Don’t sneeze

Well the last couple of weeks I’ve had a cold, and last week I managed to sneeze and strain one of the ligaments around my sacroilliac joint. So it’s been back to the chiropractor for me and lots of rest.

I’ve still been doing my balance classes, but this has basically meant no combat or pump for a few weeks until it heals again.

So, tonight I had to skip the launches which is at Achmea in the South (I teach at North). Didn’t really NEED to go, but I wanted to see the launches anyway.

Our launches are on Wednesday 1st, so I’ll be there for that no probs.

Is BODYCOMBAT getting too hard?

I’ve posted this question on the forum aswell, but I thought I’d also write about it here.

You know, over the years combat has been progressively getting harder, I know if I look at good ol’ BC15 (the release I started on) the intensity is way way beyond what we did then, when we used to do those little muay thai knees in Shake. I remember when I first started, nearly wanting to throw up while doing those knees and how it was the instructor who really spurred me to push on.

Then when I reached the peak of my fitness in the 30’s – around BC 30-34……….I was teaching attack, combat, pump and balance. Sometimes doing 5 classes in one day, regularly teaching a BP/BA/BB triple. I used to be “proud” of how combat was giving attack a run for it’s money on the “intensity” level. Although admittedly after a BA/BC double, BC always felt like a “rest” after BA. I wouldn’t sneeze at doing say, BP/BA/BB in the morning and then teaching BP and BC in the evening. Crazy days.

Now, 2 years and a baby later, back problems after falling down the stairs twice (while holding the baby), extremely cold weather aggrivating my old injuries plus the stress of trying to cope in a foreign country. I’ve gone from super fit to a fat lump. Where I used to think combat rising in intensity was awesome, now I wonder if it’s getting too hard for new members?

I ask this question because, I have discovered that with this extra fat unfit body I’m carting around, that even BA is achievable if you take the options, but now when I do BC with the newer release, sometimes it just gets almost too difficult, and with not a lot of alternatives. I’m thinking in particular of the tracks with the new esquiva. I know it’s an awesome strengthening move, but to someone very unfit and lacking strength like me, it’s just TOO HARD. After doing both Stamp (BC37) and No Good (BC38) at the Dutch Dally on the weekend, I can say that if I was a new member I’m really not sure if I would keep giving it a go. As a determined instructor who’s “been there before” it’s different for me, I will keep going………..but it begs the question?

Dutch Dally

Well, I’m recovering from my first ever Dutch Dally, a social gathering of Les Mills instructors and participants, first inspired by the original EUROMAD held in the UK in 2004, set up by forum goers in The Netherlands……..or rather, set up by John. . These events allow some people to meet for the first time and has developed many great friendships! People have attended these events from all over the world, including EU, Australia, UK and USA.

However, while it was a first for me, I had already been to a less formal BBQ at John’s last year where I met most of the people (as well as EUROMAD where I met the UK members). So the main difference this time round for me was the classes and the fundraising aspect.

There was one new member that we all hadn’t met before, so Bev it was the first event. Although Bev seems to have been quite affected by the fact her name is the translation for a very explicit sexual act that I think most British people would never want to admit to! 🙂
Despite the fact that we have totally different taste in music it seems, I have found another friend in the Netherlands (we are still coming to terms with the music clash but we are negotiating a compromise over this problem 🙂 ).

The weekend was a lot of fun, doing classes, drinking, talking, partying. Although was fitness is struggling quite a lot, I was very proud to be able to complete 2 combat’s and 1 balance. Sounds a very small amount of exercise compared to what I used to do, but this is more than I have done in a long time and a huge challenge for me (especially with both the combats having the esquiva from BC37 and 38, ugh)!

As for the drinking, it seems my ability to drink has seriously plummeted aswell………now I’ve finally stopped breastfeeding I found myself suffering a lot after only 2 beers and 2 advocat’s (I wish I could have drunk more of that Advocat John, but it just wasn’t happening, lol).

The weekend just went so fast though, TOO FAST. I missed Rien’s rubik’s cube in action (I’m looking forward to seeing the piccies you took too, I will get them off the laptop asap!). Lisa and Dean, you know it’s LOVELY to see you again, Vicki I didn’t initially know you were coming, but I’m glad you could make it…….fantastic to see you again 🙂
oh now that I’ve started writing names I run the risk of forgetting people. Janne and Sjouke (it was also Sjouke’s first time at a Dutch Dally), we mustn’t wait till an “event” to see each other again, considering you live in the same apartment block as us! I have to say thanks to all the shape team, Keyla for babysitting Connor while nearly EVERYONE did combat (no other program can boast that eh?), and all the other babysitters who helped out. And most of all, thanks to John and Monique for hosting us all.

