Under Construction
In case your wondering why we haven't posted in a while - we are at the tail end of a year long kitchen remodeling project! New counter tops are coming in 2 weeks and the cabinets need to be refinished before they install - floor needs to go down - painting, cabinet doors, etc! If anyone has ever remodeled their own kitchen you know what I'm talking about! Plus - Craig and I have signed up to do the 'Marine Corp Mud Run' ( in Salem, VA on Sept. 17. It's only a 5K but the best part is when you get to the end and you HAVE to crawl on hands and knees through mud! So - we have been trying to run in the evenings to get ready but it has been so hot we tend to find other things to the kitchen!

Now - on to BP related issues. I need to find out if you guys regularly participate in the Instructor Challenge. I know at our club - we have only done so a few times but had a lot of fun doing it. I have been put in charge of pulling this thing together, which I had done a year ago. The first time was great. The second time, everyone managed to have other things to do. This is not only a time for us to challenge ourselves physically - but it gives us a great opportunity to get to know the instructors and even brainstorm ideas for launches, etc. Yes it's hard - and the first time I did it when training for BP I thought I was gonna die! But when I was done - I was proud of myself for getting through it. For pushing myself as hard as I could - I had never been through anything like that! Plus - the excitment from my classmates cheering me on was awesome. What made it great too was - and I hate to admit this - but I was the oldest one in class! Not to mention on that first day of training I had only gotten about 4 hours of sleep. Craig and I had been in New Jersey for a conference. We were supposed to catch a flight back to Backsburg but it was cancelled with no other flights leaving till Saturday. So - Craig rented a car and we drove all night making it to Blacksburg about 3am. But - I still did it. The point is - we NEED to challenge ourselves! Push ourselves to the limit sometimes. Do what you think you can't do!

That being said - does anyone have some ideas about getting instructors together? How to make it something no one wants to miss? Our club is making it mandatory - but, I still think we should WANT to come. After all it's for our own benefit that we do this. To remain in top physical condition so we can look good while teaching and not get winded while lifting our bars!

Keep pumping!
The Welcome Back Playlist
We live in a college town, so most everything around here is tied in some way to the university and its schedule. This week, the students are coming back to town - and, like most businesses here, students make up a large part of the clientele. We thought we'd welcome 'em back with a special playlist:
The One (42) - Warm Up
Ready To Go (43) - Squats
Smooth Criminal (44) - Chest
Boom Boom (40) - Back/Hamstrings
Lets Get Loud (39) - Triceps
Walk This Way (51) - Biceps
Set You Free (42) - Lunges
Crack It (50) - Shoulders
Whenever, Wherever (42) - Abs
One Last Breath (45) - Cool Down
Just in case you haven't figured it out already, these are what you might call monster songs - some of the toughest we could find. So welcome back, Hokies. We missed ya.
The Rewards of Body Pump
When you think about the rewardss of body pump - what comes to your mind - as an instructor? Is it the great shape your in? The amount of weight you can easily lift? How many classes you can teach? The fun you have teaching and meeting new members? For me, one thing was finally having confidence in myself to stand in front of a roomful of people and not panick! However, the greatest reward is when we get an e-mail or letter from one of our participants to say how much our class has benefited them. Or when they tell us they are going on vacation and they will miss our class. Or how they can now walk up a flight of stairs and not feel winded. That is the best reward of all. Knowing that we are not just having fun, or that we are doing it just for the money (hah!) - but that we ARE making a difference in peoples lives. We matter to them - and we owe it to them to deliver a dynamite class. After all - if it weren't for them - we would have no classes. Kudos to all you instructors out there making a commitment to help others! And kudos to all participants who keep coming back for more!

And now, in regards to my previous comment on BP 55. As a woman - it's my perrogative to change my mind. And so I have. I really like 55. Not sure it's 'THE BEST" - but its right up there! ; )
Instructors: Looking for your BodyPump 55?
If you've been following our blog for the last couple weeks, you're probably aware that we received BodyPump 55 about a month earlier than expected. We have, however, received several comments and emails from instructors in other parts of the world informing us that they unfortunately haven't received their releases. Well, it's our pleasure to inform you that we've cracked the mystery. Let me explain.

A few days after 55 made its unexpected (though welcome) appearance in our mailbox, lo and behold a second copy arrived. Ever mindful of our good fortune to have received the first one well ahead of schedule, we tried to contact our friends at Les Mills USA to arrange a return. Our suspicions were raised when the normally-prompt folks there failed to respond - and, even more so, when I tried to call several times and found myself in voice jail (in fact, my subsequent call was rather abruptly terminated with the system saying "We're sorry, but the mailbox is full").

Meanwhile, Tami mentioned this to some of the other instructors at our club - and to her surprise they too had received duplicate BodyPump 55 mailings. A few days later, she received an email from LMI stating that there had in fact been a problem and that some instructors had received multiple copies of the release, and that we should all be receiving pre-paid envelopes in which to return them.

<< By the way, I did finally get through to a live human there at LMI (as opposed to a recording of a human). When I asked if they'd been away for the last week or so, he replied warily "No, there's just been a lot of calls here lately." You can, of course, read between the lines here. >>

And so we are pleased to inform all those instructors who haven't received their copies of BodyPump 55 that they are in fact forthcoming. They've just taken a little detour to kitchen countertops, desktops, and underneath piles of unread mail in the homes of instructors all across North America. Rest assured they're on the way - just as soon as everything gets sorted out here...
BodyPump 55 Review

BodyPump 55 was likely filmed right around the time LMI and BTS parted ways. Does its "Back To Basics" theme signal the start of a new era in choreography for the world's best-loved group fitness program? Let's have a look:
Warm Up - "Back To Basics" - Fast-paced and fun, this upbeat warm-up gets the class moving and sets the theme for the rest of the workout - even if it is (as the title says) basic.

