Instructor Life: Les Mills BodyCombat AIM1

This weekend I spent a long Saturday travelling to London for my BodyCombat AIM1 (Advanced Instructor Module).  BodyCombat is the Les Mills workout that offers mixed martial arts inspired exercise to music and is the most recent, most challenging, of the classes I teach.  I attended my initial module training for this in May 2017 started teaching straight away and passed the instructor certification in June. Although I had already been teaching BodyBalance and BodyPump for over a year at that point the speed and complexity and intensity of BodyCombat made it really challenging to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing then get my body moving and coaching out in the right order at the right time.  With only one 45 minute format class a week and having been slightly less familiar with the format and feel of the workout before starting teaching it feels as though it’s been a slow process to get to a stage of being reasonably comfortable with it.  Perhaps a little soon then to be going on to the advanced training but when the right date, location and a voucher to use all appeared together I booked on.

 The great thing about the AIM1 day is that it’s not a ‘pass/fail’ type of training day.  All instructors attending are asked to present one track from the current release to the rest of the group, we get feedback on coaching and technique, then throughout the day we go through technique practice and discussion of coaching ideas before presenting again at the end of the day.  The intention of the feedback was to be encouraging and suggest a couple of specific things for each of us to focus on in order to give participants the best BodyCombat workout possible.  The trainer was great at putting us at ease right from the start, and even though as instructors we’re used to standing up in front of a group and teaching it is different and weird doing that on a training day format.  In my case, as I had practiced but not yet taught the new choreography with a ‘real’ class I was expecting to be nervous which tends to make me quieter and say less so was relieved to get through the first go and hear the comments.

During the technique workshops I was being pushed and pushing myself physically more than I probably do in a normal class.  Big surprise, even as an instructor it seems I let myself get away with doing ‘enough’ rather than the best I can – that’s something I intend to work on and really challenge myself to train better and hopefully see improvements to fitness and strength in general not just as an instructor.  In relation to BodyCombat this means practicing showing the differences in style between the types of martial arts that we do (for example, boxing and tae kwon do).  The feedback I had was to do this not just physically but vocally as well, to match better the feel of the moves and the music, to hopefully then get the class more fully engaged.   As with any skill based practice this will be a continual work-in-progress building up experience and (hopefully!) confidence over week after week of teaching and learning what I can from that and each new release that comes out.  The key word I picked up over the weekend was ‘unleash’, which I think is the opposite of how I normally show up, so it’ll be interesting to see how that manifests.  That is one of the things that drew me to becoming an instructor in the first place the opportunity to challenge myself and my fitness even more and share that challenge with others.


The plug:  if you want to try out my BodyCombat class I’m at David Lloyd Oxford on a Monday at 17:10 (followed by BodyPump).  Also at Leys Pools Leisure Centre on a Thursday at 18:00.

[Other BodyCombat classes are available and if getting to a gym is difficult this workout is available at Les Mills On Demand where you can experience the masters at work which I aspire to be as good as one day.]

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