NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

Archive for March 2010

Here’s the sizzler team! (thanks Gail!) Expect the other programmes any moment – and yes – Use Somebody (the cooldown in BC40) is the warmup in BC44… work that out??! (different version – see the one linked) Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

BODYCOMBAT 44 sizzler

Huge dance hit Use Somebody starts us off smooth and sweet. it nicely warms up your legs, preparing them for the vicious battle they are about to face.

Track 4’s Paint It Black 2009 is perfect for working on your execution of the Shoot. And Ignorance will get your elbows higher than ever in Track 5 with one of the coolest chorus combos yet! Let that emo sound drive you and really sink your fangs into this workout.

Then, come with us to a place BODYCOMBAT has never gone before – opera mixed with a tough balance challenge. Nessun Dorma (English: None shall sleep) is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. Find your focus, and let your Side Kick fly. This will really blow your glutes.

Mortal Kombat‘s theme song is in Muay thai for track 7 and have a look – so are sonya, Scorpion and SubZero. Get inspired. Then get furious. Two words: downward punch.

Hold on…..did you hear that? Brazilian jiu-jitsu is in BODYCOMBAT! Crocodile Push Ups and Triangle Chokes? What’s going on here? Take it to the floor and feel those abs getting cut, right before your eyes.

Somehow this is out already (thanks to Patrick!) I expect the rest to be released any day so check back soon!

BODYPUMP 74 sizzler

Get ready for what may be our fiercest release yet. Right from Track 2, the hammer goes down and the intensity does not back off. Watch out for exciting new tempos and some killer supersets. Quick transitions and the shortest recoveries in the history of BODYPUMP mean your muscles are working from start to finish.

The massive energy and drive of This Is Who I Am sets the pace upfront. The new tempo challenges the legs, driving the heart rate up. We Werenโ€™t Born To Follow and we prove it in Track 3 as the classic Rock sounds grounds the workout into the bench, bringing great muscle isolation to the chest.

Track 6 delivers a Boom Boom Pow to the biceps. This was a massive hit for the Black Eyed Peas originally – this one breaks the mold and youโ€™re gonna love it!. Weโ€™re getting Dangerous in Track 7 with some Static Lunges followed straight up by some Dynamic Backward-Stepping Lunges for explosive glute training.

Track 9 brings the introduction of an exciting new move. The cool R&B sounds of this cruisy number creates massive contrast from the Shoulder Track. then, just in case you thought it was time to relax, thereโ€™s Walking Hovers to challenge even the strongest abdominals.

One million visitors!!!

One million visitors!!!

Unbelievably, last night this blog had its 1,000,000th visitor… ONE MILLIONTH?! That’s crazy!!!

Just goes to show how many fitness fanatics there are out there! Thank you so much for your support – I truly appreciate it and will do my best to keep this as updated and as cutting edge as I can. And, there’s tonnes to write about coming up too!

The filmings of BODYCOMBAT 45 and BODYPUMP 75 are barely three weeks away (dates here) so I’ll be able to post as much of the goss about those as I can (without getting into too much trouble of course – you guys know how it is now!). Plus… shortly after that we’ll have the workshops here in NZ for BODYCOMBAT 44 and BODYPUMP 74, plus all the other 2010-Q2 releases so I’ll have all those tracklists and release info on those pretty soon too ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you so much to everyone that has added me on facebook and twitter too… if you haven’t added me on fb yetย please do as I’m able to post updates there a little quicker than I am here… it’s absolutely awesome that we’ve been able to build a fantastic little community of instructors and participants alike. I’ve met many of you in real life from networking on facebook and built some lifelong friendships… just amazing!! Plus, I’m travelling a lot this year, later on this year will be in Dubai, London, Paris, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise and Singapore (plus many other places) and can’t wait to meet you all and even team teach some classes on my travels!

A big thank you also to everyone that’s joined the group BODYCOMBAT Fanatics… over 4,000 members and counting and another amazingly supportive network of BC junkies ๐Ÿ™‚

Last but not least a massive THANK YOU to you for reading my ramblings. When I first started this it was averaging less than 30 visitors per day… now it’s over 100 times that and increasing every week. I appreciate it, and I won’t let you down and will try to keep it as updated as I can…

In short: You. Guys. Rock!

Do you remember your first ever BODYPUMP class? Do you recall the pain you were in afterwards?

