Monday, October 27, 2014

Les Mills Super Quarterly Newburgh, New York

I attended my first Les Mills Super Quarterly yesterday at Gold's Gym in Newburgh, New York.  I did Bodypump, Bodystep, Bodycombat, Bodyflow, Body Attack, and Sha'Bam, in that order.

The gym where I work has only two programs Bodypump and Bodycombat, so yesterday was my first experience with all the other formats. 

I started the day with Bodypump.  One of the trainers was Ben Feliciano.  He was one of the instructors on the Beachbody Pump DVDs I did at home for so many months on my weight loss journey, so that made it surreal.  

Next, I did Bodystep.  I thought that it would be easier for me since I have been teaching free style step aerobics for a while, but it was really challenging, but fun. 

I had the opportunity to do CXWork right after Bodystep and I really wanted to, but I couldn't.  I was shaky and desperately needed fuel at that point. I ate and drank something quickly and watched most of CXWorx from the balcony above. When I have another opportunity in the future, I want to take that class.

I didn't get to take any of the Grit classes, either. By the time I got my ticket to the Quarterly, all the Grit classes were full and I am so new to Les Mills anyway, I had never even taken most of the formats, so I stuck with the older programs this time and I was perfectly happy with that.  However, Grit is another program I want to do whenever I have the opportunity. 

Next, I took Bodycombat. We did the release that I am being trained on right now (61).  The more I do it, the more I love it.  After having taken a few of the other cardio formats yesterday, I know now that Bodycombat is definitely my first choice for cardio formats right now, so I am glad my gym has Bodycomabt and I am in the process of being certified for that format.  I consider that good fortune.  

Next, I enjoyed Bodyflow. I am not flexible and I don't have a lot of grace or balance. But I think that's actually what I enjoy about the class because I can feel that that type of movement is something I desperately need. I have thought about being certified in Bodyflow, but since my gym doesn't have the program, it's not at all practical for me to pursue it.  Maybe someday... At the end of class during the relaxation period, I believe I got so relaxed that I fell asleep and woke up at least twice!

Next I did Bodyattack and all I can say is, "Wow!" My eyes have been opened. I thought I knew what intense cardio exercise felt like and I really thought I was well conditioned, but Bodyattack is on another level entirely. "Attack" is the right name for the program! 

Last of all, for me, was Sha-Bam.  I actually didn't make it through the last two songs.  I am not a dancer, so I found it really hard to loosen up and get my sore body into the dancing.  And it was at the end of the day anyway, so the muscles in my legs were turning to stone by that time. It was all I could do to turn around, walk to the back of the gym, and remain standing to watch the last two songs of the class.

I've never been so sore!  Even after Bodypump and Bodycombat initial training, I wasn't as sore as I was after this Super Quarterly.  But it was incredibly fulfilling day!  It confirmed for me all over again that I am in the right vocation for me.  I think the best part of all was making more connections with people who love Les Mills.  I will be glad to continue on this journey as part of the Les Mills tribe (once I can move again, that is.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Team Teaching Bodycombat

I just attended and passed Bodycombat Initial Training last weekend. Read more about that here.

This week, I got to team teach with my mentor. We took the photo above after class.

It was my first Bodycombat teaching experience with a live class.

I taught the two tracks I presented at training.  

I made one big, stupid mistake while teaching the tracks to that live class.

I called double hooks double uppers.

I was doing hooks, so people were still able to follow me well, but I was calling them the wrong thing and apparently, I did that the entire time. 

*Face palm.

When I was really new to Bodypump, I remember that I was mixing up the terms then, too.

For a while, I called extensions presses and deadlifts deadrows.

Now that I have been teaching Bodypump for a few months, I don't do that sort of thing anymore.

So I can hope with time, I will eventually work out all those kinds of kinks as I get more experience with Bodycombat, too.

I will be team teaching again next week and the next and the next, probably, until I am ready to film my assessment video.

I will be doing some other tracks from Bodycombat 61 next week. I will be teaching tracks that I didn't present at training.

I know the entire release after having done it so many times at training, but I will still need to work at home, scripting the choreography and working out my coaching cues so I am ready to present those tracks well to a live class.

It's not easy to prepare for a Les Mills certification, but it's a very effective process that creates competent instructors.

I know this because, right now, I am no where near ready to teach an entire Bodycombat class on my own, so if they had already handed me a certification just because I attended training, the program at my gym would really suffer.

But I'm submitting to the certification process, team teaching until I can teach one entire release by myself.

By the time I am ready to submit and that video passes muster, I really will be ready to begin teaching a Bodycombat class.

