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Profiles
Luke Waldren and Amber Taylor

Having used the pandemic as a catalyst for reinvention, Les Mills is refocusing on a new omnifitness strategy to help drive the industry towards mass-market penetration


Amber Taylor
Chief digital product officer
Amber Taylor / photo: Les Mills
What can fitness learn from other industries?

If I think back to my time at Amazon, a key learning would be that making minor improvements isn’t always the best path forward. Sometimes you need to completely reinvent what you’re doing, based on consumer need.

Take Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech as an example. If the Amazon team had just wanted to create faster grocery stores, they would have put in more checkouts, but they built Just Walk Out to make shopping simple by removing the scanning part of the process.

This is the thinking we need to apply to grow the fitness market, by breaking down barriers for consumers.

Fitness has evolved already through social media and the rise of influencers, but a lot of the content is not safe or grounded in research.

It’s critical to show what’s tested and proven and what’s not. A lot of the content that’s out there may look cool on a social platform, but it can hurt people if workouts aren’t instructed and performed safely.

Clubs and instructors have a great opportunity to use their expertise to cut through the noise with credible content that consumers can trust.

How can operators use data better?

There are three key ways. Firstly, by using it to inform content and product strategies, by identifying in real-time what’s trending among target consumers and serving it up to them.

If running is identified as a trend, offer workouts that enhance running performance and audio-guided runs as a complement to in-gym classes for runners, for example.

Secondly, consumers are drowning in data from their wearables, but often have trouble understanding these numbers when it comes to gleaning useful insights.

Fitness is no longer just about movement – mindfulness, sleep, nutrition and community are becoming equally important

Adding the ‘so what’ to the stats that we’re able to provide consumers creates a huge opportunity. Just because someone walked 6k steps doesn’t mean much, but if they did that and then immediately received a recommendation to try a class based on their goal of boosting fitness and flexibility, then we start to join the dots and create an integrated fitness experience.

The final point is to remember to make data fun! Give variable rewards to people to celebrate their achievements. For example, if someone completes five virtual classes in a month in a particular programme, offer an invitation to a VIP-only launch party for that same workout in a live setting.

Another idea is to serve insights in interesting ways – a member might have lifted the equivalent weight of the Eiffel Tower over the course of a year in a class such as Bodypump, so an award could be given for this, or the combined steps of class participants may be the equivalent of walking around the globe, earning them a “walked around the world” award.

This kind of creative thinking can boost engagement, encourage them to share insights (and your services) on their social media feeds and help them set inspiring goals.

All this is underpinned by a need to be obsessive around privacy, with and for consumers.

Where do you see the industry heading?

The playing field is getting bigger and fitness is no longer just about movement – mindfulness, sleep, nutrition, recovery and community are becoming equally important.

It’s clear the world needs fitness now more than ever. Coming out of the pandemic, mental health concerns are on the rise, physical health concerns remain, people are eager for social and community connection, so clubs and instructors have a role to play in tackling all these issues.

Consumer needs have evolved, as have expectations of what a fitness membership entails, so we need to reinvent the way we serve them. We’re well into the age of omnifitness, where personalisation and choice is a basic expectation.

Consumers expect integrated journeys that enable them to reap the rewards of live fitness experiences, while enjoying the convenience and consistency that digital affords.

Why is omnifitness important?

We need to meet people wherever they are, serving them on their terms. Omnifitness does just that, providing fitness experiences everywhere, through all channels to meet people’s needs and expectations.

It’s not just about pushing content across the web and social media, we’re reinventing how we engage with exercisers to demonstrate our blend of live workouts, community and digital content with the insights and recommendations we’re able to provide by virtue of our expertise. When you join it all up, it’s a powerful mix.

What other tech are you getting into?

Combining the best of digital and live workouts to elevate both is something we’re really excited about. Necessity is often the mother of invention and during lockdowns we used projected image technology to create ‘holograms’ that meant our presenters could appear on camera leading workouts together, despite being thousands of miles apart.

Since then, these innovations have snowballed, with our Q2 2022 release incorporating extended reality (XR) technology to create stunning new vistas that combine physical shots with digital effects (www.hcmmag.com/XR). It’s a technique used in gaming and film-making, but we see huge potential for delivering fitness content as well. You’ll see in Bodyjam that our programme director, Gandalf Archer-Mills and his team, were transported to a stage high above a futuristic cyber-city.

