Gym Class: Les Mills BODYCOMBAT and CXWORX
Recently I checked out two new Les Mills classes at my local 24-Hour Fitness. I was feeling ambitious so I opted to take the two classes back-to-back, but they’re available separately too.
What it is: CXWORX is a 30-minute core-training class designed to tighten and tone the core and build functional strength, while BODYCOMBAT blends kicks and punches inspired by karate, boxing, and other martial arts into a 55-minute cardio workout.
My experience: CXWORX began with mat exercises that included some variations on crunches, planks, and leg extensions, and progressed to standing moves, like resistance band wood chops and balancing exercises. In the beginning I mentioned to my instructor, Justin Sanchez, that I’m a bit upper-body-challenged, but he assured me that he would offer a number of adjustments and modifications throughout the workout, which he did. Throughout the routine my heart rate never jumped extremely high, but I definitely felt the burn, and, at 30 minutes, class felt like it was over in the blink of an eye.
After a quick swig of water, I was onto my next class. Unlike CXWORKS, in BODYCOMBAT you’re on your feet from the moment class starts. Boxing-style shuffling and punching turned into a full-out kicking series by the end of class. At one point I think we did more than 100 kicks in a row. Though I did my fair share of aimless flailing (Justin pre-warned me that this was common for first-timers), none of the moves felt totally out of reach, and I was sweating in no time. Best of all, it helped me live out my long-time fantasies of kicking butt Buffy Summers-style. Plus both classes were really well choreographed to music, which pushed me to keep smiling.
What I wore: Running shorts and a performance t-shirt kept me cool and allowed for the range of motion needed through all of my kicks and punches.
What it worked: True to its mission, CXWORX thoroughly worked my core—my abs, butt, obliques, and back. I felt my BODYCOMBAT kicks in my hip flexors the next day, but I think the class has the potential to help build endurance (you are going non-stop for nearly an hour), and, according to the Les Mills website, can help torch over 700 calories.
Who it's best for: CXWORX is perfect for people who need to squeeze in a sweat session on the go. In a mere 30 minutes it gives you a satisfying workout. Not to mention, between the short class time and all of the modifications available, there’s nothing to be afraid of, so beginners can feel comfortable, too. BODYCOMBAT caters to those who crave a heart-pounding cardio workout, and who maybe want something more engaging than pedaling a bike or running on a treadmill. It doesn’t hurt if you fancy yourself a fighter.
What to watch out for: BODYCOMBAT neophytes like myself may initially become frustrated because the routines do require quite a bit of coordination that’s difficult to master without many classes under your belt.
Final Word: I’d give both of these classes another go. CXWORKS would be ideal for tacking onto the beginning or end of a cardio workout, and I would love to have another go at BODYCOMBAT's intense choreography.
—Mary Squillace is an associate editor at Fitbie
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