Of course, I will still make mistakes and I will have years of improvement ahead of me, but I'll be competent.  

I know with Bodypump, it's a satisfying feeling to deliver excellent workouts to my classes.  I'm looking forward to doing that with Bodycombat someday, too.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bodycombat Initial Training- I Passed!

I passed Bodycombat Initial Training! This is just the very first step toward becoming certified to teach Bodycombat classes. And, for me, certification will just be the first step toward becoming a good Bodycombat coach.   

I have never done any martial arts before and I had only ever taken two live Bodycombat classes before training. I was just doing my best to imitate what I saw the presenters doing on the video and what my mentor was doing in class.

Bodycombat puts a lot of emphasis on proper technique. I have taught freestyle kickboxing classes for a long time, but now that I see how different those classes are from Bodycombat, I don't even consider that experience very relevant to what's ahead of me. The freestyle kickboxing classes conditioned my body, but I will need an entirely new skill level to do Bodycombat as well as I want to.

I knew nothing about martial arts, so Bodycombat training was like an introduction to martial arts for me. Our trainer demonstrated, drilled, corrected, adjusted, and constantly reminded us about proper form throughout the weekend. Now I find that I think I have a budding interest in martial arts and a new appreciation for images like this one. I would love it if my side kick looked this good.


I learned a lot this weekend at training, especially about the proper technique, but the main thing I learned at training is that I still have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to proper technique.  

I hope that makes sense.

At this point, almost all of my punches and kicks are clumsy, weak, slow, and off target and my range of motion is severely limited.  But I am actually excited by the years of very physical work I see ahead of me.  This interest in martial arts was a totally unexpected and surprising affect of the Bodycomabt training on me, but I think it means Bodycombat will be a good, long-term fit for me.

There are other pre-choreographed kickboxing programs out there that I could have gotten certified to teach, but I have never felt comfortable with those programs for some reason.

"Why not?" I asked myself.

Bodycombat puts so much emphasis on technique that I will have to learn how to fight to do it well.

"Why do I feel so comfortable with learning to fight?"  I asked myself.

I saw this quote on Facebook last night, just as I had finished training, and I thought it was really appropriate. 

Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit softly.

-Theodore Roosevelt

I try to be thoughtful about everything that I do.  I had the chance to do a lot of soul-searching about these things while I drove to training.  (I had to get up at 4am to be on the road by 5am, to be at training by 8am and I came home after training each night, so there was a lot of time to process.)   As I drove, I realized Bodycombat actually fits squarely into my worldview.  I think I am drawn to it because it is so much more authentic than other similar cardio workouts.

Here's how my thought-process went-
This world is imperfect.

There are two sides in every conflict.

We live in this world.

And we are free to choose sides in every conflict.

None of us choose to be good all the time and even in one situation, we are often guilty in one regard and innocent in another.

That's why Jesus Christ is so relevant, essential, and necessary, even today. Those of us who want to do good need a Savior because none us have always done what is right all the time in every situation.

It is always appropriate for the good people to "Turn the other cheek." I think this especially true when we are offended and angry.

So when that crude old man saw me and my precious little girls coming toward him where he sat on his park bench and he choose to use the f-word loudly several times as we walked to shock and offend us, I didn't give him a piece of my mind like I really wanted to. Instead, I felt the Spirit of God restrain me and my daughters and I did not engage with this fool. We just kept walking in the same direction faster.

But there are other times when action might be required, times when inaction would be wrong. One example would be America's action to help stop the Nazis in World War II.

If someone is using their freewill to hurt innocent people and I am empowered, I am bound by my faith and good conscious to help the innocent people.

So what I like about Bodycombat is that it is much more authentic than the other programs I have seen.

It empowers me in a way that may actually help me in the real world.  

God forbid I ever need to use an ascending elbow on another human being, but it will be good, yes, good to know how to break a bad man's nose if I ever need to. 

So, if you, like me, were wondering how this gentle, Christian, mother of three has found herself on this journey towards a Bodycombat certification, now you know.  Once again, I am grateful for the Lord's guidance in my life, because I could not have known how happy this program could make me. 

You can read more about my journey by clicking on the Bodycombat tag at the bottom of this post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Fosters Visit

Dan and Breeze Foster came to visit. They have five kids, so in addition to our three, our house was bursting with life over the weekend.

We really cherish our friendship with the Fosters.  Our parents were friends before us.  Dan and Dwayne grew up together, literally from birth, so we think it is exciting that we get to continue building our friendship and now begin to see our kids making memories.

