The Mother of All Lunge Tracks
Here's a post promised clear back in our BodyPump 61 review. Well, better late than never...
Nobody had ever heard of Rockwell when Somebody's Watching Me hit the streets back in 1984. It was, in fact, the chorus vocals performed by none other than Michael Jackson that caught everyone's attention. So when Dutch band Beatfreakz released their cover of the song in 2006, it came as no surprise that Jackson's chorus replaced Rockwell's melody as the centerpiece of this tune (listen closely and you'll still hear bits and pieces of Rockwell - though he's been demoted now to background vocals). While this dance-oriented mix never got much play here in the US, it did quite well in Europe - most notably the UK and Spain - as well as in Russia.

But that's small potatoes compared to what came next: Thanks to Emma Barry's unforgettable intro during the BodyPump 61 instructor video, Somebody's Watching Me has become known as "The Mother of All Lunge Tracks" to four million or so Pump participants worldwide. And rightly so - rare is the track that singlehandedly redefines the standard against which all others are measured, yet that's exactly what we have here. Bench or no bench, bar or no bar, there's simply no easy way to get around this monster... you just have to grit your teeth and meet it head on. All 5:05 of it.

That said, we still like having it on our class playlist. And, as release 61 steps aside for it successors, one thing's for certain: We've all got a stronger set of legs to show for it. Sore maybe, but stronger - thank you very much.
Mr. Timothy Reviews... Us! (w/pic)
About a month ago, we had the good fortune to be visited by one of our blog readers from halfway around the word. Known to many in the Les Mills online community as Mr. Timothy, he's a fellow instructor from Ballarat, Australia - and here's what he had to say about our class...
"Hi. My name is Tim and I have a BodyPump obsession."

In an attempt to feel "less abnormal", I seek out other people who take classes, and who talk and think about BodyPump as much as I do. Yep - it's a coping strategy!

Two such people are Tami and Craig - BodyPump Instructors, and prolific bloggers on the same topic. They even have matching magic shirts!

While many folks choose to journey to the Mecca of LMI in Auckland, I chose to make my Les Mills pilgrimage to Blacksburg, Virginia to see the people behind the blog in action. I was staying in Washington DC (I am from Australia). GoogleMaps says that's only 4 ½ hours drive from Blacksburg, which would mean spending 9 hours in the car in return for 1 hour in a BodyPump class.

"Fair ratio" thinks the little BodyPump addicted voice in my head, and before you know it, I have emailed Tami and Craig, got directions and a free pass, and I am in a rental car heading down the I-81. It was like living a John Denver song as I travelled by the Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah river :)

I got to the gym early, and had a chance to chat to Tami and Craig before class. They are just as nice in person as they are on the blog. They have just started up BodyPump classes at this gym, and with five minutes to go, I was the only participant – yikes – what if it gets cancelled!?!? But sure enough, in the next five minutes, the faithful turned up and we were all set. I had to do some mental arithmetic to convert the weights from pounds into kilos.

So how do they measure up?

Tami's instructor archetype: "THE ENFORCER"
Tami is like a bayonet. Steely eyes and a cool, calm and collected demeanour. Her presence is subtly demanding, unyielding – you know you better get those lunges done!

Craig's instructor archetype: "THE ENTERTAINER"
Craig is like a wind-up toy. High energy, fun, full of surprises, and doesn't take it all too seriously - but still - you know you better get those lunges done! Luckily, no wardrobe malfunctions on this occasion.

Together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. They combine in a way that only a husband and wife can. I thought it was a great class. Just what BodyPump should be. A mix of newer and older tracks, a good honest workout and a social atmosphere amongst the participants. Topped off by the House of Pain lunge track.

I particularly liked their ending. They addressed the class as the cool down music ran out, "We spent most of our 20's and 30's being inactive, and we know what it takes to get back in shape. So from us, to you, thanks for coming out today". With the phrase "us to you" they open their hands from their hearts and reach out to the class in unison. It's kind of sweet and creates an authentic and sincere connection.

Since these guys love to give reviews and grades, here's my assessment... I give them an A. It would have been an A+ except they let some Aussie guy take the squat track!
Yep, and it was our pleasure to have Tim start our workout off right with the BodyPump 62 squat track! Thanks for the review, and glad you made it back safely mate!!
Body Pump 62 Review
When we think of BodyPump 62, three words come to mind: Dance, Trance, Techno. To be sure, not every track fully fits that classification, but if you're a fan of those styles then you're gonna love this release. Does it get the job done? Let's take a look:
Warm Up - Instructors that find themselves intimidated by hard-to-memorize warm up routines be glad to know the formula for this track is about as basic as it gets. Halfway through the masterclass video Emma Barry asks a nearly silent crowd "Is there anybody out there?" It's yet another love song warm-up. 'Nuff said.

Squats - We've yet to see a squat song run less than five minutes, and this release is no exception. Clocking in at a looong 5:52, you've got to turn the dial way back to release #45 to find a longer squat sequence. That means there's plenty of time to grind out the over 100 squats in this track, nearly half of which are singles!

Chest - Three working sets punctuated by single+half combo sequences populate this monster track from multi-talented French artist Bob Sinclar. Instructors better bring their A-game to the launch: The post-break "party" sequence is tough to execute, and even harder to cue. As a side note, C+C Music Factory fans will immediately recognize riffs sampled straight off Gonna Make You Sweat, which also happens to feature "Everybody Dance Now" as its song subtitle.

