Something New: BodyPump

bodypumpSince I have a well-documented habit of coping with stress with eating, I’ve tried to counterbalance some of that by hitting the YMCA during the day a little bit. Sometimes I just hit the treadmill, but I finally braved a BodyPump class last week.

First – I AM TERRIFIED OF FITNESS CLASSES. I’ve been a member at the YMCA for about 7 years and have NEVER gone to a class before. The only classes I’ve ever attended was a Zumba class at a church a few times and my boot camp. And both times were TERRIFYING. I mean, obviously I survived since I’m still going to boot camp 2 years later, but still…TERRIFYING. I get so worked up about embarrassing myself that just GOING is a huge step, much less going back.

So – I decided to try BodyPump because it’s not a class that requires rhythm. That’s one of the things I fear the most, having to watch myself in a mirror looking like a FOOL. BodyPump is all weights/strength training stuff so I figured I could handle watching myself do that. I got there 15 minutes early so I could watch people get set up and see what they did. I had a bit of a bad experience at first, with someone who may naturally be snarky and making me feel dumb, but once I made it clear I was new there were two girls who helped me get everything I needed. Which is actually a lot. You don’t just walk in and do a BodyPump class. There’s benches and bars and plates and mats and dumbbells.

THAT’S A LOT OF STUFF.

Those type of situations are especially stressful for me because I have separate anxieties for EACH item. Basically each of those items represents a different way I could humiliate myself. Why didn’t I choose a class that involved only MY BODY. I mean, there’s tons that could go wrong there too, but that’s only ONE THING.

But I did it! I got all of the stuff together. I found a spot on the side, in the middle – not in the front – not in the back. And I braced myself for the new experience!

It was basically a weight-lifting class. The tricky part was knowing what weights to use. I found a few girls in the class that looked about my fitness level and followed their lead. Some of the choices were too light, some were too heavy, but it was a good place to start. I think you definitely have to go to BodyPump a few times before you make a judgement, just to give you time to find the right weights for the right body parts.

My favorite thing about the class? Was that I loved watching myself in the mirror! Can you believe I just said that? But seriously! Watching myself lift weights was fun because I could actually see my muscles in use…which I’ve never done before. It turns out that it’s easier to ignore the flab around your midsection when you are watching your quads or shoulders flex under the weight of a barbell with 16KGs on it as I did several reps and sets of the different exercises.

(I’m such an American. I found myself very frustrated in the KG labels on the plates instead of LBs. It hurt my brain to translate.)

Overall? I loved it. It didn’t have the humiliating “dance” aspect of some classes and it allowed me to see my muscles in use which gave me a huge confidence boost. It didn’t have any cardio, which is fine since I get that in my running. I’ve gone twice now and I’ll keep going back as long as it fits into my schedule!

Have you done BodyPump? What do you think.

12 Comments

  • melaniek

    My sister is a body pump junky and just now has started some body beast workout (where I guess it targets some specific part of your body.. ie all legs one day, all arms another etc)… and she’s in great shape, but I am too intimidated to do those sort of classes not only because of all the reasons you mentioned, but also because I’ve watched my sister go TOO far, I love that she’s in great shape but she is so strict with everything that she now avoids family holidays because of the fattening food served. I love Zumba even though I look ridiculous in the mirror….and the class I take is too fast paced to stare at ones self anyway… I barely keep up with my eyes glued to the instructor (which is how I like it, everyone else has to keep their eyes glued to her as well)!

    • zoot

      It’s funny – I honestly think that the perk of working out so much is getting to eat all of the fatty/junky food guilt free πŸ™‚ I may be doing it wrong!

      My other difficulty with Zumba is I can’t concentrate on BOTH parts of my body at the same time – top and bottom half. I can only do one half at a time πŸ™‚

      • melaniek

        that is how I started with Zumba, I just worked on getting the bottom half of my body to follow along and as I got confident with the main steps, I added in arms.

        I am with you! I don’t see where the joy is in life if you can’t work hard AND play hard or every now and then eat whatever you want!

  • Monica

    I took weight training for my PE class two semesters in college and I loved it. It helped me firm up but not bulk up. But that was 100 years ago. I am so out of shape now that I am too intimidated to even walk by the Y much less go in it! This sounds like a class I would like,though.

    I have some weird balance problem/disorder so I fall down a lot. If I tried Zumba I would end up taking out half the class in one of my falls. It would be more like bowling for Zumba girls than exercise.

  • birdgal (another amy)

    I do BodyPump and love it! The only issue I have is that the class is so popular on the days I can go (weekends), you HAVE to get there somewhat early so you can ‘claim’ your space (unless you want to be jammed up towards the front). And a good instructor goes a long way too–the first one I ever encountered rushed everything along so much it was hard to keep up, especially since I was new. And if you want to do a more ‘dance’ oriented class, I say try it! Most everyone looks like a fool anyway and most are looking at the instructor, not you :).

  • Kat V

    Body Pump is my favorite Les mills class, followed closely by Body Combat, Flow, and Attack. I’ve seen the biggest change in my body from taking Pump and it is definitely the easiest class to pick up. I do love the Les Mills programs for fitness – new music/choreography every 3 months or so and if you have long time instructors, they will switch up music every few weeks.

  • Liz

    More Zoot bad*assness on the fitness front – you are killing it!!! I’m surprised you would be intimidated by Body Pump, what with all your boot camp experience. I hesitantly ventured into Body Pump about 8 months after strength training on my own and with a personal trainer. I, too, was worried about being clumsy, keeping up, and generally just looking like a weakling since I was still pretty new to things. But the classes are really fun and a great way to add some variety to my trainer-prescribed routine. I agree with you that you need to give yourself a few classes to get used to what weights you should use. Until then, no shame in picking up your “medium” weight but quickly switching to the “light” upon realizing that you’re about to do 80 million reps. Not that that’s happened to me.

    And by the way… don’t jbase your assessment of fitness classes on zumba… many people LOVE zumba, but those are the people who really “get” salsa rhythm and the movements for Latin dance. The rest of us just flail and stomp around with the occasional out-of-step hip shake. I love dancing but zumba makes me feel like a complete spaz.

  • Lindsey

    Yup. I love Body Pump as I mentioned on your other post. I’ve been going for 6 months now, and really like the toning it’s given me. It’s definitely a class I can commit to and enjoy long term.

    But your class has weights in KG? Mine are LBS. I think I’d go nuts trying to convert throughout the class. Eek!

  • Karen P

    My son teaches at a gym. I take his Silver Sneakers classes which are designed for people over 65 (except I am only 59). All the little older ladies love him. I take an aerobics type class and Zumba class…kind of like a Zumba light, and a class that has some weights involved called muscular strength . Some of these ladies are in their late 70’s or early 80’s. One lady is 94 (but she doesn’t do the Zumba class.) He also teaches a Body Pump class but I figured I would wimp out and not be able to lift the weights. He assures me I can do it. Maybe someday!

  • Katy McDonald England

    I LOVE BODYPUMP! It makes me sooooo happy! However, the last two places we have lived do not have any gyms offering les mills classes. Thankfully, Beach Body has a les mils PUMP product that is basically a 20, 35, 45 and two 55 minute bodypump classes. No other bar bell fitness class compares to pump/bodypump. It’s my favorite! I’m glad you like it!

  • Lane C.

    Pump it up! I enjoy that class-the equipment part is the worst part but once you get it gooood stuff….