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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

New opening: Small is beautiful

Microgyms are taking London by storm. Kate Cracknell tries out a class at three recent new openings

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 6

In a Heartbeat

FITNESS FIRST BEAT
www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/beat
Location: Embankment/Charing Cross, central London, UK
USP: Exclusively heart rate-based training

The concept
With its London portfolio already effectively covering the city, rather than launch more big clubs, Fitness First made the decision to launch smaller, complementary facilities located between the larger sites. Each of these sites will have a specialism, with The Beat – a specialist heart rate-based club – the first of these. Others are expected to follow, with head of communications Mark Hutcheon predicting group exercise-only studios and even concepts similar to The Zone in Sydney, Australia (see HCM Sept 13, p21 and HCM Oct 13, p40). Top-tier members will be able to use all of these specialist clubs in addition to their ‘home’ club.

As UK head of fitness Lee Matthews explains, Fitness First wanted to launch something genuinely new rather than getting in on the trend of cycling or yoga microgyms. The idea of The Beat stemmed from the success of the freestyle (functional training) zones in its existing estate; The Beat adds an added dimension of measurement, and with it motivation. Are you working as hard as you should be, in the right heart rate zone to get the results you really want? How many calories have you burned? How has this workout compared to previous ones?

“If you want to achieve results, this is the club for you,” says health and fitness manager Kat Morgan. “Heart rate-based training ensures you always train at the right intensity level for you, and our experts are on-hand in every session. You can track and monitor your progress and we can guarantee the quality of your workout, as everyone works out to their own personal best. The equipment can also be used between sessions, allowing you to train independently – it’s up to you.”

The experience
The run-up: Details are found within the main Fitness First website, but I felt there wasn’t enough of an explanation of what heart rate training is all about, how Beat works and what to expect (although a nice selection of images helps give a feel for the style of training). This club probably merits its own site, or at least microsite. However, the different levels of class are briefly explained, there’s a downloadable timetable and a click-button to sign up for a free pass.

New users can also register on the website to create their own account – which allows them to book classes up to a week in advance – but this option isn’t as clear or as simple as on other websites.

First impressions:
An enticing club – small but with a great vibe, even when a class wasn’t in progress, with nightclub-style décor, music and lighting. I was looking forward to my workout from the moment I walked in.

The class:
I did the 40-minute Pro-Athlete class, meant to be 80 per cent max heart rate and alternating between two minutes of cardio and two minutes of functional exercises, with just 20 seconds’ rest in between. I actually spent more time in the 90s than the 80s, but it was a great workout – albeit I wished it would hurry up and end a couple of times!

Aftercare:
A workout performance report is sent by email to each member at the end of the session, allowing them to monitor improvement over time.

The verdict:
One of the best workouts I’ve had in ages. Well led by the instructor with plenty of explanation, motivation and a personal touch (e.g. using everyone’s first name), and all taking place in an environment – and using software – that made you want to work hard. My only query relates to whether that same sense of motivation would be replicated in a class of 32 people – we were five in the class I attended. However, I loved it and will be back for more!

The Beat focuses on heart rate-based training
The Beat focuses on heart rate-based training

Facts & stats

Top-tier members have access to The Beat in addition to their ‘home’ club
Top-tier members have access to The Beat in addition to their ‘home’ club
Opening date: 27 January 2014

Ownership: Fitness First

Size of the club: 192sq m main training space in a total upper floor of 238sq m. Lower floor (with cycling studio and changing rooms) of 197sq m.

Facilities: Main gym + group cycling studio, offering Beat classes and Spin classes respectively. There are 14 classes a day (Monday to Friday only), at five different levels, from beginners (65 per cent of HR max) to HIIT Pro (over 90 per cent of HR max).

Maximum class size: 32
Suppliers: Woodway (Curve treadmill), Versaclimber, Water Rower, Star Trac (Blade Spin bikes), plus Polar’s heart rate monitoring system. Functional training equipment from Escape.

