Well Being

Gym Classy Lady: Of Course I Loved The Class That’s All About Fighting

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les mills body combat

It occurs to me that, if you're basing anything off my prior three reviews, you'd think I don't really like working out. Or that I give a lot of threes and fours for things I don't love. Regardless, I thought I'd change it up and spend today telling y'all about the class I love the most: Les Mills' BODYCOMBAT.

As with most great things in my life, I didn't go looking for BODYCOMBAT and I resisted when it found me. It was two summers ago, as I was training to climb Mount Rainier. I'd joined Gold's Gym in midtown Manhattan because I liked their class schedule and was spending my summer sampling the classes and finding what worked for me. (Important note: that gym has since been turned into a Crunch and gone downhill fast, sigh.) I'd tried a few and found myself a Les Mills devotee through a BODYPUMP recommendation from a friend. Based in New Zealand, Les Mills runs several branded classes (mostly named with the word “BODY” and something to vaguely describe the type of class) at different gyms around the world. Every three months, new routines with updated music are taught to the thousands of instructors so the classes are consistent.

So through a friend in Charleston, I learned about BODYPUMP and had been doing this challenging weight lifting class with some regularity. The class before the Tuesday BODYPUMP looked intense and the schedule told me it was called BODYCOMBAT. Though I was intrigued, I was still too much of a chicken to explore this class until I was forced. Ok, I guess “forced,” is a bit misleading. It's not like Gold's Gym was holding their members up at gunpoint or anything. But one night, I went to the gym to try another class (Urban Rebounding, aka fun with trampolines) and the teacher didn't show up. So one of the girls in the class offered to teach BODYCOMBAT instead. I could've walked out, but I stayed and just an hour later I was riding home on the bus feeling like I was having an out of body experience because I was so sweaty and exhausted. And I remember immediately thinking, when can I go again?

BODYCOMBAT is similar to a cardio kickboxing class, but it uses different types of Martial Arts including: boxing, taekwondo, karate, and Muay Thai. Each type lasts for only a song so it's impossible to tire of something. Also, the combination of kicking, punching, and moving around targets all major muscle groups, so you'll be sore. Really, really sore. And a one hour class burns around 800 calories. Not that exercise should be only about a caloric deficit, but it's nice to know you're getting something for your efforts, no?

So let's see how BODYCOMBAT did:

EFFECTIVENESS* – Overall, was it a good workout? How sweaty was I at the end? From black tie ready to fat man in Texas July.

5 – Like I said: out of body experience. The endorphin high after this class is second to none.

AMENITIES – How posh was the gym/spa/studio? From lemon water to BYO.

2 – Because BODYCOMBAT operates out of different gyms around the world, it is impossible to answer this with certainty, but this class seems to be function over fashion wherever it is.

STUDIO VIBE – Was the place full of lululemon or ratty old t-shirts? How awkward did I feel, from inner-Beyonce to sixth grade me?

3 – Again, this could vary greatly based on the location, but the crowd for every class I took seems to be Les Mills fanatics. There were always people going to back-to-back BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT classes, and the room at Gold's was always packed, sometimes cramming more than 40 people into a 20×20 exercise room. Sure, there was the occasional kick in the head, but it was a friendly, neighborly kick in the head.

TEACHERS – Did the teacher add to or detract from the experience? Did they put together a good playlist?

4 – Every teacher I had for BODYCOMBAT was great. They wear microphones, shout out instructions, and are great at keeping you motivated and excited. There's not a ton of individualized correction in this class, probably because it was so large, but there were a few times when the teacher would say something general to the room (like, “make sure your knees aren't locked on this one”) and I was able to correct based off her comments to the class alone.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE – Would I go again? What else contributed to my experience?

5 – I love, love, love this class. Unfortunately for me, Gold's was sold to Crunch and they've turned the class into something else entirely. My only complaint about BODYCOMBAT is the lack of convenient times and locations near me. On that note, does anyone know of a similar class that might be more convenient? Or maybe you have classes near you: go here to find a class and give BODYCOMBAT a try!

*All factors are ranked from 1-5, 5 being the best.

About “Gym Class Lady”: Inspired by my love of trying all things fitness, every other week I’ll be reviewing a class, workout fad, or video, based on several factors. I try all these classes so you don’t have to. Have a class to recommend or a review you’d love to read? Leave me a comment!