Back & Hamstrings - If you happen to be a fan of deadlifts, this is the track for you. With two breaks and limited overhead work we'll give this workout a two on a scale of five for difficulty. Looking to go up on your weights? Consider this your personal invitation...

Triceps - Up to this point - and even to halfway through this track - release 62 threatened to leave us wanting for something new. Not that Tricep Pullovers are anything new, but we haven't had 'em in awhile - and after four tracks of "same ol', same ol'" we'll take it. A nice standing extension combo sequence finished off with tricep pushups completes a quirky, yet effective, Gwen Stefani track. Instructors, take extra care with this one - these quick transitions might be tough for newbies and older participants. Video note: Elbows, please (y'all know who you are!)

Biceps - Lights out, folks. It's Evanescence time, and it's got an angry sound. At 3:32 it's also the shortest track in the biceps arsenal, so grab an extra plate. And don't forget to crank the volume up a bit before you hit 'play'...

Lunges - When Paul Davis crooned out the original vocals for this Barry Manilow ballad back in 1977, little did he know that nearly thirty years later Belgian duo Danger Hardcore Team (aka "Dance. House. Trance." or "D.H.T.") would transform it into a dance tune that would then become the musical framework for an exercise class. But sure enough, here it is: The BodyPump 62 lunge track, complete with backward-stepping lunges right off the bench. Leave the bar on the floor, folks - it's plenty hard without it.

Shoulders - When the BodyPump 62 Sizzler hinted at the return of a move named after a certain California governor - a move, we might add, that hasn't been seen since the early BodyPump 40's series - it was with obvious anticipation that we spun up this track. The fact that it's a remake of one of our favorite bicep tracks (BodyPump 43, to be exact), only sweetened the deal. To be honest though, we're totally clueless as to who in the world "Motivo" is or why the song is named The Power of Bhangra 2003. But it doesn't matter. The routine works, and in the end that's what matters most.

Abs - Justin. As in, Justin case you didn't get enough on the last release... here he is again. To be sure, this really was/is a big worldwide hit. We're just not big JT fans. That said, we do like the side plank maneuver as a core workout, and this routine serves up plenty of that. Not to mention some nifty leg extensions and a healthy dose of crunches.

Cool Down Stretch - When was the last time track #10 was the highlight of your workout? Eh, wait - let us rephrase that... When was the last time track #10 was the musical highlight of your workout? Believe it or not, Hinder's Lips Of An Angel rocks us more than all other nine tracks combined. Maybe it's the classic rock sound, or just the fact that we've had enough dance music for one session. Whatever the case, this is one track we can sink our teeth into. Pity it comes at the end.
We've been reviewing releases for the last couple years now, and if there's any one thing we don't do is pull punches. Here's our bottom line:
Music - Like we pointed out on the 61 review, a "playable" release to us is one that sounds just as good on the iPod as it does in class. Like most instructors, we spend a lot of time listening to our music, so playability matters. The problem we see with release 62 is that it has less musical variety than those of the recent past, so unless you like the dance-type genres that dominate this release you just might find yourself mixing in some older tracks to keep it interesting. And that's why we've got to lower the boom on this one with a C- for the playlist. Sorry, guys.

Workout Routine - Sooner or later it had to happen. We all know the bar got raised pretty high these last several releases. It's not all bad here - we got our tricep pullovers back, along with our beloved Arnold press and the side plank. Innovative? Not really. It's nice though, and certainly worth at least a C+.

Instructor Video - Instructors who skip right to the masterclass as soon as they pop in the DVD miss an exceptionally well-done introductory sequence by Glen Ostargaard and Susan Tolj. There's a reason this video appears before the masterclass - it's important. If you're an instructor who prides yourself on high-quality technical execution - rather than simply shouting out reams of chorey at your class - then you'll want to set aside an extra 15 minutes or so to take in this virtual goldmine of information. It's easy to watch, too; shot against a white background with minimal props and clear lettering, these instructional videos are light years beyond those of the 40's (and even 50's) series. Excellent work, and well worth a solid A both for content and technical execution (lighting and camera work). As a side note, we particularly like the clothing selections by the presenters this time around - they're more representative of what real-world instructors use than the speedo-type outfits of the past few videos.
And there it is, our review of BodyPump 62. Were we too tough on them, or right on the money? Click the Comments link below and let us know what you think!
Our New Look: Done, and Done.
Months ago we decided that the look of our site was getting a little old. I spent several evenings researching various blogs, and finally came up with a whole new look. It seemed simple enough to me, the menu you see there on the left side plus the blog here on the right. Amazingly, though, writing the CSS (cascading style sheet) code behind these blog layouts is a whole lot more involved than it looks. Not only that, you also have to deal with all sorts of discrepencies between various browers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and others!) to get the look just right.

So days turned into weeks, then weeks into months. Ideas for posts stacked up all over my desktop and cluttered the "to do" list in my organizer. No, I wasn't going to post anything until the new layout was done. But each time I'd plan to sit down and work, something would come up - and I could never get those several hours of concentration I needed to go from idea to completion.

Finally, yesterday evening I told Tami I couldn't put it off any longer. Graciously she let me work late into the evening - and, finally, I got the job done. Hopefully you find the new look easy on the eyes.

Our review of BodyPump 62 is coming right up - along with those hundred other posts just begging to see the light of day!