As mainstream adoption of VR continues to accelerate, the technology offers exciting opportunities to amplify live fitness experiences, ramping up our sector’s reach and impact.

We used projected image technology to create ‘holograms’ that meant our presenters could appear on camera leading workouts together, despite being thousands of miles apart

We’re currently testing this with some of our live events, with the goal of creating evergreen VR experiences where users around the world can be transported into the middle of a pulsating Bodypump workout with 2,000 fitness fans, or even take to the stage next to our instructors for the latest Bodycombat workout in front of thousands of fellow fighters.

What does your new role entail?

We serve a two-sided marketplace. On the one hand, we deliver content to clubs and instructors, as well as training and insights to support them in delivering life-changing fitness experiences. Along with live workouts, this includes the use of our digital products (Virtual, Immersive, Les Mills Content and Les Mills+ Affiliate). In addition, we deliver newer offerings, such as our recruitment and support platform – Les Mills Connect – and Marketing Studio.

On the other side, we serve consumers with direct content experiences through Les Mills+ (formerly Les Mills on Demand/LMOD) that also ties back to clubs and instructors.

The connector between the two is research-backed content, which fuels physical and digital fitness experiences to grow the overall market and help create a fitter planet.

My role is to ensure we create the best and most innovative digital offerings that deliver value to consumers, as well as loveable, frictionless experiences.

Exertainment is driving consumer engagement / photo: Les Mills
The priority is creating ‘loveable, frictionless experiences,’ says Taylor/ photo: Les Mills / Kristian Frires
Luke Waldren
Chief customer officer
Luke Waldren / photo
What’s your background?

Over the last 30 years I’ve worked in marketing, developing ideas and strategies for brands such as Ford, Honda and Sportsbet. I also co-founded a branded content business called Abundant Media that later became Loup – the maker of fitness app Centr, which is fronted by Chris Hemsworth.

Tell us about your new role

As someone who combines a passion for fitness with a drive to help people succeed, becoming chief customer officer at Les Mills is a dream role.

I helped Sportsbet create the strongest brand in the category, before joining Tabcorp to transform its customer experience programme, so I’m excited to bring these learnings into fitness to help Les Mills become closer to customers and get more people moving.

Customers have always been a key focus for Les Mills – the creation of my role is about being even more intentional in how we enshrine such thinking.

As well as driving closer collaboration with partners, I oversee global marketing and am aiming to evolve our brand to navigate the fast-changing fitness landscape and capitalise on growth opportunities, including turbocharging our home workout product, Les Mills+.

What have you been struck by since starting?

I thought the betting industry was competitive, but fitness makes it look like a tea party! The universal need for physical activity means fitness already has a strong global reach and a long list of providers jostling for position. It’s also diverse in terms of the range of offerings available and the myriad ways people engage, so this brings added complexity, but also significant opportunity for innovation.

How can we increase consumer engagement?

Tech is playing a central role in scaling the industry, reaching broader audiences and refining products, but the brands which ultimately win will be those that can add real value to the way people move, through an omnifitness proposition, seamlessly integrating live and digital to deliver a fitness experience greater than the sum of its parts.

Nailing this is the key to moving past 20 per cent penetration and towards mainstream adoption and creating the opportunity for fitness to become a more prominent part of popular culture in the same way music has done.

We’ve seen it in pockets already through the rise of Instagram and more recently TikTok, but there’s an opportunity to go deeper and brands have a role to play in driving this.

Any examples of what this could look like?

The convergence between fitness, fashion, music, and entertainment is fuelling a new age of ‘exertainment’, sparking exciting collaborations and innovative products.

In February we expanded our fitness offerings to not only include online and digital, but also Virtual Reality (VR), with the launch of the Bodycombat VR app. We partnered with VR specialist Odders Labs, launching in the Meta Quest store (at a fixed price of US$29.99). The game is played with the Quest 2 VR headset, with expansion planned onto further platforms.

We’ve smashed our sales targets, selling over 100,000 units in under six months, making us one of Quest’s Top Selling Fitness Apps and we expect to finish the year at over 200 per cent of our initial projections.

While the financials have exceeded expectations, the biggest win has been attracting a younger, gaming-focused audience to the world of workouts. We’ve been inundated with interest and PR requests from Twitch stars and Youtubers, who’ve been streaming the game to their young followings. Many young gamers have lower than average levels of physical activity, so this blend of exercise and entertainment is an unprecedented opportunity to create new pathways into fitness to start building lifelong healthy habits.

