Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hooked on endorphins

...or, Thank God for Bodypump

For the last four or five months I've been taking Bodypump class faithfully twice a week, Saturday morning at 9:00 and Wednesday morning (groan...) at 6:00. I also try to go to the gym a day or two between classes to exercise a bit, even if it's much less of a workout.

If anyone had told me even a year ago that I'd be working out with weights, I'd have said, "Yeah, sure." But I'm really amazed at how much I love the class. According to the instructor, Bodypump was developed by trainers in New Zealand. During the 10 musical tracks, you use barbells to work each major muscle group, with a few push-ups and crunches thrown in for good measure.

There's a supply of bars, clips, and plates (1, 2.5, 5, and 10 kg) available in the room. I started very modestly, tentatively, with a total of just 5 lb (2.5 kg) on the bar, as I had never used weights before. You increase and decrease the weights throughout the session, packing on heavier plates when working the larger muscle groups. Over the course of the weeks and months, you gradually increase your overall weight by small increments. The idea isn't to build huge muscles, just lean ones. At this point, I'm using a total of 22 lb (10 kg) when working the larger muscle groups.

And exercise with weights is very good for osteoporosis too.

The class must really kick up my metabolism rate. On Saturdays after Bodypump, I'm ravenously hungry the entire day as I run around doing my usual errands and chores. I find I'm less hungry on Wednesdays, probably because I spend the day at my mostly sedentary job. But on both days I can detect a dramatic upswing in my mood. I just feel better about myself and have a more positive outlook in general. For instance, a colleague sent me some resentful, negative emails yesterday. It slowly got me down, until by evening I was feeling pretty demoralized. Had yesterday been a Bodypump day, not only would I have laughed her off, but I might even have thought of some funny riposte to get her off my back. Such is the power of those endorphins released by vigorous exercise!

So, in addition to caffeine, I'm now happily hooked on endorphins too.


  1. this sounds kinda neat. i'm sure the gym/classes are way far from me...i tend to not go to gyms because i get soooooo intimidated. but, i so need to get physical again.

  2. I used to be intimidated too...but the class consists almost entirely of women...all at various levels of fitness. There's one guy who comes pretty regularly, but he's very natural and friendly and minds his own weight-lifting business :-)


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