David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) has reopened 50 of its clubs for socially distanced outdoor exercise.
The creative move comes as the operator reveals the first iteration of its new blended offer, which combines club-based classes and activities with virtual content delivered via its [email protected] service.
DLL has also signalled its position in relation to its virtual offering by making [email protected] subject to a free 14-day trial, indicating it intends to begin charging across the board for digital. The time-limited free offer is also set to work as a lead generator for memberships.
The programme of new outdoor class offerings take advantage of DLL’s extensive outdoor spaces which are being deployed for a wide range of activities, such as outdoor group exercise, including Blaze and HIIT workouts, and outdoor cycle and mind-body classes such as yoga and Pilates in spa garden and poolside areas.
Individual pre-bookable workout zones are allocated, so members can exercise safely in their own space and classes will be limited to five members per session in England and nine in Ireland and Northern Ireland, while timetabling allows for deep cleaning between classes.
Outdoor cycling studios have been set up using DLL’s Stages bikes. These are offering Stages Power, Rhythm and group cycling sessions in size-limited classes with bikes spaced at 2m apart or more.
Members are also being offered DLL’s On-Demand Rhythm classes via their app as part of the cycling programme, as well as specialist Pilates and yoga sessions for cyclists.
The operator has used the lockdown to incubate upgrades to its outdoor workout concept, Battlebox, which is available at selected clubs. Battlebox combines full-body fitness training, high energy challenges, teamwork and fresh air, in 45- and 55-minute classes suitable for “participants of all abilities and levels of fitness”.
The instructor-led classes come in four flavours, ‘Athletic’ for speed, strength, power, agility and general cardio fitness; ‘Strong’ for power and muscle-building; ‘Warrior’ for a full-body workout and ‘Play’ for a family workout suitable for families with children over eight-years-old.
DLL is going hardcore with the weather and says all outdoor activities will continue regardless of conditions (so long as they’re safe): “We intend to run all classes regardless of the weather, with adaptations made to ensure members remain safe at all times,” it says. “For example, cycling classes will take place beneath large ‘jumbrellas’, while yoga and Pilates classes will be made more dynamic to ensure members keep moving and stay warm.”
Members are encouraged to bring suitable clothing “for whatever the weather throws at us.”
Glenn Earlam, CEO of DLL told HCM: “Regardless of the lockdown we’re excited to be introducing a whole new range of dynamic and functional classes using the outdoor spaces in our Clubs. We’re confident members will love these new activities, and that they’ll appeal to a very wide group of interests and abilities.
“Obviously the recent good weather makes it a great time to launch, but none of these new activities is weather dependent, and we plan to continue running them into the future.”
In its Fitness Trends 2020 report, HCM tipped outdoor exercise as a major trend and Earlam confirmed its importance, saying, “More and more exercise is going outside and we firmly believe the ‘new normal’ in exercising will be all about embracing the ‘great outdoors’.
“Our priority is that we continue to provide high quality, fun and challenging health and fitness facilities and activities, both as we move back to a more full and normal way of life, and beyond, in order to help us maintain and improve both physical and mental wellbeing.”
DLL also reopened for tennis on 16 May and this option is still available to members with a racquets membership.
The operator has recently launched a virtual running club – called the 7am DL RunClub – and is encouraging members to log their run and share it on social media.
DLL is engaging members in the run-up to reopening, which the UK fitness sector hopes will be in early July if talks between Public Health England and ukactive prove fruitful.
Read our interview with DLL CEO, Glenn Earlam, on desktop here and mobile here.