NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

BODYCOMBAT 61 filming (2 of 2!)

Posted on: May 11, 2014

Hey team! We are lucky enough get a second review of the BODYCOMBAT 61 filming! This one comes courtesy of the lovely Laura Jackson. So awesome for me to see Laura’s enthusiasm come through as Laura was one of my superstar combat participants when I taught back in NZ – now she’s a superstar participant at the big show!

Once again this review is a really good one! (these people have talent!). Enjoy!

BODYCOMBAT 61 – by Laura Jackson

Okay, I’ll admit that I still get excited about filming class. But not for the “OMG I get to be on camera” part that I know some people might be rolling their eyes about. I get excited for filming because of the new people that I meet every single time.This is my fourth consecutive BODYCOMBAT filming, and 8th overall filming and every time I meet somebody new from somewhere different in the world. I get excited for filming class because it shows me (and sometimes I do forget) just how massive and phenomenal our Les Mills tribe is. So from wherever you are in the world, whether it be Auckland or the Arctic Circle, thank you for being a part of this amazing worldwide family.

Sincerities aside, a little background since none of you know who I am or even what I do. I’m Laura, and I’ve been taking part in Les Mills classes for seven years now. That doesn’t really sound like a long time until I mention that I’m 20 years old, so those seven years equate to almost one third of my entire life. I work in the LM Auckland City building and I plan to module in BODYATTACK and BODYCOMBAT later on this year, which is a far cry from the shy 16 year old that I was when I first started hanging out at the back of Glen’s BODYCOMBAT classes. I’m now that front row participant who occasionally shadows and what a huge journey it has been!

Here's me during 61 filming. It's the only decent photo of me ever at a filming class!

Here’s me during 61 filming. It’s the only decent photo of me ever at a filming class!

Sadly I must start with a negative and say that I continue to be disappointed with some of the organisational aspects of filming. The week before filming, signs were posted in the stairway to studio one (if you have been to LM Auckland City you’ll know exactly where I mean and how long the stairway actually is) stating that the first three rows of participants had to be wearing Reebok/Les Mills gear exclusively. There was also an option to wear unbranded fitness gear, but I can’t remember the last time I saw someone at filming wearing unbranded clothing. If you have read reviews from Q2/GFX filmings, you will know that class participants got black-tape plastered all over their non-Reebok brand logos and I was one of those people. However this time I was prepared for it and came armed and ready, proudly wearing my newly acquired Reebok BODYCOMBAT singlet. 

Trying to be stealthy resulted in some terrible photography skills.

Trying to be stealthy resulted in some terrible photography skills.

Whilst lining up for filming behind the international instructors who had been queing since 7am (BODYCOMBAT had the 9am filming slot this time around) I was handed a camouflage wristband and told that I could stand in front of the yellow line in the studio. This yellow line divided the visible participants from the non-visible participants in the final production and if you look in the second row when 61 releases you’ll probably see my silhouette somewhere there. Interestingly enough, and clothing issues aside, the people that were handed wristbands had to be fluent English participants. I asked why this was happening and was told that in previous filmings there have been issues with speakers of other languages not being able to understand instructor cues properly – and since this is a production and not a regular class, all of the participants needed to be moving at the same time, in the same direction to the same beat.This is rather interesting as BODYCOMBAT is a global program, but whatever keeps the production team/LMI happy, right? 

Camouflage armbands?! Awesome!!

Camouflage armbands?! Awesome!!

My first thought when I reached studio one was, “where is everybody?” I had spent most of the previous night worrying about being able to move during filming and even practiced lower kicks in the bathroom mirror to compensate for the amount of people that I was expecting. But these expected people were nowhere to be seen and I think a lot of the instructors in the room were quite pleased that we wouldn’t be drenched in each others sweat this time around.  Some people reading this (hi Alex) know that I attended BODYCOMBAT 60 filming back in February, of which the filming coincided with GFX 2014. Anybody who has attended GFX before knows how crazy and busy it gets, and because it was summer here in New Zealand it was stinking H-O-T (and even then that’s an understatement.) There was absolutely no room to move, and because BODYCOMBAT is not one of those filming classes where you have a fixed position on the ground, I ended up with a rather disgusting amount of other people’s sweat on my body. Not to mention the feet/hands/bums that ended up in my face… yeah it was gross. I’m only writing this to draw a comparison to how different the filming class for 61 was. It was still relatively busy but this time around people actually had space to move.  I’ve attended four filming classes now for BODYCOMBAT, and atmosphere/energy wise – this was my absolute favourite of the lot. There was no fighting for spaces unlike 58 and 60, and everybody seemed to have a mutual understanding of where their place was in the studio. If you’re planning on attending a filming class for any Les Mills programme make sure you pick an event that isn’t part of GFX! I can guarantee that you’ll have a much better experience and that you won’t end up having to throw away your sweaty (Reebok) clothing afterwards 😉

To give you an idea of the scale of filming, these are the same cameras used to film rugby matches here in NZ. Talk about serious.

