I recently spent two consecutive weekends attending Initial Trainings for the Les Mills GRIT™ and BODYCOMBAT™. The first of the two trainings I attended was GRIT™ and a week later I attended BODYCOMBAT™ Initial Training. BODYCOMBAT™ is a cardio workout inspired by martial arts, utilizing multiple disciplines such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi and muay thai. It’s a 55 minute class that tones your whole body while you release your inner fighter.
For anyone who has not completed a Les Mills certification:
Two weeks before your training, you receive an email with the track or tracks you are required to present during your training. You will have plenty of time and coaching during the training on how to teach, best practices for learning your choreography, and adding depth to your instruction. The best way to prepare for any training is listen to your music constantly and watch the video multiple times. I attended this training with several co-workers, which meant we were able to practice together and learn our choreography together. Definitely make sure you complete the full workout at least once before attending your training to know what to expect.
Before every training I go through a huge checklist to make sure I have everything I’ll need for the weekend. Going through multiple trainings has conveniently given me enough experience to know what to pack. I eat only simple carbs and sugars to have fast energy that won’t upset my stomach. I pack a giant water bottle and two extra outfits (one workout and one for the ride home). The worst part of training is riding home after a ten hour day sitting in stinky clothes, so changing into fresh ones can make a huge difference.
I started day one of training by locking my keys inside of my running car and running around my house like a crazy lady. This happened to be the weekend Jon was out of town and I had no idea where the spare key was located. After some desperate calls to AAA, Alysha (who was going through training with me), and Jon the spare key was located and I arrived just in time to begin the master class.
Each Les Mills Initial Training begins with a master class by the national trainner in the format you are studying. Our class was fantastic despite having some serious space issues. Alysha and I both almost got kicked in the head several times!
It wasn’t until after the master class that I had the pleasure of officially meeting our trainer, Lori. She is a tiny ball of New Jersey fire who has more compassion and love for others in one finger than anyone else I’ve ever met. Her desire to help each participant succeed was tangible and no one can deny her fierce passion for connecting with everyone she meets to make the world a better, fitter place.
After a quick break we jumped right into the five key elements lecture, where we focused on what it means to be a BODYCOMBAT™ instructor and how to be the best instructors possible. Next came technique bootcamp where we learned how to do almost every move in BODYCOMBAT™. It was not only exhausting but frustrating because I’ve never moved my body like that before. The best way I can describe learning BODYCOMBAT™ technique for me is trying to learn a new language with my body. I never knew how complicated a simple jab could be or how hard a gosh darn uppercut is! Lunch was next followed by another lecture delving further into the five key elements and then it was time for the first of three presentations we would have for the weekend.
My first presentation was just “ok”. I hold myself to high standards as an instructor and BODYCOMBAT™ is a completely new format for me that has really thrown me for a loop. My feedback was constructive and mostly technique based, which was no surprise. I left day one of training completely frustrated and exhausted.
After a good night’s sleep and a morning without locking my keys in the car, I arrived for day 2 of training ready to work hard. We started the day with presentation #2 and I immediately felt more confident in my technique. (It’s amazing what a night of sleep can do!) My feedback reflected the way I felt and Lori was incredibly encouraging. After changing clothes and grabbing a quick snack we spent the remainder of our morning on coaching tools and drills. When it was time for lunch, Lori asked us to leave the studio and take some time away. Alysha and I hung out in the lobby of the gym and came back feeling refreshed. Lori seemed to know that we all needed a brain break, she’s good like that.
We arrived back to blaring rock music and little signs posted all over the studio. It was time for the BODYCOMBAT™ challenge!
Each Les Mills training has a workout challenge that all the instructors go through to become part of the tribe. This is always the hardest part of training for me. We are tired mentally and physically by this point and the last thing I want is to workout more. Funny thing is, that as soon as each challenge is over it immediately becomes my favorite part of the weekend. The challenges are always set up as a super circuit that has movements from the program along with a few curveballs.
Just like every other challenge, the BODYCOMBAT™ challenge looked impossible before we started. Luckily Alysha (we were called Frick and Frack by the end of the weekend) was there and we buckled down for a rockin’ workout. An hour later we were soaked, more exhausted, and more confident. I’ve never encountered a Les Mills training challenge that didn’t work for me.
After the challenge, it felt like a huge wave of relief had washed over our group. We had crossed the line from acquaintances to friends and were more relaxed with each other. (See the challenge always works!) Conveniently the next lecture was on connection, which is Lori’s forte. We were able to be completely open and honest which made for the most inspiring part of the weekend. Connection is what makes Les Mills instructors great, and you find that from the beginning at initial training with your fellow participants. At the end of the lecture it was time for final presentations and to wrap up the weekend.
We had a blast working out one last time together and before we knew it we were huddled for the last time. Lori provided us with an experience that was unlike any other training I’ve been to. She turned a group of strangers into a group of friends who depended on each other for energy and support. She connected with each participant on their own level, and made each person feel important and loved. If I could be half of the instructor and connector Lori is in my lifetime I would be ecstatic.
BODYCOMBAT™ is so much more than just a workout class. It’s a time for people to face their inner struggles in a room with others doing the same. The program reminds us that we are never alone and always having someone fighting next to us. I’m so thankful for the time we had that weekend and can’t wait to bring BODYCOMBAT™ to my gym members.