Body Under Maintenance, Bob & Myself!

Abdullah Q. (AKA Bob), & Myself!
Abdullah Q. (AKA Bob), & Myself!

BODYPUMP™ 89, My Personal Review!

BODYPUMP™ 89

BODYPUMP™ is the fastest way in the universe to get in shape; muscular tension, metabolic stress combined together to build strength, tones and shapes and burns body fat

This how Glen presented the new release; a great brief defention of what BODYPUMP™ is.

Let’s check the Warm Up: (Dane Rumble featuring Jupiter Project- Not Alone)

I like warm ups that hit with back and hamstrings; it’s too many muscles there that need to be taken care of before an actual great workout.  There is a very interesting thing here; triple rows twice then slowly going up with the lyrics : you are not alone! That moves to the shoulders, down to the legs, back to shoulders, then back again and shoulders. BODYPUMP™ family are making sure you are warm this time by adding push presses at the end of the warm up.

Squats: (R3hab featuring Bassjackers- Raise Those Hands)

Oh yeah! The music is absolute madness! Lovely Lovely choice! This sounds like engineering and creating new muscles.

We’ve got bottom halves, top halves, big singles, down and holds. The track is quite tough, controlling breathing is essential, and if you are the type of people who gets so invovled and taken away by music, this track will take care of you when you think you can’t go on anymore, the music is uplifting it’s all good.

Chest: (Fall Out Boy- Where Did The Party Go)

Important?

The A press is becoming the main subject here regarding the chest track, we are seeing this frequently recently. Besides that quality is over quantity.

Bar and plates: results, isolation, results, isolation and more results.

The music is not my type, but it’s okay, at least it’s a positive track 🙂 , I liked the track used in squats better.

Back: (Nero- Me & You)

Let’s work our posterior-chain; the gluts, hips and the hamstrings. high intensity interval training. NO CLEAN AND PRESSES?? That is cool! New is always cool!

Wide grip dead lifts, wide grip dead rows are perfect for your middle back, heavy single plates: squats and push presses (HIIT) will allow all your body to work, and changing the grip to under-hand grip activates your upper back.

There is some interesting change here, not doing any clean and presses doesn’t mean you are not working your back, in this track you are allowed to challenge yourself with heavier weight than usual. Glen while designing this track did focus on mixing the mechanical tension with the metabolic stress, please do check your choreography notes for more details, or watch the DVD where he explains it.

Triceps: (Lady Gaga-Applause)

four sets of work, very amusing and challenging. How does it start and finish? Triceps push ups, kneeling over head extensions, that applies to the first two sets. In set three the exercise changes to dips and we finish with seated over head extensions.

I generally like triceps tracks, since they exercises chosen usually hit the muscles right, isolates them and they are usually fun.

Biceps: (The Killers- When You Were Young)

New move?? Yeah! The open arm curl! 

So hammer curls, open arm curls, then using light bars to continue the work.

Honestly I didn’t like the song chosen! But the workout is a killer!

Lunges: (Ellie Goulding- Burn)

More and more changes, everyone love change, right?

In the lunges track this time BODYPUMP™ brings to us new tempos which introduces isometric holds, the holds at the end of each move brings the burn to the muscles, causing them to fatigue and eventually change. The holds here are so important and they are the core of the workout!

Shoulders: (Brooklyn Bounce & DJ Zealot- True Hardstyler)

Brooklyn Bounce became the band for our shoulders! I love that! Bring it down to the floor and get two sets of push ups! All the crazy upright rows, the top halves, over head presses, push presses, rotator raises, and rotator overhead presses to kill your shoulders! This one is certainly crazy and demanding! Good luck to those of you like me with relatively weak shoulders 😛

Good luck teaching it, and good luck attending the class!

Katia

Sharing a Horrible Zumba® Experience! Just saying!

Zumba Fitness
Zumba Fitness

So everyone expects  Zumba to be a happy thing, right?

I’m originally a Les Mills instructor, I decided to enroll myself in Zumba Fitness different instructors’ training courses due to the markets’ demand, and second my appreciation to dancing in general.

