Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: BODYATTACK 74

I've decided to switch up the way I do reviews a bit. Rather than break it down track by track, I'm going to give an overall feel in 2 categories: Music, and then Choreography/Innovation. I will make sure to hit each of the tracks within. Give me your feedback on this.

BodyAttack 74: In one sentence, I'd say "A step in the right direction." I was not a huge fan of releases 72 and 73 (reviews pending), and felt that 74 was finally a step back towards the things I love about Attack. One thing I tried really hard not to do with 73 was hold it against the release that Lisa did not present, and felt I did an ok job of that. With that said, it was SO nice to have her back. Attack is just not Attack without her. If/when she ceases being the PD, it will be incredibly difficult for me to continue being as excited about it as I am. She is the living essence of the program, and is always one of the top people I try to imitate.

Before we get to the actual tracks themselves, I need to comment for a second on the direction the production has taken. I totally understand that LM are trying to look more professional and "expensive" if you will, but I find a lot of the new production methods VERY distracting. For example, the new "panning" camera they use, and the TV screens. I recently did a BodyCombat module on release 49, and was unable to see what the presenters did with their feet during a particular combo in track 5 because the camera NEVER showed it... they were either panning around in an angle which blocked it, or they were zoomed on the presenters too closely. This is a bit ridiculous. These materials are educational for us instructors. If the "fanciness" is preventing us from being able to learn our material, that is a problem. And quite often I find myself getting lost in what the new TV screens are showing instead of seeing the choreography. (I have BLAH'd about all of this for the record). End of production soap box.

So, let's begin with the music: I felt that the release was cohesive, and a good balance of top 40 hits plus obscure songs (for lack of a better word). One thing I've started to notice about releases that I consider great, is that they are a cohesive and give a musical journey. Ones that I don't like quite as much seem like 12 random songs thrown together (or some degree of that at least). Standout tracks for me are 2,4,5,9 and 10. Tracks I did not particularly care for include 1,3,6, and 8 to a degree. There was a good balance of artist gender, and some really well known hits that provide a good drive, especially at the peaks.

One complaint I have with the release is the warm-up (admittedly I'm a stickler on these). The song is so ridiculously repetitive and the lyrics are quite annoying. I suppose I could utilize it as an opportunity to coach better technique or connect with the participants, because it's not a song I connect to or play off of lyrically. And then with 8, I simply didn't like the remix. It was a case where when I saw the tracklist, I could not have been more excited about it, but it kind of fell flat with the remix they picked.

Next up is choreography/innovation: Probably the hardest release we have had as a whole since 66. The tracks that you normally get a breather on (upper body, agility) actually keep the heart rate up. Standout tracks for innovative moves include parts of 1, and then 3,4,5,6,7,11. Mixed impact saw the return of heel digs which I absolutely love. I also loved the innovation in the aerobic track... it had a bit of a running feel which is a nice change from the standard knee combo. I wasn't sure I was going to like the "cardio-ness" of the upper body track, but the walking burpee is a nice change of challenge, and it was well received by most of the participants. The running track was different enough to give it its own flavor, but still work as a running track. And then agility was amazing... great challenge and something we've never seen before. Combat fans will love the "snowboard" move which is basically a renamed decoy. The core tracks continue to get harder... and I continue to die LOL.

I need to take a second and talk specifically to the plyometric track: Fight For Your Right. This track will go down in history (for me personally) as one of the best plyometric tracks we have ever had. Sometimes a song is great, but the moves don't feel quite right with the song. Other times (more often actually), the moves are fantastic, but don't really fit the song. Fight For Your Right is one of those instances where EVERYTHING came together perfectly. It's one of the toughest plyo tracks we have ever had, but you know it instantly when the song starts playing. It provides a phenomenal beat that pushes you to try and achieve the challenge, and it's grit-your-teeth great. Brent McLemore did a great job presenting, and I have a new respect for each of those presenters (Lisa, Brent, Amy, Berna) for presenting it flawlessly, when it is such a butt-kicker.

On a personal note, I was VERY grateful for the return of lyrics and driving beats to the Power track. I was not a fan of 72 or 73 because I like lyrics to help drive me, and was much more pleased with this one. Truth be told, Grenade is one of the more challenging power tracks we've had (challenges your endurance as opposed to explosive power like in Take It To The Limit from 66) and the song is perfect to push your efforts. My one complaint with the more recent power tracks is the high knee sprints we've had at the end where the song gets much faster. It gets a bit crazy to the point where I would argue you can't safely execute the moves fast enough. It would be easy for people to fall from bad technique while trying to keep up with the song. In 71, the song did get faster, but not much, and it worked. In 74 particularly, it gets crazy.

Finally, we finish with a cooldown which grew on me. Although it's more of a party feeling then an accomplishment song, I thought it was fun and a nice finale to this workout. Overall, I liked 74 and it improved on most of the problems I had with 72 and 73. Great to have you back Lisa, and thank you for all the hard work! You deliver a great program repeatedly!

AND I must say, based on 75... we are continuing to move in a good direction! I'm actually SUPER excited to talk about 75... watch for a preview post soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Program Evolution?

One thing that is consistently marketed in pretty much every LM program (at least the ones I've received kits for) is evolution. The programs are constantly being re-worked, changed, tested and trialed. This is not only evident in choreography, but in all aspects. The notes have been re-worked based on feedback, LM is in the process of switching to a digital release format, and education is forever changing. I remember back when I trained in BP70, we had the "tips" button on the DVD which featured the program director giving you some specifics for each track and what to focus on. I absolutely loved that feature. By 72, it was gone, replaced with the closed-captioned re-hash of some of the coaching cues used by the presenters. As I've already stated, I absolutely believe that the older education sessions were much better, and they only featured the program directors standing in front of a white screen talking. Now, they are "fancified" with lots of flashy camera cuts, "on scene" shoots, and bouncy graphics. But the information feels diluted to me, and less informative in ways that will actually help me be better.

Over the past year or so, we've seen a lot of changes in some of the programs. In Attack, the 3D approach has been more dramatically implemented. Pretty much every agility track since 67 has had a sport-specific theme such as soccer, football, basketball, etc. BA75 (which I'll be posting about shortly) sees elements of sports training placed into the leg track. Over in Pump-land, lots of super sets are being implemented, as well as more explosive movements such as the power press and pec-dec rotater. We're seeing lots of emphasis on interval training, impact has been added (in a small quantity) to Pump, and in Attack, tracks which used to be a bit of a breather for the heart-rate (conditioning, agility) are now explosive. I know Step has seen the addition of an "Athletic circuit" track which replaces two regular Step tracks. At this point, it's an optional change, but it's being well received so who knows how long this will last?

All of that being said, what is the difference between evolution and change? Evolution usually implies a step forward... but in this particular case, what are we stepping forward towards? It's not as if LM has any official ending date, so what is the end goal? Sometimes it feels as if some of these changes are put in place just to have change. When do we draw the line and say "hey, this is working... let's leave it for a bit" rather than constantly trying new things?

I know that at the top level, their goal is to keep the programs fresh and up-to-date, and I'm sure this has to do with industry trends. After all, LM is a business, and they want to make a profit. If they never changed based on trends, they would lose business. And from a creative standpoint, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to deliver 4 "fresh" releases every year. In addition to all the music hurdles, it must be extremely challenging to think of new ways which not only deliver a workout, but keep it safe and fun for everyone. These new releases undergo massive trialing and refining, and ultimately are passed off by doctors, fitness associations, the creative team at LMI... It is a painstaking and never-ending process.

A recent criticism of Attack has been the interval track. In the 50s and 60s releases, this track was the emotional high of the class. It was usually a top 40 hit with lots of drama in the music and "feel good" essence. Lately, it's started to fall a bit flat. The songs are almost never recognizable anymore, and they are often boring, with no real lyrics to connect to, and no "journey". To this day, I teach pre-BA70 interval tracks about 90% of the time. Why? Because the members love them. They love to sing along, they love the simplicity of the movements, and those songs have plenty of fitness magic moments available. Heck, even BA48's Footloose is a crowd favorite, and much more well received then BA72's Like A Rainbow. BA48 was released in Q1 2005... almost 7 years ago. Should it mean something that a 7 year old track is more often requested then an "up-to-date" one?

Similarly in BodyPump, a criticism that is becoming ever-more discussed with the impending release of BP80 is the increasing "cardio-ness" of Pump. It's true, in old days the emphasis was far more on straight strength-training. The tempos were much slower, and the weight selection changed accordingly. Nowadays, we are doing super-sets... more reps, and moves designed to push the heart rate through the roof. Why? Is it just because this is what the rest of the industry is doing? Is this more effective? I suppose that question is relative... the effectiveness would depend on what each person's ultimate goal was. But why are we making these changes?

