What I Learned At My Les Mills BodyPump Initial Training

Holy moly, people. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more crazy weekend in my entire life. My BodyPump Initial Training just took over my entire mind, body, and soul for 48+ hours. And after each training, I pretty much dragged myself to the shower, then stuffed my face with food and collapsed in a heap in bed at 7pm. Why? Because it was worth every grueling second, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

What is Les Mills BodyPump?

Les Mills is an international fitness company that offers multiple group workout programs. I’m guessing you have a few facilities in your city that offer Les Mills classes even if you haven’t ever heard of it before. BodyPump is Les Mills’ group-based barbell class that focuses on all your major muscle groups in 30-, 45-, and 55-minute formats.


Why did I decide to become an instructor?

I’ve always wanted to be involved in health and fitness somehow. It wanted a career in it because it’s my passion to help people understand that they don’t have to look like a fitness model to be healthy and that they don’t have to go to extremes to accomplish their goals, either. Les Mills takes its member retention very seriously and unlike most health and fitness companies, they are making changes to their programs to help people work on becoming healthier and fitter on their own terms and not burnout and yo-yo diet/exercise in the process. That’s why I love them and decided that I should be a Les Mills instructor.


What went down…


The first day we all showed up in the multipurpose room at a local gym and got acquainted. Our instructor Janelle was amazing as helping everyone understand that we were ALL nervous and that we would all feel overwhelmed by it all at the end of the day. But that is what’s expected with Les Mills trainees. The company demands a lot from their instructors and it’s why they have so many great classes and instructors based around the world. If we didn’t feel overwhelmed, then something was wrong.

We all did the whole release front to back with Janelle as our instructor to help us loosen up and get the blood flowing. Then we spent about 6 hours learning basic instructing technique as well as proper lifting form. I met some really awesome women (all women in this group) and I could definitely tell that we were all crazy nervous about instructing our track. You see, each trainee is given one track to memorize and perform in front of the class, and one track to shadow. At the end of the day, we were asked to instruct the first two minutes of our assigned tracks to the class, using techniques we had learned that day. Then we were offered a ton of helpful feedback on what went well/what needed improvement so we could come back and be better the next day.

I remember going home that night and being so exhausted, both mentally and physically, that I barely was able to keep my eyes open while going over my tracks a few time to correct some errors I had during my first evaluation. Then I showered, scarfed some dinner, and fell asleep in bed by 7pm.



The next morning I felt better, but still nervous because the final day is where you find out if you “made it” or not. I listened to my tracks over and over during the half hour drive. The final day was, like the first day, 8 hours long. We were given more material to study in regards to different “layers” of coaching technique (there are three and they are extremely comprehensive and thorough!) Then we were then given the opportunity to present our tracks once again for a second evaluation. Once we received our feedback, we did a “BodyPump challenge” which was incredibly exhausting. Then, at the end of the day, WE DID A WHOLE BODYPUMP SESSION AGAIN. This time, it was for our final evaluation, and our performance in this session would determine if we passed or not.

I’m thrilled to say I earned a full pass, which means I have 60 days to learn the whole release and submit a video for my final evaluation. That’s right… Just because you pass the Initial Training doesn’t mean you’re automatically a Les Mills instructor! I told you, these trainings are INTENSE!


Tips for newcomers

  • Know that everyone in the room is just as nervous as you. No one comes in knowing it all (unless they’ve had training with another Les Mills program, and in that case, they might be a bit more comfortable but no one has it all figured out perfectly from day one)
  • Stay hydrated and well-fed. You will be burning thousands and thousands of extra calories with these trainings. You are literally completing two weeks of BodyPump trainings in two days.
  • Bring a sweatshirt and extra workout clothes, no matter what time of year it is. Your workouts will make you incredibly sweaty and once that sweat evaporates you will be freezing when you aren’t moving. Too many of the poor ladies in my class were so cold they could barely focus on the material. Don’t be like them!
  • Take your assigned tracks very seriously. Practice them daily the moment you receive them (usually 2 weeks before your Initial Training).
  • Don’t skimp on the reading material. Read it before you go and you’ll learn it a lot faster. Also take tons of notes.
  • Make sure you have a sponsored gym lined up after your training. If you aren’t affiliated with a Les Mills facility by the time you submit your video, you may not receive your certification.
  • Understand that it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed out by it all because they are throwing a shiz ton of info at you all at once! But these high standards are what makes this company and its instructors so great!
  • Your Initial Training will be the hardest part of this whole journey, promise. Once you’re past that hurdle, it only gets better from there.
  • Talk to your affiliate gym and take every opportunity to instruct tracks from your release there. I’m currently instructing the first half of my release twice a week at my gym. Each week I try to add a new track to instruct. By the end of this month I’ll know the whole release and then I have another ~30 days to perfect and film a video. This strategy has been very doable so far.
  • Lastly, have fun!



Do you have any questions about group fitness, Les Mills, and/or BodyPump?

Feel free to ask below or email me at [email protected]




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