I tried Les Mills Bodystep, New Zealand’s iconic aerobic workout

DDespite being a pretty dedicated athlete (I take Orangetheory classes four or five times a week), I’m as lanky as it sounds. However, as I’ve always loved a challenge, I thought trying one of New Zealand’s most popular aerobic step workouts, Les Mills Bodystep, would take me one, ahem, step closer to becoming more coordinated. And if nothing else, it would teach me what makes this modern exercise so incredibly popular.

“Bodystep is an exciting and fun full-body step workout that will leave you feeling strong, agile and inspired,” promises Judson MacDonald, CPT, Learning and Development Specialist for Les Mills International, as well as a Bodystep teacher. “Using a combination of bodyweight exercises, functional bench, and optional weight plates, you will challenge your muscles, develop coordination, and improve your cardiovascular fitness.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting, to be honest, when I signed up for a Bodystep class at Les Mills Live in New Orleans, a gathering of instructors and digital subscribers of Les Mills+, a 50-year-old new omnichannel fitness platform. -former group fitness brand launched last year. You can also take the class remotely online or find a live class near you (because, FYI, Bodystep is taught in gyms across the country). At Les Mills Live, however, the class was packed to the brim with ecstatic steppers. The lights were low, the music was blaring, and the lasers were reaching out in all directions.

get in step

Knowing that I would like to observe the stage in front of me, I positioned myself towards the back of the space. As the music grew louder and the beat hit harder, I was amazed at how quickly and fluidly all the people in front of me moved. However, I wasn’t (and wasn’t) surprised at how much I was struggling with it.

The nearly hour-long class includes research-based functional movement patterns that change each month. Think: walking step-ups, reverse lunges, side squats, burpees, forward and side raises, and more. However, even the most basic exercises were combined with bouncing stride and coordinated arm movements to make it more of a dance, rather than a simple functional exercise. In short, it was much.

While the weights weren’t heavy and the reps weren’t high, the pace at which the workout is performed is enough to break a sweat. According to my Whoop fitness tracker, the workout clocked in at a tension of 12.5, which is at the top of the moderate-intensity range, and I didn’t even use the heaviest weights or the highest steps for the entire duration of the workout. .

“The height-adjustable steps and instructor-trained options make this workout perfect for all fitness levels, and the uplifting music will inspire you to push your personal limits,” says MacDonald, and I can attest to that. Thanks to the encouraging instructors and the variety of modifications available, the class was doable, even for someone like me who is a step aerobics beginner. (Though I wish I had watched some of the step tutorials on Les Mills+ before taking the class so I’d know what to expect.)

MacDonald tells me that it usually takes five or six classes to start mastering the moves. Fortunately, Bodystep instructors run multiple workouts each week, so there’s plenty of material to move around with. And since Bodystep can be done with or without Les Mills equipment, that means no matter where I am, I now have an option for fun and exercise. Do I feel less uncomfortable after a workout? No. But I have high hopes that I can improve my coordination, step by step.

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