I’ve been a Les Mills subscriber for a good few years now, and love their output, but I’ve always had a niggling feeling in my head that I needed to write a post about representation. They have super-fit, fabulous presenters and do a great job at having that global feel with international trainers alongside the cosy consistency of a family business.
My fitness journey is at the ambitious but rubbish stage and I sometimes got the feeling Les Mills is leaving me behind. Recently, I think I’ve seen a bit of a shift, though, and I don’t know whether it’s because of competition, because of a different lockdown demographic, or just the natural evolvement of a fitness company.
When Apple Fitness launched, one of the startlingly brilliant things about it was the diversity on screen and the active encouragement of all levels. Not just saying ‘beginners can do this, honest’ but really giving the less fit or mobile options they can work with. It made Les Mills look even more like a top notch group of personal trainers patting each other on the back.
I was actively excited about Les Mills Tone being available on the On Demand subscription, it took ages to arrive, but when it did it was TOO HARD. A couple of lovely but very experienced presenters jumping around and making me feel bad.
A few releases down the line, and Tone has completely changed its, well, tone. There were a great gaggle of presenters showing all kinds of options, from the super fit, right down to the low impact version - so many variations, in fact, that at one point I got confused and had to pause whilst deciding which one to follow. (That’s a good thing.)
The other noticeable change is in the presenting team, with new faces being added to the roster. Keeping it as a family business must be hard, but Les Mills have done a great job by adding Kaylah-Blair Fitzsimons-Nu’u to the team. She’s the daughter of a long time coach on the squad, but brings a whole vibe of her own. There was a great interview with her recently, which I think shows why this is relevant.
One day in the gym, me, Dad, Jackie [Mills] and Diana [Archer Mills] were all doing a BODYCOMBAT™ class, and Diana turned to me and said: “Do you want to film TONE™?”. I was really surprised and was like: “Are you sure? I’m not in the best shape.” She stopped, looked at me and said: “What are you talking about? You’re strong and beautiful!” and said that I would be great in TONE.
That really shifted my mindset. I went from thinking “I need to get skinny” to thinking “I want to be the best athlete I can, so I can perform.” I’d spent my whole life thinking I needed to get skinny to be successful in the fitness industry… but trying to get ‘skinny’ had never worked for me. I’m just not built to be thin. I gave myself a new goal of wanting to be the best athlete I could. To be my own hero, be my own inspiration, and to be proud of myself and my journey that I’m on.
This is the mindset that we want to see. It’s about health, not about appearance. I’m really glad to see them evolving because it’s opening up new classes and new experiences to me, and no doubt lots of other people. Tone is actually accessible, but so will a lot more be in future. Just don’t get me started on their HIIT workouts…