NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

Posts Tagged ‘LES MILLS FILMING

Writing this I feel I’m at risk of being labelled a bit of a BODYCOMBAT fanboy who always writes glowing reviews. I recall reading on a Les Mills forum recently that someone was sick of, quote, “happy clappers” – thing is if I have been writing rave reports on the releases it’s for a reason! Fact is I’ve been pretty harsh on some releases in the past; if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know that my review of BODYCOMBAT 44 was less than stellar (I called the release “bleh”!), and even more recently I wasn’t all that enthused (to say the least) by BODYCOMBAT 51 either… however this is now the third release in a row that I’m going to write a glowing report as BODYCOMBAT 54 is fantastic!

BC54 was presented by Dan and Rach as well as Sarah from Denmark. They were dressed in the latest Les Mills Clothing – the look was actually very similar in colour and feel to the “Tribal range” from BC53 which is currently available on the LM website. The gear looked really sharp and much more subtle than the orange gear from 51 and 52 (which may be your cup of tea – subtlety has never really been my specialty haha).

Instructors you’ll notice on the DVD that the class seemed quieter this round. It was, a lot quieter (especially when you compare it to BC53 which was absolutely rammed to capacity!). LMI had decided to run the filmings very early on weekdays (possibly to cause less disturbance to the regular Les Mills Auckland members I’m not sure) – but the day started at 7am Monday morning. BC was filmed at 8:30am – so you can imagine there were a lot less people present as compared to say 7pm which is when they usually film. Meant more room for us to kick which suited me just fine!

So what can I tell you about the release itself. Well, disclaimer as per I can’t mention anything specific about the music or choreography, I can only give my opinion… and my opinion was it’s another outstanding release! If you read my report on BODYCOMBAT 53 (which still stands as my all time favourite release in combat history) I mentioned that a perfect BC class for me is the following: Uplifting warmup; cranking track 3; loads of kicks in track 4 (or track 6, or both!); hard trance track 5; hardcore techno muay thai and a massively uplifting track 8 to round it all off. Guess what – just like BC53 BODYCOMBAT 54 ticks all those boxes!!!

54 starts hard and heavy with a big warmup track. Sarah kicked the class off and man she did a great job. Outstanding work. Must be so hard for guest instructors to fly in and just teach with D&R – she really held her own; top job! Sarah also took track 3 and again, amazing work.

Track 2 was HUUUUGEE!!! Very different to recent track 2s which have had a very rocky feel – I loved this track it went off like a fire cracker! Massive start to the class. And, fantastic track 3 to round the first block off – just what you’d expect, uplifting and awesome!

Track 4 was a cover of a VERY well-known rock track, as was track 6. You’ll know both these artists really well and definitely know both songs. If you’ve been hurting from all the leg loading we’ve had in last four straight releases (50, 51, 52 and 53 all have esquiva and/or leg conditioning tracks) you’ll be happy to know you get a break in 54. No leg loading in 4 or 6 in this release… But, prepare to kick, kick and kick again though OMG!

Track 5…. BOOM!!!! Another incredible t5!! Seriously awesome track! Just like 53 track 5 is one of the highlights! It’s uplifting trance again and man it’s wickedly good! Track 6 is covered above which brings us to muay thai…

And… again, just like 53 track 7 in BC54 is unbelievably good!! Straight after the class I got a facebook message from a friend in the class (hey Violeta!) asking if I knew what the track was as she wanted to download it immediately! Unfortunately I don’t, all I know is the main three words – but if I could find that track I’d be blasting it right now – IT WAS CRANKING!

Track 8 is huge too! A massive track to finish the class and it absolutely went off. D&R really have the format for track 8 nailed it’s consistently amazing from release to release and this is no exception.

Conditioning will definitely make you laugh when you hear it! Similar in feel to 53 and 52 but a little more lighthearted. And the cooldown was great too – lovely finish to the class.

So all in all BODYCOMBAT 54 is fan-freaken-tastic. For me personally it didn’t quite top 53 (which would be pretty much impossible 53 is almost perfect in my mind) but it would be a very close second! Combat is definitely heading in the right direction – I’ve been teaching the programme now for 4 or 5 years (that was my 16th time to a filming!) and my passion for the programme has never been stronger – it just keeps getting better! (oh and thanks for the shout out too Rach!)

