Les Mills On Demand Review
I used to be a massive fan of the Les mills brand and so I was excited to do a review of the on demand service to see if would be as good as I hoped it would be.
Les Mills, the fitness brand started way back in 1968 with four-time olympian Les Mills started his first gym in New Zealand, Auckland. But it was Phillip Mills and his wife Jackie that turned the brand into the phenomenon that it is today, being specifically known for its group exercise classes that are driven by the beat of the music and become iconic with the Les Mills workouts and formats.
Today’s version of Les Mills offers a massive range of fitness programs and some really great workouts, each with its own unique focus and style. Here is a brief description of some of their popular programs that are available on the on demand service which you can gain access to for just £15 as a monthly subscription and gain unlimited access to classes from your living room.
- BODYPUMP: This is one of the first and original programs. A weight-based resistance training program that uses a barbell and adjustable weight plates. Designed to tone and sculpt muscles and improve strength and endurance. You are most likely to have heard this their flagship programme this as it’s still the most popular fitness program to this day.
- BODYCOMBAT: This is a high-energy martial arts-inspired workout. The program combines moves from various martial arts styles such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, and muay thai. Again this is one of the early programmes and one of the most popular. It’s also m y own personal favourite.
- BODYBALANCE: This is a yoga-inspired workout program that incorporates elements of tai chi and pilates. The program focuses on flexibility, balance, and relaxation.
- RPM: This is a cycling-based cardio workout program, similar to spin classes. The program is designed to improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance through high-intensity interval training on a stationary bike.
- BODYATTACK: This is a high-energy cardio workout program that combines athletic movements such as running, lunges, and jumps. The program is designed to improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance. This program is like your old school aerobics style but super high evergy with lots of bouncing and jumping.
- GRIT: This is their high intensity interval training (HIIT) program that combines cardio, strength and plyometrics to maximize calorie burn and increase endurance. This is a 30 minute program, but the intensity certainly hits the spot.
- SH’BAM: This one of the newer programmes is a fun and energetic dance-based workout program. The program is designed to improve cardiovascular fitness and coordination while having fun.
- CXWORX: This is a 30-minute core workout program that focuses on strengthening the abdominal and lower back muscles. The program is designed to improve core strength and stability.
- BARRE: A ballet-inspired workout that uses a combination of ballet, yoga, and Pilates to tone and sculpt the muscles. The class is designed to improve flexibility, balance, and overall body strength.
- BORN TO MOVE – These are a range of kids classes that bring in movement, music and games for kids in different age ranges.
My Les Mill experience
I qualified to teach Body Pump and Body Combat way back in 2008 and from the minute go, these programmes were exactly my jam. I can’t believe that as I write this, that is now 15 years ago. Remembering the music from body pump 64 (I did have to go and look up the release number) but the cheesy high vibes of ‘More Than A Feeling’ or ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’ still gives me that tingly, let’s get ready to workout feeling to this day.
I really loved the music that Les Mills used, cheesy pop music that you just can’t help but sing along to.
As I was coming to the end of my Les Mills teaching the music started to change. I’m not sure if it was Les Mills who no longer want to pay the fees to original artists, but they started using more licence-free music. This is music from cover artists or unknown music that you don’t have to pay fortunes to be able to use. Many of these just never seemed to hit quite the same. So I was very interested to see what the music is like, now 10 years on.
Les Mills really do know something about creating epic experiences for group exercise programmes. Now as a more mature instructor and coach, I can see some things within the programmes that I do take a little issue with. I do think that the Les mills brand were to blame for the whole don’t squat lower than 90 degrees it’s bad for your knees nonsense.
I can see that this was introduced in the name of safety and they do have a focus in the coaching on good form. But years of limiting what is a fairly natural movement is a disservice to the human body and as I have evolved as a coach, mobility work and strength through a bigger and natural range of functional movements is something that I am a big supporter of now.
However, the magic of having a large group of people in a room together, moving your body, sweating profusely to some great music super cheesy Choons had me hooked from my very first release.
Movement in time with music, high energy instructor and magic is made on the gym studio floor. Ok as a group fitness instructor, I’m a little biased, but it really is something special for fitness enthusiasts.
I only stopped teaching the programmes because I moved away from teaching in clubs and opened my own fitness studio and the programme licences are just beyond the affordability of smaller boutique types studios such as the one I was creating.
I was intrigued to see if the on-demand portal could deliver the same high-energy Les mills experience in your own home and get to relive some of my early fitness years to see if I did indeed still enjoy it as much as I remember doing.
Here I am going to give a brief review of the ones I have gone through so far. If I was to do every single thing in there, this would turn into a very long article.
This programme is more of a mind-body session combining moves from Tai Chi, Pilates and yoga. This was a great introduction back to movement after time out and just coming back from a holiday.
