BODYPUMP: The Best Time You Can Have With a Barbell

Are you trying to get stronger? Discover interesting and effective new workouts? Want to change your body? Then it is time to PUMP! BODYPUMP is the LES MILLS barbell workout. A unique program that strengthens the entire body, there is nothing like it!

photo(106)I have to admit, before I tried BODYPUMP I was terrified of it. I would see glimpses of class through the windows at the gym and would tell my mom “that’s the hard class, we don’t want to try that.” Finally, in late January, she convinced me to do it and I became instantly hooked. Now I attend BODYPUMP three times a week and couldn’t be happier with my results.

When taking a BODYPUMP class, it is best to come early to set up your equipment. You need a bench with 2-3 risers on each side, a bar, and an assortment of weights. It is also advised to have water and a towel nearby – you will work up a sweat! The barbell used in BODYPUMP is adjustable, that way you can use the weight you are comfortable with. Once your setup is complete, you are ready to PUMP!

The class starts with a light bar as you are led through a warm-up that gives a preview of some of the moves you will see later in the class. After that, you spend the next 55 minutes working your large muscle groups to some awesome music with 70-100 reps per track. The instructor guides you through your weight selection for each body part and will give you time in between tracks to adjust your bar. Here is a breakdown of a typical BODYPUMP class:

Track 1: Warm-Up

Track 2: Squats – The heaviest weight of the class, works your legs and glutes with 70-100 squats using different tempos and stances.

Track 3: Chest – Laying down on the bench working the chest with moves like chest presses and flys.

Track 4: Back – A series of moves that includes deadlifts, rows, clean and presses, power presses, and wide rows.

Track 5: Triceps – Shift to smaller muscle groups to work the back of the arms with a variety of exercises to target this muscle group, including tricep kickbacks, dips, extensions, and presses.

Track 6: Biceps – Work your biceps with curls, bottom halfs, and even rows. (For me, this is always the toughest track!)

Track 7: Lunges – Hitting the legs again! Besides lunges, this track can also include more squats and my favorite: plyometric jumps.

Track 8: Shoulders – Target the shoulders with push-ups, upright rows, side raises, mac raises, and overhead presses.

Track 9: Core – Use a series of moves to work the core. From planks to bridges, sit-ups, you name it!

Track 10: Cool Down.

As you’ve probably grasped, BODYPUMP works the entire body! LES MILLS keeps it interesting by releasing new music and moves every couple of months. The exercises do vary, but the format of each class is kept the same. You get used to the structure, but instructors mix it up. If you stick with BODYPUMP, you will see some amazing progress. For me personally, the squat weight I used for my first few classes is now my warm-up weight, for example. Like any LES MILLS class, the tracks are choreographed and easy to follow. The focus is on proper form over anything else, and that is what makes the program both safe and effective.

Besides all of the strength training benefits you get from BODYPUMP, another reason to do it is that it is fun! For me, strength training on my own is booooring, but with BODYPUMP, the hour flies by and I get an amazing workout. This class welcomes anyone; the moves are easily modifiable and you choose your own weights for the bar. There are a variety of ages and fitness levels in every class. If you are looking to challenge and change yourself, BODYPUMP is the program for you. Classes are offered at both the Sag Harbor Gym and Southampton Gym. Check the schedule for more details!

One Healthy Breakdown: pump, pump, pump it up with BODYPUMP. One try and you’ll be hooked!

Hot Damn. Hot Yoga.

photo 2Looks like your typical yoga studio? Well, it’s not. It’s HOT in there…at Hamptons Hot Yoga (Bridgehampton.) No, like really hot. I guess that’s the typical response of a hot yoga first-timer? Shock? Shock initially, gratitude to follow. It’s not instant gratification, but it is gratification. I’ve been wanting to try hot yoga for a long time now and I’m so glad I did. I find that there is nothing quite like the benefits of yoga, especially for a body tired from spin, TRX, running, body combat, etc. Hot yoga combines each of the benefits of these other exercises (cardio, endurance, strength, agility, warming the body) plus stretching, lengthening, and challenging on a whole new level. While I love a good group fitness class, I despise feeling tight and compact afterwards. I love the post-yoga high that brings that sensation of long, lean, stretched muscles as well as a good sweat. Hot yoga brings the term ‘good sweat’ to a whole new level.

As unsafe, unnatural, and unpleasant as exercise in extreme heat seems, the class is conducted in a very specific manner, making safety the top priority. The precise rules, sequence, structure, suggested routine before, during, and after class, (LOTS of water, no food, no caffeine) all make the practice safe and beneficial for all. So, what are the benefits?

photo 1Benefits are countless. While the high heat allows the body to move and open more fluidly, excess sweat quickly removes toxins from deep within. Hot yoga is the perfect cleansing activity, it will leave you feeling renewed, rejuvinated, and pure. The postures and the heat works every part of the body; muscles, bones, organs, and even skin (our largest elimination organ.) Hot yoga claims to actually work 100% of the body. That makes 90 minutes pretty worthwhile doesn’t it?

Other benefits include; enhanced body processes (like metabolism, detoxification, mobility, circulation, oxygenation, and endocrine function.) Hot yoga also decreases stress, regulates blood pressure, improves immune system, and provides an overall ‘feel good’ vitality.

de467a032bb8ed4734e57c550e4e11aa_bigIt was great to see that the class was mixed, age, gender, ability, etc. It really speaks to the fact that anyone can do hot yoga, although I don’t think it’s for everyone. Anyone can experience this class, anyone can rest whenever they want, and anyone will feel the benefits for hours and hours after class. I was truly amazed at how I felt after class, with a new appreciation for the crisp fall air, my body, and even my simple daily routine outside of that oven.

You’re going to sweat. A LOT. You’re going to feel dizzy (at first, I’m told this sensation goes away after a few classes.) You’re going to want to guzzle water. You’re going to want to run out of the room. You’re going to daydream about ice cubes and stillness. But, you’re going to feel immense gratitude as well.

Hamptons Hot Yoga offers two variations; Bikram Hot Yoga and Hot Vinyasa, both open-level and all-inclusive. I gave the 90 minute Bikram class a try and plan to go back for more soon. There is not one downward dog and the class is the same every single time, a calculated sequence with exact purpose. This gives participants a chance to constantly improve their practice. Each of the 26 postures are performed twice with a few seconds rest in between. The first round sets the correct form and alignment, so your body knows where to go. The repetition allows you to push, go further, improve flexibility, and get the full benefits of the pose. The key, as with yoga in general, is to get the foundation down before pushing the body. Some of the poses are to be held for 30-60 seconds. This was a challenge. In the heat, it was a HUGE challenge. With sweat dripping down on the mat, focusing on the breath (and the rewards) is really all that keeps you going.

Vinyasa, meaning flow, is more of a fast-paced practice packed into a shorter (still 75 minutes) class. Vinyasa focuses on strength, balance, flexibility, and most of all: breath. Lienette, the studio director at Hamptons Hot Yoga, is very welcoming and informative. She clearly knows her stuff, as she walks the class through each and every posture with her words, not just telling you what to do, but how and why as well. And, even better, Hamptons Hot Yoga offers local a free week of classes so you can try it out!

One Healthy Breakdown: Hot yoga is like nothing else. I imagine the only thing it has in common with other workouts is the love/hate relationship. The benefits outweigh the burdens, if you can take the heat.