To be honest, I personally love the Attack releases of the 50s and 60s. The music was much better... not so techno sounding, more fun sounding, and more lyrics (not to mention ORIGINAL ARTISTS... will we EVER get these again???) The moves aren't so different... at the core, a step-curl will always be a step-curl, an upper cut will always be an upper cut, and a dead-row will always be a dead-row. They can change the music, rhythm, or combination, but the core moves will always be pretty much the same. One thing that I WILL agree on is that the newer releases are tougher. But if the music has lost its ability to push me to work harder, is it really more effective? If I work twice as hard in an easier track because the music drives me, then it really doesn't matter.

I would challenge people to really look at what it means to evolve, and not change just for the sake of it. If we lose all of the great things that got us to where we are, then we have no history or starting point from which to build. We should learn from our heritage to give us a brighter future.

Friday, November 11, 2011

BodyAttack 75 Tracklist

Thanks to Mel over at TotallyLesMills.com, here is the BA 75 list!
  1. Give Me Everything (Sunny Dee Remix) - Jason Born
  2. Party Rock Anthem - Party Playaz feat. The Rocks
  3. Freakin' Perfect - Flo Drive
  4. Party Over Here - Dan Winter
  5. Sweat - Duration Plus
  6. Night Nurse - Studio 88
  7. We No Speak Americano - Mario vs. Global
  8. Fallin' (Barley Remix) - Breeze vs. Barley feat. Taya
  9. Fading Like A Flower (Sonitus & Daniel P. Remix Edit) - Vegas Crashers
  10. The Edge Of Glory - Southern Light
  11. Own This Club - DJ Marc
  12. Telling The World - Logan S.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BodyAttack 75 Sizzler

It’s time to Give Me Everything with BODYATTACK 75! This release is driven by music that’s high-energy, fun and inspiring – just like BODYATTACK!

Track 2 sees the debut of a new move, the Running Man. This is a first for BODYATTACK and it will leave you with a big smile on your face while your body finishes warming up, getting you ready for the high-intensity moves that are about to hit!

You’ll be Freakin’ Perfect in Track 3 as you let your heart rate peak with a BODYATTACK favourite, the Superman! Couple this move with some Jumping Jacks and your body won’t know where to send the blood – to your arms or your legs!

It’s time for intense Lunges now, and your opportunity to change the shape of your legs. There are options if you need to take things down a notch – we want everyone to do whatever it takes to make it to the end of the class, that’s all! Fitness is something you earn.

The Walking Burpee makes a return this release, this time joined by Bottom Half Push-ups to make one killer combo to condition your whole body as you complete this strength training sequence. We can promise that you will Sweat through this whole track, just like the song says!

If you love baseball, you’ll love Track 7. This track is sports agility training at its most intense and whether you’re a baseball novice or not, you’ll be running to bases, picking up balls and throwing them like you’re a professional in no time.

There will be no Fading Like A Flower in Track 8 as you experience a final boost of high-intensity interval training that will help you increase your fitness dramatically. Sprint as fast as you can at the end of the track – the energy of the group will help motivate you, as will the fact that you’re on the stretch to home base and the awesome conditioning tracks that await you. You’ll be onThe Edge Of Glory before you know it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

BodyAttack 75 Poster

Thanks to Glen, here is the Attack 75 poster! And a special congrats to Glen, as he's also IN the poster :)

Hopefully this means tracklists to follow...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Catching Up: Attack 73, 74, Education and other happenings...

Kia Ora everyone!

I am indeed still alive... and I appreciate all of the words of encouragement you've all provided during this silent period. There has been much to talk about. Every time I'd sit down to write a post, something would come up... and it would end up half written again. I used to write quite a bit from work, and lately my job functions have changed and I no longer have the downtime I used to.

Life is crazy, but the good part of this is that I've been spending a lot of free time teaching and team teaching. Since this blog really wouldn't be in existence without the program, I can't help but be somewhat grateful that I've had less energy to devote to it, because I've been devoting said energy into teaching!

Now then, excuses over. Let's get into some things I've been wanting to discuss:

BODYATTACK 73

Yikes... This release took me on an emotional roller coaster. Although this post will not serve as my official review of the release, I am going to say a few things along the lines of a review. First of all, my expectations for this release were pretty high. The reason I say this is because Glen Stollery had attended the filming of the masterclass and talked about how amazing and difficult it was. Obviously, we all have different opinions/views on what makes a particular release fly (or, in some cases fall), but I trust Glen's opinion on things. He's extremely level headed and writes very honest/fair reviews on BodyCombat, so I had no reason to doubt him and was very excited to get my releases and see what had him "breathing out of his arse" as I believe he put it. :)

So I get the release. First of all, I had learned in the interim that Lisa was not presenting in the masterclass due to being ill post-Hunter. That in and of itself is incredibly disappointing. Lisa is like my own personal hero/cheerleader and I look forward to my quarterly Attack class with her. Her voice motivates me to try harder, push further, and just strive for greatness. It was an immediate bummer that I knew she wasn't presenting. And I'd also be lying if I said that who and how a release is a presented did not affect my opinion. I was less than thrilled about the presentation of 73, but will save further comments for the review.

With that said, I pretty much despised 73 right from the first time listening to it up until about 5 classes into launch. I had started 3 separate blog posts on the release, including a scathing short review, a post that was going to discuss "What to do when you hate a song/release" (which I still intend to post), and one that was going to ask for feedback on whether or not someone has ever just skipped parts of a release or an entire release altogether. Yes, I disliked it that much. It didn't help that my club hosted a module on that release, which meant that all the trainee instructors were prepping for videos and had to teach it over and over and over again...

My problems with the release had very little to do with choreography and largely to do with the music. This is where the conflict with me arises. Because I will be the first to admit that everyone's tastes are different, and what I like and dislike shouldn't exclusively dictate what I teach, because there will be other tracks in the body of material that other participants will be drawn to. Choreographically, there were some innovations in 73 that we haven't seen before, and I always appreciate that. Track 9 was tough, featuring plyos for the first time in 7 releases. I also admit that a large part of my initial opinion of a release has to do with how I feel about tracks 1,9,12. If I don't like 2 of the 3, odds are I will write off the release as a whole. Long story short, I have learned to love half of the release. I will discuss this in detail in my review, which will be coming soon.

But the other half of this conflict is that I know the Attack community at large (especially those of us who have either been around long enough, or somehow otherwise experienced the late 40s and 50s releases) cannot stand 73 and are concerned with where the past few releases have been taking us. The music has swayed MUCH more to the techno side, lyrics have taken a back burner to heavy beats and synthesizers, and we haven't had an original artist in several quarters now. This is aggravating in and of itself... and I know what you're all going to say. The whole PPCA thing is very much at fault for this. It's still aggravating, and I'd be lying if I hadn't shot a few choiced four letter words in Australia's direction (at the PPCA, not at them in general :) ).

But yes. Due to the music choices, as well as the training-dictated repetitions of 73, it has been largely shelved for the immediate future. I have more to say about all of this, but will let it rest for now and move on to other topics...

BODYATTACK 74

Unlike 73, I hadn't heard much about 74 prior to getting the release. I knew Brent McLemore and Amy Styles were back, both of whom I cannot say enough good things about. I also knew Lisa was back, which was very exciting. And once I saw the playlist, I was quite encouraged. I already knew and loved 5 of the songs. Granted, Attack uses remixes, but still. There are times when the playlists come out and I've never heard of the vast majority of the release. So this was encouraging. The time came, and I popped the DVD into the player.

YES!!! Good stuff. I am quite excited about 74, save a few songs. One thing that immediately sticks out to me is that it's HARD. We tend to say this about every release, but I've done the release myself now, and tracks 4,5,7,9,and abs are all amongst the most challenging of their slots. This one will take some practice for me to be ready to teach.

