This year, the young and ambitious fitness club World Class Monaco is two years old. During this time, not only did it win the trust of Russian residents already familiar with the brand, but it also attracted a more conservative French clientele.
The club’s manager, Dmitry Grishin, told us how World Class won the Monegasque audience. Dmitry has been a fitness professional for the past 13 years. It’s his love of dancing that brought him into the industry. He started on his path of becoming the Monaco fitness centre’s manager back in 2004. That’s when he won a competition for a coach position. The “World Class gave me an incredible life test,” recalls Dmitry.“There were only twelve of us selected out of 300 participants.” After a six-month internship, only seven coaches were allowed to work with clients. Dmitry was among them. He calls it a “Star Factory”. He was then entrusted with a television coaching project bearing that same name. At the same time it was a survival school: “We all changed our lives drastically, setting out on a difficult path of becoming the best coaches in the country and meeting the relevant standards. The bar was set incredibly high for us by the World Class network and Olga Slutsker.” Over these 13 years, Dmitry held various positions: coach, supervisor, fitness manager. He is now facing an interesting task – that of managing international projects and developing the first European “World Class Monaco”.
How did you come up with the idea of opening the World Class club on the Cote d’Azur?
We have long considered the idea of opening fitness clubs in Europe, in particular in the UK and Spain. An active member of the very first Moscow fitness club, a current investor in World Class Monaco, inspired us with the plan for construction of a French Riviera fitness centre.
Many Russian businessmen famously live on the Riviera with their families and are members of our clubs in Russia. They could not find the same service here and therefore supported the idea of a local World Class, acquired a membership and became regulars at our training sessions. Two years later our main clientele are French-speaking Monaco residents, although we were initially targeting the Russian audience. I am very happy to see our compatriots coming to us today and thanking us for our work.
Why World Class?
Initially, the investor considered other brands, but the World Class was selected because of its 27-year experience in fitness clubs, construction and management. Our coaches are also globally recognized professionals in the sports industry.
In what way do you think the World Class is fundamentally different from other fitness clubs?
First of all, I would like to compliment Russian people for their working capacity, ambition and a healthy desire to have lots of interesting work. We are currently leaders in the premium and luxury segments, we are actively growing and showing excellent performance. The World Class network has 40 clubs of its own and 40 franchises.
Each one of our clubs has a unique design: zoning, simulators, light refraction angles, scenarios of where to place customers – everything is thought through to the smallest detail. Our coaches are carefully selected and trained. Among them, there is even a French boxing champion. You can thus see a Doctor of Science, lecturer at the University of Nice-Sofia Antipolis, in our boxing ring. All the gyms are also equipped with the best simulators. Improvements and new training methods are introduced every month. Our strategy specialists regularly attend international professional exhibitions, learning the best there.
But the main thing is the people who work in our clubs, as they are sincere and empathetic, always ready to help. This is our main strength and value.
What do you think forms the main concept of the club? What is the club atmosphere in this sports centre?
I have always said that World Class is much more than just a fitness club. This is a unique place. Alongside with the training opportunities, it offers an atmosphere of friendship, support and interesting contacts.
We offer our clients a rich entertainment programme. We are also very active socially. In the winter our clients were invited to the White Christmas at Villa Efrussi de Rothschild organised in partnership with TRIDVORNOVA Art Bureau and Trust Events.
As to the Saint Valentine’s Day celebration, the members of the club attended an incredible Venetian Ball in Monte-Carlo. In addition, we organise presentations, contemporary art exhibitions and exclusive private events. The last one was held in September by the “Art Golden Din Monaco” gallery and presented Sergei Grinevich paintings.
The club gives you emotions, a desire to come back and share energy with people.
Tell us about “Les Mills” training system, why was it chosen?
It is now a large and incredibly successful international company. Les Mills programmes are available in more than 15,000 fitness clubs in 75 countries. Every week about 6 million people join these group classes.
For the past 10 years we’ve been closely cooperating with the European office of Les Mills and its Aix-en-Provence training centre. The company all started in New Zealand. That’s where its founder Philip Mills held his first group classes on a basis of a chosen choreography. What is behind it? When you come to a training, for three months you will be hearing the same music and performing the same movements. On the one hand, the training becomes predictable and easily adaptable to your level of preparation. On the other hand, you don’t have to think at all, just listen to the music and lean on your muscle memory, which really allows you to relax and enjoy the activity.
Many programmes with different goals have been designed on this principle. Our club offers the following choice: Body Pump, RPM, Body Balance, Body Attack.
What is the heritage of the Russian World Class and what are the differences with the French Riviera Club?
Our local structure fully meets the World Class network standards. In addition, the main office specialists carry out regular trainings and supervise the work of our club.
There are, however, some differences. Unlike Russia, the Riviera has beautiful weather all year round. We are not confined by the club walls. A major outdoor training project is therefore part of our development strategy. We already offer our clients a functional training Boot Camp, we also do yoga outside. In the future, we are planning to introduce running, Nordic walking and even swimming lessons in the open water.
Monaco residents are famously always on the move. Successful people live between several countries and typically spend summer in Monaco and several weeks in winter before going to the European ski resorts.
We have adapted our membership model to this lifestyle and we give our clients a choice of flexible options. Moscow clubs only sell annual cards, while we can offer a short membership of one, three and six months. There is also a very convenient Travel Pass – you can purchase a certain number of visits and use them throughout the year. I do believe that we really took into account all the wishes of our Cote d’Azur customers.
How would you assess your success rate over the past two years? What were your main difficulties?
Our network in Russia is a recognised leader and a guarantee of quality fitness. Here on the French Riviera we had to earn our reputation from the scratch. When launching our club, we did face some difficulties. The French are conservative, they do care about the reputation of the institution, and recommendations from friends or colleagues are very important. It took us a whole year to hit the necessary membership target. Our sports club and the salon database now counts about 1,500 people.
What are your plans for the future?
We have plenty of ideas since our mission here is much broader than in Moscow. We are willing to support the sports development strategy in the Principality and create an innovative laboratory of fitness technologies in Monaco. We are also promoting our social project “Fitness without borders and barriers”. Its mission is to involve all population groups in the active lifestyle, including adolescents, the elderly and people with disabilities.
How are you going to celebrate the club’s 2nd anniversary?
We strive to offer our clients the events that are out of the main track. This year’s programme will also be special. Our first anniversary was a large formal event opened by La Scala star Delia Noble. We then honoured the most active club members, and held a fashion and a battle ring show.
This year we are holding the World Class Athletic Games and are ready to host more than a hundred people for our sports competitions. The obstacle course will include many challenges, including the sea. A large fitness disco will be held in the evening. We are happy to invite our clients, their friends and partners to relax and train in an atypical atmosphere.
On the occasion of the club’s second anniversary we are also holding a competition #goworldclassmonaco in the social networks where you can win membership cards.
What is there to expect from World Class in the next year?
Monaco is a very competitive environment, I will not disclose all our secrets. I can say though that it will be a busy year. Our Pro Nutrition by World Class is gaining popularity – we select most progressive sports nutrition brands and superfoods and organise their Internet sales. Very soon the Outdoor Club Monaco will be launched and open to all visitors without a membership obligation.
It is in this way that the fitness club World Class Monaco is celebrating a successful two years, with more exciting plans coming up.