We’re maintaining a 4.6 rating out of 5, cementing us as one of the highest-ranked fitness apps, showing the workouts are sticking.

What cues can we take from other industries?

Operators are facing the same challenge betting faced 15 years ago. The proliferation of smartphones and online betting was denting revenues and they were faced with a choice: hope the digital businesses would go away, or embrace it and combine it with physical services to create an omnichannel experience.

I thought the betting industry was competitive, but fitness makes it look like a tea party!

Brands such as Paddy Power and Sportsbet that took the leap are reaping the benefits of their fully-fledged ecosystem, while those who failed to adapt have fallen victim to digital Darwinism.

Companies have found consumers don’t mind brands leveraging their data if it’s done responsibly to enhance their experience, rather than just to make a quick buck.

How are you adapting to better serve customers?

At a time when some operators are struggling to find instructors, we’ve developed Les Mills Connect as a smart marketplace to bring these parties together.

On the other side of the business we’re working to level-up Les Mills+ to ensure consumers accessing it through their health club receive a seamless omnichannel experience that helps them reach their goals and love their club even more.

This is also about reaching people who aren’t yet members of a club and bringing fresh faces into the world of fitness to grow the overall market. We’re doing some exciting testing around this and look forward to sharing a lot more in 2023.

We’ve expanded our offering to include Virtual Reality workouts and have smashed our sales targets, selling over 100k units in under six months

Our pandemic reinvention has also seen us adapting to the shifting needs of the industry. This includes bringing in experts from a range of other industries to bolster our capabilities.

Amber and I are the newest additions, but over the past year we’ve also added many more people into the team who are experts in their fields, bringing fresh perspectives on how we can innovate.

What does the focus on elevating the business entail?

One of the biggest plays is simple: making it a lot easier to do business with us.

We had a wide range of programmes and offerings and it became complicated to partner with us, understand the value this would bring and clearly ascertain the costs.

We’ve listened to this feedback and launched a new pricing structure which is currently being rolled out across our global markets.

This simplifies everything into focused, distinct product bundles that clubs can choose in accordance with their specific needs. With the bundles they get access to a wider range of programmes and services, so there’s more flexibility to mix, match and experiment with what works, without incurring extra costs.

We’ve also established a Club Customer Panel comprising 50 operators from around the world and spanning all segments and sizes. This is guiding product development and ensuring our approach is unwaveringly customer-centric.

Consumer data from our global footprint and the consumer-facing Les Mills+ system also plays a key role in informing our product development, particularly for identifying emerging workout trends and we see huge a opportunity to share findings with all our partners to help them stay relevant in a rapidly-moving market and inform their strategies.

We have vast amounts of insight within the business, and the passion across the team to deliver more for all our customers – clubs, instructors and consumers – is palpable. For me that’s the best signal of our intent.

How about instructor engagement?

Instructors are the beating heart of our business, so we’re doubling down on our processes to ensure their voice is equally prominent in shaping our thinking. We’ve carried out quarterly NPS surveys for a long time to solicit regular feedback, but nothing beats live interaction, so we’re making extra efforts to get back out there and have these conversations in person.

The next phase of growth for the industry will be driven by operators’ ability to win their share of Gen Z and millennial customers

We’re midway through the Les Mills Live 2022 tour, which brings live fitness events to major cities around the world. We’ve just done New Orleans and Melbourne, then in October we’re hosting 5,000 Les Mills fans at the Excel Centre in London for group workouts.

Instructors are the backbone of these events and remain the big focus, but we’re excited to see an uplift in consumer attendances as well.

What’s your vision?

Change is constant. Trends pass, fads fizzle out, but only true innovators endure.

One of the things I most admire about Les Mills is that for 54 years, the company has been constantly reinventing what it means to be a fitness brand.

Right now, we’re innovating again, developing new live and digital programmes and products to redefine fitness for the next generation.

Gen Z and millennials (under 40s) make up over 80 per cent of the fitness market, yet some operators are struggling to attract these key demographics and remain relevant in the face of tough competition.

If the pandemic was defined by the industry’s use of technology to keep members moving, then the next phase of growth will be driven by operators’ ability to win their share of Gen Z and millennial customers.

This is now a major battleground, so my vision is to help Les Mills empower the industry to engage this key demographic, kickstarting a new era of growth that gets us closer to our goal of creating a fitter planet.

