BodyPump 59 Review
Since last December we've been contemplating what fate might befall the BodyPump workout when a new head choreographer took the helm. How would the workout change? Would the music be different? And wouldn't it seem strange not having Mike there in the instructor video? Here's what we found when we unwrapped our fresh new BodyPump 59 release:
Warm Up - Veteran instructors will appreciate the familiar feeling of this routine - until it trails off suddenly at the end of the lunge sequence. Yep, your five minutes are up folks - time to load up those bars!

Squats - Nifty triple staggers punctuate the chorus transitions in this Robert Palmer classic as images of expressionless models with bright red lipstick haunt those of us old enough to remember when MTV actually played music videos. By the way, isn't that fellow blogger Reymond making a cameo appearance about halfway through the track? Dude!

Chest - We're so used to hearing Aussie- and Kiwi-accented English on these videos that it's almost shocking when Canadian John Cleland takes the stage. But that soon wears off as the reality of this routine begins to set in - better lighten the weights up a bit for this one, and keep the towels close by...

Back & Hamstrings - Bar? Check. Set position? Check. E-Type? Check! (yeah we BodyPumpers gotta have that little robot guy singing in the background whenever we do clean & presses)

Triceps - Normally, presses are a nice break from extensions. Not this time: there's no rest for the weary when these guys get in the basement. Even the standing extensions spend half their time lurking in the Bottom Half Zone. Eeoww!

Biceps - If you're the kind of instructor that likes to put a little performance into your routine, you'll love this track. Plug a little funky stomp in the last eight counts of the break and your class will thank you for taking their minds off the pain!

Lunges - It was a nice change to have dynamic lunges lead this track off. It certainly makes the weighted lunges more interesting - especially when the same leg goes back for round #2 after the break.

Shoulders - INXS is one of those groups that just gets better and better with age. To wit: "Pretty Vegas" - the perfect backdrop for a shoulder routine that features rotator presses and an insane set of bottom-half overheads that'll have everyone seeing stars!

Abs - The opening notes of delicious remake pay homage to the original before getting right down to business. It's an unlikely marriage of rap and Southern rock paired with a deep core ab routine that classes are sure to request over and over again. Skynyrd would be proud.

Cool Down Stretch - It's become a personal mission of ours to try and keep hurried participants in class through the final stretch, and compelling tracks such as this one from Eros Ramazzotti and Anastacia definitely make that job much easier. Long poses ensure an effective stretch for those who take their workouts serious enough to stick around for all ten tracks.
Release 59 represents both the end of an era - the 50's releases, to be exact - and the beginning of a new one with head choreographer Glen Ostergaard. So how'd he do? Here's what we think:
Music - The 50's series of releases has been a mixed bag, musically. It seems that for every really great track there's another that's - well - one that just never gets played after the launch. So we held our breath as we spun up CD #59 - but thankfully we didn't have to hold it very long: there's something here for everybody, and we think that's a really good sign. In fact, early discussions we've witnessed amongst instructors rank this playlist as one of the best, and that's a definite A.

Workout Routine - Playlists notwithstanding, one of the hallmarks of the 50's release series has been the evolution of the workout routine. As we've said in past reviews, this is most evident when you compare these routines with those of the 40's (or earlier). That said, we think maybe Glen may've wanted to play it safe for his debut - there's a few standout bits in 59's routine such as the staggered squat and some insanity in the triceps and shoulders, but nothing too risky. So we're going to give this one a C+ because it's definitely better than average. Keep in mind of course that the definition of "average" is becoming increasingly more challenging, so that's not a bad grade.

