NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

BODYCOMBAT 56 filming

Posted on: February 20, 2013

56Well one of the most highly anticipated BODYCOMBAT reviews has just hit my email inbox and, man, let me say it was worth the wait! Guest blogger Deb Shafran has done an AMAZING job painting a full picture of her BODYCOMBAT 56 experience. It was certainly fascinating for me as for the first time in something like 15 BC filmings I wasn’t there! So I was probably more excited to read this than anyone! One thing that I guess I always took for granted was having the mothership for Les Mills right on my doorstep – so it was so cool to read Deb’s recollection of her excitement of walking through those doors and into studio one for the first time. It’s something I’m sure most of you reading aim to do someday (and so you should!).

Anyway, enough of my babbling. Here’s the lowdown on BODYCOMBAT 56 – thank you Deb for doing such a phenomenal job!


BODYCOMBAT 56 filming review – by Deb Shafran

My name is Deb Shafran and I am a Les Mills BodyCombat and BodyPump Instructor from Boston, MA, USA. It is an honor to have been asked by Glen Stollery to provide you with a review of the Les Mills BodyCombat 56 filming experience, at Les Mills Auckland City, on January 29th, 2013. I hope I am able to not only paint a picture, but also transport you to what I heard, saw, felt and experienced at filming.

When I walked toward the gym, for the first time, I realized I had arrived at the place where all that has so positively changed my life, had begun. I was in the lobby of Les Mills Auckland City! The following minutes proved to be even more exciting, when Phillip Mills walked in the front door and casually smiled and chatted with Amanda Scales and Dan McDonogh (BodyStep and RPM Presenters from the USA)… and all I could say was, “Thanks for all you have done” and he then continued to walk away. The following hours and days allowed me to meet and personally thank many of International Presenters, whom I have watched on DVDs for years. I loved meeting Mid Thomas, Mark Sinclair, Will Pritchard, Gandalf Archer, Tauvaga Siolo, Lana Aitken, Carla Fitzsimons, Nat van Peer, Taimane Elise, as well as Phillip and Jackie Mills. I loved seeing Dan Cohen, Rachael Newsham, Susan Renata, Josef Matthews, Jericho McDuffie, Glen Ostergaard, Les Mills Jr, Sarah Robinson, Curtis Pipes and Corey Baird again. To be surrounded by such positivity and sense of the Les Mills cause, would make anyone who has experienced a Les Mills class want to come to the mecca, immediately.

Over the next week, I took several classes and also sat in the corner of Studio 1 to take notes and study how the instructors were delivering their classes. What they said was just as important as what they did not say. These instructors showed me that the journey is never ending, and I have more room to grow. I am excited about all the places I can go, and I hope to bring pieces of what I observed and experienced to the members in my classes and share with my fellow instructors.

Now onto BodyCombat 56…. Put in its simplest form, as my friend Ralf Galle expressed: “BodyCombat 54 was BOOM! BodyCombat 55 was BOOM! BOOM! And BodyCombat 56 is BOOM! BOOM! BANG!” And this is the review in a nutshell. As much as you hear everyone say, every time a new release comes out – this is the best one yet! I sincerely feel that this is true, in the case of BodyCombat 56, which is fun, fast and furious!

When I first walked into Studio 1 (not on a filming day), I honestly felt a little underwhelmed…. not disappointed, just not as impressive as I had envisioned, for so many years. But when filming day arrived, all the floor-to-ceiling black curtains were drawn shut and all the cameras were set up. There were 2 stationary cameras on large raised platforms – one in the back and one on the left side of the room. There was another camera on a large moveable arm – a jib, which was able to span the room, from above – and there was one hand-held camera, on the shoulder of a brave man who wove in and out of all the moving class participants. With all the lighting and backdrops in place, the room came alive! There was an electric energy that buzzed around the room and the studio instantly got transformed into the vision all of us instructors see every quarter in our DVDs. I felt like I was on a movie set and the stars of the show were about to come on stage and bring BodyCombat to life – again! I loved seeing mission control set up, directly in front of the soundboard, with a monitor representing each camera and the production crew diligently getting every angle the director needed. There were a few tense moments before filming could start, with the rush of participants charging for the front row center spot. But the crew reeled everyone in – calm, collected and under control – and the production was off and running in no time! Here is your track breakdown:

Track 1 is straight in and full on. Just like BodyCombat 54, the upper and lower body warm up flows from one into another, with no musical break. I really like this change. The music instantly grabs you – you definitely will think you are having the best BodyCombat dream, and you won’t want to wake up! The warm up gives you a sneak peak of what’s to come – particularly in tracks 4 and 7. During filming, there was a friendly competition of counting in the native languages in the room – Japanese, Portuguese and Germans all tried to be the loudest! You’ll see when you get your DVDs why you might want to count in this track.