Squats - Danzel returns to the BodyPump lineup with a tune that's likely to appeal to the younger crowd. Which is fine, because the lyrics will be the last thing on anyone's mind as they sweat through nearly 120 squats in this 5:34 beast. And, as expected, the super slow "down and hold" makes a welcome return after its BP54 debut.

Chest - It's been awhile since our friends in Germany got some play on a BodyPump track. So when the first beats of this Nu Pagadi thriller crash through the sound system let there be no doubt - this track is all business. Another top & bottom combo finished off with a round on the floor. Yes, Mike, we'll take the options!

Back & Hamstrings - Enjoy the new pre-routine stretch during the "Olympic fanfare" opening of this E-Type track - it's full-speed ahead for this fast-paced back & hamstrings burner. We think the music will play well, even if it seems like we ought to be hoisting a torch instead of a bar. Is the Clean & Press an Olympic event?

Triceps - Yeah, the rumors are true: tricep presses are back in the house. But not before you spend practically the entire track hammering tricep extensions. So, Les Mills USA - was "California" a premonition of things to come?

Biceps - If you like your bicep work hard and slow, this is the routine you've been waiting for. Instructors: Better start learning this one's choreography soon. Everyone else: Bring ice packs and lots of water to the launch...

Lunges - No pre-track stretch, no break during the transition... no kidding. Super-slow power lunges round out this leg-burner, to a throbbing (albeit campy) tune from Motorcycle.

Shoulders - Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. Such as when we mentioned we'd like "something wild like risers with push-ups in 'Crack It'" on our BodyPump 54 review. Hope you like push-ups, folks...

Abs - So you like using the plate when you work your abs? Try the new options in this routine as you work to the rhythm of this Alicia Keys tune. At only 4:22 it's not the longest ab track, but it'll pack a punch.

Cool Down With a nod to BodyFlow, a new hip-opener twist keeps the cool-down routine fresh. There's even some performance opportunities for the innovative instructor - though the final set of stretches seem to come and go a bit quickly.
Mike McSweeney mentions in the BodyPump 55 Sizzler (sort of a "preface" for those readers who aren't instructors) that he intends for this routine to "keep the focus on the workout in terms of technique, keeping transition times to a minimum and feeling the full physicality of the program." So, did it do this? Here's what we think:
Music - No question about it, the music in this release is powerful and dramatic. Even the cooldown track is intense. Yet there's a sense with this playlist that it's got something to prove. Personally, we like fun departures like the "Stomp!" song, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy", and "Hitman" - So even though intensity is woven deep within the DNA of the BodyPump workout, there's a certain respect this program has earned with its audience that gives it the right have a good laugh every now and again. And don't forget to sprinkle a little classic rock in there - "Sweet Child of Mine", "Walk This Way", and "Heaven's Door" are perennial favorites on this side of the Atlantic (and probably elsewhere, too). We give the BodyPump 55 playlist a B-.

Workout Routine - There's nothing like taking something that works well and improving upon it. If you look back at the BodyPump 40's series, there isn't an astounding difference from one release to the next. But here in the last two releases, there's an essence of change taking shape. We believe when it's all said and done, BodyPump 60 may look a good bit more different from what we're seeing today than any series of five (or even ten) releases in the last several years. And here's the icing on the cake - the workouts are getting even better. Look at how the ab routine has evolved, run through some older tricep routines... in fact, pretty much everything about the workout in this release feels "state of the art". That's cool, and that's worth an A. But watch out - the quick transitions at the ends of the cooldowns in this release and last may merit a second look...

Instructor Video - This the second time we've had the pleasure of having Program Director and Head Choreographer Mike McSweeney present all ten Master Class tracks, and we hope it won't be the last. It's not that the other presenters aren't great - truly, they are. But having the man himself work you through every track adds a bit magic you can't get anywhere else. So as long as the 'pumpfrog' holds center stage, you can bet we'll give it an A. On a side note: How did the BP55 graphic get past LMI's graphic design manager? Geoff Taylor is obviously a very strong guy - surely someone could've found a more flattering shot of him, no?
Well, there it is. Agree or disagree? Let us know - click the Comments link below and tell us about it!
Body Pump 55 - Hmmmmm
I love Body Pump. I love teaching it, I love the people that present it, created it, promote it etc. I love it when we have a fabulous release with powerful, fun, energetic music. Which brings me to BP 55. I just got a pretty good listen to it in the car (which DOES have a great speaker system - unlike Craig's Mac). Part of me wanted to do the 'bump', part of me wanted to slam dance, part of it wanted me to extend my pinky, thumb and index finger and cross my arms across my chest, and the last part just kinda sighed. Oh well - there's always 56...

What I would love to see is some good old rock and roll. Something like Lynard Skynard, Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, more Aerosmith, Foreigner, Journey, etc. Something that would really pack a punch. I just get tired of the techno, rap stuff. And as much as I like the Bee Gees and John Travolta, disco IS dead. I know - I lived through it.

We have had some great 'rock' tracks such as Sweet Child of Mine, Enter Sandman, Walk this Way. They were great! Could we pppplease have some more????