Review of Les Mills Bodyflow / Bodybalance: Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi

 

As of February 21st, I am a certified Les Mills Bodyflow instructor! Bodyflow is one of the many programs that an internationally renowned group fitness organization called Les Mills created. Bodyflow is their mind-body program that combines practices from yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. It is set to pop music and ends with meditation. They have a different “release” every quarter, so you end up doing something different (with different music) four times a year. Instructors like to mix up releases too in one class, so it’s always a nice surprise every time you come in.

My Fitness Background: NONE.

Even though I went to the initial training thinking I didn’t need any help, it was a very humbling experience to realize that everyone was there to learn, no matter their teaching background. Some of the people being trained were already instructors at their gyms and had been instructors for years. I, however, was on ground zero. Though I had been a Flow student for a few months and stuck to attending every class like Asian on rice (hee hee), I had no real teaching experience and no professional fitness training whatsoever—nada—zilch. Sure, I had even done numerous “yogilates” workout videos on YouTube, but you and I know that that’s not the real deal!

I didn’t consider myself a good example of physical fitness until I started eating clean (low-carb + high-fat + low-toxin) and quit extended cardio activities in exchange for practice traditional yoga and combination mind-body classes like Bodyflow.

Eating clean and practicing yoga literally made me a different, “biohacked” person. I get fatigue less, and when I do get fatigued, I recover pretty fast. I am more alert than ever and feel more alive than when I was back in high school! With this new diet and lifestyle change, I also develop lean muscles rapidly. However, I do not wish to have a typical “athletic” body, because I do wish to remain feminine and keep the curves I somehow developed in the right places throughout the years!

My Modern Life Survivalist Thoughts on Bodyflow

It must not be bothering me too much listening to typical pop music while doing ancient meditative stretches, because I have attended class at every opportunity! The modern Westernized format of Bodyflow versus traditional yoga gets a lot of people engaged and less weirded out. I actually had hesitations coming to the class at first because of the things I mentioned above. For me, though, the weirder and more culture my yoga has, the better! (One great example of what I like is Jenny Cornero’s Yoga for Health.) I wanted a total mind-body experience, and I really didn’t want the distraction of unappealing and familiarly annoying music I hear all the time on the radio anyway.

Though it is an hour long, the class itself is perfect for the kind of workout we approve of and believe is beneficial for the body. A 45-minute class of Bodyflow (or yoga) does not have the detrimental effect that a 45-minute Zumba or other cardio-centered class has on you. For a good place to start learning about why cardio workouts are bad for you, you can read A Case Against Cardio by Mark Sisson. Good yoga, when informed by the principles of pranayama, teaches proper breathing techniques through the nose where you take in less oxygen than what most workouts have you do, including Pilates. One of the methods for proper breathing is called Buteyko, which you can read about on Dr. Mercola’s website.

If you’re already doing Bodyflow, here are some tips to help you survive:

