Sometimes you need a good kick in the pants to jumpstart your workout routine and that’s exactly what I did back in April when I joined my neighborhood gym. Working out at home was getting stale and I needed a change. Already familiar with the Les Mills brand of fitness classes from my YMCA in New Jersey, I was happy to see that my French gym’s offerings included BODYCOMBAT, a high-energy, cardio-based kickboxing class that has enough choreographed punches and kicks to keep you engaged and having fun, not to mention drenched at the end. I’ve been taking it twice a week now for several months and love it (aside from that lack of air conditioning situation in the summer). The 55-minute workout goes by fast, has you rocking out to some cool tunes, torches calories and forces you to work hard.
If you’re thinking of trying a Les Mills BODYCOMBAT class or are already a seasoned participant, here are some truths about the kick-butt class.
I was first introduced to Les Mills classes about eight years ago at my YMCA. I started with BODYPUMP, the only Les Mills class they offered at the time, and I enjoyed the camaraderie, the fact that it took the guesswork out of weightlifting and the efficiency of the workout. And a few years ago, I moved to France and was pleasantly surprised to see my old friend Les Mills at my local gym. One class I’ve taken a particular liking to is BODYCOMBAT and here’s why:
Newbies and seasoned pros can both enjoy a BODYCOMBAT class.
One of the great things about Les Mills classes is that participants of all ages and fitness levels can take the same class together and get a killer workout. The instructor will ask if there are any firsttimers in the class and go over technique as well as show modifications for all high-impact moves. You set the intensity level of your class and if you don’t want to kick as hard, jump as high or punch with as much power, that lies in your control. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro!
You don’t need to have a martial arts background to enjoy the class.
The thought of taking a kickboxing class can be intimidating especially if you aren’t super coordinated. While BODYCOMBAT choreography draws on martial arts moves, this is a fun cardio class that requires no prior experience. You definitely don’t need to be a martial arts master! Moves are easy to follow and execute and you don’t need to be overly coordinated to enjoy yourself.
The sense of community is empowering.
By community, I’m referring to the people in the class with you as well as everyone else who takes BODYCOMBAT around the world. Each release is launched at the same time around the world so regardless of what country you’re in and what language you speak, you’re punching and kicking exactly like every other participant. I’m happy to say everyone in class with me is welcoming and although we’re of varying levels of fitness, we’re all supportive of each other.
The music changes every quarter so it doesn’t get boring.
Like all Les Mills classes, the songs that accompany the workout change every quarter along with the choreography. Once you’ve mastered each release and you just start itching for something new, it’s time for the new release so there’s no time for the workout to get stale. You’ll be punching and kicking away to new tunes that’ll energize and refresh your workout.
You can still get a killer workout if you take the low-impact options.
Sometimes I just don’t want to jump. Maybe my legs are sore or I’m tired or I wore the wrong sports bra. BODYCOMBAT instructors will show you modifications for all the intense high-impact moves so that folks of any fitness level can participate and still get an effective workout. They’re just as effective as the high-impact moves and might be just what you need to get through the class strong and proud.
It actually gets more difficult the better you get.
Sometimes you outgrow an exercise class. Once you’ve mastered the moves, certain classes can get easier and you find yourself reaching a plateau. Maybe they’re still fun but you don’t find yourself working as hard. That’s not the case with BODYCOMBAT. For me, the workout gets more difficult as time goes on. I don’t mean in terms of cardio fitness but as you perfect your technique, you’ll find you punch harder and with more precision, kick higher, jump with more power and dig deeper. As you learn the choreography, you’ll jump right in instead of watching the instructor for a few counts until you learn it yourself. Once you’re confident in your technique and you’ve mastered the moves in the release, you can let loose and hit it hard. And I do.