If you’re a keen gym goer, the likelihood is you’ll have already seen a Les Mills instructor, delivering classes and providing their students with guidance. Perhaps, after seeing them, you’ve wondered how to become a Les Mills instructor (UK) so you can impart your knowledge to an entirely new generation.
Fortunately, that’s where OriGym’s expert guide comes in.
We’ll explore everything you need to know about how to become a Les Mills instructor in the UK, whether you’re just looking for information on Les Mills instructor courses, or you’re seeking guidance on how you can specialise as a Les Mills body combat instructor.
Les Mills is a vast field, and understanding what you want to achieve from it as a Les Mills instructor is important, as well as learning about the potential career development opportunities open to you as a Les Mills fitness instructor.
- What Is Les Mills?
- What Does A Les Mills Instructor Do?
- What Skills Do I Need To Become A Les Mills Fitness Instructor?
- The Qualifications A Les Mills Instructor Needs
- How Much Does A Les Mills Instructor Make?
- What Are The Disadvantages Of Becoming A Les Mills Instructor?
- Career Progression Options Available To A Les Mills Instructor
- Our Conclusions
But if you’re looking to express your passion for fitness in a much more personal way, then perhaps a career as a personal trainer could be the ideal option for you.
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What Is Les Mills?
Before we fully explore how to become a Les Mills instructor, it’s important to fully define what we mean by Les Mills, and what that might involve. This may seem like a very basic question, but addressing any misconceptions is vitally important, especially in fitness, where there can be lots of interlinked terms.
Les Mills is a New Zealand-based fitness company that was first founded in 1968 by New Zealand-born athlete Les Mills (and then pioneered by his son Philip Mills) with the simple aim of providing exercise classes, and refining the science behind those classes.
That’s ultimately what started Les Mills, and how it has grown from a small gym to a global phenomenon with over 20,000 venues across the globe - the idea of bringing bespoke, engaging group classes to a much wider audience.
And that still forms the heart of Les Mills today. While the original Les Mills Bodypump classes are still incredibly popular, Les Mills has expanded to incorporate different disciplines and forms of exercise to create packages that suit any and all fitness and ability levels.
This includes classes like Les Mills Bodycombat (which ties in elements of martial arts, and high-energy, non-contact combat movements), Les Mills Bodybalance (which incorporates yoga movements and poses) and even Les Mills Sh’bam (which utilises fun dance moves to create an intense workout experience).
For many, that diversity is what sets Les Mills apart from other classes, like spin or Zumba (read more on the benefits of Zumba in OriGym’s comprehensive exploration), and why they’ll often choose classes that fall under that Les Mills name.
But what does a Les Mills instructor do in these classes? Let’s explore the role of a Les Mills fitness instructor in more detail.
What Does A Les Mills Instructor Do?
Of course, the classes are superb, but without a dedicated instructor, they simply wouldn’t function as effectively and efficiently as they should. That’s where specially trained Les Mills instructors come in.
Les Mills instructors are trained to memorise each and every step of their class to the point where they have a comprehensive understanding of what they’ll be teaching, how each movement or exercise flows into the next, and how it can potentially affect their clients’ bodies.
This forms the cornerstone of what a Les Mills fitness instructor will do - having a deep knowledge of their class, and how the class will progress is a vital part of being a successful Les Mills fitness instructor.
This is not their only duty, though. They need to possess excellent interpersonal skills, be able to work with a variety of people and personalities, and bring those people together in each class.
But what are the skills you’ll really need to excel as a Les Mills instructor? We’ll break it down for you, so you can properly focus on becoming the best you can be.
What Skills Do I Need To Become A Les Mills Fitness Instructor?
While we’ve already touched upon some of the necessary Les Mills instructor skills you’ll need to possess, it’s important to fully define those skills, and how you can fully demonstrate them.
#1 - Thirst For Knowledge
This is arguably the most important skill you’ll need as a Les Mills instructor, as you’ll constantly be learning, developing and adapting as part of your role.
When you train as a Les Mills fitness instructor, you need to completely memorise each routine you’ll be teaching, in order to deliver the sessions as effectively as is expected of you as part of your training.
