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Les Mills introduces ‘future-focused’ fitness features at Auckland City Gym

Les Mills introduces ‘future-focused’ fitness features at Auckland City Gym
July 11, 2019

Global fitness brand Les Mills has launched three new studio spaces at its flagship Auckland City Gym.

The new spaces were designed by New Zealand architects Monk Mackenzie and interior designer Rufus Knight, working in partnership with design studio Alt Group.

Introducing the new concepts, Les Mills Program Director Les Mills Jnr, who led the development of the new studios and workouts, advised that a key objective was to partner with designers to create spaces that work at both a practical and aesthetic level.

Mills Jnr advised “we’ve put an intimate focus on design to create the most incredible end-to-end experience for members.

“We want people to get excited about being in these spaces, so we’ve designed them as a sensory experience. They look good, smell good, and are places they feel they belong. We want to be a cultural hub for our members.”

The fresh additions include a "highly tactile" functional studio - which will host a newly-developed training workout called Ceremony - and a design-led boxing studio created around the needs of a new boxing conditioning workout called Conquer.

The third new space is an immersive indoor cycling studio - which Mills Jnr says is the largest of its kind in the world - featuring a 100-bike terraced theatre environment. It is accompanied by a wall-to-wall curved screen and a five-projector, cinema-quality audio-visual system that delivers Les Mills’ bike workout, The Trip.

Ceremony is a 45-minute functional training workout with a focus on a whole-body exercise mixing strength, cardio and conditioning within a shared community experience.

Les Mills Product Innovation Team Member, Ezra Fantl commented “Ceremony is our take on functional training.

"We use all sorts of equipment; SkiErgs, rowers, agility ladders, sleds, kettlebells - but we aren’t stuck in a mindset that doesn’t let us innovate. We also incorporate explosive exercises, balance and coordination drills, and whole-body flow-based movements like bear crawls.”

The other new exercise product, Conquer, is a 45-minute boxing conditioning workout that uses a trio of treadmill running, aquabag punching and resistance-based cardio exercises – such as ball slams and skipping. The workout is structured like a boxing match: three minutes of work, with one minute to recover and transition to your next station.

Fellow Les Mills Product Innovation Team Member Adam Lazarus added “we’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate as you walk into the room, the lights are low and the workout is completely your own.

“You can be a professional boxer, or never have thrown a punch, and you will get a great workout.”

Mills Jnr added that Ceremony and Conquer are being trialled at the Auckland site, noting “at the Les Mills Auckland City Gym we’re passionate about designing the best experience we can.

“The facilities are stepping into a premium space, with more focus on spatial design. We are really trying to provide a great fitness experience – one that represents the essence of Les Mills and what it stands for.”

As well as acting as a testing space for the new training styles, the new workout areas are the first stage of a long-term project to transform the home of Les Mills in Auckland – which in its long history has been an industrial building, a nightclub and a boxing gym.

Rather than completely renovate the original space, architects Monk Mackenzie have designed an interior box, essentially creating a boutique gym inside a gym.

The new studios are a response to changing demographics and exercise trends, as well as an aesthetic makeover of a tired area of the gym.

The design of the space has been led with the expectations of the Gen Z and Millennial demographics in mind – due to the two generations currently driving much of the global fitness spend.

The box-like structure containing the Immersive Cycle studio is designed like a mini-building, with its own roof and its own acoustics.

Monk Mackenzie Partner Dean McKenzie concluded “rather than being about gyms, it was about creating something experiential.

“We wanted to make the whole experience feel kind of theatrical, in terms of when you walk in, the spaces we’ve created and the sub-spaces. The Immersive Cycle studio is theatre-like; when you are in the functional studio and the boxing studio, the lighting is calibrated to be moody. The spaces feel intimate.

“It’s an inclusive space, not trying to be masculine like many gym spaces. The brief from Les Mills was very clear about that, moving it away from being an intimidating space. The ‘materiality’ plays into that, making it feel less ‘sweaty and grunty’.”

Images: New fitness programs and spaces at Les Mills Auckland City Gym including Ceremony (top) and the Immersive Cycle studio (below).

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