How much do you love that feeling of stepping outside of your comfort zone and accomplishing something you could have easily walked away from?!? I LOVE IT! And I am on such a high right now because this past weekend I spend two full days going through the Initial Instructor Training to become a Les Mills Bodypump Instructor.
Today I wanted to share with you my Bodypump Initial Training experience and talk about the prep work I did beforehand, what we learned during training, and how to pass initial training.
Last year I studied and became an AFAA certified group fitness instructor. I took the online program and learned so much, but felt like I was lacking actual teaching experience and didn’t feel ready to start finding a job at a gym or studio.
I was first introduced to Bodypump when I was researching weight training workouts. I wanted my workouts to focus on less cardio and more strength. Bodypump workouts use a barbell and weights to work muscles groups in the entire body by doing high repetitions and using low weight. After attending and loving several Les Mills Bodypump classes at my local World Gym, talking to a few Les Mills instructors, and interacting with the Les Mills team at IDEA WORLD, I decided I wanted to become a certified instructor. So a few weeks ago I signed up for the Initial Training, received all my materials, and started doing some prep work.
Apparently the trainings used to be three days as opposed to my two day 8:00 am- 6:00 pm training. But with technology these days, they are able to give you materials ahead of time, allowing you to do some prep work before the first day. Once signing up, I immediately received my Instructors Manual, Choreography Notes, the Bodypump 100 Masterclass Video, and all the music for the Bodypump 100 release. We were asked to do a little reading about Les Mills programs, Choreography, Technique, and Coaching, and then watch a few videos and answer questions in the Instructors Manual to prepare. In all the prep work probably took me a little over an hour. And I enjoyed reading the material, it motivated me to start training.
I decided to print the Instructors Manual, but many others in training just used their iPads or laptops.
Prepping and snacking
Before training I was also given a track number I would be presenting and one I would shadow. For those of you familiar with Bodypump I did the Chest track and shadowed during Back track.
To learn the choreography I watched and did the Masterclass video for my track a few times and followed along with the choreography notes. Once I thought I had it down I listened to the music alone and practiced choreography. I didn’t focus on cuing or coaching, as I knew those were skills we would learn at training.
Training Day 1
After feeling confident with all my prep work, I was ready for day 1 of training. I was up early to make the drive to Crofton, MD and be sure I arrived early. I packed a change of clothes, including extra shoes, deodorant, my computer, chargers, Bodypump Instructor Manual, pens & highlighters, snacks, and had lunch and extra water in a cooler. You would have thought I was leaving for the weekend, hehe.
Yes Les Mills is sponsored by Reebok and I wore Nike and Adidas, opps! And everyone needs a pair of these Alo Leggings, so comfortable! But the room was freezing so I also brought two sweatshirts.to wear when we were listening to our coach. And was jealous of the people that brought blankets.
The beginning of training was mostly introductions, then we went right into doing the entire Bodypump 100 release. After the workout we had a break then came together as a group to discuss the Key Elements of a Les Mills Instructor and what type of instructor we want to be.
We practiced and worked on improving our technique for each of the main Bodypump exercises and discussed cueing for set and execution position of each move. At this point I kind of felt on information overload. I know how to properly perform each move, but I definitely have some memorizing to do on giving proper cues to keep participants safe. But we are given all this information in our Instructors Manuel.
To finish Day 1 we wrote a script for the beginning of our track for set-up and execution cues. We were then given time to practice the choreography and cuing of the first two minutes of our tracks before presenting. I was so nervous for my presentation. I was confident with the choreography, but I was scared to mess up while trying to talk at the same time. But once it was over I felt so much better and more confident in myself. After our presentation the instructor provided us with some positive feedback and skills to work on for Day 2.
Oh did I mention that as everyone was presenting we were participating and following along with all of the moves. I didn’t put my regular weight on the bar for each track but was still feeling like I got a second workout in. I was so exhausted when I got home I immediately took an epson salt bath, practiced a bit more, ate dinner, then was in bed by 9:00 p.m.
