Bodypump 92 Review

Hey friends! How’s 2015 going for you so far? It started out well for me… until I got the plague. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. I caught some awful bug that’s been going around that had me out of commission for a week (and I’m still not totally 100% back to normal yet- maybe about 95%!). The last time I was sick was three years ago- and let me tell you- I’m NOT a very good patient. Like most other people, I have a hard time resting up and taking it easy for more than a day.

I started feeling icky on a Saturday and it just got worse from there. By the following Tuesday, I was starting to feel better so I went into the office, went to the gym and was basically on my feet all day. Big mistake- that made things much worse. The whole point of this “sick” story is that I had to miss the launch of Bodypump 92 last Thursday- which bummed me out big time. But, I followed doctor’s orders and took a week off from the gym, focused on getting rest, drink my body weight in water and started feeling human again by the weekend. And- I finally got to go back to teaching my classes this week- including Bodypump 92 (for the first time) today!

I’ve been teaching Bodypump since the release of 79- and I think that the choreography for this release was probably the easiest to learn. That being said, it’s probably one of the toughest to execute! There’s a few tracks that I love, love, love and others that I… love less. I’ll go into more detail below. :)

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Bodypump 91 Review

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It has been a loooooong time since I wrote a Bodypump Review, and I vowed to get back into doing so with the latest Bodypump release. Even though my gym launched Bodypump 91 almost four weeks ago, I know that most other clubs are just now getting around to launching. (My group ex manager decided to do it on the first day of fall to get into the “Fall into Fitness” thing.)

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Believe it or not, this is the first launch I’ve done since Bodypump 84- which was over a year and a half ago! There’s not nearly as much opportunity for Bodypump instructors here in Boulder and I was just subbing classes for the first year that I lived there. I’ve taught every release since I moved- but just haven’t been there for the actual launch day. It wasn’t until last April that I finally got my own class- and then was out for two months for knee surgery right after. So, because of the timing, this past launch was the first that I’ve gotten to do since moving- and it felt GOOD to be back!

Because of the early launch at my gym, I had to learn the choreography for Bodypump 91 FAST. In fact, I learned the whole thing while I was in Maryland last month for work- most of it in my hotel room at 6:00 am each morning before having to put in a full day Expo East! It was stressful and exhausting- but totally worth it in the end.

If you’re not familiar with Bodypump, here’s a quick description of the class from the Les Mills website:

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Les Mills Presents The Project: Immersive Fitness

There are many, many things that I love about Les Mills programs. I became a certified Bodypump instructor in 2011 after falling in love with the format and classes. Les Mills offers a multitude of different exercise programs and there’s literally something for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Trends in fitness are constantly changing and Les Mills has no problem staying up to date on the latest ideas and concepts.

I recently learned about the latest innovation in Les Mills fitness and couldn’t be more excited to try it out! Les Mills has partnered up with Reebok to create a revolutionary fitness experience called The Project: Immersive Fitness.

image from The Project on Instagram

Immersive Fitness takes the typical group exercise class beyond the next level. It creates an experience that engages the body and mind in ways that I never thought possible!

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Four Ways to Stay in Shape at Home

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Why, hello! With my new work schedule, I’m predicting that you’re going to be seeing a little less of me (less frequently anyway)- but don’t fret- I’m not going away altogether. :)

Working from home certainly takes adjustment and lots of discipline. I pretty much get to set my own schedule- which has it’s good and bad points. The good is, I can take some time during the week to go ski, hike, teach late morning Spinning classes or just to run errands in the middle of the afternoon. The bad is- that time still needs to made up somewhere else during the week, which usually ends up being during a weekend or evening hours. I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon and have a good schedule for myself- and definitely look forward to be in more of a routine!

One thing that really does save some time is when I do my workouts at home. Traveling to and from the gym takes time (and I usually lose track of time when I’m there!). It’s so nice to be able to just roll out of bed, put some exercise clothing on and head downstairs to bust out a workout. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a free gym membership for over five years, since it’s one of the perks of being an instructor. However, I still appreciate that you don’t have to pay a monthly gym membership to stay in shape. If you pick up just a few pieces of equipment, you can easily get fit in the comfort of your own home.

Here are four ideas of great ways to get a killer workout without joining a gym:

1. Pick up a few pieces of equipment that are inexpensive and versatile

I have been building up my home gym for several years now, and it contains a mix of equipment that I’ve either bought or inherited for free (and some I’ve even gotten as gifts!). Amongst other things, I have a Spinning bike, a TRX, steps with risers and BOSU trainer.

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Those items are great- but not necessary. If you pick up a resistance band (and if you want to splurge- a few dumbbells or kettlebell) you’re totally set. If you know how to do basic strength training exercises for different muscle groups, you can use your own body weight, resistance bands and dumbbells for almost anything you need to do. The internet is also crawling with videos and images that demonstrate various exercises (just make sure you find a reputable source)- I love the exercise library from ACE Fitness.

