Review of Les Mills GRIT workout class

Hi, my friends! It’s time for a review of Les Mills GRIT. I don’t teach this program, but I take it all time. And by the way, you can try this program out for yourself using my special referral link for a free 30-day trial to Les Mills On Demand here.

Here’s the deal: If you only have 30 minutes to work out and you’re in the mood for something tough, then Les Mills GRIT is your best bet. However, let’s get this piece of information out there right off the bat: Les Mills GRIT is not for beginners. And you do NOT want to do Les Mills GRIT more than two (maybe three) times a week. It’s not an everyday workout.

Why?

Because Les Mills GRIT is HIIT (high-intensity interval training). And even though it’s super effective and efficient, it’s also a lot of stress on the body. It’s not appropriate for anyone with an injury, anyone who is pregnant, or someone who is not already conditioned for exercise.

But boy will it increase your results and get you fitter, faster. And it’s programmed really well, so it goes by incredibly quickly, and you’ll never get bored.

Review of Les Mills GRIT workout class

Review of Les Mills GRIT workout class by A Lady Goes West

Let’s start here …

What is Les Mills?

Les Mills GRIT comes from the Les Mills company, headquartered out of New Zealand. Les Mills is one of the most popular name-brand group fitness companies in the world, and they have many other programs, including Les Mills BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYATTACK, Les Mills Barre and much more.

When you take a Les Mills group fitness class, it’s just DIFFERENT from other classes. The music is good, the instructors are top notch, and the workouts are incredibly well done. You can expect excellence, no matter the program.

And even though I’ve been a Les Mills group fitness instructor for 10 years, I try a ton of other workouts from other brands, and I still think the programs from Les Mills are superior through and through.

How can you take a Les Mills class?

It used to be that the only way you could take a Les Mills class was to go to a licensed facility and take the class in person.

However, Les Mills now has an amazing online platform, called Les Mills On Demand, which gives you the chance to take Les Mills classes almost anywhere in the world, at any time, from the comfort of your home. If you want to know more about Les Mills On Demand, you can check out my full review of the service here (which includes a link to a free 30-day trial of the service).

I use Les Mills On Demand to take a Les Mills GRIT class every single week. (Because my gym is currently closed.)

Les Mills GRIT on Les Mills On Demand by A Lady Goes West - June 2020

What is Les Mills GRIT?

Now, let’s get into GRIT, specifically …

Les Mills GRIT is a bit different than other Les Mills programs, because it’s actually a series, not a singular class. There are three kinds of GRIT classes in the GRIT Series: Strength, Cardio and Athletic (which used to be called GRIT Plyo).

Each Les Mills GRIT class is 30 minutes in length, usually around six or seven tracks of varying lengths. And each class is all about high-intensity interval training, mixed with recovery periods. The class begins with an accelerated warm-up, then moves into a few working tracks. And finally, there’s always a short core portion at the end. There is no cool-down or stretch, so you have to do that on your own.

Les Mills GRIT is based on training principles to get you to your maximum output, so that you increase your cardiovascular fitness, speed up your metabolism, build lean muscle, and of course, burn fat too. And you do all of that in a short amount of time.

An instructor (or coach) will lead you through the workout and demonstrate a variety of options. Then, in an in-person setting, the coach will walk around the class and support participants on the floor with motivation and follow-up cueing. 

It’s an amazing workout, but it’s not exactly fun …

Here are some fast facts about Les Mills GRIT:

  • Duration: 30 minutes (actually about 29 minutes).
  • Format: Cardio, Strength or Athletic, high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
  • Difficulty level: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being super hard, a 9.
  • Impact: A lot of jumping and impact.
  • Where can you find it: In a Les Mills licensed gym or on the Les Mills On Demand platform.
  • Equipment needed: Depending on the type of GRIT workout, you’ll require a bench, a barbell, weight plates and a mat or nothing at all. See the formats below. (And I would highly recommend getting the Les Mills-branded equipment, and you can find a review and discount code for that equipment here.)
  • Attire required: Cross-training sneakers that support a lot of impact and lateral movement.
  • Frequency: You should do this workout once or twice a week, but not much more than that.
  • What should you know: This workout includes max-effort working sessions, mixed with rest. And there’s no cool-down/stretch, so you have to do that on your own once the workout is over.

