Les Mills BODYPUMP Instructor Training

What a weekend!! If you’ve stopped by the blog this weekend, then you already know that I was in BodyPump instructor training. It was an invigorating, inspiring, and exhausting experience; simultaneously similar and entirely different than any training I’ve completed.

BODYPUMP equipment

Under the Group Fitness umbrella, there are many little spokes: their own unique worlds, and I’ve only really known a few of them. I’m part of the Zumba world, and have also worked in the small personal training studio and hotel/resort world. There are many specialities under the same umbrella, and while I may have taken classes or workshops, I see myself as an outsider for these: Beachbody (coaching and certifications), Masala Bhangra, yoga, Pilates, Shockwave, Tabata Bootcamp, and the list goes on and on. Before the past weekend, Les Mills was also on this list.

I’ve always been a fan of the Les Mills formats that I’ve tried. I CAN’T WAIT to find a GRIT class near me, and BodyPump was my first Les Mills experience. One thing that instantly attached me to the workout was that the movements perfectly matched the music. Music has a huge impact on my personal workouts, and as a dancer, I got a thrill out of doing choreographed movements exactly in time to the music. 

Some of the reasons why I love BodyPump

It takes some of the intimidation away from strength training. I’m a huge advocate for strength training and the benefits of building lean muscle, but I also know that it can be intimidating to lift weights, especially if you’re just getting started. Even as an instructor, I still get intimidated walking around a new-to-me gym and trying to find all of the tools for my workout. With BodyPump, you’re strength training with a group and you have coaching along the way. I know quite a few people that wouldn’t strength train on their own, but regularly participate in BodyPump classes. This makes my heart so happy πŸ™‚

The group atmosphere. There’s something truly magical about working out in in a group, and many people will find that they thrive working out in a motivational group atmosphere. There’s a team aspect and you feel like you’re a part of something.

The MUSIC. I’ve done a post about the Les Mills music before, but in a nutshell, it rocks my world. They are geniuses at picking motivating, driving beats, and it’s one of the first things I noticed about Les Mills. Their music makes you want to work.

People doing BODYPUMP


Needless to say, I was pretty excited about the weekend. I didn’t do a lot of research beforehand -I’ve just been taking BodyPump at our gym to practice before I can start teaching- and went in with an open mind and a lot of food.

I was blown away.

Breakdown of a BodyPump Instructor Training Weekend

-Master class

-Coaching sessions and tips

-Technique (making sure you can execute all of the movements safely and with the best form)

-Personal on-the-spot feedback

-Practicing our tracks

-Instructor BodyPump challenge


Our trainer for the weekend was Lissa, and she generously shared her knowledge, energy and fun spirit with all of us. She’s been teaching BodyPump for 15 years!

The Master class was special because she said it was the last chance to take class as a STUDENT. From then on, we’d be instructors, and you look at the class differently from that point.

How BodyPump Certification Works

Over the weekend, we were responsible for learning two tracks from our release and presenting them to the class. You are graded on your presentation, you’re also filmed (so you can awkwardly watch yourself afterwards) and given on-the-spot feedback and coaching. You get one chance to do your first track (this is your learning point for the second day) and two chances to do your second track. From here, you are given up to 3 points. 3/3 = pass, 2/3 = pass* (same as a pass but with tips to improve) and 1/ or 0/3= pass pending. (They talk to you about what steps to take if that occurs). If you get a pass (me! wahoo) or pass*, you have two months to film yourself instructing a 60-minute live class. This is sent to Les Mills and they give final approval for certification.

If you’re getting ready for training, definitely listen to the music as much as possible and know your tracks like the back of your hand. It will help a ton! Thankfully, I’d been rocking out the music with Livi in the car, so I knew my tracks well. Also, practice *teaching* your tracks to anyone who will listen. Give proper alignment and form cues -these are all in the choreography notes and video- and make sure that the basics are there. They go over ALL of this over the weekend, too.

Pros of BodyPump Instructor Training

This training helped me immensely as a group fitness instructor. I learned coaching strategies I can use in all of my classes and I feel inspired to work harder and become better.

I like the fact that Les Mills has so much pride in their instructors and that the certification process is fairly rigorous. It weeds out the people who may not be serious about it, and also helps to ensure that the instructors out there are teaching proper form to keep participants safe. To be entirely honest, I’m not excited about having to film a live class -the logistics behind it seem like they’ll be interesting to figure out- but in the end, I’ll feel proud of myself for accomplishing it.