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How I Choose my Spinning Tunes

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Last month marked my fifth anniversary as a Spinning instructor. In some ways it feels like I’ve been teaching much longer, because I can’t really even remember my life before teaching group exercise! Over the last five years I’ve learned quite a few things about group exercise in general- from how to best relate to the participants in my classes, what (most) people like and don’t like and how to become a better, more confident instructor.

I remember those first few months of teaching indoor cycling quite well. I spent so much time planning out every single moment of every single ride, because I wanted everything to be perfect. As time went on, I got more comfortable, more confident and grew to have a great relationship with the “regulars” that would come to my classes. I’ve also learned how to communicate (i.e. speak at a loud volume) while I’m at 75-80% MHR – which is a must for a group exercise instructor. One thing you learn from teaching indoor cycling is how to hold a conversation when your heart feels like it’s beating right out of your chest. I’ve never been able to “cheat” when I teach (meaning that I’d have the resistance way down low and “pretend” I’m working hard). In fact, I burn a lot more calories and work a lot harder when I’m teaching a class (rather than taking a class).

One comment that I get more often than anything else from people that take my classes is that my music selection rocks. Hearing this means a lot to me, because I actually do put a lot of time and effort into choosing music to play in my classes. I like to have a wide range of genres- anything from 90s rock to current top 40 pop, and anything in between. Basically I think “what would I like to listen to when I’m doing a cardio workout? What music gets me pumped?” I also can’t get away from that “instructor mindset” and am constantly thinking “that song would be great for class” when hearing music on the radio (or anywhere else). My iPhone is actually loaded with photos like this:

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That’s to remind me to download the song for class when I get home. :)

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Working Out on the Road

Happy Friday, my friends! I’m away in sunny California spreading the FlapJacked love at Expo West all weekend. If you’re going to the expo, please come by and say hello! FlapJacked’s booth is number 5352, located in Hall E. The last event that I worked with FlapJacked was Fitness on the Rocks this past summer, which was a blast! I didn’t know at the time that I would go on to work for these two goofballs (and I say that lovingly) as their social media manager!

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They really are the best. :)

I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit over the last few years and really love to be able to take a few short vacations with Greg each year. When we were still living in Maryland, most of our vacations would be to Colorado, where we’d spend the week hiking, kayaking and cycling- which were all followed by enjoying lots of craft beer. I know that it’s okay to take a few days off from your normal exercise routine, but the truth is- I just feel much better and have much higher energy when exercise is included in my day. (That being said, I always take at least one rest day per week.)

When I have to travel somewhere, I know that I’m going to get in some exercise at some point each day. If I’m flying out early in the morning to my destination, that day usually ends up being a rest day. I like to exercise in the morning whether I’m at home or on the road, so that I can have the entire rest of the day to do everything else. Exercising while on vacation comes in many different forms for me and can include workouts in a hotel gym, body weight and cardio exercises in a hotel room or a run or hike outdoors (depending on where I am).

Here’s a few of the ways that I keep up with my exercise routine while traveling:

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Tuesday Workout + KIND Giveaway Winner

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Although my schedule has been anything but routine ever since I moved to Colorado, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are pretty much always the same. When I lived in Maryland, I taught early morning (5:30 am) classes several days a week- and I did this for four years (three of those were followed by working a full-time job right after teaching class!). I either taught Bodypump, Spinning or both (and the mornings that I taught both were particularly exhausting!). What I really miss though are my Tuesday mornings. Even though I had to wake up around 4:45, which was sometimes hard, Tuesday was my absolute favorite morning to teach. I had this great group of regulars that had so much energy – the hardcore people definitely show up to the gym at that hour.

The first class I would teach on Tuesday mornings was Spinning- which lasted about an hour. After that, I’d go directly over to the group exercise studio to teach a 30-40 minute core class. About half of the people from the Spinning class would take it too- and it was always a really nice, intimate group of about ten people. We would bust our butts (or abs, rather) for the first 25 minutes and then take the rest of the time to stretch… which felt so great. I loved researching awesome core exercises and testing them out in class, and definitely noticed a difference in my entire body from teaching the class (since I participated in all of the exercises).

When I moved to Colorado, I got a bit lazy with my core workouts. Since no one was paying me to teach the class, I rarely would spend the same amount of time strengthening my abs, obliques and lower back on my own. When I discovered that my core strength was significantly less recently, I decided to take action. I’ve been getting to the gym about 30-45 minutes before my Spinning class on Tuesday and Thursday and doing the same core workouts that I had been teaching at my old gym. I’ve only been doing this new routine for about three weeks- so I don’t notice a huge difference yet- except that there is definitely less pain in my lower back. (I’ll take it!)

