Friday, January 30, 2015

Les Mills BODYPUMP Is a Great Way to Spend an Hour

Admittedly, I’ve never been one for group fitness classes. Up until recently, the only exception had been a Pilates/Yoga combination class that I attended five or six years ago and had good a reason. The instructor was my romantic interest at the time and, in the spirit of full disclosure, I was at least as interested with her downward dog as I was about the workout.

That's all changed with Les Mills’ BODYPUMP, which is the most productive one hour I’ve ever spent in a group fitness class. Using a specially designed Les Mills barbell and a ten inch platform, each student is guided through ten “tracks” of exercises, each choreographed to contemporary music and intended to fatigue essentially every muscle group. Even though I’ve been active, including weight training, cardiovascular training, and martial arts, among others, my first few BODYPUMP classes really wiped me out. Eventually, I got used to it.

While I’d recommend Les Mills’ BODYPUMP to just about anyone, this particular fitness class works very well for single dads. (I’ll bet you were wondering how I was going to tie this into The Single Father’s Guide, huh?) I have my reasons. BODYPUMP:

1)     Uses your time wisely. A total of two hours, one hour in class, a few minutes to drive to and from the gym, and a few minutes to shower, gets it done.
2)     Is a great place to take a date. I firmly believe that two people who workout together, work out together.
3)     Burns more than 500 calories per class. Actually, I think it’s quite a bit more than that for most guys.
BODYPUMP's incredible, INSANE-ly awesome instructor, Fran, at Orange County Sports Club.
4)     Updates its workouts regularly. It never gets dull. The Les Mills franchiser releases a new “track” with new music and modified exercises every three or four months which both keeps it interesting and challenging.
5)     Is a great place to “network.” If you’ve read any of The Single Father’s Guide Blog posts, you already know about platonic female friends (PFF’s). For a single dad, PFF’s can be helpful in numerous ways including childcare advice to image consulting to, if you demonstrate that you’re a “solid citizen,” introducing you to their single girl friends. When you’re ready to get “out there,” PFF’s are great resources. Considering 60% to 90% of BODYPUMPERS are female, the class is a great place to meet PFF's. All of the ladies in the classes I attend are very cool and, obviously, make a healthy lifestyle a priority.
6)     Improves strength and endurance. When comparing notes with the other regulars with whom I share a locker room, we agree that we feel stronger than we ever have.
7)     Can be done by just about anyone. Since the weights are adjustable; participants can use resistance ranging from eight to about 75 pounds, so just about anyone can play. Fellow BODYPUMPERS range in age from 14 year old young lady, who happened to be the Second Beautiful Daughter before her most recent birthday, to an active retired guy who’s probably in his mid-60’s.

Check out the oaf on the left side in the second row of the photo wearing
the sweaty gray tee-shirt. He's the author of The Single Father's Guide Blog.
In the spirit of a fair review, BODYPUMP has a fault and it’s that the class in too much demand. That’s a good problem for the franchisee, I suppose, but there’s often not enough equipment for everyone who wants to attend. Sometimes, gym members who’d signed up for one of the 24 spots aren’t able to participate because others who hadn’t simply grab equipment. That puts BODYPUMP instructors in a difficult spot and leaves some gym members disappointed. (Ahem). The answer may be more classes and roll call, but that may be just a local issue. Still, if it’s a problem in one place, it’s probably a problem in others, too.

Like it is with a lot of things in life, though, if you want to BODYPUMP, the early bird gets . . . to work out.