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Mike Hill visits the new Les Mills club in Christchurch, New Zealand,
where they’ve pulled out all the stops to make the club both a healthy
environment for members, and healthier for the environment
B
etter known in the UK for The newly re-opened Christchurch
its domination of the group club, located in the city centre, targets
exercise market, Les Mills the commuter market. John Dunford,
actually runs 10 clubs of regional manager of the two Les Mills
its own in New Zealand, including a clubs in the city, explains further: “We
completely refurbished flagship site market ourselves to stylish singles,
that’s just re-opened in Christchurch. generally the younger age group, 20-30s,
The building, which dates back to mainly professional, city centre, CBD
the 1800s, fi rst opened as a gym in (central business district)-type workers.”
1980. After several extensions, the
company realised the club needed a CREATING A BUZZ
more dramatic overhaul and effectively The club provides around an acre of
undertook a new-build on the site, fitness facilities over three floors.
knocking down the old building and Entering the spacious office-like
starting from scratch. The project took reception area, you’re immediately
15 months, with the offi cial opening impressed by the light, airy design and
in October last year. Total investment welcoming post-workout chill-out area. The overall impression is of a facility
was NZ$10.4m (around £5m) and has Behind reception is the first of two with a real buzz about it at peak times,
resulted in a club that offers more than dedicated cardio studios with fully refl ecting the Les Mills aim of stimulating
3,350sq m (36,000sq ft) of exercise automated environment, light and sound. the mind to keep the body moving.
space and the capacity for around 5,000 The second floor offers an expansive Nowhere is this more evident than in
members; current membership is 4,100. main gym with dedicated boxing and the two massive group exercise studios,
Ian Turley, marketing and business Kinesis areas, with black flooring and with an entire third fl oor dedicated to
development director for Les Mills, equipment. Next to this is the second providing 73 classes a week encompassing
describes the typical customer: “Les dedicated cardio studio, behind which the eight Les Mills programmes – the club
Mills sees itself as the premium fi tness sits the ladies-only gym, with its only offers Les Mills classes.
brand in New Zealand, but if you want predominantly white décor contrasting “We have two fantastic studios, one
a white towel experience, we’re not for with the black of the main gym. of which can hold a maximum of 220
you. We clearly position ourselves as Equipment – provided by Life Fitness, participants and the other a maximum
clubs that can attract both the fi rst- Technogym, Cybex and Trixter – is of 120,” says Dunford. “On a busy, rainy
timer and the seasoned, more serious much more orientated towards free Monday, we often have more than 600
gym bunny – but ultimately we’re for weights than tends to be the case in the members coming through for classes,
people who, while having great fun, also UK, refl ecting the more serious training and we estimate that around 63 per cent
take their workouts seriously.” approach of the club. of our members regularly use the group
exercise programme.”
Indeed, it’s worth pointing out that
although hour-long gym inductions are
available – with three ‘on-track’ chats
also included within the fi rst 90 days of
membership – not everyone takes this
offer up, as many members only visit
the club for group exercise.
Not only are the studios imposing,
with full stages for the instructor
Around 63 per cent of members
regularly participate in the club’s
group exercise programmes
60 Read Health Club Management online march 2010 © cybertrek 2010
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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