On the 27th of this month, which is two days ago, I have been to a Zumba Step instructors’ training, fully willing and fully aware of what I was doing. I have registered during February this year, before I got my joints infection attacking my feet, and so when the time came to do Zumba Step I thought I can do it, since two days before I was on a Les Mills RPM module training, which is more serious, strict and physically demanding, besides the assessments we had to go through during these two days in order to initially pass or fail, and what motivated me to go on for the Zumba Step, is that the RPM master trainer did make sure to let me know what my duties and responsibilities were during the RPM module so I deliver what they expected me to, on the other hand the master trainer did actually let me rest and take small breaks when I thought my feet were not gonna hold me standing or pedaling longer, and I passed it, so i thought Zumba Step is easier and less serious and the ZES, Zumba Educational Specialist, are usually more relaxed, so no biggy, no biggy at all!

Among the instructors we had another Les Mills instructor who had a recent knee surgery, her knee hurts and my feet hurt and we both had a reason why we should have rested every now and then. But this is what we have been told by the ZES: IF YOU THINK YOU ARE NOT FIT ENOUGH FOR THE PROGRAM TAKE YOUR MONEY AND LEAVE, IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WE ARE GOING TO DO HERE THEN TAKE YOUR MONEY AND LEAVE.

It was kinda shocking to hear such words coming from a person who claims to have knee problems, and weird enough to hear such things from a person who claims to have been in the fitness industry for over a decade. Fitness instructors usually are aware of injuries and different health problems, and the majority of them have been through some injuries, whether they were small or big, they do know what it means to be injured and still want to continue education and career. So calling Les Mills instructors UNFIT, like me and my colleague in that case, is totally unacceptable. We weren’t there to judge or be judged.

Besides that the one day session was a one man’s show! Everything had to roam around that ZES, who’s name I’m not going to mention:

  • WHEN I WAS IN MY TWENTIES I WAS SLIM, I WAS FIT, I HAD 6 PACKS!
  • I WAS A LES MILLS INSTRUCTOR TEACHING THIS AND THAT!
  • WHEN I TALK YOU LISTEN, AND NO ONE ELSE IS ALLOWED TO TALK!
  • I HAVE FOUND MY RELAXATION TECHNIQUES: BODY BALANCE, JUNK AND WINE.
  • I DON’T WANT TO BE FIT ANYMORE, I WANNA EAT ALL THE BAD THINGS IN LIFE.

And lots of other bluffing like: THE BAR TENDER IN THE HOTEL IN AMMAN WAS SURPRISED WHEN I ORDERED BEER AS A WOMAN!

Here is what I want to say:

  • We paid money and came to learn not to get to know you!
  • Don’t judge us for being injured and sick, because one day you might also be in our shoes.
  • Zumba Step specialty is kinda new and we did want to be among the first instructors in Jordan, my country where I live now, to have its license and teach it, so appreciate our attendance, we have disregarded our situations, so respecting it would be much better than whatever you have done.
  • Don’t ask me to leave or reschedule because such specialties are not coming every other week to my country.
  • Honestly I don’t need a ZES to teach me anything in Zumba, I just need the manual and the DVDs for the program, you should be glad I came.
  • Fitness instructors no matter what TRY AND LOOK AND SEEM AND BEHAVE HEALTHY, so we never talk about junk, smoking, alcohol, etc in front of our students/members.
  • Bragging about the past won’t bring the it back, so get real please.
  • During Les Mills module training courses so far I never heard the word Zumba, so why mention Les Mills during a Zumba training. There is no way to compare this with that, please! And don’t change the channel.
  • Jordan is an Arab Muslim country, but drinking became so usual and normal, bar tenders don’t freak out seeing ladies asking for alcohol, I suggest you try another way to show off or look like an outcast or feel special. You were in Jordan not Saudi Arabia. And holding such a job of yours, you must be very accustomed to cultural differences and not mention them at all.
  • We are adults too, just like you, so let’s not play kids and teacher here, never ever!

