Body Pump Breakthrough

By Lynda Espada
Director of Sport and Fitness, DCJCC

Les Mills Body Pump

photo credit: Les Mills Body Pump

In the 20+ years I’ve been a group exercise instructor, I have taught some form of just about every type of group exercise. Two years ago, I was given the opportunity to certify for Les Mills Body Pump.

Did I really want to get another certification?

I have seven certifications already, but I was getting bored teaching the same Hi-Low and Step classes every week. Maybe, it was time for something new and challenging? I accepted their invitation.

I attended the three-day certification training, and the first day of training was tougher than any other certification I had ever done. Many times throughout the day I kept asking myself, did I really want to do this? But I somehow finished the days of training, plus all the other requirements, and got my certification.

And… I have since loved every freakin’ moment of teaching Body Pump.

What do I love about Body Pump?

  1. It WILL change the way your body looks because it works all major muscle groups to fatigue. You will “feel the burn” in every muscle group if you perform the reps, moves, and form correctly. (And I’m a stickler for form in my classes!)
  2. There will ALWAYS be a challenge awaiting you! It keeps your muscles/body guessing (i.e. the overload principle) so your muscles have to work harder, thus becoming stronger and more toned. You can always go up in weight (without sacrificing form!) or perform the movements at the correct pace. Body Pump is designed to move through different speeds to work the muscles differently, thus producing faster changes in the body than otherwise could be accomplished with some other weight training programs.
  3. It is a fun, upbeat, and motivating atmosphere! I try to keep my class motivated and challenged throughout the 55 minute class and keep them coming back and looking forward to the next class – and most of them do!
  4. It challenges your mind AND your body. As you perform the moves correctly and with the right form, you get to make your MIND decide how your MUSCLES move. The body likes to cheat. Yep, the body WANTS to cheat, so the mind has to take over and decide that, no, the muscles will slow down and perform the proper speed with the proper form. But of course, no cheating in my class!
  5. It gets you out of an exercise rut, my friends!  Every quarter, we change routines and music so your mind and muscles get challenged a bit differently each time.
  6. It is the best way (I have found) to work every muscle group without boredom and without having to have a lifting partner. It is a muscular strength AND endurance class, so remember, it will work the entire body, it does have a slight cardio component in some tracks (depending on how fast the movements are). You WILL burn an average of 450-650 calories per class (ALL dependent on body size, weight lifted, body weight, fitness level, correct form – and of course, your effort).

So maybe today or next week, if you are looking for something new and challenging like I was, consider a Body Pump class.

You’ll thank me… after that initial soreness goes away.

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Don’t Think “Diet and Long Workouts” – Think “Lifestyle Change”

Don't let this happen to youWe’ve all been there, trying the quick-fix diet plans and workouts.  We’ve tried them all – low-fat to low-carb to low-cal.  We’ve tried the “we are going to do cardio every day this week!” –  running from indoor cycle to Pilates and yoga to body sculpt. By day three we realize, UGH! – we can’t even move a muscle in our aching bodies.

This is crazy and we have not even lost a pound.

With little or no satisfaction, we are back on the couch with the remote in one hand, our favorite junk food snack in the other and lots of Advil, swearing that there has got to be an easier way.   

As a personal trainer and fitness instructor for twenty years and someone who has struggled with personal weight gain and loss issues since age five, I am able to relate to the many of the same issues as my personal training clients   Unlike most kids who have their distinct likes and dislikes of certain foods, I can honestly say there were very few foods I didn’t like… I have travelled up and down and back again on the very same path as my clients.   I was always the “healthy kid.”

Through many years of trial and lots of errors, I have figured out what works for me- but that does not necessarily mean it may work for another.  We all have different body compositions, likes and dislikes, and I have found success in making healthy lifestyle changes comes without much effort –they are just part of my every day. There really is not one lifestyle change fits all.  Even working out five times a week does not mean I do not need to watch what I eat carefully.

About two years ago, I started by making small significant changes to my diet, and not overnight, but slowly. I wanted to lose 15 lbs. as I felt my wardrobe was fitting a bit snug in all the wrong places and buying another wardrobe was just not going to be an option.  I started with eating a small healthy breakfast every morning.  But I ate food I liked.

Then, after a healthy breakfast was part of my normal routine, I started to eat both a healthy breakfast and lunch. Before long, this lifestyle change became part of my every day.  You need to do what works best for you –a lifestyle change as part of your every day life, not a crash workout binge– that will keep you healthy and motivated, at least most days.  When it comes to lifestyle change, it is all about you. 

As a personal trainer, when I start to work with a new client, we never discuss the word “diet;” we discuss lifestyle changes that are easy and do not take much effort.  If the changes you make are not easy, there is no way you are going to keep them up and eventually, most of us fall back into our old patterns.  Your diet should be balanced and healthy most days, but is definitely okay to splurge on occasion. 

Start with small steps and before you know it, the change is part of your lifestyle.  When you get up today, take a 10-minute walk, or instead of skipping breakfast, eat a small meal consisting of healthy carbs, protein, and a little fat.  Try it for a week.  When that step works for you without effort, it is time to make another small change: a 20-minute walk or a eating both a healthy breakfast and lunch. 

There’s one basic fact that can’t be denied: we are creatures of habit. To make health-conscious changes, the changes have to fit in with our habits. Quick fixes don’t exist for long-term health.

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