Sunday, June 16, 2013

Where there's a will, there's a way...

I have some exciting news to share...


No, seriously... I work for freaking Les Mills.

So, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 5 years or so, that's about how long I've known about Les Mills.  I started taking their classes right after BODYATTACK 64 launched back in 2009.  I went from zero to diehard in about 30 seconds and began begging the club that I used to work for to hire me as a GFM.  Needless to say that didn't happen, and that's an entirely different post which will most likely never be written.  But what I will say is that experience taught me how bad I wanted it, and also what "it" was.  While I would've started out in that job with passion and enthusiasm, ultimately it would've ruined it for me.  I would've been forced to enforce policies that I didn't agree with against my friends, who would've in turn been pissed off at me.  I wouldn't have been able to teach as much... but more than any of that, I wouldn't have had that burning desire to get what I really wanted...

You know how sometimes you start out with 2 goals... well maybe even just 1.  You have that 1 that's what you really want... we'll call that goal A.  And then the other one is the one you decide to settle on wanting because you don't think that goal A is actually achievable?  We'll call that goal B.  That's how this became for me.  Goal A was always to work for Les Mills, goal B was if I could work in a facility that carried Les Mills programs.  It was a really long few years of trying and getting close, and then getting back to square one.  I learned a lot along the way. During those times when I was feeling hopeless and wanted to give up, I remembered the 200 pounds I lost and how you find a way when you think there isn't one.  You commit to making things happen and NEVER give up.  And I didn't.  And thanks to a very cool lady who is now my boss (hey Anne!), I was able to snag a totally awesome job that I'm now working.

This, of course, meant picking up and moving from Phoenix, AZ to Baltimore, MD.  I have been here for about a month now and the dust is sort of finally settling.  I just wanted to explain where I have been.  Although this blog was started with the intention of writing from an instructor's eyes, I will hopefully now have a second perspective with which to write.  I am excited to continue to spread the BODYATTACK love (I am finally starting to find some clubs to teach at), and also to have a platform to spread more love of all of our programs.

So that's my news, and where I've been the last few months.  Getting hired is a big process, but dammit... never quit and you WILL get there.

Kia Kaha!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BODYATTACK 81 Tracklist

WHOA!!!  It's been 2 months since I posted.  Clearly I'm a slacker, but the good news is there is some fun news I should hopefully be able to share within the next week or so.  But for now, I bring you the BODYATTACK 81 track list!  I've had a listen and let me just say that I am pretty darn excited this go-around.  Although both 79 and 80 were growers, I actually quite like a lot of these songs from the first listen!

A couple notes:  I'm more excited about this warmup then I have been the past few.  Yes, track 6 is that song.  We previously saw it in BA46 as the plyo track but the remixes are completely different.  Track 8 is a remix of the Pink song.  And you'll notice we have double Flo Rida to take us through lower body and core.  The cooldown is an absolutely beautiful song that sounds like it belongs in BODYFLOW.
  1. Feel This Moment - Eleventh Hour
  2. Troublemaker (Summervibes Remix Edit) - Cruise Controllerz
  3. Turn Me On (Kandy Man Remix Edit) - Tuff Rider
  4. This Is How We Rock! (Raindropz! Remix Edit) - Brooklyn Bounce
  5. Boom Boom (Supa Nani Remix Edit) - Lil Krew
  6. What's Up - Deputy Sauce
  7. It's A Biz (The Big Mash Up Tour 2012 Edit) - Scooter
  8. Try (Basslouder Remix Edit) - Dirty Scandal
  9. This Is Love (Basslouder Remix Edit) - Sound Blasterz
  10. Run - Flo Rida feat. Redfoo
  11. I Cry - Flo Rida
  12. Beneath Your Beautiful - Labrinth feat. Emeli Sande
More to come!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lisa Osborne: Aerobics World Champion (VIDEO)

We all know that our program director is an aerobics world champion.  When I was preparing for my interview with her, I did a lot of research to find information on her competition days.  I was hoping to find a glimpse of her in action, as I was curious to see exactly what kind of stuff she had done.  I wasn't able to find anything (which, considering the technology of the early 90s, wasn't surprising).

Thanks to a kind friend/viewer of this blog, I was able to see, and now bring to you, this little gem.  What I hope you take away from this is that you can do anything if you just put your best foot forward and keep moving.  I lost 212 pounds, Lisa won a championship.  What big goal will YOU be setting?