Let’s break down the different kinds of Les Mills GRIT classes …

Les Mills GRIT Strength

All about building lean muscle mass and strength. And this is by far my favorite of the Les Mills GRIT classes, and I do this workout once a week.

For this class, you need a barbell with a moderately heavy weight on it and two weight plates of even weight. You’ll also want a mat for the core portion at the end. (If you do Les Mills BODYPUMP regularly, then you can use your back weight for BODYPUMP as your Les Mills GRIT Strength barbell.)

Some common moves include squats, clean and presses, dead-rows, push-ups, snatches, mountain climbers, jump squats, lunges and overhead presses.

GRIT Strength features big explosive strength moves, mixed with bodyweight strength and a lot of jumping to get the heart-rate up and into the intense portions. And of course, there are also a lot of resting portions. These resting portions are important for recovery. 

Here’s what the Les Mills website says about GRIT Strength:

LES MILLS GRIT Strength is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, designed to improve strength, cardiovascular fitness and build lean muscle. This workout uses barbell, weight plate and bodyweight exercises to blast all major muscle groups. LES MILLS GRIT Strength takes cutting-edge HIIT and combines it with powerful music and inspirational coaches who will be down on the floor with you, motivating you to go harder to get fit, fast.

Pros: Full-body strength. Fast-paced. Only 30 minutes. Great music. Simple moves.

Cons: Even though it’s based in strength, you will still do a lot of cardio and jumping, and sometimes I wish there was less impact. Yes, you do have the option to take out some of the jumps if you want to though. The transitions are quick between barbell moves and weight-plate moves, so you need the right equipment handy — you don’t want to have to take your weight plate off your bar between sets.

Les Mills GRIT on Les Mills On Demand by A Lady Goes West - June 2020

Les Mills GRIT Athletic (formerly GRIT Plyo)

All about building agility and plyometric power through drills.

For this class, you need a bench/step and a weight plate. You’ll also want a mat for the core portion at the end.

GRIT Athletic/Plyo features a lot of plyometric jumping moves, sometimes with bodyweight and sometimes with a weight plate. Some common moves include jumping over the bench, burpees, plyometric lunges holding a weight plate, skaters, plyometric push-ups and more. 

Here’s what the Les Mills website says about GRIT Athletic (formerly Plyo):

LES MILLS GRIT Athletic is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sports conditioning workout, designed to make you perform like an athlete. This workout often uses a step, bodyweight exercises and multi-dimensional sports conditioning training to increase your overall athletic performance: strength, agility, speed and power.

Pros: Full-body work. Fast-paced. Intense athletic training. Only 30 minutes. Great music. Challenging.

Cons: I find this to be the hardest of the GRIT classes and the one that takes the most skill to master, because the moves are all pretty difficult. It’s SO much jumping and SO much agility. And because you need a step/bench to get the full intensity, it’s not as easy to do at home. To be honest, this one scares me a little, because of the bench jumping. 

Les Mills GRIT Cardio

All about cardio, as you guessed.

For this class, you don’t need any equipment at all, except perhaps a mat for the last core track.

GRIT Cardio features nothing but cardiovascular exercise. You’ll do a lot of high-knee runs, tuck jumps, jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, star jumps, squat jumps and moves that get your heart-rate up. 

Here’s what the Les Mills website says about GRIT Cardio:

LES MILLS GRIT Cardio is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that improves cardiovascular fitness, increases speed and maximizes calorie burn. This workout uses a variety of body weight exercises and provides the challenge and intensity you need to get results fast. LES MILLS GRIT Cardio takes HIIT and combines it with powerful music and inspirational coaches who will be down on the floor with you, motivating you to go harder to get fit, fast.

Pros: Full-body workout. Super effective. Builds cardio fitness. Fast-paced. Only 30 minutes. No equipment.

Cons: So much jumping. So much cardio. And if you’re not accustomed to that heavy-chest burning all-out cardio effort feeling, you’ll get that very quickly in this class, so get used to it. Because I know how hard it is, I literally dread this workout. But I also know how GREAT it feels to complete it.