  1. Breathe in and out through your nose the whole time even when the instructor tells you to breathe out through your mouth during Pilates or meditation.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take a break and drink water in between tracks, especially since the Pilates portion can get your heart racing like cardio if you’re a beginner.
  3. If you’re going through training for certification (this includes AFAA), you do not need to do all the high-intensity options they demonstrate to you over and over. You can choose to do it once and not repeat when they do. You’re not required to do high intensity for yourself when a participant is modeling in front of the class—only when it’s your turn to demonstrate. There’s absolutely no need to show off during the part where you’re not being graded or judged. During training, you’ll do the same things over and over until the sun goes down, and instead of making yourself stronger, this wears you out and undoes all the good. My criticism with Les Mills training is that they’ve crammed the training process into two long days, so you can get extremely fatigued by the second day. I was happy though being finished with my training right away, but it left everyone feeling physically depleted that week.
  4. A quick remedy for sore muscles is to take magnesium oil with you after working out or during if it’s a long one. Spray it 1-2 times on your skin then rub it in. This will help you recover faster. We like to use Life-Flo Pure Magnesium Oil.
  5. If you need a snack before or after class (or during breaks if you’re training to be an instructor), do not be tempted to munch on bad food (see #crapyoueat).  Have a lot of grass-fed butter or organic virgin expeller-pressed coconut oil, or MCT oil (the powerful stuff in coconut oil) with your morning and mid-day meal. The fat will feed your brain and muscles if you’re already adapted to burning fat for energy. Otherwise, nuts like raw almonds are a good quick-energy food for those in transition to paleo.
  6. For post workouts, you can do a mean shake with some good fats (grass fed butter, coconut oil, or MCT oil), maybe some brain octane oil, vanilla, collagen protein, collagen protein, etc. If you notice, we get a lot of our shake addons from Upgraded Self, because the source of supplements are just as important as what they are in terms of quality, toxicity, and potency. The guy (and science) behind these products are legitimate and very much trusted. I cannot recommend them enough!
  7. Thinking ketogenically, try to have a protein-heavy (and of course fat-heavy) breakfast, and save more of your carby foods for after your workout and for dinner. Your insulin sensitivity is lower then.
  8. Although they tell you to wear skintight clothing, do not wear something that restricts blood flow. You just want something that won’t show your cleavage or belly when bending over or pants that fall off your legs when doing inversions.
  9. Though this tip is generic, try not to compare yourself with others in the class. Do your best to follow the instructor; use the mirrors to help you adjust your posture, but try not to get distracted by the other people in class.
  10. Best of all, ENJOY! I hope you’ll love this class as much as I do!

Below you’ll see my video assessment (the one I turned in before I got certified) of a class I was teaching:

 

About Rachel 38 Articles
Rachel is a certified Yoga teacher, a Les Mills instructor, a wife, and graphic and web designer. She likes cooking healthy food from scratch, being creative while productive, writing, and listening to new wave music. Mostly, Rachel likes to read books on spirituality and philosophy. Despite her fascination with a dystopian future, she is generally a very cheerful person!

9 Comments

  1. hi rachel,

    i do love your assessment video and i use it for my personal workout at least once a week. i was wondering if you have any other videos that i can view and follow, to add on to my regular exercise regime?

    thanks,
    jeannie

    • Hi Jeannie,

      I am thinking of making more videos soon, both Les Mills and original (mine). I will sure to keep you posted! Glad you like the video!

      Rachel

    • Hello Silvia!

      Thanks for stopping by! I was told by our mentor that only the sun salutations need to be in a 45 degree angle, not necessarily the whole thing. As you probably saw, I moved the mat diagonally during the second track. Good luck with your video! If you have anymore questions, just ask away! 🙂

      Rachel

  2. I just read your article on Body Flow with Less Mills. I am taping release 64 June 2nd and your blog just confirmed everything I was thinking. Thank you !

  3. Hi Rachel, Just read you article on body flow. Found it very interesting. I am basically a yoga instructor. Could you share with me where in Singapore you got your body flow training. Thank you

    • Hello Mamta,

      Thank you for stopping by! I am not from Singapore, however. I took my BodyFlow training in Maryland, USA where I am from. If you go on the Les Mills website, you will find the step by step on how to become certified. Here is the link: http://www.lesmills.com/instructors/join-the-tribe/

      You first have to find a club or gym that offers BodyFlow at their facility. Everything starts from there. You have to get in touch with that club or gym and have them point you to the training events at a given time in your area. You might want to contact gyms around your area that offer BodyFlow and find out if they are willing to sponsor you as an instructor. By sponsorship, that means you get to train to be an instructor. You have to be or going to be affiliated with a club(s) that are already offering BodyFlow in order to do this. If you don’t have one around your area, you could always persuade a nearby club or gym to sign up for and start offering Les Mills classes.

      Hope this info helps you become an instructor! 🙂 Let me know if you need anything else.

      Rachel

  4. Hello!!!! I love your articles. Thank you for sharing. I am very interested in more info on the cmt oil or the brain octane oil. How to introduce them in my diet? What is a good quantity? More for your own experience. I just want to convince myself to use them.

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