LesMills BodyPump is a weight lifting class of over 25 years. This 55-minute workout allows you to burn calories whilst shaping and toning your body. Unfortunately, you do have to attend more than once in order to see some results! However, for me at least, it is a fantastic way to strengthen muscles without feeling as intimidated when you walk into the gym weights room, full of many people holding protein shakes and lifting more than their body weight!
Choreographed to upbeat music, the multiple reps and pulses seem a little easier when you sing along, but at the end of every track you feel the pain… BodyPump consists of 10 tracks, including a warm up, cool down, and a track for every major muscle group. Once finished you know you have done a full body workout, and at least you aren’t as sweaty as a cardio class!
I have grown to love this class, but for the first few months, all I could think about was whether I was doing each move right, how light or heavy to go for the next track, and what I looked like in the mirror! Although the mirror may be helpful in helping to make sure your technique is right, just a warning, it is your enemy too as you realise some of the interesting faces you pull during the class!
1.Am I in the right room?
Water bottle in one hand, you push open the door and see a room filled of weights, plates, steps, hand weights… What have you let yourself in for? Contemplating returning back to the corridor, you slowly and quietly try to hide at the back. Nothing escapes the instructor as they single you out and ask: “have you done body pump before?”
Answers race through your mind as you try to not embarrass yourself. In the end, you give out a little ‘no’ and it turns out all the instructor was doing was helping! Once setup, you can’t just run out the door, deep breath, time for the confusion to start!
2. Clean and what?
Half way through the first track, you have managed to copy the muscley, serious looking people in front of you. A vague smile directed at the instructor as you made awkward eye contact. This isn’t too bad after all! Oops, may have spoken too soon, everyone in the room has their bars over their heads and you have no idea how they got there, just hope no one saw you!
3. Wrestling with the bar!
Pulling and struggling with your bar as you try and copy everyone else, how can this gym equipment be so hard to use? You feel so clumsy as everyone else gracefully removes the weights off each end without a second thought, but you take so long attempting the exact same change as them!
4. Only track two?!
After what seemed like a lifetime, the so called ‘warm up’ is over. It was definitely harder than you expected. And now you’re told to put more weights on for some squats. You add on a little bit more weight and feel proud after less of a wrestle with the bar this time. Only to find when you look around, almost everyone is lifting weights beyond belief! Just remind yourself you have light weights as it’s your first time…
5. Is that me?
A quick glance in the mirror at the front and you really shock yourself over the expressions your face is making! You try to shut your mouth and see your hair… is that really what you’ve looked like this whole time?
6. This track sounds okay!
Biceps, okay a muscle you’ve heard of, this can’t be too bad. Half way through and your arms are on fire, even the good music can’t take away the pain, how can arms be so weak! Pulses after pulses: “2-2”, “3-1” shouts the instructor as what seems like a never ending tracks gets more complex than seems possible. Lighter weights next time? If there even is a next time…
7. More Squats?!
Okay, you’ve survived a couple of big tracks but now you have to do lunges and wait… more squats?! Why? You learn balancing in a lunge is a lot harder than it looks, wobbling from side to side is not the gym workout you had in mind forty minutes ago! More pulses than you thought possible brings you to the end of this brutal track, how long left?
After about one hundred new moves and techniques (okay, slight exaggeration) that you have far from mastered, an eye glance towards the clock might make or break your confidence. Just 15 minutes left, thank goodness! You just hope no one has noticed your frequent attention towards the clock on the wall…
It’s the penultimate track, finally. The pain of your abdominal muscles seems to motivate you, the end is in sight!! Crunches, planks, reverse crunches, bridges, leg extensions, whatever move you’ve been put through, the music is good and you’re so close. Maybe even a smile creeps across your face!
10. Aaaaand stretch
Suddenly, all those complaining thoughts that have been flying through your mind are gone. You feel a sense of achievement as you stretch out every muscle you have worked today! One final struggle with all the equipment as you tidy up your section of the gym hall and your first BodyPump is done!
11. Did I enjoy it?
Do you want to go back next week? Maybe you did actually like it, you could even go as far to say you enjoyed it a tiny bit! You feel like a superhero as you walk (or waddle after all those squats) out the gym, you did it!
So this may not be during the class like the title suggests, but the next morning is a pretty key time to know if you’ve worked hard! It wasn’t until my third or fourth pump (yes despite all those thoughts I did return, as it’s pretty addictive!) that I woke up the next morning and thought, oo muscle! A little waddle, or difficulty in tying up your hair, even difficulty sitting down, but you know you worked for it, and maybe, just maybe this ache is a sense of achievement!
After a BodyPump class, I always make sure to refuel. If it’s a morning workout, I will have done the class fasted and follow it with a massive bowl of protein porridge (chocolate and coconut porridge is my favourite!) or a protein smoothie bowl covered in granola! Similarly if it’s an evening workout, I like a hearty dinner with carbs and protein – not forgetting pudding of course!
Good luck with your BodyPumping, and don’t forget to refuel after!