Les Mills GRIT workout by A Lady Goes West - June 2020

What are the benefits of taking a Les Mills GRIT class?

I know what you’re thinking, these classes sound hard. And they ARE. There’s no such thing as an easy Les Mills GRIT class, because it’s designed to push you to your max with all-out efforts.

And while there is a ton of jumping in all three of the formats, there is the option to pull back some of the impact, but it would be hard to remove all of the impact. 

The structure is always changing, so you won’t get bored.

The Les Mills folks have designed these classes so that they are structured in a way that it’s impossible to get bored. The tracks change throughout each workout, the timing, the sequencing and the goals of the tracks are different too. You’ll never really know what’s next.

You may find yourself repeating the same two moves over and over again in an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). You may also find yourself waiting for the Coach’s Call to change between two moves quickly and work on your reaction speed. Or you may find yourself doing tabata, supersets or even pyramid sets, which build on each other. The structure is well done, and it keeps you and your body guessing every single session.

You work at your own pace, and you don’t have to follow the beat of the music.

Unlike other Les Mills class, you do NOT need to move to the beat of the music in Les Mills GRIT at all. And you won’t be moving at the exact same time as the other participants if you’re taking a live class. This is a work-at-your-own-pace class. And if you’re used to BODYPUMP, where you all move in unison, this class may seem strange at first.

Also, at times you have to count your own repetitions, which is a great way to keep the mind engaged in the workout.

You’ll push your limits, then rest.

If you’ve reached the end of a GRIT class and you’re not totally spent, then you didn’t push hard enough. This type of HIIT asks for your max in working intervals and asks for you to rest and recover during break intervals.

You HAVE to take the rest intervals, because you’ll need them.

It’s only 30 minutes. That’s it.

I don’t know why people always seem to think that you need to spend a full hour to get in a good workout, because that’s not the case. Once you take a Les Mills GRIT class, you will see how 30 minutes is completely enough. I LOVE that this workout is so efficient. Although, PLEASE, do your own stretching and cooling down once you finish a session.

You get results quickly, and your body gets fitter, faster.

The creators of Les Mills GRIT have used science to create these programs. And you will notice your fitness levels increasing after even just a couple sessions. That’s definitely not the case for other workouts. 

You will probably be able to tell that you are performing better at your other workouts, based on doing GRIT as well.

What should you know before doing a Les Mills GRIT class?

Wear good sneakers.

You need to wear supportive cross-training sneakers, because you will be doing a lot of jumping and side-to-side movement. I wouldn’t do this workout in the bare feet or in thin running shoes. These are my favorite HIIT sneakers that I wear for all my GRIT sessions.

Find a “jumpable” surface.

You need plenty of space and a ground/surface with a little give. A group fitness studio floor, a basketball court, grass or something that isn’t rock hard and tough on your joints are the best environments for jumping. I wouldn’t do GRIT on tile or concrete … just saying.

Master the basics.

You want to make sure you’ve mastered the basics of squats, push-ups, planks, dead-rows, plyometric lunges and burpees, to name a few. Although the Les Mills GRIT coaches/instructors will demonstrate the moves and give a few technique cues, oftentimes things move so quickly, you need to have a general idea of how to safely and properly perform basic workout moves.

Save time for your own stretch and cool-down after the workout.

Finally, you HAVE to fit in your own cool-down and stretch when you’re done. This is a non-negotiable to set yourself up for a proper recovery and keep your body in good condition.

Limit your GRIT sessions to two times a week.

I think it would be ideal to do two Les Mills GRIT classes a week on non-consecutive days, with a day of lighter exercise in between. I also think it’s best to do two different formats, so one Strength and one Cardio, or one Strength and one Athletic. But of course, you can get results from just one session a week.

Les Mills GRIT on Les Mills On Demand by A Lady Goes West - June 2020

Try Les Mills GRIT on Les Mills On Demand for FREE!

