Review: Body Pump

While my last Goodlife Fitness class review was of a class brand new to me, I must admit that Body Pump is not new to me. While I’ve never done it on a super regular schedule, it is one of my favourite group exercise classes and one I’ve done a number of times before.

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Body Pump is described as “the original barbell class that will sculpt, tone, and strengthen your entire body, fast!”. In layman’s terms, it is a class involving the use of many different kinds and sizes of weights (from barbells to free weights to good old weight plates) to give your entire body a strength work-out to music.

I’ve actually seen BodyPump classes as short as 30 minutes, and as long as an hour. Some Goodlife Fitness locations even have 45 minute Pump classes, so there is a lot of variation, though the one I took was a one hour class. BodyPump is one of Goodlife’s signature offerings, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a location that doesn’t have at least one weekly class on the schedule.

On this particular day, I was on vacation so headed to a later class than I would normally be able to, at 9:00 am. To my surprise, it was packed, mostly with the 55 plus set. Luckily, the Kings Mills location has a super-regimented sign-up system in which you claim your exact spot prior to the class, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing in somewhere that you might not fit. So I got set up and waited for things to begin.

The awesome instructor kept things really light while still encouraging us to push. We started with an upper and lower body warm-up for about 10 minutes I would say and then got right down to business. You’ll typically find you do things like squats, chest, and back strength first. The squats are some of your heaviest weights, you lighten up for chest, and load a bit more back for back strength. After these major groups, you’ll find the last half of the work-out can vary depending on the release, the instructor’s preference, and any time constraints but it typically includes cleans (either power cleans or press and cleans) and deadlifts, lunges, and some combination of other upper body work (e.g., triceps, shoulders, biceps). This class included all of the above due to the luxury of the one hour time slot and this particular instructor’s love for push-ups. (grumble grumble. I love/hate push-ups). Once you’re done all the heavy lifting, literally, you get a nice little ab work-out and stretch in before you’re done the class.

I absolutely LOVE BodyPump for a number of reasons, but the main one is that it makes lifting free weights less intimidating for someone new to it. It is great to have some direction and camaraderie around the weights, as any beginner weight lifter knows, the free weight section at a gym can be a scary, scary place until you know what you’re doing and have gained some confidence. I’m totally fine with bicep curling my little 10-12 pounders now, but I certainly felt ashamed when I first started out.

I definitely recommend trying this class out (or a class like it, most gyms have a similar class style) at least to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn a bit about technique. The drawbacks? BodyPump is almost always packed so it can be tough to get a space if you don’t have a gym location with a strict sign-up system, and the set-up can take a bit of time, especially when you get herded into the room just after another class has finished. The final drawback? The glares you get from people entering the room after your class while you’re dismantling your station, anxious to get their sweat on via whatever the next class is. You learn to not care about that part though, and often, the overly eager beavers will actually help take down stations to get you out of the way faster!

Since Goodlife posts these little demos of their classes, I thought I’d share this one with you too.

Cost: Included in your membership, so free if you’re a member. For membership prices, I’d contact Goodlife directly, as everyone I talk to who is a member appears to pay a different monthly price depending on the circumstances under which they signed up. I also just discovered that you can try a 3 day pass for free by visiting this link, should some of you non-members wish to try one of these classes out.

Levels recommended for: Beginner right up to advanced. The instructors are generally pretty great about providing different modifications to make something less or more challenging depending on your needs. You can start feeling the benefits of this workout without having much of a foundation.

Notes:

1. Always listen to the instructor in terms of form and weight load recommendations. You change weight often over the course of the class and they’ll give you an indication of when you should be backing off and when you should be loading up. Weight-lifting is awesome for your bod, BUT you can really hurt yourself with poor form so pay attention to their tips and listen when they try to help you correct your form.

2. ARRIVE EARLY. There is a lot of set-up to a BodyPump class and there is nothing worse than being crammed for space because you were late. If you’re not sure how to set-up your station, either ask the instructor or just watch what others around you are bringing to their spot. Typically, you need a barbell, weight clips, a few sets of weight plates of varying weights, a yoga mat, and a step with 4 risers (2 under each side).

Disclosure: I’m a Goodlife Fitness member and have been for years, thus I pay for my membership and receive no incentive for posting about their classes. 

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