Les Mills Body Pump Instructor Training

Before I begin my recap let me give an overview of what Les Mills Body Pump is for those of you who haven’t taken it.


What is Les Mills Body Pump? 

Body Pump is a strength training barbell class. There are 10 tracks that include a warm-up and cool down. Each track has a muscle group focus (back, biceps, etc.). Throughout the whole track you complete various strength training moves to different tempos to work the different muscle fibers. With lower weights and higher reps you build lean muscle mass. Each class has about 800-1,000 reps in it. Every 3 months there are new releases with new music and new moves to keep it fresh and to change it up for the body. Instructors can also mix and match releases.

Now that I have explained what Body Pump is, I will share my exhausting and challenging instructor training weekend!

Prior to the Training

Two weeks prior to training Les Mills sends you the whole Body Pump release along with some handouts to read over. The release comes with music to add to your iTunes along with a video to watch to learn the tracks.

They assign you two tracks to memorize. One is your main track that you are required to present and your second is your shadow track to show technique as you shadow someone.

I was assigned lunges and shoulders, so for two weeks those muscle groups got used a lot. I practiced at the gym with barbells and at home with my “stick” to act as a barbell. I listened to the tracks in the car, while driving, taking the subway, whenever I could, I listened to the tracks. I constantly was counting and just learning and memorizing the tracks.

The Training

Day 1

I headed to the train bright and early. I packed a lunch with lots of healthy snacks and water. I also packed an extra change of clothes and a sweatshirt, my laptop, headphones, and my phone. I never changed into the extra clothes but the sweatshirt was VERY needed because when you are sitting in a cold studio after a workout you will want something warm.


My training was in the heart of New York City at a New York Sports Club at 49th/Broadway, which was actually in a hotel. It was pretty cool!


When we arrived you could tell we were all very nervous. I immediately chatted with some girls and it helped get our nerves out. I was happy to know that I was not the only person who was worried!

We started off by actually taking Body Pump 96. They had you get right into it! After that we debriefed and had some education. They are very strict with the time and will give you like 5 minute breaks here or there and if you come back late you need to do 10 push-ups. The day is extremely jam packed and they don’t waste a minute.

After that it was basically a second Body Pump class but broken down by working on our technique. Les Mills wants 100% perfect technique in order to deliver a safe and effective workout so you have to really get the technique down. We went through every move you would teach in a Body Pump class.

After that we finally had a 25 minute lunch break. I never shoved food into my mouth so quick in my life!! I was STARVING because we had lunch around 2pm. I am used to eating lunch at 10:50 am so you could imagine how hungry I was. That’s why you need to bring snacks- thank goodness I did!

After lunch we broke into our “pods” to teach our assigned tracks to the group. It’s really nerve racking but you just need to realize it is everyone’s first time. I taught my track last because I was lunges and we didn’t have someone in our group doing shoulders, so it was tough to be waiting to go until the end!!

I taught my track and really just focused on my timing and technique. Afterwards you get feedback from the instructor and she told me that I nailed my technique and timing and said my next step is to work on my coaching.

As each person does their track, you do it with them. Everyone was SO supportive and we all were high five-ing each other after we gave our tracks.

After that we did some more debriefing and then it was time to head home. I literally ate everything in sight and then went to bed. My body was SO freaking sore from 3 Body Pump classes in one day.

Day 2

I headed back into the city, sore and tired. We started off the morning right away by getting in our pods and going through the track, getting filmed. Trying to improve upon our last performance. I tried hard to add in the coaching cues but it was SO hard for me to talk and count at the same time. I was overthinking so much that it messed up my timing and my technique. We also had to do our shadow track after our main track to show our instructors our technique. I got a thumbs up on my work on the shadow track!

After we went through our routines we debriefed and watched everyone’s videos. Unfortunately for some reason my instructor accidentally switched her iPad to photo so I just have a picture of me, no video. She explained to me that my technique was off and I was counting out loud too much and that’s what I needed to work on for my final performance. I explained to her that I tried to do the coaching like she had said and that is what messed me up. She explained that will come with time and for my final performance just keep quiet and go through the track with my group.

Then we headed into THE CHALLENGE. I’m not going to give it away but let’s just say, it is CHALLENGING. I am proud of me and my partner. We ROCKED it and we have very sore muscles to prove it. Completing the challenge really made me feel strong and proud of myself. Our heads really get in the way of us and if we stop listening to our doubts we can overcome them.

Then a 30 minute lunch break- ahhh 5 extra minutes was fabulous!! I also exchanged numbers with some of the girls and we are planning to meet up and practice together.

After that some more education and some other group bonding exercises. Then on to our final performance which was our final assessment. Your main goal is to nail timing and technique. We went through everyone’s tracks and they all rocked it. I was the final track and just went up there and did it. I kept quiet, counted in my head and just did it.

Afterwards we took pictures, debriefed and got our results from our assessment. I goy 3/3, which means I am ready and cleared to film my video assessment!


Next Steps

For the next 60 Days I need to learn, practice and team teach the entire Body Pump 96 release. Before the 60 days is up I need to video myself teaching a class and then I will mail in my video to Les Mills. I am being assessed on perfect technique and timing as well as giving coaching cues. From there Les Mills will determine if I am ready to become a certified Body Pump Instructor.

My thoughts

What a weekend. I feel extremely empowered that I was able to push past my limits and complete the weekend. We are all stronger than we think both physically and mentally.

Stressed. Yes, that’s me the worrier. I have 60 days to learn (technically less than 60 because you don’t want to film your video on the last day) the whole release perfectly. It’s really, really hard and there is something called “life, family, job, holidays” thrown in the next 60 days too.

Not 100% sure. I got into personal training, cycling, group fitness, etc. as a new outlet to use some of my creativity. My current job has been trending away from teacher creativity and more scripted, planned out work. I love making playlists for cycling and when I get some personal training off the ground and running I hope to create thought out, fun and challenging workouts for my clients. I went into this training 100% knowing that Body Pump is choreographed. I take the classes and absolutely love them. The classes work. I see results in my body and I generally enjoy taking them. However, I’m not 100% sure if I am the teacher for it. Is it a lack of confidence, am I scared? I’m really not sure. However, I am not giving up. I started something and I will finish it. I am going to practice, work my butt off and learn those tracks and submit my video. This is a learning process and I may learn to love it or learn it’s not my thing. I want to really explore my feelings and test my limits.


We all want to be part of a group and for the next 60 days, my group is the Les Mills Body Pump Tribe. Here we go!


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