You become part of the tribe. Les Mills has its own unique culture and they put a lot of effort into their high-quality training and education. It was fascinating to learn how the workouts are developed.

Cons of BodyPump Instructor Training

The only con I can think of was that there wasn’t a musculature crash course. Most of the girls in my training didn’t have a group ex or personal training background and mentioned that they were curious about learning more about what muscles you were working for each exercise. 

Tips if You Plan to Take the Training

Be ready to SWEAT. Over the 2-day span, we did the equivalent of 5 BodyPump classes, including the instructor challenge. I don’t want to spill the beans on what it is, but you’re in for a treat πŸ˜‰ I’ll just say, just when you think you can’t do anything more, you do another full hour and it’s CRAZYPANTS.

Bring a lot of snacks/food.

Bring your iPod, notes, pen, and something to watch the release (like your iPad or laptop) during breaks.

Bring extra clothes and socks.

Weight training gloves FTW. I forgot mine the first day and regretted it deeply.

A little caffeine and sugar was helpful too πŸ˜‰

Coffee and chocolate to fuel BodyPump Instructor Training

As of now, I’m allowed to teach BodyPump classes for the next two months until my video submission is due. I’m excited to eventually become a BodyPump instructor πŸ™‚

Hope this helped those of you who are considering certification!

If you could teach any class, what would you choose?

Favorite Les Mills format?

Have a great day!



Through my partnership with Les Mills, the costs of the training were sponsored by the company. As always, all opinions are my own.

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  1. Jackie on May 5, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Body pump is the jam! Taking it tonight!!

  2. Amanda Martin on May 5, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I started bodypump a couple months ago. I absolutely love it! I look forward to going! You’re right…the music is awesome and I think it’s motivating!

  3. Kelly on May 5, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Been teaching Body Pump since Release 67 (which is still my all time favorite tricpes track to-date!). We just launched Release 89, so that’s 22 launches I’ve been a part of …but we have a lady at my gym who has been teaching since the releases came out on cassette tapes!

  4. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on May 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Congratulations on finishing up your initial training. Taking BODYPUMP was definitely the first time I started lifting weights. Fast forward a few years later and I teach several Les Mills formats and became a personal trainer as well.

    The video portion is very challenging, especially logistically. I’ve filmed all of my assessment videos in live class settings. Be prepared to have to film more than once. You may see things the first time you know you need to fix.

    Best of luck! πŸ™‚

  5. Donna on May 5, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Congratulations! You continue to inspire me. <3

  6. Nichole on May 5, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Yay! Congrats on passing! I’m a BodyPump junkie and have been taking the class for about 8 years now. I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant and still take it two days a week (with some definite modifications of course)! I’m in SoCal and would love to take your class sometime, keep us posted on the gym and location in SD

  7. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger on May 5, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I’m actually really surprised that a certification isn’t required to take the course! I am definitely interested now and am definitely looking forward to it!

  8. Soumia on May 5, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Im doing mine in two weeks !!! Thank you for the advises πŸ™‚

  9. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat on May 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Body Pump is by far my favorite group fitness class. I have been taking it so long (and have that dance background) so I memorize the choreography pretty quick. One of my instructors always calls me out that if anyone needs help and can’t see her to watch me πŸ™‚

    And the music always winds up downloaded to my running playlists – although I admit I will be in my head thinking “down 3 up 1” and other cues – and I cannot listen to “Burn” at the moment without thinking I need to do some lunges!

  10. Polly @ Tasty Food Project on May 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you for breaking down the details about BodyPump! I’ve never been to a class as a student (let alone an instructor) but it sounds like a lot of fun. I totally agree with you when you say that you like the group atmosphere. I think it’s so much fun to be surrounded by people that are working towards one goal: working out and having fun, no matter what your fitness level is. πŸ™‚

    If I were to teach any class, I would probably choose spin!

  11. Maggie on May 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    My biggest eureka moment since I started working out was after regularly taking BodyPump. (I had muscles hiding in my arms, who knew?) I had no idea how to weight lift before taking the class so it was definitely helpful for my overall fitness knowledge.

    My one criticism of that classes I’ve taken with different instructors is that I sometimes feel like the instructors get lazy with the music cues so people rely too heavily on the instructors to find out what comes next. The result is that instructors aren’t correcting form which is so essential for people new to weight lifting. I’ve often wondered if the instructors are told they should be doing the workout at all times, and aren’t supposed to correct form?

