In the three short months since we launched our Small City Fitness Section it would be fair to say things have been a little hectic in my life (buy a house they said! It’ll be fun they said!). It’s at exactly times like this that I’m tempted to spend my down time doing as little as possible, but you and I both know where that trail of biscuit crumbs ends dear reader, and it aint me fitting into that killer red playsuit I rocked last summer.
With that in mind I’ve been rediscovering my love of the range of classes on offer at Live Active venues, and wanted to introduce you to one of my original ‘crushes’, Body Pump. A staple from the Les Mills Body collective, this exercise phenomenon has swept the globe’s dance studios, village halls and gymnasiums since 1991 – that’s over 25 years old and still going strong! I used to do pump a few years ago; in fact everyone I know who has ever been to a class used to do pump at some point.
It has stood its ground against lesser fads, watched them come and go and maintained solid, ab trimming, fat burning, muscle building results. Body Pump is the Daddy of the exercise class circuit. Live Active offer a Body Pump small group beginner’s session at Bell’s Sports Centre for anyone new to the class which I’d recommend for learning the ‘techniques’. Safe lifting technique is taught and once you know the names of the basic moves (deadlifts, clean and press etc.), and what instructors mean when they shout out 2-2, 2-4, 3-1 (it’s not a stop for bingo folks!) you’re good to go!
Body Pump classes run at Live Active Rodney 7 days a week with a variety of both daytime and evening time slots, and classes are either 45 or 60 minutes long. I was working on the presumption that 45 minutes was probably the best way to get back into the swing of things and headed along, water bottle in hand. It’s worth noting that for Body Pump you need to turn up early and get your station sorted out – you choose your own weights depending on your personal fitness level and the instructors will give direction during the class as to when you need to change. It sounds complicated – it really isn’t! If you do what I did and let the instructor know you’re new you will find lots of help at hand.
“Don’t feel pressured to add weight. Get your technique right first and then build,” was the advice I was given when I first started Pump, and I concentrated on that today. There’s lots of regulars at Pump classes so don’t be tempted to lead by their weights – be led by your own fitness. There’s a set routine for all Les Mills branded classes which changes every few weeks so you learn one, perfect it and then it changes; that way regulars don’t end up with lazy muscles. Helpfully though, it also means you won’t feel ‘new’ to it for long!
Let’s get started! The instructor today is Helen and she talks us through our moves, letting us know what muscle group we’re working as we go. The class uses isolation-based exercises; squats, dead lifts and presses will be become part of your vocabulary – the aforementioned 2-2, 4-1 etc gives you pace and sets your repetitions. It’s about toning and strength.
10 minutes in and I am sweating. There are natural breaks while weights change over and the focus shifts between muscle groups. Doing the beginners introduction gives you time to learn and tweak your technique so that during the class you will pick up how it all runs together. Helen is full of energy, motivating and wants to push you to the next level.
I am pumped up…. I am enjoying the class… I am not lifting weights in the same league as the guy next to me but that’s ok. 45 minutes fly in and I am knackered and smiling. The intensity of the class lifts your mood and releases lots of the exercise endorphins we all keep hearing about! If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it as much if it had been my first class. It is hard work and sweaty and back at the start of this journey it may just have floored me. But now the feeling of a good workout is a real buzz and the more I do the more I get it. Body Pump is a full on class – big, bold and brash. It tones, strengthens and gives you the elusive exercise high.
But is its longevity and staying power really worth the hype? I think so. It is the Daddy of the classes after all.