So in short my friends be massively excited! My guess is 99% of you haven’t seen 53 yet so man you’re in for a real treat for the next few months! If you’re attending the next filming round see you for BODYCOMBAT 55 on October 23!

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Think about these words:

if you always do what you've always done... You'll always get what you've always got

if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got

THAT basically sums up BODYPUMP 84. It’s a game changer. A revolution.

I always attend BODYPUMP filmings but I rarely write about them simply because, well, this is a BODYCOMBAT blog… but the last time I felt like this about a release was BODYPUMP 80. That release just blew my mind. BODYPUMP 80 set the scene for a new direction in BODYPUMP; the introduction of HIIT training into the program with the Propulsion Lunge. And it’s never looked back since.

Well that was exactly a year ago and clearly Glen figured a year was a great time to change it up as in BP84 he’s done it again. And the theme for the release was the words above. If we don’t challenge the body in new and innovative ways our results will level off – so challenge the body he has!

I was really interested in seeing how 84 evolved as I attended a trial class about a month ago and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Glen actually joked at one stage during that class when he was trialing a new move “Let’s see me try to get this past Bryce!” (for those of you that don’t know Bryce Hastings is the Technical Consultant for Pump – he’s part of the team that determine’s if a move is safe and effective or not). But I recall walking out of that trial class and thinking – ‘What the hell just happened was I hit by a bus?!’ – that class had so many innovations I figured there was no way they would make it into the final version!

Well they did and that bus came right round a month later and slammed me again! 84 SMASHED ME. I walked out of studio one a sweaty disheveled smashed mess! And it was bliss!

I can’t mention anything specific about the release itself (sorry!) but let me tell you this – there’s innovations everywhere. In the bicep track, the tricep track, the lunge track, heck even the warmup! …and not just new move innovations – the entire program has been turned on its head. It’s EPIC.

And the music; OMFG. Obviously music is completely subjective but I loved every single track. Every one! Normally in a release there’s one or two tracks you love, and a couple that you could take or leave. For me I could easily live without Summer of 69 again in 83, or Bad Case of Loving You in 82, or Higher Ground in 81… you get the idea. But in 84 I was smiling the whole way through as each and every track was amazing. The lunge track gave me goosebumps!

Special note has to be made about the presenters too. Obviously Glen always does an incredible job but I have to say the star on the day for me was Dave Kyle from the UK. That lunge track delivery was out of this world. Just amazing work! If you’ve not read the Les Mills Kia Kaha blog lately go take a look here. Start from Day One about half way down the page. Dave offers a fascinating insight into just how much work and dedication goes into filming week. It’s really interesting.

I have to also say I was beaming with pride in the bonus track – that was a real treat for me to watch personally.

So guys in short be very excited! I know 83 hasn’t even hit the globe yet (and don’t get me wrong 83 is an amazing release too!) but 84 is really something special. Bring on BODYCOMBAT 54 on Monday! Until then!

If you asked me to visualise the perfect release for me personally this is what I’d say: Uplifting warmup; cranking track 3; loads of kicks in track 4 (or track 6, or both!); hard trance track 5; hardcore techno muay thai and a massively uplifting track 8 to round it all off. Guess what; I just described BODYCOMBAT 53!

Honestly I love BC52 but for me BODYCOMBAT 53 has got be be a near perfect release.

Firstly what I’m most excited about: I’ve made no secret about my preference in muay thai music selection. My absolute favourite muay thai is Hardcore Angel from BC39, I also love Ravers Paradise from BC38 (yes I’m a Nick Skitz fan!), right up there as well is So What! from BC27, Party Non-Stop from BC36… you get the idea – uplifting hard trance for a muay thai just goes off as far as I’m concerned. So whilst I’ve loved the last few releases, when you look back at the muay thai tracks over the last six releases they’ve all been rock (or aggressive rock verging on metal) – in fact if you look back since Dan and Rach became Program Directors at BC21 overwhelmingly track 7s were hard trance tracks until around BC40 when it changed. Since BC40 we’ve really only had Excalibur 2000, Mortal Kombat and Braveheart as trance muay thais (I love all three of those by the way!) – 3 out of 13 releases, other than that recently it’s been a reign of rock. Until now. The muay thai in BODYCOMBAT 53 is a hard trance, massive anthem of a track and it is freaken EPIC!