Payment structure

Sessions at The Beat encourage a real sense of team to help boost motivation levels
Sessions at The Beat encourage a real sense of team to help boost motivation levels
Starting at £60 a month on a 12-month contract, for dual membership of Beat and the nearby Fitness First Charing Cross.
Bouts of CV are interspersed with functional exercises on the gym floor
Bouts of CV are interspersed with functional exercises on the gym floor

Wheels in Motion

PSYCLE
www.psyclelondon.com
Location: Regent Street, central London, UK
USP: Founder Colin Waggett believes it’s not possible to extract one element of the whole and elevate it above the others as a USP, but to me Psycle’s USP is its focus on a positive mindset above all else.

The concept
Psycle was established to cater for what founder Colin Waggett calls an ‘under-served’ set of customers: fashion-conscious people in the broader sense, who choose experience over functionality when it comes to bars, restaurants, shops, hotels, but who are let down by the typical, non-experiential health club. They’re conscious about their health and know they should exercise, but haven’t found a boutique experience within the fitness sector that they really identify with. “You have to create an experience that’s fundamentally different from anything you get elsewhere,” explains Waggett.

Psycle sets out to meet this need with an ethos that’s embedded in its very name: a combination of psychology and cycling. “We believe, if you get people in the right frame of mind, they’ll exercise. And if you focus during the class and afterwards on how they feel – happier, better about themselves and their lives – they’ll come again,” says Waggett.
“Physical transformation only comes from repeated exercising, and for many people if it’s not enjoyable, that won’t happen. There’s a robust exercise science underpinning our classes, and you will work hard, but we’ve paid just as much attention to making it an enjoyable experience so people do keep coming back. When people say it feels more like they’ve been to Ibiza than riding in the Tour de France, I know we’re onto something.”

Unsurprisingly then, music lies at the heart of the concept, with “heavy investment” in the playlists. Technology has also been left out – no heart rate monitoring or competitive leaderboards – with the approach to instructing different too: no shouting at you to crank up the resistance, and with most of the instructors coming from a performing arts background.

The club is already averaging 75 per cent capacity across its timetable, with most new customers brought along by existing users – there has been no advertising, just PR and social media.

There are plans to open more sites – two are already confirmed – but as Waggett explains: “It could be three, 10, 20 sites, but definitely not 100+. It’s about being different and special as opposed to world domination.”

The experience
The run-up: A strong, uncomplicated website clearly explains the concept and what to expect, covering FAQs in a very approachable way; an active Twitter feed suggests any other questions and comments are swiftly and efficiently addressed. Classes can be searched by instructor, credits purchased and a specific bike booked through the online booking process.

First impressions:
A very warm, informative welcome in a light, spacious reception-lounge area. Clean changing rooms with plenty of towels, hairdryers, ghd hair straighteners, nice bath/body products and little extras like hair elastics. First-timers are invited to turn up 15 minutes early so staff can check them in, help set up the bike and show them around. At least two staff are on-hand in the studio before each class, to make sure everyone’s good to go. You’re quickly made at ease – not a newbie in a class of experts.

The class:
How best to describe the class? It’s effectively a dance class that just happens to take place on a bike – and it’s great fun. A good instructor, uplifting music that fitted with the choreography – far more than just a background soundtrack – and a full body workout thanks to the incorporation of hand weights and body angles while cycling. The 45 minutes flew by.

Aftercare:
A follow-up email asked ‘how was your first class?’, giving me a chance to give feedback, book another class, encouraging me to tell my friends and follow Psycle on Twitter. It was a chatty but on-the-ball follow-up, very much on-brand and with the sense of a community already being built.

The verdict:
I’m not a big fan of group cycling classes, but then Psycle is unapologetically not catering for the Spin hardcore – and in fact purist Spin-goers may not like it. Personally I loved its take on things. The price might put me off going more than once a week, but it’d definitely be a good addition to a workout repertoire.

