Let the games begin.....
The Instructor Challenge is breathing down our necks. This Saturday, April 1st, Craig and I, along with about 10 other instructors will get together for the grueling hour of fat burning, muscle building, bonding experience of the challenge. No foolin'. We have put it off long enough - it's time to get serious. According to the Body Pump maunual - "Instructors are recommended to use this form of training a maximum of twice a week, in association with other forms of cross-training to achieve and maintain superior BodyPump fitness".

How many of us do this? I can usually get my extra workout in on Mondays and Fridays - the same days Craig and I teach - but it is not quite as intense as the IC. Which brings to mind an interesting observation from the 1/4ly in Baltimore. Almost everyone there was an instructor - however - what I noticed was that a good percentage of them were somewhat out of shape. (I'm trying to be very polite!) I was discussing this with a couple of BP participants from our classes and what one said was very eye opening. She said she would not go to a hair dresser who had bad hair. Good point. I know that some of us came from chubby backrounds and have come along way - but we need to be great role models or we may start losing our class members! If we don't 'practice what we preach' - maybe we should be doing something else. I see some instructors using minimal weight on their bars - like a beginner. Maybe it's time to start keeping the IC an integral part of our ongoing training so we can 'have great hair'!

Keep pumping!
BodyPump 57 Review
It's been a long five and a half months since the last BodyPump release graced the confines of our lonely mailbox. Was it worth the wait? Let's have a look:
Warm Up - Tina Cousin's energetic "Wonderful Life" was one of the most memorable tunes on release 56, so it's no surprise to hear her kick off 57 with "Come To Me". Feature: The squats lead-in stops the action mid-stroke while the class resets their stance. Brilliant.

Squats - If you think there isn't much to squats choreography, you'd better think again - this track #2 introduces a 2-1-1 combo move that will no doubt become a staple in future releases. Back again is the super slow "down and hold" to maximize the benefit of this thigh buster from Infernal.

Chest - Poke around on the 'net a bit and you'll find much ado about Garbage's campy "Push It" - heck, it's even got its own fan site. We doubt you'll be listening too closely though: it's bottoms-up on this one, folks - the whole way.

Back & Hamstrings - Mike intros this track with a warning, but we beg to differ - with an unprecedented three breaks, this might just be your chance to up the weights a bit. We love the grip changes for recruiting different muscles.

Triceps - When your triceps track leads off with skull crushers, you know it's gonna be all business. Tricep push-ups top off what's sure to be a favorite for those looking for some ROI.

Biceps - If you've been following this release for the last couple months, you already know one of the most anticipated tracks is this chart buster from Black Eyed Peas. Just make sure that excitement doesn't intoxicate your weight selection - with round after round of bicep-loading phases punctuated by 3/4 range singles, your arms will thank you twice for leaving that extra plate on the floor!

Lunges - Ever have trouble picking up the rhythm of a track? Not this time - Paris Avenue drives it home with a powerful backbeat for a routine featuring brand new Double Pulse Dynamic Lunges for dessert. It's one of the few times we actually wished for a longer lunge track!

Shoulders - BodyPump enthusiasts know the bigger the sound, the tougher the workout - and 57's track #8 brings home the goods. As an intense round of floor work gives way to front raises and upright rows, you'll be looking for the finish line as the final round of twelve overhead singles hit home!

Abs - If you like a little torque in your ab workout, you'll love these twisting bicycle crunches with leg extensions. Keep a plate handy if you'd like a little more heat from the crunch combos in this slow cooker from Pussycat Dolls.

Cool Down Stretch - Whether or not you speak Italian, you'll know exactly where your at with this remake of a Toni Braxton hit from the 90's.
If you're an instructor, you've probably heard this is Mike McSweeney's final release as BodyPump program director. So, is Mike going out with a bang? Here's what we think:
Music - Maybe it's just us, but by the middle of the fourth track we could swear it we'd heard the same lead vocalist singing the same five notes for the last twenty minutes. Maybe that's why "Take Your Mama" comes off as such a welcome relief for the triceps track. In fact, from that point on it's like we're hearing a whole new release: Black Eyed Peas, Paris Avenue, and N.E.R.D. ignite a playlist that was starting to wear like a worn-out pair of shoes. So we have to give the BodyPump 57 playlist an C+... not because the first four songs are bad - they just sound too much alike.

Workout Routine - Two years ago we thought the BodyPump workout was the absolute pinnacle of strength training in a group fitness format. If you run 57's routine against, say, something in the 40's, you'll see just how much this series has evolved. Everything from the squat reset in the warm-up to the Double Pulse Dynamic Lunges shows that this program continues to innovate in ways that keep the workouts fresh and the classes full. So, as with 56, we'll tag the workout routine with a solid B simply because we know the next workout will raise the bar even further!

Instructor Video - As we mentioned earlier, this may be the last we'll see of the Pumpfrog videos for awhile. So it was absolutely fabulous to have him grace center stage throughout the master class, along with International Trainer Susan Tolj and Sydney's own Alani Mala. When Steve Renata introduced Susan as "the new face of BodyPump" at the Baltimore Quarterly earlier this month, I asked her if that meant she was taking over the program. "No," she laughed, "I wouldn't want all that responsibility!" Maybe not, but having her onstage will sure help relieve the pain of losing such a dominant figure in the BodyPump culture. Anyhow, whether or not the trainers in this video were aware of Mike's impending departure, their enthusiasm and routine execution are top-notch. The education section of the DVD - sometimes ignored by instructors who (to their detriment) just want to "get the next release launched" - is especially well done this time around. Gone are the lengthy monologues, replaced now with corporate messages from Phillip Mills and an exceptional set of technique and coaching tips from Alani Mala & Susan Tolj. So we give the instructor video an A, especially for LMI's time and thought investment in the educational materials.
Well, there it is. Agree or disagree? Let us know - click the Comments link below and have your say!
Finally, 57 Arrives
It's been a long time coming - too long, in fact - but it's finally here. We'll post our review shortly!
Baltimore Quarterly (updated with pics!)
I know your all anxious to find out how this weekend went, and since Craig is busy at his real job - I will have to fill you in. (actually he is still duct taped in the back of the van...)