I do! And it hurt! I was reminded of this recently when I had a ‘bodybuilder’ jump in and do one of my pump classes. He was a big guy and obviously trained hard and trained well. I asked him before the class if he’d ever done pump before and he said no, but that he’d been weight training for years. First thing I did was warn him that because we use completely different rep ranges to those that he’d be used to in the gym to stay light for his first couple of classes (after all a set in the gym might be 6-12 reps – a set in BODYPUMP is up to 150 reps!). I looked him in the eye and said “trust me on this – try to stay light!”. Do you think he listened? Of course he didn’t! Especially since there were experienced female pumpers in the class squatting the likes of 30kg right in front of him, his ego wasn’t going to have them lift more – he matched my weight on every set in every track. A full week later he came back – and told me he literally couldn’t walk for 3 full days after that class. It’s okay I reassured him… it does get easier!!! He’s now pumping regularly as part of his training routine and loving it.

I wrote about this exact subject in one of my first ever posts on this blog called Doesn’t matter how fit you are… doing something new hurts! And it’s true -it doesn’t matter what your current level of exercise – when you try something new, whether it be an entirely new form of exercise or just upping your regular frequency you will feel it. But the power of your body to adapt, and adapt quickly is amazing.

When I first started instructing I’d team teach around three BODYCOMBATs per week, and that felt to me like a lot of exercise (at the time). More recently I’d teach four BODYCOMBATs, two BODYPUMPs and a BODYATTACK – and that felt like a lot of exercise. Nowadays, I’m on 5 combats, 4 pumps and an attack per week – and that feels like a lot of exercise! The increase in pumps from 2 to 4 per week especially has hurt – I wake up every morning with sore legs thinking wow I gotta take pump again today and I’m still sore from pump yesterday… But, then I read about other instructors happily teaching 4 or 5 pumps a day and realise what I’m doing is at the low end. Suck it up Glen – your body will adapt and soon 11 classes per week will feel like nothing!

Rest assured your body will adapt, it does adapt and you’ll be fine. Case in point, there was a guy on the news yesterday here in NZ who ran two marathons each and every day for a month. Two marathons a day!! So, participants, instructors alike, just know that yes, while the amount of training you’re doing right now might feel like a lot – your body has an amazing ability to adapt to more. Just like that first pump class hurt, and you wondered how you’d ever do another, your body rebuilt itself, repaired itself, and was ready for more… it always will; and that is a wonderful thing to know ๐Ÿ™‚

Love to hear your thoughts… especially about the pain of your first ever class!

Again, better late than never here’s my review of BODYCOMBAT 43. I normally try to get the review out soon after our release, had a lot on in the last few weeks so bit slow off the mark this quarter! I’ve now taught it 12 times in 2 weeksย  at 4 different gyms so know it pretty well! All up BODYCOMBAT 43 is a fantastic release –ย  Let me put it this way – tonight is the first night I’m going to start mixing and the only cardio tracks I plan to mix out are 5 and 7. That’s saying A LOT! To my mind those are the weakest tracks of the release – the rest are stunning! Read on for a track by track break down and as per usual would love your thoughts!

01. Freedom (Sunset Project Mix) โ€“ Beatbreaker / Starstrukk โ€“ 3OH!3

Well what can you say about a warm up – really it’s mostly dependant on the music and length. I loved the warm up from BC42, and the 43 warm up is okay… there’s a couple of things that I like quite a lot; The push kicks on the “push it baby push it baby” to match the lyrics are a nice touch (we’ve not had push kicks in the warm up before – [okay – apparently my brain farted here!!] but it’s good they are here as they’re in track 4 and track 7 in this release so having them in the w/u gives plenty of opportunity to correctly cue them)ย  BUT, by the same token it would have been nice to have roundhouse set-ups on the “just set me up” lyrics to match them also – there’s 6 round houses there so maybe the first 2 could’ve been roundhouse set-ups to fit with the music (or maybe 6 round house sets then 4 round house kicks rather than 9 side kicks that immediately follow)

The upper body warm up is okay too (though I do prefer the lower body musically). Something personally that I think D&R would be wise to take on board is trying to utilise moves that are in the release within the warm up itself. The push kicks above are a great example of this; as I said they’re in 2 tracks in this release so great they are in the warm up where we use nothing but initial and follow up cues and have a tonne of time to teach them well. So following that theme the backfists in the warmup could’ve been replaced by another move as there’s no backfists in this release apart from here. Maybe the stiff jab could’ve worked??

