Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Les Mills Instructor Training: What to Expect

As I was setting off on this journey myself, searching for resources about what to expect at a Les Mills instructor training, I found nothing. It was a bit frustrating because I am one of those people who loves reading reviews prior to setting out to do anything. I had heard a lot of wonderful things from friends of mine who were instructors, but I wanted MORE. So I wanted to type up this quick little blog to give you a tidbit of what you can expect at a Les Mills (LM) Instructor training as I recently attended Body Combat for two days and it blew my mind (yes...they are THAT good).

An LM Instructor training can be summed up with 3 words: Empowerment, Strength, and Friendship

Empowerment: Have you ever just wanted to be yourself? Sure, you might preach that you are always your own person, but I would be willing to bet that there has been a time or two when you have tucked "yourself" away for fear of being judged by others. This was the first atmosphere that mixed a variety of people together where I think everyone felt safe being who they are. I know I did. The shyness wore off VERY quick and it seemed like after lunch that first day you would have thought we all had known each other for years, and not a mere 5 hours.

Beyond getting your true self out there for others to experience (because let's face it...you're awesome) the LM training left participants feeling empowered to follow their dreams, be amazing at whatever they set out to do, and left us all with a mindset that if we want it, we can get it. I know personally, that on my 2 1/2 hour drive home through the high mountains of Maryland and West Virginia that I felt on top of the world (literally and figuratively). I wanted to write a blog, post a video, and tell every stranger I could about the experience that I just had. In fact, I went to pick up some food and treated  myself to a beer while waiting, and it took a lot to not start gushing to everyone at the bar and showing them how to throw a proper punch (no, no, no! Strike surface is the first two knuckles!). I figured that might be TOO much, so I just silently sipped my beer and continued to reflect on the amazingness from the weekend.  If you go to a Les Mills instructor training, be prepared to come out feeling like you are on top of the world.

Strength:  There are two areas of strength that are going to improve by attending one of these trainings: physical and mental. In order to prepare for your training you will be provided with the most current release from your program. For some releases you must memorize all of it, and for others you are designated certain tracks. You should be practicing this every day, multiple times a day, for the two weeks leading up to training. At training itself, it's a 10 hour day full of physical activities designed to perfect your motions and get you comfortable with teaching the LM format.

Here's the crazy thing, though: on a typical day, could you go to the gym for 10 hours, enjoy every moment, and continuously push yourself to a new limit? Unlikely. But at an LM training YOU DO! If you read my blog, follow me on Instagram (@Nik4213) or on Facebook, you know that I am a huge advocate of positive thinking to achieve positive results, and my training proved that theory. I'll never forget, there was a section where we all had to stand in a circle, arms around each others shoulders, and practice our roundhouse kicks for one minute (which we will all agree, it was longer than that!). Each of us was relying on the others to keep a strong core and balance (because you never put that foot down). We were exhausted, sweat was dripping, but we just kept talking to each other and at one point we all started singing the song that was on at the time. It was probably one of the highlights of the training for me, because in that moment we really all came together as one tribe, with one goal. We refused to allow any of us to fail, and if you did see someone starting to go not only did you encourage them to stay strong, but you got a little bit stronger for that person. If you go to a Les Mills instructor training, be prepared to come out mentally and physically stronger than you have ever been, with a new meaning and feeling of respect when you think of the word "teamwork".

Friendship: I have been to quite a few instructor trainings for programs that are not LM. I have been to seminars, networking meetings, and rallies and at these you can typically find a "buddy" to hang out with if you are by yourself. If you come with a group, most likely you might stay within your group. This is not the case at an LM training. Within my group there was a group of girls that all taught at the YMCA where the training was located. At first, being the only one NOT from the state of Maryland I thought that it might be a very long, very lonely weekend. Again, within the first few hours we were all one tribe. There was no division based on who taught what, where you taught, or where you were from. I'm not sure what it was (perhaps just an amazing instructor) but the entire room just ... meshed. Positive comments came in abundance after each practice of a track, we built each other up when we thought we were at a place where "up" was not a reality, and if you ever got the feeling of "this might not be for me", the group reminded you of why you showed up, your abilities, and why you SHOULD be a Body Combat instructor. Never in my life have I experienced such a situation.  This wasn't just friendship for the weekend, this felt real. Two weeks later I still talk with at least one of the girls every day. Though we are separated now, and some are lucky enough to practice together, we are still pushing each other and cheering one another on through the computer screen. I know that these friendships are something that are going to last a long time, and continue to have a positive impact on each of our lives as we continue through our LM journey. If you go to a Les Mills instructor training, be prepared to leave with some new, quality friends that are more like a family.

I cannot say enough about this experience. This blog does not even begin to do it justice. I struggled, I ached, I laughed until I almost peed my pants (thanks, Anne). It was 20 hours of hard work, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Stay with the fight!

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