Saturday, July 20, 2013

RPM 59: In Review

Unlike with RPM 58, I got to know this release inside out. Not only did I teach it at a variety of clubs, but it then became the release that I did my recertification on.

Most countries around the world don't have to go through recertification, just initial certification - it's basically a biannual check that you're still doing the basics that are covered in the module, and that you're still teaching a safe and effective class. I had two unique and different opportunities to see how this release went down - firstly, to members who had been riding RPM for years, had had RPM on their timetables for years, and were familiar and loyal to the program. Then, I got to teach it at a newly licensed club where they were still getting their heads around RPM, and where the current timetabled instructors were completely responsible for the RPM culture there.

 The result was the same at both clubs, which I found very interesting. Even more interesting... and disappointing, however, was the instructor reaction when they received the release. I saw Facebook posts, Tweets, forums posts, all blasting RPM 59 before they had even ridden, or taught the release. Some instructors were so incensed by the music that they were demanding that their agencies refund their money as the release was so horrid.

I was especially disappointed when a friend of mine very publicly announced that RPM 59 was the first release that they didn't like. They did it in such a manner that their participants would have all seen her statement, and likely would have formed an opinion of the release just based on that. Given that this was a friend, I was so disappointed in them. They will probably blame the release for not being liked by their members, though I say, they laid the groundwork for that dislike. It was my wanting to observe the instructor attitudes and how that propagated to the members that delayed this post.

Other clubs launched later than the ones I teach at so it meant a fair bit of waiting. Let's break it down.

TRACK ONE - Make The World Move
TRACK THREE - Save The World
TRACK FOUR - Flesh And Bone
TRACK FIVE - Daydreamer
TRACK SIX - Pair of Dice
TRACK SEVEN - I Don't Deserve You
TRACK EIGHT - Sitting At Home

TRACK ONE - PACK RIDE - Make The World Move
Very few people responded to this track in an "OMG I love this song" type way. I think it's nice that song tracks are like that, though those tracks can date very quickly. This one won't date. It's a good, solid warmup, not too long, not too short, with adequate time to cover all of the bases. And man, how good a job does Dan McDonogh do presenting this! I love it whenever he is on a DVD, he delivers everything in such an intelligent way - I strive to educate my members in the wonderful effortless way he seems to.

When this track was filmed, I thought "... I wonder if Usher is going to remain a male...", and waited until the release came out. I let out a sigh of relief when yes, Usher remained a male. After John Newman became a female in RPM 58 and Jason Derulo became a female in RPM 56, I was concerned that Usher might undergo a sex change for RPM 59.

Before you go, "Why would Usher become a female? He's been used in BODYPUMP and BODYJAM without that happening?" It doesn't matter, even if the original of a track has been used in another program, sometimes a cover still pops up - example, Club Can't Handle Me in RPM 50 was an original, while in BODYATTACK 73 a cover was used (and the track was a conditioning track at the same pace as the original).

My personal opinion? This track is beautiful. What is interesting though is that I haven't observed this track go down well at other clubs. The feedback has been that 'it's not driving enough'. I personally don't feel that the music has to be driving in order for it to be a good track. One of my most favourite tracks of all time is Adagio for Strings from RPM 29, and it is a dark, subtle, moody, eerie track, without an epic, booming beat.

One of the participants attended a BODYCOMBAT class where the instructor didn't teach the prescribed format (tsk tsk) and the music was epic, booming, doof doof trance all throughout. The participant got a bit bewildered and often questioned, "... haven't we done this song already?", as the music had all sounded the same.

So I utterly ADORE this T2. Not only is it challenging with that extra gear of working resistance whacked on the end of the 2nd and 3rd work phases, the music is smooth, sultry, and provide beautiful contrast within itself, and nestled in amongst other tracks. I'm going to be using this one a LOT.

TRACK THREE - HILLS - Save The World
Party Bounce is a hard act to follow, and I love that this track also works you hard while providing a different mood. Party Bounce was a fun, up beat, funky tune, while Save The World is more of a grunty, heavy, darker tune.