It rained a lot of Saturday and it was chilly, so there wasn't much else to do.  While the kids played around the house, we spent a lot of time just sitting around talking about all sorts of things, one topic led to another.  But conversation with the Fosters is never lacking, so the time just flew.



After church and lunch on Sunday, we all went up to Holy Land.  The autumn views over the city of Waterbury are beautiful.  Holy Land is an interesting place with an interesting history that you can read about here and here.  As we continue to make Waterbury our home, Holy Land and other, historic places in the city are becoming more and more significant to us. Here's a photo of the youngest kids.  Their oldest daughter isn't shown in any of the pictures I have, unfortunately.

Dan and Dwayne are both Eagles fans. Of the two, Dan is definitely a more devoted sports fan than Dwayne, so his presence and the fact that the Eagles would be playing that evening, spurred us to buy and install a t.v. antenna.

We haven't had cable since our old television broke when our oldest daughter was a toddler, so this is the first, live television at least two of my kids have ever even seen in our house. And it's been so long since our oldest daughter watched television at home, it was like the first time. So this really was a momentous occasion for us. It seems fitting that we all watched Sunday night football, a very American thing to do.  Breeze bought Klondikes for us to enjoy.

Dan and Breeze left Monday morning after breakfast to continue their vacation and to travel to see their family.  Like our parents before us, we feel blessed to have their friendship.  They are a worthy couple who I am glad want to spend time with us. 

Two of our little girls went into the same Sunday school class on Sunday morning. When we all came home, one or more of the adults asked them what they learned in church. One or both of the little girls said, "God gives us friends."


I thought that lesson was really appropriate for this weekend in particular.  I think His work in His people's lives is often seen best in those godly, healthy relationships that influence us and in time, define us.  He is the giver of every good gift. Healthy friendships between godly men and women and their families who walk after them is certainly some of the best evidence that Our Maker is still very much at work throughout the generations of His people.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Preparing for Bodycombat Training and Certification

The gym where I teach Bodypump needs another Bodycombat instructor, so I have decided to sign up for Bodycombat training in hopes of getting my certification.

I was planning to get another Les Mills certification eventually, maybe even two more certifications. I just wasn't sure which ones I would do. And I definitely wasn't planning to do any of them this soon.

However, with the chance to start teaching classes,  I am motivated to go ahead. The training is in less than two weeks, so if I do well, I can start helping my gym with classes sooner rather than later.

I'll be assessed on Bodycombat 61, tracks 2 and 8.

I have a lot of experience teaching various kinds of group fitness classes including Bodypump.  I even have a lot of experience teaching freestyle cardio kickboxing classes.  But I have hardly any experience in Bodycombat.

In fact, I've only ever done one Combat DVD I got from Beachbody with their Pump DVDs. I've done that one Combat DVD a lot of times.  But I have only ever done that one Combat workout and I have never been to a live class.

So that pretty much makes me a total Combat novice.

I would not have considered doing Combat training unless my mentor had approached me and told me she believed I could do it.  She told me I am a good coach and she thinks I can handle the choreography, etc. I hope she's right.

Bodycombat is very different than cardio kickboxing in ways that I haven't been able to fully articulate to myself yet.  I am sure in time and with more experience, I will be able to understand and explain the things that make Combat different than traditional kickboxing.  But right now, all I know is that some of the kicks and punches are really foreign to me and some of the timing feels off. I feel really awkward doing some parts of the workout. And I bet I probably look really awkward doing those parts, too.

But I have to say, the workouts are really effective, more than I thought they would be.  I have been wearing my heart rate monitor while I practice the release and I burn a lot of calories. I will look down at my heart rate monitor and think, "Woah! How in the world is my heart rate that high just doing punches?" It seems like punches wouldn't be that effective, but they are!

Tonight, I will attend my first live Bodycombat class. My mentor is teaching and it's the same release I'll be assessed on, so it will be nice.   

I've got a lot of work to do, but I am excited about.

Interestingly, I'm excited, but I am not as nervous about this Bodycombat training as I was about Bodypump training.  That is really odd to me.  It seems like I shouldn't be this calm since I am really out of my depth with Bodycombat.

But, when I think about it, I realize that I have been through a Les Mills training and certification process already, so I think that experience helps me have more confidence looking forward.  I know I really only need to know my two tracks, 2 and 8. And I know I will have time to learn the other tracks before I have to film, etc. That makes me less nervous.

And I think I'm less nervous now because I am such a novice to Combat.  I think it actually helps that I know I don't know anything.  When I went to Bodypump training, I had been teaching freestyle barbell classes for several months and I thought (hoped) I was really good at it. I think I was really eager to be approved of and I was really nervous because I did not want to find out that I actually sucked at something I had been doing for so long.

