Change Takes Time

This one goes out to all the Les Mills instructors out there... At most clubs in the United States, the new releases have been launched and in my opinion, this round of releases was outstanding! It never ceases to amaze me how our Program Directors back in New Zealand manage to re-invent their programs each and every quarter! Being an engineer, I just don't have the creative juices to come up with these brilliant ideas, so I am incredibly appreciative of all that they do.

Take BODYPUMP®, for instance. For the first time in the history of the program, we have a back track that doesn't have a variation of the clean and press! This is an opportunity for our participants to really increase their weight, knowing that they won't have to take the bar overhead. The "pull" muscles are big and capable of doing big things, but too often in back tracks, our members stay light out of concern for having to go overhead. And if you really go big with your weight, you stand to see some serious strength gains.

La Femme Blanquita had resigned herself to the fact that she would never be able to do a proper, unassisted pull-up. I've seen her spontaneously reach for the pull-up bar and try with all her might for years and she just hasn't been able to get there.

This quarter, as any good BODYPUMP® trainer would, she ratcheted up the weight in the back track. Not one or two times. Not for one or two weeks. She did it through several weeks, as she was practicing, doing certification modules, launching, and then teaching the release. As she's prone to doing, she grabbed the pull-up bar this week just for kicks and just about freaked herself out when her chin went over the bar!

By following the focus of the latest BODYPUMP® release, she was able to get the result she's wanted for a very long time. I'm ridiculously proud of the way she keeps trying and trying and finally doing...

Seeing her results got me thinking:

What if she only did the release a couple of times?

What if she kept the same old weight on the bar as she usually lifts for track 4?

It made me think about our participants who come to our classes looking for results. They're not going to get the results they want unless we, as instructors, give them a chance to work through the new release more than a couple of times. And isn't it their results that we should be most concerned with?

In my experience, for BODYPUMP®, I found that a 4 week release schedule works best. I tell my participants this every quarter so that they understand what's coming:

  • The first week is their first time seeing the new stuff, so they're going to be tentative. That's perfectly ok! You need to have confidence that you can do the moves before you can make the conscious decision to do the moves all-out.
  • Now that they're familiar with the release, week 2 is all about trying to follow the instructions as closely as possible. That means following the recommended weight selections to really feel the workout intensity.
  • Week 3 is their opportunity to add a little weight in a few tracks where they'd like to increase strength. By now, they're familiar with the movements and they have confidence that they can get through the workout. Adding two 1kg plates in a couple of tracks will give them the high of hitting a new personal best and will challenge them without being unbearable.
  • In week 4, I ask them to try to maintain the new strength that they found in week 3. By matching their best, it creates a new plateau from which they can climb higher.

As an instructor, I can't allow myself to fall into the trap of "being bored" and constantly trying to change things up. It's not about me; it's about the people in my class. I have to give my participants an environment in which they can develop confidence and push harder because that's when they start to see results.

The same rules apply for any change that we want to create in our lives. We need to give ourselves enough time to make the change or we're setting ourselves up for failure. We're not going to learn a new skill or accomplish a new task without having sufficient time to practice, make mistakes, and eventually find that success.

You can't rush the process to find your Unsteady State. Send me a message or comment and let me know what you do to give yourself appropriate time to reach your goals. And instructors, I'd love to hear what you do to make sure your participants reach theirs!