NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

The POWER of the body to adapt

Posted on: March 23, 2010

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 πŸ™‚

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

30 Responses to "The POWER of the body to adapt"

Ahhh, The first story of the bodybuilder sounds very familiar. Convinced a bodybuilder guy to come and give it a try, he also said he couldn’t walk for 3 days. Probably something to do with the fact most guys in the weights area focus so heavily on the upper body and hardly ever (even ignore) their legs.

So true. Got to be ego based as well though – and the fact that they can probably happily squat 100kg (or much much more) in the gym – so putting 20 or 30 or even 40 kg on the bar seems light… hey, they learnt in the end (albeit the hard way! ;))

Having Stace (my partner) in the front row of my classes doesn’t probably help either. She’s teeny and squats 30 kg no problems (she’s been pumping for years and years) – they must take one look at this wee blonde and think no way is she doing more than me!!

I remember my first Combat class… I must have stopped halfway through every single track to catch my breath – I felt like I was going to die if my heart rate got any higher, I just couldn’t do one full track, let alone the entire class!! I then went home, fell face down on the sofa and felt like I was going to be sick for about an hour, it was awful!

It didn’t put me off though… a little over a year later I am happily doing as many Combat classes as I can get to, lost 3 stone worth of fat and only stop between tracks if the instructor does. I have also booked on to do the FitPro Group Ex Award (on my instructors recommendation) and should be a qualified Combat instructor before the end of the year. I just can’t get enough of it! Combat completely changed my life, I went from being a shy, chubby wallflower to being slim, toned and absolutely full of confidence!

Emma that is simply AWESOME! So inspiring!

Good luck with your training, you’ll love it!

Yes – I remember my first 2 pump classes.
The step instructor who convinced us to join the gym got us into the studio to do pump and we thought it was pretty good, so we came back the next night for another pump class.
I remember the instructor telling us before the class that we might feel a bit sore the next day… well I woke up after the 2nd class & I felt like I had been run over by a bus!!
I did a similar thing though – saw a skinny blonde woman in front of me lifting bigger weights and thought if she can lift that then surely I can lift heavier that that – BIG MISTAKE (hense feeling like I was run over by a bus the next day!)
I do pump once a week at the moment and although I’ve not had a drastic increase in my weights over the last 3-4 years, my technique is better and I still feel it the next day.
I would like to increase the amount of Pump classes I do, but can’t bear the thought of giving up a Combat class in order to fit it in! LOL!

Ah the “run over by a bus” feeling – I know it well! I always compare a night after doing several classes to ‘running full speed straight into a brick wall ‘ – to me that feels like the most realistic comparison!

Hey Nick we’re in your neck of the woods tomorrow – doing the 4:30 BODYATTACK class at Chch central if you’re around! We’d do more but then gotta drive to Akaroa.

i remember my 1st COMBAT class. Don’t know much abt wat BODY COMBAT is at tat time. on the 2nd & 3rd day, especially th 3rd, i feel my body extremely PAIN, i wont forget tis pain… but coz of tis pain bring me in to 2nd, 3rd … BC classes til now… πŸ™‚

Then i go for BODYPUMP class after tat. actually there isnt any courage for me to go for bodypump, cos i’m a skinny type, but finally i jump into it… πŸ™‚ . The story of the bodybuilder also happens around me. few of them stop halfway in the lesson n ESCAPE… in my 1st opinion, i though they can either carry heavy weight or did well in body pump than me tis skinny type… but, hard to believe it… they dont.

now my body slowly adapt…N i enjoy having a different lifestyle than before wif the body combat & body pump…

Wow, man, how timely. I missed pump for two whole months and went back for the first time Sunday. Took it down about 2kg all around on the weights but woke up stiff on Monday. Mid-traps, all kinds of places I forgot existed. Luckily hit Body Flow tonight and now back on track. I have found you can take your game up a lot more if you work some kind of stretching or core work into your weekly mix. Still cannot believe your routine, though.

