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Entries in Trever Ackerman (1)


The Secret to Les Mills' Success: Innovation

“Innovate or perish” is more than just an axiom at Les Mills.

Since its very inception, the Auckland, New Zealand–based provider of pre-choreographed fitness routines seems to have understood that it’s not enough to provide a great product. And it’s not enough to provide great support.
 In the highly competitive and swiftly moving health and fitness sector, a company also has to innovate nonstop, constantly upgrading its product, services, and support systems.

Since Les Mills introduced BODYPUMP, its first program, in 1990, until this spring, when it announced its new “Relationships Beyond Memberships” initiative—it’s been doing just that.

BODYPUMP, which seamlessly integrated aerobics, weights, and music, sparked a true evolution in group exercise, and provided the foundation for an international programming empire. Today, the company’s portfolio includes 20 scientifically based, licensed group fitness and team-training programs. Prominent among them are RPM (indoor cycling); BODYCOMBAT (mixed martial arts); BORN TO MOVE (youth-specific training); and the recently introduced LES MILLS SPRINT (high-intensity cycling) and LES MILLS GRIT.

The firm’s offerings are now staged in more than 17,500 clubs in 100 countries, and, each week, millions of people participate in at least one of their classes.

The company may be best known— and rightly so—for the inventiveness and effectiveness of its programming, but it’s always explored new, cutting-edge possibilities. In recent years, it’s moved into the realms of pop-up studios and virtual editions of its pro- grams. In 2014, Les Mills launched “Immersive Fitness,” an original group-ex concept that makes use of a spectacular purpose-built studio. Participants are surrounded by cinema-quality video projected on three walls, while an instructor cues exercise moves synchronized with music and graphics. 

“It’s an integration of technology, exercise education, and creative design,” says Les Mills, Jr., the founder’s grandson, who was involved in the program’s creation.

Continue reading about Les Mills' innovative programs in the August issue of CBI.