Les Mills Groundworks event

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Searching for information on Les Mills BODYPUMP, Les Mills CXWORX and what goes into becoming an instructor.

I have been teaching Les Mills group fitness classes for almost four years.  I teach two different programs, and teach generally three to four classes per week at several gyms around downtown San Francisco.

I love group fitness and am always striving to improve my skills as an instructor and student.  (Side note:  If you are interested in what makes a good class, see my top tips.)

This weekend I attended a Les Mills Groundworks event.  Groundworks is an informal training event open to instructors and aspiring instructors, as well as gym members who want to learn better technique for the Les Mills classes they take.

The event consists of participating in master classes, practicing new techniques, asking questions about new releases and the option to present and get feedback in front of a small group and a Les Mills trainer.

As a 24 Hour Fitness employee, I was given a discount to attend this Groundworks event, but they normally run around $60 per person.

Groundworks took place in the shiny, new Hayward Super Sport 24 Hour Fitness, about half-an-hour outside of San Francisco.  The event ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and included sessions on three Les Mills programs: BODYCOMBAT 56, BODYPUMP 86 and CXWORX 11.

I’ve been to several Les Mills events before, including a Quarterly event (which is about showcasing national presenters with lights, fanfare and a performance), two Initial Trainings (which are about completely immersing a budding instructor in the fundamentals of teaching a new program) and an Advanced Instructor Module (which is about taking your teaching to the next level), but this was my first time at a Groundworks.

The concept is fairly new and is much less formal than an official training.  There is one national trainer/presenter leading the day.  The day is shorter, the content is less structured and there is absolutely no pressure or requirement to perform all of the high options and present.  Each Groundworks event is based on the latest round of releases.

It would be most helpful to attend a Groundworks event before a launch.  In fact, I would recommend that an instructor be as familiar as possible with the latest release when attending, so that they can ask the best questions and be ready to present to get feedback.

Unfortunately, at 24 Hour Fitness, we had already launched BODYPUMP 86 and CXWORX 11 (the latest releases), so this day served as more of a review.

The day started with a welcome, where the trainer, Los Angeles-based Josef Matthews, assessed who was an instructor and who was not.

He gave us the low-down on the objective of Groundworks:  To provide in-person education on the latest techniques that is not available to instructors on the DVD kits sent out quarterly.

After the welcome, we went through an express version of BODYCOMBAT, which was only 30 minutes, then took a break, then went through a technique session on how to execute the new moves.  Then, some BODYCOMBAT instructors did presentations.  The presentations were short.  In fact, after Josef randomly assigned each presenter a track, he gave them a few minutes to prepare and asked for only about two minutes of presentation per song (obviously, only instructors in that particular program are allowed to present).  He needed just enough time to see what the presenter could improve on, without completing the track.  As a participant, this means you continue to workout as each presenter takes the mic.  We did the same thing for the express version of BODYPUMP and the full version of CXWORX, which is always a 30-minute program.

I presented the triceps track for BODYPUMP and received good feedback on my technique, form and coaching.  However, Josef said that at one point my coaching should have been more gritty during the difficult and long set of tricep dips.  I accepted the feedback, but knew that since that particular song was so upbeat, it was rather hard to switch into gritty mode.

Having been to Initial Trainings and an Advanced Instructor Module, which are not only physically demanding, but also very challenging mentally, I think Groundworks is an excellent route for people who want to work on their teaching without feeling so pressured to perform to perfection and be assessed.  There is no passing score or assessment given at the end of the day — more of a pat on the back for participating.

I would certainly recommend that someone attend a Groundworks event before they attend an Initial Training or Advanced Instructor Module, if possible, to get a taste for what it is like to learn technique in person with a trainer.  Overall, the event felt quite accessible for all.

Although I love to play outside on Saturdays, there is nothing better than walking out of the gym after a long day of group fitness: Tired, fulfilled and armed with new skills to teach your classes.

So there you go … that’s what you can expect at a Les Mills Groundworks.

24 Hour Fitness
A brand new 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport in Hayward.
24 Hour Fitness
The new 24 Hour Fitness gyms all seem to feature this fancy, dark wood in the group X room.
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  1. This was great info – thank you! I’m thinking of signing up for a groundworks BP training here in VA in April. So, you don’t get to choose what release or track you will present? They just randomly assign a track to you?

    1. Hi Melissa,
      First and foremost – Groundworks is very informal. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, and there is no outcome. Because it is a fairly new series, every presenter/trainer may do it a bit differently. If you ask your trainer, it’s possible they will let you choose your track, however in mine, we were randomly assigned on-the-spot. have fun!
      Thanks for stopping by.

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