Now I'll give you a sneak preview, as well as my initial reaction, track by track:
  1. Warmup - The grapevine is back, squat taps are still around which I love. I don't like the song and it's too fast for a warmup in my opinion. We need to start a little slower and build more gradually.
  2. Mixed Impact - I like the song. Heel digs are back for the first time since 66, which I love. Another great innovative combo in this one. People are complaining about the ending of the track, I like it.
  3. Aerobic - Like the new variations of choreography, hate the song. Features a run towards the stage, turn around and run back.
  4. Plyometric - LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! The song is perfect, the moves are perfect, it's the perfect combination and a perfect fit for a track 4. Combo of plyos and squat jumps. It is HARD. I was not able to do the entire track high when I did it the first time. There is virtually no recovery time either. But if I hadn't already written my top 10 plyo tracks, this one would be on it.
  5. Upper Body Conditioning - Another great track!!! Features a walking burpee that we've never seen before. I was able to successfully execute every walking burpee, but was not able to put the focus on the pushups that I wanted to. It's more cardio then usual for an upper body track, and I can understand why people would worry about teaching it on a wood floor. It will need to be modified and/or heavily optioned based on the class participants.
  6. Running - Dull and boring. Don't like the song. Too repetitive, and the new "sprint" moves don't really work.
  7. Agility - Snow sports based. Although I know some people on the forums are bitching that this isn't a mainstream sport, I personally take the opposite view. Attack isn't dying anytime soon, so unless you want nothing but basketball, soccer, and volleyball moves for the rest of our lives, I can appreciate the diversity of the sports. There is a Combat-inspired snowboard move that is basically the same as a decoy. I like this one, but again, VERY challenging. The song is funky, but appropriately so.
  8. Interval - There has been a lot of discussion about the flatness of the last few interval tracks. I was really excited when I saw the song being used here, but I have to say, the remix used kinda ruins it. It's quite a bit like 67, where you get the same 2 lines of the song over and over, layered between sections of instrumental techno music. It's not terrible, but not great either. This song has been used in a previous Attack release (pre the format change, but still), and instructors who have been around that long WILL argue that the older version is better. I can't say I disagree. Lisa has told us directly that the choreography for track 8's will never change much, and the small variations we do see don't make up for the crappy version of the song.
  9. Power - I very much like this one, and it will be a new challenge track for me. Some have compared it to 66 for difficulty. I would say it is difficult in different ways then 66. Where 66 features sections of explosive power like tuck jumps and plyos, this one is more about endurance. For example, there are no tuck jumps or plyos, but there are really no recoveries either. I was reminded of Proud Mary from 70 when I did this track in terms of the moves and combos used (lots of jacks, high knees, drop squats), but the verses are slightly longer. LYRICS ARE BACK!!! Hallelujah!!! I do not like that the newer track 9's are using fast sprint endings, and hope that this goes away soon.
  10. Lower Body Conditioning - My favorite song of the release. So much so that it's threatening to dethrone Down from 69 as my favorite stand-alone leg track. There's a variation on the lunge here where you tap back to the side to engage the glutes... I appreciate this a LOT being a tall person. A fairly standard leg track that's not too complicated, but different enough and a great song.
  11. Core Conditioning - Great song. The track will kill me. It has a side crunch... yes, a side crunch as in you are on your side and crunch one leg in and balance on one arm... not that coordinated here.
  12. Cooldown - Don't like the song. We were due for this, since I loved 71,72,73's... Cooldowns are hard for me in their own right, as whenever I learn a new one I immediately forget the old one I'd learned. So I will save further commentary until I've actually learned this one.
Overall this is a challenge release, the likes of which we haven't really seen since 66. I'm grateful I didn't have to module on either one.

Hopefully that's enough to keep you interested. I've already learned half the release and we are still 3 weeks out from launch. I learned most of 73 the week before we launched. That alone should tell you my difference in opinions. :) Now a few comments on what has become a sore subject for me:

QUARTERLY EVENTS & EDUCATION SESSIONS

DISCLAIMER: I don't mean to be a naysayer here... truly I don't. As those of you who've been reading my blog know, I have worked behind the scenes at a quarterly and have a HUGE respect and appreciation for the folks at LM and all the hard work they do to put these together. It is not easy... They virtually get no rest for the day or two prior to them, and put in 20 hour days to pull them off.

It's also possible that what I'm about to say is exclusive to the United States. I have decided that I'm going to BLAH about this somehow... I haven't decided what form yet, but somehow I will. I'm not one to just bitch about something without looking for solutions (aside from a particular track or release, but that's because there's basically nothing I can to do change those).

Quarterlies have, in my opinion, basically boiled down into nothing more than a full day of participating in classes with a large cover charge and severe dehydration. In other words, I pay $800.00 to fly somewhere and participate in a few classes. That's it. It's a bit discouraging to me to know that I'm not really missing out on much by not going to one, yet so much emphasis is placed on them by the upper ups at LM. And it's not that I'm not willing to pay when I can afford it. I've been to 2 quarterlies and an AIM this year. But honestly, I don't get much for my investment when it comes to quarterlies. The education sessions aren't really education. They are more "this is what we've done, this is what is coming up". I want more. I think that what they are teaching in AIMs should be sampled and taught at the education sessions at quarterlies. I also think that the education sessions should be done differently. I get a sense that the trainers are given a wide range of freedom on what to do in their sessions. I think the PD or someone else in such a position in New Zealand (or the program coach) should write the entire education session and the trainer should deliver it, so that the education being delivered across the world is universal. I also think the quality needs to be higher. I don't usually come away from these feeling like I've learned much which I can apply to my teaching. When it's a PD from New Zealand the session usually turns into a celebrity interview/Q&A that you might read in a magazine with things such as favorite songs, favorite releases, embarrassing stories from the past, etc...

I will be the first to admit that the energy that the presenting teams and PDs from New Zealand have is contagious and phenomenal. This is why I was willing to pay to fly to Orlando and take AIM from Lisa herself. The things I learned in AIM were true education. We did drill sessions on moves from the class, we talked about the essence of the program and how to teach Attack in the essence of Attack... all of which is extremely helpful and applicable. Quarterlies don't allow time for this. They have to take 10-11 hours just to get through all of the masterclasses. Now don't hate me, but I don't enjoy any of the other formats as much as Attack. I don't really have a desire to take a Jam masterclass even if it's taught by Gandalf, nor do I love RPM enough to take it from Glen. These just aren't my thing. I think the time at quarterlies would be better served by running mini AIMs for each format simultaneously, where you do the masterclass, but you then do specific education for the format, similar to an AIM or training module. Because honestly I'm not willing to pay such huge amounts of money anymore just to go take Attack from Lisa. I will do this for Attack 80 next year when I fly to New Zealand, but quarterlies need to be more beneficial. I can take a Pump class from Glen in my own living room every quarter... I want to learn and develop. And if LM is marketing quarterlies as a tool to help achieve this, then that's what they need to deliver. Especially when they are taking forever to release AIM 2. (I feel frustrated when my career future is in the hands of others and they are stagnant).

Similarly, the education sessions on the DVDs have also suffered. Lately I've been watching a lot of older releases from the early-mid 50s. My rule is I can't watch a masterclass until I watch the education session once. There were some FANTASTIC education sessions during this period which followed all of what I just got through describing I'd like to see. Now they are all generic and the concepts aren't always applicable. You can spend an hour describing the scientific benefits of core strength to me, but I won't be able to apply enough of this to make me a better teacher, and I'm not a biology major so yeah.

I don't mean to just bitch endlessly. As I've said, I plan to rewrite this into a BLAH with recommendations and forward it on, but it has been weighing on me for the past 2 months, since I've been solicited nonstop on every platform including my Facebook on how important and great these quarterlies are, and I just don't agree entirely. I'd love to hear your guys' thoughts.

Well, that's it for now. I have MUCH more to say, but I've got some other things to do tonight and gotta run! I hope you are all enjoying the new stuff, and ANYONE with any info on Attack 75, shoot it my way!!! Also, please give me any feedback you have on what you want to hear! I really do want to get back to doing this more regularly.

Kia Kaha!

Monday, August 1, 2011

BodyAttack 74 Full Sizzler

Energy, passion, drive and challenge - BODYATTACK™ 74 has it all!

You’ve got 60 minutes to get a sweat up, to give your body and mind a great workout, and to prepare for the Life Of A Superstar.

A full-on Aerobic track will have you reaching higher and dropping deeper to get the heart pounding. If you need them, the low-impact options are always there to fall back on.

Your legs get an examination with an awesome Lunges/Squats power combo that really loads your legs and guarantees fast results.

As the spotlight switches to your upper body, Walking Burpees are an exciting new feature that will shape arms and shoulders like nothing else - except maybe a million Tricep Pushups.

You sure weren’t Born This Way, but you’re on the ‘right track’ to a better you!

The Running track continues the sporting theme of this release. Drive out of the blocks with Sprint Starts - no false starts now.

If you’re heading into winter, here’s a chance to prepare for the mountain. Snowboarding drills will develop leg strength, while side-to-side skiing moves will test lateral agility and speed for zipping down the slopes.

Interval training gets you gasping again before reaching a second peak in the Power track. You’ll feel the Grenade go off in your chest - kaboom!

Lower body conditioning helps maximize your performance in all other BODYATTACK™ exercises and as the music takes you Higher, you’ll need to sink lower into your work.

Then, you’re On The Floor, but it’s not a dance floor. Instead, we attack your core with Leg Extensions, Side Planks and Crunches, before allowing you to reflect on your achievements of the past hour.

Well done, team!

