NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

Archive for September 2008

I love Pink (the singer not the colour!) – so it came as no surprise to me that I’ve become hooked on her latest single “So What”. It’s got such a catchy riff “nana nana nana na-nana nana nana”. And it got me thinking, this would make a perfect combat song! Pink has been a popular track 6 in combat in the past (“Leave me alone” in BodyCombat 32 and “U + UR Hand” in BC31), her songs always have a little bit of ‘attitude’ perfect for combat! And So What is no exception! In fact driving to work this morning I could actually picture the choreography in my head ‘So What [jab jab cross] – I’m still a rock star [jab jab cross] I got my rock moves [upper upper] and I don’t need you [back kick – back kick], and guess what [repeat combo]’

Well in hindsight that chorey would suck but heck I worked it out while waiting at the lights five minutes ago I’m sure I could do better! Anyway, song is below (video ROCKS too!) let me know what you think! 🙂

If you can’t see the vid above it’s here

UPDATE 31 October 2008: Latest word is So What is also in BODYPUMP 69 – yay!!!

So I’ve got my Les Mills BodyCombat instructor module in exactly two weeks. Three days of Body Combat bliss that, all going well will result in my official certification… yay! Only thing is, I got it in my stupid fricken head that I should be in REALLY good shape for it, so two weeks ago I started dieting in a big way. Don’t get me wrong, I was already in good shape (if I do say so myself! haha) but, I thought heck why not get in AMAZING shape so I really look the part! The point of which I honestly have no idea… it’s not like I’m gonna be strutting around Les Mills with my shirt off so an extra couple % points of BF lost aren’t going to make much of a difference in clothes! Maybe I just wanted to set myself this goal…. regardless of the stupidity of the idea I’m doing it. And it sucks, big time.

My diet now is seriously down to two 160 calories low carb protein bars per day, and two smallish two meals of skinless chicken breast (with some broccoli or salad). And that’s it. Total calories about 1600. Add to that the 800-2000 extra calories I burn per day exercising on top of my basal metabolic expenditure (estimated at a smidgen under 2000 calories per day) and I’m in a daily deficit of 1200-2400 calories every day. Which means I’m getting very lean very quickly. The downside? Well, where do I start; I’m grumpy, perpetually tired, sleeping badly and, just to put some icing on the cake (yummmm cake…) I can’t remember what it’s like to have any, umm (how do I put this…) *ahem* “mojo”. Plus, I’m fricken starving all the time.

But at least my training isn’t suffering. Great thing about group fitness is the second you’re on stage, or even on the floor with a whole bunch of like-minded people and the music starts pumping the fact you’re ready to keel over in exhaustion just disappears out of your mind… thank God! And it’s only for two more weeks… 14 days…336 hours or around 20,000 minutes. Not that I’m counting or anything…

I get a lot of questions regarding the number of calories one can burn during a BodyCombat class (or BodyPump class for that matter). Whilst this is almost impossible to determine with 100% accuracy some of the more advanced heart rate monitors (HRM) have the ability to estimate your caloric expenditure using calculations based on your weight, gender, resting heart rate and of course your heart rate whilst exercising. I wore my heart rate monitor (a Polar F11) to every class I did for three straight months, so I’ve now got a pretty good idea of the approx amount of calories I personally burn in a class.

With a few exceptions I almost always track between 800-900 calories per Body Combat class – now that may seem high but there’s a couple of factors to bear in mind. First I’m not a small guy, I’m a dash under 6’1″, and weigh about 82 kg (about 182 lbs), and I’m one of those freaks that puts 110% effort into every movement, and then some (like jump knees at every opportunity!) I’ve also found you burn a lot more calories whilst instructing, not sure if it’s the extra adrenalin boost, nerves boosting your heart rate or the fact that you know you’re on display so always strive for perfect technique and maximum effort – but it’s definitely noticeable. In fact I’ve gotten as high as 1050 calories in a one hour class before!

In class this morning a member mentioned she only burns about 600 per class (she also wears an HRM), and that got me thinking. I weight about 80 kg and burn say, 800 in an average class (with no extra tracks thrown in). She’s about 60 kg and burns 600 on average (and she does train very hard). Could there be a simple direct relationship here? It does make sense that if you’re 25% larger you’ll exert 25% more energy moving that mass. Maybe for those without a HRM a basic calculation of 100 calories per 10kg of bodyweight could work? Food for thought anyway…

Believe it or not the “Sizzler” (basically a teaser/preview type thing) for Body Combat 38 is out already!