But I just need to take a couple deep breaths and calm down as I’m getting waaay ahead of myself.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the release (or as much as I’m allowed to say) I have to make special mention of what a fantastic job the PDs are doing. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll possibly know that Dan and I haven’t always seen eye to eye over everything, and we’ve even had the odd moment or two where we’ve exchanged a couple heated words over the years (I’m guessing we’re both type A personalities and that will often happen!). But I have to speak out because there’s a thread on the Les Mills forums entitled “New Program Directors for Combat“. It’s basically someone saying it’s time for a change, that BC is stale and boring… and get this, too easy??! To the person who wrote that you know what? You’re an idiot. BC51 is gut bustingly hard, 52 is massive too and 53 is nothing short of phenomenal. Add to that the fact that Dan and Rach choreographed BC53 whilst LITERALLY on completely different sides of the globe (I mean how did they do that – over Skype?)  and there’s no denying they are doing an amazing job. So to the person who started that thread and wants a PD change; shuddup already you are WRONG.

Right, on to the release! As usual I cannot mention anything specific about the music or the chorey (or Dan and I really will have a falling out haha) – but I can tell you my opinion and a general feel for the release.

I'm in there somewhere!!

I’m in there somewhere!!

BODYCOMBAT 53 was filmed very early on Saturday May 12 as part of LMNZ and LMI’s massive GFX event. GFX is basically the Super Bowl of the group fitness industry – it’s THE biggest event on the group fit calendar and man it showed the place was chocked to capacity every class of the weekend! You may recall in my BODYCOMBAT 52 post (which was just after Hernan’s passing) I mentioned how absolutely packed the class was. BODYCOMBAT 53 felt even busier! The class kicked off at 7am and I know there were people queuing outside before 5am! **Correction: 3am!** Thanks for the heads up Kiki… but 3am?! That really is dedication!

Just as with BC52 Dan and Rach presented on their own this round (I’m assuming mainly because Dan was in the UK until a week or two before and training someone else would’ve been a tough task); they went away from the orange clothing of the last couple of releases and were wearing green (I think?!), and it’ll come as no surprise they did a spectacular job.

Both warmup tracks are dancey and uplifting! Upper body was in a recent pump release (same mix too as far as I could tell) and the lower body was in a recent attack release. Don’t fear if you teach those programs (as I do) as the warmup is awesome regardless and the fact the tracks are reused won’t bother you. I mentioned my only issue with the warmup from BC52 was that there’s a move in it that’s not in the actual release (the shoot – and there’s eleventy billion of them!) – well there’s nothing like that in 53 from memory – it’s good stuff and a really really great start to the class.

Track 2 was typical of the last couple releases, kinda rocky – a song everyone knows the words to and can sing along with! Track 3 is where the intensity picks up (and doesn’t pull back either!) – great track – definitely uplifting! (can you tell that’s going to be my word of the release?) Musically it felt a little like We Dance On from 48.

Track 4 was definitely the most ‘sinister’ track of the release. It’s a very dark remake of an old track. Tae Kwon Do/Karate based – A track you can really grit your teeth to and kick, kick and kick again! (did I mention kicks??)

Track 5. OMFG they’ve done it again – another AWESOME track 5! D&R again please keep this format it is absolutely going off! Love the (here’s that word again) uplifting trance track 5s! LOVE THEM! This track has also been in pump as a back track (actually there’s 2 pump back tracks in this release!); I loved this track in pump but man it’s freaken amazing in combat! Such a great track 5 – power track in the truest sense (yay!)

Track 6. Ouch. Leg conditioning x 1000. Tough track, but haven’t all the leg conditioning tracks been lately? We’ve had leg conditioning tracks in 4 releases in a row now (Gimme Dat, Another Way to Die and Ring the Alarm), and this one is just as hard as the others! Musically it’s of a similar style to 50 and 52 if that makes any sense. The esquiva is back – and that’s all I can recall to be honest as I barely remember anything but the pain!

