Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pumped up

It was just like any other BODYPUMP class over the past three months.


I got there 15 minutes early to help set up, passing out plates, bars and clips. I talked to my co-instructor Corey and said hi to C. I went to the bathroom, got a drink of water and took a deep breath. When the clock struck 6:15, Corey went through set stance and I hit play.

It was time to work.

And like the other classes, Corey led the warm-up and taught the back, bicep, shoulders and lunge tracks while I took on squats, chest, triceps, abs and cool down. My BIC Band still acted as a makeshift way to keep the microphone in place. I still dreaded the twisting mountain climbers. My old jokes abounded: I reminded participants that the third time's the charm for round three of tricep extensions, and I called super slow squats a gentle way to wake-up the legs as I always do.

But somethings were different.

♦ I lifted more weight. Three months of at least twice-weekly PUMP classes has left me stronger and more toned than ever. I still have to be mindful that a class is not my workout and my the bicep track is challenging but I can lift like the guys ... who are new to class.

♦ I didn't get lost in the choreography. You might think this is a given but it's been almost two weeks since I taught in front of people, and it's easy to forget things if you don't listen to the music regularly. I missed a couple of coaching cues but nothing that anyone would have noticed. The real gain is that I didn't let it flummox me.

♦ I had no fear. I used to have scripting sheets and my guide, which I would obsessively read before a class. I would listen to the music non-stop all day and talk myself through the class on the drive to the gym. I could feel the anxiety fill my body as I went through the preparation each day. Call it familiarity with the class or adaptation but I wasn't scared. Not even the slightest. I've taught by myself twice now (in addition to numerous team teachings), and those experiences really showed me that if I am confident and have fun, participants will have fun. They certainly aren't going to obsess over the fact that I missed a coaching cue or told a bad joke the way I did. Why should I?

♦ Perhaps the most important way this class differed from others is that it is, more than likely, the last one I have someone up there with me. This day could be the very last time I was teaching a class as a trainee.

On Saturday, I will attempt a second taping of a class and, assuming it goes well, the DVD will be shipped off to Les Mills for assessment. It takes up to eight weeks to find out whether I passed officially but beginning July 28, I will be taking over the Saturday class at the gym. At 8:45 a.m. each weekend, I will be in front of the studio guiding participants through all 10 tracks. I can tell corny jokes for an entire hour. I will be paid to work out.

And that, ladies and gents, is awesome.