For Sunday night dinner that was a different experience for me. I didn’t get a translation and all I knew was “thin slices of beef”. After I got the entree I was very jealous of Janne and wished I was vegetarian at that moment, lol! I had my first ever something-or-other with raw beef……..luckily the pine nuts and whatever else was in it was so strongly flavoured that I couldn’t taste the “meat”.

Anyway, I think now as I write, the UK people will be packing/driving and catching flights.

It was hard saying goodbye to everyone!

BODYCOMBAT greatest hits

Last night Alexander had injured his foot and wasn’t up to going to combat, and although I’ve been a bit sick I decided to take the opportunity to go to combat (since I don’t get to go often enough).

The class wasn’t at the gym I normally teach, but at the other part of the chain where we had our membership (now I’m an instructor we can now participate at either for free). Normally I can’t really get into this particular combat class, because the standard of teaching is a bit variable. Depending on the instructor some times it’s ok, but sometimes it’s pretty terrible.

But last night I have to say it wasn’t a bad class at all. It’s the first week of mixing here (we get 2-3 weeks where we get to mix, which is still frustrating for me to say the least! and even then, not all the instructors mix the entire release, only a few tracks). This class only had half of it mixed, but since I haven’t hardly done BC39 I didn’t mind too much.

This is the mix I think we did to the best of my memory:

  1. Walking in Memphis/James Bond (BC36)
  2. Beat it (BC37)
  3. ?  (I think this track 3 could have had jabs forward and speedball back, could be BC37 but I can’t find the video for this release)
  4. We will survive (BC37)
  5. Tutti Frutti (BC40 – sneak preview of new release)
  6. Shut up and drive (BC34)
  7. Party Non Stop (BC36)
  8. Good to me (BC36)
  9. Won’t be crying (BC39)
  10. It’s all coming back to me now (BC39)

95 Kids from Denmark

ok talk about a challenge! We had 95 kids come through the gym today (because the weather was too bad to do a fitness program outside) and since half the kids were from Denmark and couldn’t speak Dutch, the classes were explicitly requested to be taught in English.

Since I obviously have the best English at the gym, I was naturally asked to teach the classes. The kids were seperated into 2 groups and so I taught a bit of a preview mix of pump, combat and balance to about 45 kids around 15-16 years of age. Half of the kids were Dutch though, cuz the kids from Denmark were on some exchange program with the Dutch kids at the school.

I have to admit that beforehand I was a little nervous. I had no idea how good their English would be? I have to say I’m very impressed with the language skills of people here, and as kids they have a pretty good level of English. I learnt German in high school and I could NEVER have had a conversation or communicated effeciently with it. At the very best I might have been able to book a motel room in very badly broken German.

Anyway, the classes went well, as far as kids go. I tried to pick a bit of a “euro” mix and started with combat, then pump and finished with balance. I set up a CD with:

  1. Shake That/Bom Bom Suenan  (BC27) – warmup
  2. Angel Eyes (BC33) – power track
  3. Walk on Water  (BP61) – squats
  4. Flaunt it (BP 60) – biceps
  5. God’s Top 10 (BB34) – standing strength
  6. Crazy (BB31) – abs
  7. Centre of the Sun (BB32) – forward bends/hamstring stretch

Each class was supposed to be about 45 mins, and so I had about 40 mins of music. But since it takes a bit longer to get kids to move I ended up having to drop 1 balance track. In the first group I dropped the abs (Crazy, track 6), but the second group I decided to drop God’s Top 10, since we had already had a load of legs in the squat track.

Although here in the Netherlands you don’t really have to worry about insurance or whether you do a cooldown, whether kids wear shoes or whatever, I couldn’t put the class together without some sort of structure (in Australia you have a “Duty of Care”, especially when it comes to kids). It would go against all my training to just randomly throw tracks together. It would have been logical to do a pump warmup first and get the weights out of the way, but I didn’t want to do all the warmup moves and have 45 kids randomly doing terrible lunges, so I started with a combat warmup, but had them all prepare a bar and put it at the side of the room before the class.

So after the combat warmup I chose a power track so that it was all upper body, to keep it simpler. For the two pump tracks I chose tracks that didn’t require a bench (to keep the class moving quickly) and that they could see me easily all the time and facing forward, without having complicated moves. So squats and biceps it was. The tracks I finished off with in balance, I picked standing strength to give them a taste of yoga poses, abs to give their core a bit of a workout and Centre of the Sun was my perfect choice for the last track to give them a few stretches while also having a taste of tai chi.