Track 7. BOOM!!!! Massive muay thai! I wish I could tell you more about this track other than what I said at the top of this post but I can’t! Know this though – it simply goes off! I just wish it was longer as it felt really short!

Track 8 was awesome too! Massive finish to the cardio part of the class – outstanding!

Track 9 is an artist that’s been used as a track 9 recently (mwap mwap) solid track; and track 10 is kinda RnB and a nice finish to the class.

So, yes, if you’ve not worked it out yet the word for BODYCOMBAT 53 is UPLIFTING! Another word would be OUTSTANDING. And yet another would be EPIC. Seriously this is one cranking release. I’ve heard some comments about BC51 being too rocky (and I kinda agree to be fair) – but rest assured if you are one of those peeps you will LOVE 53. Just love it. Just like I do! Cannot wait for this one!!!!!

Next stop BODYCOMBAT 54 on July 30. I can’t wait to see what’s next, if you’re coming I’ll see ya there!

Well we’ve only just had the last filmings but for those of you travelling the more notice the better… so here they are! (good grief Sh’bam will be 10 already!) As usual these are subject to change by LMI – I’ll notify you if that happens. If you’re coming see you there!

Wednesday, 25th July

  • BODYBALANCE 59
  • BODYVIVE 25
  • BODYATTACK 79
  • BODYPUMP 84
  • SH’BAM 10

Saturday, 28th July

  • CXWORX 9

Monday, 30th July

  • RPM 57
  • BODYSTEP 90
  • BODYCOMBAT 54
  • BODYJAM 63

THIS is the big one! The Global Fitness Xtravaganza! All the filmings and workshops over one massive 2 day period!

Timetable summary is below – otherwise check out the full (and I mean FULL!) schedule here. As always these times are subject to change by LMI/LMNZ. See ya there guys!

Friday 11th May 2012

  • 7:00am BODYPUMP 83
  • 8:30am BODYSTEP 89
  • 10:15am BODYJAM 62
  • 11:45am CXWORX 8
  • 1:45pm RPM 56

Saturday 12th May 2012

  • 7:00am BODYCOMBAT 53
  • 8:30am BODYVIVE 24
  • 10:00am BODYATTACK 78
  • 12:00pm SH’BAM 9
  • 1:00pm BODYBALANCE 58
One packed house!

One packed house!

The BODYCOMBAT 52 filming was always going to be a very very emotional evening. With the passing of Hernan just a few days earlier everyone was anticipating this class to be a special tribute to our BODYCOMBAT hero – and a tribute it certainly was. The room was absolutely packed to capacity with an amazing number of people wearing black armbands (including Dan and Rach) as a mark of respect to our fallen warrior. I’ve been to 14, maybe 15 Combat filmings and I don’t recall ever seeing one this busy – it was truly amazing to see so many people. Even people that never usually do Combat made the effort in his memory.

Many of you have asked me about the tribute itself. Well it was beautiful. For the cooldown Dan and Rach called up many of the Les Mills instructors present that worked closely with Hernan (names you’ll know from DVDs such as Sarah Robinson, Chris Richardson, Will Pritchard, Sharyn Sue See…) as well as Hernan’s brother Leo who had just flown into the country. The cooldown track that they chose given the circumstances was perfect. Just perfect. By the end of it the whole room was in tears. Literally the whole room. It was an amazing tribute to an amazing man. The entire room came together as one in Hernan’s honour and it’s something I’m sure I’ll remember forever.

If you are reading this as an instructor I’m sure that magical moment will be captured on film. And if you’re a participant never-fear as you too will know what I’m talking about when you experience the release in your own gym.

Hernan’s trademark was his ‘Colgate smile’ and he would’ve wanted us to work hard and have a great time so it’s something we all made an effort to do. And to be honest it was made a lot easier by the fact that BODYCOMBAT 52 is freaken AWESOME.

