On December 24, 2006, my mom dragged me to GoodLife Fitness to get a membership. She had enjoyed her experience and wanted to help me get into shape. I was about 45 pounds heavier then, suffering from depression, and generally did not feel well. Over the next year, I progressed to lose weight, increased my energy level, and overcame depression. Not only was there great equipment, but the Les Mills brand of classes made fitness fun and I made like-minded and health oriented friends along the way. My favourite program though was always RPM. This indoor cycling program had such great music and instructors, and gave me such great results both in weight loss and enhanced fitness level, that it became central to my routine.
“RPM™ is the indoor cycling workout where you ride to the rhythm of powerful music. Take on the terrain with your inspiring team coach who leads the pack through hills, flats, mountain peaks, time trials, and interval training. Discover your athlete within – sweat and burn to reach your endorphin high. Like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new RPM™ class is released every three months with new music and choreography.”
||Avg. Calorie Burn
|MODERATE TO HIGH
This YouTube video gives you a good idea about what a class might be like and the coaching style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPbrouaEYqE.
Studying before getting on the bike
Practicing on the bike
In 2008, my favourite instructor asked me if I had ever thought about teaching the program, and the answer was yes, I had but it didn’t seem like something that I would be capable of. With his help and mentorship, I started building up my cycle fitness and studying general fitness instruction. I was so nervous about my audition but they saw potential in me and off I went for training. The training is grueling; it’s 2 days and you end up riding most of the day. After training, you go back home and start team teaching with other instructors to prepare to film and submit a video to be Les Mills certified. I have always been nervous and public speaking terrified me, so team teaching was fun but very difficult. The warm-up is just a warm-up but sometimes I found my heart rate accelerating way beyond what it should be, and this happened throughout the class. After 1.5 months of team teaching, I submitted my video, passed, and starting teaching shortly after.
So many members have helped me along the way and I dedicate a lot of my time to make each class memorable, fun, challenging, and rewarding for them. While there is a stigma about instructors shouting and being really aggressive, this has not been my experience in any RPM class I have taken or taught. As an instructor who is also pushing myself through the workout while teaching, I believe it is important to earn the trust of their participants, and to mentor them to push themselves and go beyond their perceived limits by coaching them to face their fears and giving them options based on their fitness level. I also try to help the participants to gauge their progress based on how they are performing now, vs when they started, i.e how long can you sprint? how long does it take you to recover?
Being a fitness instructor is a big responsibility and you definitely have to lead by example, so it keeps me honest and dedicated to my health goals. For each class I teach, it takes me about 2 hours of prep, so practicing the choreography, learning and creating coaching cues, and riding to the playlist to figure out where members will need help and may feel disengaged.
This past fall, I celebrated my 5th year as a Les Mills RPM Instructor, and I still feel challenged by the program. New releases, so classes are released each quarter and they offer new music and choreography to keep participants challenged and motivated, With each release, I learn something new and try to share that with members.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Les Mills RPM class:
1) Not sure if your club offers it? In Canada, only GoodLife Fitness Clubs has the program. A full list of clubs with Les Mills RPM, and the other programs is available here.
2) Is there a song you really like? After or before class, talk to the instructor and request it. If they have the music, most instructors will gladly oblige. I have releases all the way from 15 and love to mix it up or create themed mixes for my participation. Lately I have been riding to songs to balance out the focus of the effort to push my participants through different challenges, ie long climbs with shorter but more intense sprints. Track lists from all releases are available here: http://www.totallylesmills.com/site/RPM.
3) Do you feel like pain or discomfort? Talk to the instructor and get some help with the bike setup and technique instruction before or after the class.
4) ALWAYS have a light snack at least 1 hour before class! An apple works great!
5) Bring a friend! Choosing to do something daunting with a friend can be a good way to ease into it. Also, if you are new, let the instructor know so they can keep an eye on you through the class and give you tips discretely.
6) Have fun and let loose! If you knew me outside the studio, you would know that singing along to Katy Perry music is not my thing, but it’s all in the name of a fun workout and to bring a smile to your face.
7) Introduce yourself and don’t be scared to connect with other members. We can all “woohoo” and high five each other for motivation and support.
Often participants will come up to me and ask if RPM will make their legs bulk up and be less feminine. My experience has been that no, this is not the case. It will tone and strengthen your legs but to get very bulky, you have to be really working towards that.
One of the greatest and more rewarding things I have done in my life is to become certified to teach Les Mills RPM. I encourage everyone to try or a class and to eventually consider becoming an instructor.