Les Mills International is a New Zealand company that is the world's largest provider of pre-choreographed exercise-to-music programs[1] distributed to health clubs. The first Les Mills program was BODYPUMP, and there are currently seven variants of this program.

History of Les Mills International Edit

Les Mills International was founded by Phillip Mills and named after his father, Les Mills, four-time Olympian and founder of the Les Mills World of Fitness chain of gyms in Auckland, New Zealand.

Phillip Mills in 1980 developed a series of exercise-to-music programmes that would later become the Les Mills programmes in current release. Their success in the Les Mills gyms in New Zealand led Phillip to release them internationally. After a successful debut in Australia, the programmes have expanded to more than 10,000 gyms and health clubs in 55 countries, with an estimated four million participants every week taking a Les Mills class.

In 2004, Phillip Mills was Ernst & Young's New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year, and the following year he competed in Monaco as a finalist for Ernst & Young's World Entrepreneur of the Year award. In 2005, Les Mills International was named New Zealand Services Exporter of the Year by NZ Trade & Enterprise.

The Les Mills Programs Edit

Currently eight Les Mills group-fitness programs are in release. Four are floor-based aerobic routines using different themes (BODYSTEP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYATTACK and BODYJAM), with aerobic routine using an exercise bicycle (RPM), a weights program (BODYPUMP), and a strength and flexibility class using techniques of Pilates, Yoga and Tai-Chi (BODYBALANCE, known as BODYFLOW in Canada and the United States of America) and BODYVIVE (a low-impact class aimed at active adult gym members in their 40s, 50s and 60s).

University research has compared the caloric expenditure of some of the Les Mills programs (see further academic references below).


  1. Felstead, Bishop, Fuller, Jewson, Lee, Unwin (2006). "Moving to the music: Learning processes, training and productive systems - the case of exercise to music instruction". London, United Kingdom, p.6.


  • Lythe J., Pfitzinger, P. Caloric expenditure and aerobic demand of Bodystep, Bodyattack, Bodycombat and RPM. Auckland: UniSports, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 1999:15.
  • Pfitzinger P, Lythe J. The aerobic demand and energy expenditure during BODYPUMP. Auckland: University of Auckland, 1999:17
  • Lythe, J., Pfitzinger, P. and Ho, D. The Physical and Psychological Response to 13 weeks of Structured Group-fitness Exercise in Untrained Individuals. UniSports Centre for Sport Performance, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 2000:33.
  • Stanforth, D., Stanforth, P.R., & Hoemeke, M.P. (2000). Physiologic and metabolic responses to a Body Pump workout. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 14, 144-150.

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