The Les Mills International Series

Back to the grind. Snore.

My best friend Bailey took this picture in 2nd year University…too much Stats.

I really needed this long weekend. It’s been a stressful month and a half since I started my new job in September and I was (and possibly still am) approaching burnout. I’m still in a little bit of mourning shock that it’s over!

I’ve got a jam-packed week and weekend ahead, and on the menu are not one but TWO race events! This Friday I’m going to be running in the Trek or Treat 5km Run, and on Sunday Matt (and his father Roy and brother Neil) are running in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (and Half Marathon). BRING ON THE MOTIVATION!!!

Today I want to kick off a “series” that will shed some light on an enormous part of my life. This part of my life will also be playing a huge role in my Ironman training.

Allow me to introduce you to…

The Les Mills International Series

(Otherwise known as “my classes” or “the classes I teach”)

This will be the first in a series of posts over the next few weeks shining a spotlight on each of the Les Mills group fitness classes that I teach, as well as the other classes that fall under the “Les Mills” group fitness empire. Prepare yourself. This might get nerdy.

Before I go any further, let me introduce you to the wonderful world of Les Mills. Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, Les Mills is a total global maven in group fitness classes. Started by a world class athlete named (you guessed it) Les Mills back in the 60’s as a simple fitness club, it was really the guy’s son Phillip Mills who pioneered the group fitness philosophy in the 80’s.

Phillip’s vision for group fitness was to put together classes that would “catch fire” and resonate across the entire world. He summed this up in two words: “One Tribe”.

The difference between his philosophy and other group fitness classes was simple:

  1. Put together the BEST pre-packaged group fitness product possible by investing a ton of cash and resources into research and development, trainers, doctors, physiotherapists, choreographers (and the list goes on)
  2. Film it and package it up nicely
  3. Distribute it around the world to be delivered by local instructors (trained and assessed under international Les Mills standards) in their home countries.

The “pre-packaged” thing and all of the R&D that went into the classes was totally unprecedented at the time.

But the real game changer was introducing weights into the largely female dominated group fitness world at a time when “weights were scary” and “women didn’t lift weights”.

Enter: BodyPump (or “Pump” as it was called until 1995)


BodyPump didn’t just catch fire. It exploded.

The combination of fantastic music, killer new and innovative moves and choreography, and extremely well-trained, educated instructors was a total smash hit. BodyPump made weight training accessible to everyone. Women loved it, but even more surprising at that time was that men loved it too.

And I guess as they say, the rest was history. With the success of BodyPump behind them, Les Mills never looked back. They developed the following programs over the next 12 years using the same tried, tested and true formula of research, research, research and training, training, training.

Each of their 10 programs has exploded around the world in just the same way that BodyPump did.




BodyFlow (or BodyBalance in the rest of the world)







**I teach the ones with the stars beside them! **

Today, Les Mills Group Fitness classes are in 77 countries around the world. It is estimated that globally over 7 million people per week participate in a Les Mills group fitness class.

This isn’t “a fitness class”.

It’s an epidemic.

I’ll leave you with some pictures from the Les Mills “tribe” that I’m a part of here in Canada.

BodyStep AIM with Sarah Robinson – August 2012

Stay tuned for “Spotlight on BodyAttack” coming to a screen near you soon! I’ll also touch on how I see each of my classes (and the others that I don’t teach as well) fitting into my Ironman training schedule over the next year.

Have a great evening!!

6 thoughts on “The Les Mills International Series

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