We hope many of you were able to join our Live Q&A Monday 11th May 2020 - for those of you who couldn't make it, please find below a summary of the session, plus access to all unanswered questions + responses.
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We hope many of you were able to join our Live Q&A Monday 11th May 2020 - for those of you who couldn't make it, please find below a summary of the session, plus access to all unanswered questions + responses.
We welcomed our panel of Phillip Mills, Executive Director LMI, Clive Ormerod, CEO LMI, Rachael Newsham, Programme Director, Dan Cohen, Programme Director, Sarah Durnford, Head Trainer UK and Rachael Babiracki, Head Trainer US. Together, the team covered off:
1) Is there going to be new live stream releases and different music and choreography to mix with for online classes now that filming for the QW releases has finished in NZ?
Phillip: Yes! We will be making more live streaming content. We are working hard with our music licensing partners currently to see if we can actually make some of our licensed music available…it’s not a done deal as they are notoriously tricky to deal with but we hope to be able to bring you some more familiar content you can use.
Clive: We know RPM has been heavily requested. We will also be bringing you RPM to live stream shortly!
2) As lockdown restrictions begin to change but clubs / studios remain closed is there the possibility we could use the royalty free releases to teach in outdoor environments?
Phillip: Yes – the live streaming royalty-free releases has been produced with the ability to be streamed anywhere, even outside, as long as local government guidelines are being followed and adhered to.
3) What are your top tips for connection in online classes?
Rach: A huge learning curve! Top tips – even though all you see is the iPhone or device you are working through, when I’m teaching from my garage, I try and put myself into the headspace of a live class and people I might actually see. This helps with an authentic connection. Try to turn off your internal dialogue or feedback loop, it won’t serve you in the moment! Try and be as relatable as you can, perfection is not attainable so plug into the possible. People love to connect with you when you are close to the screen so get far enough away so people can see your whole body but close enough so they can see your facial expressions. Look to the camera not your picture and don’t worry about the delay!
Dan: I love how the platforms shared for our live classes have the ability to leave comments. Love reading through and answering questions – this allows peoples’ values be heard and stay connected when you can answer them.
4) Once clubs are reopened and we are working on reduced participation but are back paying club license fees, would it be an option to be able to live stream to those paying members who cannot get into the club?
Clive: Absolutely an option, a lot of our clubs are moving in this direction – if they didn’t have a digital solution before they are getting one now!
Phillip: At home will be a bigger part of clubs offering in the future. Lots of clubs are finding 70%/ 80% of people wanting to get back to the gyms but up to 30% of people are frightened or waiting for vaccine. You can now offer them At Home memberships, many of which include LMOD. Lots of members want to come back to the club but also like the convenience of an online option like LMOD.
Sarah: in the UK, there’s been a high demand for live stream – many Instructors prefer this connection to LMOD. Instructors are now enjoying live streaming. We held a webinar talking to connection and performance and we are driven to support instructors in the live stream space on feeling confident to deliver the material.
Rachael: Same in the US – there are currently different regulations in different states with clubs reopening at different times. It’s important to have that conversation with your management to see how can live streaming fit into your timetable. Solutions provided are similar to UK – how can we make this more professional, improve the audio and so on. Our FB Group has been a great forum for feedback and has helped us improve our support at this time.
5) So if we were teaching in the gym car park could we not teach the normal releases not the special ones if the club has the licence?
Sarah: If the facility is closed, unfortunately you are unable to teach in the car park as the same music licensing laws apply and, of course, you will have no participants with current UK restrictions in place!
6) Will you be holding back on uploading any more releases to LMOD as it is currently up to date with the last releases taught in clubs prior to lockdown?
Clive: The approach isn’t to hold back – we have a month and a half to go until we are up to date. The LMOD offering differs by market, as some of our markets are open and some are not, we are working around these restrictions but we won’t let it get out of sync with your teaching of the live releases. We completely understand the challenges this causes.
