To become classified as an “Advanced” or “Elite” instructor, you have to go through two continuing education training modules put on by Les Mills.
Yesterday I attended Advanced Instructor Module 1, presented by the one-and-only Susan Renata –- the international master trainer for Les Mills BODYPUMP. Some people have to travel far and wide to attend this type of event, but I was lucky enough to walk ten minutes down the road to my local 24 Hour Fitness.
I was pretty nervous leading up to this day for all of the obvious reasons. Not only is it intimidating to get direct feedback on your teaching and technique, but it is even more intimidating to get that feedback from the best in the business.
This nine-and-a-half-hour day of physical and mental exercises was incredibly rewarding. Susan led us all down a path of working on our craft, but in our own ways. There were teachers in attendance who were at many levels, but what we all had in common is there is something we can improve.
In addition to teaching to the group a particular song (I had the squat track for my presentation in both the morning and afternoon), we also went through technique drills with yard sticks and resistance tubes to check our form and alignment in all the major BODYPUMP exercises like lunges, deadrows, clean and presses, push-ups and crunches. We also did some very challenging drills with heavy weights to show ourselves we could lift a little bit more. I found that my quadriceps are a little tight and I may need to do more stretching to counteract it.
The physical portion aside, what I enjoyed most about the training session was the background information on branding and sitting in the essence of the BODYPUMP program. As a teacher of an internationally-recognized group fitness brand, you have to deliver to participants’ expectations, in every single gym in every single class. I love being a part of something so big that it is done all over the world.
The biggest takeaway for me is to say a little bit less when I teach, and at exactly the right times. There are so many ways to coach members, but sometimes you need to back off a little and let the workout speak for itself. That will be my assignment moving forward as I continue to grow and teach more classes.
Hard work, sweat, challenge and the quest for teaching perfection … not a bad way to spend a Saturday in the City.