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Member Engagement

HIIT: the secret to keeping members happy

Interested in partnering with les mills? Get in touch
Emma Hogan

High-intensity interval training is known for being tough, but a new study shows many exercisers actually consider the challenge to be enjoyable. And it’s this enjoyment that keeps exercisers coming back for more.

Sticking to an exercise plan requires finding the time to exercise. We know that about half of the people who drop out of any exercise regime do so because of the lack of time. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is increasingly being recognized as being as, if not more, beneficial for health1 than the traditional moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICT). And, as HIIT compresses the amount of time required, it helps deal with the time challenge.

HIIT also ranks high on the enjoyment scale. Over a series of different exercise classes, healthy volunteers completed a questionnaire known as the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). In this study2 92 percent of the participants enjoyed the HIIT workouts more than traditional MICT exercise.

Could the enjoyment associated with HIIT be tied to the fact that it works? Several studies, conducted with sedentary adults, provide compelling evidence that HIIT can rapidly build fitness. And it’s not just exercise newbies who can benefit. In two separate studies, Dr Jinger Gottschall and a team of researchers at Penn State University have proved that Les Mills’ HIIT programs can transform the fitness of regular exercisers3. LES MILLS GRIT™ has been shown to burn 9 percent more fat and be 17 percent more effective than your standard aerobic or “steady state” training.

It’s no surprise that the short yet highly effective nature of HIIT is what’s making it a hit with the swelling millennial market.

“Millennials don’t want to mill around the weights room, or spend hours on cardio equipment, they want short workouts and bang for their buck,” explains Les Mills Jnr, Program Director for Les Mills' fastest ever selling program, LES MILLS GRIT. “Millennials want somewhere where they can show up and have someone push them hard without having to think about it – and that’s what will keep them coming back for more.”

It’s was the opportunity to better satisfy the growing millennial market that spurred David Lloyd to introduce the HIIT of LES MILLS GRIT across 52 of their clubs. Elaine Denton, David Lloyd’s Health and Fitness Support Manager explains that it was the ideal way to meet trend-driven demand.

“We recognized that HIIT is huge on social media and very much the ‘in thing’. We knew that LES MILLS GRIT was the go-to program of choice. Great quality, great content, great music and most importantly great coaching to enable our members to feel successful, no matter what level they are at.” She adds that the class uptake has been great.

The team at Salford Community Leisure Limited also identified LES MILLS GRIT as the right HIIT workout to run across their four largest centers. “Members were asking for it, and it had the instructor training, assessments and professionalism to back it up.” says Marie Leather, Sport and Leisure Manager.

By offering this in-demand HIIT workout they have driven business results. Class numbers are at capacity and we have had to introduce two instructors so that we can increase numbers.” She adds that the HIIT programming is also proving to pay dividends when it comes to new member acquisition. “Non-members who try LES MILLS GRIT will very quickly flip over to a full membership.”.

For Ricky Long, owner of Belong Fitness, LES MILLS GRIT was also the right fit for his club, and it is helping drive growth and member participation.

“HIIT training is where the science is at just now,” he says. “LES MILLS GRIT offers the best all round product in terms of the workouts; it’s science and research driven. We offer it as part of a standard membership, while other clubs offer it as an extra, so it gives us an edge on our local rivals.”

“We’ve offered LES MILLS GRIT since we opened and, as expected, it's our most popular. We run nine classes a week, with each one 90 percent full. It’s led to more participants doing all our other programs, simply due to their increased confidence.”

It seems that the enjoyment and results born from solid HIIT programming not only improves member retention and acquisition, but can be great for building a strong instructor team.

“Adding this best-in-class HIIT program has been great for instructors at David Lloyd,” explains says Elaine Denton. “They feel that LES MILLS GRIT has elevated them to a different level of coaching and understanding of how to get more from members – how to focus on individuals as well as groups, how to coach rather than teach. They like the music, the 30 minute format, and the variety.”

“Each club has education around the program so that instructors can easily discuss the benefits with members. The clubs get marketing and coaching support, as well as in house training, to help make the program successful.”

Marie Leather concurs. “It has given our instructors a chance to express themselves and develop their coaching skills to the next level. They train together regularly to ensure that they are all fit and able to deliver a world class program for our members.”

If you'd like to talk to the team about your current HIIT offering, contact us here.

Member Retention
Interested in partnering with les mills? Get in touch


Let's Talk


Get in touch with us today to find out how to build relationships beyond memberships


What's your email address?
What's your first name?
What's the name of your Club or Facility?
Who are you?
What's your role?
This field is required.
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