Les Mills Programs Vs Freestyle

The following is a post I shared within one of my Facebook groups. I decided to share it on my blog, for a greater readership, and hopefully some more input. However, I think I have my answers from the comments and conversations that followed the post.

I’m not a teacher of the Les Mills program because of the level of control they have over it. I did a bunch of body pump and body combat classes during an audition, and they were all literal clones of one another. Everyone said the same exact thing, “This is a combination of kickboxing, muay thai, karate, and other martial arts FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD, blah blah blah.”

I feel like there is no opportunity for self expression as a physical trainer with that type of program because everything from the music, to the movements is completely choreographed by their organization. Don’t get me wrong, I respect it, they are obviously doing very well, but I’m not a fan of being controlled in my teaching that way. Teaching is like an art to me, and I love expressing myself my own way.

I can see the positive aspects as my friend and fellow instructor once pointed out, “I don’t need to work on routines, they do that for me, and I in turn can focus on other things in my life.” That makes a lot of sense, it is brilliant analysis depending on your time schedule. Also, I noticed that it is obviously in very high demand, as well as creates a consistent training environment for the members. Apparently, it is also scientifically designed to kick butt. We’d all be wise to take it up, but personally, I just can’t get down with this controlled method.

I prefer the freestyle arts of training. Following someone else’s choreography to the letter is not my thing. I’d rather go in and read the class, the energy, and give them my soul as we train. I’m not knocking the Les Mills programs, just expressing my personal views on it.

I’ve heard that Grit might be more my thing, and I’m open to checking that out, but I’m not extremely familiar with it as of yet. For now, I’ll continue doing my own strength and HIIT styles.

As seasoned instructors, personal trainers, managers, and students of the craft, what do you guys think about this? Any advice for a relatively new instructor?

The following is a response that I received from Alli Villela, she is the Group Ex Manager for my area. I thought that this was a great response, so I asked for permission to share it. Bare in mind, this was a response to a Facebook group post, and I will not edit it. She speaks and writes proper English, just saying.

Funny thing… this was almost VERBATIM my train of thought on these programs UNTIL I attended Bodypump training. I absolutely concur with Steph’s input about not having to spend a lot of time programming. I will add a few points: 1.) People are extremely receptive to movement set to music, and LM does this very well, choosing music strategically and programming the choreo in a scientific, effective way that is also fun. 2.) There is a consistency that people find comforting. If someone take Bodypump in Queens, but goes on vacation in FL, they can go to a Bodypump class there and know what to expect. While freestyle formats are great, they are SO subjective to instructor, and “HIIT” may be a totally different experience from instructor to instructor. That is an awesome thing, but also, terrifying from a participant standpoint. 3.) LM trainings are GOLD STANDARD in our industry, and one of the few (out of the dozens I’ve experienced) that teaches people how to teach, not just the format. I’ve watched GXIs that only taught freestyle go to a LM training and come out teaching EVERYTHING better. 4.) I find that when I am teaching a class that I have choreo memorized for, I am able to give MORE of myself and a better focus on individual members, rather than worrying about what is coming next. There is a freedom that allows me to connect. YES, the music and choreo and some of the intros will be the same, but because many participants know the formats, you have a HUGE opportunity to bring in your own personality and make it your own, without changing a thing about the workout. 5.) All that being said, not everything is for everyone. There are instructors that have attended the training and still don’t like it, there are members that have been explained the science and reason behind LM formats and still don’t enjoy them. Most people like pizza, but not everyone likes the same toppings…. not everyone that likes working out in a class will like the same class! 🙂

By the way, I love pizza!

Angel Rodriguez

Please take note of the date on a post. Over the years my views have evolved. I'm constantly learning and growing.
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