I give you Lisa Osborne, Aerobics World Champion:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Hard to believe how quickly time flies… I remember my interview with Lisa like it was yesterday, and that was literally 2 weeks after filming on 79.  Now, we are receiving 80 in the mail next week!  I guess it means I’m not waiting around for releases!

I tend to classify releases into 1 of 2 categories:  Those I love immediately right from the beginning, and those that are “growers”.  Growers are releases that I don’t really like when I first see/listen to them, but they usually grow on me by the end of launch.  This may not include every single track, but at least some of them will.

BODYATTACK 79 was definitely a grower.  I was not a very big fan when I first watched it.  My closest BA friends will tell you that I was pretty disappointed and fairly vocal about it… pretty much the same initial reaction I had to 73.  There are several reasons for this, and some of them I still agree with today, while others I’ve changed my mind about.  One thing that I see looking back (but don’t think I did at the time) is how much I struggled with the evolution of the program.  It’s no joke that BODYATTACK used to be an 80s aerobics class (it literally used to be called Jazzergetics and they wore leg warmers).  Particularly over the last 3 years, BODYATTACK has changed a lot.  It’s taken me a long time, but I now see the program for what it is instead of for what it used to be.  It is much more a sports boot camp than an aerobics class.  It still contains elements of both, but the moves are much more difficult, the music much more techno, and the vibe much more sporty.  I think if we can accept that this is where the fitness industry and the program are going, then it is much easier to evaluate a release objectively, as opposed to measuring it against some past standard that no longer exists.

As I’m pretty sure I’ve said before, I am a firm believer that actually doing a release live in a class brings an entirely new element to it that doesn’t exist when you’re simply watching or listening to it.  The energy and reaction of the participants, your team teachers, and everything just kind of comes together to take it to a different level.  Some songs take off, some fall, and others keep getting better the more times you do them.  We saw all 3 in 79.

The first thing I remember thinking/noticing was “Wow… this is very Combat-ish.”  We do side bouncing in the warmup, which is a trademark from Combat.  We also did essentially jabs in track 9, and of course the snowboard, which is also known as a decoy.  I’d be interested to learn if this was intentional.  Some people I’ve spoken with even seem to think that it is some sort of subliminal cross-promotion, such as the CX essence we’re seeing in the new core tracks.  In any case, I think it was a bit too much here.  It felt like an intrusion from a different program, sort of like “What???  This is Attack!  Stay over there!”

The other thing I have to mention is my concerns about injuries.  I know that Lisa in 78, 79, and also in the upcoming 80, has mentioned new “high end challenges” designed for those of us who have been doing this program for a long time.  I can understand and respect this.  My one concern is that it almost feels like they want us to show these when they show them on the DVD.  I did 5 launch classes on this release and because of all the tuck jumps in this, I injured my lumbar by the end of the week… a legit sprain that put me completely in bed for 2 days and had me doing heavy modifications.  Even now, 3 weeks later, I’m still trying to fully recover.  I think that if you aren’t extremely careful to have perfect technique the entire class, you are at risk of injury… and for someone who is new, they will be too fatigued to do that.  So I can’t say that I will ever teach both peak tracks in the same class again… at least not without showing plenty more low options.

Now, a quick rundown of the tracks:

Warmup:  The song was a grower, but I can comfortably say I will teach it again.  I like the positive message and fun beats it has.  For those of us who have been doing Attack for a long time (or who have seen older releases), we can see some old combos that have been brought back, such as the 16-repeater variation and the 1 walk forward, 2 step touch combo.  I’m glad to see this, because there are some older moves that I happen to really like, and it’s nice to know they might not be gone for good.

Mixed Impact:  Hands down my least favorite track of the entire release.  I don’t particularly love the song, and the choreography felt very repetitive.  I know we saw a mixed impact with no gallops in 77, so it’s entirely possible that she wanted to do a track that had lots of gallops.  Gallops are not my favorite move anyway, so the overload of them here plus scattered heel digs just equate to a shelving of this track.  I just don’t think it really worked.

Aerobic:  Many participants and co-instructors say this was their favorite track of the entire release.  This was a 180 from mixed impact.  I thought it was a great blend of new combinations, well suited moves to music, fun fitness magic moments, and a well-chosen song for the aerobic dimension.