BodyAttack 74 Tracklist

  1. Seek Bromance - MasterControl feat.Kiki
  2. Life Of A Superstar - Starburst feat. TT
  3. Whip My Hair - Mandy Brewer
  4. Fight For Your Right - Crass Crew
  5. Born This Way - Southern Light
  6. Never Leave You - Steve Rage feat.Julija
  7. Bbbbbbbounce - Breat Soldiers
  8. Heaven Is A Place On Earth (Mabra Edit) - Mabra
  9. Grenade - Rico Davoli
  10. Higher - Logan S. feat. Juno
  11. On The Floor - Red Beans & Rice
  12. Let’s Go - Blue Tide
    *BONUS 5 - No Way But The Hard Way - ABCD

Saturday, July 23, 2011

BodyAttack 74 Poster/Mini Sizzler

BODYATTACK 74

Energy, passion, drive and challenge – this release has it all! The full-on Aerobic track will have your heart pounding before your legs are tested with an awesome Lunges/Squats power combo and the new Walking Burpees fire up arms and shoulders. You sure weren’t Born This Way but you’re on the ‘right track’ to a better you.


Stay tuned... a slew of new posts coming shortly!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mixing Releases?

On some weeks when I have to miss a regularly scheduled class, I will go to the gym after work on Saturday and do an Attack DVD by myself. This is kinda fun for me. I take the class from Lisa (who always motivates me), and I do lots of mirror work for technique. Also, when I do the class as a participant, I force myself to do all high/as much high as possible. But lately I've been thinking about something, and that's mixing releases.

Obviously, when I do a DVD, I do one entire release start to finish. This is a large departure from how I normally teach, or how most of the instructors at my club teach for that matter. I would venture to say that most of us (myself included) are driven by the music, so we pick the ones we like most and that's what we most often teach. It makes sense, as Attack is the most challenging format... especially when teaching. It would be difficult to "get into it" with songs you don't love, or don't even like.

As I go through my back catalogue, it's really interesting to see which tracks people loved vs hated. For example... yesterday I did Attack 52. Obviously the majority of that release rated well with the instructors at my club. We do 3-9 all the time... in fact I didn't even have to learn Round And Round when I made the jump from participant to instructor because I already knew it. However, with that said, I have only done track 10 maybe once or twice, and I had never seen 1, 2, or 11. I'll discuss this further in my 52 review (whenever I write it), but that mixed impact track is arguably the hardest of any release I've ever done. You are galloping for 2/3rds of the track, the arms are almost always up high vs most tracks where they are extended out. It probably didn't help that my shoulders were still toast from the week (and subsequently, most of track 5 was done on my knees). But now I'm getting sidetracked... I'm wondering if sometimes certain tracks get lost in the mixing... tracks which some participants would love. And maybe we owe it to them to show them all their choices and let them choose.

Essentially, most of the Attack classes at my club are team-taught, and most of them have random track mixes of whatever the instructor likes (plus, obviously, any requests). You might do 12 different releases within the same class. I have noticed a small handful of instructors who will teach any tracks they do from the same release. But I don't think one time have I ever gone to another instructor's class that wasn't a launch and they did a release in its entirety (I have done it a few times in my own). And as I do an entire release as a participant, it's fun to see how Lisa puts different pieces in different tracks that tie the entire thing together. For example, in Attack 46 there's modified squat tap where you rotate your torso and punch to the side in both the warmup and the leg track. In 62, you do a one-leg tap in front, on side, then in back in both agility and the leg track. In other releases, she will vary the moves... 53 doesn't have Supermans in track 3, but it does in track 9. I just feel like there's a certain message or quality present in doing an entire release that sometimes gets lost in the mixing.

What are your guys' thoughts/opinions/feedback about this topic? Do you teach entire releases, or do you mix all the time? Do you think it matters? And, in addition... how often do you change your mix? I've heard the gambit of responses (and subsequent reasoning). Leave it the same for 3 weeks so they get the hang of it, then switch... switch every time so no one gets bored... blah blah. I will admit I tend to switch it depending on how many new people I have. But what do you guys think?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Career Growing Pains and other Life Happenings

Hi Readers/fellow Attackers.

I wanted to drop a quick post and apologize for the lack of happenings on my blog lately. As anyone who writes a blog comes to discover, life often gets in the way of things. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but we all have to figure out a way to get everything done within that time. It's not always easy, and there are often many obstacles along the way.

With that said, these past few months have been extremely trying on me for personal reasons. I don't want to spend too much time dwelling on what hasn't been right, but basically my life has been in a state of flux. I had a couple of job opportunities that came up... which all would've been amazing. My ultimate goal, which I haven't really shared with anyone (but which will come as no surprise to anyone) is to move into Group Fitness full time. Not just as an instructor, although that will always be the first love of my life. But I'd like to manage the Group Fitness department at a club that has Les Mills programs, or work for Les Mills directly (most likely a US agency). I also want to become an Attack assessor/trainer/presenter, and just get really involved on a larger scale.

Over the past 4 months (well... a year and a half would be the very beginning, but that's a different story) there has been some almost-opportunities for me to actually make that happen. I spent a good portion of my time in a holding pattern. I kept waiting for answers, and also tried to figure out how to have the rest of life in order should such an opportunity present itself (some of these opportunities would've involved moving to a different state). On top of it all, my lease at my apartment was due to expire so I've had to plan lots of different locations for moving, try to plan life out around different jobs... a couple other personal things happened which I will not share at this time, but which further complicated things... (they aren't bad, they just mean life will change.)

Long story short? None of it came to fruition. At the end of all the waiting, all the stress, all the fighting... life stayed exactly the same. I am moving to a different apartment, but in the same city. I will continue at my same job for now. In the first few days following all of this hooplah, I was a bit depressed and sort of feeling like I had gone through all of this for nothing.

But I'm taking from this something larger. I'm a firm believer in listening to God/Higher Power/whatever you want to call it. What I come away with is the firm decision to make a career change, and I now have a (somewhat fuzzy) roadmap on how to get there. It's no longer a matter of if, it's simply a matter of when. It's amazing to me how, when you finally get on the right path in life, things immediately calm down and work together with you. It's sort of like getting lost on side roads or within a subdivision while looking for the main highway. Once you find it, all the stress goes away... even though you have yet to arrive at your destination.

I think back a few months, or even a year, to when I didn't even think this was within the realm of possibility. I thought I'd just work an 8-5 day job and teach on the side and that would be it. I was working towards a different degree in school, and I was busy. What did I discover? Life kept getting in the way of Group Fitness. Work gets in the way of me taking the class I want to take, I find myself scheduling other appointments and social events around gym time, and I get sad and depressed when I can't go.

I was busy, but I wasn't fulfilled at all. Teaching wasn't enough. If I could, I'd live in a group fitness room. I'd never leave. I'd continue to refuel and just keep taking classes/teaching classes. But I want more... I want to take care of the sound system, and make sure the floors are clean. I want to stand up at the front and ask every person if they have ever tried a group fitness class, and encourage them to join one. I'd love to meet new instructors and help mentor them on their journey. I want to do all of this because I care that much about it. It's not about me, it's about making sure that it gets taken care of by someone who cares. At my current job, we have a manager who literally brings a banjo with him to work and takes 2 hour lunches. He does not fight for us for anything we ask for with his superiors, and he is set to retire in September, although he is already retired... I want more than that for Group Fitness. I want to contribute on a larger scale, or on multiple scales. I love what Group Fitness has done for me, I love what BodyAttack has done for me... and what they continue to do for me. I've now determined that this is it... this is what I was meant to do, and there's no turning back. It feels Right with a capital R. I'm finally in my truth.

And in the meantime, I have been so blessed. Many of my strained relationships at my club have been nourished and are now fantastic. I'm teaming 3-5 times, I've networked some amazing professional connections for the future, and I've also gained one of the best friends life could offer through the whole process... I know where I'm headed and sort of how I'm getting there. I'm set up for success, and life is good.

So, I promise to now be more present on this blog. Thank you all for your messages, thoughts, and urgings to get me writing quicker because you love reading. I'm honored and flattered! I've got a list of posts to get up here and will get cracking. Keep staying tuned, keep turning it up!

Kia Kaha!
Chad

BodyAttack 101 05: Upper Body Conditioning

Ahh... first cardio block finished!!! Time for some active recovery for the heart (although most of the time you don't really feel like it's a recovery). One thing that's really pushed/emphasized about BodyAttack is that it's an overall body workout including strength training (this track clearly fits into that dimension under 3D). For our first round we hit the upper body, including arms, chest, (and more recently) the core. The past few releases Lisa has really bumped of the level of challenge by including core work. Now stabilizing and bracing the core are essential to pushing yourself through this track.

All that said, what it basically boils down to is pushups... a lot of pushups. Now it's no secret to anyone who knows me that my upper body strength is my current weakness (along with flexibility that effects my kicks in track 8...) so this track... not such a favorite of mine. I often feel weak and inept. I have come a LONG way since I first started... I can now do every chest pushup in a track on the high knee option, and am doing about 1 full round of tricep pushups on the high knee option as of this posting. I'm fairly certain I could start doing some of the chest on my toes. The problem is that I sweat buckets all over the floor, and my hands start slipping. I have injured my shoulder in the past, and can't afford to re-injure it. So I'm trying to figure out some sort of solution against that. But I'm determined to progress, so it's definitely a goal I'm actively working on.

