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At-Home Workout Options Are A Must

by Les Mills Asia Pacific

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According to a new ClubIntel report, offering digital workouts to attract and retain members is now a “necessity for fitness operators,” with 72 per cent of global operators now offering on demand and live-stream group workouts for members (compared to 25 per cent in 2019). 

Fiona Kriaris received a call from Les Mills Asia Pacific very early on, when the pandemic first started to impact gyms. “Les Mills Asia Pacific were right on top of it,” she said, “because I received a phone call from them to say ‘we know that there's lockdowns happening. We have this product called LES MILLS On Demand, and this is how you can use it to keep your members active and engaged.’ I remember exactly where I was standing when I received that phone call – it was such a pivotal moment to receive that level of support. I really appreciated it, even though at that time, we didn't know exactly what was happening or how it was all going to work.” 

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“So we got together as a national YMCA team and truly united, to enable all the YMCAs throughout Australia to offer LES MILLS On Demand. Les Mills workouts are the most attended program in our facilities – our members love them. So we decided to upscale the offer by opening it up to more than 200,000 people, which included our staff and volunteers as well as our members. Just think about that for a moment! I think it’s incredible that Les Mills, through our Partnership was able to offer that service – for free. It showed such a genuine care and recognition of what people needed during this time.  

In terms of uptake, we had 25,000 people register throughout Australia for LES MILLS On Demand, and of those people we took a sample size of 3,500 in which to extract data. We did collect a lot of data from the first lockdown. We looked at the number of sessions that people did, and it was around 60,000, which equated to 3.7 workouts per person per week. Of course, we don’t know if they were actually watching or doing the full workout, but regardless it’s so great that people were engaging in some way.” 

“We also did some social impact measurement to determine the true impact that we're having in communities,” added Fiona. “So I'll just share four stats, which are all ‘strongly agree’, or ‘agree’ responses. Eighty three per cent said that it helps them during gym closures, and supported their physical health. Eighty one per cent said it supported their mental health and wellbeing. Fifty two per cent said it reduced feelings of social isolation and loneliness. And 48% said it helped them feel connected to their leisure facility or their local facility. And that was a database sample of 800. And we've got a lot of positive data as well; for example, this came from a participant: “I love the Les Mills training, I haven't been fitter than I am now. I'm doing a workout every day. I've been stood down from my job so this has kept me sane. Another was: ‘I participated in yoga, Tai Chi, and BODYBALANCE® every weekday morning with my adult granddaughter who moved home to work. Loved it. Thank you. Great way to start the day.’ So here we’re seeing that social connectedness of sharing these online workouts with family, and having quality time that they probably wouldn't have had with an in-centre gym membership. And the last one I'll share is: ‘Thank you so much for this free access. I did programs I would have never felt comfortable doing in front of others at the gym, and other programs not offered in my gym. I actually did more exercise during the lockdown with LES MILLS On Demand than physically going to the gym, and it was a life-changer!’” 

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“These comments show just how much people do want to do something at home,” said Miriam. “Before lockdown, we used to see people run into class a little bit late due to barriers such as screaming kids or a traffic jam; and some Club policies would see doors locked due to the health and safety precautions, leaving these people without access to their class. But let’s think about what it took for them to get there – they may have a really busy job and they finally left work but got stuck in a traffic jam – there are daily barriers to get to the gym. So even post-lockdown, if you can still offer something online for those people who just can’t get there but who do want to train, then your brand can still support them on their health and fitness journey – without them having to be physically onsite at the Club.” 

“Absolutely,” responded Fiona. “The flexibility and personalisation of LES MILLS On Demand means you can do it at home – at any time, and you can try something new, such as dance. We've seen that come up a lot in our data – people are doing dance classes, which they probably wouldn't do in a gym; so they're exploring what’s on offer.” 

Frank Lennard is the Group Fitness and Programs Team Leader at Glen Eira Leisure (a council-run facility). He agrees with Fiona saying, “SH’BAM was not one of our most popular classes in-Club but online it is! People have been doing the same Release, literally, for the last six months – but they just love it. They love the ease of getting online, and the interactivity with the comments feature. I think it's just a lot of fun and we all need FUN right now!” 

“That’s a great point too,” confirmed Miriam. “People need to find the thing that they love. But sometimes they're too embarrassed to try it or talk with someone about it the Club. But at home, they might be doing dance every day now and realising how fun working out can actually be!” 

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“The data that LES MILLS On Demand provides on the backend is incredible,” said Fiona. “It really helps build evidence-based decisions as to what to focus on, or what other classes to introduce at the facility. We found out that BODYPUMP® is the most popular – we thought because it requires equipment it wouldn’t have been so popular, but I can vouch that I got into BODYPUMP at home too, even though I didn’t have equipment because there’s a no-equipment option!” 

“Echoing Fiona,” added Frank “the support we received from Les Mills and has been phenomenal, in terms of the live-streams, the content and even just checking in to make sure we're okay. We’re so grateful for all the support.”  

“At Glen Eira Leisure, we really wanted to create and maintain a connection with our trainers and our Instructors during lockdown, so the live-streaming enabled this to happen while also keeping our casual stuff working as well,” said Frank.  

“Our live-streamed classes receive an average of between 1 and 2,000 views per class every single week. We use the Facebook Live platform and we share workouts on YouTube, some of which have had more than 10,000 views! So from the metrics and our tracking point of view, we monitor how many people are engaging and liking, and the numbers are just phenomenal. And throughout the second lockdown the uptake has actually been even higher because we’ve had to stay home, so more people are engaged, resulting in a much bigger uptake. We really worked on variety, the quality as well especially since we’re streaming from Instructor’s homes. We put some strict measures in place and support our staff through testing, visual displays and making sure the lighting is right, so when we are delivering live-streamed classes it still looks professional.” 

LES MILLS™ On Demand was identified by ClubIntel as the most popular third-party option used by clubs during the first COVID lockdown, with 31 per cent of clubs choosing the platform to keep their members active and engaged. To learn more about how LES MILLS On Demand can help your Club offer at-home workouts that will engage your existing members, attract new ones and generate additional revenue, chat with your local Business Partnership Manager in Australia or Southeast Asia