No. Not that kind of pumping. (I realize I’m a super ridiculous dog mom, but that’s where I cross the line.)
I was referring to Body Pumping…the strength endurance workout created by New Zealand fitness powerhouse, Les Mills.
Two weekends ago, my gym hosted a Body Pump Instructor training. My gym currently offers Body Pump classes, and while I’ve only taken a few, I really enjoy the challenging, music-based strength workout. My group fitness director had encouraged me to get certified to teach the format, so I decided to sign up for two 9-hour days of pumping iron.
I won’t lie…my training didn’t get off to the best start. Scott, who had promised to drop me off at the gym for my first day of training, decided to make one of his incredibly involved devil smoothies right as it was time to leave. Naturally, this meant I strutted into training ten minutes late.
I sheepishly entered the group exercise room I teach in twice a week to see a circle of thirteen strangers. I also saw a giant poster hanging on the wall with handwritten “rules”. Commandment numero uno?
“Don’t be late. (10 push ups)”
Fortunately, our trainer didn’t make me drop and give her ten. She did however hand me a breath mint.
The confused look on my face must have been more apparent than I realized. “Don’t worry,” she assured me, “I gave one to everyone.”
We then proceeded to each go around the circle and engage in a traditional Roman handshake while touching foreheads and saying “Kia Ora” followed by our name. This would have made much more sense had I been there for the introduction in which we learned that Les Mills is founded on a “Tribe” culture, with several ties back to the traditions and rituals of it’s New Zealand heritage. But…I missed all of that, (see “devil smoothie”, above), which meant I was generally perplexed, yet thankful I had at least been given a breath mint.
Soon after this, we sat down to learn a little more about the essence of Body Pump. The words Les Mills uses to describe this particular format are strong and grounded. Basically, instructors should exude a vibe of strength and stability as opposed to bouncing around chirping like happy, cracked-out cheerleaders. Also? Instructors are encouraged to embody the strong, grounded persona by forgoing bright colors for the official shades of Body Pump: black and red.
This sure would have been nice to know before showing up to training in this get-up.
But I was stranded without a vehicle, and it was too late to go home and change, anyway. I decided to own my obnoxiously loud workout gear and focus in on what I came to do in the first place: learn more about Body Pump.
And learn, I did. I’ve attended my fair share of fitness workshops, and can say without a doubt that my Body Pump instructor training was head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s what pushed my experience over the top:
- The training was two days instead of one. That’s eighteen hours of hands on learning, which resulted in a very thorough understanding of the class format.
- Our trainer was incredible. Kind, funny, and didn’t make me feel weird about my flower pants. She also was full of great feedback and pointers.
- There was a ton of emphasis on proper form. After nearly thirty years of struggling with lunges, I feel like I’ve finally grasped correct range of motion and positioning. (Even if I can only do two of them in a row.)
- We took the Body Pump class four times. Four times. I can’t stress enough how helpful this will be when it comes time to teach my first class. Familiarity is key!
- We had the opportunity to practice teaching and cueing. Believe it or not…I’ve been to several instructor trainings where this wasn’t covered. Um…hello? Teaching and cueing in front of a live class is the hardest part of all! Tackling this in the training (and getting real, honest feedback) was incredibly valuable.
- Our trainer filmed us while we were teaching. As painful as it was to hear myself yelling motivational phrases when she played the footage back on her iPad, I was able to learn a lot about what I was doing wrong (and right!).
The icing on the weight lifting cake were the amazing participants I shared in the training with. We genuinely liked each other enough to go out for a team dinner on the first night!
No, you’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. I somehow convinced Scott to share a meal with a dozen fitness instructor strangers. There may have been some crumpled receipts angrily thrown at him after a few snide remarks…but it otherwise went fairly smoothly!
The most valuable lesson I learned during Body Pump training? How vital it is to vary your workouts. I exercise six days a week, which typically includes Olympic weightlifting and cross training at my local Crossfit gym, as well as free weights and cardio (Turbo Kick) at the gym where I teach. I’d argue I’m in pretty good shape. But my muscular endurance? I hadn’t focused on this area as much, and it really showed in my training. There were lots of spots where I had to stop and take breaks, even though I was lifting a fraction of my normal CrossFit weight.
The moral of this story? Variety in your training will make you a more well-rounded athlete.
The other moral of this story? Multi-colored flower pants should be worn at your own risk.
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