Bare all of this in mind as you read my top 10. They may not all be the hardest, they may not be the most popular... but it all comes down to song for me. What song is going to push me to actually try harder... to actually push myself and not just quit when I hate the vast majority of the track and would rather die. A lot of people have this same feeling with the cardio blocks... for me it's the pushups. So, here are my top 10: Love me or hate me, but yeah!

Edit 6-13-11 This post has been near completion for two months. The last 4 tracks were added today, but the descriptions are all similar. I do apologize for that, but when almost every track is all push-ups, and the only way I get through them is to pick the cheeky songs... not much else to say!


  1. 64 - Hot N Cold - Ahh the one that started it all... (64 was the first new release I launched as a participant). For one thing, I just really love this song outside of the BodyAttack world, so it only stands to reason that it's a good choice for me. I really like walking planks, so the crab crawl is a good move for me. The track alternates between crab crawls and tricep pushups, and then a round of chest pushups at the end. Lisa also presents this one (and might I say... she looks phenomenal) and she gives really great cues for pushing yourself to the end. It's my favorite song out of the pushup tracks.

  2. 57 - Beware Of The Dog - He's comin to getcha!!!! This one features an alternating hand walk and both types pushups. No surprises... just a fantastic beat, very gritty sound, and catchy lyrics.

  3. 65 - I Don't Care - Basically the exact same as Beware Of The Dog in both music (they sound very similar) and moves... This hand walk is a walking plank where only your hands move. 4 steps backwards, 4 steps forwards. The rest of us can find happiness in misery here... :)

  4. 69 - Sexy Chick - Enter the core punishment. Each round starts with tricep pushups, then the new move which is a plank-twist (while in a plank, you rotate your body to one side or the other, alternating) and then chest pushups. 3 rounds. Done. Fun top 40 song, especially when there's lots of ladies in the room, and I like the twist on typical chorey (no pun intended).

  5. 67 - Boom Boom Pow - A whole lot of pushups with a single step version of the crab crawl put the boom boom pow into the chest. I trained on this release, and I really like this track.


  6. 60 - Kiss Your Mama - Na na na na na na na... A one-hand tap, lots of rhythm changes to work the muscle at different angles, and plenty of bottom halves. The song is cheeky, and everyone seems to enjoy it in the audience. Yay!

  7. 72 - Drummer Boy - It's hard, but the song has attitude... do you see a recurring theme for push-up tracks? This is the only way I get through them! One hand-foot stomps, then 12 singles... 3-4 times doing both chest and triceps. It's long, it's hard, and it's fun!


  8. 58 - Walk This Way - Who doesn't love Aersomith? This one is always a crowd favorite. Somehow I find myself wishing that the remix had male singers instead of female, but it's still fun. One hand taps to the corner, lots of chest pushups with alternating taps. This is one I get lots of requests for, which I always appreciate.

  9. 59 - Dirty - Oddly, it's not the participants that particularly love this one, it's all my fellow instructors. The lyrics are fun but a bit risque, so we only teach this one to certain classes. A teeth-clenching beat that helps you force your way through some serious work.


  10. 56 - Lolita - I put this one in here just because I had several participants who read this blog who specifically said it must be here. The main thing about it is the corkscrew move which is different from most of these tracks. The bad side of this? The corkscrew is HARD!!! Any of these tracks that require both lots of upper body strength PLUS core... a great workout, but a really hard time for Chad!!!

And there you have it! First half of the class? CHECK!!! Give yourself a big pat on the back... most beginners walk out during track 3. Next up? Running!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

BodyAttack 73 Tracklist

Thanks Glen!

Warmup: Only Girl In The World (E-Nergy Remix) – Nick Skitz vs DJ Lotus
Mixed Impact: Dirtee Disco – Freenote
Aerobic: Raise Your Glass – Marlee Hines
Plyometric: Shake It – Timeless Kru
Upper Body Conditioning: I Got My Eye On You – Pack ‘n Pop feat. Binz
Running: Wherever You Will Go (Starsweeper Remix) – Spike
Agility: Head, Shoulders, Kneez & Toez – Beat Soldiers
Interval: We Dance On – Subz Project
Power: Are You Ready For This – Sweat, Sweat, Hoodie
Lower Body Conditioning: Higher – Global Nation
Core Conditioning: Yeah 3x – Chris Brown
Cooldown: What Do You Got – Hiroshi Free

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BodyAttack 73 Sizzler


This action-packed release will set your hearts racing and drive you to a new level of athletic fitness.


Only Girl In The World helps you relax and have fun during the Warmup, and that light-hearted mood carries into the first real working track as you bust out the Dirtee Disco moves for Mixed Impact.


As the momentum builds, don’t forget to take options if you need them.


Aerobics training encourages you to Raise Your Glass as you raise your heart rate, but you’ll have to really Shake It as Plyometric Lunges send you to your highest peak yet during sport training in Track 4.


Then, hit the deck and give us some Pushups, mixed up with a Crab Crawl and Plank & Pointer that will severely test your upper body strength. Again, don’t forget those options ... just don’t bail out!


Enjoy the chance to run with your team – round and round, corner to corner ... wherever the music takes you.


Track 7 trains you to win on the court, testing your agility through a variety of diagonal, lateral and backward running drills, the Lunge & Catch, and foot speed through the Ladder Run. Stay sharp, stay focused.


You “dance on” through interval training, but Are You Ready For This ... High Knee Running and Jumping Jacks develop the power, then Squats and Lunges condition your lower body while taking you Higher.


Take it to the floor to work on your core and before you know it, you’re lying in a pool of sweat ... a sure sign you’ve completed another intense workout that provides you with everything you need to achieve on the sports field.


Friday, April 29, 2011

BodyAttack 73 Poster


Thanks to Glen, the BodyAttack 73 Poster is here for your viewing. I expect the sizzler and track list will be along shortly. I've also written about half of the BodyAttack 101 05 post... will hopefully have that up soon!

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: BodyAttack 69

Kia Ora!!! It's nice to have a few minutes to write a post. Many of you have written me personally to offer comments, support, and are actually anxious for me to write here! I am humbled and honored that my passion for Les Mills and this particular format is worthy of your time, and I hope to continue this for many years to come. With that said, I'd like to continue my review series!

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the content below is my own personal opinion of the release. I welcome all feedback and acknowledge that everyone has personal tastes!

BodyAttack 69! It's been almost a year since I received this release and launched in it's entirety, but I remember a good portion of the tracks, which does speak to its quality and effectiveness. It contains a few tracks which will appear on my Attack 101 top 10 lists, and it also features some amazing presenters. Overall, as most Attack releases are, this one is solid. Let's jump right into it!


  1. I Gotta Feeling - Such a fantastic song!!! I'm a firm believer that warm-ups should start you off energetic, excited, and full of anticipation for the class. This one does not let you down at all in that regard! I think Lisa did a fantastic job of adding variety considering the repetition of the song. You progress from 8-count repeaters to a combo of 4-count and alternating step touches. My beloved squat tap makes a cameo for the first time in about 10 releases. But you end up ready for whatever the class will bring. Fantastic track!

  2. Boys And Girls - This one plays on direction, although it features all the standard mixed impact moves (curls, gallops, running). You run to the corners with the jogs, and then each round features curls and gallops, BUT... the third round progresses this and we see the return of another of my favorites... the gallop square! I find that both myself and the participants feel much more accomplished when they can be successful at the more complicated moves. The song is catchy and fun. I like this one! And I must take a second to give a shoutout to Amy Styles, whom I always love watching in action. Her spunk and energy is very contagious.

  3. Real Things - My gut reaction whenever I hear the song start playing is "noooo!" Now let me explain why... I think Lisa has really tried to think outside the box with the aerobic track. This is easy to see as we've had a couple recent aerobic tracks that have no Supermans (Supermen? Lol you get the idea). With 69, I think she was trying to switch the combos up and add some variety. She recently told us at AIM that she never starts with a move and forces it into a song... she lets the music tell her what move should be in it. With that said, I think that she does try to avoid repetition. After all, the entire point of new releases is variety. Parts of this one work for me, and parts don't. I like the way each round starts, but when you get to the knee combo, it feels counter intuitive and overly complicated to me. The track redeems itself in the third round though, with the final progressive combo both varied AND executed well. Still, this is one of my least favorites in the release, and not one I teach very often.

  4. Dream A Dream - I really enjoy this track... and I must immediately say that Amanda Scales from the USA who presents it is one of my new favorite presenters in Attack. Apparently she's already a big hit in the world of BodyStep (which I don't do), but I think she's pretty powerful in the BodyAttack world. I recently had the opportunity to take Attack from her in the West Coast quarterly, and she is such a joy to watch in person. Fantastic. Ok now the track... We have super-sets of alternating plyo lunges and shuffling which are both very effective for the heartrate AND allow a half second to catch your breath. We have a 2-step, double jump combination that adds some fun variety, and this song is motivating (has a very "down in the trenches... march to the battle" type feel). My one complaint? Round 3 all of a sudden includes lyrics that weren't present for 1 and 2... a bit odd. Still, I enjoy it!

