Yesterday I participated (did not teach) in my first full BodyAttack class of 2011! I had done the 71 DVD on my own on Sunday after work, but that doesn't really count as it's not a live class, and I spent all of track 5 trying to fix my left shoe to help with a new injury... More on that later.
The instructor did a couple of tracks from an older release. They were fun and mostly challenging. It's always nice to see something new, or something you haven't seen in a long time. Keep it fresh, see the program evolution, etc. The thing that really stuck out to me is that Attack has definitely gotten, and is continuing to get, harder. Now this isn't new information... even since I trained a year ago (crazy how time flies!) the releases have gotten progressively more challenging. Heck, Attack 71 itself is 58 minutes long... about 2 minutes longer than the average class. I couldn't be happier about it for the most part. It helps me to push myself... aim higher, and what not. But going back to a release that is 5+ years old, you can absolutely see that the program is more intense and just at an entirely new level from what it used to be. I recently learned Viva Viva, which is the combined leg and ab track from release 46. I love it, but comparing it with the leg and ab tracks from 71... night and day as far as difficulty. The nice thing about it is that you've got lots of contrast to work with. Maybe one week you want to have the class focus on a really challenging second cardio block, and give them a little recovery in leg/abs. That option is definitely available.
This brings up the new direction Attack has taken over the past year or so. Lisa has introduced a new concept called BodyAttack 3D. The basic premise is that Attack has come a long way since the leg warmer-headband-Jazzercise aerobics days of the 80s and early 90s. It is no longer "an aerobics class". There are now 3 unique dimensions to the class... Sports, Aerobics, and Strength (SAS!) The sports tracks are specifically designed to attract athletes into BodyAttack. They help build cardiovascular endurance, quickness and agility on the feet, and overall fitness. The idea is for the instructor become a sports coach during these tracks, leading a team through a sports game. The strength tracks are designed to tone and strengthen the upper and lower body, with one track focusing on the chest and arms, one track focusing on the legs, and one track focusing on core strength. In these tracks, we become trainers, pushing our class to pump harder, burn longer, and just shred out. Finally, the aerobics dimension remains true to the original essence of the class. This is where you yell and woohoo, kick, and just have fun.
I don't really feel like this new development is such a dramatic change for the program. It puts, on paper, what the class has been doing for the past few years at least. It includes clearer guidelines, and gives instructors the material necessary to reach a broader group of people. Overall it's always been a little challenging to describe exactly what BodyAttack is when potential participants ask. What I've always said is "it's like sports and aerobics got together and had a party." This kinda makes that official!