By Tricia Weston and Matt Sutherland
The booming bass of electronic music beats in your chest as you drop back into a slow squat. A trim instructor with a thick kiwi accent offers words of encouragement as you hold your position. Neon lights hum and shift in a beautiful technicolor sensory experience that’s as fun as it is sweaty. This is a session of BODYPUMP™, a signature workout routine from group fitness icon LES MILLS®.
But this isn’t a Les Mills studio — it’s not even a gym. This is actually your apartment’s fitness center, or even your own living room. And this is where, in its 50-plus year history, the international fitness giant is making a huge leap. And its content offerings are bigger (and bolder) than ever before.
About Les Mills
It’s difficult to discuss the wide world of fitness and not somehow mention the Les Mills brand. Walk into any gym in the country, and there’s likely to be a BODYPUMP or BODYSTEP™ class on the schedule. Billing itself as the provider of “the world’s best workouts,” Les Mills operates over 20,000 of its own fitness clubs worldwide. It’s not just a fad, either — Les Mills has the science to back up its workouts. To date, they’ve contributed over 20 articles to scientific and medical journals worldwide.
So if they know anything, it’s definitely fitness. But that can also be a roadblock for some people. Up until now, the standard Les Mills setting has been a traditional community gym, either tucked away in fitness classrooms or fully decked out in dedicated group workout studios. Whether someone is too crunched for time to make it to the gym, or they’re just getting into fitness and might be a little intimidated, or there’s a global pandemic — sometimes you just want to keep it close to home.
Les Mills has been listening, and it’s showing.
The Virtual Experience
How does one deliver the benefits of the perfect workout, add the convenience of doing it anywhere, then deliver that same exciting community the brand is known for? Not only that, but how does that incorporate into your amenity plan as a property manager? People are going to keep working out, but they’re more likely to do it in more places than ever before.
The next best thing to being there — in-person and in the studio — is bringing it closer to home, on your own schedule. Enter LES MILLS™ Virtual — programming for workouts beyond the traditional club setting.
The app is easy enough to implement from tablet to television. After that, it’s whatever you want your workout to be. LES MILLS Virtual offers hundreds of classes that can be performed with or without equipment. It’s a wide net to cast, with offerings that entice athletes and beginners alike. But 10 minutes into a BODYCOMBAT™ session, and you can’t deny it’s the real deal.
Ideally, we would outfit a room off of the main fitness room (like a conference room or lounge area) with a TV monitor to cast the classes, along with the SMART TECH fitness equipment specific to LES MILLS’s classes. This is where it gets interesting, because the obvious is that not all amenities offer multiple rooms. This is why we suggest also using a lounge area, conference, or business center. We see these areas often underutilized during customer visits and prospecting.
Activating the amenity space would allow multiple end-users to workout together, and possibly establish their own class times as a community — just like in a health club or fitness center setting. The beautiful aesthetics would naturally activate the fitness amenity and draw the attention of all residents, casting a wide net — from the seasoned athlete to the beginner.
But what’s most refreshing is knowing that the “replayability” factor is the ultimate driver. In short, members just won’t get bored with it. Content is updated on a quarterly basis, and the bumping music library changes with the classes, too. There really is enough programming for everyone to find something they like, and more than enough for the exercise enthusiasts and their friends in your community.
Now residents can choose their own workout schedule. Someone in particular might get their week started with a high-energy BODYJAM™ workout, cycle with RPM™ to get over the Wednesday hump, then cap off the week with an easy BODYFLOW™ yoga session. Depending on how much space you can budget, it’s thoroughly plausible that LES MILLS Virtual could incorporate with your entire gym layout.
It’s a sure sign that the virtual market is stretching out to apartments and multifamily when one of the biggest names in fitness throws its hat into the ring. And with the wealth of LES MILLS Virtual content that continues to be published on a regular basis, we can’t wait to see what’s coming up next in the app.