Dan and Rach presented this release on their own this round. They were dressed in stunning new Les Mills gear. Although LM gear does always look pretty good, this is the first time I’ve ever looked at it and thought “OMG I’m buying that!”. The male shorts especially were really cool – from memory they were a textured charcoal with orange trim; LES MILLS written in massive orange letters down one leg and ‘BODYCOMBAT’ across the other (bout time LM started properly branding us – none of this tiny discreet ‘LMI’ stuff!). The male t-shirt was pretty cool too. Just an orange cotton tee (kinda like the green one from a few releases ago) but it had BODYCOMBAT in large letters down one side and a very Venumesque logo down the other (yes I did just make that word up). That’s two releases in a row the BC gear has been orange and it works surprisingly well!

So onto the release itself. Well, as always I cannot mention specifics about music or choreography, but I can give you my opinion on it so that’s what I’ll do. Bear in mind this is all from memory and obviously my mind was a bit cloudy that night but I’ve tried my best to recall as much as I can.

Warmup – both tracks uplifting and lower body especially was very fun! Without giving too much away – this is the second release in a row we’ve gone all sexy in track one! (there that’s as much of a hint as you’re getting!) Choreography wise the track did seem a bit ‘bitsy’ in that there are moves in the warmup that aren’t in the actual release – but that’s a minor nitpick of mine and neither here nor there.

It seems we have a reoccurring artist in track 2 – again I can’t mention any specifics but this person’s music is back (again!). If you’re into rock you’ll enjoy this track. Track 3 was possibly my favourite track of the release. If you offered me $1,000,000 to tell you the actual song I couldn’t for the life of me tell you but I do know I loved it! Felt like uplifting hard trance – was awesome.

Track 4 – well, this track was in BODYPUMP 82 as well! It’s an old track (from the early 2000’s) that’s been redone as a club anthem and it’s good! Kicks, kicks and more kicks! Track 5 – well, three words. IT. WENT. OFF. Dan and Rach I LOVE the new format for track 5s as does everyone else I know. Freaken awesome just brilliant. A true ‘power’ track and very easy to remember the words to this one! 😉

Track 6; Youch. Leg conditioning. No esquivas (phew as that’d be 3 releases in a row!) but tonnes of leg loading. Ouchies. Track 7 is a marathon. Felt to me to be at least a good 7-8 minutes. Very simple combo – loads of knees – heart rate maxed out. Massive track. Again it’s a rock track – not my personal preference for muay thai but to be honest I barely noticed as I was too busy breathing out of my butt! Track 8 is a goodie – it has been used in a recent LM programme so I have heard a lot of this track lately… but super solid track all the same.

Track 9 is a tough conditioning track. Obviously when I’m doing a release I’m making mental notes all the way and again I have zero idea what this track was… I’m not even sure I heard a single lyric! I do know the abdominal training fired up my core though that’s for sure. And, cooldown was just gorgeous. Beautiful track and as I mentioned perfectly fitting given the tribe’s recent loss.

So, as you’ve probably worked out by now I loved BODYCOMBAT 52. It reminded me of BC43 or 48 which I also fell in love with immediately. I don’t know about you but for me BC50 was a grower. I wasn’t ‘blown away’ at first – but after doing it several times I began to really like it. Some releases are like that. This one isn’t. I was blown away right on the spot – first time. Look forward to this one guys it’s awesome 🙂

Welcome to 2012! And we’re kicking it off in a big way as the next lot of filmings are only 2 weeks away today! (can you believe BODYCOMBAT 52 is being filmed already!?) I’ve posted the times below (yay for combat not starting at 11pm this quarter!). If you’re coming let me know and I’ll see ya there!

Wednesday 25th January 2012

  • 3:00pm BODYBALANCE 57
  • 4:30pm BODYVIVE 23
  • 6:00pm BODYPUMP 82
  • 8:30pm BODYATTACK 77
  • 10:00pm SH’BAM 8

Saturday 28th January 2012

  • 7:45pm CXWORX 7

Tuesday 31st January 2012

  • 12:30pm RPM 55
  • 3:30pm BODYSTEP 88
  • 6:00pm BODYCOMBAT 52
  • 7:30pm BODYJAM 61

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