The BodyPump Training Experience – Part 2

Me and Kristin, our awesome trainer In case you missed it, part 1 is HERE.   The BodyPump training was held in Harrisonburg, VA at a small gym near my sister’s house. I arrived at 8am ready to workout and excited about how the day would go.   We were introduced to each other and to our awesome trainer, Kristin Donnelly. She led us (and a few members from the gym) through a master class of release 91.   The equipment at the gym left a bit to be desired. They had the older, super-heavy (15 pound!) silver bars, and the weight plates were sometimes tough to get on and off.   I knew I’d be doing the release a lot over the course of two days so I didn’t lift my usual weights in the master class so as not to exhaust myself! It was fun to hear how she coached the class and I picked up a few new cues.   After the master class we sat and listed to Kristin talk a bit about the choreography and some Les Mills specifics. Then we had a “technique bootcamp” where she demonstrated each move in Body Pump and had us repeat it many times so that she could come around and make sure our form was perfect. This was helpful and I found a few things I could tweak to improve my form.   After that it was time for a lunch break, then more lecture and then finally it was time for our first presentation. Two weeks ago we’d been assigned two tracks to learn and perfect for the weekend. I had biceps and lunges. I really liked the biceps track (though it was HARD) and I was less enthused about the lunges. But I’d been practicing for those two weeks and felt like I knew my tracks pretty well.

Our training group - all of the ladies were super nice and supportive.

Many of the other gals in the training had never done Pump before and were a bit lost on some of the choreography and timing, but everyone got to present and we all did our best.   Kristin had taped us and so we got to watch that while she gave us feedback. After that it was 5pm and we all got to head home for the day.   I chose to stick around and get in a quick 3.5 miles on the indoor track (since it was 30 degrees outside!). I guess I’d over-prepared for the training because the first day wasn’t nearly the sweat-fest that I’d been promised it would be. Believe it or not, my little run made me the sweatiest I had been all day!


The BodyPump Challenge!

Day 2 was a bit more intense, thanks to the fact that we presented twice (so we did the full release two times) and we also had…the BodyPump Challenge! We were encouraged during the challenge to really push ourselves and lift 50-75% more weight than we normally do for each of the exercises. I ended up squatting over 75lbs so I was happy with that and definitely felt like I got in a decent workout during this portion of the training.   We had some more lecture time as well as a chance to practice our tracks before we presented a final time for her to grade us.   I was a bit nervous about the final presentation, but I felt like I’d prepared enough and tried to be confident. It must have worked because I passed and received a 3/3 grade for the weekend.   There are a few form cues I need to work on but the next step is to get ready to film my full assessment video! I have 60 days to video tape myself teaching the whole release (from warm-up to cool-down) and then submit that to Les Mills for them to give me a final score and determine if I have passed and can be designated an official instructor.   Since I’ve been back, I’ve been practicing as often as I can in hopes to film the video fairly soon so that I can stop stressing over it!

In other news, when I’m not practicing BodyPump, I’ve been RUNNING!!! It feels so awesome to be building my mileage. I’m still no where near where I was, but I’m back in the mid-40s this week and so, so happy to be there. I’m still feeling very SLOW (and I AM slow), but I am hoping that the speed will come back with time. (It will, right???) I eased back into speed this week with some striders. For the record, my legs were VERY confused about the re-introduction to speed and protested mightily.   But it felt good to pick it up and bit and it was a nice low-anxiety way to ease back in.   Here’s how the week shook out:

Monday: 6 miles Tuesday:   8 hilly with striders Wednesday: 6.5 miles Thursday: 6.5 miles + BodyPump Friday: 5.2 miles Saturday: 12.0 miles (avg. 8:11 pace) + BodyPump Sunday: OFF + BodyPump

Total: 44.2 miles

Next up, a recovery week.  I'll dial it back to 35 miles or so to let my body absorb the work.  We've had a cold spell here in the last few days (my long run was done in 20 degrees!) so here's hoping it warms back up slightly for next week!

Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me how you are doing!

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The BodyPump Training Experience & a bit more running

Lunges with the bar in BodyPump! This blog post could alternatively have been titled: How Jen Plans To Ensure She Continues Strength Training. But let’s back up. Ever since my last marathon in March, I’ve been trying to commit to strength training more often. For the most part, time spent on other supplemental training (core work, cross-training, and strength training) doesn’t provide the same “bang for your buck” in terms of running fitness as RUNNING does. So in other words, if you have free time to go to the gym and lift weights, that time would be better spent running more miles. BUT (and this is a big BUT), that “supplemental” stuff has the potential to make you a better runner in a way that piling on more miles fails to do.   The core work and strength training help strengthen all of your supporting muscles – making you less prone to injury. And the cross-training can help you add “miles” to your schedule when your body can’t physically handle any more of the pounding miles on the road that week.

I also have a family history of bone density issues. While I have no reason to believe my own bone density is poor (a factor I examined in my stress fracture root cause analysis), I know that strength training helps to enhance bone density and decrease the probability of osteoporosis.   So given that as well as the injury-prevention benefits to my running, I wanted to make sure I made strength training more of a priority moving forward.

Enter….Les Mills Body Pump!   If you aren’t familiar with BodyPump, it’s a choreographed weight training class that our local YMCA offers. It’s actually a world-wide program and instructors are certified by a company called Les Mills. (You can see what BodyPump is all about HERE) I started taking the class back in March and really grew to love it. I try to go three times a week and over the course of the past 9 months I’ve been able to slowly increase the amount of weight I’m lifting.   The instructors were recently giving me a hard time because I love the songs and know the choreography so well – “you should teach it!” they said. I laughed it off initially, but the more I thought about it, the more it started to sound like something I wanted to do.

I passed!  Woohoo!

Since having left the corporate world when my first daughter was 9 months old, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try and help others while doing something I was passionate about. I’m definitely passionate about running and physical fitness and the idea of helping others to improve their fitness sounded like it would be right up my alley.   I mentioned back in this post that I was working on getting my group exercise certification in addition to my Body Pump certification, and I’m happy to report that after many weeks of studying, I took and passed my ACE Group Exercise Instructor Certification!

So since I’d gotten that part taken care of, it was on to Body Pump Training!! I headed up to Harrisonburg to stay with my sister and take the training that was being offered near her. It’s a two day event – 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. If I did well at the training and received a passing score, I would head back to Richmond and have 60 days to tape a video of myself teaching the full BodyPump class.   I was nervous, but excited as well!   I’ll stop here since this is getting long, but Part 2 will be coming soon!

As for running (which will always be my first love!), I’m slowly, slowly getting back at it. The leg is feeling pretty good, which is encouraging after a rough week or two of various “twinges” that made me super nervous. This past week I was finally back up to enough mileage where I felt like I could give a quick recap. Still no speed or real intensity yet – just super easy (and slow) mileage.

Monday: 5 miles

Tuesday:   OFF

Wednesday: 7 miles

Thursday: 6 miles

Friday: 6.5 miles in the a.m. with friends, 5 miles later with my Dad

Saturday: OFF (BodyPump training day 1)

Sunday: 3.5 miles (early before BodyPump day 2)

Total: 33 miles

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