Phillip: We’ve typically launched 6 months behind live releases. This will move back to 3 months in this current period. I want to address LMOD question – ‘you guys must be doing terrifically well out of LMOD’. To give context, this has never been launched as a profit venture for us, but rather as a means of supporting clubs. We’ve used LMOD as a way to spend money to promote our programmes to drive footfall into clubs. We’ve lost money on LMOD and invested a lot of money into it – we offer this to clubs to offer to members at a reduced rate, paying clubs the commission, and making a small loss ourselves. Yes, LMOD has had more viewers during this time, the majority on free membership and, whilst we hope some will stay with us afterwards, we see this as a form of digital marketing to promote programmes for our club customers.
7) Will instructors ever be able to purchase licensing themselves so they could teach in a hired space rather than a club as many clubs will not buy a license?
Phillip: This question is one we’ve had many times and we are frequently revisiting our response to this! Our primary focus is to ensure we are supporting our club partners first and not setting out to rival them or replace them with direct Instructor licensing. This would only be considered in areas of low club density but we are looking at options.
8) Many gyms here in the UK are starting to drop licences, and are refusing to take on new ones. I've been trying to get Barre into my clubs and they all refuse to pay out. What are you doing to stop the loss of licences and encourage the uptake of new ones?
Sarah: Throughout this time, our CX Team, are in daily contact with each of our partners individually, figuring out together the support needed to get them through this time. This is a tailored approach for each customer. When it comes to different programmes, our team are looking at what’s working now, how we can support in this instant and then for the future. The entire focus of the team right now is supporting clubs through this period and out the other side.
Phillip: Some of the other things we have been doing include: offering 2 months free LMOD at a cost to us of some millions of dollars, live streaming content, producing great launch campaigns for Q.2 releases. We are also now working on our Q.3 campaign – UNITED. We’re hoping for a massive BODYPUMP 100 style moment…watch this space!
9) Did LM continue to charge clubs the license fees while they were closed?
Phillip: We’ve been getting this question a lot so I think it’s important to address this head on – yes we have still been charging clubs. An analogy I can give is to compare to equipment. Equipment companies are still producing treadmills; they can’t continue to produce them but stop charging…this is the same as us. Whilst our product is invisible, we are producing it all the time. Full crews of people, £100 million to produce, so we can’t just ‘stop’ our licence fees. Stopping payment would be the same as not paying for the last set of treadmills you bought but still wanting them to be produced with the same level of work that goes into it. We do need some money from clubs to sustain. However, we’ve been producing and providing more than we usually do to help the clubs and we desperately want to help them at this time. For example, providing a free 60 day trial of Les Mills On Demand for club partners to offer members, creating the streaming workouts and developing campaigns that will help clubs reopen and recover.
Clive: We’ve adopted a bespoke approach for clubs in each market to establish what’s valuable – how can we help and produce the right solution with a tailored approach. We want to give you insight into the background of our ‘WHY’ and how we can keep working too to collectively come out the other side
10) Can't we do a global Les Mills (Digital) Live to celebrate the unity of our tribe?
Clive: We are planning something spectacular for Q.3 – we are working on this now and we really want to do this. We’ll be using digital to connect our tribe around the world. Our idea is to create the ultimate Tribal Gathering, connecting Trainers, Instructors and even Club partners worldwide. Watch this space!
11) With the latest masterclass filmings, what obstacles did you encounter and what changes did you make with practices, feedback, and filming?
Rach: Picture this! I filmed myself several times, as I usually do, and gave myself feedback, as I usually do. I got to the set, not knowing what it would look like, and found a glass balustrade…my high kicks were altered to make sure I didn’t smash said balustrade! It was really realistic to how people are training at the moment; an indoor environment, sofa to my right, balustrade to my left. It was all about keeping it real and making do with what we’ve all got currently, giving yourself permission to be whatever you need to be in this moment. Thank God for technology!