The focus is on growing the overall market for fitness / photo: Les Mills / Dan Root Photography
A Club Customer Panel is guiding product development / photo: Les Mills / Kristian Frires
Luke Waldren & Amber Taylor Credit: Photo: Les Mills
Waldren co-founded a branded content business before joining Les Mills Credit: Photo: Les Mills
Les Mills offers 21 different workouts via live and digital with more coming on VR Credit: Photo: Les Mills
Data and insights on trends will be shared with club operators Credit: Photo: Les Mills
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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Profiles
Luke Waldren and Amber Taylor

Having used the pandemic as a catalyst for reinvention, Les Mills is refocusing on a new omnifitness strategy to help drive the industry towards mass-market penetration


Amber Taylor
Chief digital product officer
Amber Taylor / photo: Les Mills
What can fitness learn from other industries?

If I think back to my time at Amazon, a key learning would be that making minor improvements isn’t always the best path forward. Sometimes you need to completely reinvent what you’re doing, based on consumer need.

Take Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech as an example. If the Amazon team had just wanted to create faster grocery stores, they would have put in more checkouts, but they built Just Walk Out to make shopping simple by removing the scanning part of the process.

This is the thinking we need to apply to grow the fitness market, by breaking down barriers for consumers.

Fitness has evolved already through social media and the rise of influencers, but a lot of the content is not safe or grounded in research.

It’s critical to show what’s tested and proven and what’s not. A lot of the content that’s out there may look cool on a social platform, but it can hurt people if workouts aren’t instructed and performed safely.

Clubs and instructors have a great opportunity to use their expertise to cut through the noise with credible content that consumers can trust.

How can operators use data better?

There are three key ways. Firstly, by using it to inform content and product strategies, by identifying in real-time what’s trending among target consumers and serving it up to them.

If running is identified as a trend, offer workouts that enhance running performance and audio-guided runs as a complement to in-gym classes for runners, for example.

Secondly, consumers are drowning in data from their wearables, but often have trouble understanding these numbers when it comes to gleaning useful insights.

Fitness is no longer just about movement – mindfulness, sleep, nutrition and community are becoming equally important

Adding the ‘so what’ to the stats that we’re able to provide consumers creates a huge opportunity. Just because someone walked 6k steps doesn’t mean much, but if they did that and then immediately received a recommendation to try a class based on their goal of boosting fitness and flexibility, then we start to join the dots and create an integrated fitness experience.

The final point is to remember to make data fun! Give variable rewards to people to celebrate their achievements. For example, if someone completes five virtual classes in a month in a particular programme, offer an invitation to a VIP-only launch party for that same workout in a live setting.

Another idea is to serve insights in interesting ways – a member might have lifted the equivalent weight of the Eiffel Tower over the course of a year in a class such as Bodypump, so an award could be given for this, or the combined steps of class participants may be the equivalent of walking around the globe, earning them a “walked around the world” award.

This kind of creative thinking can boost engagement, encourage them to share insights (and your services) on their social media feeds and help them set inspiring goals.

All this is underpinned by a need to be obsessive around privacy, with and for consumers.

Where do you see the industry heading?

The playing field is getting bigger and fitness is no longer just about movement – mindfulness, sleep, nutrition, recovery and community are becoming equally important.

It’s clear the world needs fitness now more than ever. Coming out of the pandemic, mental health concerns are on the rise, physical health concerns remain, people are eager for social and community connection, so clubs and instructors have a role to play in tackling all these issues.

Consumer needs have evolved, as have expectations of what a fitness membership entails, so we need to reinvent the way we serve them. We’re well into the age of omnifitness, where personalisation and choice is a basic expectation.

Consumers expect integrated journeys that enable them to reap the rewards of live fitness experiences, while enjoying the convenience and consistency that digital affords.

Why is omnifitness important?

We need to meet people wherever they are, serving them on their terms. Omnifitness does just that, providing fitness experiences everywhere, through all channels to meet people’s needs and expectations.

It’s not just about pushing content across the web and social media, we’re reinventing how we engage with exercisers to demonstrate our blend of live workouts, community and digital content with the insights and recommendations we’re able to provide by virtue of our expertise. When you join it all up, it’s a powerful mix.

What other tech are you getting into?

Combining the best of digital and live workouts to elevate both is something we’re really excited about. Necessity is often the mother of invention and during lockdowns we used projected image technology to create ‘holograms’ that meant our presenters could appear on camera leading workouts together, despite being thousands of miles apart.