Hi Glen,
I’m working all day tomorrow until 5pm, but will probably do Pump @5:30 and Combat @6:30 in the city, so I’ll probably bump into you on the way out!
I think Jess takes that Attack class – she’s a young petite blonde… all the ‘blokes’ seem to like her (I wonder why?? LOL!)
but she’s a pretty good instructor all the same!
Akaroa is about a 70-80 min drive from central city – lovely place.
The fish n chip shop on the Akaroa waterfront used to be very good (not that I eat fish n chips at all…), but I haven’t been to Akaroa for about 2 yrs

@Nick “young petite blonde” sounds dreadful!! πŸ˜‰ (no seriously I’m a professional that kind of stuff doesn’t matter!)

Okay – I think we’ve got dinner reservations but will see if we can stay for pump – I’d love to do combat but we’ll definitely not have time for that unfortunately.

@James – yep – honestly having a break for more than say 3 weeks honestly takes you back to square one soreness wise!

@ChrisTina – I know how you feel – but yes the pain is good!! πŸ™‚

I remember a few years back at a club I worked at, where I was the Group Fitness Manager. We had a guy who was a ‘Pro Bodybuilder’ looking after the Gym / weights area of the club. he would always tell his clients that BODYPUMP was a ladies only class and that we (Instructors) had it easy… I mean ‘all we did’ was just turn up and teach our classes right? I finally approached him and said, that if he could make it through one BODYPUMP class, and match me rep for rep, as well as weight and tempo wise, I would give him 5,000 AED (about 2,500 NZD at the time) If he ‘lost’ he would only have to pay me 2,500 AED, but we would plaster his ‘area’ of the club with everything BODYPUMP! Needless to say he crapped out halfway through the Squat track! That ‘experience’ actually converted him and gave him a ‘new found’ respect for what we do… P.s I did’nt have the heart to take his money in the end…

hahaha I know what you mean!! I missed out on pump one morning (due to not enough tickets and too many noobs wanting to come to class – amazing what the Biggest loser does) so I ended up at the gym doing some weights. There was this rather big dude and we got talking – he said he’d wanted to do pump but was a bit embarrassed because he was worried that the ladies in there would outdo him… he laid there on the bench with about 30kg each end doing bench presses , so I gather he wouldn’t let himself come down in weights..

I told him how it went – ie better off with lighter weights because he’d be lifting them for a good 4 minutes or so – not this 15 reps and rest stuff – but he said he didn’t want to go in there and find a woman doing more weights than he.


My son did combat with me one day – he’s 27 and does martial arts, indoor soccer and indoor climbing. He did one ONE session of combat and said to me he was sore for a week! Technically he shouldn’t have had any problem doing it but as you said Glen, it was something new!!

Our instructor gives us no break in the chest track (73) She’s evil!!!! Also in the shoulder track someone wasn’t doing their pushups properly so we were nearly finished with them and she started the track again. Pure evil I tell ya!! Do you do that Glen??

I remember my first pump class…..I had no idea what to expect, my instructor told me to stay light, which I did, but my elbows were sweating on the squat track, my legs felt like jelly, I was shaking and I ached for the whole week afterwards!!! I still went back though, and try to never miss a week!

As for combat, my shoulders hurt so much after the first session, I dipped out of the ends of a few tracks, the instructor frightened me to death with her stalking round the class and yelling at everyone, but I must have enjoyed it, because I went back, and I now go to 3-4 combats a week. It’s the same instructor who frightened me, who I now think is THE best instructor of combat at our gym!

Now, 2 years on from body step (yep I hurt after that too!) 18 months after body pump and a year after body combat I have started an exercise to music instructor course……may be a combat instructor one day! πŸ™‚

I never had a first class of BC or BP cause my gym didn’t offer them until the instructor-modules.
But that is what I remember: The instructor-modules of BC and BP!
Each one with three full days in a row and 2 classes each day… and an additional challenge on second day (i do not have to mention all the technique-training πŸ˜‰ )
Those days after have been the worst ever in my live, cause I had to do my regular classes in the gym!! And now? 8 classes a week (week-end is free because of my girlfriend πŸ˜‰ ).