  5. Sexy Chick - Ahh... this is the release where Lisa started putting a much heavier emphasis on core work in track 5s, not just pushups. We have an ab twist-arm raise in the chorus, and then of course tricep and chest pushups. Being a top 40, lots of people like this song. And Attack being heavily female, you can really have fun with this one!

  6. Sunshine After The Rain - Do not like this one. At all. I think the song is so overly cheery and cheesy, can't stand the vocalist. In terms of moves, I don't like the running around the perimeter-stop-run again rhythm (I think the concept is fantastic, I just don't like the way it's applied in this track... it doesn't feel right or easy), and yeah... don't like this one. I will say no more.

  7. I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - I'm quite surprised to admit this, but I haven't learned this entire track myself yet. When we launched it wasn't assigned to me, and I've just yet to learn it. With that said, I love what I do remember. The diamond jump and ladder runs are really fun and a nice variety, complimented by some standard agility moves. It's a good blend. I definitely will learn and teach this one in the near future. :)

  8. Dangerous - Ahh!!!! LOVE IT!!! This song was also featured this quarter in Pump (where it was advertised as the toughest lunge track of all time), and then featured here. I love both and teach both all the time! I love the song, I love the message, I love the moves... I love it all! We do flick kicks, and then a run-kick combo that progresses into a square. One final round with knee kicks at the end. It's simple yet powerful and effective. Will for sure make my top 10 list for Interval, and probably be in the top 3.

  9. Jump That Rock (Whatever You Want) - Again... Ahh!!! LOVE IT!!! I'm not nearly as much of a BodyCombat-er as I used to be, but this is easily one of my favorite Combat tracks (I know the entire track choreographically), and I was ecstatic when I saw this on the track list for this release. The thing that immediately stands out is that this is a very different track 9... the main combo is a 3-step bounce and high knee run combo (adding on 2 jacks in the 2nd and 3rd sets). Then we have jumping jacks, slice-dices (step-jumps), knee pulls and... step curls??? We actually do have a step curl in a power track, ladies and gentlemen! Finally, at the very end we split the room in half, do a jog forward-jack back combo, and then run ourselves into the ground with jacks and high knees at the end. I haven't taught this one nearly as much as I feel I should've. It will most likely make my top 10 for power tracks, and it's really a crowd-pleaser at my club!

  10. Down - AND it just keeps getting better! This is arguably my favorite leg track. I love the song and love to sing along with it. For moves we have a 3-pulse forward lunge, 1 step back lunge combo, followed by single stepping lunges, and single pulsing lunges. Do that on both legs. Then we have a 3-pulse squat/leap-frogger jump combo. My class sings with this one because I do it quite often. Great track... love it.

  11. Tik Tok - Ugh. LOL. It's actually, in my opinion, probably the most challenging core track we have in Attack, at least recently. We do hovers, then add a stomp, then we do a 12-pulse crunch, and arm-leg extend in the choruses. There are 3 rounds of this, the last round featuring 4 sets. Your legs are virtually in the air the entire track when not hovering. The heartrate is up the entire time, and I can barely keep my legs up by the end of the second round. I don't love this one... but that's because it's hard. And that's a good reason to not like a track! :)

  12. Replay - I appreciate this cooldown a lot more now then I did at the time we launched. I've set it before, but I'm a stickler on warmups and cooldowns, and at the time we'd had a lot of top 40 type cooldowns that I thought didn't really deliver the message/feeling that a cooldown should. Doing it now, I enjoy it more. It's not one of my favorites, but the presenters have fun while doing it, and the class does enjoy it since they know it.
Again, as with most Attack releases, 69 is solid. It's challenging, it's fun, it's full of energy... it features a few small surprises and most of the songs are very well received. I will always enjoy seeing Amanda Scales and Amy Styles (along with Bevan and Lisa... what a good team!) on stage and appreciate another opportunity to learn and turn it up! Great job Lisa!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

LMWC Quarterly

Hi kids!

I realize I've been a little MIA again! But it's all been for good reason let me tell you. Two weeks after the Attack AIM in Orlando, I had the pleasure of helping to work at the West Coast quarterly in San Francisco/San Ramon. Not only did I get to take Attack from Brent, Kendall, and Amanda, but I also got to help out behind the scenes and get a real sense of what goes into these workshops... and let me tell you... we (instructors) have no idea of the work that goes into these things. It is full on around the clock for about 48 hours nonstop. They have to pack everything up, get it all over from their office to whatever venue the Q is at, go over and set up the clothing stores (which have been inventoried beforehand), set up registration, build displays, set up barbells and benches for however many participants are going... it's intense work and a lot of physical labor. Then they all help run the event and help to break it down as the day goes on. These people deserve a lot of love and respect that they probably don't get, or aren't realized for.

One thing that was particularly fun for me was that, because I had a rental car, I got to help shuttle the program directors and presenters around a little bit. It was really fun to have a 5 minute one-on-one conversation with Dan Cohen about Combat, CX30, and just his love for what he does. He talked to me a little about his theories of calorie consumption and burnage as well. I also got to see a little of what the presenters do before they get on stage... Jackie Mills was about 20 feet from me doing a little zen routine to get herself in the "flow" (haha) of things. I know as an instructor that sometimes it's hard... when you're tired and just aren't sure if you've got it in you to go all out for 5 more minutes... I don't know how they do it, but they are all amazing.

I had so much fun and I'm very grateful to the LMWC staff for welcoming me with open arms. So now it's back to learning new tracks (especially this quarter's releases... LOVE BodyPump 77 in addition to BodyAttack 72... so I'm learning 22 tracks this time!) and looking towards the future with optimism! It felt fantastic to have so many great people around me and just amazing energy! Below are a few photos from the event:


Attack Presenting Team: Kendall Kimball and Brent McLemore (who were my trainers... so this was a fun reunion) and Amanda Scales, who I saw in Attack 69 but never had the pleasure of meeting before. She is an extremely dynamic presenter and one of my new role models. (PS... turns out Kendall has a twin sister named Kerry who is brand new to the LM scene!!! She did the quarterly this weekend and she's super fun!!!)
Megan McCormack, who is responsible for training events in WC, and Nicole Hagar, an amazing friend and a Jackie-of-All-Trades for WC. I'm so grateful we've gotten to hang out and become better friends.

Michelle McLemore, the amazing lady who makes the West Coast Quarterlies happen. She runs flawless events and kicks serious butt, and I wish I had her energy! (Isn't she beautiful??)

Next up will be the Attack 101 track 5 post! Until then... keep turning it up!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BodyAttack 101: 04 Plyometric

"Think of it as the last 5 minutes of the first half of a game." -Lisa Osborne

Alright! Heartrate is up, calories are burning... now we turn the fire up to incineration. This track is hardcore, designed to push you to your limits. It's the final challenge of the first cardio block, and a good time to measure your fitness levels. This track also features another semi-signature Attack move, loved and equally hated by many: the Plyometric Lunge. If you're not familiar with this move, essentially you jump quickly from a lunge on one leg to the other, back and forth. This is usually done in a set of 8 (4 on each leg).

BodyAttack 3D classifies track 4 as sports inspired, and most of the moves are definitely sports training moves. In addition to plyo lunges, we have lunge-leaps, shuffles, squat jumps, high knee runs, skater jumps, step-jumps... basically all moves designed to push your heart rate to the (safe) extremes. There's usually not time to stop and think... just keep moving until the music stops.