To give you an idea of the scale of filming, these are the same cameras used to film rugby matches here in NZ. Talk about serious.

After the standard pre-filming announcements (emergency exits, please wear Reebok etc) Dan and Rach were cheered onto stage along with Eduardo Kill, representing Brazil from the USA. What an AWESOME last name for a BC workout! I’m personally a fan of smaller filming teams because I do get confused and overwhelmed with too many instructors on stage – I never know who to follow! Following microphone set up and sound check, Eduardo quickly left the stage so that Dan and Rach could film the virtual introductions. Dan and Rach made a few mistakes and completely took the piss out of each other which was hilarious to watch because it set the mood quite nicely. I’ve noticed that BC filmings have such an intense, serious atmosphere as compared to other programs like Attack where everybody is all happy and almost spacey, so this slight bit of entertainment was definitely welcomed that’s for sure.

I’ve written a substantial amount on everything bar the actual release so here we go, BODYCOMBAT 61! 

BODYCOMBAT 61 is a “beast of a workout”  in the words of the presenters. And they couldn’t be more correct! It pushes every boundary both physically and emotionally and I literally walked out of class the first time I did it back in March saying “what the hell just happened?!” Unlike 60, where I’m still a little unsure of the song choices, 61 hits the spot with a decent mix of modern chart hits, a popular rock anthem and a couple of unknown upbeat tracks. Choreography wise, this release pushed my heart rate through the roof and is definitely challenging to even the seasoned Combatter! At 56 minutes long and being one of those “play and go” releases, I must admit that I have concerns for instructors that take classes that precede an equipment based class like BODYPUMP. I’ve seen instructors get angry over this issue before and 56 minutes might just be cutting it a BIT too fine! During filming we had a few extended breaks, due to technical problems and I can easily say that without these breaks I may not have made it through the entire release, so let me know when it releases later on this year how you go!

Track 1a is a remix of a recent chart topping hit by a certain infamous diva and I must say that I enjoy the remixed version a LOT more than the original. It’s got the same kind of feel to it as Track 1a from BC58, which I absolutely loved so no surprises that I love this one too. It introduces most of the moves that are incorporated in the release, including proper technique for uppercuts and hooks. For an upper body warmup there are a LOT of jacks – but hey it gets me warm so I’m not complaining! Rach offers low-impact options, which I always enjoy because it does reinforce the point that absolutely anybody can do BODYCOMBAT. In my opinion, this warmup is everything that a warmup should be – a little bit difficult to raise the heart rate, introduction of moves to be performed and also motivating. All in all a good warmup that I’m sure will be on instructor’s playlists for quite some time when it releases.  

Track 1b I love this track! And to give you an idea, I don’t say that very easily as they are usually my least favourite tracks of the release. This one is another chart-topper, but more explosive and darker than the first track. If your legs weren’t fired up from the first warmup then they definitely will be from this one! It has alternating shoots, knees, roundhouse kicks, basically everything you’d expect from a good lower body warmup and more. Because this track allows for so much time to introduce new moves it’s a rather good track for new participants to learn proper technique and execution before the release really gets going. 

Track 2 – There are three words for this track, OH MY LORD LEGS. And if you think that it’s going to get easier the more that you do this track, then you’re in for quite a surprise! The legs take an absolute hammering in track 2, I’m still trying to foam roll the pain out of my glutes. Yeeeooowwwcchhhh. I don’t particularly like the song choice, but that’s because I’m biased as I’m sick of hearing it on the radio already. In saying that, I do like this song choice a LOT more than BC59 with the crazy sound effects! None of that in this track thankfully. 

Track 3 is a solid power-training track. It’s an upbeat, energetic remix of a popular 1980’s song that is a guaranteed sing along for anybody. Pretty basic combos choreography wise, but after track 2 and the concentration required it’s nice to have something a bit easy that you don’t need to think about. This track really spikes the energy in the room and gets the heart-rate back up there again. 

Track 4 is meant to “unlock speed potential” according to Dan. In all honesty, I didn’t like this track because the choreo is all over the place. I found it hard to follow and I’ve been doing the track for a while now! Combos of 4’s, 5’s, 8’s, 15’s… it was a nightmare to say the least. I’m an ex-dancer so I will always count in 8’s so maybe this is just me. And don’t even get me started that this track is FULLY RECYCLED. As in, it’s been used in a BC release before and I’m sorry Dan and Rach, but I didn’t like it then and I still don’t like it now. I get that there are only so many suitable tracks for group fitness classes, and I understand that sometimes these things need to happen… but please, next time just pick a better song to reuse. 