This includes learning how each step connects to the music that you’ll be using as part of your routine, how you can string those together to better engage your students, and how each movement can potentially affect those in your class.
Exercising to music is often considered divisive in the fitness world - explore more in OriGym’s complete exploration of whether music can aid with performance in exercise.
While some Les Mills classes place less of an emphasis on the music involved, it’s still an integral part of all the classes, even if you’re looking at how to become a Les Mills body combat instructor, which focuses on the intensity of the movements.
#2 - Passion For Exercise
Perhaps one of the key skills you’ll need when you’re thinking about how to be a Les Mills instructor is an unwavering commitment and passion for exercise. It’s a huge part of your career, and having that enthusiasm can mean you set yourself apart from other Les Mills instructors.
This may seem self-explanatory - you likely wouldn’t opt for a demanding career in a field you weren’t passionate about - but it’s especially important when it comes to fitness, and in particular when you’re thinking about the Les Mills instructor training (UK) process.
You’ll need to be enthusiastic about not only fitness in general, but also about the routines and formulaic classes you’ll be teaching, as well as the movements and exercises you perform in each class.
It’s also important to understand exercise, especially the benefits of cardio and aerobics, and how this can affect your body.
Having a nurtured passion for exercise will also translate well across to your classes and students. It goes without saying that, if they can see the passion that made you decide to become a Les Mills instructor, they’ll be more likely to put in additional effort, and push themselves that little bit harder in your classes.
#3 - People Skills
Ultimately, when you choose to become a Les Mills instructor, you’ll be committing to working closely with a group of people who may change on a weekly basis. That’s where our next Les Mills fitness instructor skill comes in.
Not only will you need excellent people skills in order to work well with your class, but these can go a long way to finding motivation for those who might be struggling, or those that can’t seem to get engaged with the session you’re running.
Having a good understanding of others, and what their motivations are, as well as how you can facilitate that, is a crucial skill you’ll need when you decide to undertake Les Mill instructor training (UK).
This understanding can make all the difference, particularly when considering how beneficial group exercises can be, and can often mean the difference between developing a meaningful connection with your students, and only having a surface level bond.
It’s also vitally important to remember that everyone is different, too, and you’ll need to tailor and tweak how you teach in order to reach some of those students who may not necessarily respond to your usual teaching methods.
#4 - Commitment To The Les Mills Model
When you opt to become a Les Mills instructor, you’re choosing to undertake much more than just a fitness qualification. While we’ll focus on the more concrete qualifications you’ll need to become a Les Mills instructor (UK) in our next section, you’ll need full commitment to the Les Mills model.
What this means is that you’ll need to invest significant time and energy into learning the specific routines and choreography that Les Mills employs. This is often a focus of the training - you must be able to memorise the routines to the point that you can teach them without looking at notes or a laptop screen.
It can be daunting, especially as the routines may seem complex or difficult at first, but this is an integral part of how to become a Les Mills instructor in the UK (and worldwide), and you will have time to study the materials extensively.
For even more career-related resources and materials, check out our comprehensive guide to the best short courses for jobs.
It’s also important to note that, because you’ll be investing so much time into learning one specific form of fitness class, you may find it difficult to expand beyond that branch of fitness.
#5 - Excellent Flexibility
Our final recommended skill you’ll need when you decide to undertake your Les Mills instructor training is an ability to be flexible, and adjust to differing schedules and time slots for your classes.
While good time management is often a skill we associate with a successful career in any field (although it is paramount when it comes to personal trainer skills), it is vital to ensure that you’re flexible when you’re undertaking your Les Mills instructor training.
Your initial Les Mills instructor training will take place over the course of a weekend (which you’ll book in advance), but after that, and you’re looking to host your own Les Mills classes at your local gym, you’ll need to be incredibly flexible in order to fit around the gym’s class timetable.
It’s also important to recognise that you’ll need to be flexible following the completion of your Les Mills instructor training weekend, too - there are materials you’ll need to complete, and a complete class video you’ll need to film in order to achieve your accreditation.
