THE LES MILLS STORY
Every Olympic athlete aims high and wants to be the best in their field. Our founder is a four-time Olympian who always sets big goals. Les Mills Snr started his first gym in Auckland, New Zealand in 1968. Now, nearly four decades on, LES MILLS™ workouts are loved by millions and available in clubs and gyms all across the planet.
After witnessing the aerobics phenomenon in the United States, Phillip Mills and wife Jackie, began developing high-energy aerobics and strength classes.
Les Mills Snr represented New Zealand in track and field at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, winning a Commonwealth gold medal for discus in 1966.
Today our 18 fitness programs, Virtual programming and equipment solutions can be found in 15,500 clubs across 80 countries.
Fitness is literally in our blood. Les Mills Snr was not the only family member to represent his country in sport. His wife Colleen, daughter Donna and his son Phillip (now our Managing Director) all wore the silver fern as national athletes of New Zealand.
Phillip joined the business full-time in 1980 and immediately began to create innovative ways to motivate people. Not afraid to take risks, Phillip and his mates from the entertainment business were the first to create group workouts driven by the beat of the modern music. Those early aerobic programs drew queues down the street and Phillip could sense the real power of group fitness.
In 1990 we changed the game by adding barbells to the studio with the original PUMP class. Massively popular in Australia and New Zealand, we knew it was a winning formula. In 1997, it was renamed BODYPUMP™ and our crew of road warriors took it to the world.
Les Mills International was born.