Becoming a certified Les Mills BODYATTACK instructor

Two months after attending initial training, I’ve become a certified Les Mills BODYATTACK instructor.

It has taken hours of studying choreography notes, countless tuck jumps, high-knee runs, jumping jacks, burpees and practice sessions in the mirror to get where I am today.

Journey to certification

Shortly after returning from initial training in Florida, I auditioned for my 24 Hour Fitness area group fitness manager (even though I already teach two programs for 24 Hour Fitness, I had to audition to be eligible to teach a new program).  I passed and began team teaching with my group fitness manager and another advanced instructor several times a week.

Over the past few months, BODYATTACK has been gaining popularity at 24 Hour Fitness gyms in San Francisco, which has afforded me the chance to immediately score my own two classes on the schedule each week.  In addition to those classes, I’ve been able to substitute teach for other instructors here and there.  I’m very lucky to get so much real-world practice in actual classes so soon after getting trained.

In fact, it was less than three weeks after I left training that I taught my first solo class as a sub.  I was asked to jump in that night only a few hours ahead of time and was incredibly nervous about getting all my choreography and coaching correct as well as having the stamina and endurance to teach the whole hour.  I surprised myself in a good way on my first shot out of the gate …

Filming your video

Once you pass a Les Mills initial training weekend, you have 60 days to immerse yourself in the program, film a video of yourself teaching the whole class and submit it to be assessed.  You’ve got to know the choreography 100% and have your technique down before you can film.

After about five weeks of teaching, getting feedback from other instructors and working on my technique, it was time for me to film my official certification video.  It wasn’t easy, and it took two attempts.  But as you see from the title of this post, it was successful!

Les Mills gives you specific guidelines and logistical rules for shooting your video, but there are a few unsaid things you may want to know before getting started.  As promised, here are a few tips for those preparing to shoot a certification video for Les Mills:

  • Give yourself enough wiggle room to film more than once.  Even if your performance is spot on the first time, there’s always a chance for technical difficulties.  I had to shoot my video two times, because the first time, the iPad camera I was using ran out of space.  My second attempt nearly failed as well, when the battery in the brand new camera I purchased started draining too quickly.  It’s a good thing I started the process with two weeks left to spare, so I wasn’t too close to the deadline.
  • Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked while teaching that day.  For some reason, filming a video of yourself teaching a class that you regularly teach up to three times a week is much harder than just teaching to a class of students with no camera.  Not only was I very nervous for my two filmings, but I also got tired much faster and felt like I had to work much harder than normal.  BODYATTACK is already intense, and being filmed while you teach BODYATTACK is unreal.  It must be the added pressure of having a camera focused on you and feeling the ever-present weight on your shoulders that everything you are doing is going to be judged and critiqued.
  • Don’t expect to like what you see on film.  When I watched my first video I noticed a few things that I didn’t know I was doing.  I also didn’t like my voice.  While overall I was proud of how far I had come, I could see a few things I need to continue to work on.  Video is a truly effective means of self-assessment, and that’s why instructors are encouraged to tape themselves every once in a while to check in.
  • One-hour of video = huge file.  If you have a slow computer or Internet connection, think about going somewhere with fast WiFi while you upload your video to the Les Mills site.  It took me more than an hour to upload mine with a good connection.  After a few failed attempts to upload, I switched to Internet Explorer and had success.  (Normally, I use Chrome as a browser, but it didn’t cut it in this instance.)

It only took one week to get my results, and it came via email overnight.  I awoke before 6 a.m. to teach a class and was ecstatic to find a “Congratulations” in the subject line of a message from Les Mills.

What’s next

So what’s next for me as a certified instructor?   More work!  I will still teach BODYATTACK two to three times a week in addition to BODYPUMP.  I’m learning older BODYATTACK program releases to keep the choreography changing and am continuing to work on my fitness level.

As far as going to the next level with my teaching, I’ve recently registered for the Advanced Instructor Module 2 (AIM 2) for BODYPUMP in mid-December and am super excited to go through the experience.  AIM 2 is designed for instructors who have attended the first Advanced Instructor Module and who are interested in achieving Advanced or Elite status.

Every single BODYATTACK class I teach is a challenge.  I hope to grow in my teaching, increase the number of members attending my classes and motivate those who come to love the program as much as I do.

Even though this is my third Les Mills certification, something about this one is special.  BODYATTACK is no dance class!

Should I print this out and frame it?

BODYATTACK Certificate

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9 Comments

  1. CONGRATS on passing Ashley, I film my video tomorrow and recently taken the GRIT instructor program, its definitely addictive! Good luck with AIM and keep up the great posts, Natasha (fellow BA trainee)

    1. Hi Natasha,

      I know who you are, ma’am! That’s great you are pursuing the GRIT Series as well as BODYATTACK. Looks like you have caught the Les Mills bug. Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, and I promise to keep the posts coming. Best of luck on your video — GO GET ‘EM!

      Best,
      Ashley

  2. Ok just read this post after reading your other one about your advanced training. Attack is coming to our gym and some of the instructors are training for the training…can’t wait. Got to go to bed, but so much to read! I’ll be back tomorrow.

  3. Thank you for this post! I’m also an Attack instructor and my video is due in two weeks. Would you say that they’re very harsh about things like proper arm lines, pre-queuing the next move, etc.? I feel like I do an excellent job with the “Fitness Magic” component and motivational things like that, but the itty bitty technical stuff has me worried. I appreciate all the advice I can get!

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by and reading. Yes, the assessors will watch the first couple of minutes of each song that you teach (they usually fast forward through a video a bit, just for time-saving purposes) and will judge you mostly on choreography, technique and the initial cues you use. Fitness Magic is not assessed, but they will comment on it if you are really good at it. Basically, the technical stuff needs to be right, but you DON’T have to be perfect yet. Get your arm lines where they need to be and your jumps clean. You don’t have to jump super high when submitting the video, but show you are working on your fitness to get there. Have you filmed yet? I filmed twice, and the first time I noticed a couple places where I needed to fix my arms. It helps to see yourself on video. Previewing moves is not essential, unless it is called for in the choreography notes with that little “eyeball” symbol, otherwise you can preview any move you want or not. That’s sometimes a bit more advanced. Have fun practicing and definitely film yourself soon and watch it all the way before submitting. Give yourself time to film again, as it’s always good to do it more than once. Best of luck, let me know if you have other questions, and stop by again to read. 🙂 Best, Ashley

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