The Mandell JCC in West Hartford will hold a launch of the new Les Mills routines on Saturday, Jan. 13, and the facility is the only one in the state to also offer on-demand virtual classes.
By Ronni Newton
Saturday is the eagerly-awaited date for the next quarterly release of new Les Mills routines, and the Mandell JCC in West Hartford will host a special morning of workouts showcasing the new releases.
“We’ve been preparing and practicing for 4-6 weeks,” Group Fitness Director Carmen Erian said. The JCC’s fitness instructors not only need to learn the new choreography, but also the education behind the moves in the popular Les Mills workouts.
“It also gives us a chance to catch up on our technique and form,” she said of the intense practice that goes into preparing for the new routines. “Some of the releases are really, really tough.”
The schedule for Saturday, Jan. 13 is:
- BodyCombat 8:30 a.m.
- BodyPump 9:35 a.m.
- CXWorx 10:35 a.m.
- BodyFlow 10:45 a.m.
Classes are open to members of the Mandell JCC, but the public is also invited to try out any class for free, Marketing Director Michelle Bonner said.
The JCC offers group fitness classes at a variety of times every day, but members who can’t make the scheduled times can still take the Les Mills classes – on a virtual basis, on their own time. A free introduction to virtual group fitness is also offered to prospective members.
“No other facilities in Connecticut offer virtual,” Erian said. All of the Les Mills equipment is available in the fitness room, and as long as it’s not being used for other purposes, any JCC member can choose a class and follow the instructor on the large virtual reality screen. Use of the equipment is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Additional Les Mills workouts – like Sh’Bam and Grit – are offered on a virtual basis only.
“They are the master instructors, the ones that teach us,” Erian said of the teachers that appear in the virtual reality classes. She said that the virtual classes typically have four instructors, demonstrating different levels and techniques for the moves.
Another advantage of the JCC having the virtual classes is that the recordings can substitute for instructors when needed, eliminating the need to cancel classes, Erian said. Occasionally a virtual class will be on the official schedule as well, perhaps at times when there are a number of people who want to do a specific workout but not enough to justify an instructor, she said.
Fitness staff members are always on site for safety purposes, said Erian.
Bonner said that having the popular Les Mills routines available on a virtual basis is a great convenience. “It’s just one more layer of what we offer,” she said. “The JCC is convenient for so many reasons: childcare, things to do for the kids while you work out – every kind of workout. You don’t need a boutique.”
Because the Les Mills virtual classes are so popular, Bonner said that the JCC is also offering a program for kids. Kids enrolled in the facility’s Kids Korner are already taking “Born to Move” after school, with choices that include dance-oriented, martial arts-oriented, plyometric routines, and more. A variety of Les Mills youth programs are available through the Born to Move program, intended for kids from ages 2-16.
Bonner said the JCC is also offering a scratch-off coupon. “Anyone who mentions this article on We-Ha.com – if they didn’t get a scratch-off postcard in the mail – will get to scratch off for up to 25 percent off a six-month membership,” Bonner said. There is no registration or joining fee and anyone who signs up in January is automatically entered into a drawing for a chance at a six-month free membership, she said.
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