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!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review: BodyAttack 71

So here I go! This is the first in a line of release reviews I'm going to be doing. 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!

This release was marketed to us with a couple of different things in mind. First off, the teaser and Lisa's intro of the class mention "club atmosphere". Although Studio One was set up for a club feeling, only Track 9 immediately jumps to my mind as being particularly clubbish. Otherwise, most Attack music could arguably be heard in a club, since most of the songs are remixed and techno-ish sounding anyway. Second, it was stated that this is the first full release under the new 3D structure. The tracks were supposedly scripted and presented using hand-chosen cues and each dimension was supposed to feel different. As far as coaching, this wasn't always as obvious as I think Lisa would like. The choreography definitely shows the 3 dimensions this time around. I'll get back to that in a minute, but it is something to keep in mind while reading and reviewing.

My initial impressions were that this release is challenging. Both peak tracks and the upper body conditioning track are absolutely killer when done high. I had to train on this release for a good 2 months (once a week) to build my stamina enough to do it all high (I still can't do the upper body all high... more on that to come). With that said, there is plenty of innovation (Lisa is amazing) and the choreography shows the 3 different dimensions well. I really like most of the songs too!

Let's break it down:

  1. One Love - Let's start off with the music, since I'm definitely a song person. LOVE the song. The message is awesome and the song is dark and soldier-ish. This is a nice change for the warm-up. As far as choreography, I like the innovation with the walk-it-up/grapevine combo. I don't really have any complaints about this warm-up by itself. One thing I would say is that when comparing to others, the first sequence of choreography is identical to the Attack 70 warm-up... literally. From the beginning all the way until the step curls begin, it is identical. We've seen a lot of the first half of that sequence recently... 67, 69, 70 and 71 all have it. Of course, this is only really noticeable to the diehards, so it shouldn't be a problem really.
  2. Good Times - The song is OK. We have a new arm-line! When I first saw this, I thought "wow... the 80s are making a comeback." It's fun for variety though, and working in the corners is always fun. The song is a bit repetitive, but with the new arm-line, there's plenty of opportunity to get the feel for it.
  3. Mama Do - A fairly straightforward aerobic track. Personally, I don't care for the song. The choreography is pretty standard, save a 2-bounce/2-jack combo. This makes for easy work on technique improvement!
  4. Swing - Great song, great choreography, challenging, crowd favorite... I love it! One thing I would've done differently, is instead of doing 4 double hop curls and 4 skaters at the beginning, I would've written in 4 low-option skaters followed by 4 high skaters. This one is definitely a butt-kicker. Make sure you precue and stay on top of it. There are lots of quick changes.
  5. Gettin' Over You - HARD! HARD! HARD! I swear Lisa's new mission is to kick everyone's upper body into shape! The last few upper body tracks have been getting harder and harder! There's innovation here with the alternating one-arm planks. Unfortunately for me, my upper body is my weakest point, so I really feel these ones. One thing I like about it? No tricep pushups. :) Lisa does an amazing job at varying up upper body tracks.
  6. In My Head - Remix of the Jason Derulo hit. I love this song in Pump, so it's fun. This running track has 2 basic combos that repeat. Easy, fun, and interactive. I like!
  7. Would You Raise Your Hands? - It's teased as soccer inspired, but I don't really see that here. The song is really good, and the 4-step L-hop move is an awesome workout for the legs. The 3-step skaters at the end were a little random.
  8. On My Way - Motivating, inspiring, uplifting... everything a good interval track should be. I like the song, and again, the choreography is standard for a track 8. This is not bad. At the Q3 2010 quarterly I attended with Lisa Osborne, she voiced that she would never change or complicate the track 8 choreography. It's really intended as the core "aerobic" track, and is dedicated to those hardcore Jazzergetics/Attackers of old.
  9. Welcome To The Club - AWESOME!!! For sure the highlight of the release to me. One comment I got from some of the members who've done this release is that the choreography fit the music right on. I think this track displays that perfectly. It's a different feel for a track 9... you can see the sports dimension take over and it's very challenging. Can't say enough good about it!
  10. Upside Down - Another challenging leg track! One legged squat/pushback which requires work on balance and forces you to load the grounded leg. Then we have repeaters and a squat-lunge combo that's killer! The song is OK. Not as fun as 69 or 70, but good nonetheless. :)
  11. Winner - INNOVATION! I like the new combo a lot! The thing that's great about this track is the tempo is slow... much opposite of 70. It's nice to see different combinations of things work really well, as it provides lots of variety and allows you to challenge the muscle in a different way. Reps vs time spent in each rep, load vs stamina and etc.
  12. Sign Of A Victory - FINALLY!!! A really great cooldown song after the last few were more top 40 focused. I love the message of the song and the choreographed victory moves. There are a few non-standard stretches in this one. If you like the song, it's also in this quarter's Flow/Balance release. :)

Overall, 71 is challenging. It pushes you, but the music is still enjoyable enough to keep you on track. There's only a couple of tracks that I personally won't re-teach very often, but none that I'll scrap entirely. AND it has a couple that are now in my top 5!

Great job Lisa!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Posts

I just wanted to apologize for the scattered posts of late! Life gets crazy as I'm sure you all know... I've had some requests for various info so here's a list of what I've got coming. Feel free to suggest more if there's something you'd like to see!