Anyway, thanks for reading, I really never been through such a horrible experience trying to learn something new in fitness. I felt I was serving in the military that day bossed by someone who’s mental.

Katia 🙂

BODYCOMBAT™ 59, My Personal Review!

Hello there!

I guess I forgot to tell you that I’m a LES MILLS™  BODYCOMBAT™ instructor. Although I was hooked up for a while with BODYPUMP™ I haven’t reviewed any BODYCOMBAT™ releases. My bad!

Anyway, BODYCOMBAT™ 59 has been already launched in some countries, not Jordan though, we are still waiting! But that doesn’t mean I can’t review it!

Let’s start with the warm up in BODYCOMBAT™ 59; personally, I’m sorry, I didn’t like the first musical track used for the warm up, but the second is pretty cool (I Knew You Were Trouble, and Everything About You). The warm up this time isn’t challenging but rather playful, the upper body warm up or as we call it (1A) starts with Boxing, moving towards Karate then Capoeria which is pretty interesting to include the Capoeira in the upper body warm up.

The lower body warm up (1B) starts with Karate takes us to another level with some Muay Thai kicks, then changes to Taekwando.

The warm up generally is easy to follow. I hope you enjoy it!

Track 2 (Combat 1); the track (Danger Zone) is making the workout looks tougher than it is. I like the music. Here they combined Boxing, Swords and Taekwando together. The track is relatively short, but can be really fun.

Track 3 (Power Training 1); Wooohoo!! Alright if you think your upper cuts are not so good, here is the time for you to go to your instructor before or after the class and let them teach you how to upper cut properly! This track focuses mainly only one arm training at a time, almost. It goes in three rounds, and it finishes with an interesting (1,2,3) counts for upper cuts then a combo of jabs and upper cuts. I like this one regardless of the music :P, because it’s quiet challenging. If you think your upper body is weak this one will give it strength and endurance, try it out!

Track 4 (Combat 2); THIS ONE IS CHALLENGING! A lot of focus goes here to the legs, with a taste of different martial arts, you are going to feel your legs burning and your heart rate is going insane, it’s a fast moving track. I do appreciate the music choice a lot here (A Warriors Call); tough, heavy and artistic music! If I say challenging that doesn’t mean you get scared of it, take easy options for a while till you can go harder.

Track 5 (Power Training 2); Cardio, cardio and more cardio. This one got me a bit emotional (hehe) I dedicate this one to my best friend and fitness buddy Shahed Muflih, why because: Bright like the sun you are always shinning there for me, etc. I LOVE OUR FRIENDSHIP BUDDY!

Anyway back to reviewing it; 3 rounds, lots of hooks and sing alongs! The Last round is quite interesting with the pushes and the lungings! Loved it!

Track 6 (Combat 3); Kung Fu and Capoeira? Sounds interesting no?

Actually awesome! To learn to balance on one leg, to help balancing the strength of your legs muscles as you kick slow, to get the chance to conditioning your legs by doing esquivas and to jump lung? This is madness mixed with dubstep! Well designed, your abs are definitely gonna love it!

Track 7 (Muay Thai); if you day dream often of running in some street fighting random enemies and monsters the music will give you a great background to day dream stronger (Lost in Space). I can’t say more, nothing new in the Muay Thai tracks since a looooooooooong time!

Track 8 (Power Training 3); you will be (Falling From The Sky) after finishing the 8 tracks. Pretty cool song here, the speed will work you out. I have always been a fan of combining the upper cuts with the hooks and you will get to experience this in round 3.

Right, so let me criticize something here, sadly the presentations we used to see on DVDs were much of a better quality in terms of performances, techniques and the teams used to be more organized on the stage than we see now. For a while we had Dan and Rach alone on the stage, and I personally thought they should get more people to perform with them, but too many is not good either for the mess that happens on the stage, for the minimum amounts of standardizing the teams. I personally don’t agree with this, especially for the new instructors to see this, they won’t get the chance to take a look at many good role models. I don’t see the point of having a whole army of people on the stage, sorry!

Enjoy the new release, and if you are an instructor please focus on the techniques of your members.

Salute!