Track 2 delivers a rock song, which you may recall from a recent BodyPump release – I won’t say which muscle group it was for… that would give too much away. This one is American kickboxing style and provides a great feel, between upper and lower body combos, which sets up the workout. The choreography kicks into high gear from the get-go, so this one feels a bit like a track 4.

Track 3 could be a tie for best one yet (tied with both tracks 6 and 8 from this release)! It just feels good and I didn’t want it to stop. This track is uplifting, as most track 3’s are, but it’s a level up from what you thought was uplifting. If you remember BodyCombat 28, you will recall this song remix of a former track 5. There are simple boxing patterns, high energy and building levels…. Just let it go!

Track 4 brings back a move that you may remember (dust off your archives and see if you can figure it out) from BodyCombat 29, track 4… but they give it a new twist – which at first is a bit challenging, but once you get the timing on it – BOOM – you will be delivering it with conviction! Don’t forget to take the high option, when offered, and bring it!

Track 5 definitely keeps you on your toes. The fancy footwork will keep your imaginary opponent guessing which direction you might be coming from next. The agility work will prepare you for the second half of the release.

Track 6 delivers the new move that I am not allowed to tell you about! It is different, definitely challenging and quickly tests the brain and body to work together. Fellow instructors, I think it will take us some time to master not only being able to physically deliver this new move, but also to teach and coach it really well. This move will fire up your fast twitch muscle fibers in such a way that you will feel it for days! There is speed. There is slow motion. There is a firing action. There is significant need for you to brace your core. But have no fear, as always, there are several options provided, so even the novice will have the opportunity to feel accomplished and want to keep coming back for more! Your esquiva is back, but know that it is your active recovery here… so good luck! I think this is the most challenging track in the release and tests your balance and pace. Deliver with precision and accuracy. This one is a butt-kicker!

Track 7 has 6 rounds and 6 counts and that might be sharing too much! As you might expect, elbows and knees are the name of the game, in Muay Thai. There is a short and sweet delivery of a downward street brawl punch that I like even more than the repeaters we have done in the past. This one gets in, gets out, and gets the job done – before your imaginary opponents even know what hit them!

Track 8 could very well be a highlight of this release – the stand out – as my friend Tony Ball put it. Think endurance and a huge finish! When Dan and Rach ask for your BLAH (Be Loud And Heard) feedback – let’s just say they heard it and they’ve done something about it! Forget about standing still and hitting your jabs for 164 counts. You aren’t going to need it. This track 8 will feel a bit different than your standard track 8, but the structure is similar enough that you know this is the final peak of the release. If any track makes you feel alive – I believe – this is the one!

I can tell you there is a new animal drill in Track 9 that, when done properly, will definitely help shape and change your abdominals. There is some posterior work – think “square your hips.”

Track 10 concludes the release and makes you feel like this one could end up in the hall of fame, one of the best releases that will ever hit your personal library. This one provides a great stretch and a beautiful kata to a huge song.

This release is simple to follow, but physically challenging to complete. BodyCombat 56 continues to deliver and push the BodyCombat program to new levels and keeps it evolving. There are definitely moments for your sing-a-longs, as well as moments where you are wondering how you are physically going to make it to the end of the track!

There are so many thank you’s, to all of those who helped make this experience the vacation of a lifetime for me. It was worth every penny I saved to go. Thank you to Ralf Galle and Peter Henrici for being my German bodyguards and taking exceptional care of me! Thank you Tony Ball for being the liaison for all the international visitors, helping us navigate through all the opportunities available to us, while we were there. You were the host with the most – your efforts are greatly appreciated! Thank you DJ Olivier for onsite coordination, logistics and social media efforts. Thank you to the production crew of all the filmings (Go Maggie Go!), they were top notch! They were organized, systematic, friendly (stern, when needed) and operated like a well-oiled machine. Thank you to all of the instructors, from all over the world, who illustrated our ONE TRIBE feeling… from Andy and Maria in Germany, to Naomi and Hiromi from Japan (I wish I could take you both home with me!), to Liz and Hannah and the whole Bristol, UK Tribe, to Nadege and Thierry from France, and Daniel and Danni in Australia – I thank you for contributing to my Les Mills journey. Thank you to the local kiwi’s who welcomed me with open arms – Babs and Joanna – how amazing to hug you both in Studio 1! Thank you Carrie Kepple for greeting me in Christchurch, even giving me a ride back to my hotel after a great afternoon of classes! I look forward to returning to the place that brings me such genuine happiness and I hope to see all of you again.

