As I mentioned in my recent article about the Benefits of Barre, the online fitness space is getting more and more crowded with options for at home exercisers. It is getting tougher to sort through what’s worth it and what is complete crap. So I have decided to review some of the most popular subscription based exercise programs on the internet to let you know the good, the bad, and the results you can expect before you pay the registration fee.
This review is about Les Mills on Demand, which encompasses seven different Les Mills classes; BodyPump, BodyCombat, CX-WORX, Sh’bam, GRIT, Bodyflow, and RPM. For each type of class there are between six to ten classes available online. Every class is currently 30 minutes in length, although I am really hoping that the company will release the full hour long workouts to On Demand in the near future.
After teaching BodyPump for four years, I am now living in an area without any live Les Mills classes or licensed facilities… What’s a girl to do? For now, the only option is to get a Les Mills on Demand subscription and enjoy the classes at home!
I’ve got the weights, a yoga mat, and a resistance band so I can complete each type of workout. What I love most about Les Mills on Demand is the variety of fitness programming available from a single subscription. Unlike other subscriptions that include ONLY high intensity bootcamps or ONLY barre specific training, with a Les Mills subscription you have access to dance, kickboxing, yoga, and strength based classes.
In case you have never been to a live Les Mills class or even heard about these classes, let me tell you a little bit more about the different types of classes offered online by Les Mills. Bodypump is the classic strength training class I have been teaching and participating in for over four years. This class purposefully isolates all of the big muscle groups in your body from quads to lats to chest to abs.
During the class you will complete a whole lot of repetitions with varying speeds in order to really build up a burn in your muscles. This burning feeling is what creates the change, a noticeable difference in muscle tone (when combined with a healthy diet!). The choreography of BodyPump is easy to follow and the music selection is always on pointe.
If I am having a bad day and I just want to throw some punches, I put on my boxing gloves and do a BodyCombat class. A mixed martial arts class, BodyCombat is an excellent way to release stress and tension. The program directors Dan and Rachel are super motivating and provide cues to help enhance your form for kickboxing, muay thai, and karate during the class. If you’re willing to complete one full hour of BodyCombat, you will be covered in sweat and breathing heavily. The results from frequently pushing yourself during this class are worth it.
CX-WORX is some of the most badass core training you will ever do. Forget endless crunches that get you nowhere. Commit 30 minutes to completing CX-WORX and you will feel like you just got punched in the stomach.
I still have not made it through an entire class taking the higher intensity option on every move. I almost always have to modify at least once to make it through the class. I like this, though. It gives me something to aspire towards. I always feel the work I did during CX-WORX when I go to get out of bed the next morning. I also like this. It makes me feel like I did something.
If you want to improve your mood and shake what your momma gave you, then you need to try Sh’bam. This is Les Mill’s cardio dance program and it has got attitude. You can’t take yourself too seriously if you decide to do this class which includes lots of current hip hop hits. I always end up sweating and smiling when I do a Sh’bam class.
As for GRIT, there is a lot going on in this program. Les Mill breaks GRIT down into these categories: strength, cardio and plyo. However, you can also choose a Combo class on On Demand.
The closest fitness program comparison I can make to GRIT is Crossfit, because both types of training involve lots of counting and tracking of performance during a limited amount of time. For example, during a pyramid challenge, you will do as many repetitions of the selected moves as possible during a set two minute interval and track your progress. Luckily for y’all, Les Mills has uploaded a “teaser” GRIT class to Youtube and you can give it a go for 12 minutes by clicking on this link.
Bodyflow is the yoga and pilates based class and it is perfect to do when your muscles are tight and sore from GRIT strength or Bodypump. My favorite part of Bodyflow is the balance track and the spinal twist track. Balance is great for strength and mental focus. Twists help relieve tension in my lower back and feel beautiful in my body.
Last, RPM is Les Mills indoor cycling program. Perfect for those of you who have a Spinning bike at home or access to one at the gym. However, I do not currently have access to an indoor bike so I do not use the RPM classes on demand. I have taken several RPM classes in person though and I can tell you they are very challenging and incorporate some great music! So if you have access to an indoor bike I would highly recommend utilizing these classes as well.
Les Mills on Demand offers enough different class types that every exerciser should be able to find one they enjoy. Les Mills exercise programming is some of the most popular and most effective group exercise classes on the planet, taught in more than 75 countries around the world. My main complaint about On Demand is the lack of 45 minute or 1 hour classes. Every class is only 30 minutes long. I hope that Les Mills decides to add full length classes to their online programming in the near future.
For new exercisers, you can look forward to tutorials and how to’s about each class format before beginning, which is super helpful. All exercisers will appreciate the motivating music selection and top notch coaching on each Les Mills release. If you aren’t sure if Les Mills would work for you in your home, you can get a free 10 day trial of the On Demand subscription and decide from there.
I personally use On Demand classes at least 4 days per week in my apartment along with my other fitness activities. I wouldn’t suggest exclusively using On Demand, instead I highly encourage you to add it as a part of a balanced fitness routine. In addition to playing sports (running or tennis) and live in person classes, Les Mills On Demand can be the perfect morning workout to start your day or an add on when you get home after work. I’d love to hear your feedback if you try it, let me know what you think in the comments below!