International Women's Day, a day to celebrate badass females, so it seems a good time to introduce you all to our Group Fitness Director, Hannah Curtis Nunn. Having spent 12 years at Gymbox, you’ll be hard pushed to meet anyone who knows this place better than her. But it’s also a chance to finally put a face to all those classes you can’t get enough of. Yes, this is the brilliant (and maybe slightly crazy) mind leading the creation of London’s most unique studio timetable – and we caught up with her to get the lowdown on where all those ideas come from.
What led you to getting your initial job at Gymbox, and how has your role progressed over the 12 years?
I moved to London from Dublin in 2005 and worked for a few years in Canary Wharf before a Manager at Gymbox put me forward for a position opening their third site. I opened Gymbox Bank as General Manager in September of 2008 as the recession hit and riots broke out surrounding the club, so it was anything but a dull introduction to the brand.
I worked directly with the founders when I started, they would share marketing pitches from agencies and throw class ideas around the office, it was exciting to be part of a company that had few rules and quite liked turning all the mundane or dated fitness ideals on its head and challenging it.
What's your thought process like for coming up with the Gymbox classes - are you usually inspired by anything in particular? What’s the process?
I work with a great team to get the classes launched each trimester and it's different every time. Sometimes there's an interesting piece of tech that sparks and idea like the push devise (BOLT) and other times we spend time researching trends from music videos and film (Sword Play) to trending google searches like ASMR (Braingasm) it's then off to the studios to work with experts, master trainers and our team of instructors to workshop the class idea.
Each launch takes about 3-4 months from ideation to hitting the studios. The ideas aren't easy to pull off and making a class fun but credible takes time with a lot of testing till it's right. Once we have the class right, we work on storyboarding the video and photography to shoot the classes and campaign. We work closely with the marketing team and work out our strategy for launching the class in clubs and through the press. We then work with the copywriter and graphic designer to work up posters to launch around the clubs.
As you've been with Gymbox for 12 years, you must have witnessed a lot of changes and developments to the brand. What's been one of your biggest achievements?
For sure, notably the number of clubs, technology has improved the class experience, new open studio spaces and a category dedicated to aerial are just a few but we've worked hard to keep our core values and teams we recruit the same as day one.
I guess building the team and structure that's enabled the business grow to 12 sites comfortably. We run in excess of 1283 classes a week with 99% of the programming our own. As businesses grow they need to change processes to scale and this can take away from the creativity and magic that makes a business successful in the first place. But by putting together the training team for the Studio Academy made up of Master Trainers who have all grown with the business, I’m surrounded by people who know the DNA of Gymbox.
What are your top ten Gymbox classes of all time?
Show Wrestling - Gymbox teamed up with Progress Wrestling and offered you the chance to train as a show wrestler.
Cannabliss - We offered London a high like no other in a CBD-infused recovery session.
Sword Play - Bringing choreographed combat and an ancient art form together to turn our members into total weapons..
Superfly - Flying through the air on bungees is just one of a few ways we help members turn their workouts upside-down
Trapeze - Hanging upside-down from this famous circus kit isn’t only a great way to tone up and burn calories, but the class always ensures a giggle.
Shway - Bringing 70’s vibes firmly into 2020, this full body dance class is full of isolation's, old skl disco, and 100% sass.
Braingasm - Gymbox got inside members’ heads with the very first ASMR group classes bringing spine-tingling results to the capital.
Whiplash - Who said skipping was left in the playground? We whip Londoners into shape with this sweat-drenching, footwork-perfecting workout.
Paddleboard Yoga - Taking yoga to the next level by adding in the ‘fun’ of instability in the shape of a west-coast surf board.
Contortion - Big on backbends, focused on flexibility - its yoga, but with a twist.
What's one of your goals for the coming year at Gymbox?
Over the next 18 months we'll be adding to our education program, we have begun to offer members and the wider public a chance to gain qualifications through our academy like our Aerial Foundations Course, we started this due to a lack of instructors and now see members starting their journey attending trapeze and hoop classes and qualifying to lead them.
Our next site will be opening in Finsbury Park this summer so getting their timetable on point and launching another 5 classes in May and September across all clubs should keep us focused.
And, as this is for International Women's Day: are they any specific women who inspire you, or have helped you get where you are today?
I think two trainers who I've followed for a good few years are Joslyn Thompson Rule, She's a great advocate of female trainers getting started in the industry and offering mentorships, I'd have loved to have a female mentor on my journey so it's great to see this. The other, Esmee Gummer, worked at Gymbox with me for a few years and made her name launching a boutique but more recently does great work on promoting training outdoors for mental health.
We also have some badass females at Gymbox. So many to mention from HR and Talent Managers to copywriters and Club staff who work hard to balance our brand everyday as well as all the incredible instructors who bring the classes and timetables to life every week!