Track 5 was presented by Eduardo, and he did a really great job of bringing some new energy to the stage. It’s another upbeat, catchy tune by Odyssey so you know it’s going to be a good solid EDM song. Choreo wise, it’s easy to follow with quite a few chances to slow the movement down and catch your breath. There’s a fair bit of level involvement in this track – namely head, body, head shots – which are one of my favourite combos as I definitely feel the abdominal muscle recruitment! This track is quite long though and may have to be used cautiously if you decide to mix it with one of the famous 8 minute track 8s! Bit of careful planning there for instructor playlists maybe. 

Track 6 I will admit I didn’t actually do because I was too busy taking photos and nursing my tight calf muscles. But I can say that the song choice is definitely interesting – think Middle Eastern meets drums meets electronic and then some more. Choreo wise, this track will push your legs to their absolute limits as they’ve already been obliterated from track 2. I was standing on the side watching everybody struggle in pain for this one, and to be fair I did see at least ten people also give up and join me on the sidelines! Since I didn’t do this one, you get to see the photos of the other people I took instead 😉



Photos taken whilst I was being lazy. Ooops.

Photos taken whilst I was being lazy. Ooops.

Track 7 – I don’t usually like rock tracks for Muay Thai (more of a Nick Skitz fan, infact Hardcore Angel is still my favourite Muay Thai track ever) but this song choice does work. It’s fast, it’s got a pounding beat and it’ll make the older generation of combatters happy as it’s a classic sing-a-long anthem. I absolutely loved one of the moves in this track, and this may or may not be a hint but it definitely made me feel like superman that’s for sure. I understand why this track is here, as the rest of the release is definitely very electronic and this track does have a “badass” vibe to it that’s for sure. 

Track 8 was the highlight of the release for me in so many ways. If you’re an Attacker like I am you’ll probably recognise this as an interval track, and as much as I love the song in BODYATTACK – I think I love it more in BODYCOMBAT. BA85 stole a track from BC48 so safe to say this evens it out a little bit?  It’s a total sing along with perfect choreo to match and wow, what an incredible shoulder workout! The only thing I don’t enjoy too much about this track is that there is no run-around music afterwards. This is usually my time to take a breather and grab some water. This has also been a time for instructors to engage with their class members, whether it be a hi-five or a, “well done we made it” and I do have doubts that this may impact upon a much needed rest break and the importance of instructors interacting with their classes. I know it’s only like twenty seconds, but hey, it counts right? 

Track 9 seriously made me feel like I was in a classroom back in primary school. Dan ‘coached’ this track (there was a massive emphasis on coaching this release) and whilst I totally understood the point of it, I feel like once the atmosphere of filming is long gone that instructors will have a hard time replicating Dan’s very precise coaching. The song itself is a track from Major Lazer’s latest album and for a core track it definitely works. It’s catchy with a funky beat that drops for the chorus and almost makes you want to get up and start dancing (but save that for BODYJAM, please.)

Track 10 probably has to be one of my favourite cooldowns ever. I like how Dan and Rach have moved away from the “typical” cooldown, and by typical I mean music that belongs in a BODYBALANCE class. It’s nice to have a cooldown that actually energises you, particularly if it’s a morning class and the rest of the day is still yet to come. 

To conclude, I did love this release. I’ll admit that I didn’t particularly like 58-60 in terms of song choices and some choreography decisions. However, I think that Dan and Rach have done an amazing job with BODYCOMBAT 61 and it has definitely turned my opinion of BODYCOMBAT around that’s for sure. I’m still a massive fan of the older BC releases, infact I still play tracks from 44-48 most days when I’m driving around but I have been impressed with BC61. 

Please remember that we are all individual human beings and that’s what makes us so awesome. I didn’t like a couple of tracks because I have my own preferences, and you will all have yours too. It’s part of being human and besides, who wants to be all the same anyway?

Until next time guys, keep it real and stay with the fight! 🙂 

3 Responses to "BODYCOMBAT 61 filming (2 of 2!)"

Wow Laura, I’m actually amazed that you were able to take photos during the filming, when I’ve tried to do that in the past I’ve been swiftly told off! You have skills 😀

Love your review, awesome work!

You both have mad skillz!!

Ooooh, track 7 – is that an MMA Superman punch? If so, I’ve been waiting for that little baby to make an appearance…

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