With no real experience in Combat, I have no ego to be crushed if I screw up.  I have no misconceptions about my experience.  At this training, I will just have everything to learn and nothing to prove.

So I think I will simply be glad to pass.  Period.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

On a more personal note, as many of you who read this blog already know, my faith is important to me.  This Bible verse hangs on one of the walls in my workout room. It's inspired me for a long time. 

I've liked this verse for as long as I can remember, way before I knew I'd be in training to be a Bodycombat instructor.

But, as I was doing Bodycombat 61 in my workout room yesterday, I looked up and read the verse in the middle of all those punches and kicks and I had to recognize how appropriate the verse is to Bodycombat.

I keep hearing the program directors say, "Stay with the fight." It really encouraged me to read this verse and realize that there is a fighter inside me. She's been there for a while.  Maybe Bodycombat will be a much better fit for me than I could have imagined.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday School and Body Combat?! What a Combination!

Like I said on a previous post, life is really busy for us right now.

But life is also really enjoyable when I am in the right frame of mind to see that.

Yesterday, I volunteered in my church's preschool class.

At first, it felt like teaching the little kids at church was just going to be one more thing I had to do this weekend.

But then I felt God's Spirit put a picture in my head and say something to my heart about it.

I saw myself with my arms of full of various things, all good things, but my arms were really full and I was struggling to keep a hold of everything.

Then God was holding something else out for me to take and the idea of taking hold of anything else would mean I would have to stop and to rearrange everything in my arms. I would be lucky not to drop anything. 

I saw myself hesitate and resist taking the next thing that God was offering me. Then I saw myself concede, shift things around, and offer out an empty hand.

He's God. I am compelled to take what He offers, whatever it is.

In the picture in my head, I saw that once I finally conceded and agreed to take hold of the new thing, I felt joy. The joy traveled up the hand holding the new thing and filled my whole body with joy, so much joy that it radiated around me and covered everything I was holding in my arms.

I felt like the Spirit of God said, "The thing you didn't want is what will bring you great joy."

Immediately, I felt so much happiness and excitement over the prospect of teaching the kids that morning. I was in the car getting ready to drive to church to teach the kids when this happened.  I really couldn't wait to get there. 

And that's how I felt the entire time I spent teaching the kids yesterday. I had so much joy.

I've been reading a lot of C.S. Lewis this year. (It was my goal to read everything he ever wrote this year and I have done pretty well. But it will take some time to read every single thing that Lewis wrote because he wrote a lot.)

It might not seem related, but his writings, fiction and non-fiction, have so strengthened my faith and my reason that I found it really easy to teach the kids the Bible story in a passionate, convincing way.

I had no doubts about the story, that God exists, that He is outside this physical world, that He can, and sometimes does work miracles, that the Bible is a collection of some of the greatest miracles previous generations of men and women have experienced and have collected and written down for us to know about, wonder over, worship, and glorify God for. 

The story that God has told, that God is telling, that He will keep telling forever is the most amazing story of all stories (that we know about). All the other epics we love so much, as great as they are, are just shadows of this truest, most epic of all adventures that God has brought about in this space and time He created and then invaded through the person of Jesus Christ.

I think that's why we humans love stories and movies and books and plays so much. They reveal the deeper truths we know exist behind the curtain of our reality.

It's funny to me, now, that I thought the picture in my head was just about teaching the kids' Sunday School class.

But I also signed up for Body Combat training yesterday, something new to me, something that will be very challenging on top of everything else I am already doing.  

But, like the picture in my head showed me,  I believe this new thing I will bring me great joy. 

I wasn't planning to get another Les Mills certification anytime soon, but the opportunity to teach Body Combat has come up and there is a training this month, so it appears as if it is meant to be, as if it is an opportunity being held out for me to take...

or not take...

But I will take it.    

I was recently certified in Bodypump, a weight lifting program by Les Mills and I just love teaching that class.

Body Combat is a mixed martial arts exercise program. And I have to say that punching and kicking and coaching and sweating buckets and getting tough, is not what this Sunday School teaching mother of three planned.

The idea is comedic to me.

But as I take hold of the vision of teaching Body Combat someday, if I do well enough, I realize that it will be really fun and it will be something that brings me great joy.

It's going to be challenging, no doubt, to learn what I need to learn over the next weeks and months, and to do it all while I continue to do everything else I am already doing besides, but I am finding myself really excited about it.

Sunday School teaching and Les Mills Combat training- these are on two opposite ends of the spectrum!

But the Lord who created this world and who works in my life has a great sense of balance and the greatest sense of humor, no doubt.