Friday, July 22, 2011

What is: Body STEP?

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Hello friends! 

Today I'd like to share with you a little more about BodySTEP™. Our launch for the new release is tomorrow morning and I wanted to take this time to let you know a little bit about this group exercise. It's definitely NOT your Mama's Step aerobic class.

I became a certified Les Mills BodySTEP™ instructor in 2006. I had never taught a group *fitness* class before but I did have some experience in teaching in general. My background as a nurse helped me as I was a Clinical Educator for a dialysis unit at a local hospital here in the past. I also did a lot of patient education as a Nurse Practitioner. 

Fitness training and being an instructor is NOT easy.  There's a lot of time that goes into learning choreography, practicing, thinking and working on your cues for participants.  One of my pet peeves is taking a class from an instructor who is unprepared -- it just messes with your mojo during the workout -- so I try not to be one of those.

BodySTEP™ is an excellent full-body cardio workout!
What is BodySTEP™?
BodySTEP™ is a pre-chreographed group Step aerobic class. A lot of people get intimidated and I hear a lot of "But, I'm not that coordinated". My response is, "If you can march in place, you can do BodySTEP™". Although it takes about 4-5 classes to feel comfortable on the step, most moves are repeated throughout the entire hour and from one release to the next. Also, there are a lot of modifications that you can utilize throughout class. You can even do the whole routine without a STEP if you wanted to. BodySTEP™ caters to all fitness levels and you can increase or decrease the intensity of the workout by raising or lowering the height of your step. There are options for everyone: beginners, those who are injured and even those who are pregnant. BodySTEP™ is for women AND men. I have a lot of men that take my class on a regular basis.

From the Les Mills Website: "BODYSTEP™is the energizing step workout that makes  you feel liberated and alive. Using a height-adjustable step and simple movements on, over and around the step you get huge motivation from sing-a-long music and approachable instructors. Cardio blocks push fat burning systems into high gear followed by muscle conditioning tracks that shape and tone your body".
You will need a STEP and anywhere from 1 pair to 2 pairs of risers (provided by the gym). Make sure that you apply a little traction on the bottom "rubbers" of the bench and risers so that it doesn't slip on the floor.

What to Expect - Class Basics (60 minutes)
Each music track (12 tracks total) has a specific exercise focus. It creates a full body workout. First is the warmup and then onto basic movements, where you'll learn to step correctly. The intensity and range of movement gradually lifts. Your heart rate goes up in the first two fitness peaks each followed by a recovery time that focuses on strength and training. Next is a "party track" where you can let "loose" and then a "speed track" to work on agility. The third and final cardio peak gives you the option to really *push it*. Conditioning work comes after to work on upper body and abs then cool down and stretching.

What to Expect – Class Results
With BodySTEP™, you burn lots of calories for a leaner body by raising your overall fitness. You get out of it what you put into it. It improves strength through core conditioning work as well as coordination. It also improves bone health and density. For best results, aim to take 2-3 BodySTEP™ classes per week with a rest day in between. Just like all other Les Mills programs, a new routine is released every 3 months with new music and choreography. 

What to wear and bring to class?
Comfortable exercise clothes with a good pair of gym shoes (cross-trainers are recommended rather than running shoes). Bring a drink bottle for hydration and a towel beacuse you will get sweaty☺!

  • Les Mills holds a high standard for their instructors but every now and then you will get an instructor that you may not like or who is not motivaing.
  • Great for every type of fitness level.
  • The music is awesome and mostly current but they often mix it up with different genres.
  • Instructors switch choreography about every 2-3 weeks so it gives you a chance to get really good with the current routine before they change to a different one. And remember: most of the moves are the same and repeated, just different music!
  • Sometimes, the *moves* can get "funky" and some people are not able to get used to quick transitions with a *bench* in their way. So be carefull!
  • Proper form and stepping is emphasized so you don't injure anything! But sometimes you still have those who are so focused on the instructor and do not pay attention to the Step. Most of the time, a move is previewed before it happens so listen and watch the instructor -- carefully. Listen to the cues.
  • This is not the *old* way of doing STEP aerobics and I let all the partcipants know that especially if they say they've done STEP before but it has been "years".
My Tips:
  • Come a little early to class and let the instructor know that you are new so that basic moves can be shown to you ahead of time.
  • If you're a beginner, it is best to stay with a lower height on the bench or without any risers at all.
  • Focus on form: whole foot on the bench, strong athletic arms and quick feet.
  • Do not get discouraged. It takes about 4-5 classes to get your BodySTEP™ legs.
  • Have FUN!
Here's a BodySTEP™ video promo:
If you have an questions on finding a Body STEP class near you or if you want to become a certified  BodySTEP™ instructor, feel free to email me and I can let you know the deatils.

To learn more about BodySTEP™, check out the moves, the music, or find a class near you, head to the Les Mills BodySTEP website.

Have you taken a BodySTEP™ class? What did you like/dislike?


  1. I have taken a step class! :) I love them!
    And Hey! I'm in that picture with you. ;)

  2. First, I'm a guy. Second, I do step. Third, I'm old, not ancient, but half way there. Why step? Treadmills are boring. You can't do lateral or plyo moves on a treadmill, eliptical, or step machine. The Les Mills program appears to be getting better & more athletic oriented. Its not just stepping, its burpees, push ups, planks, squats/half squats, plyo jumps with weights & extensions. Its interval training, too. Many of the moves are the same as BodyAttack, but the step helps cushion. It a predesigned warmup, cardio peak, cool down. It ends some core work: crunches, various planks, sit ups. And 5-10 mins of stretches. IMHO its almost complete (well, ALMOST). The bad: the music is terrible, its cover versions of yuckkk! The "chorey" (hey, I've done it long enuff to be entitled to use that horendous word) often includes lame/prissy/guy embarassing hand movements & posing. The vast majority of instuctors are female, so of course they include the moves. But the instructors have been good with helping me out, so sometimes I'll actually do moves as demonstrated, with of course in my own wacked out Chuck Norris/PeeWee Herman/Jack Black style (depending on my mood), just to make fun of it. Sometimes it puts off the ladies in the class, but go take a dance class if you wanna Vogue. Step or Pump is best as cross training routines & great as a break for the old usual workout.



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