Although you work hard at Psycle, the vibe is more Ibiza than Tour de France
Although you work hard at Psycle, the vibe is more Ibiza than Tour de France

Facts & stats

The club is already averaging 75 per cent capacity across its timetable
The club is already averaging 75 per cent capacity across its timetable
Opening date: 23 February 2014

Ownership: Colin Waggett, former CEO of Fitness First

Size of the club: Just over 465sq m (5,000sq ft)
Facilities: Two studios (one with 45 bikes, one with 25), changing rooms, and a reception/lounge area. Currently offers 36 classes a week, aiming for 50 by the time this goes to print

Maximum class size: 45

Supplier: Star Trac

Payment structure

Psycle aims to create an exercise experience you can’t find anywhere else, with a big focus on feeling positive and happy
Psycle aims to create an exercise experience you can’t find anywhere else, with a big focus on feeling positive and happy
“There’s a complicated emotional relationship when it comes to contracts and cancellation rules. Members hate them and they just cause problems,” says Psycle founder Colin Waggett, who decided to steer clear of memberships altogether. Psycle works on credits that can be purchased through the website, and which are then used to pay for classes: one credit (one class) costs £20, five credits £95, 10 credits £180, and 20 credits £325.
Psycle’s reception-lounge area is light, spacious and modern
Psycle’s reception-lounge area is light, spacious and modern

All together now

THE FITNESS MOSAIC
www.thefitnessmosaic.com
Location: Chalk Farm, north London, UK
USP: Five studios offering group exercise only

The concept
The Fitness Mosaic positions itself as the group exercise specialist, offering top quality instruction across all disciplines and categories of class. It’s aiming for the standard of instruction you’d expect at a cycling microgym, but across the board of group exercise – and with the convenience of having it all in one place.

The strategy going forward is to partner up with experts to create a series of reputable sub-brands seen to be worth paying a premium for; where possible, the club also aims to become a product training centre to further evidence its in-house expertise.

One sub-brand has already been launched – Exhale Pilates London is the club’s equipment pilates brand – with others set to follow. Fitbug Indoor Walking is already on the table, for example, with suggestions that classes such as boxing, group cycling and bootcamp may receive a similar sub-branding treatment.

Pricing is based on the idea that, whereas those using a cycling microgym might also need a gym membership, Fitness Mosaic members will have all they need within one package.

Co-owner and general manager Joe Proops believes 1,000 members is a realistic target – paying an average of £100 a month – with 500-600 members needed to break even. Although the club is group exercise-based, the appeal doesn’t seem to be limited to women – boot camps and boxing in particular are, says Proops, also attracting men.
If successful, the aim is to roll the concept out, starting in London – which Proops believes could support six or seven sites – but with international expansion not ruled out.

The experience
The run-up: Easy-to-use website took me through a quick sign-up process, including nominating a screen name for in-club leader boards and running through an online PAR-Q. Simple click-button process to buy your choice of package and book onto a class.

First impressions:
The club was in its soft launch phase when I visited, with finishing touches still being made to the building. Nevertheless, it was clear the design brief had focused on clean, clear spaces and functionality rather than high-end plush. Reception staff, stood behind the juice bar-meets-reception desk, were relaxed but welcoming.
The class: I attended the barre class and enjoyed the lack of pre-choreography – all classes are designed in-house. It wasn’t as tough as I expected, but was enjoyable with a good instructor.

Aftercare:
The website has an area to track your performance, while group cycling participants – by choosing a specific bike when they book – receive a Performance IQ feedback report.

The verdict:
I enjoyed the class but have a question over the price point. To do barre, I’d have to pay £95 a month – double the price of the gym I currently use in London. So was the class twice as good? Probably not. Did I get more personal attention than usual? Not really. Did the ambience feel ‘premium’ in some way? The jury’s out, but I realise I was there during soft launch. However, with MBA-endowed Proops at the helm, supported by fitness experts David Turner and Allan Fisher, you can be sure the pricing strategy is based on robust research – and the sheer number and range of classes on offer is certainly a selling point. It will be interesting to see if this complex model can successfully be rolled out beyond this initial site.

Barre classes are included in Group B, which costs £95 a month
Barre classes are included in Group B, which costs £95 a month
Boxing and boot camps in particular are attracting men to the new club
Boxing and boot camps in particular are attracting men to the new club
Opening date: Soft launch 1 March 2014; official opening 1 April.

