Keepland, the offline gym of China's fitness app Keep



· 2018.05.02

What's inside the newly opened Keepland? How do the instructors make sure everyone's movements safe and effective? What does the content research director do?

(Chinese Version)

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TMTpost's Note: The fitness industry enjoys a peak season in every spring as the weather gets warmer. The industry scale is growing in China as the consumer group expands. We have noticed numerous innovations in business models, including the abandonment of traditional annual membership, the emergence and evolution of surrounding industries such as healthy meal package and virtual health counselors.

Traditional gyms are opened on the Internet, with new content communities going offline. All these are because of the changes of lifestyle and way of socializing.

In early 2018, Keep, a social fitness app with 100 million online users, opened an offline fitness center called Keepland.

The small Keepland carries the ambition of Keep. Wang Ning, founder of Keep shared his ideas about the fitness center: open the gym near users to provide daily services, become part of the city infrastructure and young people's lifestyle.  

It has been 1.5 months since the first Keepland fitness center opened in Beijing on March 21, 2018. The fitness center currently only offers group calisthenics training, with 7 classes on every workday and 9 classes on weekends. A maximum number of 24 students is allowed for each class. The students need to make an appointment on Keep app, and each class charges from 25.9 RMB to 79 RMB.

TMTPost Image (Issue #70) paid a visit to the fitness center to find out what's going on there, and what missions it carries.

May 3, the 5th floor of East Wing, Beijing China Central Place. A trainee walks in Keepland for group free exercise.

Keepland now only offers group class, which starts at 7:00 am on weekdays and 10:40 am on weekends. In addition to some third-party classes like Les Mills and Zumba, Keepland also has self-developed MIXT class, which lasts 45 minutes. Third-party class lasts one hour, with a maximum number of 24 students, who must make appointments on Keep. Each class charges fee from 25.9 RMB to 79 RMB.
(7:30 am, May 3, Yang Mutian, Keepland Training Content Research Director teaches students at MIXT class.)

MIXT is a circuit training combining various strengths and dimensions together. Each MIXT class lasts 45 minutes and each circuit consists of 12 movements corresponding to the 12 numbers on the ground. After one movement is done, students can move to the place of the next number, and two people do the same movement at the same time. Each MIXT class has three circuits consisting of 36 movements, with one-minute break after each circuit, and 20 seconds break after each movement. "This is a very compact and efficient training system that features body shaping and fat reducing, as well as some core stability training," Yang said, "most people can find the goals they want to achieve in MIXT."

Yang Mutian corrects students' movements in front of the mirror. Yang walks around the training ground and observes each student's movements. He corrects wrong movements in the first place, and encourages physically poor students, to make them stay motivated by speaking loudly and playing music. As an instructor, Yang wants to keep the students' spirit high and make sure everyone's movements are safe and effective. As the Director of Keepland Training Content Research, Yang also needs to understand how the students feel about the movement process and workout strength of MIXT class to get feedback for optimizing the class.

Yang stretches with students after training. Yang said that compared with traditional gyms, Keepland's instructors are more like "teachers and friends" to the students. "We get along with each other. The students call me Yang or Martin rather than instructor. We are more like a tribe, a big family."

Xiao Lu is a class designer of Keepland. She attends every MIXT class to do class observation and feedback records. She observes each movement of the students, learning costs and instructors' loud speaking guidance, and records the students' and instructors' feedback on the training ground and WeChat group chat . The collected information will be used for optimizing MIXT class. Xiao Lu is also an instructor and gives 8 classes a week.

May 3 (11:45), an office worker comes to work out in Keepland during lunch break. The receptionist confirms her identity via the appointment QR code. The receptionist checks the students' ID, hands out locker keys, drinking water and sports bracelets to the students.  

Digital sports bracelets Keepland provides for students. The bracelets can monitor students' heart rate and show their heart rate changes on the TV screen in real time.

Keepland instructor Xin teaches students Zumba. The screen displays students' real-time heart rates. Keepland values all training records. Different heart rates indicate different thresholds of the students' body. The students can adjust their conditions based on the displayed numbers, while the instructor can also timely understand the students' body conditions.

After each class, "Rankings of Total Calories" and "Rankings of Effective Fat Burning" will be displayed on the screen. The former is for students who hope to burn much fat in a fixed period of time, while those who pay attention to the latter are care more about their exercise strength in a certain period of time. These data is not only shown to the students in Keepland, but will also be uploaded online to be used as the students' training diaries.     

The Zumba classroom has an irregular shape. There is a huge mirror covering the entire surface of the biggest wall of the room, helping students see their movements when working out.

By early May, Keepland has had 13 full-time and part-time instructors. Liu Gang is a part-time instructor who teaches Zumba and fat burning dance workout. With 14 years of instructor experience, Liu has won a lot of die-hard fans, and some of them even followed him to Keepland. Keep has enormous users and almost each class has new students, who always keep Liu passionate at the class. Liu enjoys teaching Keepland's 24-people small classes, because he can give attention to everyone's conditions.

Xiaobao (middle) is also a part-time instructor. She teaches body pumps and calorie-torching cardio-boxing workout in Keepland. Xiaobao has taught in several places over the past five years. "Keepland is employee friendly. The company signs contract with part-time instructors after equal communication, and respects the instructors' ideas and suggestions." Xiaobao told TMTPost Image that both the students and instructors want a good experience in a gym, and she likes to teach in Keepland because of the standard management and being respected. "Sometimes I have to turn down other classes so that I can come here," Xiaobao said.

Keepland's standard copyright operation also makes Xiaobao feel at ease when teaching. Certified instructors teaching at gyms without group class copyright may be suspended of their certificates. "Instructors also concern the standardization of a gym in addition to income and environment." Xiaobao believes offline workout industry will become increasingly standardized, which is a good guarantee to instructors. (The photo is Xiaobao and students are doing calorie-torching cardio-boxing workout.)

Mr. Shan works out at Xiaobao's body bump class. He's a student of Xiaobao from before. He traveled over 20 kilometers to take class in Keepland after work. "This class is really popular," Shan said. After the class schedule was released seven days ago, Shan and his friends kept refreshing the webpage on Keep and finally made an appointment. "I like the floor here, which is not slippery. The heart rate bracelet also works well, I care about my body's real-time data."

After each class, the instructors get everyone together to take a picture and invite new students to Keepland WeChat group, where everyone can share their workout experience and stories, and even give suggestions to Keepland.

9:00pm, May 3 - 25 minutes before the last class of the day starts. Students are waiting outside the gym room. Students of Keepland are mainly young fitness beginners who are also Keep online users. Bodybuilding is gradually becoming a rigid demand, selected retail workout products and effective original content may become the first choice of emerging exercisers.

【TMTPost Image seeks to accurately record those individuals in the Internet start-up tide. The images are real but cannot tell all. The images are free but also can be a trap. In the era of "online," let's discover more……】


The article is edited by @Yi LIU (Email:;  Mobile/WeChat: +86 13911703028). The Chinese version article is published with authorization from the author @Zack Chen, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.

Follow us now on Twitter @tmtpostenglish and Medium @TMTpost

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