Picture a scale, 1-10. Zumba is all the way at one end and Turbo Kick Boxing is in the center. BodyCombat would be at the entire opposite end. Where TKB is like a choreographed martial arts dance party, BodyCombat is simpler and lets you put more power into your jabs, uppercuts, and roundhouses. It’s more about the moves, and you are able to concentrate on your form a little more.
Walking in, I assumed that trained martial artists would have a great advantage over me. Not necessarily, my instructor said. Apparently, it’s harder for those with ingrained muscle-memory to put those moves to the beats of the music. My sister, a second-degree black belt, probably would snub her nose at this type of workout, saying that it destroys form.
Truthfully, it moves so fast that it is hard, at first, to concentrate on good form. My advice is to get a few tips on correct form at the get-go. The frequent repetition, mirrors, and instructor’s flawless examples will give you ample practice time. And don’t be self-conscious, most people look just as bad as you!
BodyCombat, part of the Les Mills series, is a choreographed workout set to specific music. Les Mills’ website categorizes it as “high intensity martial arts inspired cardio”. A “new release” comes out every 3 months, and instructors have all the past releases to choose from when selecting a routine for the day. Like BodyPump, the set choreography makes it easier to pick up the moves and get into them, generating a more intense workout. At the same time, the constant routine updates keep it interesting.
We started out with a warmup of punches and kicks that was actually just a gentler version of the rest of the class. By the half-way point, we were going faster, the moves more plyometric, and I started to realize that martial arts uses your entire body. Probably a duh factor to someone else, but ground-breaking for me. We ended class with 5 minutes of core-targeted work on mats.
Who should do it? It’s a great class for any fitness level. For absolute beginners and those with joint troubles, there are options that make it very low impact. It’s the rare cardio workout that uses quick movements of your arms and upper torso to generate intensity. (Plus, can you imagine doing the rowing machine for an hour??) For gym-rats, you can add plyometrics and really work on your form. It’s great cross-training.
The website claims that you can burn 737 calories during one class, and I suspect that might be for a 150 lb person. For 115 lbs, I would guess closer to 400 calories. It got my heart racing and sweat pouring.
I’ve already been to two classes – that answers the question of whether I would return. So, yes, it’s worthy of a coveted spot in my already overcrowded workout schedule. Replace a treadmill session with it, and you’ll find yourself actually wanting to go to the gym.
Has anyone tried BodyCombat? What did you think? Leave your comments below…
Photo by KWDesigns on Flickr