One of the main reasons I took Body Pump training is because of the encouragement from awesome instructors! The Body Pump team at my gym are such great coaches as they motivate our class to push harder, sink lower, and squeeze tighter. They inspire people to work hard yet still have fun along the way.
Now that I have been through training I am even more impressed with their ability to teach. It is not easy and they do it with such ease. I have to remind myself that we all start somewhere, with our first team teach, our first mistake, and our first class so I reached out to two of my favorite instructors to hear a bit about their experience with Body Pump.
Meet Penny & Heather!
Penny – An all-around group fitness instructor for the past 10 years, turned to Body Pump 5 years ago when it was first introduced at her gym. She fell in love with the flexible format that made the workout effective for all fitness levels.
Heather – An enthusiastic Body Pumper inspired to become certified right after college 5 years ago. She fell in love with the music & choreography which reminded her of her dancing days growing up.
So here are the Instructor’s sharing their experience & love of Body Pump…
What did you think of initial training?
Penny: I already had a considerable amount of teaching experience, but I was most impressed that it seemed the Body Pump training was all the stuff I wish I had been taught as a new instructor, instead of having to figure it out for myself. Initial training went beyond just the format itself and really talked about presentation skills and how to connect with participants. It was really the best certification I’ve ever done.
Heather: I loved it! I took it back when the training was 3 days and you didn’t get the kit in advance. It was sort of intimidating that my gym had not yet launched the new release so I didn’t know the music or anything. The trainer was inspiring and the instructors at my gym were all fantastic. I came away from the weekend sore but empowered.
What did you find most challenging when first learning Body Pump?
Penny: I think just the sheer physical challenge was the most difficult for me. It took my fitness up to a different level, and it was intense!
Heather: Oddly enough the cool down. I remember it was the most challenging in terms of timing back when I learned my first release and still continues to be a challenge. Also, I struggled with using different “voices” and not going a mile a minute with excitement.
Any new instructor horror stories?
Penny: Not really. It was an easy transition for me since I already knew a lot of the members in my classes. It’s sometimes frustrating when people complain about things that are out of my control, but everyone has their own concerns. I find that especially when getting in front of a group you’ve never taught before (or even one you have), confidence is key. People will generally be more respectful and receptive when you seem approachable but authoritative.
Heather: Not really any I can remember. I still every now and then have a song out of order and wind up putting on a shoulder track for lunges or forget which lunge track I am teaching. As long as you keep moving and working people are generally accepting. Don’t take yourself too seriously, you will mess up, you’ll learn from it and people will laugh along with you. Never take other people too seriously, we all have our issues, and though they should be checked at the door not everyone does so take criticism with a grain of salt.
What do you find most challenging about learning a new release?
Penny: It was different for me to have to “memorize” choreography, so that was my biggest concern initially. Now I am used to it and it’s not so intimidating.
Heather: I think it is challenging to not get overwhelmed with music. I teach other Les Mills classes so when I’m learning the new releases it’s a lot of music. Also, while you’re preparing for the new release you’re still teaching old releases so you have to practice as you learn to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
What is your favorite muscle group to work?
Penny: LOWER BODY! I love squats and lunges.
Heather: I love shoulder tracks, probably because of push ups. I think over time my classes have come to think of shoulder tracks as push up tracks because it is rare that I do one without. If you don’t do them you’ll lose the ability to do them. I also love Pink tracks (which tends to be biceps). For me biceps is often the most challenging and my weakest muscle group so I like the challenge.
What is your least favorite muscle group to work?
Penny: Biceps. BLAH! The irony being that most people seem to notice my arms and always ask me how I get such great muscles
Heather: I don’t love chest tracks, partly because they wind up being my least favorite songs in the release and lying down you lose on the chance to connect as much. Also lunges, though I like them, I find that it is one of the most challenging tracks for my participants and that people give up the most on this track or lose their form and posture the most.
How long does it take you to memorize a release?
Penny: Usually about a week of scattered attention. It was better back when I took the metro to work every day, I could listen to the music and focus on the notes without any distractions.
Heather: It depends; I normally like to watch the video in case there are new moves or innovations, but excluding that if I really needed to cram I could learn it in a day, that is not preferred of course, but it’s possible. And of course, that is now, when I started out it took much longer. I’ve learned in the car, on planes, probably on trains, and just walking around the city with my iPod too.
What do you love about Body Pump now?
Penny: The members just love it! I really love the vibe I get from everyone, and how excited they are. New releases always get everyone pumped up. It’s awesome how everything stays fresh.
Heather: Just like any workout, I love how I feel after doing it. A true mood booster! Besides the endorphins, I absolutely love that the music is part of the workout not just secondary. You know the classes that are great but an instructor says, “don’t worry about the music, just do as many as you can….” yeah I start to twitch as now I feel compelled to be on beat.
Have you seen a change in your body since you started?
Penny: OH YES!! I am so much stronger and so much more fit. I am so proud of my muscles. I get compliments all the time. If you’re looking to get a bangin’ body, this is the class for you!! (Well, along with a good diet, but that’s a separate topic.)
Heather: Definitely! I didn’t start Body Pump till after college and though I was fit and in great shape back then I really did see myself getting stronger and even leaner, not just skinny but toned.
Thanks Penny & Heather for sharing your experience. I look forward to joining your team and hope to be as strong as you are in 5 years!