by Les Mills Asia Pacific

Michael ‘Chids’ Chidley was born in the regional town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. He started teaching at the age of 16, and today - 13 years later - he is a Trainer and Presenter for BODYSTEP®, LES MILLS TONE® and LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT™. He is also trained in BODYATTACK®, LES MILLS CORE®, BODYJAM®, LES MILLS DANCE® and LES MILLS SHAPES™. When he’s not on stage teaching Les Mills, Chids’ full-time job sees him still focused on Les Mills, as a Business Partnership Manager, overseeing the Western Australia and Northern Territory regions in Australia.

LMAP: What inspired you to become a Les Mills Instructor?

At age 13, I stepped (pardon the pun!) into a BODYSTEP® class in my local recreation centre, and I was immediately inspired by the group fitness community and Instructors. Having always loved dance, music and the way exercise felt, I was immediately hooked and instantly knew that I wanted to become a group fitness instructor.

I walked up to the Instructor and asked, ‘how do I do what you’re doing?’, and I was directed to Les Mills Asia Pacific, where I quickly discovered that I needed to be 16 years old to be trained. So, I continued attending classes, saved up my money, and the day I turned 16 I paid and registered for the first available BODYSTEP module.

That was the start of me achieving some big goals with the brand, and ever since, I’ve been creating a safe space for people to fall in love with exercise, just like I did.

LMAP: Congratulations on joining the LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT™ Trainer team! What are your thoughts about this exciting new program?

Let's start off by saying it's easy to learn (HOW GOOD!). LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT is a simple workout plan that is designed to work off the beat of the music with bells and beeps to start and stop the working sets and indicate rest.

As a coach, you’ll demonstrate and deliver tempo and rep ranges, to help your participants understand the workout and get results.

What makes teaching LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT different is that you’ll use floor coaching and offer Range Development Options (RDO) to increase the challenge and bring the spicy vibes to specific exercises, which caters to those participants who want an added challenge.


BODYPUMP trains strength endurance; LES MILLS GRIT Strength is High-intensity interval training (HIIT) with resistance; and LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT focuses on strength and muscle hypertrophy using slower movements and heavier loads.

LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT sees participants use tempo and lower rep ranges as they train off the beat of the music. There is no “choreography” but rather, the session is structured as a workout plan, making it very easy for Instructors to learn and deliver the program.

LMAP: Is LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT suitable for new exercisers?

Definitely! The program suits all levels of fitness and training experience. In fact, the progressive structure of the workouts is designed so participants will build confidence; they start by learning foundational techniques in the early Releases, before shifting the focus to strength and hypertrophy (building muscle).

We use athleticism and power-focused workouts to move the barbell explosively/quickly, to improve performance.

Every workout focuses on compound movements and finishes with a conditioning block (we call CON-SETS). This ensures all the accessory muscles get targeted, which brings that spicy burn we hate at the time but love after we make it to the end of the workout!

LMAP: What do you love about being a Les Mills Instructor?

For me, being an instructor means so much more than showing up for myself; it’s about showing up for the people who choose to exercise. That connection among the group fitness community members, and the happy vibes we all share in, is something I absolutely love!

The ripple effect of what we do extends so much further than we can comprehend. Personally, I have had Movers share with me that the class is an escape from all the noise happening in the world, or it’s one thing in their calendar they always look forward to. Being an Instructor is more than a job - it is something I love more than anything!

LMAP: What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a Les Mills Instructor, but does not quite feel ready?

BE BRAVE AND TAKE THE LEAP! You won’t regret the decision! We are all united in our passion for helping to create a fitter planet, so everyone will be more than happy to share their story, mentor and support you on your journey.

To follow James on Instagram check out @the.chids

Photos by @inthegfstudio


Les Mills Asia Pacific