How I Found My Strength in Group Exercise and Personal Training

I fell in love with Les Mills BODYPUMP two years ago when I took my very first class and have never looked back at regular weight lifting since. In fact, I love BODYPUMP so much that I’m getting certified to start teaching this year.

I take BODYPUMP at least twice a week, and I’ve seen my body change in ways I couldn’t even image. I started gaining muscle, shedding fat and experiencing an overall tightening. I have visible abs (yay!), toned back and bicep muscles, my thighs are muscular and my face even slimmed down. I’m also so much stronger than I was two years ago—and I’m only getting stronger as time and classes go on.

On the days I’m not in BODYPUMP class, I’m doing a variety of cross-training, including other classes, and personal training. Yes, even though I’m a seasoned gym goer and fitness fanatic, I still work with a personal trainer occasionally. Why? I’m glad you asked.

To cross-train

BODYPUMP is a tremendous workout that focuses and delivers a comprehensive total-body training with emphasis on the main muscle groups. To augment this training I look to personal training, which allows me to build strength in spots BODYPUMP might not cover extensively, and to teach me personalized tips and techniques that I may not get in a group setting.

A good example of this comes out of a training session I had recently. I was asking my trainer why the underside of my upper arm (think “chicken wing”) isn’t as toned as my bicep or tricep muscle. He explained that some refinement to the movements I was doing during the triceps track in BODYPUMP could further define the tone in my arm.

He also showed me a move I could do with a resistance band to help educate me, and fire the muscle up fully. After only a few reps, this overlooked muscle was on fire!

To master technique

BODYPUMP instructors are amazing at what they do. It amazes me how they can move and motivate a large group of participants, and every single person can walk away with a great workout. They scan the group and offer cues and tips to guide all the participants in class and to create an atmosphere that compels you to give it your all. I love this experience, and while I could definitely come early or stay late after class to get more insight on what I am doing correctly or incorrectly, I am naturally impatient and highly driven to understand what I can do better.

One issue I was having was with my squat form. I was definitely feeling the squat track in my quads, but not necessarily in my glutes.

After working with my trainer and doing an overall assessment, he was able to adjust my form so that I would feel my squat in the entirety of my lower body muscles.

To get one-on-one attention from a professional

Instructors are amazing, and I am in awe of how they teach with upwards of 30 to 60 class participants at any given time.

Personal training gives me one-on-one attention from a professional that has been thoroughly trained in human anatomy and movement. That means, my trainer can spend all his or her time watching my movements, making sure my form is on point and that everything is working as it should be. Then I can apply any corrections or things I learn from my trainer to my class workouts, making me more knowledgeable in my fitness journey, and a better class participant, too.

For variety

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Turns out, it’s the spice of fitness, too. As much as I love BODYPUMP and will never get sick of it (I’m becoming an instructor for goodness sake), I also love mixing up my workouts and I do not do BODYPUMP every single day—and for good reason.

Our bodies need a variety of movements—from higher intensity classes like BODYPUMP and HIIT—to lower-intensity workouts like walking or yoga.

I try to vary my workout routine and cycle between BODYPUMP, personal training, boot camp classes, walking, BODYCOMBAT and other classes. This ensures that I never get bored, and that my body has time to rest and recover from day to day workouts. I love my blended workout program. I often supplement with a digital workout experience, too, especially if I cannot make it to class.

To rehab injury

As a former runner, I have all sorts of issues with my knees that stem from overuse and repetitive movement. Everybody is different and I’m sure as my squat technique improves, this will change, but sometimes in BODYPUMP during the squat track my knees bother me, and I have to really be careful not to overdo it.

One great thing about personal training is that I can tell my trainer about my past knee issues, and he/she can prescribe ways of rehabbing my old injuries, as well as avoid movements that irritate my knees. My trainer and I have been working on my knees using a variety of techniques and movements, and this means my workouts (whether in BODYPUMP, with my trainer or elsewhere) won’t have to suffer from my past mistakes.

Interested in taking a GX24 class or working with a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness? Here’s what to know before your first BODYPUMP class, or your first personal training session.