Dan: I had a wonderful experience leading up to filming – incredibly different working to an alert system as many of you around the world also have now. We were in alert 4 when filming began, guidelines changing daily, and we had to change in reaction to this. I started from doing all audio separately away from visual filming, balancing microphone on ladder with a single cord microphone dangling from the ceiling – great until I had to lie on my back! By the end of the filming we had moved to Alert 3, which meant the production crew could thankfully do the audio for me! Did it feel empty not filming with an audience? Probably not, it felt closer and personal. But then I didn’t feel alone as I know how this will be edited and in know what’s coming in this United release!
12) What can you tell us about Les Mills Core?
Dan: I’m really excited about it! It was due to launch in June 2020, but it’s now been put back. We’ve filmed extra tracks that sit inside the current offering, extending 30 to 45 mins. This includes an extra warmup, new bonus style track 3, which is integrated and draws from different disciplines (this round had an animalistic feel!) and also a stretch track. Of course, there’s also been the name change to Les Mills Core! We’re waiting on feedback on the final structure and are excited to see the end product!
13) Many companies are struggling in these times. How is Les Mills International doing? And what is the strategy to overcome and adapt to what's going on right now?
Clive: Our business has been impacted dramatically – we had to make some quick changes, the first 6 weeks were about survival and supporting team mates around the world, which differed by market. We also had to accept a big swing from profit to loss; we are currently working with local funding partners to get support to see us through. However, we believe we have a strong business and we will bounce back stronger than ever. It’s been hard mentally and physically but it’s given us the opportunity to introduce new products and accelerate innovation in new areas. Silver linings!
Phillip: To add to what Clive said, I’ve like to highlight the work we are doing around lobbying. For example, we lobbied the NZ government and, as a result, we are now opening NZ clubs. Our arguments focused around the greater risk of obesity and inactivity vs. opening gyms under strict regulations to allow them to operate safely.
We also had a number of questions submitted which we didn't get time to answer - please see these below. If your question hasn't been covered, or you'd like more information, please contact us directly via Live Chat or firstname.lastname@example.org.
REOPENING & CLUB SUPPORT
As we are supporting clubs around the world to reopen, we can gain insights from our partners in China who are already weeks into their reopening. Instructors have been teaching in facilities wearing facemasks as deemed necessary by the government and classes have been able to take place respecting social distancing. We are using these guidelines to form a club recovery package worldwide, with regulations on all aspects of health and safety to enable you to teach classes (including BODYCOMBAT) safely.
We are looking ahead to life after lockdown globally and see our Instructors as a pivotal role in driving the fitness industry forward to recovery. After all, it is our firm belief that nothing can recreate the magic of a live class!
The current LMOD and live streaming solutions have never been intended to replace the Instructor; they have been a way to support the unprecedented times we find ourselves in and to allow clubs and Instructors to maintain that connection with members. We are working hard to support gyms around the world to reopen and anticipate, when they can operate safely, that members will only be too glad to return to their favourite classes with you.
During lockdown, our Customer Experience Team worldwide have been in daily contact with all club partners as we work together to find solutions for the future. We’ve quickly adapted to video calls and meetings and, by being able to work agilely, we’ve been able to respond quickly to the ever-changing needs of our customers. Through new live streaming content, making LMOD available in more markets than ever before and producing online versions of all our Instructor and Club training modules we’ve been able to continue supporting our partners and Instructors in this new environment.
In the immediate, we are working on a 6 month recovery plan to support all club partners globally to reopen and also to support our Instructor Tribe to return to work. Watch this space for more details when we launch in the coming weeks. As always, we are also continuing to develop and evolve our product and services for Clubs, Instructors and members.
Some clubs may look at this as an option, but our recommendation has always been to combine virtual with live classes and we will continue to advise this with club partners. We know that member retention is largely built on that social connection between the members and the Instructors and that nothing beats the pinnacle of live classes.