Finally – and this is just a little thing, I really prefer warmups where the music starts softly and builds. Again 42 was a great example of this – “Numb” started with that nice calm piano melody (The One and Only from 39 and Writing on the Wall from 38 also built gradually and work perfectly in this way too). The warmup in 43 just suddenly screams in with a super high pitched “WE ALL NEED LOVE!!!” which can be a bit of a shock to the participants. As an instructor you begin by intro-ing yourself, then intro the class itself – then hit play… when the warmup just screams in at max volume as 43 does I find I have to turn the warm up down then creep it up in track 2. Didn’t have to do that in 42… again – really minor thing and personal preference but worth mentioning all the same.

So, in short; solid warm up. Not my favourite, but not too long (like BC41!) – 7 minutes is perfect in my mind, and chorey and musically it does the trick!

02. Love Drunk โ€“ Boys Like Girls

Again, solid track 2. Like the music (a lot actually!) – a fun track which structurally reminds me a lot of Beat It from 37 – the initial combo builds with 3 moves, then adds two more then adds a roundhouse exactly like Beat It, repeats on left – shuffles side to side (albeit this track has side kicks instead of double knees but I’m sure you know what I mean here!) then finishes with full combo on each side (coincidentally Beat It and Love Drunk are almost exactly the same length too). Loads of time to have fun with the lyrics – I always get the class yelling “OKAY!” and kiaing on the roundhouse in the final combos. I also use Judy’s ‘rollercoaster’ line as I think it’s really clever “heart rate goes up, down, and around with 2 hooks”. I presenting this track at the Advanced Instructor Module so will always have a fond place in my heart I’d imagine! Great track 2 and will stand the test of time in my opinion!

03. Send Me An Angel (Weaver Remix) โ€“ Slinkee Minx

Awesome track 3. Love it! One of the 3 stand out tracks of this release. Powerful music (well about as powerful as dance music can get!) and I love the contrast between speed and power – you can really launch into those power jab/crosses. Combos built perfectly – tonnes of time to cue the difference between the speed and power changes in the speedball intro – hooks perfectly fit the music when the intensity drops – first two full combos are to calmer music so you can teach them correctly before screaming into full flight on the second two sets. Final four sets you can just unleash the class… Only word for it is AWESOME!

04. Fight For Your Right (DJ Anady vs Sander Remix) โ€“ Boogie Bros

This track has REALLY grown on me along with the “shoot” (which is a good thing as without saying too much we may have to get used to this move! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) BC43 is only 53 minutes long which is probably a good thing as it gives you time to coach this move, and coach the sword combo before track 6 and still fit in a 55 minute class slot. If you teach the shoot correctly this definitely is no recovery track (I usually tell the class there’s 3 cardio peaks so they need to really slam themselves in tracks 3, 5 and 7/8 – however in this release that’s really not the case!) – ensure everyone stays low on the shoot’s ‘pull back’ and they will be gasping for air by the end of this track that’s for sure! Again, musically I didn’t like this track too much the first couple times I did it but again it’s grown on me (<– there’s that term again!) a lot!

05. Without A Fight โ€“ Mindwarp

Weakest track of the release (by a mile). I don’t know about you guys but for me, track 5 is pretty much always the ‘low point’ of the class in recent releases. I like “The Anthem” from BC42 actually, but looking back Tutti Frutti, Johnny B Goode, Ballroom Blitz, The Best Damn Thing (ick!), Don’t Ya Wanna Feel – all the weakest tracks of the release. And it’s a shame, as we do have lower intensity tracks either side of track 5 and it would be awesome if this was the power peak it could be (am I alone in my feelings here or do others agree?). Theme for this track is a lot of running – A LOT of running (I’ve joked before that I feel like I’m in a BODYATTACK class during this track!) Apart from the running we have a combo build of 4 body rips, upper – cross and that’s it! (oh, did I mention the running??! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I’m mixing this track out today and not sure when we’ll see it back.

