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    Case studies

    Obsessing the timetable: How this operator embraced boutique to boost classes by 50%

    Multi-site operator Gym 64 recently became the first in the UK to launch in-house boutique workouts LES MILLS CONQUER™️ and LES MILLS CEREMONY™️. Studio Coordinator Sophie Brown shares how an obsession with bringing the freshest fitness experiences to Gym 64’s timetable is sending new members flocking to the studio.

    Jo Bryce

    Hi Sophie, tell us about Gym 64?

    SB: We’re a multi-site operator based in Scotland with three branches, all within the Fife area. As a family-owned business, the golden thread throughout our sites is a big focus on community. Whether our members are taking part in group fitness or they’re on the gym floor, it’s never forgetting to say as they walk in, “Hello, how are you?”. We expect that of everyone, from the front desk to PTs. We like the fact everyone knows everyone here!

    Across our three sites, we cater to group fitness, traditional gym floor options, bootcamps, personal training, and more. I’m qualified in seven Les Mills programs, I started off with BODYPUMP™ in 2014 and didn’t look back. I also teach kettlebells and indoor cycling.

    How do you use community to drive your strategy?

    SB: We benchmark our visits year on year. So at the beginning of the year, we look at what we can do to drive more footfall. In the past 12 months, one of our sites has increased group fitness attendance by 50%, while the others have both grown by 30%. We set out to achieve those targets by firstly ensuring we’re offering a broad mix of programming, so our members have choice. Then it’s about supporting our staff with training to be their best, so they can do their best for our members. A lot of our team comes to us from college, so whilst their enthusiasm is brilliant, they don’t always have huge teaching experience, so we work hard to help them get up to speed. And in the meantime that might mean bringing on some freelancers with a different skillset to plug the gaps, as long as we are servicing members with the experts in their field.

    It sounds like you’re reaping the rewards of a broad timetable.

    SB: Yes! Designing an exciting timetable is so important to me. Before I became the Studio Coordinator, I was the fitness manager at another branch and I obsessed over optimizing the timetables. That attention to detail led me to my role now, where I’m responsible for timetabling across all three sites.

    Back in the day, we used to design timetables based on who was available. If someone who taught BODYPUMP was on shift, they’d be timetabled to teach, irrespective of what else was happening on the timetable that day, or the day after. What I do is take a helicopter view of the week, and design our timetable horizontally from there. So, if you come in at 6pm, you're getting something different every day. I do my research and I’ve compared our offering with budget gyms in the area. Monday to Friday, all they do is strength, strength, and more strength. But to keep members coming back they need to see variety – providing that has definitely helped us. For example, mindfulness is a big draw right now and demand is so high we’re constantly adding more yoga and Pilates to the timetable.

    We also support our timetable with Virtual classes. In every branch, we have one screen in our Indoor Cycling studio and one in our main studio. The success of LES MILLS CONQUER and LES MILLS CEREMONY is pulling more people into our live classes now, but Virtual enables us to give members a cinematic workout experience, with pumping sound and motivation, right through the day, whenever they want it.

    With such a broad timetable already, what prompted the addition of CONQUER and CEREMONY?

    SB: Around 12 months ago, we realized we needed to give our members something different. Post-Covid, we'd noticed a change where lots of our members were favoring strength training over classes. We needed to find a way to get them back into group training that wasn't like the Zumba, older-style workouts they knew. We looked at a few different providers for programming and decided on Les Mills because we’ve been working together for so long. I’ve been through many Les Mills training modules and I don’t think any other provider comes close in terms of quality. So we knew if we took the Les Mills route, the training alone would really elevate our team’s knowledge as coaches. But for me, it really came down to the programming.

    What was it about the programming that stood out?

    SB: We experienced CONQUER and CEREMONY at the LES MILLS EXPERIENCE event in Glasgow and it really emphasized the innovation and excitement of these programs. They’re a different style of class that our members haven’t experienced before. I’d seen a lot of stuff on social media from providers like Barry’s Bootcamp and Orangetheory that I knew I wanted to bring to life in our studio, but we’d never explored having a class that uses treadmills, boxing and floorwork. The fact it was science-backed was also really appealing to us. There are elements of CEREMONY our members are familiar with – we’re quite big on functional training here – so they’re fans of equipment circuits and kettlebells. But it was the expertise and uniformity of the offering that a provider like Les Mills can roll out, ensuring everyone coaches to a consistently high level to deliver a great member experience.

