Lori, manager at The Basement LDN, gives an insight into how the gym has transformed and what exciting things are on the horizon.
What’s changed for you over the year of lockdowns?
So much has changed for us over the course of the most recent lockdowns. We are delighted to be able to reopen our doors this Spring, since originally opening in Kentish Town last year. We are particularly excited about continuing to carve out an identity as an independent boutique fitness space in North London. Since unlocking this April there has been a notable shift in energy from our members, everyone is so excited to get back to their training programmes and it is a privilege to be able to help them with this.
We are very proud of the fact that our team has remained unchanged since our original opening last year. These are the people who work with members on a daily basis and it means so much to us that we have been able to retain a wonderful team of individuals, who really do operate more like a family given the independent and local nature of the business. Similarly, we have been humbled and touched to experience the loyalty and kindness of our members – many continued to support us throughout lockdown by sending thoughtful messages of goodwill despite their own difficult circumstances, and we have really appreciated the strong community that we have around us.
Whilst we have maintained a lot of the original membership, we have also been happy to welcome new customers who have been working from home during the pandemic, unable to visit their usual city gyms. The last few weeks have shown just what a refreshing, alternative and vibrant space the club can be.
How has your offering developed a result of these changes?
We recognised very quickly that there was going to be a prolonged disruption to ‘normal’ life, and that it would be irresponsible to assume that everything would suddenly revert back to “normal” once lockdown was over. As a result, we decided to reconfigure our offering, creating training ‘pods’ that our clients could book into with their social bubble or household, providing they were happy to do so. We created a platform of virtual training sessions that can be screened within these pods, and we update them on a regular basis so that members can have a refreshed experience each time they visit. We make sure that the equipment is thoroughly cleaned for every use, making it as safe as possible.
By doing this, we can offer a facility that loosely resembles the previous gym experience. We believe that the social aspect of working out is really important to people as they can benefit from meeting likeminded members who might be facing similar physical challenges. Through the pods, we have been able to support this need with safer interaction for our clients.
What other changes can we expect in the future?
We’re planning to develop our brand in a way that will help our members make more informed choices when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, and will be exploring some ideas around activewear and ergonomics. We also have immediate plans to reconfigure our free weights area to create an immersive training environment that is truly welcoming to all members, whether complete beginners or expert lifters.
What sets The Basement apart from other gyms in the area?
We try to stand out by creating an environment that breaks down barriers and allows people from all walks of life to feel comfortable working out. No matter what your fitness goals are, you never feel out of place. We like to think of ourselves as the local coffee shop of gyms, an environment that people want to enjoy being in – the cherry on top being a gym with a strong sense of individual identity, always executed with a personal touch. We know many of our members on a first name basis, and proudly maintain an active dialogue within our community to ensure we are always doing what we can to deliver a premium experience.
Have you been able to collaborate with anyone locally?
We have a great new set up with Highgate School. Their own fitness facilities haven’t been in use due to Covid, so we have been hiring out our training pods exclusively to groups of their students during our quieter times. We’ll be looking into working with other schools too, as well as building more relationships in the area.
Finally, what makes you feel hopeful for the future?
It’s been noticeable that people have become more health conscious and keen to participate in exercise as a result of what’s going on around us. We think it means that gyms will continue to have an important part to play in society in the longer term, from both a physical and mental health point of view. It has been lovely to see that our members have felt comfortable returning to the club and are continuing to stick to their fitness goals.