Instructor Video - One of the first things we noticed with this release was slightly less "polish" - between the warm-up and squats, for example, we see the presenters trading places, setting up weights, drying off - all while talking through the upcoming workout. It seems a little awkward compared with past videos. There were some noise issues here and there as well, possibly because LMI's tech crew is still working out the "bugs" this is a newly-built taping area. Those are really the only distractions in an otherwise informative and entertaining master class. By the way, as a husband-wife team ourselves it was particularly encouraging to see Peggy and John Cleland onstage - hopefully we'll see other couples up there in the future. The education section continues to improve - The use of a white background improves visual contrast over that of past releases as Susan Tolj, Glen Ostergaard, Corey Baird, Maureen Baker, and Mike McSweeney provide excellent technique and coaching demonstrations. So we give the instructor video an A-, especially for LMI's continued attention to detail in the education section.
Well, that's our review of the 59th BodyPump release. Agree or disagree? Let us know - click the Comments link below and have your say!
Tami's Big Webcast Debut (w/pics, video)
Tami reads over the script, which primarily contains the weather forecast since she'll ad-lib most of her partAbout a month ago, we got an email through our blog from the Roanoke Times asking if we'd be interested in doing the weather spot on their daily webcast. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but Tami was game so we decided to give it a shot.

Daine describes how the teleprompter worksSeptember 14th was the big day. We arrived at 11:30, and were shown into their webcast studio - a surprisingly large room with walls covered by sound-insulating foam. Multimedia producer Daine Vineyard described how the webcast had evolved over the last year from a closet-sized back room to the present facility. The explosive popularity of blogs and podcasts caught many media outlets completely by surprise; clearly, the Roanoke Times doesn't intend to let that happen with webcasting.

The script is projected as a reflection in front of the cameraWe talked over a variety of ideas about how we could incorporate fitness into a 20-second weather spot. Daine's goal with the webcast weather spot is primarily to keep it fun - people don't tune into this webcast to get an in-depth forecast - so we could do pretty much anything as long as it was at least remotely related to the weather. Several other Roanoke Times folks joined our short brainstorming session and it wasn't long before a concept emerged.

Daine does some last-minute adjustments before filming beginsThe basic idea was for Tami to do the talking while I suited her up to teach BodyPump class. Originally, I was going to put workout gloves on her hands, put her mic on, then hand her a bar. The first time we tried this she put her hands out opposite of what I expected, and rather than fumble around I simply put her gloves on... backwards. So the whole glove thing got tossed out - and that's why you see her putting her own gloves on while I sort of stand there looking sheepish.

The camera loves this chickWhich reminds me of something. It's a source of never-ending wonder to me how people can look so different in pictures. I, for example, manage have the most ignorant expression on my face in practically every picture I've ever seen of myself. I know I don't look this way in the mirror, and (I hope!) I don't look this way in real life. The camera, on the other hand, loves Tami. Maybe it's because she looks so good in person. But in case you noticed she's featured in most of the pictures on this blog - this webcast not withstanding - it's because I've learned one of life's more humbling lessons: Some of us belong behind the camera!

Promotional Clip

This is a promo video that ran on the Roanoke Times webcast page. The actual webcast would be accessed by clicking on this video (click on it now to play - click again for larger view).

The Webcast

This is our portion of the webcast - the full video (with news, etc.) can be viewed by clicking here.
Yes - we are still alive and well!
Wow!! it has been a long time hasn't it? I guess between summer vacations and getting kids back to school there hasn't been much time to write. And then I could not get logged into our blog - but all is well now so I will chat a bit!

We did not make it to the 1/4ly this time around - trying to save some money! However, we did get in the mail yesterday BP 59, and although I did get it first - Craig will get first pick! We have not listened to it but we'll try to do it tonight and I will beg my hubby to post on it. What is the general feeling? Thumbs up, down, or in the middle?

Here is something pretty kewl....Craig and I have been asked by The Roanoke Times to do their webcast weather! Apparently they invite peolpe in (like students, politicians, etc.) to do thier weather and they chose us because of our Blog! Isn't that neat? We will do it this Thursday at 11:30 so I think you could just go to The Roanoke and check us out! Hopefully we will not do anything to totally embarrass ourselves.

Craig and I will be going to Romania in December to Galati, Romania in December. Are there any BP classes out there?

Our classes have been picking up lately and that is good. Lots of college kids but some older ones as well. Whats been great is that many of the wives have been bringing in their husbands, and they end up liking it and coming back! I would love for Craig and I to do a 'couples only' BP class, maybe in the evening, like a date night! I think we would have a pretty good turnout. I'll have to ask the new owner/managers....Scott...what do ya think?! : )