Attending Filming at Les Mills

Attending Filming at Les Mills

Photo © Copyright Les Mills International
Just some of the amazing friends I have made at Les Mills NZ. We exercise all day and then party all night (well until a decent hour so we can get up to do it all again the next day)
Just some of the amazing friends I have made at Les Mills NZ. We exercise all day and then party all night (well until a decent hour so we can get up to do it all again the next day)

I usually attend filming at Les Mills in NZ at least once a year. I like to make this annual pilgrimage because I find renewed motivation and inspiration from participating in classes. But the main reason I go is because I love to meet new people with the same interests and passion for group fitness as me and I really love catching up with the people from all over the world that I have been lucky enough to meet during previous visits. I have made some amazing friends during my visits. People that I would never have had the honour of meeting had I not visited Les Mills Auckland City.

Please note that as of July 2017, this post has some updates from the original post as the filming process has changed. You will see updates in brackets marked with (Note:).

Filming takes place 4 times a year, usually January, April, July and October. Most of the time the releases are filmed in Studio One of Les Mills Auckland City. I have been attending filming since 2011 and the filming process has been pretty much the same every time I have gone. (Note: Since the time of originally writing this, the filming process has changed and tickets are required to all filmings and not all classes are filmed with an audience and some filmings are held in other countries or at the NZ convention centre). Some filmings are busier than others. I’ll never forget the filming of July 2014 as it was the quietest round of filming I had ever attended. In fact there were so few people in Body Combat I was actually encouraged to stand closer to the front because I was wearing Les Mills clothing and there were not enough people to fill the first few rows. Now, I am not a Combatter so if you teach Combat and have release 62, look out for the awkward girl who punches like a Body Attacker.

Body Combat 62. The quietest filming class I have ever seen! Photo © Copyright Les Mills International.

So, you’re thinking of going to NZ for filming eh? Well here is the low down to ensure you have the best time.

First of all, plan your trip well. You can find out filming dates by visiting the Les Mills Filming page which provides dates for the next 6 months worth of filming sessions. Note that these dates are always subject to change so I’d advise not booking anything until around 2 months prior to the filming round you wish to attend as by then the dates are a lot more likely to be confirmed.

The location of Les Mills Auckland city is 186 Victoria St West Auckland. I personally stay at the Barclay Suites Serviced Apartments as not only is it amazingly close to the gym and shops but it’s also reasonably priced for what you get and it has a kitchen and a washer/dryer combo in the room which, trust me, you will need with all the classes you will be doing. Another place I have stayed is the Auckland City Oaks on Hobson St which was great accomodation and also had a kitchen and a washer/dryer. It is further from the gym and not very handy to a supermarket but if you don’t mind being slightly further away from everything then it’s another good choice (Note: Since this post was originally written, the Auckland City Oaks no longer exists). There are loads of other great places to stay so visit a hotel booking site like Expedia or Trivago and you can usually get all of the hotel options grouped into a map to decide on the location you would prefer to stay. Another great option that my friends have recommended is AirBnB, but please read host reviews before booking.

Me on the old stage in Studio One where they used to film the magic. As of the April 2016 round there is a new stage on a different side of the studio.
Me on the old stage in Studio One where they used to film the magic. As of the April 2016 round there is a new stage on a different side of the studio.

To get from the airport to the city, don’t bother getting a cab if you are travelling alone as it’s a waste of money. Instead there is a fantastic blue bus service that picks you up right outside the airport exit and drops you off at several drop off points along Queen St which is the main road of Auckland City. From here you can usually walk to most of the hotels in the city. You can buy tickets at the airport or online before you land at the SkyBus website. It’s so much cheaper costing $17 for a one way trip or $30 for a return and you have one month to use the return portion of the ticket.

Visiting the Les Mills gyms, you can purchase an instructor rate pass via the link on the Les Mills Filming page (the eventbrite link is not always available so you need to keep checking back on their page). The pass usually costs $10NZD per day and grants you access to all of the classes except for RPM and Sprint which you can attend but for a small extra fee. For a list of the classes that run at Les Mills Auckland City, visit the Auckland timetable page for class times and types, which studio they run in and the instructor running them. The pass that you purchase can be used at any of the Les Mills gyms in Auckland (currently there are 6 in the greater Auckland area).

