Friday, September 15, 2006


An independent survey has confirmed the power of group fitness to drive gym attendance among members - and provided further evidence of its capacity to increase club profitability.
The AC Nielsen survey of 1,000 participants in LES MILLS group fitness classes across the U.S.A. showed more than 90% visit their clubs at least twice a week specifically to take part in the classes and that nearly 40% visit at least four times a week to take part.

The average of at least 2.9 visits a week by Les Mills' participants compares with IHRSA estimates that club members go to their clubs on 91 days a year - or just 1.75 times a week on average.

Les Mills International founder Phillip Mills says the survey findings clearly demonstrate the potential of group fitness to impact health and fitness club profitability.

"Clubs benefit in several ways from more frequent attendance by members," he says.
"Members who come frequently to the gym are clearly more likely to be satisfied with their membership and less likely to quit - with obvious implications for all-important membership retention rates.

"Just as important are the implications for membership growth," says Mills.

"Members with a strong involvement with their clubs are far more likely to talk positively about it to their friends and colleagues outside, encouraging others to visit the gym and share their experiences.

"By driving new membership, these referrals also take pressure off the marketing budget."
Mills adds that higher membership retention and growth rates also increase the capacity for clubs to raise membership fees progressively over time.

Mills concludes that clubs need to manage their investment in group fitness to achieve the available benefits.

"Clubs need to be uncompromising in providing high quality programming, supported by rigorous instructor training and management."

AC Nielsen's on-line survey questioned the 1,000 respondents for an average of 16 minutes each on their awareness, behavior and attitude towards the Les Mills programs.

Consistent with being the most popular of the LES MILLS programs worldwide, the weight-based program BODYPUMP® was known to 99% of survey respondents.

A predominance (87%) of female participants was also consistent with Les Mills' experience in the 63 countries where the programs are offered. Male participation was highest for the indoor cycling program, RPM (17%) and the martial arts-based program, BODYCOMBAT® (15%).

The programs received a high level of recommendation among participants, with 92% saying they would definitely recommend them to their friends. Most (75%) said they would consider changing clubs if their club stopped running LES MILLS programs.

Key findings

* The vast majority of respondents (91%) visit their gym at least twice a week to participate in a LES MILLS program;
* Over one third (39%) participate in a LES MILLS program four times a week or more;
* 99% were previously aware of BODYPUMP®;
* 75% agreed they might change clubs if their club stopped offering LES MILLS programs;
* 92% would "definitely" recommend LES MILLS programs to their friends;
* Respondents were predominantly female (87%) versus male (13%);
* Male participation was highest for the indoor cycling program, RPM (17%) and the martial arts-based program, BODYCOMBAT® (15%);
* Respondents were evenly spread across U.S. regions (North East 94; Mid Atlantic 162; South East 167; Mid West 229; South Central 219; Pacific & Mountain 129).


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