LES MILLS BodyCombat. The first time you hear it, you may probably think you’ll be able to do epic leg splits à la Jean-Claude Van Damme after one class. But in reality, it’s a group workout that’s a hybrid of different fight forms. “It draws from jiujitsu, kickboxing, Muay Thai, karate, taekwondo, capoeira, and even tai chi,” said Stephanie Pagarigan, C.S.C.S., our BodyCombat coach from 360 Fitness Club in Quezon City. “It combines their most basic conditioning [moves] into a whole- body workout.”
Upon arriving, we were greeted by Pagarigan and coach Sheen Gonzales of 360’s Pasig branch. After a brief backgrounder, we gave an awkward “Okay!” and the class began.
We were immediately put in the middle of the action. Basic moves were introduced—simple kicks and punches at first, then more elaborate ones. The boxing aspect wasn’t so difficult, but it was the addition of the Muay Thai part that really got my blood pumping and my sweat dripping. Not only did I have to contend with the punches, but I also had to synchronize elbow motions, kicks, and knee strikes in the routine. The knees were especially hard when the coaches decided to level up the difficulty.
The pain, however, was not without purpose. “BodyCombat improves your overall muscular endurance,” shared Gonzales. “The aspect of punching improves and tones your arms as well. Kicking works on your legs, just like the lunges in capoeira.” The capoeira element actually got me a little confused but as the coaches explained the maneuvers, it was all right for me to fumble a bit.
BodyCombat kicks ass because of the simple and sweat-pouring fact that for 55—or, in our case, 45—minutes, it will knock you out with a cold and calculated Shoryuken. I took that uppercut of fitness right on the chin, felt my knees buckle, my shoulders drop, and my lungs burn for air—and I loved every minute of it.
Stay in the Fight
Getting a beat-down from BodyCombat? Here are some battle tips from 360 Fitness Club coaches Sheen Gonzales and Stephanie Pagarigan to help you power through the grind
1. Start slow. BodyCombat has variations and modifications suited for different individuals. Try the easy versions first and do the more difficult ones if you feel the need to increase your intensity.
2. Mirror, mirror. The routines can get a little confusing due to the fast pace and the numerous actions. Learn to focus on the instructors and mirror their moves.
3. Ask questions. If the moves still seem too rigorous, have a chat with the instructors in between breaks. They’re always willing to help you master the moves.