Since then, these innovations have snowballed, with our Q2 2022 release incorporating extended reality (XR) technology to create stunning new vistas that combine physical shots with digital effects (www.hcmmag.com/XR). It’s a technique used in gaming and film-making, but we see huge potential for delivering fitness content as well. You’ll see in Bodyjam that our programme director, Gandalf Archer-Mills and his team, were transported to a stage high above a futuristic cyber-city.

As mainstream adoption of VR continues to accelerate, the technology offers exciting opportunities to amplify live fitness experiences, ramping up our sector’s reach and impact.

We used projected image technology to create ‘holograms’ that meant our presenters could appear on camera leading workouts together, despite being thousands of miles apart

We’re currently testing this with some of our live events, with the goal of creating evergreen VR experiences where users around the world can be transported into the middle of a pulsating Bodypump workout with 2,000 fitness fans, or even take to the stage next to our instructors for the latest Bodycombat workout in front of thousands of fellow fighters.

What does your new role entail?

We serve a two-sided marketplace. On the one hand, we deliver content to clubs and instructors, as well as training and insights to support them in delivering life-changing fitness experiences. Along with live workouts, this includes the use of our digital products (Virtual, Immersive, Les Mills Content and Les Mills+ Affiliate). In addition, we deliver newer offerings, such as our recruitment and support platform – Les Mills Connect – and Marketing Studio.

On the other side, we serve consumers with direct content experiences through Les Mills+ (formerly Les Mills on Demand/LMOD) that also ties back to clubs and instructors.

The connector between the two is research-backed content, which fuels physical and digital fitness experiences to grow the overall market and help create a fitter planet.

My role is to ensure we create the best and most innovative digital offerings that deliver value to consumers, as well as loveable, frictionless experiences.

Exertainment is driving consumer engagement / photo: Les Mills
The priority is creating ‘loveable, frictionless experiences,’ says Taylor/ photo: Les Mills / Kristian Frires
Luke Waldren
Chief customer officer
Luke Waldren / photo
What’s your background?

Over the last 30 years I’ve worked in marketing, developing ideas and strategies for brands such as Ford, Honda and Sportsbet. I also co-founded a branded content business called Abundant Media that later became Loup – the maker of fitness app Centr, which is fronted by Chris Hemsworth.

Tell us about your new role

As someone who combines a passion for fitness with a drive to help people succeed, becoming chief customer officer at Les Mills is a dream role.

I helped Sportsbet create the strongest brand in the category, before joining Tabcorp to transform its customer experience programme, so I’m excited to bring these learnings into fitness to help Les Mills become closer to customers and get more people moving.

Customers have always been a key focus for Les Mills – the creation of my role is about being even more intentional in how we enshrine such thinking.

As well as driving closer collaboration with partners, I oversee global marketing and am aiming to evolve our brand to navigate the fast-changing fitness landscape and capitalise on growth opportunities, including turbocharging our home workout product, Les Mills+.

What have you been struck by since starting?

I thought the betting industry was competitive, but fitness makes it look like a tea party! The universal need for physical activity means fitness already has a strong global reach and a long list of providers jostling for position. It’s also diverse in terms of the range of offerings available and the myriad ways people engage, so this brings added complexity, but also significant opportunity for innovation.

How can we increase consumer engagement?

Tech is playing a central role in scaling the industry, reaching broader audiences and refining products, but the brands which ultimately win will be those that can add real value to the way people move, through an omnifitness proposition, seamlessly integrating live and digital to deliver a fitness experience greater than the sum of its parts.

Nailing this is the key to moving past 20 per cent penetration and towards mainstream adoption and creating the opportunity for fitness to become a more prominent part of popular culture in the same way music has done.

We’ve seen it in pockets already through the rise of Instagram and more recently TikTok, but there’s an opportunity to go deeper and brands have a role to play in driving this.

Any examples of what this could look like?

The convergence between fitness, fashion, music, and entertainment is fuelling a new age of ‘exertainment’, sparking exciting collaborations and innovative products.

In February we expanded our fitness offerings to not only include online and digital, but also Virtual Reality (VR), with the launch of the Bodycombat VR app. We partnered with VR specialist Odders Labs, launching in the Meta Quest store (at a fixed price of US$29.99). The game is played with the Quest 2 VR headset, with expansion planned onto further platforms.

We’ve smashed our sales targets, selling over 100,000 units in under six months, making us one of Quest’s Top Selling Fitness Apps and we expect to finish the year at over 200 per cent of our initial projections.