  12. Max on May 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Very cool. I’ve never tried Body Pump but I hear so many good things about it.
    I’m thinking about taking Piyo certification when it comes to Toronto next month…I’m going to remember your tips!

  13. Sam @ The Balance Artist on May 5, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Congrats on getting through training! That (and the live-class taping) were the toughest to get through, but its such an accomplishment. I just got certified in BodyCombat…Pump was first on my wishlist of certs, but Combat is actually my favorite class and the training came first so…it was done! SO proud to be a part of the LM tribe, such an awesome company! Looking forward to getting certified in Pump and Flow eventually. So glad you enjoyed it!

  14. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on May 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I love all the Les Mills classes but there are not that many options in my area. I first started taking them in Australia where they are hugely popular (due to proximity to NZ). I loved being certified in BODYJAM but if I had to choose another format, I would probably choose BODYBALANCE/FLOW or maybe even BODYPUMP or BODYATTACK. Ha, clearly I like them all a lot. I’m not sure how it is out near you, but I think I looked into getting certified in another format and they wouldn’t let me unless I was affiliated with a gym. When I was originally certified, anyone could just sign up. So I’m not sure what the qualifications are anymore.

    The video is super annoying. I remember I didn’t even own a video camera way back when I did my training. I can’t remember what I did! So glad you enjoyed your training! Can’t wait to hear more about it!!!

  15. Tracy on May 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Wow! What a great weekend of training!

    It’s a far cry from Body Pump, but I’d teach yoga πŸ˜‰

  16. Jamie on May 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Hey Gina! Do you have a good recommendation for weight lifting gloves? I have a pair but I still manage to get calluses πŸ™

    Congratulations on your training!!! πŸ™‚


  17. Ellie on May 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT are the best! I loved my gym when I lived in North Carolina, because it was a Les Mills gym and I became obsessed with these classes. Sadly, I moved back home to Ohio, and there are no nearby gyms that offer any of the Les Mills classes. I definitely notice a difference in my muscle tone and cardiovascular endurance. My gym offers a “Bodyflex” workout, but the choreography is just not there and the music is a bummer. It’s just not the same – I wish I lived near you!!

  18. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on May 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Strong work, Gina! Congratulations! I’m planning on going through the BP training in mid-June. I’m excited and nervous all in one. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. It helps tremendously! I also just took a Les Mills RPM class and would love to get certified in that as well. I love the culture and passion in Les Mills classes and can’t wait to be part of the tribe!

  19. Nicole on May 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Do you have any advice about what amount of weight to use? I went to my first class this weekend and alternated use of an 18lb, 15lb, and 10lb bar instead of the bar and plates. I found myself wondering if I should have opted for the bar and plates instead and possibly used higher weight. (The instructor did not give much advice about this.)

  20. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on May 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    This sounds awesome! I love strength training and like you, I’m really big on needing my music to coincide with my workouts. It’s actually a big pet peeve of mine when I attend a class and the instructor’s moves doesn’t match the workout. Over 10 years ago, I taught cardio kickboxing. I’ve been thinking about teaching again. Do you have any recommendations for a type of class that is good to start with? I was thinking cycle since that is something I’ve been doing a lot of and my studio is looking to fill a spot now.

  21. Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} on May 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    So cool! I would love to take a class of Body Pump but no where around me offers it :(.

  22. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on May 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    How cool! I’ve always been curious about this program and hear nothing but good things about it. That’s sweet you are an instructor now! I would teach TurboKick. I actually got certified, but then never followed through with teaching it. :/

  23. Brynn on May 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Congratulations! I wish I could take your class. I’ve never tried Body Pump, but am dying to try.

  24. Jennifer on May 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve been a Pump instructor for 7 years now πŸ™‚ Which release did you train on??

    • Fitnessista on May 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm


      • Jen on May 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        That’s what I’m teaching now. It’s a tough one! Do you have Body Shred and Body Attack in San Fran? Those are my other two favourite Les Mills classes!
        Goodluck on your video πŸ™‚

  25. Becky@TheSavedRunner on May 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try Body Pump, but I”ve never been able to because my gym has never offered it. I’m about to join a new one, so hopefully that one will offer it! I’m glad you had fun!

