod’s shift away from kids fitness and into serving various sports from football to F1 has unlocked a valuable market, and helped grow a dedicated community.

BlazePod’s Founder & CEO, Yaniv Shneiderman, has been able to steer the company from prototype to professional use with his passion for constructing innovative software and hardware alike. Hear how BlazePod amassed a user base over 100k strong, the patience and luck needed to enter physical production, and Yaniv’s outlook on the investment that’s been focused on innovative startups in Israel.

This episode covers:
  • Yaniv’s affinity for building both software and hardware from a young age
  • Satisfying high demand from crowdfunding campaigns
  • Recent growing investment in Israel’s technology companies
  • The role of patience, attention, and luck in hardware production
  • Encouraging growth within the BlazePod community
Christine Kelly Little Kickers Making the Podium Podcast

Episode 6

Growing a globally-acclaimed franchise from scratch with Founder & Chairman of Little Kickers, Christine Kelly

From a local, high demand class for toddlers to scooping up the Global Franchise Champion award last year, the meteoric rise of Little Kickers is one of international development and incredible demand from franchisees-to-be. Leading this impressive expansion as their Founder and Chairman is Christine Kelly.

Joining Chris on this episode of Making The Podium, Christine delves into the continuation of her franchise’s culture and business model in overseas markets, the pros and cons of a franchise model, and how the past year’s troubles have generated a pent-up demand for classes like never before.

This episode covers:
  • Building Little Kickers from a desire for activities for young children
  • Encouraging a focus on football as a vehicle for learning
  • Adjusting to cultural differences in international markets
  • Taking advantage of a natural demand from franchisees
  • The legal pain-points of franchising
  • Little Kickers’ philanthropic future endeavours
Photo of Tammy Parlour

Episode 5

Making Women’s sport visible, viable and unstoppable with Women’s Sport Trust Co-Founder, Tammy Parlour MBE

Women’s sport is rightfully receiving increased support in recent years, much of this can be attributed to the incredible work of Women’s Sport Trust – a charity committed to increasing the profile of female athletes. Not only are they a force for good, but they are an exemplary case study on achieving large scale change with limited resources.

From high level cultural shifts, to her consideration for grassroots businesses like her own Hapkido and meditation school, WST’s Co-Founder Tammy Parlour joins us this week to share the importance of internal motivation to accomplish her business goals, advice for businesses looking to combat unconscious bias, and the beneficial impact of female representation in high level sporting events.

This episode covers:
  • Tammy’s early start in martial arts, and the unique challenges of Hapkido
  •  Lessons from setting up her Hapkido school which feed into other business scenarios
  •  Being driven by internal motivations more than external pressures
  •  The inception and early success of Women’s Sport Trust
  •  Achieving large scale impact with limited resources
  •  Advice for businesses to address unconscious biases
Photo of Paul Bowman

Episode 4

Revolutionising Fitness Clubs with Virtual Innovation with CEO of Wexer, Paul Bowman

We were delighted to be joined by Paul Bowman, CEO of Wexer – a provider of digital solutions for gym-goers to access workouts anywhere, anytime.

Sharing lessons and tips from his time in Virgin Active and Gymbox, Paul joins Topodium Group’s Co-Founder and CMO Chris Sharman to detail Wexer’s journey to prevalence in the health and fitness sector, and the technological advancements that have helped them achieve their international success.

Paul recounts some of the key business decisions that he’s taken to position the brand in a more specialised vertical than their competitors, the challenges of offering a new, conceptual service to clubs with longstanding processes, and how the relationship between clubs and influencers could become a symbiotic success if harnessed correctly.

This episode covers:
  • Lessons learned from being a PT that transfer to business
  • The evolution of technology that made Wexer’s service possible
  • Positioning a brand around futuristic concepts
  • The effect of 2020 on exacerbating digital fitness tech
  • The relationship between influencers and fitness clubs
Making the Podium

Episode 3

Creating authentic, engaging content to upscale your audience with Food Blogger and Influencer James Wythe

Suffering a sudden illness that keeps you housebound for over half a decade is a truly life-altering event. To bounce back from it to create a community around cooking the recipes that catalysed an incredible recovery shows true determination, adaptability, and an authenticity that translates across multiple social platforms.

Turning what initially started as a dietary necessity for his recovery into a social media success amassing over 170k followers on Instagram alone, James Wythe joins Chris Sharman on this episode of Making The Podium to share how his unsuspecting hobby found traction, the consistency and experimentation that keeps his social media presence prominent, and favouring a smaller, more engaged following over achieving a single, viral hit.

This episode covers:
  • Combatting sudden illness through lifestyle changes
  • Turning a health habit and a hobby into a business
  • Finding success through relatability and simplicity
  • Retaining authentic engagement with your audience
  • Keeping followers’ trust when working with brands
  • Being flexible when using new social platforms
Making the Podium

Episode 2

Starting a leisure revolution with Gravity Co-Founder & COO Michael Harrison

At first glance, the concept of single-handedly increasing footfall to a shopping centre by 22% is a daunting prospect. Compound that with the strategy to entice people to “go trampolining by accident”, and you’ll confuse many entrepreneurs. But locating Gravity’s first trampoline park in a shopping centre was no accident – it was the start of a leisure revolution.

Gravity’s Co-Founder Michael Harrison joins Chris Sharman on the next episode of Making The Podium to explain how their unique service offering led to an initial influx of visitors, and initiated collaboration with Nandos, Pizza Express and many other food vendors. With a new centre in London imminent, boasting state-of-the-art, multi-faceted facilities, Michael shares the values and decisions that set Gravity on a stellar trajectory.

This episode covers:
  • Entering an untapped market
  • Positioning yourself to brace for an influx of competitors
  • The importance of location and footfall
  • Collaborating with other operators to improve service offerings
  • Creating a first-of-its-kind leisure venue
  • Sending a rounded marketing message across all platform
Making the Podium

Episode 1

Futuristic fitness at your fingertips with Co-Founder of Refine With Alfi, Zoe Bertali

Welcome to the first episode of ‘Making The Podium’ – a fortnightly podcast for ambitious, bold & daring business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals who want to be at the cutting edge of innovation in the sports, health & wellbeing industries.

What better way to kick off the podcast than taking a look at the revolutionary technology that’s bringing boutique fitness beyond the four walls behind which they’re traditionally confined. ALFI, the titular AI behind the avatar-led fitness app Refine With ALFI, demonstrates the scalable potential of tech to teach fitness skills from our own mobile devices!

As Co-Founder of The Refinery and Refine With ALFI, Zoe Bertali has led a revolution in boutique fitness which has seen a shift towards more accessible, less intimidating, and fully comprehensive service offering. Looking towards the future, Zoe joins host Chris Sharman to consider how The Refinery stayed prominent in an increasingly saturated market, and how ALFI promises to become part of people’s fitness journey for the foreseeable future…

This episode covers:
  • Utilising a fascination with marketing and branding
  • Lessons from working both sides of the client-agency equation
  • Making a less intimidating experience for customers
  • Communicating accessibility throughout your marketing
  • Differentiating in a saturated market
  • Creating revolutionary tech to supplement the physical experience
  • Staying a part of people’s long term fitness journey

We’d love to hear from you!

Loving the podcast, but have some feedback? Want to suggest a guest to have on the show? Want to talk with us about a specific project? Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you!