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, 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.