Advantages Get fit, get toned, shape up, start enjoying exercise
Disadvantages A lot of sweat is usually involved
Before I go any further, for sample clips of a class and more info, go to: www.squidoo.com/bodyattackINTRODUCTION:
The programme is specially designed by BTS (Body Training Systems, which are part of The Les Mills company). Basically, they create the exercise routines (or 'programmes' as they known) and train instructors across the UK, how to teach them, who then in turn, run the routines at their gyms around the UK. BTS also have other programmes that they instruct, all designed to work different parts of the body, to different degrees of difficulty and ability. The best way I feel to describe Body Attack, is to think of an aerobics class, then notch it up a few gears. It is a cardio vascual interval training programme, set to music, that is a combination of aerobic, strength and stabilisation exercises. The classes can run up to an hour, but usually, if a class is in the morning, it will only run for 3/4 hour so that everyone can be out by 7:45 (I have yet to experience an early morning class, as my body would much rather be in bed at that time in the morning!). I usually go at the weekends or after work, so my hour classes are usually made up of about 10 or 11 'routines' set to different music tracks, which each last around 5 minutes. The first track is always a warm up (I love this one) and is rather slow paced, to build you up into the 'groove' (urgh, hope I didn't sound like Tony Blackburn then). This is sometimes followed by a quick 10 second break (run to towel and get water, wipe down - o and crikey they've started again), then into the next track. After that, there will be another little break and so on, you get the idea. Then the last track is always a cool down (which is lovely, as the lights usually go out and it's really relaxing) with stretches and so forth. The programmes are refreshed (supposedly) and updated every 3 months, but in reality, I think it's more like every 5-6 months (...I'm sure I went to a class at the weekend and did the same thing as I did in March). Each programme 'update' is also given a number, so the instructor can tell you (if you want to know) which programme you're on (i.e. 'Hello everyone, we're doing BodyAttack59 today' - to which I usually reply, quietly to myself - 'woopiedoo just GET ON WITH IT!!') This mode on communication means that they can also tell you if a new programme is coming out...yadda yadda yadda. All the instructors have specific training when a new programme comes out. So in theory, all Body Attacks across the UK, will be the same, so you can jump from county to county doing Body Attack and not have to worry about having to pick up any new routines.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?:
Well...a better standard of fitness, basically. In the average class (and depending how hard you work, of course), you can burn up to 800 calories per session (wow, that's a lot of blummin calories). The nice thing is that different people have different goals to be there: To lose weight, to shape up, to meet people, to keep up fitness levels, to improve co-ordination, to have fun...the list is endless. The classes help to increase your stamina (wahey) and helps improve your overall strength too.
My gym has a number of instructors who run the classes. It can be quite hit or miss whether or not you enjoy it, depending on the ability and enthusiasm that they have. They are all trained to the same standard and all run through the same programme. Some of the instructors are brilliant and really push you to reach you goals. My favourite instructor always asks us to remember why we're there and WHY WE WANT to work hard etc - its really motivational! Whereas, there are other instructors that have been quite wet and really uninspiring, especially when they forget the routine or forget to tell us which direction we need to go in...then we end up in a huge pile of writhing, hot and sweaty bodies in the middle of the room (...hmm maybe some wouldn't find that so much of a problem). This may sound obvious to some, but the instuctors always stand in front of the class and do the routines with you. So you're never expected to know how to do them, there is always someone at the front to copy. They are also really good at spotting those who are having difficulty and giving them options. For example, if you're getting tired and can't do a full on 'lunge' section, they show you how to do a box step instead. All in all, the fitness abilities of the instructors is admirable and I've never met one (I've come across about 6 instructors in my 2 years of going) who is a lousy instructor.
YOUR P.E. KIT:
It's worth noting, that in the class you do a lot...A LOOOOOT of moving around, so you need to wear clothes that are comfortable to move around in and are practical for exercise. It's no use wearing jeans or anything similar. It's best to wear the sort of thing you would wear down the gym...so t-shirts, shorts, jogging trousers etc. I always take a small towel, which is good to wipe yourself down of sweat inbetween the small breaks. They're also handy to lay on a mat before you do any floor exercises - this is down to personal preference, as I don't like the idea of rolling around in someone else's dried up sweat (nice). Depending on your gym's facilities, there should be free water somewehre in the vacinity, but just in case there isn't, or it's crowded with queues of thirsty 'attackers', it's worth taking a bottle of water with you as well...although I find if I drink lots inbetween the breaks, I get stitches and cramps, as it doesn't go down well whilst jumping around like a crazy fool...deary me. The instructor's kit is usually matching the colours of the logo (incase you wanted to match, as well), which are black (almost charcoaly, I'd say) and yellow (almost matching the colour of camels). Foot wear is very important...Trainers are a must!
At first, as a man, I was quite apprehensive about going. I thought I would stick at going to the gym and leave classes to everyone else. I was worried that the whole experience would be like a scene from a Victoria Wood sketch, with some lycra wrapped instructor at the front, adorned in sweat bands, chatting to 'Connie' at the back. Not at all! I thought it would be full of women, leisurely dancing around and that I would stand out as being the only guy, but no no no, there are lots of men that go - believe it or not, lots of people training for athletic championships go along (I really underestimated the level of fitness you would need for this class). Another thing I have noticed since being a regular, is that it is a bonus if you have co-ordintation. Some of the routines require you to hop over here, then step back there, then jump over there, pirouette like this, back flip over there, triple back somersault to the over side of the room (only joking...there's no pirouetting). Seriously, they're not THAT tough, but I went with a friend who was ALL OVER THE PLACE, so it's handy to know your left from your right and be able to move in the same general direction as everyone else. I absolutely love going to Body Attack. Some days I wake up and have no motivation to go to the gym, so I force myself to go to Body Attack, where there is someone there giving me the motivation that I need...it makes exercise so much easier! On a slightly negative note, one thing that bugs me, is after each track, some people feel the need to act like a talk show crowd and clap! Puh-lease...usually I'm so knackered, I can bearly make it back my towel, let alone worry about appaulding everyone for doing some 'great sweating' or something just as obvious - it feels so american-talk-show-ish...urgggh hate it! but your local gym may be not as crazy!
To find out more info about RTS and their programmes go to: http://www.fitpro.com/bts/main.cfm. To find out info about when the classes are running near you, you'd probably have to check your local gym's website.For more information go to: http://www.squidoo.com/bodyattack
Thanks for reading :)
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