  26. Sylvia on May 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I love BodyPump but don’t belong to a gym anymore so I don’t have access to the classes. Boo!! I agree with you that the class is a great approach to strength training if you are intimidated by trying out weight training on the gym floor. Plus the classes are super effective. Love!

  27. Annette @ FitnessPerks on May 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Kia Ora!

    Congrats! Isn’t the instructor challenge just crayyyyyzyyyy?! I loved it though.

    I’ve been an LM BodyPUMP instructor for 3.5 years, and have loved every second of it! I am also a CXWORX instructor and GRIT coach. I love it alllllll! Find a GRIT class–you’d LOVE it, Gina!! πŸ˜‰

    I want to train in BodyFlow and Attack one day too! Just curious–other than BP, what other LM classes would you want to train in?

    Welcome to the tribe πŸ™‚

  28. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on May 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I love Body Pump! It’s sometimes so hard to get myself to do weights and like you said Body Pump takes the intimidation out of it and makes lifting FUN! Plus you get to do it to great music with lots of other people!

  29. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on May 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Whew — sounds like an exhausting weekend! But a fun one, too πŸ™‚

  30. gracekelle at leangirlsclub on May 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I have never taken a body pump class or any Les Mills class…where have I been? I’m going to need to do some research and figure this out.

    I love a good iron pumping session. It makes me feel strong and yet, feminine. Personally need to work on the upper body strength.

    Thanks for the tips. Definitely going to check it out!

  31. Jenny on May 5, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    BODYPUMP was my first Les Mills experience, and from there I was hooked. My favorite Les Mills class is BODYATTACK. I love the challenge of it. It’s amazing!! And really really difficult. Over the weekend I completed BODYATTACK initial instructor training, best (and most exhausting) weekend of my life. I LOVE BODYATTACK, and I totally drank the koolaid. πŸ™‚

  32. Brooke on May 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Just completed my 4th LM training (RPM) this weekend! The first one changed my life so much that I was hooked. I am proud to represent what I find to be the most supportive and passionate group of fitness instructors in the world and the company that helps to create them.
    One Tribe!

  33. Veronica Boulden on May 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Hi! I just passed Bodypump Initial Training, too! And I am blogging about it, too! I scoured the internet before I went for tips. Congrats to you! Keep us posted on how things go for you. And beautiful blog!

  34. Livi on May 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I would love to teach BodyPump or a strength-based class!!

  35. Kaye on May 6, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Woooooooo! I LOVE Lissa. She’s one of the trainers at my gym and she is AMAhhhhhh-zing!

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 12:49 am

      no way! i kind of have a girl crush on her πŸ™‚

  36. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on May 6, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Congrats on passing your module training, Gina! I’m a Body Attack instructor and can attest to the intensity of the LM training weekends. I completed mine here in Australia last October and they’re no joke!
    I love teaching Attack, but someday would also like to get my Pump certification, since I’ve participated in it weekly over the past 10 years! Although, I still don’t feel like I can lift enough to set a great example on stage, so might need to work on that piece πŸ˜‰
    Have fun over the next two months with your mentoring and video certification. I think with a combined dance & athletic background, you’d be a natural Attack teacher. There is also a format called Sh’Bam, which many of my dance friends teach and love!

  37. Susie on May 6, 2014 at 4:02 am

    Congratulations Gina! That is SO EXCITING and I am so proud of you!

    Welcome to the tribe – Kia Ora!

    When you do Grit training, I want to see a post all about it! Oh, and just wait ’til you get on autoship, it’s like freakin’ Christmas πŸ™‚


  38. Cara's Healthy Cravings on May 6, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Body Pump all the way!
    I take it Tuesdays and Fridays, I am in love and I am loving the new release.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  39. Bea on May 6, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I love Bodypump!! I’ve been an instructor since release 61!! We are about to launch 89 and then I got my email last night that 90 is ready to be downloaded!! I have to see what its all about today.

    I’ve had two babies in the past two years and taught BP up until 34 weeks with the first and 36 weeks with the second. I had to do it so that others will know that pregnancy and BP can happen!!

    I love teaching and am looking forward to one day being BodyStep certified!!

  40. Julie on May 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

    LOVE Body Pump! Been taking it for about 3 yrs now. It’s probably the only class I would consider teaching, but I’m happy just being a student for now. πŸ˜‰ Enjoy! You’ll be great!

  41. Kathy on May 7, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I don’t belong to a gym, but I have heard so much about Body Pump. I was thinking about buying it from beachbody but did not know if it was for a beginner.