While the financials have exceeded expectations, the biggest win has been attracting a younger, gaming-focused audience to the world of workouts. We’ve been inundated with interest and PR requests from Twitch stars and Youtubers, who’ve been streaming the game to their young followings. Many young gamers have lower than average levels of physical activity, so this blend of exercise and entertainment is an unprecedented opportunity to create new pathways into fitness to start building lifelong healthy habits.

We’re maintaining a 4.6 rating out of 5, cementing us as one of the highest-ranked fitness apps, showing the workouts are sticking.

What cues can we take from other industries?

Operators are facing the same challenge betting faced 15 years ago. The proliferation of smartphones and online betting was denting revenues and they were faced with a choice: hope the digital businesses would go away, or embrace it and combine it with physical services to create an omnichannel experience.

I thought the betting industry was competitive, but fitness makes it look like a tea party!

Brands such as Paddy Power and Sportsbet that took the leap are reaping the benefits of their fully-fledged ecosystem, while those who failed to adapt have fallen victim to digital Darwinism.

Companies have found consumers don’t mind brands leveraging their data if it’s done responsibly to enhance their experience, rather than just to make a quick buck.

How are you adapting to better serve customers?

At a time when some operators are struggling to find instructors, we’ve developed Les Mills Connect as a smart marketplace to bring these parties together.

On the other side of the business we’re working to level-up Les Mills+ to ensure consumers accessing it through their health club receive a seamless omnichannel experience that helps them reach their goals and love their club even more.

This is also about reaching people who aren’t yet members of a club and bringing fresh faces into the world of fitness to grow the overall market. We’re doing some exciting testing around this and look forward to sharing a lot more in 2023.

We’ve expanded our offering to include Virtual Reality workouts and have smashed our sales targets, selling over 100k units in under six months

Our pandemic reinvention has also seen us adapting to the shifting needs of the industry. This includes bringing in experts from a range of other industries to bolster our capabilities.

Amber and I are the newest additions, but over the past year we’ve also added many more people into the team who are experts in their fields, bringing fresh perspectives on how we can innovate.

What does the focus on elevating the business entail?

One of the biggest plays is simple: making it a lot easier to do business with us.

We had a wide range of programmes and offerings and it became complicated to partner with us, understand the value this would bring and clearly ascertain the costs.

We’ve listened to this feedback and launched a new pricing structure which is currently being rolled out across our global markets.

This simplifies everything into focused, distinct product bundles that clubs can choose in accordance with their specific needs. With the bundles they get access to a wider range of programmes and services, so there’s more flexibility to mix, match and experiment with what works, without incurring extra costs.

We’ve also established a Club Customer Panel comprising 50 operators from around the world and spanning all segments and sizes. This is guiding product development and ensuring our approach is unwaveringly customer-centric.

Consumer data from our global footprint and the consumer-facing Les Mills+ system also plays a key role in informing our product development, particularly for identifying emerging workout trends and we see huge a opportunity to share findings with all our partners to help them stay relevant in a rapidly-moving market and inform their strategies.

We have vast amounts of insight within the business, and the passion across the team to deliver more for all our customers – clubs, instructors and consumers – is palpable. For me that’s the best signal of our intent.

How about instructor engagement?

Instructors are the beating heart of our business, so we’re doubling down on our processes to ensure their voice is equally prominent in shaping our thinking. We’ve carried out quarterly NPS surveys for a long time to solicit regular feedback, but nothing beats live interaction, so we’re making extra efforts to get back out there and have these conversations in person.

The next phase of growth for the industry will be driven by operators’ ability to win their share of Gen Z and millennial customers

We’re midway through the Les Mills Live 2022 tour, which brings live fitness events to major cities around the world. We’ve just done New Orleans and Melbourne, then in October we’re hosting 5,000 Les Mills fans at the Excel Centre in London for group workouts.

Instructors are the backbone of these events and remain the big focus, but we’re excited to see an uplift in consumer attendances as well.

What’s your vision?

Change is constant. Trends pass, fads fizzle out, but only true innovators endure.

One of the things I most admire about Les Mills is that for 54 years, the company has been constantly reinventing what it means to be a fitness brand.

Right now, we’re innovating again, developing new live and digital programmes and products to redefine fitness for the next generation.

Gen Z and millennials (under 40s) make up over 80 per cent of the fitness market, yet some operators are struggling to attract these key demographics and remain relevant in the face of tough competition.