Ownership: Former teacher turned fitness entrepreneur Joe Proops, the club’s general manager, owns 50 per cent of the business; David Turner (co-founder of LA fitness) and Allan Fisher (founder of Holmes Place) – both also founders of ADDleisure – own the other 50 per cent.

Size of the club: 930sq m (10,000sq ft)

Facilities: Five studios offering around 150 classes a week, from boxing to barre, aerobics to boot camp, equipment pilates to suspension training.

Maximum class size: Varies by class. Five for Power Plate/Indoor Walking classes; 12–14 for barre; around 25 for aerobics or dance.

Suppliers: Schwinn, Performance IQ, Freemotion, Indoor Walking, Power Plate, Physical Company, Basil.

Payment structure

With a goal of increased transparency and flexibility, the club offers three ways to pay:

Pay as you go – paying on a class-by-class basis
Buying an ‘e-wallet’ of credit for £50 (actual value £55), £100 (actual value £130 extra) or £200 (actual value £260)

Monthly unlimited – a rolling monthly plan for a minimum of three months. Within this, all activities are sorted into groups, with cost bands structured around these. For example, group A encompasses dance, aerobics, yoga, mat pilates and indoor cycling and currently costs £75 a month. Group B covers off more HIIT-style training, including circuits, boot camp, barre and Tabata – as well as all of group A (£95 a month). Group C covers Power Plate sessions, and also includes A and B (£125 a month). Group D is equipment pilates classes only (£180 a month; private sessions also available at extra cost), and at the top end is the all-inclusive group E (£250 a month). Personal training will also be launched.

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Microgyms are taking London by storm. Kate Cracknell tries out a class at three recent new openings: The Beat, Psycle and Fitness Mosaic
Beat, Psycle, Fitness First, Fitness Mosaic,Microgym, London, Beat, Psycle, Fitness First, Fitness Mosaic, indoor cycling, HIIT, heart rate, group exercise, small group training
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features

New opening: Small is beautiful

Microgyms are taking London by storm. Kate Cracknell tries out a class at three recent new openings

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 6

In a Heartbeat

FITNESS FIRST BEAT
www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/beat
Location: Embankment/Charing Cross, central London, UK
USP: Exclusively heart rate-based training

The concept
With its London portfolio already effectively covering the city, rather than launch more big clubs, Fitness First made the decision to launch smaller, complementary facilities located between the larger sites. Each of these sites will have a specialism, with The Beat – a specialist heart rate-based club – the first of these. Others are expected to follow, with head of communications Mark Hutcheon predicting group exercise-only studios and even concepts similar to The Zone in Sydney, Australia (see HCM Sept 13, p21 and HCM Oct 13, p40). Top-tier members will be able to use all of these specialist clubs in addition to their ‘home’ club.

As UK head of fitness Lee Matthews explains, Fitness First wanted to launch something genuinely new rather than getting in on the trend of cycling or yoga microgyms. The idea of The Beat stemmed from the success of the freestyle (functional training) zones in its existing estate; The Beat adds an added dimension of measurement, and with it motivation. Are you working as hard as you should be, in the right heart rate zone to get the results you really want? How many calories have you burned? How has this workout compared to previous ones?

“If you want to achieve results, this is the club for you,” says health and fitness manager Kat Morgan. “Heart rate-based training ensures you always train at the right intensity level for you, and our experts are on-hand in every session. You can track and monitor your progress and we can guarantee the quality of your workout, as everyone works out to their own personal best. The equipment can also be used between sessions, allowing you to train independently – it’s up to you.”

The experience
The run-up: Details are found within the main Fitness First website, but I felt there wasn’t enough of an explanation of what heart rate training is all about, how Beat works and what to expect (although a nice selection of images helps give a feel for the style of training). This club probably merits its own site, or at least microsite. However, the different levels of class are briefly explained, there’s a downloadable timetable and a click-button to sign up for a free pass.

