I've been on a huge Les Mills On Demand kick lately! I've been so busy with new work projects and teaching group fitness classes that home workouts have been the ultimate timesaver. I'm trying out as many Les Mills On Demand programs as I can during my free trial. I want to try and evaluate Les Mills as a whole. I've tried several other Les Mills programs already (Les Mills Barre, Les Mills Bodyattack) and I'm considering reviewing Les Mills Grit as well. Let me know if you're interested.
Next on my list to try was Bodycombat!
Here's the description from the website:
"Step into a BODYCOMBAT workout and you’ll punch and kick your way to fitness, burning up to 740 calories* along the way. This high-energy martial-arts inspired workout is totally non-contact and there are no complex moves to master. A LES MILLS™ instructor will challenge you to up the intensity and motivate you to make the most of every round. You’ll release stress, have a blast and feel like a champ. BODYCOMBAT is available as either a 55- minute workout, 30-minute express workout and an online exclusive Remix workout."
To give you all some background, I've done Muay Thai kickboxing classes in the past (both hitting a heavy bag and doing pad work with a partner). I always left those classes drenched in sweat. They were great for cardio and practicing technique.
*Side note* If you're in Connecticut and want to try a great mixed martial arts gym, I highly recommend Fighting Arts Academy in West Haven. The head coach, Nick Newell, is a professional fighter who fought on the UFC Contender Series. He’s a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu! After just three months of training there, I competed in a jiu-jitsu tournament. Whether you want to become a professional fighter or just want something fun to do to stay in shape, you should check it out! Nick offers a free trial week, so you can try it before you commit!
I've also done cardio kickboxing classes (no equipment or partner) at local gyms and left mostly unimpressed. The music was usually pretty terrible and they were all pretty similar.
I was very impressed with Bodycombat, though. It wasn't the most challenging workout I've done, but it was very fun and I did sweat. I really liked that this class wasn't just a bunch of kickboxing combos. They took movements from different martial arts - even Capoeira, which happened to be my favorite part! This was something I'd never seen in a martial arts fitness class, and the moves really target the legs.
The music was outstanding and matched the exercises perfectly. Even though it’s a cardio workout, I also got in a good amount of bodyweight strength training, especially with the Capoeira. I wasn't as crazy about the music in Bodyattack, but I loved most of the songs in this release of Bodycombat.
On a difficulty scale of 0 to 10, I'd give this class a 7. This is a good workout to do after a day of heavy lifting. It’s a good way to sweat and keep the muscles loose, but it’s probably too intense for an active rest day workout. I’d say this is one of the most fun workouts I've done; Les Mills really hit the nail on the head with this choreography. Transitions were flawless and the variety provided in the class was excellent. You won't be bored doing this workout. Bodycombat did a good job activating the core, but not enough that you'll be sore the next day if you exercise regularly. I also appreciate that there was some HIIT during the session. The instructions provide tons of modifications; don't be afraid to try this class out if you're a beginner.
As with most Les Mills On Demand programs, the instructors were a bit cheesy. Some people love this and some people hate it - it just makes me laugh, which I guess is a good thing! Of course, if you're doing Bodycombat live, then this will vary by instructor personality. In my experience, the Les Mills Barre instructors do a lot less of the cheesy yelling and are more calm and collected. That’s more my speed!
I chose a 45-minute version of Bodycombat. But you can choose a shorter or longer class with Les Mills On Demand. It went by very quickly since there were so many different martial arts covered! As with the other Les Mills programs I've tried, I did this at home in my basement.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend Bodycombat for all levels of fitness. You can choose how difficult you want the class to be - Les Mills programs are top notch when it comes to providing progressions and regressions. I had a lot of fun with this one!
Check out my workouts from last week:
Lower body day
Taught 55 minute barre class
30 minute barre workout at home
Taught 50 minute barre class
30 minutes of lifting
55 minute HIIT class
Rest day - went to my mom’s wedding!