Some of my favorite core exercises include:

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Boat Crunches (which is like the boat pose – shown below, but you bring the knees and chest towards each other, than away, and repeat. Ouch!)

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Halo (with kettlebell)

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Seven [Simple] Must-Have Gym Accessories

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I’ll admit it- I’m one of those freaks that actually likes to exercise. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I spent the first 23 years of my life being sedentary and shuddered at the thought of breaking a sweat intentionally and I’m making up for lost time. Or maybe, just maybe it’s because I found ways activities that are fun- and I even look forward to doing. As I’ve said several times before, my number one, absolute favorite way to burn a few calories is hiking. I don’t really even view hiking as exercise because I love it so much. There’s just nothing that compares to being out in nature, climbing up a tall mountain and enjoying the view from the top- especially when you have some great friends right alongside of you.

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Unfortunately, due to mother nature’s mood swings, I haven’t been able to get out and hike much lately. Our trails are covered in snow and ice right now, which makes hiking anything significant a bit of challenge. However, that snow does have a silver lining- in the form of skiing and snowshoeing! Both provide great cardio workout, but more importantly are a lot of fun!

In the months of January, February and March I find myself spending much more time in the gym that any other time of year. No matter what’s going outside, I can always be comfortable wearing shorts and a tank top inside the gym and don’t have to worry about slipping on ice. My typical gym routine includes two days of teaching Spinning, two to three more days of light cardio and four to five days of strength training (and usually one day of teaching Bodypump). Several of those days overlap- I always take at least one rest day!

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What I’ve Been Up To [at D.I.R.]

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Hey there! I hope your week is off to a great start! It’s Tuesday, and all that is going through my mind is that tomorrow is Wednesday… which means day two of ski school. I’m going in with a good attitude and really hoping that I can build on what I learned the first day (rather than spending the whole time re-learning it!) and kick some butt on the slopes. Or, rather, just be able to get the whole way down the bunny slope without falling over and progressing to riding on the lift. :) Send me all of your brave and coordinated energy please.

You might remember that I’m a fitness expert (and writer) for the website Diets In Review. While most of my articles are about the latest trends in fitness or specific exercise routines, I sometimes write about other topics related to health and wellness. I’ve learned a lot from being a writer at Diets In Review. I’ve gotten to review some popular “diet” books, cutting-edge fitness equipment and network and interview some pretty great people in the fitness world. Being DIR’s fitness expert has also helped me learn some great tools for blogging and SEO- which has been so valuable!

Because the content that I create for DIR is original, I don’t duplicate the posts on this blog. I’ve written several articles that I’ve been excited about and that made me learn a lot about the topic (at hand) in the process. So, I wanted to share some of my favorite articles from the last couple of months with you guys. Feel free to click on the link, read through and share if you feel so inclined!

1. Jillian vs. Bob vs. Dolvett: How the 3 Biggest Loser Trainers’ Books Compare

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I stated last week that I have bought my fair share of “diet” books over the years. I’ve been a big fan of the show The Biggest Loser since season one and also really like the trainers. I own all four of Jillian’s books and two of Bob’s. DIR sent me a copy of Dolvett’s first book The 3-1-2-1 Diet to review and compare against Bob and Jillian’s latest books. You can read the article by clicking the link above, which gives a summary (of each trainers’ latest book) along with the pros and cons. And just so you know- my preferences (in order) are Jillian, Bob, Dolvett. I’m really only a fan of Jillian’s book (which is Slim for Life) and find a lot of flaws in the other two.

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Thoughts on Exercise: What, When & Pushing Outside of the Comfort Zone

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Warning: this post is long. And I ramble. A lot. :)

I’ve been known to change up my exercise routine from time to time. Bodypump and Spinning are constants in my routine, since I teach both classes (and definitely count that as either part of or as my entire workout for the day). Since moving away from Maryland, I’ve definitely cut back on how many classes I teach a week. I have two indoor cycling classes (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) and as of now, just sub Bodypump classes occasionally.

Since I love the Bodypump workouts so much (and am really sad that I don’t get to teach the class that often) I’ve been working out with some of the old releases at home. (Instructors are sent DVDs of the upcoming release each quarter to learn the choreography.) I’ve been teaching Bodypump for exactly two years now and am on my tenth release, so I have a lot of different workouts to choose from. It’s actually pretty fun going back to some of the older ones and it keeps me from getting bored (and keeps the muscles confused!). I was working out in my basement yesterday morning with the Bodypump 83 release and a quote from one of the presenters grabbed my attention:

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“If it does not challenge you then it does not change you.” Very simple and very true. The presenters on the Bodypump DVDs say all kinds of cheesy inspiring quotes during the workout, but man I live for that shit. I say the same types of things when I teach because I know that it gets the majority of the participants pumped. And it gets me pumped too!
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