“Get ready for Kick KATAs, leg conditioning and shoulder-smashing Punch combos because BODYCOMBAT™ 38 – the ultimate heavyweight Boxing release – is gonna take no prisoners!There’s no gentle easing into this class – Track 2 features three separate combos but The Hives’ Try It Again will motivate you to “Get up, get down and try it again”!

The ultimate Kick KATA in Track 4 is a truly butt-blasting challenge – you’ll chisel and shape your butt with the Back Kick and those deep Lunges in between really seal the deal!

Track 5, Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing, sees the start of those new shoulder-smashing combos. Don’t be fooled by the upbeat Pop music – this track is relentless!

You don’t get a chance to catch your breath before powering into Track 6 – another butt and leg-toning track – with the Lunge & Esquiva Combo.

Kick-boxing and Capoeira have a strong presence in this track for which The Prodigy provide the motivating sounds required.

Cascada asks “What hurts the most?” in Track 8 and it’s safe to say BODYCOMBAT™ hurts the most! Just when you think this track is over – pow, you’ve got another set to go.”

What hurts the most?! Yay as mentioned in my review of Pump 67 I LOVE THIS SONG! (It featured in Pump 66) I’ll post links to the various songs soon – and also the Body Combat 38 track list as soon as I have it so stay tuned… but in the meantime it all sounds very exciting!

  • BodyCombat 38 track listing now added see here 🙂
  • BodyCombat 38 initial review now added see here!

Recently Dan Cohen (programme Director for Body Combat) posted a thread on the Les Mills forum asking for feedback on the possibility of adding a ‘circuit style’ track to BodyCombat. Here’s the post in it’s entirety:


so not that rach and i have put one in, however we have looked at the idea of a circuit style track.

your thoughts.

things to think about.

1, is it tough to teach alone if you use 4corners of the room.

2, exercise condition/kicking/punching.

3,music style, speed, feel.


The response has been mixed. However, personally I think this is a baaad idea. Here’s why:

Although I can see the merit in doing ‘drill’ type training I can’t really see the point in splitting the room into four corners and having them all do different exercises.

In a typical “circuit” style class  the reason people do different exercises is because they are moving to different pieces of equipment and it’s necessary – in combat as there is no equipment there’s really no reason why the whole room can’t be doing the same thing – there’s absolutely no need to rotate.

I think this could make teaching more difficult and possibly spoil the flow of the class. Of course without specifically seeing how it’s done it’s hard to comment but on face value that’s my $0.02.

Someone else pointed out the following: “Without an instructor to watch and copy, there can be no feedback or satisfaction for the participant.  How do they know if they are staying in synch with the choreography?  And properly executing? – Test : Ask the back half of your next BC class to face the back of the room for one track and see how satisfied they are with the result.  How is this different from the idea of a “circuit” track?” A valid point. With four corners each doing different exercises the instructor can really only spend adequate time in one place at any given time – meaning the other three corners will be working on timing, choreography, and technique of their own accord – effectively rendering them as if they are facing the back of the class without any guidance from the instructor.

But the overriding question in my mind is simple: Why do it? Is there any real reason to split the class up? As I’ve said there are no equipment so there’s no reason why everyone can’t do the same drill, facing the instructor and then all moving to the next exercise at the same time. As with almost everything the simplest solution is often the best… and for me that’s the bottom line.

Sarah Palin is an idiot. Now I know in the US this probably isn’t news but down here in NZ it’s a lot harder to see anything but the mainstream media portrayals of her as a hot, seemingly very popular figure whose been a sudden shot in the arm for the McCain campaign. But, you only need to watch the Daily Show and it becomes pretty clear she’s a fricken clown. Her views on abortion are deplorable. She’s proud to be called a redneck (even naming one of her companies “Rouge Cou” which means “Red Neck” in French) …she’s basically a gun toting hardcore right wing Republican.

But all that aside the fact remains that she’s INCREDIBLY clueless for a candidate for Vice-President. If you live in the US you’ve probably seen this; her response when recently asked about the Bush Doctrine.

If you can’t see the video above it’s here. Now watch this fantastic skit by Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live – the resemblance is outstanding!

If you can’t see the video above click here. Enjoy!

