NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

Archive for September 2009

Hey guys, here’s another repost from about a year ago which I thought I’d out out of the archives in case you missed it the first time. Reading through it this morning I found myself nodding away – it’s still so true! I recently launched Pump for the first time ever at a gym here locally – and I made sure to tell everyone on their first few classes to stay VERY light for this exact reason. Despite my warnings I still had a lady tell me yesterday she couldn’t even sit on the toilet for 2 days after her first class! Well, at least I could reassure her it does get easier…. well, kinda! Interested in your thoughts! Post follows:

I consider myself pretty fit. I exercise every single day, at least one combat class per day, as well as 2 or 3 weight workouts per week – and it’s only about once every two or three weeks I’ll actually take a day off. My heart rate monitor has a function that tests your fitness level (assigning you an OwnIndex – a measurement that predicts your maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max]) and mine was in the “elite” range so yes all this combat is keeping me pretty fit.

However, the weekend just gone was a long weekend here in NZ (Labour Day) and I went away for a bit of a break, and as a result I couldn’t get to any classes for two days. No biggie, I figured I’d keep my fitness up by doing some running. So I went on two runs on Sunday totalling about 12k (7k on a treadmill in the morning and a 5k bush run in the afternoon), and one yesterday which was about 7k or 8k. Only thing is today I got up for my 6am combat class and could barely walk! I actually had to apologise to the class beforehand for my lackluster technique as my quads are so sore I could/can barely kick at all!

Funnily enough once the class started and I got a bit of blood pumping through them they weren’t so bad. The exact same thing happened to me when I first started BODYPUMP. I was so sore after my first Pump class that I was hobbling around afterwards for over a week!

But, it did get me thinking about maybe adding a bit of variety into my exercise regime. Right now the only variety I have is doing different releases in each combat class 🙂

I’m definitely going to keep up the running now I’ve started, especially now we’re coming into summer here, running outside is a definite option… besides, I want my body to get used to it so I don’t have to go through all this pain again! The moral of the story seems to be that no matter how fit you are, starting a different form of exercise hurts! Anyone else experience something similar or I am the only one who goes through this?

500000Unbelievably a couple days ago this very blog had its 500,000th visitor. That’s just amazing considering when I started it about a year ago it was averaging 10-30 visits per day!

If you’ve read any of those earlier posts you’ll have seen my “fitness journey” over the past 12 months. From BODYCOMBAT participant to instructor, then beginning to instruct BODYPUMP, and in less than a month I’ll be throwing BODYATTACK into the mix (more on that in a sec!). These days I teach every single day, and on many days multiple times per day (at least 5 combats and 3 pumps per week at several gyms). And absolutely love it more than ever!

And yes you did read correctly I signed up for the BODYATTACK module next month. I’ve actually not done much attack, there’s only one gym that carries it locally and due to my schedule I can’t attend any of the classes. However I have been doing my best to attend the workshop and filming classes in Auckland and find it incredibly challenging – so figured what better way to push myself than to jump in head first and do the module. I’ll be sure to post an update here immediately afterwards as given my lack of attack skills it’s sure to be an interesting experience!

Finally a quick thank you for all your support, comments and kind words. As you may have read I’ve been asked to reign in the “spoilers” from the filmings recently, however I’ve got a long detailed post about BC42 all ready to go and I promise as soon as I can I’ll hit the submit button. It’s worth the wait!

In the meantime for all you instructors and participants alike a big cheers, keep motivating others and attending those classes – we’re all doing our bit to change the shape of the world one class at a time! 😀

Thought I’d post some pics from the latest BODYCOMBAT 41 local release; this one was quite possibly the craziest! This time we stayed faithful to the theme of BC41 “Backyard Brawl“; Denim shorts, ripped tops, black paint all over our bodies and spray painted hair! Was insane! Certainly doing a release in denim is an “experience” haha. Anyway, pictures say 1000 words so I’ll let them do the talking – I’m sure you can tell how entertaining the release was! 😀

The calm before the storm... Mel & Me

The calm before the storm... Mel & Me



Evasive side kick

Evasive side kick


Front kick

Front kick

vs the push kick

vs the push kick

The team!

The team!

I posted this to facebook but if you didn’t see it there take a look – it’s the “misheard” lyrics to Dragostea Din Tei. We can all have an absolute ball with these! I’ve got another BC41 release tomorrow – can’t wait to do my “run from slutty date” impression! Have a look & see what I mean 😀

BC41Been a bit slack getting this uploaded – especially since most of you have probably seen or done BC41 by now! So this is long overdue… But nevertheless, for blog completion’s sake I’ll post my thoughts below.

