Not too many YMCAs offer the Les Mills programs, because they are rather expensive for the club to offer. Les Mills programs are a franchise, and each club that offers them has to pay a considerable monthly fee to the Les Mills company. On top of that, the club has to find enough people willing to become instructors. Becomming an instructor can involve traveling to another town, or even another state (that's what I had to do) to find a training seminar. And it also costs the instructor. I had to pay a pretty good chunk of dough to take the trainings, and every three months I have to purchase the new material, not to mention the 'official' Les Mills gear that make the instructors look extra good on stage. Within three months after taking the trainings, I had to submit a video of me teaching a class. The video was then assessed by a team from Les Mills to assure that I was using correct form and technique, and only then did I become an official instructor. The club I work for has to pay me for every class I teach. It costs quite a bit to offer these programs.
Les Mills paid a substantial amount of money to develop these programs. They continue to pay top dollar to top trainers and choreographers to ensure quality control. The fact that they have such a strict policy regarding the certification of teachers helps guarantee that you, as a student, will not be injured because of bad instruction from a teacher using faulty technique. Les Mills wants their programs to be the best, and they do everything possible to keep it that way.
As a certified instructor, I can teach BODYPUMP or BODYFLOW in any club that offers them anywhere in the world! And the fact that everything is prechoreographed means I don't have to spend huge amounts of time trying to develop new routines. The biggest bonus for me has been the sustained loss of 8 clothing sizes!
Note: Some YMCAs do offer BODYPUMP. But there are many that offer knock-off programs. In fact, there are many private clubs offering knock-off programs. If you want to be sure you are taking the real deal, ask if the programs are from Les Mills. If they aren't, it doesn't mean they aren't good, but I can't comment on them without taking the class myself. The only classes I feel confident recommending are from Les Mills, because I'm aware of the intensity of the company's quality control mechanisms.
This is sooooo important: When you get involved in a weight training program, form and technique are critical to your success. If you take any class involving weights, and you're not sure your technique is correct, please please please talk to the instructor after class and make sure you get it right. Your instructor should be delighted to help. If you feel like your instructor couldn't care less, I strongly recommend finding a different class time slot with a different instructor, and by all means make sure the club owner or manager knows about your experience. I have two chiropractor friends who say their biggest boost in new clients comes within the first four months of the year, when New Year's resolution people limp through their doors, looking for relief from issues developed in their new exercise regimens. The problems almost always come from faulty technique.
Most clubs will allow you to pay for a single class of BODYPUMP, so you don't necessarily have to join the club. Also, many clubs that offer Les Mills programs will allow you to try the first class for free, with no obligation to join, so you can 'try before you buy.' Of course, I believe that if you try even one program, and the instructor is doing his or her job, you will be immediately hooked!
And, again, the bottom line is that the programs absolutely deliver on their promises. When I think of the thousands of dollars I have spent over the years on diet pills and potions, crazy exercise equipment from infommercials, Nutri-System, etc., to no avail, I find myself awash with gratitude for discovering BODYPUMP. Other benefits have included a much lifted bosom and improved abs, both of which have suffered from an extreme southern migration that started 20 years ago during pregnancy... actually I have had improvements I never thought I'd see without cosmetic surgery. And I promised myself years ago I would never put myself under the knife unless it was a life-saving procedure. If he doesn't think I'm hot 'as-is', it's simply his loss
(I'm nobody's Halloween pumpkin to be carved to specification!)