If the pandemic was defined by the industry’s use of technology to keep members moving, then the next phase of growth will be driven by operators’ ability to win their share of Gen Z and millennial customers.

This is now a major battleground, so my vision is to help Les Mills empower the industry to engage this key demographic, kickstarting a new era of growth that gets us closer to our goal of creating a fitter planet.

The focus is on growing the overall market for fitness / photo: Les Mills / Dan Root Photography
A Club Customer Panel is guiding product development / photo: Les Mills / Kristian Frires
Luke Waldren & Amber Taylor Credit: Photo: Les Mills
Waldren co-founded a branded content business before joining Les Mills Credit: Photo: Les Mills
Les Mills offers 21 different workouts via live and digital with more coming on VR Credit: Photo: Les Mills
Data and insights on trends will be shared with club operators Credit: Photo: Les Mills
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Jetts Fitness Australia CEO, Elaine Jobson, has led an MBO to acquire the franchised Jetts Fitness business from parent company Fitness & Lifestyle Group (FLG).
Body Fit Training becomes the first Xponential Fitness brand to make a major move in the UK
Body Fit Training (BFT), an Xponential Fitness brand, has launched its first franchise in the UK. BFT opened the doors to its Leicester club on 24 September, ahead of further London-based franchises and a nationwide expansion.
Pure Gym founder Peter Roberts raises £5m to expand Gymfinity Kids
Gymfinity Kids, the club and nursery operator launched by Pure Gym founder, Peter Roberts, has raised more than £5m to support the next stage of its expansion.
New Athlo app will enable consumers to resell classes and gym memberships
Athlo, an app enabling consumers to sell unwanted classes has soft-launched in the UK. The platform was founded by Matthew Mansell to help consumers avoid wasting unwanted class slots and to enable operators to take an additional slice of revenue from classes they've already sold once.
Energy bills subsidised by 50 per cent under UK government relief scheme
The UK government has announced it will subsidise energy bills by at least 50 per cent for businesses, charities and public sector organisations for six months, starting from 1 October 2022.
Tom Brady takes TB12 workout into the facilities market in deal with Wynn Las Vegas
NFL superstar, Tom Brady, is taking his digital fitness concept TB12 into the facilities market for the first time following a deal with luxury resort operator, Wynn Las Vegas.
Millions take part in National Fitness Day to celebrate the power of exercise
Operators across the physical activity sector open up to the public today offering free sessions and activities in celebration of National Fitness Day, an initiative organised by industry body, UK Active.
Peloton launches connected rower
Peloton has opened pre-orders in the US for its new connected rowing machine. Consumers can reserve a rower for delivery in December and have the option to test it in a 30-day commitment-free trial.
Liz Truss faces potential legal challenges in her bid to dump sugar tax
Plans to shelve the UK's sugar tax (Soft Drinks Industry Levy) and other pieces of legislation designed to tackle the obesity epidemic have hit legal hurdles and fierce resistance from both MPs and the medical profession.
Apply now – Churchill Fellowship is offering financial support to ten innovators in the physical activity sector
UK Active and the Churchill Fellowship – the operating name of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust – are searching for innovative exercise-inspired projects that could transform people’s mental and physical health.
Who’s open and closed during Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral?
With an additional bank holiday announced out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II and to observe the state funeral on Monday 19 September, business owners and event operators around the UK are making decisions whether to close, modify opening times or stay open to serve the public’s needs.
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W3Fit invites fitness industry to congregate in Malta this October
The picturesque island of Malta and the beautiful Westin Dragonara Resort will set the scene for the much-anticipated W3Fit EMEA event, where major fitness operators will connect with the most innovative suppliers in the fitness industry. [more...]

How much money are you wasting by not tracking the cost of your gym equipment?
In order to support gyms and health clubs in this difficult economic climate, Orbit4 is helping operators by telling them the best time to trade in and buy new based on its intelligence-led data and tech. [more...]
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COMPANY PROFILES
Mindbody

Mindbody is the leading technology platform for the wellness industry, featuring an app that allows [more...]
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Technogym Biocircuit
Losing weight, building strength, ageing in good health: whatever takes you to the fitness club, it needs to be addressed specifically. One size doesn’t simply fit all. Up until today. Find out more...
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DIARY

 

26-28 Sep 2022

SpaFest 2022

Gwel an Mor, United Kingdom
27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
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