Mudo Gym Ulsrud opened its doors under the ownership of Marius and Camilla Skogsrud in 2017. Marius had a small garage gym, where 10 of his friends and neighbors were working out regularly. He had a dream of one day running his own fitness club, so getting into the fitness business was really a dream come true. We talked to Marius about launching group fitness at a martial art and gym-oriented club. What are their key challenges, successes, and future plans.
Mudo Gym Ulsrud in Oslo, Norway has now been operating normally without restrictions for just over one year. In the beginning the offering was mainly martial arts, later integrating gym services to the mix. Marius wanted to make the club more appealing to a broader mass of people and that was where Les Mills came into the picture. The group fitness classes have now been running since August this year. The classes are run in a large studio that fits around 25 members per class.
“Mudo Gym is a chain of clubs that mainly focus on martial art as their group fitness offering. We did not have much experience with group fitness, so partnering with Les Mills was a good idea from the start. The Customer Manager of Les Mills in Norway, Sanna Hagbacke has supported us from the beginning, helped choose the right program mix specific to our club as well as building a great group fitness schedule.”
Sanna also commented on the new partnership: “From the beginning with Mudo Gym Ulsrud I saw the spirit of success. The way Marius and Camilla develop their club, looking into the future and listening to my advice, I know our journey together will be long. “
Camilla participated in the Group Fitness Management (GFM) education from Les Mills before they launched the group fitness classes at Mudo. GFM is a 2-day education that covers topics like recruitment, marketing, and scheduling. The education is intensive while delivering fresh ideas and on how to manage the group fitness services and set the right targets. The team at Mudo started marketing and gathering leads in March, making use of the marketing materials provided by Les Mills via Marketing Studio.
“Marketing studio is very easy to use, and we picked a lot of ready material from it for our marketing. We did a big marketing push on the new classes, Les Mills CORE®, BODYATTACK® and BODYPUMP®. Instagram is one of the most important platforms, but we also see TikTok and Snapchat popular with the younger members born around 2007. We also used Google Ads and different media platforms to make sure we reached a wide audience. Our concept is to be a club for the whole family, and we see value in focusing marketing on the younger groups as well as they will soon be grownups.”
Marius and Camilla Skogsrud, owners of Mudo Gym Ulsrud.
Finding the Superstars
“Most of our instructors were martial art and gym instructors so we also needed to recruit from outside the club. We used a well-known online platform in Norway to recruit from. Our goal was to find 4 applicants to educate for the Les Mills concept classes and we got 50 applicants from the platform. We narrowed it down by interviews and found the right fit of instructors to hire and educate. Our goal is to double the number of weekly classes by the end of the year, and we will also be adding new programs in the mix, so the recruitment is an ongoing process.”
Fun Launch Event
“Before the launch event, we asked the members to register via a form they filled out. My idea with the form was to have everyone look at all the offering we have. Even if you want to just do BODYPUMP, you would have to see everything that we have on offer when you register. At our opening day and launch event, most of the classes were fully booked. We had a 3-hour launch party with 15-minute classes back-to-back. It was a lot of fun for everyone. We had a huge cake and we thought we overdid it with 70 pieces but at the end of the party, the cake was all gone. In the 3 hours we had several hundred people checking out the new classes and the new facilities.”
Running the Classes and development
“We have recently made a customer query so that the members can give feedback on the new services, tell us what they think about the new schedule and the times for the classes. This way we can develop it to fit the members needs better. We believe the time of binding members to a club with a yearly contract is over. Rather we want to focus on a month-by-month subscription, and we believe that is the way forward. We want to be successful, but I am always humble. People can move to another club so easily, so you really must keep them happy. “
“The young generations are very much interested in strength training so I believe that classes like BODYPUMP will continue to be popular. If you look at the industry 10 years ago, strength training was not as popular among the younger generations as it is now.
“According to our latest survey our members ranked balance, stretching and strength as classes they would most like to participate in. We already have yoga classes, that a small group of members attend regularly. We needed to find a class that had the elements the members were looking for and would be a good fit for a larger audience. That is why we decided to start Les Mills BODYBALANCE® classes as the next new program in the schedule. BODYBALANCE is a blend of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates and is suited for anyone. We know this program will be great to add into our schedule and it will serve a larger variety of our members. The first instructors have been educated now and we will soon have it on the schedule. It is exciting.”
Getting Started with group fitness at Mudo Gym Ulsrud is an ongoing journey and we are excited to see what is next. Stay tuned as we revisit them at the start of 2023 to see how they are performing towards their ambitious goals.
Do you want to get a tour of the gym, please watch this video