Day 2 of Training
Day 2 started off with us doing our presentations for a second time while the instructor took a video. We watched everyones videos together and again were provided with some feedback for our final presentation. Most of the feedback was on using proper form.
Then things got pretty crazy when we were asked to grab a ton of weight to set up for the Bodypump Challenge. We had a partner and a series of exercises to complete. Partners took turns working so the other acted as the motivator. I loved the workout and it was such a fun activity to practice what I would say to help motivate participants in my class to the finish of a set, rep, or track. The purpose of the exercise was not just to get us up, moving, and lifting, but to find ways we can connect to our participants and motivate them. I thought it was a super unique activity and really liked the message behind it.
After lunch we met again as a group to further discuss some of the Key Elements of a Les Mills instructor and had more time to script in coaching cues before getting ready for our final performances.
I was second to go and overall I felt I cued the choreography well and gave enough coaching cues. I knew I forgot to say one key safety cue though which made me nervous, but I PASSED with a 3/3 for Choreography, Technique, and Coaching, YAY! You have to remember they’re not looking for perfection.
The only downer of the Initial Training is I am still not technically a Les Mills certified Bodypump instructor. After initial training you have 60 days to memorize the entire release (all 10 tracks) and submit a video of yourself teaching an actual class. Once you pass the video you will receive your certification. While it’s hard knowing I’m only about half way to becoming an instructor, I do like that Les Mills doesn’t hand out certificates easily, they are definitely earned.
Overall it was a great weekend. I learned all the key elements of being a great instructor and know I have things to learn and improve on. I’ll keep you posted when I officially get certified!
And since this blog is also about my sweet tooth and love for sugar. After working out for hours two days straight, I decided to treat myself to some Fractured Prune doughnuts. The store was literally right next to the gym, I had to! Don’t worry I shared with Tom, the Carnival with sprinkles and French toast with maple glaze were my favorites.
Shared these on my Instagram Sunday night.Halfway to becoming a @lesmills Instructor, read about my Initial Training Experience #lesmills… Click To Tweet
To prepare for filming my video I practiced the release at home A LOT! I used a broom stick as my barbell, I was practicing so much there was no way I could use actual weight. When I was confident with my choreography and Level 1&2 cues for a few of the tracks I reached out to my local gym and started co-teaching with two of the Bodypump classes each week. I did this for about a month until I had taught every track to an actual class while co-teaching.
When I was ready to shoot my video I filmed during one of the actual scheduled classes at the gym and just made the participants aware that I was filming, but they weren’t in it. I used an iPad AND my phone just in case there were technical difficulties. I shot and submitted the video with the Les Mills App. The app made it extremely easy. And NO my video wasn’t perfect, I mixed up the choreography at one point in the squats track, forget to stretch at the end of chest, and had poor cuing at one point in shoulders. But remember we’re our own worst critiques, I had to tell myself they weren’t looking for perfection.
You are scored on your Choreography, Technique, and Coaching Level 1&2 cues. After submitting my video I only had to wait a few days (even though they say it could take two weeks) before receiving an email that I had passed my certification! YAY! If you don’t pass the first time though, you can use the feedback they give you to re shoot and submit your video.
Once you’ve passed and received your certification you’ll automatically receive each new release. And after subbing several times all summer I FINALLY have my own class. Tuesdays at 5:45 AM! Great way to start the day teaching and completing a Bodypump workout.
Please feel free to email me or comment below if you have any questions/if you’re interested in becoming Les Mills certified. I’d be more than happy to help 🙂
Linking up with Annmarie, Nicole, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday. Check out other great Gym or At Home Workouts on my Fitness Page.
Have you ever done a group fitness instructor training?
What’s your favorite group fitness class?
What’s something you’ve done recently that was outside of your comfort zone?