As I mentioned in the post where I discussed the timings of the track, the best part of this for me is while being so challenging, it is also a short T3, which our RPM library is bereft of in modern times (RPM 26 onwards). The number of mixes that I'll be able to build with this tune is exciting - thank you, Glen and Sarah!

YAY it's not Coldplay or Flo Rida! But, it's not really an innovative track by all means. As far as low points in the release go, I'd say this is it. There are some nice lyrics to hook into as far as motivational coaching goes, and the fact that after your first race on the beat you don't go into a ride easy position definitely challenges the fitness differently. This one just passed the members by - they didn't love it, they didn't hate it. I'll use it occasionally, but I will be very surprised if anyone requests it.

Feel The Love gave our ears a break from the dubstep, but was so repetitive, and so long, that I don't think I will be using it very often. A return to drum and bass was inevitable, but I feel that personally Daydreamer does a better job of it than Feel The Love does. The only advantage that Feel The Love has over this one is that it's a mainstream song that members will recognise. This track is SO hard, and you are required to tap into a different side of yourself to teach it. I foresee several instructors not doing this track justice as it's not an angry, aggressive track. T5's don't need to be aggressive and angry! They can be anything! Variety is good, people - not just variety in the sound, but variety in the delivery. Embrace the challenge!

Lordy, what a THUMPING tune this is! The moment Sarah O played this in class for the first time I was like "WHOA!! What is that song?! It's AWESOME!" The first time I taught this release, it went down well, but *this* track, sent the members into spontaneous cheering and whooping. The energy that it automatically brings is unparalleled - yes, Push The Tempo comes pretty close, but it also strikes fear into the heart of the participants, an 'Oh No Not This One' type feeling. This track creates jubilation and exhilaration, and that extra challenge of having the extra gear on in the back half of each race phase is awesomeness personified.

And the length is perfect. Not too long, meaning I'll be able to build a great variety of mixes from it. Sarah, Glen, well done.

This one gets on top of you quickly - I'm going to love using this one whenever participants suggest to 'take out the recoveries'. I will never ever take a recovery out of a track, but instead I will manipulate the tracks I do have and build a mix where the tracks 'run into' each other. For example: Breathing from 56 will run straight into Show Me Heaven from 44, Viva La Vida from 41 will run straight into Voodoo People from 43.

I LOVE this tune, I LOVE this track. But! Because it was dubstep, and our first dubstep T7, I was concerned about what the members would think of it. To my complete surprise, not only was this track a hit at my gyms, but at all of the gyms that my instructor friends teach at as well. The amount of contrast in it, the fact that the dubstep wasn't as aggressive on the ears as the dubstep that's been used in T5s of late... it makes this track a winner.

While I adore Never Give Up from 58, because of how long it is I'll hardly be able to use it. As this track, while still on the long side, is more of a standard length, I'll be able to get much more mileage out of it. Job well done. I'll never get tired of teaching this, as this track demands skill and respect.

I don't normally write about any of the cooldown tracks, but for this release I'll mention that this is the shortest T8 that we've ever had. The last one was 'Busy' from RPM 53, and the way that was choreographed, it acknowledged that the cooldown was short and the stretch track started on the bike. This one doesn't have that, and I will honestly say that sometimes when the members are particularly smashed, they don't look ready to come off the bike.

I make a note to my members "If you feel like your heart rate hasn't come down fully, that's okay, this track is shorter than normal. It's on a downward trend, so in the next minute or so it will come to a normal level." Nothing really to say about the song itself, it's nice enough, didn't have the impact that Hall Of Fame had, but it does the job. Can't really complain about that!

When you listen to the music in this release, there is NO WAY that you can have any appreciation for how incredible this release is. After mixing it out, I had to teach it top to bottom for my recertification and it floored me as to how hard it was as a whole. That's why it was SO disappointing when instructors wrote the release off before they had ridden it, and before they taught it. This one will challenge your fitness, RIDICULOUSLY. I love it, my members love it, and I know I will be hard pressed to let go of it.

Sarah and Glen, I'm invoicing you for a new pair of legs.


Amanda said...

I agree with all of that! Great review. I haven't tired of this release and think it is a great workout.