We would recommend following the government rules in each country around social distancing and potentially wearing a facemask when teaching. Clubs will not be reopening globally until it’s safe to do so and we will be supporting with guidelines to assist on supporting you to teach all classes effectively.
We recommend clubs each have strong reopening plans in alignment with government guidance. We’re also providing our partners support on how to be ready for reopening. Look to the upcoming Tribe Talk for more details on being ready to welcome back participants and tips to get back to teaching.
Our Customer Experience team are in daily contact with our club partners. Our focus has been to support clubs to stay connected to members and Instructors through this time. Solutions such as LMOD and live streaming are helping enable clubs to continue to provide fitness solutions for their members. We’re now working on a plan to support clubs back to reopening and to get their live classes up and running as soon as possible. Our aim is not to be viewed as a ‘supplier’ to a club but rather a partner that adds real value and we believe this will support us in retaining licenses.
We are really impressed with how quickly the David Lloyd team have got their DLL @ home app live and it’s great to see the focus is on keeping members engaged. We value our partnership and continue to have great conversations about the reopening plan and engagement for our programmes to play a part of their timetable when the clubs relaunch.
ukactive is a key partner for us in the UK and we are working closely with them in the UK and other industry partners globally to lobby the government to make the correct provisions when it comes to the health and fitness industry.
We’re constantly looking for new ways to fulfil our purpose of creating a fitter planet. Our current focus is to enable the 130k instructors and over 25k club partner to reach new heights. We’ll consider all viable options but at this stage want to really focus our business on what we know best.
Thank you for your passion and interest. We suggest you get in touch with our German team who currently work with a few partners in Hungary.
LIVESTREAMING & RELEASES
We will continue to provide live streaming options as needed. We are also working on what live streaming looks like as we move to the ‘new normal’ of what clubs will be offering their members. We will share details on this as soon as we have an update
This will be assessed on a country-by-country basis but we won’t be taking away any live streaming content in the near future. We are also looking at ways this can be incorporated into our club offerings moving forward as we look to support reopening around the world.
We are strongly recommending you go through your licensed club and the club’s preferred channels. The reason for this is to ensure members, clubs and Instructors stay connected during this time. If you have done everything you can to reach out your club and they’ve either been unresponsive or have explicitly turned down this opportunity, you are allowed to livestream from your personal accounts (you must be an active Les Mills Certified Instructor, and have personal liability insurance to cover this activity).
Check out our Programme Director Live Streaming schedule in the Official Live Streaming Facebook Group – this is updated weekly with the workouts our Programme Directors are running for the week ahead, keep your eyes peeled for Rach’s Sh’Bam!
Our UK TAP team have worked on their own Live Stream schedule especially for Instructors as a value-add to support you during this time. These sessions also include a short upskill session for you. All material taught on these live streams is the royalty-free content Les Mills has produced specifically for this purpose. TAP team have access to the same level of content as every other Instructor.
We’ll be continuing our PD live stream timetable as long as there is demand from Instructors wanting to participate and to have that connection during this time.
Yes! We are currently working on our livestream strategy and will update you as soon as possible… keep your eyes peeled for the updates
Currently, we aren’t expecting any delays on the coming releases (both the ones that have just been filmed and the Q2 releases about to be launched). However, the dates differ per market so please check in with your local team for the latest updates on autoship and quarterly release dates.
Our music licensing only allows us to distribute music for 2 years. We know there’s a love for some of the older releases, which is why we made them available on the app for those that had already purchase them. Unfortunately we don’t have a way to make them available for purchase again.
We will determine the best approach to Q3 Releases once we are a little closer. We are watching government and health sources closely, as there are new developments daily.
The new releases contain original music, so they are only licensed to be taught live. We have heard from clubs and Instructors the need to have streaming available and are actively working on options.
LMOD releases are typically two releases behind our live programming. This is because we believe in the value of our live Instructor-led product, allowing Clubs and Instructors to launch this first before the releases are updated on either LMOD or Virtual. Therefore, your current releases won’t be available on LMOD until September 2020.
