Saturday, December 1, 2012

The art of learning BODYPUMP

This morning was an exciting day at the gym. Not only did I have a decaf coffee from McDonald's spiked with a creamer (a rare order for me) but we added an 8 a.m. Spinning class at the gym and I debuted three new tracks during BODYPUMP.

The tracks weren't exactly new but new to us - they were from the 82 release, which we never launched because of problems with Les Mills autoship. I actually got 83 and taught it for a month before I got the earlier title.

And while I love BP 83, we have been working out to it for two months. Not only can the person get bored but the muscles can, too, and I knew it was time to switch it up. I decided it wasn't feasible to learn 82 in its entirety but I could get down a few tracks to keep things fresh.

Learning the releases can be a very individual process but for everyone, and it takes some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Eighty-two is my third release to teach, and I think I'm finally getting a process.

Listen to the music. And listen. And listen. I'm not a music-oriented person - at all. I can say that a song is my favorite and not be able to sing the words when I hear it on the radio. It's actually a running joke between Mark and me. For BODYPUMP, I start by listening to the whole release a couple times - on the way to work or on the occasional run. After that, I focus on the first two songs and add on as I learn the music.

Class time. In our release kits, instructors receive not just the CD of music but a DVD with the masterclass, which is taught by the Les Mills elite, and choreography notes. Once I feel like I know the rhythm of each song, I take the class. Sure, it's in my ever-inspiring unfinished basement but it's cool and child-free. Following along with the DVD is the first time I encounter the choreography, and I try to take note of new innovations and proper form.

Follow along. Taking the master class allows me to move to the music and when I listen to it afterward, I'm able to picture the moves. I begin to listen to the CD with the choreography notes so that I can mentally pair changes in the music to changes in the moves.

Practice, practice, practice. Once I think I know the music and the choreography, I begin to practice the tracks without the hep of the DVD. I might practice a track or two during commercial breaks or while Miles is eating breakfast. Heck, I've been known to listen to my iPhone in the bathroom at work and practice squats. No worries - I always choose the one less used and only do so when it's empty.

Script. BODYPUMP would be incredibly boring if the only thing the instructor said was "2-2" or "super slow." Using a (not so much) state-of-the art spreadsheet, I map out the choreography and cues for proper form. I try to add in some jokes or tie-ins with the lyrics to keep it light. While I'd love to keep things spontaneous, I end up stammering when a class isn't mapped out. It's super attractive. Almost as attractive as the way I practice my script - in the car. Yes, I talk to myself as I drive home.

And for the final step? Plan the perfect outfit for the launch. Just kidding. Sort of. The final step is to teach it. Again and again.

Now for a question: Would you go to a BODYPUMP class at noon on New Year's Day? I have an idea for a launch of 84 to celebrate the New Year, New You at the stroke of noon. Noon, though, is a bit odd for a class time so I'd love feedback.


  1. very cool description of body pump! i'm not a huge fan of classes, but this sounds like fun.

    to answer your Q, i usually don't have the luxury of attending a scheduled class on New years day. too many family obligations. I have to fit in my run whenever i can (provided i'm in "condition" to run).

  2. I would definitely do a New Years Day class. As for noon, it seems a little odd (I would probably choose earlier), but I'm sure you would have participants.