Thursday, 28 April 2016

Les Mills THE TRIP - Interview: Chris Richardson - Immersive Product Manager

Les Mills classes are a huge thing for majority of gyms these days.
Les Mills are the creators behind many of the beloved gym classes you attend. Classes such as BodyJam, Body Balance and my favourite being BodyPump, just to name a few.
The same repeat of the class will go on for around 6 weeks and then a fresh new routine with some more killer tracks come out to get you all over again.

I was checking my emails a few weeks ago and saw 'The Future of Cycle Studios is coming to Melbourne' and I was intrigued, I couldn't have opened that email fast enough.
When I read on to see that it was an invite to experience the actual THE TRIP itself I was even more keen. After reading the brief I headed over to YouTube to take a look at it at play.

THE TRIP is like a RPM/ cycle/ spin class in which you are inside a special cinema/theatre style room that needs to be customary be designed to accommodate to the graphic animations for the class.
As you can see in the photo above you are in front of these phenomenal displays that are literally like transporting you to another place. I can only imagine that I will feel like I have been taken to another world in this class. (I'll be able to report back on that very shortly after I experience the class for the first time.)

THE TRIP runs alongside a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout where you have short bursts of effort following by minimal recovery periods before going again. 
THE TRIP class will finish with you having a long cool down that has you riding amid fluffy clouds or into the sunset - a picturesque view if I might say. 

I was also really lucky enough to be able to speak with Chris Richardson - Immersive Product Manager and one of the creatives behind Les Mills to interview him and discuss more what THE TRIP is about and where it all started. 

Chris advised that it has been a two (2) year project and they are currently working on their 6th and 7th instalment with already having released 5. 

There was trial and errors that went on where they wanted to use real live footage but unfortunately they couldn't get the sensations they were looking for so they went for an animating option in which increases speeds, stretches reality and will have you seeing full downhill views, turning backwards and flying upside. Sounds like I will be on a roller coaster track on a bike! 

THE TRIP has just opened their 7th studio in NY at David Barton's TMPL gym. 
Just 18 months ago the first was launched in Santa Monica. Following on there was Stockholm, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Newmarket. 

I questioned Chris on whether THE TRIP can just be set up on a projector into any gym space as I was keen to try and persuade my massive gym to look into it but unfortunately there is size specifications in the heights of the floor to ceilings and they can't just go into the normal studios. 
The rooms need to be purpose built brand new to specifically fit the animations. 

For myself cycle is a big love/hate relationship. I love it because I sweat like no tomorrow, I feel pain (good pain of course) and I love seeing my heartbeat raise. I told Chris I was loving the idea completely as for me as the animations would be a major distraction as I would be someone who would constantly look at the clock waiting to get out as you just feel like it's going on forever in a cycle class and the pain from sitting on the cycle bikes is a massive turn off.
The visual animations provide distraction from what you are doing, give you a sensation of speed being the movement, will trick your brain and climbing up those hills will need your energy as you know that you won't get to the top if you stop. 

Chris commented that it 'Takes a group exercise class and uses the group energy in an entertaining way.' 
Well... Chris, you have really got me super excited to be able to be apart of something amazing to happen in Melbourne at the Fitness and Health Expo.

The Fitness & Health Expo will be in Melbourne from the 29th May until 1st May. 
Visit the website here to find out more. 

Disclosure: This post has been made in collaboration with Les Mills. I was invited along to THE TRIP class at The Fitness & Health Expo in Melbourne as above mentioned with no expectation for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.


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