I do all my Les Mills GRIT classes via Les Mills On Demand at home, and you can too. If you want to try out the Les Mills On Demand service with a free 30-day trial, here’s my special link to sign up

You can also look for Les Mills GRIT at a Les Mills licensed gym or studio near you. Search here. Because even though the online workouts are amazing, nothing beats an in-person session.

Good luck, have fun and be safe!

Thank you SO much for coming by the blog to read my review of Les Mills GRIT. Please find me over on Instagram if you want to see which GRIT workouts I’m doing. 

Other posts you may like …

Les Mills is one of my favorite topics to write about, so here are more posts you may enjoy …

Questions of the day

Have you ever taken a Les Mills GRIT class?

Which do you think you’d like the most: Cardio, Strength or Athletic?

Do you ever do HIIT exercise?

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13 Comments

  1. GRIT Strength is my favorite workout! In fact, I did it this morning. I totally agree that it’s not a fun workout but it feels so good when it’s over 🙂

    1. Hi Julie! You go girl! I LIVE for that post-GRIT feeling. But yes, so hard. You really have to get pumped up to do it hehehe. I know you are good about rest days, so it’s perfect for you to fit it in once a week! Thanks for saying hi, friend!

  2. Hi Ashley! This is an excellent review! I am addicted to Grit, my favorite is Athletic, I find it really fun. I miss it now as I don’t have a bench at home (or enough space in the house).

    1. Hi Andrea! That’s awesome that you love GRIT Athletic — it’s an exciting workout — and I think if I did it more often, I’d grow to love it. Definitely not one that you’d want to do in a small space at home! 🙂 Hope you get to do it back at a gym some day soon, friend! 🙂

  3. I had been doing a GRIT class at the gym the last 2-ish years before COVID hit so I signed up for Les Mills On Demand which has saved me during the last few months! I especially like that it’s an AWESOME workout in only 30 minutes. I have only been able to do the cardio version as I don’t have a barbell or bench but am looking into getting them at some point.

    1. Hi Megan! I love that you’re a Les Mills GRIT fan. And you can’t beat the 30 minutes, because it’s definitely all you need with all that intensity! Les Mills has all the equipment, if you want to get it straight from them. It’s pricey, but it’s good. I want the step next!

  4. Great review, Ashley! So I’ve been wondering, if you gave Grit a 9 difficulty, how would you rate BodyAttack, BodyPump and BodyCombat? Because I do those regularly, and I’ve never been to a Grit class and I’m interested, although a little scared that it’s going to be too tough 🙂

    1. Hi Cavlan! Well, let’s be honest: All Les Mills classes are hard! I would say that because BODYATTACK and BODYCOMBAT have some tracks that are not as intense, you do feel like you’re getting more of a break in those workouts — it’s not a peak track for all 30 minutes to one hour hehhe. GRIT is short and almost everything is tough heheh (core is usually not too bad, and but even the warm-up will have jumping usually). You can make any of these workouts a 9 on the difficulty level if you want, but with GRIT, if you’re doing it like you’re supposed to, it’s going to feel harder than the others. I would say BODYATTACK is an 8 difficulty, and BODYPUMP is a 8 difficulty, based on my opinion, but each have moments of really hard. You should definitely do GRIT and see if you notice the benefits in our other workouts.

      1. Thanks for your response! Actually, that’s what I was afraid you’re going to say :p I’ll try Grit it on Demand! I know you’re an instructor for Pump and Attack workouts, but what about Combat? That’s my favorite Les Mills workout I think, so I highly recommend it if you’ve never tried it!

        1. Hi Cavlan! I don’t teach or do BODYCOMBAT — I’ve done it in the past, and I know some people love it … but I am not one of them hehehe. 🙂 I’m not into the martial arts aspect, but I’m so happy it’s so popular! Keep it up!

  5. This article is a SUPER comprehensive and accurate breakdown of the Les Mills GRIT classes. Well done!! I like ‘find a jumpable surface’ ><

    1. Hi Dean. Thanks for your feedback, however, the company that created GRIT, Les Mills, actually chooses to write the word out as all caps all the time, and that’s how they do it on their website and in their branding standards. I’m aware it’s not an acronym, but it is to be capitalized when talking about this branded workout program. Otherwise, you’re correct, the word grit would not be capitalized.

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