30 minute HIIT workout at home
Have you tried Bodycombat? Did you find it as fun as I did? Did you meet your fitness goals last week, and what are your goals this week?
Let's talk about it!
As you may have read in my last post, I'm trying out Les Mills On Demand using their free 10-day trial. This is my first experience with Les Mills group fitness classes; but after trying some of the programs at home, I'd really like to do one in-person! Check out my review of Bodyattack #99 here. That post also has more information about who/what Les Mills is, as well as how you can try Les Mills programs at home for free.
This time, I decided to give Les Mills Barre a try. I didn't know what to expect at first. I had no idea that Les Mills even had a barre program until I browsed the On Demand catalog. When I think of Les Mills, I think of high energy workouts that are more aerobic/cardio-based. To be honest, my expectations for the barre program weren't high - I really just don't think of Les Mills when I think of barre.
But I have to admit that I was VERY pleasantly surprised! I tried the Les Mills Barre #02 release.
First, Les Mills Barre doesn't use a barre or any other support mechanism. While I actually loved this aspect of the class, it's something to note if you're looking for a typical barre experience. Anyone who’s familiar with barre knows that the class uses a ballet barre for support while performing some of the exercises. This class is an exception, which I think is great because it forces you to use your stabilizing muscles to stay balanced. However, they probably should've named this a ballet fitness class rather than barre since there's no barre or barre alternative involved.
The class was perfectly choreographed, as is the case with all the Les Mills programs I've tried. It was 30 minutes long, the same as all Les Mills Barre workouts. And the entire session had an excellent flow - each move and series had a flawless transition into the next.
What I appreciated most about this class was that the instructors were clearly former dancers. There were three of them, and they had excellent technique and used ballet terminology throughout the workout. As a former dancer myself, it was so refreshing to hear French ballet terminology beyond just plié and relevé! One of the things I love most about barre is that you don't have to be a dancer to do it. But I feel like we sometimes take too much of the traditional ballet base out of the class! I loved that Les Mills Barre used a lot more ballet moves than other barre classes I've seen and actually taught us the French names for them.
There was an arms section with light weights like you’ll find in most barre classes. I didn't think it was challenging, but the arms were active throughout the entire class. So, I was fine with the intensity of the weighted portion.
The overall class was challenging enough that anyone could benefit from it. Not having a barre there made it even more challenging, but the instructors offered plenty of modifications for people at different fitness levels. I enjoyed attempting to pirouette gracefully in my basement!
Although the choreography was excellent, the presenters in the On Demand version of Les Mills Barre #02 really made the class. If you've done other Les Mills programs, you're probably used to a lot of yelling and (almost scarily) high-energy instructors. I consider barre to be a mind-body format just as much as yoga or Pilates, and this particular workout had the same calm nature. The instructor's voice was so soothing! All three of the presenters had impeccable form, which really encouraged me to challenge myself with each movement.
I do wonder how this translates to a live class with different instructors since the feel of the class can easily change with someone else leading. The choreography, though, was some of the best I've seen in a barre class. I loved the glute work on the floor and plan to use some of it in my upcoming barre classes!
Musically, the song selection was great and matched the pace of the class perfectly. I really dislike the covers that Les Mills uses (they're nowhere near as good as the original songs). I understand they have to use them for copyright reasons, though :)
Check out my workouts from last week below:
75 minute heated vinyasa class
40 minute powerlifting workout (check Instagram for some movements!)
Taught 55 minute barre class
2 hour acro yoga class (review of this will be up next week!)
Taught 50 minute barre class
Sauna & steam room session
55 minute HIIT class
Taught 55 minute barre class
Have you tried Les Mills Barre in person or On Demand? How did you like it? What cool new workouts/classes are you trying this summer?
Let me know your thoughts, and enjoy the rest of your week!
I’ve been hearing about Les Mills classes and programs for years but never attended one. Now that I’m a group fitness instructor, I find myself looking for other fitness formats to add to my teaching schedule. And Les Mills is one of the formats that I’m continuing to see more and more about.