Katia J

LES MILLS™ BodyPump™ 88!

BP88
BP88

BODYPUMP™ 88 has been in the house for a while now, although we received it a little bit late, which is the case most of the time in Jordan. I was lucky enough to experience it before it was launched in Jordan, where I live, since I was visiting Dubai in December last year, for a vacation, and I have been invited by Amir Behforooz (AKA KING KONG), a presenter at Les Mills and the Group Fitness Manager at the Aviation Club in Dubai/UAE, to the Aviation Club to attend a BODYPUMP class and lucky enough he did teach release 88, as myself and my friend Mahmoud Salamony, a cool instructor, enjoyed it twice with Amir, Once Mahmoud did team teach with him fully, and next time I was again invited by Amir and at some point the three of us were on stage and enjoyed the thrill of it. Hello Amir and Mahmoud! Thanks for the great times! 🙂

Left to Right: Mahmoud, Myself and Amir

Left to Right: Mahmoud, Myself and Amir

So let’s talk about BODYPUMP™ 88 in more details, I personally think it’s so far the best among releases 83-87!

Warning! This release came to test your stamina! If you doubt your own, try and do 88 with lighter weights. It is physically demanding and challenging. But if you like to push yourself to the edge this release will make you feel great!

What’s Cool in this release?

Music:

The music selection came very successful in this release, I believe Mr. c does spend enough time not only choreographing the program but also picking inspirational music to keep us motivated and carried away. Here’s a hint of the playlist in the release if you still didn’t get the chance to hear it:

  • Killer (Crush  Remix)- SKsim feat. DC Breaks & Dee Freer
  • A little Party Never Killed Nobody- Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock
  • Up in the Air- Thirty Seconds To Mars
  • only you- Ellie Goulding

And others of course. I’m frequently on the run of listening to playlists of other programs, but this program has the best music, although some programs share the same music tracks, but nothing compares to how BODYPUMP™ uses the tracks, if you teach BODYPUMP™ you can easily find the words from the lyrics itself to motivate your team, how cool is that?! And if you are experienced enough the music alone leads you into the choreography.

Smooth, precise and Strong?

The warm up:

I was never impressed by warm up tracks, they have been always annoying to me, not only in BODYPUMP™ but in all programs’ releases. This one is smooth, precise and yet strong. It does actually warm you up fast, it has been designed right, and if you have difficulties remembering warm ups, this one will not be a problem, the sequence kinda makes sense, from warming up the back it moves to the top of your body downwards, finishing with small muscles. So back, shoulders, legs the biceps, the whole thing is over, and once it starts it does feel short, it feels quick although it’s not it’s 5 minutes long. So no confusions, no crazy shifting not so many boring repetitions. It did make me happpyyyyyyyyy! 😀

Are you looking for madness when you workout?

Contrast Training:

which is a mix between speed and pressure can be experienced in tracks 2 (Squats) and 3 (Chest).  For actual results in these tracks I’d say follow the weight recommendation mentioned in your booklets and expose that to your members. In the chest tracks some people go heavy in the chest press then go super light in the fly, as we did fly for a while now, and I totally understand because the typical plates grip is not comfortable when trying to go heavy. Those of you who have the chance to use the LES MILLS™  SMARTBAR™ enjoy the heavy plates performing the awesome “A PRESSES” here, since the grip on the plates is absolutely solid and fantastic. The A PRESS is an excellent workout to isolate the chest muscles, please read more about the execution and techniques in the choreography notes.

Explosions?

Some of you already know the answer! And yes it’s the Back Track:

I’d say there is nothing new in this track, but trust me it does feel fresh and new, it’s very explosive and demanding, and here I insist to try and be a bit tough and go a bit heavier than usual. In my personal opinion the music track is beautiful, it makes you wanna do more than you are supposed to, and every time the music is over at the back of my head I have a silent objection “Oh no! I want more”

Off the Record?

Triceps & Shoulders:

These 2 came off the records this time, I would say shoulders more than triceps, but some people say the opposite. I guess it depends on which you have stronger.