Here are my top 10 Plyometric tracks!
  1. 50 - C'Mon Ride It (The Train) - Forward March! I absolutely love this track. It's got a nice mix of moves (3-step skaters, step-knees, leap-lunges, plyo lunges, high knee runs and double hop curls). The choreography fits perfectly with the music, and there's lots of room for audience participation (HEEEEEY!!!! HOOOOO!!!!). And to top it off... positive reinforcement for the subconscious! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... I never tire of this one!
  2. 56 - Aluba - It's tricky!!! Now we say... tricky tricky tricky tricky!!! In a volleyball theme that is executed superbly, this track features lots of jumping, setting, and spiking of an invisible volleyball... and no plyo lunges! It's nice to bust it out for something non-plyo lungeish, plus it's got spunk and attitude. Any volleyball players will absolutely love it, as will anyone who's feeling sassy that day! Perfect for me ;)
  3. 61 - The Question Is, What Is The Question? - How do you do??? Uh-huh!!! I thought "why not?" na na na na... Although everyone is all rave about Tubthumping (see below), I think this is one of the most challenging plyo tracks there is. We start with repeater knees, then proceed into a progressing combos of double hop-curls and plyo lunges. Two-non stop rounds of this which runs you into the ground followed by one final round of nothing but plyo lunges. The key is the music, which pushes you (or me at least) to my best! I don't do it all the time, but anytime I want a challenge, I pull it out! (Anyone else notice that 61 has made every list thus far? No worries... that will come to an end eventually LOL. But it is a very different release!)
  4. 68 - Are You Gonna Go My Way - The teaser says this is another volleyball inspired track, and granted it does have a step-jump-run back combo. Other than that, even though I don't see volleyball (nothing can compare to Aluba), the song is fantastic, the square-high knee combo and alternating plyo-squat jumps push your heart rate up. The beat of the song just really builds up for an explosion. BTW... does ANYONE else notice how almost every plyo track ends with 4X8 plyo lunges??? It's seriously mind over matter!!!
  5. 46 - What's Up - A remix of the 4 Non-Blondes hit. I really like the remix, and the choreography is simple. Basically alternating corner high knee runs, followed by a progression of step knees, double plyos, and single plyos. There are a few fun moments for some fitness magic, and almost everyone knows this song, so they can all sing along. A lot of older instructors think this track is really really hard. Personally, I don't think so... it does feature more plyo lunges then most, but I find alternating high jumps and low moves, such as in 61, is what pushes the heart rate up so high. Regardless, I like this one, and I'm one of only 2 instructors who teaches it, so I can put my stamp on it!
  6. 71 - Swing - Oh my gosh... the first time I did this track I nearly died. It's definitely hard, but simple and effective. There are two combos. The first consists of skater runs forward, high knee runs back, plyo lunges, and squat jumps. The second is a progression of triple squat jumps, adding in side-to-side movement and then extending the arms. All of my peers and I really enjoy this one! Another chance to get fitter!
  7. 60 - Yeah - Similarly to 50, it's got a nice variety of different moves and a song that everyone knows. Anytime the class can participate I consider it a good thing, even though during track 4 they often don't due to fatigue. I also really like the fitness magic "DJ" moments in here.
  8. 52 - Popcorn - Old school sometimes is the best... if it ain't broke, don't fix it right? One of the more "classic" track 4 movement progressions is step knees into lunge leaps into plyos. This track features that combo, along with a high knee-plyo combo and 4 rules to keep you in check! One thing about this which is rare for me... the song has almost no lyrics, and I still like it!
  9. 65 - Tubthumping - I'll admit, the main reason this track is on this list is because it is the toughest plyo track there is... and as such, it's a challenge! I have yet to do this one in all high, which is something I'm working on now! Plyo lunges along with touchdown-jumps, knee repeaters, shuffles and just all things challenging! The touchdown-jumps paired with almost no breaks are what make it so challenging! The song isn't my favorite, but the challenge factor makes it work!
  10. 62 - Party People - Another break from plyos! This one focuses on skaters. There's single skaters and a 3-step power/skate that progresses with extra height. Throw in some fun clock arms, a siren, ski-jumps and tuck jumps, and you've got a very non-typical track with some fun challenges! Another one with no lyrics makes the cut... who woulda thought???

GUESS WHAT!!! Your first cardio block is done! Give yourselves a pat on the back because many people don't make it this far... especially beginners! Congrats to all of you. Next up: upper body conditioning!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

BodyAttack AIM with Lisa Osborne!

Well, I mostly kept it under wraps... until now! I, along with 30 other very lucky instructors, got to attend the BodyAttack Advanced Instructor Module with none other than Lisa Osborne herself this past Monday in Orlando, Florida. I decided not to really tell anyone beforehand, and unless you saw updates from Facebook you may have missed it entirely.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that was too good to pass up. I had been checking the website to see what Attack AIMs were available, and compared with Pump and RPM, there were hardly any. In fact, only 2 have been held in the entire USA since the first of the year. I had been planning to attend the first one in Baltimore, but the scheduling ended up not working out. I was checking the website every day, and this one virtually popped up (and sold out) overnight. Obviously, being held by the program director, as well as Lizzy Troutman who is a little firecracker of energy, it's easy to see why. I was lucky enough to attend. *Insert jumps for joy and cries of gratitude here*.

The module itself was incredible. Due to legalities, I can't give much away as far as what you do. I will say that we presented directly to Lisa twice and received on the spot feedback to improve our teaching. We also did technique drills, worked on perfecting our posture/form, and some other exercises on what the essence of BodyAttack is and how to teach within that. One tip that I think is too helpful to NOT share: before teaching/taking your next class, get a roll of duct tape. Roll your back/shoulders into set position, and then have someone tape each of your shoulders from the top down to the end of your back. Whenever you might start slipping out of set position, you will feel the pull on the tape. This forces you to engage your back muscles (and boy will you feel it the next day...)

Although all of the technique stuff is very helpful, what I took away much more was how to present within the essence of the program and how important it is to create a contrast. Teach differently from song to song, especially with the new BodyAttack 3D. There are times when it's important to dial down, and this is something I haven't been good at in the past. We also got some very simple and helpful coaching cues to implement, and other small things which add up to make a huge difference.

Another thing that I want to point out... I was very much intimidated going into this. It's not a big secret to people in my local circle that I'm a one-of-a-kind Attack-aholic. But going into this situation... I would be amongst other Attack-aholics. I've only been to 3 quarterlies, but I have to say that the ones I've been to always end up turning into competitions, where people vie for the front row up to and including pushing, crowding out, and it can get ugly. That's not what I go for. I don't want to put on a show for anyone. I compare it to going to a concert... if you could watch from the front row, why wouldn't you? I always go to the front when it's Lisa. She's one of my idols and I make no apologies, but I'm not there to compete with anyone or outdo anyone. So, going to an AIM, I thought for sure it'd be way worse...

NOT AT ALL. Every instructor I encountered was lovely, encouraging, inviting, and passionate in all the ways that matter most. We were all there to experience this amazing atmosphere together, and we were all there to push each other to our best. They are some of the friendliest people I've met and I am so grateful for each person I met. They'll all rank up there with everyone else who's been part of my journey. Within 24 hours, almost all of us were friends on Facebook. We've shared pictures, stories, and just an amazing energy.

Lisa is EVERYTHING she appears to be on the DVDs... passionate, happy, spunky, positive, and always full of energy. The woman could do 4 classes back to back and never miss a beat. She got right down in the trenches with us when we were presenting the second time, participating from the front row (can you say intimidating?). She is also one of the most humble people you'll ever meet. No ego there, just pure passion and a desire to improve the lives of others by doing the best job she can. I hope that someday I can teach with as much grace and excitement as she does.

Lizzy is also such an amazing resource for the USA team. She is going to be on the next Step DVD, and Lisa told us a lot about how Lizzy has developed her "BodyAttack essence" teaching style. I've never seen a Step DVD, but apparently Step is a much more "Guy Smiley" happy, sappy, essence if you will, where Attack is more athletic and edgey. So Lisa said it's been fun to see Lizzy transform from pure Step into a hybrid. She is equally personable, passionate, and a great role model for us.

So needless to say, I've come home with a bunch of new objectives and goals, and renewed passion to make my dreams come true. I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've been given, and hope I can enrich other people's lives the way mine was enriched in Orlando!

And here are some pictures from my weekend. First the LMSE quarterly:


Nicole Hagar, one of my heroes from LMWC

Susan Renata, Head Trainer for BodyPump - she is one tough chick and very gracious!

I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the Laguna Niguel quarterly last August. She remembered me!

I was letting her know I couldn't pass up a chance to AIM with her (she wanted to know why I was so far from home).

Can I get one more Lisa??

A snap of the Shbammers goin to town! I tried snapping more but they all came out fuzzy.


A few from the AIM:


After 8 hours of pure Attack adrenaline and passion, I made it. And she is fantastic as always... who would ever know she had a baby on Christmas Eve??? (PS he's so cute! He was there too! :) )


Lisa and Lizzy autographed my Attack 71 chorey notes! I figured that was appropriate since that's the release we AIMed on.

31 amazing instructors plus 1 amazing trainer and 1 phenomenal program director... definitely a career highlight and an experience I will never forget!


And finally, a couple of fun shots during the travelling process.


Even across the country, Starbucks always takes care of me!

I thought this was hilarious... a list of electronic devices and their permitted use on flights. How very gracious of the TSA...


That's it for now! The BodyAttack 101 plyo track will be coming very soon! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Disclaimer

Recently, I've been going through some hard times as an instructor. I tell you this not for pity, but in order to explain any misinterpretations that are going on out there. My hope is that this will put all the drama to rest and help mend relationships. I don't know if this is the case, but it's all I can do on my part to try and bridge the gap.

I became a Group Fitness Instructor for one reason and one reason only: to share the passion that has so richly impacted my life with others. I found myself wanting to be part of something while going to my classes. I wanted to be part of a team of fun and inspiring individuals who help others reach their goals. This is because I myself know what it feels like to be alone in a world of extra weight... to feel hopeless and out of control is bad, but to suffer alone is what makes it unbearable.