New users can also register on the website to create their own account – which allows them to book classes up to a week in advance – but this option isn’t as clear or as simple as on other websites.

First impressions:
An enticing club – small but with a great vibe, even when a class wasn’t in progress, with nightclub-style décor, music and lighting. I was looking forward to my workout from the moment I walked in.

The class:
I did the 40-minute Pro-Athlete class, meant to be 80 per cent max heart rate and alternating between two minutes of cardio and two minutes of functional exercises, with just 20 seconds’ rest in between. I actually spent more time in the 90s than the 80s, but it was a great workout – albeit I wished it would hurry up and end a couple of times!

Aftercare:
A workout performance report is sent by email to each member at the end of the session, allowing them to monitor improvement over time.

The verdict:
One of the best workouts I’ve had in ages. Well led by the instructor with plenty of explanation, motivation and a personal touch (e.g. using everyone’s first name), and all taking place in an environment – and using software – that made you want to work hard. My only query relates to whether that same sense of motivation would be replicated in a class of 32 people – we were five in the class I attended. However, I loved it and will be back for more!

The Beat focuses on heart rate-based training
The Beat focuses on heart rate-based training

Facts & stats

Top-tier members have access to The Beat in addition to their ‘home’ club
Top-tier members have access to The Beat in addition to their ‘home’ club
Opening date: 27 January 2014

Ownership: Fitness First

Size of the club: 192sq m main training space in a total upper floor of 238sq m. Lower floor (with cycling studio and changing rooms) of 197sq m.

Facilities: Main gym + group cycling studio, offering Beat classes and Spin classes respectively. There are 14 classes a day (Monday to Friday only), at five different levels, from beginners (65 per cent of HR max) to HIIT Pro (over 90 per cent of HR max).

Maximum class size: 32
Suppliers: Woodway (Curve treadmill), Versaclimber, Water Rower, Star Trac (Blade Spin bikes), plus Polar’s heart rate monitoring system. Functional training equipment from Escape.

Payment structure

Sessions at The Beat encourage a real sense of team to help boost motivation levels
Sessions at The Beat encourage a real sense of team to help boost motivation levels
Starting at £60 a month on a 12-month contract, for dual membership of Beat and the nearby Fitness First Charing Cross.
Bouts of CV are interspersed with functional exercises on the gym floor
Bouts of CV are interspersed with functional exercises on the gym floor

Wheels in Motion

PSYCLE
www.psyclelondon.com
Location: Regent Street, central London, UK
USP: Founder Colin Waggett believes it’s not possible to extract one element of the whole and elevate it above the others as a USP, but to me Psycle’s USP is its focus on a positive mindset above all else.

The concept
Psycle was established to cater for what founder Colin Waggett calls an ‘under-served’ set of customers: fashion-conscious people in the broader sense, who choose experience over functionality when it comes to bars, restaurants, shops, hotels, but who are let down by the typical, non-experiential health club. They’re conscious about their health and know they should exercise, but haven’t found a boutique experience within the fitness sector that they really identify with. “You have to create an experience that’s fundamentally different from anything you get elsewhere,” explains Waggett.

Psycle sets out to meet this need with an ethos that’s embedded in its very name: a combination of psychology and cycling. “We believe, if you get people in the right frame of mind, they’ll exercise. And if you focus during the class and afterwards on how they feel – happier, better about themselves and their lives – they’ll come again,” says Waggett.
“Physical transformation only comes from repeated exercising, and for many people if it’s not enjoyable, that won’t happen. There’s a robust exercise science underpinning our classes, and you will work hard, but we’ve paid just as much attention to making it an enjoyable experience so people do keep coming back. When people say it feels more like they’ve been to Ibiza than riding in the Tour de France, I know we’re onto something.”

Unsurprisingly then, music lies at the heart of the concept, with “heavy investment” in the playlists. Technology has also been left out – no heart rate monitoring or competitive leaderboards – with the approach to instructing different too: no shouting at you to crank up the resistance, and with most of the instructors coming from a performing arts background.

The club is already averaging 75 per cent capacity across its timetable, with most new customers brought along by existing users – there has been no advertising, just PR and social media.

