If you are a regular reader of every_third_day you will know that one area I am really focussing on at the minute is my mobility. It is pretty poor and in order to improve it I’ve been going to Yoga once a week. To speed up the process I decided to give Les Mills BODYBALANCE classes a go and this is the every_third_day review of my experience.
So what is BODYBALANCE?
BODYBALANCE is a Les Mills class that combines Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi to help improve your flexibility, balance and strength. It also has the added benefit of helping you relax your mind, perfect if you are having a stressful week. The classes I have been taking are 55 minutes long but 45 and 30-minute classes are available. Whilst BODYBALANCE is all about making you ‘long and strong’ don’t be fooled, it really does get your heart rate going. The great thing about the classes I have be taking is that they are perfect for everyone, whether you are a beginner or full time yogi.
So how was my month of classes? Well I have written a short summary of each class below. You will also find the every_third_day verdict at the end of this blog.
My first Les Mills BODYBALANCE experience was really enjoyable but I made two mistakes before the class had even started. Firstly I completed a full core session in the gym prior to the class which made it ten times harder and secondly I ended up placing my mat right next to the instructor’s so there was no where to hide! Luckily I was in the hands of a very experienced instructor called Emma and she made the class really enjoyable. I was the only man in the room which could’ve been a little daunting but everyone made me feel welcome and it was clear that I wasn’t the only one trying BODYBALANCE for the first time.
The class started with Tai Chi circles and then as the music changed Emma took us through a variety of strength, balance and flexibility exercises. The mixture of music and learning new ways to bend my body meant that the class passed by incredibly quickly and I worked up quite a sweat. As I mentioned earlier BODYBALANCE really does get your heart pumping and I finished the class red faced and in need of a shower.
After feeling relaxed and a touch more flexible following my first class I arrived at my second BODYBALANCE class really looking forward to it. Once again the class started with Tai Chi before moving into various Pilates and Yoga exercises and having completed it once I felt much more comfortable a second time round. Having an idea about what I was doing and not having to look at the instructor constantly meant that I was able to concentrate on the exercise and really push my body to stretch further than I thought it could.
Once again I was the only male in the room, which led to a funny moment whilst performing the interestingly named ‘Frog pose’. Emma, the instructor, explained to the class that this great for relieving menstrual cramps and we should all try it. At that moment she caught my eye and said ‘obviously this doesn’t apply to you’. Cue a wry smile from me and laughter from a few of the women in the class. For the record, whether you are male or female, the ‘Frog pose’ (see photo below) is brilliant for improving hip mobility, something I really struggle with.
The night before my third class I felt really ill and wasn’t sure I would be up to doing BODYBALANCE in morning, however I woke up feeling better so decided to go to the class. Unfortunately that wasn’t the most sensible decision I have ever made and the class was incredibly hard. Half way through I felt shattered and it was clear I wasn’t fully fit and healthy. Despite feeling rough I decided to man up and finish the class and I am so glad I did. Not long after giving myself a talking too I began working on hamstring stretches and experienced one of those great ‘I’ve done it’ moments…. I was able to put my hands around my feet with straight legs! My hamstrings were finally getting longer! I left the class shattered but proud; the hard work was paying off.
Without a doubt this was my favourite BODYBALANCE experience, I enjoyed every minute and could see the progress I had made with various exercises and stretches. That is one of the great things about the Les Mills series; because they have the same structure for a defined period you can see/feel the improvements as the weeks pass. My mobility has really improved and so has my balance, I no longer wobble as I perform any of the one-leg exercises. As I worked through the core exercises I could feel how much stable I was and that bought a smile to my face. By the time we went into meditation at the end of the class I had a huge smile on my face.
The every_third_day verdict
Les Mills BODYBLANCE has played a major part in me becoming more flexible and having a stronger core, both of these will play an integral part in me achieving my goals for 2016. After every class I felt like I had done a proper workout but at the same time I felt more relax and focussed. It might be a little daunting for men to try out a class for the first time as the class are predominately female but that is not a reason to give BODYBALANCE a go. The benefits of a more flexible, stronger and leaner body far outweigh being outnumbered. It is definitely going to be part of my weekly training plan for the foreseeable future.
First Time Fitness Ratings
Fun – 4/5
Cardio fitness – 3/5
Difficulty – 3/5 – once you have been a couple of times you can focus on pushing the boundaries of your flexibility and not worry about learning the moves.
You don’t need any equipment although you might want to invest in your own yoga mat if you decide to make Les Mills BODYBALANCE a staple of your training regime.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.