Foodie Fitness Corner: Nik’s Review of the Body Pump Workout

(Check out last month’s article: Hillery’s Guide to Spin Class!) 

Nik’s Guide to Body Pump

Body Pump. What the heck is it? And how exactly (outside the realm of our pre-pubescent perverted thoughts) does one pump one’s body?

Well I’m here to break it all down for you. Because as intimidating as this class may look, it’s not that bad. Well…not after the first few times you go anyway.
Here’s my Foodie Fitness Review of Body Pump.
What is it?
Body Pump™ is a workout developed by a company called LesMills (which I learned is “less” Mills and not the French “lez” Mills) and is a total body strength workout. See their website for more details than ever thought possible. This article is just MY experience!
The class can be taught by one or more instructors, who have been licensed by Les Mills. They may or may not be personal trainers or fitness experts, although many are.
Here are some other interesting tidbits, based on my experience:
  • Body Pump routines are called releases and each has a soundtrack. Les Mills puts out a new release every few months with fairly current music.
  • The duration time of the class is 60 minutes, during which time my instructor tells me we go through 1,000 repetitions of weight lifting. (For the record, Les Mills says it’s 800…I prefer to go with the higher number…just sayin…)
  • The workout targets all major muscle groups. Each segment of the workout is set to a song and each movement set to the beat of the song, which has been specially mixed for Body Pump workouts.
  • The class is appropriate for beginners and experienced weight lifters.

What do I need to bring with me to a class?
I’ve been doing Body Pump for two years now. Here’s what I usually bring:
  • A BIG bottle of water 
  • A hand towel
  • Myself in comfy and flexible workout clothes with a sturdy athletic bra (wardrobe malfunctions while planking are NOT fun. Just sayin…)
Is there anything I should do to prepare for the class?
The most important thing you can do is SHOW UP. Besides that, these suggestions may help your first time out:
  • EAT A SNACK before going. No excuses! Eat something a little on the carby side with a little bit of protein (not cookies!). Yogurt with fruit works well. Also, I go to Body Pump at 5:45 a.m. So even if it’s morning, eat the snack!
  • If you’re prone to soreness after workouts, try taking a Tylenol (or whatever pain reliever your surgeon says you are allowed to have) prior to this class. Don’t be intimidated, I suggest this for any workout where you feel you might be sore. 
What can I expect when I get there?
When you get to class you’ll likely see people of various fitness levels, ages, shapes and sizes there.
Your instructor will likely tell you how to set up for class but here are the basics:
  • Grab a barbell and some weights. They usually come in three sizes: 5 kg, 2.5 kg and 1 kg. Your instructor will tell you when to increase, decrease weight so just grab one of each.
  • You are also going to get a weight lifting board and risers (see picture below). Some gyms have mats you can place over the board to make it a bit more comfortable. You can also use the mats for floor exercises.
  •  I personally usually grab a set of hand weights as well. Your instructor will lead you through some free-weight movements with the plate weights and I personally hand weights easier to deal with. Your choice 

Your risers and platform. These should be familiar to people who have ever taken step aerobics!
Class begins with a warm-up track that takes you through all the basic movements you’ll do in the hour-long workout. Then the instructor will do routines set to individual songs that target specific muscle groups.
While you are doing the movements, pay attention to the way the weights feel. You should be challenged but should be able to complete the movements in time with the instructor. If you cannot, take a break to decrease your weights. You don’t want an injury! Also, pay attention to your form. Good form ensures the muscles you want to get worked, get worked.
So why should I consider doing this?
This is Nik’s actual shoulder/arm, by the way. Not quite where I want it to be but still not bad, eh?
Strength training is an important part of being fit in general. Building lean muscle helps you burn fat more efficiently, improves your posture, endurance and produces a great body shape!
Of course, Body Pump isn’t the only way to do strength training but it is good for beginners who want to learn some basic weight lifting moves and form. Plus, you feel pretty damn good after doing those 1,000 reps!
So if you see the class, check it out. If you do it, let me know how it goes!
This month all the Foodie contributors are sharing their guilty pleasures! 

Nik’s guilty pleasure? (Besides contorted poses in pictures) Bad, bad, bad reality television.

In fact, you didn’t hear it from us but if one wanted to get blackmail material on Nik, one might show up to her house during the air time of “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.” Just sayin. 

If you have a question for Nik, hit her up at

One comment

  1. Dang~ Look at those arms! If I ever find myself scared in a dark alley I sure hope you are within yelling distance. 😉

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