For those who aren't familiar with Les Mills, he’s a former New Zealand track & field athlete and Olympian. He opened his first gym in the late 60s, and his son Phillip started Les Mills International using his name. They developed high-energy aerobics and strength classes that have evolved into 18 fitness programs. One of these programs is BODYATTACK, which I’ll be reviewing today. Les Mills has over 130,000 instructors worldwide, and you likely have a gym in your area that offers some of their programs.
Luckily, Les Mills now offers Les Mills On Demand, which allows you to do Les Mills workouts from the comfort of your home. There’s a 10-day free trial for all first time Les Mills On Demand users. I’m currently using it to try out some of the programs.
I decided to try BODYATTACK first. BODYATTACK is available as a 55, 45, or 30-minute workout (I opted for a 55-minute video).
Here’s the description of BODYATTACK from the Les Mills website:
"BODYATTACK™ is a high-energy fitness class with moves that cater for total beginners to total addicts. We combine athletic movements like running, lunging and jumping with strength exercises such as push-ups and squats. A LES MILLS™ instructor will pump out energizing tunes and lead you through the workout – challenging your limits in a good way, burning up to 730 calories** and leaving you with a sense of achievement."
I went with BODYATTACK first because it sounded like a lot of HIIT, which is one of my favorite ways to work out. It also doesn’t require equipment, which is a huge plus for someone who enjoys working out at home. I did this 55-minute video in my basement.
Les Mills programs have new releases every 6 to 8 weeks. So, you should expect to see the same classes for a few weeks before the choreography and music change. The release that I did in this workout was BODYATTACK #99. Overall, I really enjoyed it! I found it to be pretty challenging, but they offered modifications frequently. This class is suitable for people at all fitness levels.
Although it was a 55-minute workout, it went by very quickly. The music is really motivating and I could tell that all of the choreography was very well thought out. There’s a lot of running and jumping; if you're looking for a good cardio workout, then you'll definitely get it with BODYATTACK. The video is really fun because you have a group of instructors leading the session. They split up the blocks of the class so that it's constantly changing. The video also shows them teaching to a large group, which helps keep you motivated. I’d imagine that this would be a super fun class to do live!
I would’ve liked to see more modifications for the core track. One of the exercises was a side plank on your arm; this doesn’t feel good for me, so I ended up doing my own core exercises during this portion. This said, I really appreciated the difficulty of the core track.
The session included a very solid warmup and cooldown. Honestly, the warmup was one of the best I've seen in a group fitness class. You truly get a balanced full body workout with BODYATTACK; there are some compound movements like burpees, as well as more isometric movements. Each part of my body got a good workout. I was legitimately sweating after just a few minutes.
While I'd love to try a live class, I felt that the On Demand version of BODYATTACK captured the high-energy nature of the class really well. The instructors all had great energy and excellent cueing. I'll definitely come back to BODYATTACK when I'm looking for a HIIT workout that doesn't use any weights or equipment.
I'm looking forward to trying other Les Mills programs while my On Demand free trial is still active! The regular pricing for Les Mills On Demand is $12.99/month in the US (no sign-up fee). If you're someone who really enjoys home workouts, this is a very cost-effective option. Personally, I prefer live group fitness classes. However, Les Mills On Demand could be a great resource if I find myself in between gyms.
Be on the lookout for more posts reviewing other Les Mills programs! Since I don't have much equipment at home, I'll probably be trying another one of the no-equipment-needed programs next. BODYCOMBAT and GRIT are the two that I'm eyeing!
Have you tried Les Mills On Demand? Do you attend in-person Les Mills classes? What's your favorite Les Mills program?
Let me know your thoughts!
Other posts you might like:
Group Fitness Audition Tips
How I Became a Barre Instructor
How I Passed the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Exam
Dominique Cheylise, 25 year-old engineer and group fitness instructor.