Getting Back into Body Pump

Happy Thursday! After seven days down in Savannah, our Christmas vacation has come to a close. Cold, dreary rain kept us inside today and provided us with the perfect opportunity to unpack our suitcases and put away the Christmas decorations. Even though it’s only 2pm, I am ready for a break after working non-stop on cleaning and putting away the Christmas decorations all morning.  Is it just me or does it seem like it takes 2x as long to take the decorations down and wrap them with care as it does to decorate.

Now that our Christmas vacation in Savannah has come to a close, I will be blogging daily. I have a lot of content lined up for the next few days including two workout reviews, first trimester reflections and suggestions, as well as thoughts on 2016. Today’s post is the first of two workout reviews coming over the next week.

If you’re a new reader, you may not recall that I’ve been a BodyPump fan for years. When I lived in Wayne, Pennsylvania the neighborhood gym featured BodyPump on the workout schedule three mornings per week. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday you could find me in the group fitness studio lifting and laughing with the same group of women each morning from 6:30-7:30. I remember the first time I walked in the studio, unsure what to expect. But an hour later I walked out energized and exhilarated by the very balanced workout. Unfortunately, after two years of BodyPump classes, I had to say goodbye to my favorite workout when I moved to New York City other than a few opportunities to enjoy Les Mills classes like Body Attack when we lived in Switzerland.

Until last month, when we joined the Brooklyn Dodge YMCA, it was virtually impossible to include BodyPump in my workout routine. In New York City there are very few gyms that have BodyPump or the other Les Mills workouts. Luckily, once again, I have access to this workout since the YMCA offers it seven times each week.  Since some of you may not know what this workout is, even though you’ve probably heard friends talk about it or even seen it on your gym’s schedule, let me give you some background.


BodyPump is a weight-training group fitness class which was created by Les Mills International, a New Zealand based company whose popular group fitness classes are taught at gyms around the world.  A typical class is 55 minutes long and features 10 different songs. During each song, the workout focuses on a different part of the body.


As you can see, you are able to push yourself during each track since you are done with that body part after that song is over. The music ranges depending on which release or version your teacher uses that day.  On January 14th, 2017 gyms around the world will celebrate the release of Body Pump 100, the latest release.


During each class, students use a step, risers, mat and a Les Mills branded barbell and plates. Students are able to add weight, as desired, using weight plates which range from 1 pound to 20 pounds.  If you’re a beginner, it is advised to experiment with the weights during your first few classes, starting light and adding on as needed in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Another aspect that I like about the class format is that the moves are simple enough for a beginner or pregnant woman to master without injury. In so many of the high intensity interval classes I’ve taken in NYC, the compound moves often result in me falling a step or two behind and sometimes not being able to keep up. Since BodyPump includes moves such as squats, chest presses, dead rows, and lunges it is easier to ensure I use the correct form. In addition, since I am able to personalize my weights and the moves include a reduced range of motion compared to many other types of resistance workouts, it is a great way for me to increase muscle tone and strength throughout my pregnancy.  Both the instructors who teach at the YMCA are very familiar with prenatal adjustments and suggest that once it is no longer comfortable to lie on my back, they will help me turn the bench into an incline as well as provide alternative ab exercises during that track. My goal is to include at least one, if not two, BodyPump classes in my prenatal workout routine during the next six months. I know that once Baby Girl Diamond arrives I’ll need lots of strength to lift, feed and keep up with her!

Your turn: Have you tried BodyPump before? What’s your favorite track? 

The above is a sponsored post in partnership with Les Mills but, as always, all opinions are my own.


The Last Two Weeks in Workouts


Two weeks ago, I shared my goal of challenging my body in a healthy way.  Along the way, I learned something about myself.  I really like the feeling that comes with a sweaty workout.  By Friday of last week, 10 days into the challenge, I was craving a good, healthy sweat. Even though my workouts were challenging my muscles, especially those small, pesky ones you remember exist when you’re halfway through the tiny pulses. But even though I was working out each day, I was missing that endorphin high. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not abandoning my goal, as i know it’s a healthy one. But, I want to research and read more as I left every class feeling accomplished and happy, but still felt something was missing by the end of the week.

Therefore, I’ve decided to add one to two sweaty cardio workouts to my weekly workout schedule. Based on how I’m feeling, some weeks this may be spin class or if my legs and glutes are cooperating, it may be a run. I think this will be the perfect complement to the great toning and lengthening workouts I’ve been doing at Bar Method.   Here is a recap of my workouts since that post.  As you can see, it’s been heavy on the Bar Method and light on the Pilates. My goal this week is to mix in at least one run and one Pilates class. I’m hoping to take my first Reformer class this weekend at a new studio, A-Line Pilates!