    How have the programs landed? Who are they attracting?

    SB: A large mix of people! CONQUER and CEREMONY immediately attracted our Les Mills core fans, and we saw uptake from our BODYCOMBAT and BODYPUMP members. But we’re also seeing our Gen Z members – who typically favor the gym floor – coming back to group training. All our CONQUER and CEREMONY classes are fully booked and members simply can’t get enough. As part of our Instructor strategy for the programs, we made sure we upskilled a range of coaches across all different ages to ensure broad appeal and this has definitely helped to pull younger members back in.

    What has member feedback been like?

    SB: They absolutely love the new programs. It’s one of the big reasons we’ve seen such a massive increase in group training since last year! In the past I’ve had members ask me for a boxing class on the timetable, so being able to offer CONQUER is servicing that need. And CEREMONY is something new that nobody has experienced, so they’ve taken to it straight away. We’re working through a cadence of releases across our three gyms. At the moment we’re introducing a new release every fortnight. Some of my members are already taking CEREMONY twice a week. Naturally, they would like a new release every week, but others are enjoying getting familiar with the new format and are happy with updates once a fortnight – which I think we’ll stay with until everyone feels settled.

    How did you make sure CONQUER and CEREMONY launched with a bang?

    SB: The biggest selling point attracting new members into the studio is the fresh, innovative nature of the offering. We were one of the first people in the UK to launch these workouts and Les Mills is a very well-known brand, which added to their credibility. From an internal point of view, we took up the offer of an education session with our Les Mills partnership lead before we rolled out the program. A lot of the team who upskilled were already PTs, so they had preconceived ideas about group training. Doing that education session helped shift their mindset, which allowed them to have authentic conversations with their PT clients and others on the gym floor to bring them into the studio. And of course, I made sure we used our social media channels to showcase videos of what to expect, supported by the Les Mills Marketing Studio content we had access to.

    What has the Instructor journey been like?

    SB: It’s been great for leveling up our in-house talent. Like many gyms, we use amazing freelancers to run our Signature Les Mills classes, like BODYCOMBAT™ and BODYPUMP, but for CONQUER and CEREMONY we engaged our Personal Training team due to the swift upskill option available. Everyone has definitely improved their coaching thanks to the Les Mills training, not just in CONQUER and CEREMONY, but across all our offerings. With the boxing workout, CONQUER, the Instructor really sets the tone – everything happens fast, you’re demonstrating moves, helping people put their gloves on and then reminding them of the combinations. So I’m supporting by making short videos and sending them to the fitness managers to pass on to their teams. The studio layout is different in each of our three sites, so it really helps to make a quick video that accounts for that. It’s not just the members who need to get familiar with the studio and where the new equipment lives!

    Have the programs helped drive more demand for group training?

    SB: Yes! It's been invigorating for the team and our members. I'm now booking some of our in-house staff onto BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT because we need more Instructors and this whole process has got them pumped. We’re struggling for cover right now and I have some really great freelancers, but some work in the fire service or as teachers, so they can’t always take the same class slots. I don’t want to cancel classes, so we need more reliable long-term solutions, but it’s important to choose the right people to put forward for training modules. I watch an Instructor’s class; speak to them; pay attention to how they coach and host their participants; as well as how their style lands with the class. And I look at who's bringing people into the studios. I also ask them to take part in the class I have in mind for their training. I want them to enjoy it, so their members will too.

    What does the future hold for Gym 64?

    SB: In the next 12 months we’re laser-focused on maintaining the hype and community feel that we've got in-club right now, because it’s just going to keep fueling the demand for these classes. We’ll be supporting that push with our usual events: every Les Mills Signature program release is an event opportunity for us! We always go for a big Saturday launch to welcome as many members as possible to BODYPUMP, BODYATTACK™, BODYCOMBAT – whatever’s happening.


    LES MILLS has crafted a range of boutique-inspired programs to meet the specific demands of Gen Z and put your club in the fast-lane for growth.