Hello, hello, my wonderful blog-reading friends! Guess what? Dave, Brady and I are off on a family vacation today, and we’re so excited. We’re heading to Vancouver for four days and Whistler for three days, and this is my first time ever in Canada, as well as Brady’s. This is also the longest vacation we’ve ever taken, clocking in at a full week. For some reason, we’ve always averaged out around five days, and those extra two days seem like a luxury (although, let’s be honest, I love any vacation, no matter how short or long). I’m going to share some of our adventures on Instagram, if you want to check us out there.
Right now, it’s time for our weekly favorites round-up, so let’s get to it …
Les Mills BODYATTACK 105 review
I’ve been talking about my love for Les Mills BODYATTACK group fitness since I trained to become an instructor in the format in 2013. It’s a sports-cardio class with high-intensity, lots of jumping and lots of fun. The beautiful thing is that you can do a lot of the moves at your own level without impact if you need to, and there’s no way you won’t crack a smile at least once while sweating.
I’ve been back to teaching my own regular Les Mills BODYATTACK class for exactly three months after taking a long hiatus for trying to get pregnant, pregnancy and recovery, and boy it feels good to be back. Just a few weeks ago, we “launched” or debuted the latest quarterly release of music and moves for BODYATTACK, and I wanted to share a few thoughts.
The filming of BODYATTACK 105 for the instructor education video (a tool we use to learn the moves) is on the rooftop of a high-rise building in an urban environment, and while the setting is so cool, it doesn’t make it super easy to see what the exact moves are — so I’m not a fan of the video at all. I am a fan of most of the music and most of the tracks, with a few exceptions.
The best and biggest change for BODYATTACK 105 is that Les Mills decided we are allowed to teach an aerobics track in the 45-minute version, when we used to not be able to. I teach the 45-minute express version, and that means teaching tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and leaving out 3 and 8. It makes the class much sportier, but being an aerobics and intervals lover, I always missed those two tracks. Now, we have the option of either teaching the running track 6 or teaching the interval track 8. I’m happy to say that now I’ve been teaching the intervals track each class since launch, and it brings me so much joy — a great change from Les Mills.
Back to this release …
- The warm-up is perfect. Fun song. Simple moves. Party arms. And there are even some side step-over jumps, which is a little intense for the warm-up, but it somehow works.
- The mixed impact track has a good beat, fun song and very simple moves. Some people think it is boring, but I like that it is so straightforward. No complaints.
- The plyometrics track is crazy hard, and it’s long, with four rounds instead of the usual three. There are a lot of burpees, tuck jumps, straight jumps, lunges and skaters — so there’s hardly room to breathe. I think the track is doable because of all the options, but I don’t love it. I’m glad that we make the class face down the middle though, because that at least gives it a little bit more of a fun vibe watching your teammates across from you.
- The conditioning track is not my favorite. I like that we’re doing some isolation work with the single-leg lifts, which isn’t a common BODYATTACK move, but I think that the tricep push-ups are way too fast. If you look around a typical class, hardly anyone can do all the tricep push-ups as quickly as the choreography calls for, and they especially can’t do them properly for four long rounds — I definitely struggle too. It’s a little too much if you ask me. But the balance work on the legs is a welcome addition.
- The agility track is solid. The song is a great remix of an old jam, and the three rounds are mostly similar with some excellent agility work. I like the 360-squat jumps, ladder runs and fast sprints, because it’s so very sporty.
- The interval track is everything. I love intervals, and I never have anything bad to say about them. The music fits perfectly with the moves, which build each set. Kicks, knee pulls, swings and flicks make me very happy. Anyone else an interval-track lover through and through? This type of track is what made me become obsessed with BODYATTACK in the first place.
- The power track is terrible. I think this is my only real beef with BODYATTACK 105, and in talking to other instructors — they agree. The song is “Purple People Eater,” but it’s a strange techno remix that doesn’t fit well with an aerobics/sports cardio class. The moves seem a bit spastic, and I found the patterns hard to learn. There are too many side-agility runs and too many side-shuffle combos. Overall, I wanted to like this one, but I just don’t. The difficulty of the track is appropriate, but the moves and music don’t make for a great ending to an awesome class.