Tuesday October 11th – Tuesday October 24th, 2016

  • 10/11 – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level with Gina
  • 10/12 – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level with Paige
  • 10/13 – Five mile walk   
  • 10/14 – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level with Steffi
  • 10/15 – Rest Day 
  • 10/16 – NYJL Sweats with Theodora which included 30 minute spin and 30 minutes yoga at Equinox
  • 10/17  – Four miles with Katie 
  • 10/18  – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level Alyssa + 3 miles with along the West Side Highway with the Brooks team
  • 10/19 – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level with Paige 
  • 10/20 – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level with Alyssa  Her peppy personality is a great way to make me forget that the workout she is about do prescribe will leave me quivering, shaking and sweating more than any other instructor. I love her class because I learn something new every time but don’t feel so intimidated that I don’t want to return! 
  • 10/21 – Rest day
  • 10/22 – Long walk in Prospect Park 
  • 10/23 – Bar Method Brooklyn Mixed Level with Steffi 
  • 10/24 – Flywheel with Josh Arden AM + Soul Cycle with Stevie PM  Double workouts are rarely something I do these days but when a friend reminds you that you have a free Soul Cycle class expiring, you high tail it to Soul Cycle for some post-work stress relief. It was an odd combination of spin classes since Josh is one of my favorites and unfortunately, Stevie and I didn’t really jive. The class was only 38 minutes long versus the regular 45 and I didn’t feel challenged. Her class was heavy on the dancing and low on the sprints/climbs but in her defense, it was packed and most people looked like this was their favorite Soul class ever. Guess that’s why their are so many different teacher styles! 

Your turn – What is your favorite low impact workout? 


IMAXShift Brooklyn

imaxshift studio image

This blog post could also be titled, the time I took a spin class in a movie theater or that time I left a class utterly confused and disappointed.

IMAXShift, which opened in May, is located near the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo. The first new studio to open in this area, they will soon have lots of company since Shadow Box and Row House are opening next month. Due to the convenient location and our love of spin classes, Bo and I hoped that we would quickly fall in love with this unique workout. We signed up for their 7:00 AM ride via ClassPass, excited to have discovered another great Brooklyn workout option. With average reviews of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it had to be a good experience, right? Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Ride Beyond ImaxShift Brooklyn

ImaxShift Spin Studio

Since the studio highlights the IMAXShift difference multiple times throughout their website and studio, I thought I would use these aspects to provide my review as they are correct, these things do differentiate the experience and studio from other NYC spin studios.

ImaxShift spin shoes

imaxshift difference

  • Screen: When I heard the name of the studio and read the description, I thought the screen was going to make me fall in love with the experience. I envisioned simulated rides through the Alps or Pyrenees – following Tour de France rides or other globally known bike courses. Another option I envisioned was riding to my favorite, inspiring movie scenes. Instead, the 40 x 24 foot screen played everything from Justin Bieber music videos to nature images which reminded me of the Disney ride Soaring. Evidently each trainer has the freedom to design their own visuals and soundtrack so that no two rides are the same.  The teacher pointed out multiple times that we weren’t staring at a mirror or competing against anyone. While I love the no judgement mentality, I also don’t understand the mirror comparison when it comes to spin classes. While the ever-popular Soul Cycle has a mirror in the front of it’s classes, the classes are so dimly lit and sweaty that I’ve never even noticed the mirror as it’s often too dark or fogged from the sweat. 
  • Sound: While the music is Imax theatre quality, the louder than necessary music caused the instructor to literally scream at us during the class. In addition, for the entire class the music was off timing with the music videos which drove me a bit insane.
  • Studio: This is by far the largest spin studio I have ever seen! Since it is in the IMAX theater it is literally the size of a large movie theater and houses more than 50 bikes, only 5 of which were occupied this morning. The studio was so large that it left me feeling alone, especially during this morning’s class.
  • Stats: The Schwinn bike’s console, which reminded me of bikes at Equionx, allow you to see your stats at all times including time, distance and RPMs. However this class is more about keeping the beat than tracking your distance. I felt that it fell in between the bike dancing of Soul Cycle and the focus on the torque style of Flywheel.
  • Scene: The studio is the largest studio I’ve visited in New York City with plenty of space to relax before or after class, get ready in the spotless locker rooms. It is very similar to Peloton in that they encourage you to lounge and enjoy the space though unlike Peloton, there is no food or coffee bar to enjoy.

Would I go again? Most likely. I would be willing to try another class as long as it is during a more popular time and with a different teacher.  When I spoke with the front desk staff, they said that Bree’s classes are their most popular as she was just named NYC’s Hottest Trainer.

Cost: IMAXShift classes cost $34 or you can use one of you can take up to 3 classes per month via ClassPass.  They do have a first time rider special which is 2 rides for $34.

Address: The studio is located in DUMBO in Brooklyn at 127 Plymouth Street, conveniently located near the F train.

What to wear: I recommend wearing bike shorts or crops paired with a sports bra and tank top since the studio was warm this morning. Since they include spin shoes and towels in the price of class, you just need to remember socks!

Your turn: What would you want to watch if you were taking a spin class in an IMAX theater? 

Some images via New York Post.