Flexibility often forms the cornerstone of the decision you need to make when looking at how to become a Les Mills instructor, and being able to adapt to changing schedules is imperative when following this career path.
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The Qualifications A Les Mills Instructor Needs
Now that we’ve fully explored the skills you’ll need to be a successful and prosperous Les Mills instructor, let’s take a look at the more practical side of qualifying, and what you’ll need.
Firstly, it’s absolutely essential to choose your discipline - you need to opt for a specialism before you can begin your Les Mills instructor training. This can be any of the areas that Les Mills offer.
So, for instance, you might choose to do Les Mills Body Combat instructor course, or go for a more yoga-focused option, like Les Mills BodyBalance. This will then be the specialism you complete your Les Mills instructor training in.
For every area, regardless of discipline or difficulty level, the Les Mills instructor training cost is £425. This can be offset slightly by booking further in advance, lowering the cost to £380.
We’d recommend taking time to decide which is right for you, and attending classes from that particular discipline - this will help you gain a good understanding of what a class will look like, what it’ll involve, and what you’ll need to learn to be able to teach it effectively.
Once you’ve found the option that’s right for you, the next step is to book onto a training weekend. This will act as an intensive, 2-day training program that provides you with everything you require to become a qualified Les Mills instructor.
Prior to this, you’ll also be provided with resources, course materials, and all the music you’ll be using, so you’re able to practice before going to your first day. This is often expected of you as part of your Les Mills instructor training - there’s a lot to learn, and you’ll be expected to memorise the choreography and music prior to attending.
Make sure you’ve got the right equipment to experience the music - we’ve compiled a full report on the best wireless running headphones that are guaranteed to provide everything you need when it comes to sound quality.
Once You’ve Completed The Initial Training...
Once you’ve completed your Les Mills instructor training weekend, the learning doesn’t end there - there are steps you’ll need to take in order to fully achieve your accreditation, and that are completely necessary in order to be able to teach classes under the Les Mills brand.
After the intensive first weekend, you’ll then need to film yourself delivering a class. This must be done without the use of notes or prompts, meaning you’ll need to remember all of the choreography, as well as your delivery technique, and how you interact with your class.
You’ll have completed a similar exercise as part of your training weekend, but this needs to be done to the best of your ability, as it forms a key part of your qualification.
This is a mandatory requirement, and needs to be completed within 60 days of you completing your initial training weekend. We’d strongly recommend completing mock classes with your fellow classmates, especially as these can provide you with vital tips and tricks, as well as areas you can improve on.
It’s important to stress here that submitting your class video is not a guarantee of success - you must be able to demonstrate all 5 key elements of the Les Mills instructor method: Choreography, Technique, Coaching, Connecting, and Performance.
OriGym have also put together a list of tips on how to deliver the ideal personal training session, which can revolutionise the way you deliver your sessions.
However, once your video has been accepted, and you’ve passed the Les Mills instructor course, you’ll still need to complete mandatory Advanced level training. This can be done in person (over the course of 2 days), or completed gradually online over the course of 6 weeks.
This Advanced Les Mills training course needs to be completed within 12 months of your successful completion of the initial Les Mills training, and offers additional guidance and ideas that can help you to build on your Les Mills classes.
And once that’s completed, you’re then fully certified as a Les Mills instructor! But what can you expect to be earning now that you’re a fully accredited Les Mills instructor?
How Much Does A Les Mills Instructor Make?
This is often a question that comes up once you’ve decided to become a Les Mills instructor (UK), and are wondering just where the job can take you, especially from a financial standpoint.
Sadly, though, there isn’t a single answer to this question - it’s dependent on many factors, such as class sizes and experience levels, and can often fluctuate over the course of months or even years.
Through our research, we found that Les Mills instructors are often paid by the hour, and those who are more experienced can often command a premium. However, the general Les Mills instructor fees are usually around £18 - £25 per hour, or per session.
This is often considered to be quite similar to an average gym instructor’s hourly salary - explore more in OriGym’s complete guide to the roles and responsibilities of a fitness instructor.