Both tracks were made to do 4 things to your muscles:

  • Confuse them
  • Drain them
  • Strengthen them
  • And certainly shape them

I can’t be thankful enough here! BUT please do not go crazy carrying crazy weights in shoulders tracks because it hasn’t been designed for big weights. No, No, No! But in triceps  yes you can 🙂

Good news? Bad news?

Lunges:

For a while now lunges tracks aren’t coming to please us or give us a break, they have been tough. It’s good new for those who want to maintain stronger legs and glutes, and bad news for people with knee injuries since they can’t lung sometimes. The track is relatively long 5:19 minutes. Fatigue hits the calves at the end. I generally enjoy legs tracks, despite my weak left knee, I still believe strong legs are a reasonable survival.

I know I didn’t talk about Biceps, Core and Cool down. I keep those three to you to explore.

Have fun with it for now, and If you have never tried BODYPUMP™  I guess it’s time for you to go for it, this is a program that does give you results, I promise you that!

FYI no one pays me to write about any of LES MILLS™  programs, I do find this one precisely effective, since I have seen results on myself at least 🙂

Katia 🙂

Teaching Kids to Play the Piano “A perfect therapy!”

My Niece and I
My Niece and I

Dealing with kids was never my favorite thing to do. As I didn’t have enough patience in general, and for them precisely. But with time my patience stretched itself to become wider than before. Kids are indeed the small versions of adults, but in a vulnerable way. They are smart, open, sensitive, joyful, playful, cheerful, curious, considerate, and positive. Unlike adults they learn faster, whether academically or socially, and their tempers are also shorter; not necessarily in a bad way, a child’s action and reaction are quite fast and short lasting. Which means it’s easy to deal with. Kid’s have their own worlds of imagination, they do create their own fantasies and they do like to live in their own bubbles when they have a chance to, and this is absolutely beautiful, since imagination helps them understand people and things around them, and of course themselves better.

It is very important to look at any child as a very important investment, and to take in mind that whatever input they get now ,the output in the future will be reflected, sooner than we expect. What I like about kids, besides being innocent, is their observation skills, and how their brains are made like sponge, they absorb everything they hear, see and notice. Therefore we should be careful around them, seriously careful.

Noticing a child’s talents and skills is their parents huge responsibility, and whatever skills and talents they have must be taken in consideration, in order to expand them and help the child reach out for something new, and something they can benefit from either in the present time, or in their future or both.

So how’s dealing with kids a positive necessary experience?

I’m  not saying I’m ready to have a child but for me, my work obliges me to deal with adults on daily basis, which means massive amounts of stress, headache and pressure, sometimes for a reason and sometimes for nothing. Not everyone you meet at work is a sweetheart! right? So when comparing dealing with kids and dealing with adults, kids do relief stress with their spirit as children, with their joy and laughter, besides their problems and worries  are relatively small and can be solved in no time. Unlike adults, since some adults like to live their problems and worries as a never ever ending drama movie, or maybe they do have serious problems and issues that actually cannot be easily solved.

I disagree with parents who say children and demanding and needy! STOP here for a second! You either spoiled them too much, or they need you because they are helpless and without you they cannot be or do, and being a parent it is your responsibility to help them in certain subjects to a certain extent, plus being a parent means you wanted to bring these kids to life not that they asked you to, so please? On the other hand, adults are needy and demanding while they are capable of doing everything by themselves, of course we are talking about healthy adults here.

Children have no hidden agendas, and they don’t have bad intentions, I’m talking about the majority of kids. And in case you hurt a child with or without intention you’ll soon find it out, as they are open and cannot hide their feelings. So again kids are easy to deal with, because it’s easy to understand what happened to them and what they want and what they don’t want. While adults in general do have hidden agendas, bad intentions and are able to hide their feelings; either to protect themselves or hurt others.