As promised - we made only ONE bathroom stop. Plus - a GIRL mapped out the route on how to get there and Craig had his doubts - but we made it in less time than if we would have taken the route he thought was best. (I'm grinning wildly here).

So we arrived safely and at 7am Saturday morning we were all decked out in our New Town Fitness t-shirts and headed for the Towson College rec center. It was huge! Great place to hold a 1/4ly. Lots of floor space, big cycling room, and plenty of bathrooms (although we did run out of tp pretty quick). No food on site, only drink machines. We all brought loads of energy food items so that was not a problem. And besides - time in between classes were pretty short and not alot of time to eat anyway - that is if you took all the classes!

The first class was Body Attack, which we all liked (except Craig!) but don't think we will ever get it at our gym. Kylie (from Flow/Jam) taught along with two others. Then you could do RPM or take BodyCombat, Craig and I did RPM along with a few otheres from our group. Steve R. (can't think of his last name...sorry!) the guy from Pump taught that along with Anthony. All the girls kept talking about how hot Steve was - except me! I behaved! Great class. Can't say anything regarding Combat because I did not take that.

Next - I did BodyFlow. Kylie was fantastic! And the new stuff is great too. I loved how they spent about 45 minutes before each class giving instruction on the new moves. It was very helpful.

After a 30 minute break came Pump training and then the class taught by Steve and Susan, plus two other women. It's hard to say what I think about the music because it was so loud the music sounded distorted. And that being my fourth class I was starting to zone out! It was hard to understand the cues and I couldn't see the stage from where I was at so had to just watch Craig.

I find it interesting that they are now pushing iPod use for our music. There was a time when we were not allowed to download/copy their CD's. I guess thats progress. We do use our iPod all the time, It's great when trying to put a playlist together for Pump and it's all right there. No searching endlessly through CD's!

Unfortunatley I did not get to take Step because my shoulders were not feeling so great so I just watched. It looked pretty good. And Body Jam...well...lets just say I would need a few drinks in me before even attempting it! It did look like fun - but what was more fun was watching others!

So - over all it was a great 1/4ly. It was cool meeting the 'top' trainers and being with all the other instructors who have a passion for fitness. Sadly - there was a downside. I was very disappointed in the behavior of some of the instructors. We ran into several that were very rude. During Body Attack - I left my spot before we were to go down on the floor for abs and when I came back someone placed themselves on my spot! Of course it was very crowded so I had to move off to the side - away from our group I was with. Then I'm trying to watch the instructor in the middle of the room and someone else comes and stands right in front of me. Putting weights away was a frenzy. I stood holding my weights standing in what I thought was a line to put them in the boxes and everyone is just rushing in front of me. I'm not an aggressive person but I did have to say something to the person who did it to me last!

During step - our group got to the front to set up their benches. They were pretty close - or so they thought. Another person came and set up in front of them - so close that her bench was touching the stage! Are these rude instructors the 'Prima Donnas" I hear about? Please - if you are an instructor and attend one of these quarterlys - don't leave your manners behind!! Is this the kind of behavior we want in our classroom? Treat people the way you expect to be treated. I know we get excited about being there, hearing the new music, trying new programs, meeting world famous instructors - but there is no need to loose control! Treat fellow insructors with respect.

I almost forget - we also received CEU's for attending! I believe there are 6 which is great when your a personal trainer and trying to collect CEUs for PT renewal! Not a whole lot of clothing but they did have some. No guy stuff however.

There - I think thats it. I know Craig does a more thorough job but at least you got the basics! Go to the next quarterly - it's worth it!
Photos courtesy of Arlene Harris
Your Workout Rhythm: Rebooting
So you've been getting that workout in - every day, every other day, whatever you're doing just seems to be humming along. It feels good, and you wonder what took you so long to get into such a great rhythm. Then, for whatever reason, you miss a workout. Make that two. And before you know it, you've been out a week or more.

Okay, it happens - and, truth be told, it happens to everyone sooner or later. The fact that you get out of the rhythm isn't the disaster here - it's how you handle it. Here's what I'd like to suggest:
  • Acknowledge that it isn't the end of the world. You're not doomed because of this. As any athlete will tell you, they're either up or getting up - you can't always prevent the fall, but you don't have to lay there on the ground, either.

  • Think about what happened. Often times people say "I just got busy". Said another way: "Other things took higher priority in my life than my workout". So if that applies to you, think about the things that are taking priority over your workout - then either re-align those priorities, or modify your workout schedule so that it's not constantly getting trumped by things that truly are more important.

  • Then get back in the gym.
That last point is pretty important - you've got to move past this point and recover your rhythm. But you must also do it wisely. If it's been a week or more, don't try to move the same weight as your last session - the goal here is to get the rhythm back, and that means being there, not just picking up right where you left off.