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


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!