As always be really interested in your feedback on the release 🙂

1a: Dragostea Din Tei (DJ Ross Radio Mix) – O-Zone

The upper body warm up is quite possibly the most controversial track of the release! If you read any of the group fitness forums you may have seen some of the initial reactions to this song being in BODYCOMBAT (here’s a hint – some instructors haven’t been all that impressed…) however, personally I’ve found this track has gone down really well! You can have a lot of fun with it and the members are always smiling and quite often singing along which is always good! One of the first times I did this release after the filming was in Hernan’s class in Auckland. If you know Hernan and what a fun character he is you can imagine how hysterical he was presenting this track… the entire room was having a ball. And although I’m not one tenth the funny man Hernan is I try to do the same. “Numa numa” is a light, fun start to the release so even though I know some people aren’t too happy with its presence in combat you won’t hear any complaints from me.

1b: My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson

Okay, here’s the strange thing about the lower body warmup. We’ve got no sidekicks at all, and a whole heap of back kicks (a whole heap!) This struck me as being really weird at the filming and to be honest I’m still not sure why Dan and Rach didn’t swap out one of the sets of back kicks for some sidekicks. But never mind for what ever reason they chose not to and they’re the boss(es)! That aside again this is another fun track and I’ve seen loads of members singing along to it. If you’re not a Kelly Clarkson fan, well, without saying too much my advice is that you should probably just accept the fact she’s in combat as I think we may be seeing a bit of her in the future 😉

I’ve not formally checked but I’m almost certain that this is the single longest warmup in the history of combat, close to ten minutes long! Having taught this release well over a dozen times now probably my only other comment is it does possibly go on a bit too long.

02: Music Is Pumpin – Radical Rhythm

Officially my new favourite track 2! The last few releases have seen reasonably rocky type track 2s (Cum on feel the noise, Try it again, Born to be wild etc) and Music Is Pumping is a refreshing change. I love the music, and love the chorey. There’s enough time to introduce the “new” kick to BODYCOMBAT here in the first combination (the Push Kick – a modified front kick) which means you don’t have to do too much cueing before track 4 (where it features prominently). I absolutely love the hook roundhouse combination, and the treble elbow knee sequence at the end just goes off! 10 out of 10 from me. Love love love it.

03: Slow & Steady Rush – Random Attack

A dance remix of Faith Hill’s Breathe, Slow & Steady Rush really has no surprises in terms of chorey – the track builds really well into the final combo (double jab, upper) x 2 – 4 hooks where you can really blow the roof off the gym in terms of intensity. Probably not my favourite track 3 but a solid one that will stand the test of time.

4a: Enter Sandman – Spock

Okay, track 4. Here’s where the release gets kinda interesting. We begin with a rather dark track, a cover of Metallica’s hit Enter Sandman. Really powerful Hook/knee combo to start which changes into a jab/cross/upper/roundhouse sequence before going back into the hook/knee combo. We then have the new move to combat – the plyo push. Pretty straight forward, we push our opponent away with a sharp snapping movement, then push kick them to finish the job. Instructors really have to change the delivery of this track, it’s a dark rock/metal track that requires it to be presented in a similar fashion. Certainly a massive change from the light cheerful tone of track 3 that’s for sure!

Me executing the option for the evasive sidekick in BC41

Me executing the option for the evasive sidekick in BC41

4b: Boom – P.O.D.

Okay, well unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that yes the evasive side kick is back. It hasn’t been in combat for some time and it without question it is the most controversial move in combat. In my post after the BC41 filming I wrote the following:

“While on the subject of the evasive sidekick I got talking to Dan in the changing room after a BC41 trial run and I mentioned to him it was great to see the e-kick back. He said they were introducing it slowly, and toned it down as in the past some instructors were jumping so high it was unobtainable for an average participant to achieve. As much as I hate to admit it he is right – the jumping evasive side kick as demo’d by Dan himself in Rock Me Amadeus (although it looked AMAZINGLY impressive) was kinda crazy in that he leaped a good 5 feet in the air! In BC41 the e-kick is done with a “hop” as opposed to a jump (if that makes sense) so although I’m sure some instructors will go back into old habits and fly into the air I think the idea is to try to keep the level a little lower. Will be interesting to see how it pans out…”