Recently, some in my circle feel as though I've gotten a bit carried away. I've been called arrogant, overly-passionate, pretentious, and unofficially blacklisted by several of my peers. I've been told I have no business writing a blog and that I should essentially shut up and go away. The only reason I started writing a blog in the first place is because I needed somewhere to channel my energy since I wasn't getting to teach at all for a while.

My teammates, I love all of you, and you've all been part of my journey to try and become a better instructor. When I ask to work with you or team a class, it is because I want to draw from your strengths and also because I enjoyed feeling like part of a great team. I've never intended to "outdo" anyone else and while I do want to make a career out of this, I never meant to ruffle anyone's feathers. I welcome all feedback and if anyone wants to tell me things to help me improve in a civilized fashion, I would gladly listen. I'm sorry if I suck as an instructor, or if I get on anyone's nerves. I just wanted to be part of something great.

Many of you have been nothing but gracious and welcoming of me, and you have all been a Godsend. I appreciate all of you and really wish nothing more then to be friends and work together to share our common passion.

Preview 1: BodyAttack 72

Some of the silence of late in my blogging schedule has to due with the fact that BodyAttack 72 is now in my hot little hands. I've watched the release twice now and, while I'm still ironing out whether or not it is ok to mention choreography yet (since this release hasn't been launched as of this writing) I do want to offer a few initial reactions and sneak peaks:
  1. Lisa was 8 1/2 months pregnant when this was filmed. She does the entire class LOW IMPACT and shows that you can still get a great workout regardless of fitness level OR pregnancy level! She was so inspirational. There's also lots of great information for us instructors to pass forward about how to do Attack safely while pregnant.
  2. There's innovation pretty much throughout the entire release. The warm-up and track 2 both have some really fun modifications of standard moves, track 3 is sans-Superman. The running track now has options for running in place if you're in a small room as opposed to running in a circle, which I might actually implement more for variety than for anything else. Agility has some newer moves that have been brought back, and Track 10 has some new moves as well... I don't remember the 2nd cardio block as well (I watched it before bed) so I'll make more comments in the review.
  3. My first impression of the music is that I don't like it as well as BA71, but that's usually the case when I first get the releases. They grow on me over time.

It looks to be a fun quarter with some new stuff to figure out!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: BodyAttack 70

I've suddenly realized that review writing is kinda hard!!! Especially when you review different choreography constantly. Eventually all the tracks start running together and your mind starts to spin! With that said, I've gotten some positive comments on my reviewing so I'll keep plugging away! Next up: BodyAttack 70.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the content below is my own personal opinion of the release. I welcome all feedback and acknowledge that everyone has personal tastes!

It's been almost 4 months since I've done this release in it's entirety. With that said, I remember most of the tracks pretty clearly and will try to give some thoughtful ideas about how I felt while teaching them.

In a word: Fun. Where BodyAttack 71 is a techno club, 70 is a little lighter, a little more "boogie" if you will. It's by no means BodyJam, but it definitely has a bit of a flair to it. When I attended the Q3 quarterly with Lisa, she mentioned that she intentionally had a bit of fun in celebration of this being the 70th release, and that most of the "fun" moments will not be typical of the new 3D Attack format (especially track 9 which we'll get to). In addition, the sports theme of the release is basketball, and they did a great job of integrating it throughout the class. The thing I probably love most about 70 is that you know they had fun doing it, and it really came across at the quarterly and on the DVD. Let's take a look at the track list:

  1. Feels Like A Prayer 2010 - So much fun!!! I love the energy of the song. It's fun, it's energetic, it's cheeky. Most people know and love Madonna... what's not to like? There's some innovation in this track where the "walk-it-up" moves from corner to corner. The choreography blocks build in the 3rd round where all the combinations get put together. It's well organized and a great way to start off the class.
  2. Bad Romance - I was really excited when I saw the track list for this release. I love me some Lady GaGa. However, honestly... I don't like this remix. I like the song, I like the choreography... I just don't like this particular remix of the song. For one thing, a lot of the original song plays off the rhythm, and this remix totally zaps that. The song sounds a bit too choppy to me. The innovation here is a modification of the step curl. You step one foot to the side, one foot to the front, put the back foot back down, and step the other foot back.... confusing enough? Basically one foot stays stationary, and the other alternates between stepping forward, and back into set. It's a fun modification and I like the creativity Lisa is utilizing.
  3. Me Against The Music - I guess I'm in the minority with this one as far as music is concerned... I really liked it! Granted, I've not heard the original song, and the complaints I heard were similar to what I just said about Bad Romance. Apparently this is a bad remix in a lot of people's eyes. In the world that is Chad's review, I liked it. AND... for the first time ever (as near as I can remember), there is NO Superman in this track! I'm not cheering as if that's the best thing ever, but it is absolutely big. In its place, we have a new move called the "Bow-Tie-Run". You run forward to one corner, run straight back, run to the other corner, and then back again. Eventually, this progresses where you "run and reach" to one corner, shuffle back, "run and reach" to the other, then jack back. I have to admit I was sad not to see Lisa do a Superman in person at the quarterly, but we had fun with this one! It's actually one of my favorite Aerobic tracks, and I love how different it is from "the formula".
  4. Music Is Moving - A basketball track with a jumping square pattern. I think the basketball theme was applied brilliantly here, although it's not my favorite song in the world. I personally think the track would've worked better had the plyo lunges been touch downs or single jumps instead. (*NOTE: I've now seen BodyAttack 72, and it includes plyo lunges. We haven't had a plyo track without lunges since 64... it's time!)
  5. Feel It - A fantastic track for working on core stability. You do a "jumping" plank if you will. Basically, you're in a plank, and then you jump your feet in, then back out, then walk them side to side. The song is a bit intense, but there's a lot of room to play on lyrics and I feel like it's appropriate considering the choreography.
  6. Take On Me - FUN!!! The first time we launched this at my club, I was so excited that I got assigned this track. What's awesome is everyone knows the song, but nobody knows what it is until about 20 seconds in when the main riff starts, and then they all cheer big. Plenty of opportunities for audience participation here! In the choreography notes Lisa says she'd been wanting to use this song for a long time. I'm really glad they did. Simple moves, fun and interactive... definitely a favorite of mine.
  7. Stamp On The Ground - The basketball theme continues! I was so happy when I heard the song... the prior few agility tracks hadn't been my favorite... but I loved this one! Moves that help you be quick on your feet, some step-pass drill moves, and some opportunities for side to side "defense" with the arms up. When we were at the quarterly, Lisa said to me "I wouldn't want to go up against you!" in reference to my 6'5-6'6 height! It was funny! I like this one!
  8. Battlefield - This was a case of me hating the song when I first heard it, and by the time we launched, it was one of my favorites! I think the choreography goes really well with the song, and you do shuffling in it which isn't typical of an Interval track. I think what I love so much about it is the building of the energy with each 4X8 count. It gets higher and higher until you explode into the run and reach. Plus, I just love shouting "I never meant to start a war!"
  9. Proud Mary - I can appreciate this for what it is. It was Lisa's way of saying "Happy 70, BodyAttack!" She takes a classic 70s song and makes a really fun, flamboyant, jiggy track 9. I actually think the track is really challenging... the rounds are long and there are plenty of jacks. However, it's not my favorite. It's a bit too happy for a track 9... I'm more of a Nowhere Fast kinda guy... where the song is a race, not a dance festival. Just my opinion. Lots of people like this, and I still teach it. It's just not my personal favorite. :)
  10. On And On - Since Down from 69 is arguably my favorite track 10, I was expecting to be really disappointed. Surprisingly, I really liked it! I think this is a case of BodyStep making a cameo in BodyAttack. As long as there's not a step involved, I have no problem with that (for those of you who don't know... I have size 14 shoes and am a klutz... as such, BodyStep is a medical hazard for me.) There are some step-jumps, which are actually fun and very challenging. I liked the choreography a lot... cool looking moves that you want to do correctly just because they look cool!
  11. Holiday - Another one where I hated the song at first, but it grew on me over time. There's a side plank-ab crunch move, and then you do butterfly crunches at the end. I have to say... 32 pulses at the end where you just want to rip the stereo and throw it through a window. But... that means the track is doing its job!
  12. State Of Mind - I must say Les Mills does an amazing job when it covers a song. They get really close to the original... capturing most of the same feel. As you know, I like a cooldown to deliver a particular message or feeling, and this isn't exactly it. With that said, it's not bad. Plenty of people love this song, so it's another chance to appeal to the top 40ers in the room.

Overall... this release does a really good job of integrating the basketball theme throughout the class. All of the innovations incorporated are moves you would drill as a basketball coach. In addition, there are some fun moments that help celebrate 70 releases, and the energy is pretty consistent throughout. It's not my favorite, but it's a good release that I will refer back to. Great job Lisa!