Though I enjoyed the workout, it was pleasant enough, it did not blow me away. It wasn’t quite as I remembered it when I had done it before, the music was all a bit blah but I did enjoy the flow of the moves and the mix of mobility, slow flow with some power and strength moves included to give it a good balanced workout even though my internet connection did play up a little and was maybe ruining the ambience.
I decided to scroll back as far as I could because I have heard that it’s the more recent releases where the music doesn’t measure up to what it once was. I did the 55-minute session of Bodypump 90. New workout videos are released every quarter and so there are so many releases to be able to choose from.
I like that they have broken up the formats so that if you are short on time you can do either an upper body, a lower body or a metabolic blast in their range of 30, 45, and 55-minute formats. Having the time and so went in for the full 55-minute session.
I have to admit, I completely loved the workout experience, the music, the moves, it just really took me right back to my early years of teaching group exercise. Maybe it was a little bit of nostalgia, but I walked away from the workout with a smile on my face, and the trembling muscles that comes with an intense workout. I really feel that the Les Mills programs always deliver a feel good experience no matter your fitness goals or which program you choose to follow.
Now as a more experienced instructor, I did notice that on the squat track because of the pace of the music, I didn’t quite hit the squat depth that I would usually work towards. It was also a very rude awakening that my strength endurance isn’t quite what it used to be and man this workout burns as the reps in these workouts are high.
To do a whole 5 minute track on one body part burns like a mother, especially the tricep track ewwwwww.
Feeling the burn in the muscle isn’t what justifies a workout as being a good, or indeed effective BUT there is something very satisfying about making to the end knowing you endured the challenge.
That was always something that I loved about these sessions, the pump in the muscles and the feeling of having really pushed yourself. I also had to really drop my weight from what I thought I would be able to do because of the high rep range. I found it really hard, even though I am someone who trains regularly.
On week two I did another more recent Bodypump session and I really enjoyed it just as much. I didn’t recognise all of the music tracks but it didn’t take away too much from my experience of the workout.
I feel I still need to mix up my workouts with some lower rep range sessions to work on pure strength, but that is my own personal preference.
Next on my try list was Grit. I did the 30 minute grit strength session as I was short on time. Les Mills grit is the 30-minute high-intensity interval training exercise programme series where the energy is high, even if the workout is short.
This was my first time doing this class format and I enjoy this style of interval training as it’s similar to what I am used to doing. I did have to stop 20 mins in though as the tracks were quite shoulder dominant. I have been having some neck and shoulder pain which I think is from sitting at my desk too much. Then that compounded with the DOMS I am still feeling from last weeks Bodypump class meant it was a bit too much.
I really wanted to still hit the beat of the music in this class and I found that I was way behind the speed of the instructors. The competitive part of me was annoyed at this, but the coach in me told me to keep on prioritising my own form over speed. It’s something to be aware of, especially for beginners.
I love the shorter 30 minute class formats.
I’ve gone on to try Grit Cardio and Grit Athletic, again loving the style of training and incredibly high intensity and challenging but still packed into the 30 minute format. Using more moderate weights and they certainly get you to peak your heart rate. The Grit series are a win for me just as long as I can remain calm and remember to just go at my own pace.
Body combat was always my absolute favourite and coming to do the latest release of Body combat didn’t disappoint. Though I didn’t really know many of the songs, maybe just one of them. I still felt the energy and the vibe of what many of us have come to love about body combat.
It’s more of a cardio workout but I love the combat moves that cover different elements of martial arts to combine power through punching and kicking. Bodycombat just makes you feel like a powerful badass and that you could totally kick someones ass if you ever needed to do so.
Again I like that they have adapted to offer 30, 45 and 55 minute options. I was actually feeling a little under the weather, and also short on time so I opted for the 30-minute session and still managed to work up a sweat without leaving myself completely exhausted. I definitely want to try and get the full version in once I am feeling 100% and to give it my everything.
I am not a dancer, but I have done years of pole fitness which includes elements of dance, but I am certainly no ballet dancer.
Despite not knowing the names of the ballet moves (i presume these would come over time) I actually quite enjoyed this session. You can really feel a different type of intensity with the moves and routines. An intensity that lets you know that you are using more of the smaller more stabilising muscles that you may not normally use in many traditional fitness moves.
There is a great emphasis on holding posture which I think is a really good thing for so many of us (myself included) that may not always hold the best posture as we spend too much time at our desks.
This session also has a lot of balance and stability work. And as someone who has very stiff ankles from trail running, I felt that this workout would help improve ankle strength and stability.
Though there were some higher impact options with the different leaps, it can also be done low impact too.
In all, I was surprised at how much I liked this session. Having never done a barre class before, I don’t have anything to compare it to. I enjoyed the moves, could feel the benefit that my joints and muscles would get from this session and appreciated the upbeat and modern music that it was set to.
