I took a Les Mills training this weekend. Les Mills is a gym-based exercise program that I agreed to learn how to teach because the Y gave me the training as a gift. And no, I had never heard of it before. Those of us who teach group exercise – whether it’s yoga (for the more civilized high-minded folk) or Body Pump; training is not cheap. “Free” to me generally means “Yes” or at least “I’ll look at it.” And so I went. Thank God I had a Sisterhood of other instructors with me. It was one of those experiences that is best described over a
glass bottle of wine. Surreal and funky.
Disclaimer: I am first and foremost a Yoga teacher. I love teaching group exercise in a number of formats but my DNA fibers are woven tightly in and around the Asana and Eight Limbs of Yoga.
After this weekend, the muscle fibers in my middle are so stinking sore – I swear to god they are swollen. And no, it’s not from cookie dough, (btw, is there a 12-step for that?)
Here is ONE of the many fitness drills we did to see if we were
ready worthy of teaching a Les Mills class.
“Hold this for 5 minutes!”
This was after we had taken the high intensity Master Class to become familiar with this interesting little
cult group. Don’t even get me started on the ‘walking hover’. Or this:
Isn’t this much prettier? I can promise you it’s harder. Look at the hand placement. No, we don’t hold it for 5 minutes but we don’t aim to punish in yoga either.
And punish, he did. One of our trainers threatened us with a one-minute hover hold if we got out of line, etc. He was serious. My team was having a quick off-line meeting when Adonis came over to tell us we were late. Never mind, how late it started the first day. This group of fierce fit women who have out lived him by at least a decade each were made to hover in front of the group as penance for our little digression. I thought they might pass out (ahem) Kool Aid next.
I am not a hater.
I think pieces of the Les Mills approach to making our planet more fit are admirable and very effective. I think it even might be fun to teach one of these 30-minute, high intensity core strengthening workouts. But I would have to put my self in another zone, out of my own skin and become a robotic spewer of cues and scripted ‘coaching comments’. It might be easier not to have to plan a sequence or allow my students into my heart and life. But this, friends is what I love.
I have left out some critical details about the trainers (think Stepford Wives in workout wear) and their aura and a strange tribal ceremony to close the weekend. This is much better demonstrated in person. And, I’m nice like that – I don’t want to beat up on another person’s path. Maybe the Les Mills path to core strength and fitness is worth a look. Just don’t make me drink the Kool Aid. I’d rather hover for 20 minutes. Why not, my abs couldn’t be more sore.
Overall the training/weekend was: Strange, challenging, intriguing, fun, surreal, funky, weird, funny, cool, odd, a little sad.
Taught a Yoga class today. Headed to a Bikram Class tomorrow morning. All is right with the world.
Have you ever heard of Les Mills? Have you ever so sore you thought your muscles were swollen?