LEE MULLINS The founder of Bulgari Hotel’s Workshop Gymnasium talks to Kate Cracknell about the brand’s international roll-out as the Bulgari portfolio grows What’s your background? I played football to a pretty high level until I was 16, but then I got injured and never really came back from that injury properly. But through the process of rehab I fell in love with the gym-based side of training and went on to do my personal training qualifications after my A levels. I ended up studying exercise, sport and nutrition at university – all the time still working as a PT. During a family holiday in Dubai, I was approached by someone for training advice. I ended up working for him privately, and this turned into a hugely valuable experience. He had an underactive thyroid, and that hormonal side of things was a whole new area for me. I found a specialist course in Florida and it was the best thing I ever did – it gave me a holistic perspective in which
We don’t run Workshop like a hotel gym. It’s a high-performance training centre that happens to be based at a hotel training, nutrition, lifestyle, sleep quality and recovery, hormone health and more all came together. In fact, it made me realise how little I knew, so I ended up doing a series of courses. I think that’s the biggest mistake personal trainers make generally: they get their qualification and just want to get to work. But you have to keep reinvesting in your education. You have to keep your eyes open to new knowledge all the time.
How and when did you create the brand? I continued working as a PT, building up a loyal client base and challenging myself to keep learning the whole time to ensure I delivered results for my very varied clients. And then, a few years ago, Bulgari Hotels approached me. They wanted to develop a wellbeing brand for their hotels, and wanted to work with me. It was oﬀ the back of these conversations that I developed the Workshop concept, which we launched in the Knightsbridge hotel in October 2014, followed by Milan last summer.
What is the Workshop concept?
Mullins was approached by Bulgari to create the concept
healthclubmanagement.co.uk October 2017 ©Cybertrek 2017
The first point to make is that we don’t run it like a hotel gym. It’s a high-performance training centre that just happens to be based at a hotel. The training methods we use are tried and tested: pilates, yoga, boxing, swimming, bodyweight training and weights. It’s the sort of training our clients and guests from across the globe will recognise – but more importantly, this is our approach because it works. Latching on to new trends may get a short-term PR splash, but we play the long game. Training hasn’t really changed in the last 30 years – things just get wrapped up in new packages – so we stick with methods proven to work.