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How Les Mills Supports Your Fitness Goals

Hey guys!

So they blogs have fairly slowed down over the winter season, but whenever an idea pops up I eventually get around to writing it!!

Sometimes I struggle for inspiration, or am too busy to let it find me. I enjoy writing Les Mills related posts because - besides there being a lot to talk about (!) - I think they receive the most interest of all topics. So I'd love to know what you think? Is there something you'd like to read more about, or need help with? If so, drop me a message on Facebook or Instagram and I'll see what I can do :)

Today's post is about what your Les Mills classes can do for you.

Whether it be live sessions, or perhaps more increasingly these days, Les Mills On Demand, this can be your quick guide to the programmes and how they support your fitness goals and lifestyle.

This blog will structured around three topic areas based on a lot of posts I see on social media with people asking;

1. about the benefits of a certain programme,

2. what the difference is between programmes that might *seem* similar, and

3. people aren't getting the maximum benefit from their memberships either!

These classes are excellent resources that can support you in lots of different ways.

1. What are the benefits of all the programmes?

There are 15 Les Mills programmes in total.. how many have you tried??

BODYPUMP* - A full body workout targeting the major muscle groups of the body. Using moderate weight selections, and choreographed to music, it aims to build muscle tone and burn fat. Perhaps LES MILLS' most popular programme across the globe?

BODYCOMBAT - A Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) inspired workout (non-contact) which aims to lift the heart rate and condition the body.

BODYATTACK - High-energy 'aerobics' style workout to increase cardio capacity and put a big smile on your face!

BODYBALANCE - Low impact yoga-based class with a blend of pilates and tai-chi elements. Low impact and designed to calm, stretch and gently condition your body from head to toe.

BODYSTEP¬ - A step-based workout to lift your heart rate and burn your legs and glutes. High-energy and modern take on the classic step workout.

BODYJAM - Dance-based class with a deep focus on movement and choreography, building your routine through the duration of the class and strutting your stuff.

SH'BAM - Sociable, fun dance-based class. A variety of dance and music styles to help lift your heart rate and have fun!

RPM* - Indoor cycling at its very best. Using a variety of track formats to pedal to the music (sprints, hill-climbs) and lift your heart rate, as well as conditioning the core and legs.

THE TRIP* - A cycle class that uses immersive technology to experience "the trip". A plethora of backdrops for you to enjoy your virtual workout journey to. A beautiful visual experience.

SPRINT* - HIIT workout on a bike. Short intervals of work to test cardio without the bodyweight impact.

LES MILLS TONE¬ - The ultimate blend of cardio and conditioning with different track options for each focus. Interchangeable and diverse possibilities.

LES MILLS CORE (formerly CXWORX) - Low impact core-conditioning class that uses bodyweight, weight plate and resistance tube movements to test the muscles of the core; including the abdominals, glutes, back and shoulders.

LES MILLS BARRE¬ - Ballet-inspired workout that aims to shape and tone the body through a modern take on classic balletic training.

LES MILLS GRIT SERIES (Cardio, Strength, Athletic) - HIIT training at its very best. Three different formats for the ultimate test of fitness. Interval training that will push your limits.

BORN TO MOVE (2-3 years, 4-5 years ... 13-16 years) - Exercise for the next generation. Each age-group format has a different focus, encouraging physical activity, exploration and play.

* means equipment is required for this workout

¬ means equipment is required, but adaptable if none available

PS - BODYJAM and TONE are presently not available on LMOD.

There are also additional feature workouts added exclusively to LMOD as well, including the LM Trainer Series and LES MILLS STRETCH.

PPS - I attempted to complete as many LM programmes as I could in one weekend ... You can see the my LMOD Marathon here!

2. What's the difference between programmes?

If you've joined the On Demand platform recently, or haven't had a chance to try a live class, you could be forgiven for mistaking some programmes as being quite similar.. especially if you're like me and you pick a release, skip part-way through and watch 10 seconds of someone jumping around with music pumping..... wait, deja vu?

Hopefully the above list of programmes helps to decipher what each one is meant to do. Some elements of programmes overlap sometimes, but LES MILLS provides a wide-ranging offer to cater to people's differing tastes and needs. It also offers certainty when selecting a workout; the music and general format of the workout will be consistent from release to release with no major surprises. If you turn up for a BODYCOMBAT workout you know what you're gonna get!

One common question I see coming up is "what's the difference between BODYATTACK and GRIT Cardio?" The GRIT Series is HIIT-style classes, in three formats. GRIT Cardio, Strength, and Athletic. I've already written a blog all about getting started with GRIT training, but in its simplest terms; GRIT Cardio is bodyweight - no equipment, Strength uses a combination of bodyweight and barbell/ weight plate, and Athletic will use a combination of both plus an exercise step in most cases. BODYATTACK is an aerobic-style class which, unlike GRIT, is choreographed to the music, and is entirely bodyweight. It is highly cardio in nature (think jumping jacks, heel flicks, and usually some clapping) with an element of conditioning (think lunges, push ups)

Both workouts are high-energy, and whilst both are ultimately designed to test your fitness, GRIT is high-to-maximum intensity effort for short periods across 30 minutes, and BODYATTACK has different track focuses to maximise your effort over the course of 30/ 45/ 55 minutes.

Some elements are quite similar and ultimately, both will leave you breathless! BODYATTACK is one of the most sociable and high-energy classes LES MILLS has to offer. GRIT Series is one of the most innovative workouts, and is guaranteed to take your fitness to the next level.

Another is "what's the difference between BODYPUMP and GRIT Strength?"

Again, having discussed the nature of GRIT workouts above, the focus of the workouts are a little different.

