It's almost (but only almost!) as much fun as running...!
I have a new obsession, and for once it’s not something edible… rather, this is something that can benefit my health, namely: bodypump.
Do we all know what bodypump is?
Well, in case we don’t, let’s get a quote from Wikipedia in: “BodyPump® is a weight-based group-fitness program, created and distributed globally by Les Mills International. Created in 1991 by Phillip Mills, it is now found in over 70 countries and 10,000 health-clubs and gyms worldwide.” (source: Wikipedia) More about bodypump here.
I have tried bodypump in numerous countries, including Finland, Australia and now China. And I have to say that China beats the other two! Why? Well, because over here, bodypump is completely unpretentious! Forget about competing with others about who’s got the most weights on their bar. In fact, forget about even glancing at others! Forget comparing tight/nice outfits, well-shaped arms or legs… Bodypump in China is simply like a fun, relaxed sort of… circus.
The instructor does half of the job. Never have I seen anyone with more energy on that stage. Say what you want about the quality of gyms in China, but at my gym, the trainers go all in, every single time. They might turn up looking a bit tired and worn out (after all, most of them work 7 days/week) but once the headset is on and the music is playing they sort of transform into a yelling, yet inspiring, mini-hulk, urging everyone to lift more, more, more!
Another interesting thing about bodypump in China: The class participants are 99% girls. There are more men at the Pilates and salsa classes than at bodypump…. Turning the class into a non-testosterone, girl’s party where giggling is totally OK. And, I can do the MOST push-ups in the whole class. Now that has never, ever happened before (and certainly never will again).
Obviously, there are some small downsides with the class too. Such as, you have to fight for the smallest, 1 kg weights. Or actually, you have to turn up 30 minutes prior to the class to even get a chance to grab one. Because the small, 1 kg weight is the most popular thing in this class. Some girls use three of them that they add to the bar, leaving the rest of us to choose from 5 kg and 2 kg ones… It’s a tad bit annoying, because there’s a big of a difference from lifting 12 kg (2 x 5 kg + 2 x 1 kg) and 14 kg (2 x 5 kg + 2 x 2 kg), (meanwhile they are lifting 6 kg!) In fact, last time, when the instructor asked us all if it was really heavy enough, and nobody said anything, I was crawling around on the floor with a heavy bar on top of me, unable to speak because of the exhaustion. Yeah, this class completely kills me. We are talking spaghetti legs, “I’m going to throw up”-feeling and 3 day-muscle soreness afterwards. But that’s just how I like it. Or, OK, I could do without the “I’m going to throw up”-feeling, but I am guessing that’s just now in the beginning.
There’s a dramatic touch to the class too. Once we finish a song and a movement, and it’s time to put down the bar and stretch those aching muscles, everybody (including the instructor) just drops their weight bars to the floor (simultaneously) creating a loud BOOOOOOOM sound. I’m the only one who’s putting my bar down in a more civilized manner, as I don’t really see the point of just dropping the bar. (What if it will hit my toe?!) Also, I am the only one standing in a little pool of sweat once the class finishes, but that’s something I am quite used to (I sweat a lot!). But the nice thing about it here: nobody cares. It’s almost as when I discovered that when you go for a run at 5am in the morning in Suzhou, nobody gives a s*** about the fact that you are a laowai, have a big nose/bum/head (?). Also, nobody has (yet!) turned up in heals in this class, making me feel as if it’s even more ‘real’ that the free weights section at the gym where girls are working out in mini skirts and pumps.
Yeah, what can I say. I’m hooked. Bodypump is now part of my weekly workout routine (I try to go twice/week). And I’m loving every part of it.
(Ps. Enjoyed this gym story post? Then you might enjoy this one too!)