As you may or may not be aware, a recent announcement was made by Les Mills International (LMI) that they were launching a home workout program called 'Pump' based on their hugely successful licensed BODYPUMP® class. They plan to distribute it in the US only through an organisation called Beachbody, which specialises in home workout programs like P90X or Insanity.
Beachbody is also a very succesful company that sells its home exercise programs through its network of 'coaches' (read: sales consultants) and is notorious for false claims of miracle products and routines that will 'change your life' in just 30 minutes a day.
According to information on the LMI website, which you can read by clicking here, the idea behind this launch is to give their programs more exposure to the US consumer market. LMI rationalises this by saying that despite the size of the US market, LMI has only made small inroads and by having a national support network such as that of Beachbody it will give them added exposure. This should, according to LM, drive more people to licensed clubs and their classes.
The immediate reaction from a lot of LM instructors on web forums and blogs was of shock and serious anger towards both Beachbody and LM for not advising them that this was happening. There was also a fair bit of concern that this would take people away from classes as they will now be able to workout at home and avoid having to pay for gym memberships. To be fair there were a number of instructors who were fine with the move towards a consumer-based option, as they believe the magic and excitement of a live class with instructors and a group simply can't be replicated at home.
There were also a few club owners and LM licensees who clearly were not happy as they felt as if they were paying for a program that is (or was?) exclusive to fitness centres, and a real driver of member retention. LM counter this by saying that within the home DVD package, customers will receive guest passes and invitations to attend a real live class at their local club, which should help drive membership sales.
Finally, many people have voiced their concerns over some of the marketing promises of Beachbody, such as being able to burn up to 1,000 calories in your home workout and the use of terms such as 'The REP effect' which is the ultimate 'secret' to this program.
Personally, and as a LM instructor myself, I think this is a good move. Ultimately more consumer exposure will get more people into real live classes with motivating instructors and a full range of equipment. Think of how well Zumba did and continues to do, with its marketing campaigns. However, if I was a LM licensee in a region where this product was made available, I may think a bit differently.
What do you think? Good move or bad? What if the product was made available in Australia? Do you think it would help or hinder your class or membership numbers?