BODYPUMP uses light to moderate weight selections for high repetitions to create lean, athletic muscle. The weights build muscle, and the pace and repetitions burn calories. This style promotes muscular endurance - being able to perform for an extended period of time. It's that 'athletic' physique you'll hear about with "The Rep Effect"; BODYPUMP's longstanding slogan.

Depending on your starting fitness level, BODYPUMP can make you stronger, particularly if you commit to progressing with challenging weight selections and excellent technique. Specific strength training is separate though (heavy weights, low repetitions) and will always trump this sort of workout if you're looking to build serious strength and muscle.

As before, BODYPUMP is exercise to music, whereas GRIT is not. Each track in BODYPUMP has a different muscle group focus (squats.. chest.. back.. triceps) and this always follows the same format, so you know what to expect from every workout. GRIT Strength is also a whole body workout, but the style will vary from release to release.

With that in mind, your weight selections in BODYPUMP tracks will also change (bigger weights for bigger muscle groups, like squats, and smaller weights for smaller muscle groups, like biceps). In GRIT Strength you'll have a set barbell and probably a plate or two too. I would say no matter your strength or fitness level, BODYPUMP is a challenging workout if done correctly.

A few recent releases of BODYPUMP have shifted from a 'strength' focus to an 'athletic' focus. This has meant lighter weights and quicker movements to lift the heart rate and focus on the calorie-burn aspect. They've also incorporated integrated training methods (for example, including two or more elements in addition to the main focus .. like mountain climbers and side plank core work in a triceps track). This has further stoked the query about how BODYPUMP differs to GRIT Strength, but believe me, they are worlds apart. Introducing different training focuses helps us develop well-rounded fitness - and keeps the workouts fresh and exciting!!

Lastly, "what's the difference between RPM, Sprint and The Trip?".

Well, they're all cycle-workouts, correct.

RPM is a classic spin-style workout, targeting all four corners of the cycle-class experience.. quick sprints.. tough hill-climbs.. choreographed to music.

SPRINT is basically GRIT on a bike and is HIIT-style; short, intense bursts of effort. Really beneficial for those who may struggle with weight-bearing classes such as GRIT.

THE TRIP .. so, have you ever been one one of those "rollercoaster simulator" rides? Yeah, it's basically that but you're cycling at the same time..!

Any more I can help with? Message me!

3. Get the maximum benefit of the workouts!

It may seem fairly obvious, but LES MILLS workouts can support and complement your other fitness interests, enhancing your overall experience with them, or just life in general! It shouldn't have to be just a class that you show up to and persevere!

I've been using LES MILLS CORE and STRETCH to supplement my own CrossFit home WODs. Core strength and mobility are key requirements for progressing in CrossFit and I know I benefit from giving attention to both.

  • Working from home, or desk based? BODYPUMP and BARRE have a real focus on excellent posture and conditioning, this could be ideal if you've been meaning to work on this. Most of us are guilty for slumping over our phones, keyboards.. myself included!

  • Lockdown got you running and cycling more? With gyms closing through lockdown, and home gym equipment at an all-time premium, we have been forced to make-do with simpler efforts like running or cycling. LES MILLS CORE can strengthen your abs and glutes for safer and more efficient running and cycling. BODYBALANCE helps to mobilise and decompress those tired joints and muscles after big cardio sessions. RPM/ SPRINT/ THE TRIP can also help to improve your performance on the street, or be your safety net for the days it's raining cats & dogs..!

  • Homeschooling or busy schedules left you squeezed for time? Most LES MILLS classes have express formats of 30 or 45 minutes so you don't have to commit to a full 55 minutes every time. LES MILLS GRIT is the best way to get fit, fast. HIIT classes are short and effective for those of us squeezed for time.

  • A fan of Zumba or other dance classes? SH'BAM is ideal for those who have a LMOD subscription but are fans of Zumba/ other dance classes. It's one of those 'dance like noone's watching' classes, with difference dance styles to help you escape to the dancefloor..

  • Home workouts taking their toll? I can speak from personal experience, but LES MILLS STRETCH and BODYBALANCE have been lifesavers for me in the face of gym closures. Whether it be effective, dynamic stretching with STRETCH, or a lovely unwinding flow with BALANCE, if you need to build or maintain flexibility and mobility to keep up with your fitness regime then these are for you.

  • Burning off energy can be fun with BODYCOMBAT and BODYATTACK .. if you're like me and you like to punch and kick your way to glory, the former might be for you.... or if you like more clapping and "HEY HEY HEYS" then the latter is for you!

  • Little ones needing to burn off some energy? BORN TO MOVE has your back. A nice change from PE with Joe perhaps..?

Strength and conditioning programmes like LES MILLS CORE, BODYPUMP and even BARRE might not give a whopping great calorie burn like BODYATTACK or BODYCOMBAT, but they serve their purpose. Even if your primary goal is 'fat loss', building muscle tone gives great benefits towards this goal, and can even help your BODYATTACK and BODYCOMBAT stamina/ technique too.

Likewise, if you are into strength training, having good mobility is super important and BODYBALANCE can help with this goal.

What I'm trying to say is .. each programme has great transferable benefits!

LMOD also offer workout plans depending on your goals. This provides you with a set schedule of your workouts for six weeks, or so. It takes the hassle out of choosing which programme and release to try each day by opting for their plan.

There's also 'Hybrid Workouts' that take some tracks from some programmes and blend them with others. For example, one hybrid workout is "Stress Release" which uses BODYCOMBAT and BODYBALANCE, or "Upper Body" which focuses only on this area using tracks from BODYCOMBAT, LES MILLS CORE, GRIT and BODYBALANCE. These hybrids totally change the game for me!!

A 'special feature', LMOD also has guided meditation for when you just need some headspace.

So, are you using LES MILLS to its fullest?

Let me know how it has helped you, or what your favourite features of the LMOD platform are.

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