06. Black Pearl (Dave Darrell Radio Edit) โ€“ Scotty

Well, in post I wrote after the filming of this release I used the word E-P-I-C to describe this track… no better way to describe it. This track is FANTASTIC! Everyone loves it without exception. The music, the moves – seriously gives me goosebumps every time! Timing on the first set of double uppers took a bit to nail (okay – I admit I still sometimes bring them in early!). There have been sword moves in previous releases (the original Excalibur is the most well known example) and to be honest I hate(d) doing them. Just felt cheesy and silly – but in this track not the case at all. Love it. Highlight of the release… if you’ve not done it prepare to be blown away! Only other comment I have is that because the chorey is so simple I truly hope we don’t get sick of this track prematurely. As I said I’ve taught this release a tonne of times over the last two weeks and not sick of it yet – but with this track literally being 24 sets of the same combo (with 2 sets of 16 back kicks to break it up) I hope it doesn’t grow old too quickly…. Otherwise awesome awesome awesome!

07. Kick Start My Heart โ€“ The Snake

Well, no release is perfect and this is the other weak point in the class for me. I’m going to be writing another post about Les Mills cover tracks shortly (as from the next quarter it looks like we’re all going 100% non-PPCA licensed music which means a tonne more covers – read here for more info in the meantime) – and this track is a cover of the original Motley Crue track and- well, as covers go, it’s not the best. Which is a shame as we had the original in BC22!

Chorey is okay – the stiff jab is kinda cool and is executed properly will definitely give you a great workout… but, the music really dampens my enthusiasm for the track. The muay thai is normally my favourite track of the class and the track where my heart rate peaks (normally pushing 180+ beats per minute) but it’s quite hard to reach that level of intensity in this one I’ve found. Personally give me Hardcore Angel, Let the Beat Control your body, Party non-stop, Excalibur 2000, Ravers Paradise etc any day of the week.

08. Overload โ€“ VooDoo & Sereno

Well I mentioned earlier there are 3 stand out tracks in this release and this is the third. FANTASTIC track 8 and a climatic end to the cardio part of the class. Chorey is a bit tricky to get at first – six sets of the combo in some places – 4 in others – but not too hard to learn. The 128 jabs comes in as a surprise the first couple times you teach it and the look on the participants faces is priceless. It may be a blessing in disguise that the muay thai isn’t completely taxing as this track will certainly polish you off! Quite a long track 8 – close to 7 minutes (only 3 seconds shorter than the longest track 8 ever Cry For You) however a good 50+ seconds of it is the running around the room portion so it does feel shorter than Cry For You (not sure why the run around the room part is so long – normally it’s only around 30 seconds and I have found myself hitting the forward button a couple of times early as everyone’s ready to rip into the conditioning and the music’s still going!) Superb end to the class!

09. Do It Again โ€“ Cassie Davies

Won’t write too much about the conditioning or cooldown; Short sharp conditioning track! The tripod pressup is a great workout all around as you bring in a whole host of stabilising muscles when you lift the arm. Not too much else to say – not the hardest conditioning track in the world but a great workout all the same.

10. Sounds Of Freedom โ€“ Within Temptation

Quite a long cooldown with pretty much only 4 stretches (per side) in this entire 5 minute track. This means we’re holding each stretch for a good 30-40 seconds which is much longer than we usually hold them for. Whilst I love the idea of holding the stretches longer (I’ve often thought we don’t quite hold them long enough to get maximum benefit in either combat or pump) the music is a bit too sombre for me to really love this cooldown. I don’t think cooldowns should be uplifting (it is a cooldown after all) but this tracks a little on the dark side for me personally. Other than that the longer stretches are cool – not sure why we come from lying down in track 9, to sitting back up for 30-40 seconds only to lie down again (that time could be an additional lying gluteal stretch for example) but the cooldown works. Music is personal preference and I’m sure there’s many that love this track. Decent enough end to the workout.

Over all BC43 is an awesome release. Enough innovation to be interesting, three absolute stand out tracks and two more that are really great too. And, just a little thing but unlike some of the recent releases we don’t have any of the super long or super short tracks in this release – they all pretty much fall into a 4-6 minute timeframe which makes mixing easier (as opposed to the 2 minute or conversely 8-10 minute tracks we’ve had in other recent releases).

As always, if you have done it I’d love to hear whether you agree or disagree with my views, and if you haven’t then get really excited and prepare to be blown away! ๐Ÿ˜€

Well just when you thought you were a good instructor… turns out you’ve got a lot of work to do! That was the message I took away from the AIM. The thing is, as a group fitness instructor once you’re certified (which is usually right after you’ve done your first module) you really don’t get that much feedback on your instructing… especially if your numbers are good.