For filming, most programs you can simply just show up and attend, but for some programs booking is always required, this includes CX Worx and RPM. However in some cases, other programs will also require booking (I had to book to attend Body Step 100 and for the August 2016 filmings which include Body Pump 100, ALL programs will require booking). Once every 12-18 months they hold GFX which is crazy busy and I never attend that time of year because it’s just too packed. Always keep an eye on the Les Mills Filming page to get the most up to date info on the round you wish to attend.

The roving iPad camera circulates before and after class snapping happy memories, this was Body Step 100
The roving iPad camera circulates before and after class snapping happy memories, this was Body Step 100

On filming days, the filming classes can be any time of the day. I have attended 7am classes and 7pm classes. It really depends on presenter availability, production setup etc. I recommend getting to the gym at least 30 mins prior to the class you wish to attend filming for and lining up in the stairwell. For Body Pump, you need to start lining up much much earlier to get a spot (especially if you want to be up the front) as spaces are limited. (Note: Now that tickets are required to filming, you can’t just watch from the back like you used to be able to do. You go into the class and you have to exit the studio between classes so if you are attending 2 filmings back to back you will be at the end of the line for the second filming).

Cameras are generally not permitted due to copyright restrictions, however a lot of people take their mobile phones into the studio and leave them at the back of the room. While photography and filming during class is strictly prohibited, you can usually grab your phone at the end of class to snap a pic with the presenting team. (Note: After speaking to recent attendees to filming, apparently there is now no time between classes to get photos so you have to be sure to take photos at the rehearsal classes instead).

Roving iPad snap from Body Balance 67.
Roving iPad snap from Body Balance 67.

If you forget your mobile, never fear as there is a roving iPad team that goes around taking happy snaps and then they give you the iPad to enter your Facebook login or email address and the iPad automatically either posts the photo straight to Facebook or sends it to your email. (Note: After speaking to recent attendees to filming, I’ve been advised the roaming iPads are no longer there).

While you are in NZ you will of course need to eat. If you get a serviced apartment you will be able to cook for yourself and you can visit the major city supermarkets which are Countdown and New World. If you would prefer to eat out, there are several great places to eat including the awesome options that can be found in Elliot Stables. If you are feeling like something a little more naughty and on the cheap side, good old Denny’s and La Porchetta can be found literally up the road from the gym. There are also loads of pubs in the city and you will no doubt walk past one that will have some great specials listed on their boards.

If you have friends who have attended filming in NZ you will no doubt have seen them post a picture with some very funky looking ice-cream. This will be the famous Giapo. It is a must to get one of these decadent treats at least once during your visit! If you like smoothies then TANK is your place. I personally visit TANK once a day for my smoothie or salad. Best smoothies around!

Well hopefully this information helps you in your quest to attend filming. If you have any questions or would like to know more, send me a message and I’d be happy to give you more information based on my experience.

6 thoughts on “Attending Filming at Les Mills

  1. This is super helpful! Thanks for taking the time to do it. I’m going in August and it’s my first time. This was so much of the info I needed.

    1. Thanks Amber, I’m glad you found the info helpful! I might bump into you in August because I’m heading over then too 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing! I am flying from the US and attending attack and combat this January. Will you be there?

    1. Thank you for reading 🙂 Unfortunately I won’t be heading over for the January filmings. I usual go in July. You will have an amazing time and if you need any more info please let me know!

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing! It is very helpful. I am planning to go this April/May but just learned from the website that there will be no audience for filming but we are welcomed to join the rehearsals during the week prior to the filming.
    The filming duration is April 27 – May 1. So based on your experience, when the rehearsals are likely to be? And they are not filming in Auckland City so not sure where they are going to film? In addition, I also plan to try regular classes and hopefully with Masters. Do you know will they still be teaching in the club after filming is done or likely they will take a break? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi, thank you for visiting my site 🙂 Yes it’s unfortunate there will be no filming in Studio 1 this year as they said they are doing renovations to the club. If you go to NZ the week before filming occurs, you can attend all of the rehearsal classes. Some will be in Studio One and Two at the main gym in Auckland city and some will be at the other gyms nearby (Britomart, Newmarket etc). The best thing to do is go to the LMNZ timetable website and look out for classes that are listed as “LMI Team Teach” as they will be the rehearsal classes. Enjoy your visit and make sure you get lots of photos 🙂

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