But have you ever stopped to wonder if it’s just us? Or are there people around the world who are equally consumed with training and tapping into mental and physical health? To find out, we set up our sites around the world, focusing on none other than New Zealand. The reason? It is renowned for its approach to wellness.
We have a wellbeing budget where our government allocates funds to support mental health, child wellbeing, address family violence and encourage Mori and Pasifika communities, says Danielle Lally, group fitness instructor for Les Mills International, which is based in New Zealand. It’s a really great way to prioritize wellbeing nationwide. We also have publicly funded health care.
The most popular workouts in New Zealand
Curious how kiwis keep fit, specifically? According to Lally, HIIT training, dance-inspired workouts, and tailored training (like boxing, Pilates, and yoga) reign supreme. But it’s not just about active training sessions, recovery training is becoming important in our fitness culture, she adds. That’s why contrast therapy, saunas and breathing are gaining attention.
Sport reigns supreme
In Aotearoa [aka New Zealand], they were crazy about sports, says Lally. Sport is practically part of our DNA.
Where the US has the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB (among other professional sports leagues), New Zealand is world famous for a number of teams, including rugby union (the All Blacks), netball (the Silver Ferns) and cricket (the black caps). The country is also on the fitness map thanks to athletes like Valerie Adams (shot put), Lydia Ko (golf) and Parris Goebel (dance).
Boutique fitness is booming
However, Kiwis’ love of fitness extends beyond the field. When it comes to getting fit, we’ve caught on to the trend of boutique gyms popping up all over the place, says Lally. We may not have as many options as we do in the US, but we are slowly expanding our range of specialty workouts. Here because [Les Mills] Conquest, ceremony and journey [classes] are such hitspaces are always full.
Kiwis love their great outdoors
Even with top-rated gyms, Les Mills program director Rachael Newsham says New Zealanders love to get active outdoors. We operate outdoors whenever possible, so there’s so much outdoor activity from sports to exercise, he says, noting that outdoor fitness was especially true during COVID and has only become more common since. In this way, he thinks of New Zealand’s fitness landscape as a blend of California and New York City, which sounds pretty apt.
9 tips for anyone wanting to embrace fitness the New Zealand way
Now that you’ve dusted off the differences between fitness and wellness on the other side of the world, perhaps you’re feeling inspired to reconfigure your approach. Ahead, find nine tips from Lally and Newsham to help you do just that.
1. Find an easy win
Don’t feel like you have to book an intense bootcamp class right off the bat. Try something that piques your interest rather than forcing yourself to do something your friends enjoy, says Newsham.
2. Make time only for the movement you love
If you don’t like it, what’s the point, right, Lally asks.
3. Calm down
Don’t go hard and go home go for a while and get fit slowly, says Newsham. That way you won’t feel sore for a billion days afterward and you’ll be put off and make excuses.
4. Mix things up
Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing, warns Newsham. Change your favorites from time to time to prevent boredom or burnout.
5. Make time for rest and recovery
Make sure you put TLC into your routine because you can’t push your limits without a solid foundation, says Lally. Treat yourself to a massage or sauna session, try BODYBALANCE, go for a walk or even try an ice bath!
6. Monetise your movement
Not the best at following a routine? Newsham says to schedule your workouts as you would a personal training session and put a price tag on it to entice you not to skip it and charge you a late cancellation fee. He’s a good motivator when it gets to the hour before a workout and your brain starts playing the soundtrack of excuses, he says.
7. Dress to feel your best
If you start a workout feeling your absolute best, you’ll be willing to give it your all, says Lally.
8. Make it a group thing
Yes, solo walks can be refreshing, but nothing beats sweating, laughing, crying, cursing and being tough mahi [work] with the people around you, Lally says.
9. Buy proper shoes
Once you find something you like, get the right footwear, says Newsham. Take care of your feet first, as they determine where damage is done on the body as the first line of defense.
Here’s a way to literally train like a kiwi
Inspired by Lally and Newsham and want to know more first hand? The US tour stop for Les Mills Live 2023 is Los Angeles. The 3-day fitness event in partnership with Adidas will take place July 28-30 and will be packed with workouts led by some of the most famous Les Mills trainers in the world. Bonuses? A brand new Les Mills workout will be revealed to attendees and the entire experience will be filmed to inspire fitness enthusiasts around the world.
It is absolutely mind blowing that you can be in a huge space with thousands of people who may not even speak the same language as you but who all get That sensation, says Lally. Nothing ever any other event, or job, or workout, or fitness thing can describe it. You just have to be there to hear it.