  42. Tyffanie on May 8, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Congrats on going through the training! Is it true that you have to get a gym to sponsor you to be able to sign up for the training? It seems a little counterintuitive to me–why would a gym that offers Les Mills classes hire me without the training? Yet to get the training I need to be backed by a gym? I really want to get certified in BODYPUMP and BODYFLOW but I don’t know how to get sponsored. Tips??

    • Fitnessista on May 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

      no, you don’t have to have a gym sponsor you. you do AFTER you pass module 1, because you have to teach somewhere (i’m still working on this step haha) so that’s what makes it tricky.

      • Tyffanie on May 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

        Thanks for the quick reply! It sounds like they changed their system, which is great! Good luck finding a place to teach–anywhere would be lucky to have you on staff!

        • Fitnessista on May 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

          thank you! good luck to you on your certifications, too πŸ™‚

  43. Kimberly on May 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I just stumbled across your blog, and I am so thankful for reading this. I am headed to BodyPump Initial training this weekend and I am nervous as all get up. This was so informative to read. I have been wanting to do this for such a long, long time. To be able to finally have that chance is nice. Thank you for posting this and I am glad I got to read about your experience. I have been stressing over the presentation of my tracks for the past two weeks. My body pump instructor told me to keep it simple, and had me write down the name of the exercise, the tempo and where the weight/or I was going and a few comp. cues so that I could keep it simple while I was up there. I got to practice with her for an hour last night at the gym after pump. So Im hoping that helped get the sillies out of me! I got track 4 and 5 from 89.. the back track is no issue for me but the tricep track is tricky for me on the timing…that and I’ve been worried about my form on the tricep track a lot only because I HATE tricep pushups! LOL

  44. iyah on June 22, 2014 at 7:44 am

    stumbled upon your blog while I was searching the net for tips for body pump. I will be having my module this weekend and i’m so excited about it, as if i’m feeling jittery all over me! hehe!

    Congrats by the way for passing your module, i hope and pray that i’ll pas too!
    Thanks for the tips as well by this i’ll be prepared! wheeew! just feeling so nervous about it! hahaha!

  45. Tara on December 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Hi, I just came across your post while researching becoming a Les Mills instructor. A new gym in my town is opening and offering these classes, that I have NEVER taken but heard such amazing reviews about.
    Curious-what is the cost of getting certified? I am hoping to get this new gym to sponsor me, and looking for a ballpark of what I will have to front for costs for the weekend training.

    Thank you!!

  46. Maria on April 28, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Hi, wow we had Lissa as our trainer too this past weekend for BP93 training; she is so gorgeous!

    Doing this training was definitely a challenge for me because english is not my first language but wow, the 2 day training was worth it! I never knew I could do lift the weights they had us do for the BodyPump challenge, totally surprised myself as I’ve only been doing BP for a little over a year.

    I had the lunge and shoulder tracks; both are challenging aside from the tricep pushups, which I still need to work on. Shoulders because I get muscle fatigue by the 3rd set of overhead LOL. I need to build more upper strength for sure. Overall, it was a very good experience and glad that I pushed myself to take on one of the many first steps. I passed but of course continuation of learning never stops πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Maria on April 28, 2015 at 10:49 am

      I thought I would be so exhausted by the end of second day, I had requested 2 days off from work in advanced in case I have any post training effects i.e. back really hurting etc.

      But no, Monday morning came and found a Body Combat class and took it. I felt great well especially not going to a combat class in the previous week leading up to the 2d training. Then my friend who was also in the training, and I went to Grit Strength & CXWRX later in the evening, also in hopes that we can speak in person with the gym manager but she did not come.

      We cray cray I guess with those workout lol after the training, jk. I definitely had a good night sleep after those classes! LES MILLS PROGRAMS ROCK!!!

  47. Curious on May 12, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I love BODYPUMP and have been thinking about becoming an instructor. Besides doing the class and items needed for the training, what is needed physically in order to do the training?

  48. Jessica on November 19, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Thanks for posting- this was really helpful to me, as someone who wants to become an instructor. How long were you taking Bodypump before attending the training? I am a newbie, but I love the class so much and can’t wait to be a part of the tribe. I just want to make sure I am prepared as well as can be before the training.

    • Fitnessista on November 19, 2015 at 9:16 am

      i had only taken a handful of classes before training- you could totally do it

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