- The core track is hard — lots of hover work and crunches — nice and short though.
Overall, I’d say this is a strong release, and I will come back and teach it again in a few months, although I’ll always sub out that power track.
*As a reminder, I only teach the 45-minute version, so am leaving my thoughts off of the tracks that I haven’t officially taught. I’ve done them all though and am a fan of track 3 and 6 too.
How to try BODYATTACK at home and a few tips
By the way, I’ve heard from so many of you that you have finally taken the plunge to try out BODYATTACK using Les Mills On Demand after seeing me talk about it so much over the years. That makes me SO happy. If you are just starting out, I recommend doing a short version of the class just maybe 2-3 times a week and leave out as many jumps as you want. Wear supportive sneakers (these are my current favorite BODYATTACK shoes), a good sports bra, and try to do the workout on carpet or wood — definitely not tile or cement — to help with impact and rebound.
And if you haven’t jumped aboard the BODYATTACK bandwagon yet, you can give Les Mills classes a go with streaming Les Mills On Demand from your phone or computer. They gave me a personal affiliate code to share with my friends and readers for a free 21-day trial, and I’d love for you to use it here. Have fun!
IDEA World time with friends
As you saw earlier this week, I wrote a full post on all the amazing insights I had from the inspiring people, sessions and workouts of IDEA World Fitness Convention and SHINE 2019 that were worth sharing with you, but I had to take another minute to give a shout-out to the true favorite of the trip … time with friends!
(Here’s my dress, which is a recent purchase that is currently on sale.)
I roomed with Heather, and we spent a lot of time with Giselle too. I’ve met both of these women through blogging, and we are all moms of boys, who also happen to love fitness and helping people — and we love fun too. During the days, we worked out together and chatted about business and wellness, and at night, we went out to dinners and drinks all dressed up and chatted about life in general — quite the combo.
It was literally the best. We stayed up late, woke up early and were all so happy to be there and be together, somehow we weren’t all that tired — that is, until we each left separately for the airport and realized how exhausted we were. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: In-person connections are everything. But, I have to thank the online world for bringing us all together.
The best organic, cruelty-free and vegan self tanner
We all know I like safer products and clean beauty, but that doesn’t mean everything I use is super safe. In fact, I was still getting the occasional spray tan here and there, knowing that the tanning agent used was full of toxins. I mean, it looked good. I like to be tan, and I don’t like to bake in the sun.
Well, before I went to IDEA last week, I didn’t have time to get a spray tan due to Brady responsibilities, but instead, I went on the hunt for a cleaner self-tanner I could use at home. I stumbled upon a bottle of Tanologist from Target and was so impressed. It’s vegan, organic, doesn’t have a lot of the chemicals that most self-tanners have, and it’s clear too.
I bought the foam version, although there are also drop and water versions of Tanologist. I did some Googling to figure out how best to use it, as the instructions on the bottle seemed confusing, and then did it like this … I took a shower and exfoliated, put a bit of lotion on my feet, hands, knees and elbows, then I rubbed the tanner on in circulation motions doing one section of my body at a time. I didn’t put it directly on my face though, I mixed it in with my daily face lotion so it wasn’t too strong, and that worked perfectly. Then I let it dry for about 15 minutes before getting dressed. The instructions say to wash it off in 1 to 4 hours depending on how dark you want it, but because I bought the light shade, I left it on all night. I even got dressed and flew down to L.A. with it on, then rinsed it off in the morning.
I loved the color it made my skin, it didn’t rub off on my clothes, it didn’t stink, and it lasted for about four days, which is pretty good. Also, the best parts: absolutely no streaks at all and way cheaper and safer than a spray tan.
Brand new Countertime is coming, get ready!
