Our History

The Les Mills story is one of creativity, inspiration, energy and passion. It is a story of an extraordinary New Zealand family – the Mills family - and of a remarkable “global family” for whose members our programs form a large part of their lives.

Here are some of the highlights of this remarkable story…

1960s-70's

New Zealand athlete Les Mills competes in four Olympic Games. Les also competes in the Commonwealth Games, along with wife Colleen and children Phillip and Donna.

1968

Les and Colleen open the first Les Mills gym in Auckland.

1980's

Phillip Mills returns from studying in the USA to join the Les Mills gym business and start developing group fitness programs.

1990

BODYPUMP™ created (under its original name, Pump).

1995

BODYPUMP™ trialled in Australia pioneered by industry leader Bill Robertson.

1996

BODYPUMP™ demonstrated at Australian FILEX convention.

1995-7

First international distribution agents appointed.

1997

Les Mills International founded in May.

1997

BODYPUMP™ renamed and showcased globally by first International Master Trainers including Emma Barry, Steven Renata, Pete Manuel, Cathy Spencer and Mike McSweeney.

1997-8

BODYATTACK™, BODYBALANCE™, BODYSTEP™, RPM™ launched internationally.

1999

BODYCOMBAT™ launched internationally.

2000

First Les Mills Global Summit held in Opio, France 2000.

2001

Les Mills celebrates 5,000 licensed clubs.

2001

BODYJAM™ launched.

2001

Second Global Summit in Itaparica, Brazil 2001.

2002

Third Global Summit (first to include instructors) Espinho, Portugal.

2003

Les Mills celebrates 8,000 clubs worldwide.

2003

Les Mills credited by IHRSA’s Club Business International magazine with “doing for group exercise what McDonald’s did for hamburgers.”

2004

Fourth Global Summit held in Opio, France.

2004

Les Mills celebrates 9,000 clubs licensed worldwide.

2004

Phillip Mills named 2004 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

2005

Les Mills International named New Zealand 2005 Services Exporter of the Year.

2006

Les Mills celebrates 10,000 clubs licensed worldwide.

2006

Launch of BODYVIVE™.

2007

Les Mills surpasses the milestone of 11,000 licensed clubs, with BODYPUMP™ licensed in more than 10,000 of these.

2007

Les Mills International named New Zealand 2007 Services Exporter of the Year.

2008

The fifth Global Summit held in Auckland, New Zealand. Nearly 700 agents, trainers, sales and operations staff and Les Mills International staff were re-united and re-inspired in the city where it all began.

2008

Les Mills welcomes India to the tribe.

2009

Les Mills celebrates 13,000 clubs licensed worldwide.

2009

Les Mills launches a joint promotion with global food giant Nestlé showcasing home workout versions of our most popular programs, on over 8 million cereal boxes and snack bars in 48 countries. The program was renewed in 2010 and 2011.

2009

Les Mills wins the TVNZ New Zealand ‘Supreme Marketing’ Award.

2010

Les Mills launches its own brand of fitness clothing - lesmillsclothing.com

2010

Les Mills partners with 24 Hour Fitness, the largest privately owned fitness company in the world with over 400 clubs in the USA.

2011

Launch of SH’BAM™ - the ultimate fun and social way to exercise, with seriously hot dance moves.

2011

Launch of CXWORX™ - a 30-minute revolutionary core and strength training program based on scientific research.

2011

Phillip Mills wins the Australian Fitness Network ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award.

2011

Les Mills wins the TVNZ New Zealand ‘Trade & Enterprise Export Marketing’ Award.

2011

Les Mills announces the merge of Les Mills Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast into one agency - Les Mills East Coast.

2012

Les Mills International launches its SMARTBAR™ barbell at IHRSA

2012

Les Mills International wins Supreme Business Excellence Award and Excellence in Exporting Award at the Westpac Auckland Central Business Awards

2012

Launch of LES MILLS GRIT™ Series – 30-minute small team training classes based on the principles of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

2012

The Les Mills SMARTBAR™ secures the Gold Pin for Best Consumer Product Design and the highly coveted Purple Pin at the New Zealand Best Design Awards.

2013

Les Mills celebrates 15,000 licensees and 100,000 instructors worldwide.

2013

The Les Mills SMARTBAR™ picks up the German International ‘Red Dot’ Award and ‘Best Effect Design’ Award at the New Zealand Best Design Awards.

2013

Les Mills Enterprises launches the LES MILLS SMARTSTEP™, which also wins the Gold Pin for Best Consumer Product Design and the Purple Pin at the New Zealand Best Design Awards.

2013

Les Mills launches LES MILLS™ Virtual, a video-based audio-visual fitness experience designed to get more people moving more often.

2013

Les Mills partners with Reebok with a vision to reinvigorate group exercise and lead the category to a brave new territory, and launches a range of co-branded clothing and footwear.