There are plans to open more sites – two are already confirmed – but as Waggett explains: “It could be three, 10, 20 sites, but definitely not 100+. It’s about being different and special as opposed to world domination.”

The experience
The run-up: A strong, uncomplicated website clearly explains the concept and what to expect, covering FAQs in a very approachable way; an active Twitter feed suggests any other questions and comments are swiftly and efficiently addressed. Classes can be searched by instructor, credits purchased and a specific bike booked through the online booking process.

First impressions:
A very warm, informative welcome in a light, spacious reception-lounge area. Clean changing rooms with plenty of towels, hairdryers, ghd hair straighteners, nice bath/body products and little extras like hair elastics. First-timers are invited to turn up 15 minutes early so staff can check them in, help set up the bike and show them around. At least two staff are on-hand in the studio before each class, to make sure everyone’s good to go. You’re quickly made at ease – not a newbie in a class of experts.

The class:
How best to describe the class? It’s effectively a dance class that just happens to take place on a bike – and it’s great fun. A good instructor, uplifting music that fitted with the choreography – far more than just a background soundtrack – and a full body workout thanks to the incorporation of hand weights and body angles while cycling. The 45 minutes flew by.

Aftercare:
A follow-up email asked ‘how was your first class?’, giving me a chance to give feedback, book another class, encouraging me to tell my friends and follow Psycle on Twitter. It was a chatty but on-the-ball follow-up, very much on-brand and with the sense of a community already being built.

The verdict:
I’m not a big fan of group cycling classes, but then Psycle is unapologetically not catering for the Spin hardcore – and in fact purist Spin-goers may not like it. Personally I loved its take on things. The price might put me off going more than once a week, but it’d definitely be a good addition to a workout repertoire.

Although you work hard at Psycle, the vibe is more Ibiza than Tour de France
Although you work hard at Psycle, the vibe is more Ibiza than Tour de France

Facts & stats

The club is already averaging 75 per cent capacity across its timetable
The club is already averaging 75 per cent capacity across its timetable
Opening date: 23 February 2014

Ownership: Colin Waggett, former CEO of Fitness First

Size of the club: Just over 465sq m (5,000sq ft)
Facilities: Two studios (one with 45 bikes, one with 25), changing rooms, and a reception/lounge area. Currently offers 36 classes a week, aiming for 50 by the time this goes to print

Maximum class size: 45

Supplier: Star Trac

Payment structure

Psycle aims to create an exercise experience you can’t find anywhere else, with a big focus on feeling positive and happy
Psycle aims to create an exercise experience you can’t find anywhere else, with a big focus on feeling positive and happy
“There’s a complicated emotional relationship when it comes to contracts and cancellation rules. Members hate them and they just cause problems,” says Psycle founder Colin Waggett, who decided to steer clear of memberships altogether. Psycle works on credits that can be purchased through the website, and which are then used to pay for classes: one credit (one class) costs £20, five credits £95, 10 credits £180, and 20 credits £325.
Psycle’s reception-lounge area is light, spacious and modern
Psycle’s reception-lounge area is light, spacious and modern

All together now

THE FITNESS MOSAIC
www.thefitnessmosaic.com
Location: Chalk Farm, north London, UK
USP: Five studios offering group exercise only

The concept
The Fitness Mosaic positions itself as the group exercise specialist, offering top quality instruction across all disciplines and categories of class. It’s aiming for the standard of instruction you’d expect at a cycling microgym, but across the board of group exercise – and with the convenience of having it all in one place.

The strategy going forward is to partner up with experts to create a series of reputable sub-brands seen to be worth paying a premium for; where possible, the club also aims to become a product training centre to further evidence its in-house expertise.

One sub-brand has already been launched – Exhale Pilates London is the club’s equipment pilates brand – with others set to follow. Fitbug Indoor Walking is already on the table, for example, with suggestions that classes such as boxing, group cycling and bootcamp may receive a similar sub-branding treatment.

Pricing is based on the idea that, whereas those using a cycling microgym might also need a gym membership, Fitness Mosaic members will have all they need within one package.