Kids are curious in a good way, not that they can control it, it’s part of their nature, and this is why they learn and absorb info. That means if they like a certain person they consider them their prefect reference. How cool is that? So If you are cheerful and happy, even if you have to fake it or pretend it for their sake to keep them happy, and have something new to say or show they do listen, process and apply, and take you as a role model. This by itself helps you learn how to behave, decide what to say, and what not to do, and it does affect you positively to feel like a super hero for a child. And that is not what you may get from adults, as every adult believes they are a super hero (lol) and so they do not need other super heroes around (double lol)!

The more you live the more you miss your childhood days! Yes! I have noticed that. And yes I do know and understand that today’s children have complete different childhoods than we had. But still they are still inside their childhood zones, so keeping in touch with them means keeping in touch with your own childhood in a way or another, which is very very cool and interesting.

And so, how’s teaching kids to Play the Piano ( or any other instrument or skill) a perfect therapy?

Well, during the piano class, I chill and relax, I explain things in so many ways until things are clear. You may wonder how can someone chill and relax while teaching a class of anything? Well If I compare what I do at work and what I do at home for the kids, then yes I do have a chance to chill and relax during a piano class, unlike when I teach a class at the gym! makes a difference right? So the piano class is a physical relaxation therapy session. Plus I keep the atmosphere friendly during the class, because I don’t want students, I want students who are my friends, even if they are maybe decades younger than me.

During my piano classes, I keep in mind all the things that I hated when I was a piano student and I don’t apply them in my class. Example, I hated so much in summer school holidays the fact that I couldn’t use any nail polish because my piano teacher back then forbade us from using such things, saying: YOU MUST LOOK ELITE LIKE A LADY. Ok well-done! I agree! a pianist is an elite person who looks well and behaves well. BUT!! school kids don’t have a chance to do things like nail polish, let hair loose, use fake tattoos on arms and shoulders, wear jeans pants or shorts. And this goes on almost the whole year. So if I had a student coming to play the piano with their slippers, I do not mind, because these are kids, and maybe they were swimming before they came to me, so I’m cool cool with that. One of my piano students is 5 years old, and she doesn’t notice how she sits down properly at the beginning of the class, and as time passes by and her concentration level goes up her feet automatically lay underneath her, or she crosses her legs and plays the piano. If I did that when I was a child I would have been scolded biiiiiig big time! But hey! That is just a child who is trying to focus, why make it harder? So here I’m breaking old rigid rules from my past that I hated and I smile while I let those rules break one by one! SET OUR KIDS FREE! Yes please.

Listening to kids hitting the keys trying to make the thing they are playing sound like proper music is fantastic and fascinating. Their little hands and fingers can actually do so much, they do impress me a lot to be honest, I haven’t been around kids for so long, up until I decided that I want to teach how to play the piano again. I actually did in the past and I stopped since I had no patience for kids.That does make me think deeper of a human’s physical and mental structure and PRAISE THE LORD! 😀

Looking at their facial gestures changing as they get excited by being successful or unsatisfied by making mistakes helps me each day see behind their faces, and that helps me know how to let them get over their weaknesses. That leads to understanding adults through children. And it is indeed a necessity.

Teaching a kid something they want to learn, helps you motivating yourself to get up and go learn something you’ve always wanted to learn, or to do something you’ve always wanted to do. How? Because when I sit for an hour motivating a child to do what they came for, I realize that yes I’m a motivator so why not to motivate myself? Nothing stops me!

Life sometimes can be rigid and boring, the routine can be a killer, and running in a hamster’s wheel is something I refuse to do for long periods. So teaching kids to play the piano is something that breaks my routine, and for that reason, I try my best not to make the class rigid, lame, pressuring or boring; for my sake and for the children’s.

The fact that you teach a child something (good) and them being successful doing is a very big reward for you! If they succeed it means you also succeeded. So that is also another good reason why adults should teach kids something good and wait for the results, to evaluate themselves as successful or unsuccessful creators.

A note to adults!

Keep your kids busy with good and useful things. I hear adults on daily basis complaining saying they are bored. Boredom is destructive for the body, the mind and the soul. And teaching people since childhood to get busy will guarantee them being busy their entire lives.

I might have sounded sarcastic in some parts of this post, but I’m sorry that is my personality. At least I hope you enjoyed reading.

Katia 🙂