Members have access to a free 14 day trial for LMOD directly or a 60 day trial via their participating club.
We are working on a BORN TO MOVE Online Training. Stay tuned for more details.
We are constantly reviewing the content people want to see on Les Mills On Demand and will continue to add to this. Currently, Instructors have access to 60 days free access to LMOD. There are no plans to extend this further but you will have the option to continue your membership at your reduced Instructor rate afterwards.
TRAINING & EDUCATION
Online Quarterly Workshops will run exactly the same way as a webinar – once you register, you will receive an email with all the details of how to access. You’ll need to attend the session live or watch on demand to receive your ongoing development point.
Yes – we now allow for online submissions of video feedback, check with your local team for all the details.
For our new Instructors, we recommend taking advantage of the additional educational webinars available throughout this time and also checking out the technique sessions and coaching tips the TAP team are promoting through our programme-specific Facebook groups. This will help you to stay connected until your gyms reopen. For UK Instructors, we have Tribe Coaches on hand to support you in your early Instructor journey. Find a Tribe Coach here: https://www.lesmills.com/uk/instructors/tribe-coaches/
It’s been great to be able to connect online and run events virtually during this COVID-19 pandemic and we plan to incorporate many online options for our Instructors moving forward. This includes Online IMTs, Advanced Trainings, Quarterly Workshops and also Tribal Gatherings and other bigger events. We will also continue to hold monthly Q&As and Facebook Lives per region. Any ideas or requests send them our way!
Give us an email at email@example.com and we’ll work with you on your specific needs. The biggest challenge if you chose to participate in an Online IMT based in the US will be the time difference.
If your certification is active in the US you can participate in an Online IMT in the US. Depending on where you reside the time difference may be a challenge though. Give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work with you on your specific needs.
A great opportunity to educate and upskill yourself from the comfort of your own home. 1 hour of education specifically about the programme release including content that is not available on the release video and notes. Content may include, technique tips and practise, coaching upskill and tools to help with connection and performance in your programme. Included in the hour is plenty of time for Q&A with the Trainers. The webinar will build knowledge and confidence for any Instructor in preparing them for launching the new release.
It is our full intention to film in the UK – we were planning an event for October 2020 but, in light of COVID-19, this has been postponed. However, watch this space, as it promises to be something very special!
There are no confirmed plans to run Workout for Water events next year but our fearless CEO of global markets Keith Burnet is going to row the Atlantic in December. Half of the funds his team raise will go directly to Workout for Water. You can follow or support his team here: http://fitterplanet.co.uk
Our partnership with UNICEF remains active and all Workout for Water funds raised will go to the water projects we are supporting in Ethiopia.
New filmings were fab – very real and in the moment. Of course there were lots of learnings that we gained from this round being so different. But learning helps us move forward.
This article provides guidance on working out while pregnant - https://www.lesmills.com/fit-planet/pregnancy-child/pregnancy-modifications/
We’re constantly shifting the music to stay fresh and relevant, especially with the larger programs. We’ve had great feedback but with music it is hard to meet everyone’s tastes. However, keep the feedback coming because that’s how we learn.
Yes for sure, online training and education will continue to be important going forward. And that’s a great idea, we’ll look into this.
Continue to do body-weight strength exercises with anything you may have – big container filled with water? Squats, lunges, pushups, planks and hovers are all big compound exercises.
We are definitely in an uplifted feel right now with 112, 113, 114.
We only have the old releases of this that are on demand – for a very similar workout head to the LES MILLS TONE.
People give us energy!!
We want to continue to keep the class simple - single tracks with lots of dance feel creating more contrast in the music and dance styles – mashup doesn’t fit with the current offering.
Its all in the delivery – slow and controlled needs more stability – fast needs more fast twitch – we are trying to provide contrast with the training and provide a mix.