Recently I've been really enjoying BodyPump - it's quickly gone from being my most hated, to my favourite workout of the week.
Why? Because, unlike cardio classes, the differences in my body are far more noticeable - and that's always an exciting thing! My shoulders are rounder, my arms have more definition, my legs are more toned, I am stronger and can add more and more weight to my bar each week (and with each extra little yellow plate comes a little feeling of victory!)
Also, it's nice to come out of the gym and not be completely drenched in sweat - although it's still a hardcore full body workout - it's not a full-on sweat out like Body Attack or Zumba!
I do BodyPump 2 - 3 times per week alongside other classes, and it really compliments the cardio exercise. Whereas jumping around for an hour burns major calories, BodyPump sculpts, tones and strengthens, in turn making the high intensity training a little easier, so I can push myself even harder.
Thinking of trying it out for yourself? Read on...
What is Body Pump?
It's a weight-lifting group exercise class, and yes I know that sounds terrifying. But it's really much better than it sounds, I promise.
At the start of each class, you set up your station with a step, a mat, a pair of dumbbells and a barbell with your choice of weighted plates depending on your strength.
The class is split into ten tracks, each targeting a different muscle group, and goes like this:
1. Warm Up
10. Cool Down
Each routine is set to music, and the movement of the weights is varied to fit in time with the music and work the muscles differently. For example, you might do a combination of slow reps, fast pulses, lifting up slow and dropping back down fast (or vice versa) - kind of like a little dance routine based on weight lifting moves.
As the class focuses on high repetitions and long sets (you keep going for the duration of an entire song), you use lighter weights than you might in the gym, where you're likely to be doing three short sets of ten reps with heavier weights.
Like all the Les Mills programmes, Body Pump has a new set of tracks and routines released every three months - so you always have new music and new exercises to stop it from getting boring. The instructors will usually mix and match music from past releases too, so the classes tend to be varied every week.
The class is filled with people of all ages, shapes and sizes - men and women, young and old, whether muscular, skinny or carrying a few extra pounds.
But I don't want to look like a female Body Builder...
You won't! It's a complete myth that women who lift weights will bulk up and look like Jodie Marsh circa 2012 - to get to that you'd need to be taking all sorts of supplements and lifting crazy heavy weights (and absolutely no pizza).
In fact, lifting weights can help you to slim down. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism is - meaning that even when you're at rest, your body will be burning fat at a higher rate. Cantara from GymBags and Gladrags has summed up 5 reasons why women should lift weights, so check out her post if you have any concerns about weight training.
Have you done BodyPump or are you interested in trying it out? What's your favourite way to workout?