How to choose a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course: my Experience with Lifetime Training

How to choose a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course: my Experience with Lifetime Training

Last year I qualified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor with Lifetime Training. I did this as part of the FitEx Award, which also includes 2 Les Mills modules.

There seems to be a rise in people looking to take fitness qualifications, either to move into an active role within the fitness industry or to simply improve their own knowledge. (Are you the former or the latter? Let me know in the comments section!) With this, lots of people have questions about what the courses entail, how you can prepare for them and what they qualify you to do upon completion.

Especially since course providers aren’t generally very forthcoming with the intricate details of their courses, it makes it really hard to compare options. So, I’m sharing my experience with Lifetime Training in the hope it might give you a little insight...

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Les Mills Immersive Fitness™ has Launched!

IMMERSIVE-FITNESS-LES-MILLS-NATALIE.jpg

Les Mills IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ has just launched in the UK, and as a huge fan of Les Mills workout programmes, I was really excited to be one of the first to try it. I headed to the UK’s first IMMERSIVE studio at David Lloyd Rayne's Park for a completely mind-blowing workout.

What is IMMERSIVE FITNESS™?

IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ is a workout concept developed by Les Mills. If you haven’t heard of Les Mills, why not?! They are the creators of globally-successful group fitness classes such as BODYPUMP™, BODYCOMBAT™ and RPM™ (a studio cycling workout). Well, RPM™ has now been taken up a notch. 

THE TRIP™ is the name of the 30 minute class that I experienced, fusing RPM™ with the IMMERSIVE concept to complete a truly unique exercise experience.

During the class, the lights are lowered and rich visuals on a screen taking up the entire wall of a purpose built studio transport you through galaxies, space-age cities and across oceans. The virtual reality changes with each workout track, ensuring a variety of hills, flats, mountain peaks, time trials, and interval training. Throughout the whole class, the instructor’s cues are not only synchronised with the music, but the on-screen graphics, which is really motivating and helps to completely immerse you in the ride.

Les Mills Immersive Fitness The Trip David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness Cinematic Class David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness RPM Video Game

My experience of THE TRIP™

My IMMERSIVE experience was completely sensational. I didn’t think once about the length of the workout, I just kept pushing myself harder and harder and loved every minute of it.

While riding through the space-age city, it felt like I was in a TRON video-game and while climbing up steep glaciers it was like being in a movie. My favourite part of the workout was when, while sprinting laps around the digital velodrome, we were leaning forward into descents and pushing sideways around corners. The combination of these perfectly cued movements with the incredible cinematics, made it feel like I was in a theme park simulator. I even felt my stomach lurch a couple of times; in a good way, of course!

Les Mills Immersive Fitness David Lloyd Class Workout

This workout would be fun for absolutely anyone (so long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little) and would also be a great way to introduce children and teenagers to workouts that would otherwise seem daunting. 

I couldn’t stop raving about the class for days after trying it. I’m looking forward to it being rolled out into more clubs nationwide so that I can ride THE TRIP™ again and I’m excited to see where IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ goes next...

Have you manage to squeeze yourself into an IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ class at David Lloyd yet? Let me know what you think to the concept!

Les Mills CXWORX Class

Before today, I had done one CXWORX class before, several months ago - possibly even last year, I can't even remember! Although I wasn't overwhelmed with it first time round, I overheard one of my Body Pump instructors commenting on how toned one of her colleagues was after doing this CXWORX release, so I thought I'd give it a second chance and I'm glad I did!

From the very first track, my abs burned. I don't know if it was because it was a more intense core workout that I anticipated or because I haven't been working this area hard enough lately. Probably the latter, but either way, it was good to feel it working.

CXWORX is a 30-minute workout from Les Mills which focuses on strengthening and toning your core muscles. The workout consists of exercises that isolate, such as crunches, and those that integrate various muscle groups, such as standing balance and hovers/planks. The class comprises of a warm-up, 3 core strength tracks and 2 standing strength tracks using resistance tubing for some parts.

There are roughly 30 core muscles in your body - not just your abs! Core muscles include everything from your obliques to your hip flexors and the muscles in your back and they are incredibly important to train because a weak core can lead to aches, pains and injury. I for one am keen to step up my core workout!

I'm going to try and make CXWORX a more frequent part of my exercise regime. As it's only 30 minutes long, I probably wouldn't venture to the gym for that class alone but I will definitely be doing it in combination with others. This morning, I did CXWORX before my Body Balance class and it was great! It would have felt even better if I hadn't have overslept and missed doing a quick treadmill session beforehand... Missing the run I was looking forward to (who are you and what have you done with Natalie?!) put me in a less than favourable mood for the rest of the day so I definitely won't be letting that happen again!

If you're thinking of doing CXWORX alongside another workout, remember that it is great before cardio but only do it after classes such as Body Pump as it will fatigue the muscles that are essential for stability etc when lifting weights and this could lead to injury. Be safe beauties!

My First Body Balance Class

On Tuesday morning I went to my first Body Balance class. For a while, I have been meaning to add a dedicated stretching/flexibility session into my workout routine and I think I have found the one, first time lucky.

Les Mills Body Balance (called Body Flow in the USA for copyright reasons) is a yoga, pilates and t'ai chi-inspired workout. It is said to:

build flexibility and strength and leaves you feeling centered and calm. Controlled breathing, concentration and a carefully structured series of stretches, moves and poses to music create a holistic workout that brings the body into a state of harmony and balance.