Unfortunately, while Les Mills instructors are classed as highly qualified and motivated professionals, our research found that many companies will only employ Les Mills instructors on a class-by-class basis, which means there’s often no stability in terms of employment.
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What Are The Disadvantages Of Becoming A Les Mills Instructor?
When looking at how to become a Les Mills instructor in the UK, it’s vitally important to also consider any downsides to the role, and how the role could fit around your current lifestyle.
#1 - No Fixed Income
Perhaps the biggest downside to consider when looking into Les Mills instructor training in the UK is that there is, in the vast majority of circumstances, no fixed salary, and it’s therefore not a stable form of employment.
This can be detrimental for a number of reasons, but it’s especially difficult if you’d planned to learn how to become a Les Mills instructor, and then use that as your primary source of income.
We’ve just touched upon Les Mills instructor fees (between £18 and £25 per hour), but to expand upon that a little more, we’ve done the calculations and, with teaching two sessions per week (which is often what’s on the schedule at an average gym), you’ll be earning approximately £2,600 per year (before tax).
Of course, this all hinges on having stable employment and, because of the rapidly changing nature of gym timetables, this can often change, and some weeks may see you teaching 5 sessions, whereas others may only have 1 or none at all.
If you’re looking for more stable employment in the fitness industry, while still seeking to teach classes and develop a rapport with clients, you may want to consider becoming a fitness instructor. This offers the right balance of stable employment (with an average yearly salary of £16,987, according to Payscale), and still engaging with classes.
#2 - Inflexible Training
One of the more off-putting aspects of Les Mills instructor training (UK) is the lack of flexibility when it comes to starting your training, and the subsequent time frames you’ll be subject to, especially when submitting your final class video.
After you book your initial Les Mills instructor training (UK) weekend, you’ll be unable to change it without incurring additional costs or administrative charges, which can often be an issue if your schedule changes suddenly.
These weekends are also infrequent, and are currently only available virtually, meaning a lot of the onus is on you to complete the necessary tasks. For some, this may not be an issue, but the lack of options available means it can be a deciding factor for others.
With the personal training diploma offered by industry leaders OriGym, though, you’ll have multiple study options available to you, as well as ultra-flexible payment plans that suit every budget and schedule. Plus, this will completely qualify you to work both in a 1-to-1 and a group capacity with clients, which opens up many career opportunities.
#3 - Limited To One Discipline
When you first complete your Les Mills instructor training (UK), you’ll opt for a specific discipline. This might be Les Mills BodyBalance if you’re more geared towards yoga and pilates, or you could choose to undertake the Les Mills Body Combat instructor course if you’ve always had a passion for combat sports.
This is then the area you’ll complete all of your training in, and the specific form of Les Mills exercises that you’ll learn the choreography for. So, after you complete your Les Mills Body Combat instructor course, you’ll then be fully qualified to teach Body Combat classes.
Sadly, if you want to expand your knowledge to include other Les Mills classes (for instance, if you’re well versed in Core, but want to bring that expertise to BodyPump), you’ll need to complete an entirely new Les Mills course, including all the basic and advanced training.
This also involves incurring the additional Les Mills instructor training cost (as much as £425), as well as having to find the capacity to meet the rigid and often time-consuming requirements of the course.
This rigidity and singular focus is in stark contrast to the more flexible nature of the personal training diploma offered by OriGym. Once you’ve graduated from the PT diploma, you’ll be able to fully teach all aspects of fitness, even in a 1-to-1 scenario with a client.
Of course, a personal training diploma from OriGym provides all of the materials, resources and 7 days a week expert guidance to help you achieve that, and you’ll be able to consult with your notes throughout the process.
#4 - Strenuous Training Program
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable point about the Les Mills instructor training (UK) program is its highly focused, concentrated nature, and the time constraints that accompany that intense schedule.
With the Les Mills instructor training (UK) regime, you’ll not only need to complete a very intense weekend of exercise, learning and planning, but you’ll also need to complete preparatory work throughout the build up to your training weekend, and afterwards, too, which can be stressful if you’re trying to do it alongside another job.