I often get a lot of questions about my diet/supplementation plan, possibly because I’ve spent about a decade in the supplement and fitness industry – or possibly because last year in three months I lost about 15 kilos of fat (maybe I’ll go into exactly how I let myself get that far outta shape in a future post!) so thought I’d post a bit of info on my diet here.

I’ve tried many many diet regimes over the years; Body for Life, Atkins, BodyOpus, low-fat, low-carb, I even went through a stage where I was eating at most one solid meal a day and living on meal replacement shakes (heck they were free and I was really busy what can I say!) I’ve tried most of these not out of necessity (to be honest for almost my entire adult life I’ve kept in pretty good shape – I did say almost!) but more often than not I’d give a diet and exercise plan a whirl so I could give an educated opinion on it’s merits if asked. My business meant I’d attend a lot of sporting trade shows and fitness events and get asked a lot of questions, and I don’t ever comment on something unless I feel I have adequate knowledge on the subject. So, with the exception of the really moronic fad diets (the all cabbage diet, all juice diets and the like) I’ve probably tried ’em all at some stage.

Most of the popular diets on the market work within certain limitations and certainly most work if only in-the-short-term; Body for Life for example is an excellent programme which definitely works (heck it if didn’t I wouldn’t have advocated it for so long). The Atkins diet has it’s merits, and BodyOpus definitely works – but both are hard to sustain long term. Body for Life is an excellent programme which will take you from “normal” looking (read that as overweight) to athletic. But I found BFL could only take you so far. If you’re looking to get down to a single digit bodyfat percentage then certainly the ante needs to be bumped up somewhat.

For me personally the best approach has been to amalgamate certain facets of all three of those programmes into what is effectively a cyclical ketogenic diet which quite simply kicks ass. Body for Life works as it advocates small frequent protein rich feedings each day, for six days per week and one “free-day” where you come off the diet all together. Ketogenic diets work (Atkins) as they cause the user to enter ketosis, which in layman’s terms is a state where your body far more readily burns fat as an energy source. BodyOpus is a pretty hardcore cyclical ketogenic diet whereby you follow a ketogenic diet from 6pm Sunday until late afternoon Friday, and then eat super high levels of carbs Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon.

Both BodyOpus and BFL have their “free” periods – albeit for slightly different reasons. BFL has the free-day for two reasons, the first is psychological; that is, if I put you on a fairly strict diet plan for 84 straight days and tell you you aren’t allowed to cheat at all then more often than not you will “fail”. 84 days of chicken breasts, tuna, brown rice and salads may sound okay on paper, but you’ll get cravings (for me it’s pizza) -you’ll have work functions, and family events. It’s not practical to eat that way 100% of the time. If you set yourself up to do that you’ll set yourself up for failure. So, the free-day is a psychological release day – it’s MUCH easier to say no to that slice of pizza on Thursday, knowing you can have it on Saturday. It’s much harder saying no when you think you can’t have it at all.

The second reason is physiological – a free day gives you a consistent kick in your caloric intake which theoretically should help prevent metabolic slowdown – the primary reason for the yoyo dieting syndrome.

BodyOpus on the other hand primarily, in the most basic terms, has the carbing phase as a method to minimise muscle loss caused by the very low carb ketogenic phase. Effectively during the week you starve your body of carbs, and follow a rigorous exercise plan which could easily cause the burn up of muscle as fuel due to it’s intensity. The carbing part of the programme works to counter this by glycogen replenishment – that is hyper-saturating your muscles with glycogen for about 48 hours and staving off muscle loss.

For me, the two days of solid carbing was too much. It would almost counter the efforts of the week. So, my diet is a hybrid of the above. I follow a ketogenic diet all day Sunday until Saturday morning, and then take all of Saturday off and eat whatever and in whatever quantity I like. The rest of the week my diet is a low-carb, low-fat ketogenic diet (note this dramatically differs from Atkins and BodyOpus which are moderate fat and high fat diets respectively). So on any given day I live on chicken breast, broccoli, leafy salads and lean red meat (and sometimes fish). I eat small frequent meals (every three hours) so there is never a glut of calories, and I’m never hungry, but also never full. I start eating this way Sunday morning and I’m always in ketosis again by Tuesday evening.

So that’s it! No real brain surgery required to understand it. This method maximises fat loss, still allows me to build muscle (instead of burning it off as one would via a typical ketogenic diet) and still allows me to have a social life. It may sound boring to some people but the old adage “nothing tastes as good as looking great feels” definitely applies!

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