Plyometric:  Let me just say that as an independent track, it works.  The song works and the moves work.  Ironically, even though this one looks more scary, it’s actually easier to execute then the power track.  The problem I have with this track is haven’t we had it already (BODYATTACK 73 power track)?  It just seems like a carbon copy and I find myself wanting to do jumping jack squares during the part of this track where you also do squares.  I will teach it again, but I think that any song remotely sounding like Are You Ready For This should be avoided for the next 10 releases at least.

Upper Body:  I quite like this one!  The stepping plank is a really fun move that matches the funky beat of the song.  Pushups are my challenge for this year, so this is a good one that makes me work hard.  I will definitely teach it again.

Running:  This is where I struggle… I think I will save my comments about the running track for a separate blog post altogether.  What I will say is I like the song and I think the moves match.  My one complaint is that we don’t have enough room on our stage to show the stepping lunge safely (especially when you’re 6’6 like I am).  In future I will probably move to the floor straight away and teach round 1 on the floor.  And can I just say that I’ve heard the normal version of this song more times than I can count ever since we launched?

Agility:  This was my favorite track of the release.  Sassy song, and it felt a bit more like the late 50s/early 60s agility tracks (most of which I love).  I also really liked the clapping.  As a tall person, it’s difficult for me to execute the power lunging skater move where we reach down.  I’ll have to practice that one more.

Interval:  This track struck me as average.  I’m sure that picking interval songs are very difficult because the key is to be uplifting and inspiring without crossing over into corny/cheesy, and this one was just on the side of the latter.  I think different songs resonate with different people, and this wasn’t one that I loved.  It was also hard to come off of 78 that had arguably one of the best interval tracks of all time.  I do like the choreography a lot of this track and I will most likely teach it again.

Power:  The new sports essence of BODYATTACK shines through here.  Power tracks are not what they used to be.  You see a lot of interval/circuit style training in this track.  I can’t say that I love either the song or the choreography.  The choreography is more because I’m fairly certain this track is the culprit behind my injuries (and others I’ve heard from) and I think we need a break from snowboards.  Also, the fist pump should not be a choreographed move in my opinion.  It would be better left as a fitness magic moment.

Lower Body:  Loved it!  The moves reminded me of Hypnotic (54) and One (61).  I like the final round sequence where we see the BODYSTEP style move that we saw in 70 make a return.  The song is fun and provides for some fun moments and good crowd connection.  A great track!

Core:  This track was really funky, but I absolutely loved it as well.  It was tricky to teach because a couple of the sequences only have 3X8 counts instead of the usual 4X8.  I loved the song and it was a track I could execute, compared with anything with bicycles or leg extensions with upper crunches (my legs weigh 100 lbs each I swear!)

Cooldown:  A more rock-type song, but I liked this one too.  I appreciate Lisa for keeping cooldowns relatively simple, and don’t envy BODYCOMBAT with all of their fancy katas.

So there you have it… I would say that 1,3,5,7,10-12 will all be in regular rotation for me, and 4,6,8 will be seen occasionally.  I will probably never teach 2 again, and 9 will depend on the rest of the playlist and if I feel like my form might be compromised.

Looking onward to BODYATTACK 80, which I’ve already heard, I can tell you that musically the releases are similar.  The new Plyometric track is very different from anything we’ve ever had before, and reminded me of the bicep track from BODYPUMP 84.  I should have that release in a week, so I will write more then.

Also, I realized as this was being written that I’ve skipped BODYATTACK 78’s review, so that will be next, as well as a shorter blog about the Running Track, which I have quite a bit to say about.

Keep the feedback coming!

BODYATTACK 80 Tracklist

This is a straight copy from Glen's blog.  Although I have had the music for a while, I wasn't given the actual names of the songs, so the ones that weren't Top 40 I wasn't sure on.  I will have much to say about this later, and am about to post my review of BODYATTACK 79.


1. Back In Time (Basslouder Remix Edit) – Phat Bomb
2. Good Time – Enchanted Dance
3. Suave (Nick Skitz vs Technoposse Remix Edit) – Nick Skitz & Miami Ink
4. Rock The World – Ideal Heaven
5. Bonfire – Falcon Earl
6. Summer Of Love – Cascada
7. Barbra Streisand – First Exhibit
8. Bridge Of Light – Therapy Loop
9. Where Have You Been – Embodied Temple
10. Wings – Ladies Eclipse
11. Fist Pump, Jump Jump – Ying Yang Twins feat. Greg Tecoz
12. Winner – Pet Shop Boys