I’ve been going to pump for about a year now and I love it. I’d been doing some decent resistance work in the gym but thought I’d give it a go.

I kept my weights ‘reasonable’ and was able to complete all the tracks that first time as I was focussing on my technique and getting the choreography (I’ve got a lousy sense of rhythm).

My husband asked how I’d felt it was when I got home and I said that I didn’t think I’d worked as hard as my weights work out in the gym. That was until I couldn’t move properly for the next 3 days. Walking downstairs was almost impossible and the act of lowering myself into a chair was horrendous. I sometimes wonder why I went back πŸ˜‰

I’ll never forget my first Pump class. I’d become addicted to exercise DVDs and would come home from University and do hours of exercise – I’d get a stack of DVDs and play them one by one and get in 3-4 hours of workout per day, doing stuff like this, and this, and this. All of the DVDs were great, and worked me hard.

Then, I went into my first Pump class after reading about it on this blog, and when New Lynn held a ‘free weekends’ promotion, I dragged my friend in. We sturggled with JUST THE BAR (5kg alone in NZ), and we had to roll ourselves down the stairs to get back down to the car, and in fact, were too sore and wobbly to drive anywhere and had to sit down for a few hours before we were able to get up and move!

I knew from that moment all the faffing around I was doing with the DVDs was nowhere near as effective as that first Pump class. The next day a sales consultant rang and said, “Will you join?”, I said, “Yes, yes I will.” Must’ve been the easiest sale they’ve ever had, and I’ve never looked back πŸ˜€

No break in the chest track!! It’s there for a reason, the chorey is designed with a purpose not for instructors to rewrite and do their own thing. Evil maybe…silly yes! If members are doing correct weight selection they need the break especially to get thru the last sets of singles…and restarting a track cos one person isn’t doing push ups correctly, well that’s what coaching is all about. As an instructor I’ve been in other clubs while on holidays etc and noting is more frustratng than an instructor who makes up the chorey or doesn’t put a break in. We all forget chorey from time to time but some make it up often.
But yeh back to the original topic yes it doesn’t matter how fit or strong u are, do something different and u open the hurt box hehehe

I remembered my first combat class, 35.. and once a week was a lot, a lot of exercise.. I ached all over and it took days to recover..

Today, I am doing 8 combats a week, and it feel awesome! No doubt the muscle tingles by the next class, I still survived and got through each class without any difficulty!


AND it is only because of the instructor training coming up that is why I am upping from 3 combats a week (as a participant) to 8 now (as a trainee)..

I looked forward to each class as each class I discovered something new I never knew or bothered as a participant! :p

I started with Combat 38 in January of last year after almost 10 years away from exercise. I was mortified by how much I had let myself go. I struggled with every track and was scarlet faced for about 2 hours afterwards! I found an amazing instructor and she encouraged me to keep coming back and over the next few months I really got going with it. I got myself a personal trainer and ended up doing 3 half hour sessions with him of weight lifting and 3 combats. It worked!

I thought that since I had improved my strength and fitness that pump would be an easy way to compliment my strength training. I was SO wrong. Compliment yes, easy no. I had to go down to diddly weights and was taking breaks all over the place. Have been doing it for about 4 months now and most of my weights are nearly or the same as my instructors and I feel really proud of myself for not giving in to the embarrassment I felt in the beginning. I am hoping to become a Combat instructor in the next few months and help others to feel the amazing sense of empowerment I have been given.

My first pump class defines pain! Every so often in Wellington they would do classes where they would get members up on stage with the instructor…all the pleading in the world wasn’t gonna get me out of this and I suffered for one track on stage in front of everyone. Of course I didn’t want to be lifting less than the girls, I mean I could leg press some mean weights, but I suffered through the whole 4 min and spent the rest of the week near crippled! It didn’t break me though and I came back for more.

