Are you looking to lose weight and strengthen your muscles, but think weight training at the gym is boring or intimidating? Then check out the fast-paced group exercise program called BodyPUMP.
It might sound a little odd, but one of the most effective ways to lose weight is to pick some up. Weight training builds strength and endurance, and boosts metabolism, helping you to take off inches. BodyPUMP classes – sprouting up at health clubs nationwide – combine weight training with a steady musical beat in a fun and challenging environment that offers a total body workout using moderate weights and high repetitions. With BodyPUMP, you don’t get bulging muscles – just sleek and strong muscles, with improved tendon and ligament strength.
What kind of results are people seeing, and how long does it take to see a change in your body? “We get mail from people every day, and no one has ever said they’ve gotten big muscles,” says Rich Boggs, who brought BodyPUMP to the United States in 1997, in a Fitness interview. “They’ve toned their muscles, lost weight, and gained lean muscle mass. People tell us they’re seeing the changes usually in about two to four weeks.”
It almost sounds too good to be true, but according to Maggie Lynn, this is no magic bullet. Lynn, a 43-year-old housewife from Atlanta who has enjoyed BodyPUMP classes at her gym for two years, says the workout is more than just comprehensive – it’s downright tough.
“I was exhausted after that first workout,” Lynn recalled. “But I really liked working with the free weights and the music. Before I knew it, I was seeing muscles that I didn’t know I had. I didn’t bulk up, I just got toned.”
What Makes BodyPUMP Special?
A one-hour BodyPUMP session is divided into 10 four- to six-minute segments, each focusing on a specific muscle group. The workout covers all of the basic exercises:
The workout covers all of the basic exercises: bench presses, biceps curls, squats, lunges, rows, triceps extensions, military presses, front shoulder raises, and even the clean and press.
Between segments, participants quickly adjust their weights (which are secured with spring clips) for the upcoming exercise. Though it’s not designed to be a cardiovascular workout, the pace is as brisk as the music. In fact, the sessions are vigorous enough to require a minimum of 48 hours of recovery time between workouts during the first 12 weeks.
Those muscles Lynn didn’t know she had showed up thanks to an increase in her lean muscle mass. She is also burning fat, since weight training increases your metabolism while you are exercising and after you are done. In fact, exercises that use more muscle groups at higher intensity and for longer periods of time keep your metabolism elevated for the longest period of time after your workout.
There are other health benefits for BodyPUMPers – strength training can help fight osteoporosis, and research has shown it can help women reduce their blood pressure, too.
Of course, all those benefits are predicated on staying with a regular program, and that’s where BodyPUMP has an impressive track record over its 10-year life.
“Consumers want workouts that are simple, fun, and that get results,” Boggs said. “We’ve had good staying power because BodyPUMP has all of those things. People can join a class and immediately feel successful in what they are doing.”
Simple Moves, Quality Instruction
Simplicity is a key to the BodyPUMP program. It’s strictly a strength and endurance program with no stepping, dancing, or complicated movements. It utilizes Boggs’s step platform product, but only as a bench for exercises such as the bench press.
Even though the moves are simple, keeping the exercises and music fresh is a complex affair. BodyPUMP’s pre-choreographed routines are updated regularly by a team of experts, so boredom is never a problem for participants.
“There are over 2000 people working full-time on this program,” said Boggs. The routines and music are created in New Zealand – where BodyPUMP started in 1990 – while marketing and instructor training is handled in the United States.
The quality of instruction is a major selling point, according to Boggs. “People can’t teach BodyPUMP unless they’ve had 24 hours of training, which includes videotaping three sessions,” Boggs explained. “Instructors have 90 days to send us the tapes so we can assess their competence.”
Ultimately, the success of BodyPUMP puts to rest the myth that women who train with weights will end up with manly looking muscles. And with benefits that include weight loss, increased strength and endurance, and greater bone density to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, you might want to consider BodyPUMP-ing it up.