Big news on the beauty front, Beautycounter‘s brand new skincare line, Countertime, launches July 9, and it’s incredible. Countertime is designed to reduce signs of aging and improve skin, and it uses a plant-derived retinatural complex as the active ingredient, which is entirely new and entirely safe too. Here’s more on that …
Our plant-derived Retinatural Complex is a scientific breakthrough made from two powerhouse ingredients: bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine rose. Bakuchiol has been shown to provide skincare results that are comparable to retinol—without potentially harmful side effects—and Swiss Alpine rose boosts the skin’s antioxidant defense.
The Countertime regimen comes in non-plastic beautiful pink bottles (Beautycounter is actively trying to eliminate plastic packaging to be better to the environment), and each piece of the regimen tells you when to use it and in which order — love that. Definitely the whole package with this one.
I’ve just started using mine, and it’s a game changer, and I’ll be fully switching over to it for all my skincare needs moving forward. It’s for basically all skin types too. Sign up for my beauty email list here, in case you haven’t yet, so you can be the first to order Countertime when it launches.
Weekly workout recap
A look at how I’ve been moving lately …
- Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP, 10 a.m.
- Tuesday: Taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
- Wednesday: 30-minute Les Mills Barre class, via Les Mills On Demand, 10 a.m.
- Thursday: 45-minute Vinyasa yoga class, 7:30 a.m. at IDEA
- Friday: 45-minute Nike Training Club workout, 7:30 a.m.; 35-minute equipments-based circuit workout, 1:15 p.m.; 45-minute Bootybarre workout, 2:30 p.m. at IDEA
- Saturday: 45-minute Pound Fit workout, 7:30 a.m. at IDEA
- Sunday: Rest day
Variety is the spice of life, and I had a lot of that in this past week’s workouts. I tried a ton of new equipment and movements while at IDEA World, had a rest day, taught one class, and even got back to a lovely Vinyasa yoga flow.
Also, I loved doing Les Mills Barre from my phone at the gym using Les Mills On Demand, because it’s totally different from the style of barre I teach and much more ballet-like too — and also only 30 minutes. (You can check it out too with a free 21-day trial to the Les Mills On Demand streaming service here.) It was an excellent week, even if I didn’t do any solo workouts. I do hope to get back to my solo weights sessions after vacation though.
Some things I enjoyed from around the web …
- All about recovery. Yes, you need to take at least one day off of exercise each week. I know some people like to work out each day to be consistent, but I don’t believe in that — I really don’t. Your time away from exercise is when your body truly rebuilds the tissues that have been broken down. You also need to get quality sleep and eat enough food to support the recovery process. This article is absolutely excellent and is all about how and why you should focus on your recovery efforts in order to achieve and maintain optimal fitness.
- Muscle cramps. Do you get muscle cramps from running? Not me. Probably because I never run just to run, but here’s a good set of tips to avoid those dreaded running cramps.
- Inflammation-fighting food staples. Inflammation is not a good thing, and many of us may be walking around totally inflamed from stress, packaged foods, toxins in our environment, illness and not enough sleep too. One way to combat too much inflammation is to eat healthy and nutritious food that has anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s a simple list of 10 things you may not have even thought of to stock up on in your freezer and pantry to support a healthy system and protect your cells. Turmeric is a personal favorite of mine, and I add it to my meals with some healthy fats and black pepper to really make it work.
And I couldn’t miss a chance to share this quote from one of my morning meditations using the Calm app this week …
A Lady Goes West favorite archives
- Fitness. Lots of fitness industry insight and tips in this one from my trip last week and weekend down to Anaheim for the biggest fitness convention of the year … “Five big takeaways from the 2019 IDEA World Fitness Convention and SHINE event.”
- Acupuncture. I haven’t been to acupuncture in far too long, but I still recommend it to people who are having fertility issues, stress or even aches and pains. And there’s no need to be scared of the process either. Here’s what you should know about it … “What it’s like to get acupuncture and why you may need Traditional Chinese Medicine.”
As always, thank you for clicking through to the blog today. I appreciate you. Hope you have a great weekend, my friends! And I also hope to see you over on Instagram.
Questions of the day
When was the last time you hung out with friends? Are you due for some in-person connection?
Have you ever been to Vancouver or Whistler? Any recommendations for us?
What are you up to this weekend?
What was your best workout this week?