I came back after a month off from pump, dropped my weights and still felt like id been run over by a steamroller! Even if I’m off for 2 weeks, I’ll come back and after class, declare that sitting down and moving is a necessity thing only XD

I remember my first pump class. I was promptly told by our instructor that i was the only male that had ever listened to her when she told me to keep it light. Ego wasnt an issue seeing as im only little >_>

But i see guys come in who do weights outside and think that pump is a cakewalk. Then halfway through the squat and chest tracks they frantically rush to drop their weights. Some stick around after that. Others don’t because their ego is now bruised. Which is a real shame, but really shows their character 😑

It’s the same with any class really. “Oh that group fitness stuff is for the ladies”. Then they come in and get puffed and defeated while the “ladies” just keep on going. Some stick around though, even if it’s to repair their now damaged self image πŸ˜›

I hope to change people’s mindsets about group fitness (and/or maybe crush a few people’s egos ;)) when I finish my Body Combat certification.

I remember my first class(BP 69) asif it was just yesterday, couldn’t walk normal, without my legs hurting for a whole week!

And the wednesday that they stopped hurting, was one day before I thought about taking another class. I seriously though of not taking another class, if it was gonna hurt as much again. But I gave it a try anyways and it didn’t hurt at all, perhaps a bit sore but that went away after a day.

As you said, the body adapts, suprisingly, very quickly.

I tried pump once with keeping the lightest weight during all the class and I was not able to walk during one week….so I never did pump again πŸ™‚ But now reading you Glen, I think I should reconsider this. I may try again πŸ™‚

they need to give you a real jumprope so that inbetween the music you can keep your hr up while they are instructing
i loved it until about 1/2 way when im still cardioing then i realize this is another one of those trademark things where you have to stop and take instruction
i boxed for 2 yrs and am an athlete.
the instructor was great, but stifled by the “chorey”

i need to get off this computer. all these post about being so hurt. ridiculous. oh … and im a girl

Bellajayde I agree with you 110%!

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who went through such pain after their first class… Seriously if you go too hard its unimaginable!!

the first ever les mills class i attended was body step. i finished my water 1/4 through the class and left halfway. i remember thinking gee ive never struggled with catching my breath this hard ever! after the class i bumped into the instructor on the way out and said it was okay that i left early and that it was totally understandable for a first timer. i went back and did that class afterwards

ive since dropped step for combat, i like it better. i always think im pretending to beat someone really really big and tough and find that its motivating me a lot. my first combat was a really though experience as well. could recall how much pain i was in after but def not a comfortable one. i think from how i did the jabs hooks and kicks it was obvious im a novice so this other girl (who wasnt that good for pointing out πŸ™‚ ) kept looking and giving me the wtf are u doing?! look the whole time. i was just annoyed someone seemed to be really pissed by the mess im making when theirs isnt even that polished. lol i dont think i finished that first class as well:) the class i went to had an awful lot of participants and as a first timer i was very very scared not to get kicked by someone else. regarding this i would like to say safety wise that space should be very much valued especially with combat dont you think?

good last sentences on this blog, saved it on my mobile to share, thanks glen

Yep Nikki we’ve all been there! Amazing how the body adapts though isn’t it. I always tell new people “you may hurt tomorrow, and the next, and maybe even the next! But that’s normal and it gets easier”. Thank goodness, imagine if we hurt that much after EVERY class… No one would ever train!

Thanks again for your comments πŸ™‚

I’m really glad I read this. I’m working my way back into Combat after months off from several injuries. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ll never get back to where I need to be. I look back at what I was once able to do & it seems so far away from where I am now. Reading this has helped remind me that my body will adapt again & I shouldn’t feel defeated or give up.
So, thanks for that.

I’m glad Jess – stick at it and you’ll be back to your previous condition in no time! πŸ™‚

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