For me, it was wonderful to have Josef Matthews there (he will be in BodyPump 86, that’s no secret) in Auckland. Josef was my initial trainer on BodyCombat Release 35. He was also my AIM 1 facilitator (Advanced Instructor Module training, for all you non-Les Mills readers), the first time. Yes, I went through AIM 1 twice…. I thought it was so much fun, like a BodyCombat playground, that I wanted to do it again, and got a lot of out taking the module with Angel Santiago, a second time. Josef was also one of my AIM 2 facilitators, along with Kim Ames. Josef has been with me every stop of my BodyCombat journey so far and to have him in the room, during the filming of BodyCombat 56, was more than I could have asked for. Josef, I thank you for all you have contributed to my Les Mills experiences.

Wherever you are in your Les Mills journey…. new participant to Veteran instructor… if Les Mills has had a positive impact on your life, I recommend you to make this pilgrimage from wherever you are in the world. The significant expense is well worth the investment… in yourself, to help you learn as an instructor, and in your growth as a human being. This was an experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful for every minute of it! Glen Stollery, I hope I have given your loyal following a suitable substitute for all that you have built. I thank you for the opportunity and would do it for you again, in a heartbeat – if asked! Les Mills couldn’t have come up with a more fitting slogan… I felt this every step of the way: ONE TRIBE. BE BRAVE. CHANGE THE WORLD.

20 Responses to "BODYCOMBAT 56 filming"

I heard from someone who was at the filming, BC56 is awesome! Can’t wait! KIAAA!

It certainly sounds it! 🙂

Excellent job, Deb! Always keeping it real and staying with the fight!!

I agree! Superb job! I truly felt like I was there!

Deb, great!!!! Boom Boom Bang!! :))

BOOM BOOM BANG! You’re onto a thing, Deb! I reckon peeps should launch the release with that as a theme 😀 Awesome blog post, you did this blog and Glen proud with your account of the filming. Respect 😀

Great review, thanks for that, Deb.
Couldn’t agree more, LM auckland is a great experience!
Can’t believe you Glen, for leaving NZ to go to a dessert…..enjoy it anyway!

Thanks so much for the compliments everyone! I loved putting the review together and thank Glen very much for letting me jump in for him. Until next time, my fellow warriors!

I love the three-words-or-less summaries. Looking forward to the new move. Thanks for putting up the review 😀

I could not have put it better myself, super job Deb! It was nice to meet you and share this awesome experience with you and the rest of the tribe…hope to do it again sometime 🙂 Kat (from Scotland)

Great great! Deb!! It was a pleasure!! Boom Boom Bang! :)) Ralf Gallé

BC 28 has my all time favorite track 3! Come with me still sticks it out in my classes today!

Can’t wait! sounds great! Releasing 55 next week, then on to 56 in 3 months time.. I heard 55 is also very good. Thanks Deb, great post (though you might be giving a little bit too much :P). Now where’s that blonde kiwi guy who is the master of saying something without really saying anything..

Cheers from Indonesia,

Hi everybody, my name’s Nelson Fonte, from Portugal, i’m not a fan of BC, i’m much more into BP and BA, but as a Les Mills’s fan, i follow this blog to be the most well-informed, of my favorite’s classes.

I’m not an instructor of any class, just a “religious” student 🙂

Thank you Glen for this blog, and great job Deb, you maybe “push” me to do BC56 at my gym, when is gonna be presented.

What a fabulous review – thank you for sharing! Can’t wait till I’m there in May!!!

Great review! I’m liking the sound of BC56 already, and I’m hoping that I’m still liking it when I actually get to do it.

BC55 was a bit of a disappointment for me, to be honest. It’s not bad, but it’s not as good as 53 or 54 in my opinion. There just isn’t any standout tracks, and I’m gutted that they’ve made yet another mediocre track 6. It’s a great song, but it just goes on and on and on…

Oh well! Fingers crossed 56 is better. 🙂

Yes – I did BC56 3-4 times with D&R before they actually did the filming and i really liked the release a lot!

oh my gosh I am now officially pumped (or scared) ! I go to training in a few weeks and its going to be to BC56! 🙂

We just did the presentation at my gym on Monday for 56…I’m not an instructor, just a huge fan of BC. It’s not as great as 54 or 55, track 3 has bad music for an awesome choreography…but 54 and 55 were awesome. 56 is slightly less awesome but still awesome, and Track 8 is the best track 8 in a looooooooong time. Lots to look forward to!

Does anyone have a kick count for BC56 yet?

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