It’s way off my usual preferred style, so not sure it would be my go-to workout, especially when I am short on time. But I think my body would really benefit from adding this cross-training session into my schedule when I have the time and space to do so.
This is one of their newer programmes and I feel its intention is to compete with the likes of Zumba. Though I really like that it does include a lot of different dance styles such as rave, pop, commercial, Old school and jazz.
Ok, so I can’t give a full review on this because I only got through the warm-up on this and dance style workouts are just not me and I absolutely was not feeling it at all.
I have watched the videos and they look really fun. If you love to dance I think you would love these, but it just was not for me.
The List Could Go On & On……
This review was initially meant to be for a 30-day period, as you can actually trial Les Mills On Demand for a FREE 30 day trial, but I have now had it for about 3 months and still haven’t tried out every programme and they keep on adding in new ones.
I still haven’t yet tried out Body Attack or Body Step. I have done these programmes in the past and really enjoyed them.
There is now also a workout called tone, which once again I really enjoyed as this is similar to Body Pump style, but with a mix of more bodyweight moves and functional movement. I’m not sure I love the name of the TONE program, but I can see why they name it that, as it’s something that a lot of people relate to saying they want to experience with their body transformations. I enjoyed this and the CXWORKS which I have just done this week.
There is also a range of plans and challenges which include more structured programming and help with mindset and nutrition and each is prescribed for different fitness levels. It’s essential for beginners or anyone in need of a little more structured guidance of how to programme different workout formats into your weekly schedule and make sure you are adding in those essential rest days too. I love that these include hybrid workouts too, so taking tracks from different programmes and mixing them up into one workout. I want to try one of these next.
There is a range of lower impact variations and also mat pilates program too. They also have a 6 week nutrition programme that talks all about ditching dieting, embracing mindfulness and introducing journaling, meditation and how to eat mindfully which I think is really powerful, especially for total beginners and those looking for sustainable weight loss. I haven’t been through the programme, but the titles and the list of content is making all of the right noises that I think are important for any wellness journey.
This review could get seriously long if I was to review in full every single programme on there. There is such a huge variety of workouts available and a monumental library of workouts to choose from.
There really is something for everyone, no matter if you have a busy schedule or are just starting out as a beginner on your fitness journey.
To summarise, in case you hadn’t guessed I really love Les Mills on Demand.
The workouts are fun and there is just a tonne to choose from. Normally that may overwhelm people, but they have that covered with their programmes and challenges.
It’s at a great affordable price and has a load of equipment-free options. You can access the online workouts through the Les Mills website, or through a smart TV of amazon fire tv, apple tv and is a strong candidate against many of the fitness apps available.
You don’t have to have any equipment to get started, but if you are going to commit to these programmes it would be beneficial to invest in some dumbells and resistance bands to really help you progress especially with the strength training aspect of the workout plans.
Les Mills do sell their branded equipment, but it is pricy. Their full set of a step, bar, plates and resistance band is £499, but that does come with access to the online plan or a smart resistance band. Though I don’t have these I’d expect good quality and what you would see at your local gym in the classes.
You could get a similar set up from Amazon for which definitely would not be the same quality but would be more affordable for many people.
**(note that this is an affiliate link, this means I may make a small commission if you choose to purchase this product through my link, but at no additional cost to you. Using affiliates supports my small business)
This home pump set from Amazon comes to around £75 with delivery, it’s actually the delivery that really bumps up the price. HERE I share all of my Amazon home workout favourites.
I used what I already had in my home gym, you can see my own set up in the image below.
I supplemented plates with dumbells and used the resistance bands I already had. I do only have an Olympic lifting bar which was a bit too heavy for me to use the bar for the chest track (even without any plates on) and so I just supplement with my dumbbells.
In all these are effective high-quality workouts that are also a lot of fun which I think is really important. And for £15 per month, it’s also really affordable, once you have your set up in place.
I’m a massive fan of home workouts, I know they are not for everyone, but for me, they just work. They are more time efficient I can do them at a time that suits me and I don’t have to travel anywhere. As an introvert, I actually really love not having other people around, it’s just some good solid me time.
I’m also an outgoing introvert so I do also love the vibe of a group fitness class so I do like to mix in both. I’m also pretty self motivated, so if you know you will just turn it off once the going gets tough, then maybe a in person session may be a better option for you.
If you are going to commit to home workouts and have the space, I think it’s worth the investment in some basic kit. Bodypump is a great introduction to weight lifting, especially for women who are often weary of picking up heavy weights, but women are also the people who really need to integrate strength training into their programmes the most.
I also love that you can sign up to a 30 day free trial, so that you can try it out for yourself. You can use my friend referral code, this just means I get a free month if you decide to sign up.
I hope you enjoyed this Les Mills On Demand review and found it useful in helping you to make your decision.
If you have other apps or programmes you would like me to check out for you, then let me know in the comments.
You can check out my other review posts below: