BECOME SOME BODY: A history of Aerobics, Instruction, and Body Culture at Les Mills World of Fitness from 1980-1992.
Sport, fitness, and leisure have played an important part in shaping New Zealand's national identity, as they are part of a lifestyle that many New Zealanders enjoy. The pursuit of fitness is also something that most people attempt during their lives, either for the sporting challenge or simply to 'keep their weight down'. The Les Mills World of Fitness chain of gyms has played a substantial role in the New Zealand pursuit of fitness over the past fifteen years. The gym is now a significant part of New Zealand urban society, and the experts have predicted that its importance will grow exponentially well into the next century. The 1990 New Zealand Yearbook does not mention aerobics in the statistics on sports and leisure, but it does state that there was a concern that sports such as aerobics, which had experienced phenomenal growth over the last decade, may be depriving traditional team sports of their following. By the end of 1990 a baseline study on New Zealand lifestyles found aerobics to be one of the top three most popular activities next to swimming and cycling. The fitness boom, it appears, is not a fad but an integral part of modern life. This essay will identify the development of one of New Zealand's most successful commercial gyms, Les Mills World of Fitness, and analyse how and why one of the most popular activities, aerobics, has changed over the period 1980-1992. A major consequence of these changes has been the transformation in body culture of female instructors. From graceful and curvaceous bodies to solid, muscular hard bodies, the instructors, male and female, at Les Mills followed closely the fitness trends imported from overseas. The commercial gym operates in the modem capitalist world fuelled by hyper-consumption and profit, and the management at Les Mills ran the gym along the most commercial lines in order to survive in an industry based on image, results, and sweat. They encouraged instructors and members alike to 'Become Some Body' a motto that speaks volumes about the body culture they wanted to elicit. [from Introduction]
Advisor: Brookes, Barbara
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Degree Discipline: History
Research Type: Dissertation
xii, 92 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.