Well I can tell you how it’s panned out in the gyms I teach at; perfectly fine! I think the key is that if you’re going to introduce the jumping option, introduce it as an option only when appropriate. What do I mean by this? Well for me personally I teach at 3 different gyms; all three have a different membership base. One of the gyms literally had Les Mills group fitness classes brought in a week ago. So, there’s no way in hell I’m going to expect them to even dream of doing a full e-kick for a long time! It’s just not going to happen. However, another gym has a loyal membership base of diehard combaters who love the jump knees and advanced options (and have seen and done the e-kick in previous releases) – so when we launch there on Wednesday quite possibly it would be appropriate to demo it in the later part of the track. I guess my point is some people dislike the e-kick as they feel it was unachievable for members; and if that’s the case stick with the low option. My 2 cents anyway 🙂

My final comment about track 4 is that it’s quite long… 7 minutes! When you combine that with the 10 minute warm up when instructors start mixing we’ll have to be really mindful of track lengths. In BC41 this is offset by a very short track 5 (3 minutes) – however you’d only have to switch out a couple tracks with longer ones before you’d start running into class length issues. Worth bearing in mind anyway.

05: Ballroom Blitz – Dave & The Extras

Well of course the likely hood of anyway loving every track in a given release is incredibly slim (you can’t please all of the people all of the time) and yes, this is one of the ‘don’t likes’ for me personally. I’ll admit it is growing on me but definitely looking forward to mixing it out. As noted above it is only 3 minutes long so it’s over pretty quickly anyway! As I mentioned in my filming post Ballroom Blitz was also in BODYCOMBAT 6 – which means this is the second release in a row in which a track from BC6 has been reused (the last one was Tubthumping in BC40)

06: Let Me Entertain You – Bodytronixx

Not too much to say about this track – very similar in structure to Shut Up and Drive from BC34 but instead of side kick, knee, back kick this time there’s another knee. A Tae Kwon Do based track without a single punch/hook/or upper in the entire thing (I did 7 years of TKD and yes we didn’t use our hands much so it is true to the discipline!) Hasn’t gone down as well as Burn It To The Ground from BC40 but it’s not a bad track and the kick kata is slow enough that it is a recovery.

07: Desolation Row – Krakaw Kreativ Kollektiv

Muay Thai is traditionally my favourite track in the class but unfortunately I did find this track a little lacking. Unlike most muay thais of late this isn’t a techno track but rather a Les Mills cover of the My Chemical Romance track. Loads of jab/crosses and loads of knees and really not much else. Not a bad track, but just lacks the intensity and climax of say Hardcore Angel from BC39 (quite possibly my favourite Muay Thai along with So What! from BC27).

08: What Do You Want From Me (squad-e remix) – Cascada

Awesome finish to the cardio portion of the release. Great song that builds into a powerful hook/jab/cross sequence at the end. Not too much else to say other than YES!

09: Right Round – Flo Rida Feat. Ke$ha / 10: Halo – Beyonce

Conditioning/cool down. Won’t spend too much time on these – circular crunches and circular pressups feature in the conditioning, and the cooldown has nice chorey which finishes with the same kata sequence introduced in track 6. Halo whilst not really my cup of tea musically at least is a nice calming track to bring the heart rate down to and seems to be liked by the members.

So, overall a solid release! Any release that has a track that tops my favourite list must be a goody and yes, whilst BC41 has a couple of tracks that I’m not a massive fan of it has more than enough tracks that I really like and one that I absolutely love! At the end of the day the members seem to be loving it and that’s all that counts! Enjoy!

I’m in the process of completing my full review on BODYCOMBAT 41 but in the interim I thought I’d pull another post out of the archives; hmmm… the lazy blogger’s solution perhaps?? 😉 This was a post I wrote about a year ago when I wore a heart rate monitor to every class. One thing I’ve been meaning to start doing is to actually “rate” each release in terms of intensity based on the average calories I’d burn when doing it (I do realise that the caloric rating is only an estimate but still it is a reference point). Would be really fascinating to see if a given release consistently rates lower in terms of calories burnt than another. And that’s still something I might do – be keen to hear if anyone’s ever done the same. Look out the the BC41 review in the coming days – in the meantime enjoy this “blast from the past” 🙂

Calories burnt in a BODYCOMBAT class

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 – even if they’re not in the chorey!) 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 weigh 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…

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