  • Attack 71 review
  • Past Attack reviews
  • Career Development
  • Attack 72 Sizzler
  • Attack 101 Series: Tracks 4-6
  • Transcript of LM Bodcast interview with Lisa Osborne

Saturday, February 5, 2011

BodyAttack 101: 03 Aerobic

"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway." -Mary Kay Ash

Two down, 10 to go! The good news is, if everything is done correctly up to this point, this is where the participants get their first challenge of sorts. Mixed impact can arguably be done entirely low, but even if half or more is done high, the heartrate is still climbing. In the aerobic track, the heartrate is up in the training zone. The entire song, you're burning calories at a pretty steady rate. As implied, Aerobic is Aerobic in the BodyAttack 3D world.

This track features what's probably THE signature BodyAttack move... the Superman. (This is a different Superman then you see in track 5/upper body... more on that later). The superman features one leg pointed out at a 45-degree angle with the opposite arm up and out at a 45-degree angle. The fist is flat as if holding a candlestick. You'll see this move in a lot of the Attack marketing materials, and in almost every aerobic track there ever was (I can only think of one track that doesn't have any). In some older releases, it's also featured in tracks 8/interval and/or 9/power, but it's been a while since we've seen that.

Other common moves in the aerobic track include single knee lifts and double knee lifts with single or double arm punches, crossover knees, shuffles, and Attack style jumping jacks. A standard combo includes either single or double knees followed by double knees, supermans, and either a shuffle or jack. Recent tracks have played with this a little bit, and we've even had one track with a completely different move (see below).

One thing I find interesting is that musically, I have the most problems with this track. There aren't that many that I love. At this point in the post, I haven't written my "Top 10" yet. Let's see if I can make it to 10!

  1. 67 - Gimme Gimme More - It was in my training release and to this day I still think it's the best (it's one of only 2 songs from my training release that I actually did for about a year after training... training gives you serious burnout from a release!) The song is a lot of fun (everyone knows it) and provides lots of room to play with the lyrics! In addition, the choreography blocks build nicely and there's a really fun combo at the end where you do 3 crossover knees followed by a forward turn. It takes a few times to get the hang of it but once you do, you really feel like you've got mad skills!
  2. 55 - Work Me Down - I love the song first of all (everyone knows I'm a song person... if I like the song, I'll like the track). The choreography isn't cookie cutter. It features a run forward with punching arms, followed by a ski jump. At the end of the track, there's a shuffle-pivot turn combo. It's not done too often at my club, probably because the pivot turn is HARD (I can't really do it right myself!) Have fun with it, and "work work work!"
  3. 58 - La La - Ashlee Simpson? I like the remix much better than the original here. Combo is more typical of a track 3, although there is a combo with a single knee lift and raised arm followed by a clap back. It's also got a fun booty-shake right at the end that my members love when I do it (because I'm a dork, not because of my booty!) It's just got a fun spunk to it. What does it mean to "La la" anyway?
  4. 57 - Little Don - The energy of this one is insane! There are only 2 combos, but they are both intense! Done correctly, this track rivals a track 9 for intensity. The crowd has a lot of fun with it too!
  5. 70 - Me Against The Music - This is the track that doesn't have any Supermans! (Or is it Supermen? Anyway...) Lisa introduced a fun new move called a bow-tie run. You run diagonally to the right corner of the room, run straight back, run to the left corner of the room, and then back again. Eventually you sub in running back for a shuffle, then a jump jack. This was a really fresh take on the Aerobic track. It's nice to see something different that really works. I'll often pair this track with either an older 8 or 9 that has the Superman, so that they get it one way or another (similarly to using a Plyo track with no lunges and a track 9 that has plyos).
  6. 68 - Fire Burning - A more recent top 40 song. The moves are standard, with basically only 2 combos in the entire track. But the song is incredibly popular, the moves fit it perfectly, and my Attack trainer Brent presented it on the DVD. What's not to like? :)
  7. 66 - Fly On The Wall - Although the song isn't my favorite, there's a shuffle combo as well as a step behind combo that are unique to this track. 66 really pushed the mark higher choreographically (if that's even a word!), as every track features rarely seen moves and innovation, and they all do it REALLY well! A creepy little, sneaky little fly on the wall...
  8. 63 - I Hate Myself For Loving You - The odd part about this track appearing on my list is that I don't know it! I've only done it as a participant, haven't yet learned it as an instructor. I know it's got a lot of different moves in it, but most of them are standard for track 3. The song pushes me to work harder, and I love singing with it. You took my heart away-yay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yay!
  9. 61 - Disco Energy - As I've said for both tracks 1&2 from 61, this track is FUN! It's so different, and the combos are tricky. But it's such a departure that it's become extremely useful for variety. I don't do it very often, but when I do we have fun with it.
  10. 47 - Hot Stuff - Who doesn't know this song??? I just learned this one but it's super fun! Looking at these older tracks, you can absolutely see the program development. Tracks use different choreography, have different BPM requirements, and the overall feel is just a bit different. Still... they're oldies, but goodies!

And there you have it! A run-down of the aerobic track. Although it's not my favorite track in Attack, it definitely serves its purpose!