These resources can involve anything from learning about the benefits of regular exercise, to understanding your chosen discipline, to the overarching principles of fitness.
While this may not seem a huge downside, especially if you consider yourself to be adept at learning new areas, it can be overwhelming for some, particularly when much of the learning is done outside of a classroom, and without the guidance of experts.
With OriGym’s flagship personal training diploma, you’ll have access to master-level advice and support 7-days-a-week, as well as having the option to study either full time, part time, or entirely online, meaning you can choose what works best for you.
It also bears reiterating that, with a personal training diploma, you’ll be able to teach group classes, as well as design your own schedule with a much greater degree of control, especially as you develop a greater rapport with the gym you’ll be working with.
#5 - Additional Hidden Costs
Now, this is often a contentious area, especially as it concerns finances, but when you complete a Les Mills instructor training course, you’ll also have to join their Autoship, which incurs an additional charge every 3 months.
This membership subscribes you to their quarterly releases, which are often a necessity if you want to continue to develop as a Les Mills instructor. These include new music and choreographed steps, which are part of the next “wave” of the Les Mills program.
Of course, most conscientious Les Mills instructors will want to continue on with this, especially as it concerns their future development and potential career, but it can get expensive, costing up to £100 per year to keep up-to-date with the latest Les Mills materials.
Opting to complete a personal training diploma instead will ensure you’re always abridge of new fitness developments, whether that’s relating to the latest news on the benefits of cross training, or the most recent science behind what we do.
Completing your personal training diploma through OriGym also opens you up to the network of discounts and special offers, as well as a vast selection of resources, and a dedicated post-course support team to ensure you continue to thrive in the industry you’re passionate about.
Career Progression Options Available To A Les Mills Instructor
So, you’ve completed your Les Mills instructor training (UK), and you’re curious as to where you can go from there. We’ve done the research for you, and explored each and every avenue available to you following your choice of Les Mills instructor courses.
After completing their Les Mills instructor training, many will choose to work in a gym, hosting classes on a weekly basis, and learning as they go. This is ideal for some, especially those who are running classes as an additional income, or as a hobby.
However, if you’re looking to truly develop within Les Mills, and completing your Les Mills instructor training (UK) whet your appetite, there are options available.
You can choose to specialise as a Les Mills Presenter, delivering classes and seminars on the new materials to other Les Mills instructors. Alternatively, you could diversify your skillset, and choose to become a Les Mills Assessor, where you’ll assess and analyse others’ work to determine who passes the intensive courses.
You may also be chosen to become a representative of Les Mills, as a Les Mills Trainer, where you’ll be responsible for representing the brand, as well as recruiting potential new instructors. However, this is only available to those who are chosen to be a part of that program.
These career options are in stark contrast to those available if you decide to complete a personal training diploma with OriGym. You’ll not only qualify into one of the most diverse career paths available, but you’ll also be immediately able to specialise in specific areas of fitness, like sports nutrition, or sports massage therapy.
Not to mention that you’ll be working as your own boss (or as an associate of a gym - read more in our complete guide to being a sole trader or a limited company as a PT) and can customise your schedule to better suit what you want from the industry, and ultimately how much you want to earn.
Before You Go!
Whether you looked at this guide hoping to learn more about how to become a Les Mills instructor, or you were intrigued by Les Mills instructor courses, we aimed to provide you with all the answers you needed, as well as addressing any misconceptions.
Fitness is often a complex field, and if you were asking yourself “how do I become a Les Mills instructor”, our guide provides you with everything you need to know.
But if you’re seeking a different option when it comes to careers in fitness, then OriGym’s personal training diploma could be your ideal next step.
Offering unmatched flexibility when it comes to payment plans, 7-days-a-week expert support, lifetime access to a library of exercise and fitness resources, free examination resits, and a guaranteed post-course interview, it’s easy to see why they lead the way in the industry.
Click here to download our FREE comprehensive prospectus to explore more of what we offer, and how it could be perfect for you.
What's it really like?
Download Our "Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer" Guide
What's it really like?