Co-owner and general manager Joe Proops believes 1,000 members is a realistic target – paying an average of £100 a month – with 500-600 members needed to break even. Although the club is group exercise-based, the appeal doesn’t seem to be limited to women – boot camps and boxing in particular are, says Proops, also attracting men.
If successful, the aim is to roll the concept out, starting in London – which Proops believes could support six or seven sites – but with international expansion not ruled out.

The experience
The run-up: Easy-to-use website took me through a quick sign-up process, including nominating a screen name for in-club leader boards and running through an online PAR-Q. Simple click-button process to buy your choice of package and book onto a class.

First impressions:
The club was in its soft launch phase when I visited, with finishing touches still being made to the building. Nevertheless, it was clear the design brief had focused on clean, clear spaces and functionality rather than high-end plush. Reception staff, stood behind the juice bar-meets-reception desk, were relaxed but welcoming.
The class: I attended the barre class and enjoyed the lack of pre-choreography – all classes are designed in-house. It wasn’t as tough as I expected, but was enjoyable with a good instructor.

Aftercare:
The website has an area to track your performance, while group cycling participants – by choosing a specific bike when they book – receive a Performance IQ feedback report.

The verdict:
I enjoyed the class but have a question over the price point. To do barre, I’d have to pay £95 a month – double the price of the gym I currently use in London. So was the class twice as good? Probably not. Did I get more personal attention than usual? Not really. Did the ambience feel ‘premium’ in some way? The jury’s out, but I realise I was there during soft launch. However, with MBA-endowed Proops at the helm, supported by fitness experts David Turner and Allan Fisher, you can be sure the pricing strategy is based on robust research – and the sheer number and range of classes on offer is certainly a selling point. It will be interesting to see if this complex model can successfully be rolled out beyond this initial site.

Barre classes are included in Group B, which costs £95 a month
Barre classes are included in Group B, which costs £95 a month
Boxing and boot camps in particular are attracting men to the new club
Boxing and boot camps in particular are attracting men to the new club
Opening date: Soft launch 1 March 2014; official opening 1 April.

Ownership: Former teacher turned fitness entrepreneur Joe Proops, the club’s general manager, owns 50 per cent of the business; David Turner (co-founder of LA fitness) and Allan Fisher (founder of Holmes Place) – both also founders of ADDleisure – own the other 50 per cent.

Size of the club: 930sq m (10,000sq ft)

Facilities: Five studios offering around 150 classes a week, from boxing to barre, aerobics to boot camp, equipment pilates to suspension training.

Maximum class size: Varies by class. Five for Power Plate/Indoor Walking classes; 12–14 for barre; around 25 for aerobics or dance.

Suppliers: Schwinn, Performance IQ, Freemotion, Indoor Walking, Power Plate, Physical Company, Basil.

Payment structure

With a goal of increased transparency and flexibility, the club offers three ways to pay:

Pay as you go – paying on a class-by-class basis
Buying an ‘e-wallet’ of credit for £50 (actual value £55), £100 (actual value £130 extra) or £200 (actual value £260)

Monthly unlimited – a rolling monthly plan for a minimum of three months. Within this, all activities are sorted into groups, with cost bands structured around these. For example, group A encompasses dance, aerobics, yoga, mat pilates and indoor cycling and currently costs £75 a month. Group B covers off more HIIT-style training, including circuits, boot camp, barre and Tabata – as well as all of group A (£95 a month). Group C covers Power Plate sessions, and also includes A and B (£125 a month). Group D is equipment pilates classes only (£180 a month; private sessions also available at extra cost), and at the top end is the all-inclusive group E (£250 a month). Personal training will also be launched.

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Microgyms are taking London by storm. Kate Cracknell tries out a class at three recent new openings: The Beat, Psycle and Fitness Mosaic
Beat, Psycle, Fitness First, Fitness Mosaic,Microgym, London, Beat, Psycle, Fitness First, Fitness Mosaic, indoor cycling, HIIT, heart rate, group exercise, small group training
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