© Les Mills

The lesser known history of Les Mills global fitness programmes

Just type “BodypumpTM”, “BodyattackTM”, or “RPMTM” on Google. You will find tons of articles on these full-body workouts, and reasons why you should start lifting up weights. Being a Les Mills addict for 5 years now, I can only agree with these multiple reasons. I was hooked from the very first class and have achieved astonishing results benefitting both my body & mind.

As the most world-renowned fitness programmes, there is definitely something different about Les Mills. The family-run business obviously aims for a fitter planet, but it conveys such essential values as solidarity, confidence and well-being.

Les Mills brief history: from top athletes to business life

Les Mills was created in 1968 and is today recognised as one of the most powerful international businesses in the fitness industry. The Olympic athlete and founder, Les Mills Snr, wanted to make athletic workouts more accessible to all. When he opened his first gym in New Zealand, his wife and son – both also Olympic athletes – stood by his side.

In 1980, the son Philip Mills’ (now current CEO) launched the very first aerobics group workout, which later gave birth to the barbell workout BODYPUMPTM. Not only it contributed to making a fitter planet, but also to making women more at ease with strength training. Due to its large success, the concept enlarged and developed internationally.

The Les Mills family
The Les Mills family © Les Mills

The family spirit remains at the centre of the concept, with Philip Mills’ wife and children being programme directors. The instructors also convey such values by making you feel part of their tribe, transmitting their knowledge, correcting your technique, and always having the right words to kick your limits. Therefore, instructors have to go through a strict selection process. After taking an initial training and being tested in an assessment centre, only the best are selected and benefit from an ongoing training.

Les Mills going international

Les Mills now licenses 21 fitness programmes in no less than 100 countries around the globe. With such a wide range of workouts, it is needless to say that there is something for anyone regardless the physical condition: cardio, strength, dance, HIIT, core, yoga, martial arts and even specific classes aimed at the youngsters (Born to MoveTM).

The launch of the new releases every 3 months is always a good opportunity for local gyms to organise a special event in a friendly atmosphere. But when it comes to the international level, Les Mills sees things bigger. Every year, programmes directors and instructors tour the whole world – as if they were rock stars – to teach all Les Mills workouts to thousands of fitness addicts. Taking place in flagship venues in each city, these big-scale events are simply impressive, inspiring, and fun! Here is a glimpse into Les Mills Live at the Grand Palais in Paris last year:

On the occasion of and to celebrate the 100th release of BODYPUMPTM, a single worldwide launch event was organised on 14 January 2017. On that day, all licensed gyms around the world held a special class to present the release, which included lots of new moves for an ever more efficient workout. Les Mills China hold probably the most unique event in its 1500-year-old mountain temple, the Shaolin Monastery. Combining history and modernity, Bodypumpers and ancient Kung Fu masters performed their art in a heritage sacred place.

Just a few reasons…

If compared to other fitness classes I have joined in the past, none gave me the same motivation, energy and results as Les Mills training programmes. It simply seems like anything is possible, that any challenge is reachable. Why is it so different?

  • A scientifically proved workout: every single move, combination, or repetition is research-based for the healthiest and greatest results
  • No Excuses: so as to keep motivation and satisfaction high, any class includes easier or more athletic options for everybody and all physical conditions
  • Brand ambassadors: despite instructors promoting the brand, the quality of coaching remains the priority for an ever improved technique
  • The ‘lil extra motivation: a playlist perfectly matching the class spirit and a growing use of technology for an immersive workout experience
  • No surprises: new release, new music, new moves, but same exercise order, so you know exactly which muscle is going to suffer next 😉
  • Worldwide tribe: feeling like working out while on holidays? Join your favourite class anywhere in the world and perfect your summer body while meeting like-minded people
  • Online tips: Nutrition & technique advise, equipment and clothing sale

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