The class comprises of ten different tracks including a T'ai Chi-style warm up (which didn't feel as silly as I thought it would!), yoga sun salutations, a balance track, core workouts (these were challenging) and relaxation/meditation to finish. The full tracklist can be found here on the website. I loved that I could focus on my breathing technique as well.

After the class, I felt really calm and like I had done something really worthwhile for myself. What I liked about the class is that it teaches focus and forced me to concentrate on the present (or I would literally end up on the floor) whereas I usually have about 20 other thoughts going around in my head at a time, planning all of the things I have to do later that day/week/month. I was also much better at it than I thought I'd be (no falling over!) which may be partly because I followed the 'learn the moves' video clips on the website before I went so that I didn't feel too far out of my depth.

I found that the 55 minute class seemed to go really quickly even though I didn't feel as if I was holding poses for very long.

If you think that this class is going to be full of hippies or elderly people (guilty!) I dare you to go and prove yourself wrong. I will definitely be going back as this is exactly what I needed to add to my workout schedule and it's a great stress-reliever!

My Thoughts on Body Pump 86

So, I am absolutely loving the Body Pump new release. Since it's release I have gone from heading to class once a week, to twice a week and my Body Pump addiction is still growing...

I feel that Body Pump 86 is pretty different from the other releases that I have done and here's why:

+ There's lots of use of the plates without the bar

The triceps routine doesn't make use of the barbell at all, instead it hits the muscles hard with other exercises which include some pretty gruelling tricep dip sets. The chest routine incorporates chest flies and the bar even gets ditched pretty quickly during the lunge track in favour of plates.

I love the option to use plates. I often use dumbells for the shoulder track as my shoulders don't gain strength very quickly and dumbbell weights often increase in smaller increments than the plates. I recently increased my shoulder track weight (it was a long time coming!) and after a couple of weeks, I managed to finally finish the routine without a break or without having to switch down weights. I felt such a sense of achievement and I think that there are lots of opportunities to feel that way with Body Pump classes - that's why I love them!

+ The squat track is super-long

I'm talking six and a half minutes! It's a killer but it feels amazing when you finish the last set with 8 bottom-halves! Not only that, but there are lots of squats in the lunge track (not sure how people are feeling about that...) with some plate presses too.

+ There are cleans without the presses

The back tracks usually incorporate some variation of the clean and press movement but this release also focuses on the clean without the overhead press. I think this is great - it has definitely helped me to focus on my technique and improve form.

+ Hello, hip bridges

While I think hip bridges are great, I'm not sure how I feel about them in this routine. I think I preferred the core track from 85 which was more abs-orientated - I wish my instructors would have done it more often!

I definitely recommend checking out the music tracklist for some workout playlist inspiration (I love track 8) and watching the Latest Release Teaser Video if you aren't familiar with Body Pump classes.

What does everyone else think to this release? If you don't already do Body Pump classes - do you fancy giving it a go?

Body Pump Beginner Tips

I am absolutely loving Body Pump classes right now. Les Mills Body Pump classes use barbells to tone and sculpt your sexy bodies. Expect lots of reps to burn fat, increase strength, improve your general fitness... the list goes on. I could reel off the benefits for hours!

I have been doing Body Pump classes fairly regularly (just once a week generally because I like variety!) for a few months now and I have seen such a difference in my body. I find that my muscles respond pretty well to exercise anyway but I have seen quicker results from a few Body Pump sessions that I have from anything else. Most noticeably, my shoulders (which previously had next to no strength!) have definition and even my Nan commented on how peachy my bum looks! (thanks Nan)

I

wish

 my gym looked like this! (

source

)

Here are my top tips for people thinking of starting Body Pump classes:

+ Start light

The routines demand lots of repetition of moves so start with a light weight. I started with THE lightest weight for my first class to allow myself to become familiar with the movements first. Always ask the instructor for advice and make them aware that you are a newbie.

+ Watch the instructor

Especially for your first few classes, position yourself so that you can see the instructor clearly. To work some of the muscle groups, you will be laying on a bench or on the floor so closer to the front is best. On the Body Pump section of the Les Mills website, you can visit the '

learn the moves

' section to familiarise yourself before class. 

+ Watch yourself

If there are mirrors, use them! You will be able to check that you have adopted the correct stance (such as how far apart your feel should be) and see how well you are executing the movements (such as how low you squat or whether your arms/legs are parallel to the floor in certain movements).

+ Expect DOMS

That ache that you get for the couple of days after a good session is DOMS; Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. As you get used to moving your body in a new way, this will ease up. In the meantime, make sure that you stretch out well and treat yourself to a pampering soak in the tub!

+ Dress comfortably

I would recommend dressing in clothes that are easy to move in. Shorts or leggings are great as they won't hinder the movement in your legs as thick or baggy trackie bottoms can tend to. Supportive trainers are also important, especially in classes where you have any plyometric action!

+ Posture

Keep your core muscles engaged and joints soft; never lock your knees or elbows.

+ Don't be shy

If you are struggling to complete a track with the weights that you have selected, don't be afraid to put them down and either continue to mimic the movement with no weights, or switch to a lower weight. If you don't feel that you have time to switch the weights on your barbell, simply pick up plates and use them on their own. I have done this before and no one will judge you! I honestly feel that this looks like I know what I'm doing/understand my body more than if I had have just stood there struggling!

I love the latest release - Body Pump 85 - especially because the new ab track is amazing! The music is great too, including tracks from Swedish House Mafia, Flo Rida and Muse. Love it!