Eat, Sleep, Pump, Repeat: The best tracks of 2014

On a yearly basis, we don’t know what to expect from BodyPump.

No release is the same. That’s what makes this program so spectacular and awesome to present. And at the end of the year, there comes that time in every instructor and member’s life where it’s time to reflect on the memories of the last 12 months.

As for me, I do a lot of reflecting myself. On all the new friends I made and reconnecting with old ones at quarterlies. Participating in the largest BodyPump class ever held on United States soil. Completing AIM II for a second time and starting the drive towards becoming a trainer. All the physical and mental improvements that have been made.

But the most fun thing is giving my members an end-of-the-year special: The best tracks of the year. I’ve done this every year since 2011, and this year will be no different

With the help of my members at Union Street Athletics in Bangor, Maine, along with my thousands of fellow instructors throughout the world, I present my “Best of 2014” playlist! Tracks were chosen based upon choreography, music, track focus and the challenges each track presents.

1. You Make Me (Release 90). Picking warmup and cooldown tracks is the toughest part, but this was the best song of the four that we released.

2. Somebody Told Me (Release (91). I had the pleasure of presenting this one on the first day of my AIM II in Boston in October, and my members loved how this track was a throwback in terms of the big blocks of singles – 24 to be exact – at the end of the second and fourth block. The squat track typically burns the most calories in a BodyPump class, with the back track a close second, and this track not only puts deep focus on the legs, but gets the heart rate kicking. Not to mention it’s a fantastic song!

3. Conquistador (Release 90). This was a tough choice, with Goodness Gracious from BodyPump 91 being a very, very close second. Both tracks put a great focus into the chest muscles in different ways, and this one does with lots of slow work and isometric training. The stagger work in the middle forces the muscles to really, really work harder. Participants and instructors alike really bought into the lyrics too, “This is a fight,” as we’re fighting to change the world every class.

Wild Card: Goodness Gracious (Release 91). Because who doesn’t love 56 push-ups in a chest track? I know a lot of people grumble about the A-presses, but the fact of the matter is you have to make them effective, and coach your class to reap the benefits.

4. Beautiful Life (Release 91). C’mon, I had to put the two tracks that I presented at AIM II in here!! That being said, the combination of uplifting music and challenging choreography made this a great track. Jeremiah Evans really brought it when he presented this one on the DVD – YOU’RE DOING IT!! – and my members were sad to see this track mixed out a few weeks ago. I love the way the focus is on power training with all the clean and presses.

Wild Card: Promises (Release 90). Ever since the evolution of GRIT, high intensity interval training, or HIIT, has become one of the newest fads in group fitness, and this track has plenty of it with squat plate presses to follow up clean and presses. Close, but “Beautiful Life” won out.

5. Walk of Shame (Release 90). Because who doesn’t love a song by Pink in BodyPump, right? Not just that, but five blocks of work with no recovery make this a very challenging track, especially if you load the bar up. Les Mills has a way of making Pink songs extremely challenging in Pump, and this one is no different. By the time we get to the dips in the final 45 seconds, we’re really feeling it!

6. Miss Jackson (Release 90). I know this is a track that created a lot of controversy last summer because the word “goddamn” is repeated over and over in the lyrics, but all that aside, what a challenge this one was. Whether you use plates or the bar, the muscles will experience tremendous overload with all the mid-range pulses and limited recovery time. The lyrics in question not withstanding, I do love this song and my members really loved the challenges this track brought.

7. Work Hard, Play Hard (Release 88). This was a tough decision, and lord knows I miss lunge tracks with plyometric and HIIT training, which “Find You” from Release 91 features with all the plate presses. But the Tribe and my members not only agreed that Work Hard was a challenging track, it puts a lot of focus into the quads and glutes. Not to mention my club somehow launched this release despite a terrible ice storm in Maine that morning. Goes to show that we Mainers will get to class in any weather conditions!

8. Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat (Release 91). Everybody knows I love push-ups. Nothing fires me up more than smiling and cueing, “Hit the Deck,” but this track does not need any push-ups. Undoubtedly the best shoulder track of 2014. Eat, sleep, PUMP, repeat!

9. Trumpets (Release 91). Like hover work? My members seem to! There’s plenty of it in this track, and the obliques get challenged by all the hip lifts.

10. Burning Bridges (Release 91). Calm, mellow song and a great finish to class.

I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring us! I’ve already watched BodyPump 92 once and have listen to the music all the way through a couple times and it’s going to be a great, challenging release! Stay tuned for a preview.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.