And that’s basically the situation I was in. My primary gym is really happy with my classes and numbers, my combats are the busiest classes on the timetable and as such I guess I kinda starting thinking of myself as a big fish in a small pond… after all the city I live in is reasonably small. HOWEVER, when you’re thown in a room and on stage with the likes of Will Pritchard and Ang Hunter (who also did the AIM) and being assessed by Matt Thraxton and Tauvaga “T” Siolo – you soon realise how much more work you’ve got to do! And that is a GREAT thing.

That is reason enough alone in my mind to do the AIM. As I said it’s not often you get an objective assessment of your instructing once you’re actually certified and it’s easy for bad habits to slip in.

One thing I was a little disappointed about was the turnout. There were nine of us in total, which is a pretty low turnout considering this was the first BODYCOMBAT AIM in NZ. I was expecting 40-50 instructors myself, after all why wouldn’t you do it? The small group did mean more one on one time with Matt and T and also meant we were able to fly through the schedule pretty quickly. It also meant the quality of the instructors who actually did the module itself was very high.

So, what can you expect if you’re thinking of doing it? Well, the day started with our first assessment, we were randomly assigned a track (literally by pulling numbers from a ‘hat’) – I got BC43 track 2 (Love Drunk). The “funny” thing about this is I teach 4 BC classes per week, and as a result I’m rarely nervous (only time I ever feel butterflies is usually on release night when you wonder if you’re going to remember all the chorey!). However, as soon as you’re put in a room with someone like Matt or T holding a pad a paper taking notes on you the nerves kick in and your normal teaching style just flies out the window as you try to actively think of initial and follow up cues etc etc. So it was little surprise to me when the first thing I was told is that I need to relax more on stage (easier said than done in those situations!)

After the assessment came discussion about the essence of BC, where it sits in terms of the needs of our participants and what we can do to meet those needs (all great stuff). Maybe a couple of hours of theory which was all new information not covered in the initial module (in case you were wondering). From there a short break and then real fun began… the physical part of the day!

We spent maybe 40-60 minutes (on each) covering in depth four martial arts. Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Capoiera and Muay Thai. Karate involved tonnes of traditional karate drills in traditional stance (think wide and low in the legs – ouch!). Capoiera we looked in depth at the ginga and esquiva as well forming a circle and in the middle pairing up and ‘dancing’ as capoeiristas do (that was fun). Next came TKD which was really enjoyable for me as I’ve done about 8 years of it (in my youth) we did tonnes of kicking drills including kicks not in BC (like the hook kick, axe kick and spinning back kick – actually the hook kick is in Guitar Damage and the spinning back kick is in Shut Up and Drive but only as a finishing move so you know what I mean). We built into a killer combo which was two front kicks, axe kick, jump kick, low side kick, high side kick, round house, hook kick (all same leg) then spinning back kick. Try doing that over and over again on each side! Loved it!

Next came the tough part. The muay thai drills. We were taken down to the kick bags and paired up with kick and punching pads and basically smashed each other with punches and kicks using kick boxing drills (1 – jab, 2 – cross, 3 hook etc) – as well as ‘courage’ drills where you “wall” up and the person with the pads basically smashes you back while you protect your body. I was paired up with Will. Now if you know Will you know he’s a big powerful guy and man can he punch! We were pushed and pushed with drill after drill (including 100 roundhouses into the pads as fast as we could – per leg!) – everyone was left absolutely gasping for air at the end. BUT, it did demonstrate how much further you can push yourself when you have someone breathing down your neck not letting you quit… an awesome lesson to take away to your classes (though I’d never advocate pushing your class THAT hard!)

Finally came the second assessment where hopefully you put all the feedback you’ve received and the lessons learnt for the day to work (I say hopefully as we were all pretty tired by then!)

In summary – it’s an awesome awesome day and I highly recommend it. It’s hard work (no doubt) but you’ll learn a lot about your teaching style, and a lot about yourself. There’s still two more days to come (the generic components) which are still a few weeks away yet so I’ll be sure to keep you posted about that. In the interim, if you do get the chance to do it I couldn’t recommend it enough ๐Ÿ™‚

If anyone else has done the BC AIM overseas or any other AIM for another programme I’d love your feedback!

You guys may have seen these already on lesmills.com but if not here ya go… enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚


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