Out of the two groups the second one was much easier to teach. The first group I was still a bit nervous and I also learnt techniques to get their attention so that by the time I got to the second group it was easier.

My hubby Alexander also came as a bit of moral support and helped me by shadowing and going around correcting kids and helping them set up their bars at the start.

Another experience to jot down in my teaching career 🙂

Also back to combat

I was a bit apprehensive about trying combat again after all my problems, in particular because the sidekicks and roundhouses give me grief, but last week I tried it out with Alexander and did it again last night before my balance class (was a bit scared about getting through 2 classes, especially when I had to teach the second one, but I don’t have access to many combats without having childcare etc).

It’s the last week we’re doing the current releases (which for us is still BC39), and I have to say this release is ok, but doesn’t really stand out to me as super. Except track 7, I LOVE track 7. That track just motivates me so much. The music starts off a bit crappy, but when it changes it’s soooo good it makes it even better that it goes from bad to good.

My fitness is pretty terrible now though. It’s so depressing to know that before I could easily do a triple BP/BA/BB, and on occasion I had even taught 5 classes in one day. But now, my throat was burning by track 3 from the exertion, not sure how long it would take me to get fitter only being able to do 1 combat a week?


I’m back

In more ways than one. Firstly, I’m back to writing in this blog after going back to Australia for a month and then just being too lazy to write on here. Ok a lot has been going on, so I can’t possibly catch up here……but instead I’ll talk about the second thing I’m back to………which is BODYPUMP.

I intially made a start back at pump when I first starting teaching balance in the Netherlands. But after having an experience with a dodgy chiro, ditching him and then finding a better chiro, my pelvis was causing me a lot of troubles and in particular I felt a lot of instability and pain around my sacroilliac joint. So I took (another) rest from bodypump to let it recover, which didn’t totally recover until my holiday in Australia.

So now, I’m finding a huge improvement. I’m finding that anything that works and stretches my glutes is the awesomest exercise, as that really seems to be the root of my problems. It seems to be a combination of super tight glutes as well as extreme weakness in the muscles which makes it very hard to move anatomically correctly for difficult tasks like squats and lunges etc.

It seems that one of the best exercises appears to be bike riding, which is very unfortunate considering how much I hate bikes. Lucky for me the butt exercise in the latest back track in balance (BB39) is just the perfect exercise. 🙂 MUCH better than riding bikes! Although to be honest I don’t mind riding outside to get to places (if it’s not raining) because the Netherlands has wonderful bikes paths everywhere, but Connor has kinda grown out of his harness and I REALLY need to get him a seat for the bike. Last time I rode the bike with him it was hard to pedal properly cuz he kept kicking my legs………well, he thought it was fun.

So back to pump………I really like this release. I’m a bit over Pink, but there are some really awesome tracks in this release. The music for the squat track really motivates me, oh and the back track I think…….and the shoulder track. Think those are my favourites music wise? Favourites choreography wise I can’t really comment to be honest, since I’m so totally smashed that I can’t feel my legs, feel my body, think clearly or remember my own name. It’s so hard coming back from remember how fit you were squat 30kg (total weight on the bar), and now being reduced to rubble when trying to push 10kg. It’s just not fair! It’s much easier starting from the start when you’re already unfit, because you just feel so proud when you manage to push the weight up to 12kg!

The 3/4 squats in the lunge track are just cruel……..totally cruel! I’m sure they’d be awesome when you’re all super fit, but now they’re just not fair, lol. The first class I did coming back to pump I lifted no weight in lunges, but in the second class I remembered my own advice I used to give as an instructor: “Lunges ALWAYS hurt no matter how much you lift, so you may aswell put the weight on and get faster results, seeing as they’re going to hurt anyway.” So, reminding myself of this advice I figured I could push through a measly 5kg on the bar………..and you know what? It still hurt, go figure 🙂

So………I’ve been to pump 3 times in total now, and I still get muscle soreness after each class. I hope I can get back into shape soon, but I am listening to my body carefully and making sure I don’t go backwards, it’s not worth it at this point. Unfortunately I can only get to 1 pump class a week, but once I’m sure I can get through 2 classes, I will also go to the pump on Sundays that’s before my balance class.

(sigh………..just remembering how it once wasn’t a problem for me to do pump, attack, balance in the morning and then do pump and combat in the evening)