I have been so busy with my full time job and teaching indoor cycling that I have never had a chance to try them. Well actually I did take an RPM once, which is their take on indoor cycling.
As a freelance instructor what put me off adding a Les Mills instructor qualification to my toolbox were two things: choreography and music.
You get given a choreography that you have to learn and follow so the programme is unified across the board and there are new releases every few months. You are also given the music that you have to use which means paying a licence fee that covers the CDs, workshops etc.
The music was my main thing: I have to feel the music I teach to otherwise it just doesn’t work. I have used other people’s class profiles found on websites or at workshops but in 99% of the cases I had to change the music completely.
When it comes to teaching indoor cycling I am trying to keep it real so not every class I teach involves intervals or HIIT. Sometimes we do races or 40 min climbs or pure cadence drills so I found the RPM programme very restrictive. Plus I enjoy creating profiles, sometimes adding a little presentation on a DVD to it way too much to give it up. And the music? Yes, it costs a lot too and it sometimes takes hours to find the right songs but when it all comes together the feeling is great.
The one RPM class that I took had all rocky tracks – the kind of music I simply hate so that was just a confirmation: this was not for me.
But today at Alexandra Palace Les Mills held their big ONELIVE event with tens of classes you could try. It was a bit pricey at £75 but you could do 7 x 55min classes between 8:30am and late afternoon. I booked 6 and then last week a disaster struck resulting in a hand injury so today I could not try the Bodypump but I watched two classes.
What’s my verdict? I loved it! The music was great – at least for this release. The workout was really challenging and as soon as I am better I will definitely take a class or two. I loved the clear options for various fitness levels. Apart from the main presenters on stage they also had instructors working the floor and correcting form and giving directions to those who needed it. People wooping and cheering giving into the feeling of being “one tribe” which is Les Mills motto. Great!
I was hoping to watch Bodybalance and RPM too but cycling was booked up and you couldn’t watch it as it was in a closed room. The same went for Bodybalance and everything else. That was disappointing.
But I didn’t despair as I also booked Bodystep. This class followed the Bodypump on the main floor. I must say to see all 1,200 people do the same choreography was a proper spectacle. Unless you are like me and your brain cannot understand what to do when faced with someone you have to copy: when they lift right leg up do I lift right leg up or left? (This is the reason I don’t drive: when I look in the mirrors I no longer know what’s left or right).
I followed people in front of me – who clearly have done that before – for as long as I could but then we stepped it up and started incorporating TURNS?! That’s where the car crash feeling became too overwhelming and I left. Thankfully I was realistic about my chances and my step was the closest to the exit so I sneaked out unnoticed… Verdict? Great class, great energy. Could I teach it ever? Hell no!
Overall a good event. People of all ages, shapes, sizes, even a few toddlers perched on their Les Mills instructor parents’ hips. It was a really good feeling to see thousands of people (there were 3 classes happening at the same time with 1,200 people on the main floor and at least 1,000 across the other studios) who got up way before 7am on a miserable Saturday morning to spend a few hours exercising.
There was a sense of community in the air. Even when I was waiting for W3 bus to take me down the hill to Wood Green station it was omnipresent. There was another girl in Les Mills gear waiting for the same bus. A few minutes later we were joined by an incredibly hunky guy in a Bodypump T-shirt who asked me in his sexy Kiwi accent: “How much is a single ticket these days?”. “I am not sure. £2 something… Oh., wait, actually London buses don’t take cash anymore. Have you got a contactless bank card?”. “Oh, no, I don’t… I may have to try and bribe the driver with cash…”. At this point the girl said: “Don’t worry! I have a contactless card and an oyster so you can use one of mine”. “Are you sure? Thank you so much!” responded the Nice Eyes With Sexy Body. Damn! I should have offered that, I thought. Instead I just smiled at them and said: “One Tribe!”.