Body Groove was one of the top ten most Googled fitness crazes of 2019. Does it live up to the hype and provide a worthwhile workout? Get-Fit Guy renders his verdict.
I received an email a while ago from a listener named Victoria who wanted to know what I thought of the online fitness program called Body Groove. It has been a while since I reviewed a gym or workout plan so I jumped at the idea.
Before I get into my review, I think we need to review what a full-body or full-spectrum workout is and why it is important for all of us.
In her book, Move Your DNA, biomechanist Katy Bowman writes:
I propose that movement, like food, is not optional; that ailments you may be experiencing are simply (and complexly) symptoms of movement hunger in response to a movement diet that is dangerously low in terms of quantity and poor in terms of quality—meaning you aren’t getting the full spectrum of movement nutrition necessary for a baseline human function.
What does she mean by that? Well, I take it to mean that even us avid exercisers may be suffering two types of inactivity.
We spend 30-90 minutes doing dedicated exercise time and the rest of the day being sedentary.
When we exercise, we use and repeat the same movement patterns with the same body parts. And this, my fit friends, is the issue that I am concerned with today.
To borrow more from Katy, in episode 21 of her podcast, she says something along the lines of “You know broccoli is a health food! Broccoli is good for you. However, if you were only to eat broccoli, you would be very, very ill.” Makes sense, right? As good as broccoli is for you, you would lack some very key nutrients if that was the only food you ever ate.
You know the old expression 'move it or lose it?' If you don’t move your body in all directions, you will eventually lose the ability to do so.
Katy then applies that concept to movement. In the same way that broccoli is lacking some life-sustaining nutrients, if we count on a daily run (for example) to provide us with all the movement nutrients we require to remain a mobile and strong human on this planet, we would fall short. We would, no doubt, get really good at running but at the same time, our squatting, jumping, twisting and lifting abilities would falter.
You know the old expression “move it or lose it?” Well, this is exactly my point. If you don’t move your body in all directions, you will eventually lose the ability to do so. And this only gets worse with age.
So, when someone asks me what the best exercise program is for health and wellbeing, I generally say it's the one you enjoy that allows you to move your body in ways that you normally would not. It's the one that feeds your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cells in a variety of ways. On other words, it's more than just the movement equivalent of broccoli.
What is Body Groove?
Now, let's move past the broccoli to the meat of this episode—one of the most-searched-for fitness trends of 2019, according to Google anyway.
Body Groove is a series of exercise videos created by Misty Tripoli. Misty, according to the Body Groove website, was always tired and frequently overweight even though she was an elite fitness instructor at one of L.A.’s top gyms. This lead her to quit her job, sell everything she owned, move to the Caribbean, and launch a Global dance movement that eventually went on to allows millions of people to get their groove on!
Each Body Groove video is only 5 minutes long and leads you through a dance or aerobics-style routine.
Each Body Groove video is only 5 minutes long and leads you through a dance or aerobics-style routine. In each routine, you do a couple of easy dance moves in many variations that provide options for any levels of fitness. And don’t worry about your two left feet! Even if you're not a dancer, the point isn’t to follow Misti exactly through each routine or even to perform that routine. You're meant to adapt the movement in any way that works for your current mobility and fitness level and let yourself get into it.
Since the videos are short, I started with three of them queued up. After 15 minutes, I was really starting to feel it, so I did a couple more. Right there in the privacy of my living room. In a pair of shorts and a ratty old t-shirt.
Sure, I nearly kicked some furniture over when I was getting into a “heel, heel, slide” move, but that's on me. It's also a good sign that I was progressively challenging myself. The move demonstrated in the video had no kicking involved, but after a couple of minutes of grooving on it, my version became very kicky. I guess I was inspired?
That inspiration is the key, and it's why I'm such of fan of this style of workout. As I warmed up and got loose, I started challenging my mobility, balance, and coordination. This routine wasn’t simply a matter of following a leader through a set of repetitive movements over and over again (BODYPUMP, I'm looking at you). It was a free-for-all of arms, legs, hips, shoulders, feet, neck, and knees. We're eating a lot more than broccoli here folks!
How does Body Groove work?
There are a few options for how to access the Body Groove videos. You can do a streaming subscription, paid monthly or yearly, or you can purchase DVDs. Since my last DVD player disappeared when my 2010 MacBook Pro finally bought the (server) farm, the online version was how I did the workouts. There are a few Body Groove videos on YouTube for free. If you want to give it a try, that is a great option.
Body Groove On-Demand gives you access to all the workout videos and workshops on your computer, tablet, smartphone, AppleTV, Roku, Amazon FireTV, and most smart TVs. With 150 videos to choose from, that's pretty cool.
There are different categories as well. There's groove, dance, Latin, yoga, house party, HIIT, and specific videos for seniors. So, it will certainly take a while before you get bored or even have to do the same video twice.
What are the benefits?
As I highlighted earlier, moving your entire body, not just curling a dumbbell or pedaling a stationary bike, is essential for good health and to ensure that you maintain your ability to move. So, incorporating a style of movement like Body Groove into your fitness regimen moves you closer to that goal.
There's more to your cardiovascular health that just a strong heart—it's a whole body synergy.
When you hear gym folks talk about doing cardio, they generally focus on getting their heart rate elevated. But your cardiovascular system is so much more than just that one organ. Moving your feet, hands, neck, hips, and so on, helps your blood pump almost as much as your heart does. There's more to your cardiovascular health that just a strong heart—it's a whole body synergy.
There's also the added benefit of moving your body in unique patterns on multiple planes. For those of you not familiar with this concept, there are three planes of motion, and combinations of those planes, that we humans move on:
Sagittal Plane (forward and backward movements)
Frontal Plane (side-to-side movements)
Transverse Plane (twisting movements)
Our goal, when designing a workout, should be to use all three of these planes in as many varieties as possible. And that is what struck me the most when I did my first Body Groove workout. I was using all three in many combinations without even thinking about it.
Who is Body Groove for?
Body Groove doesn’t seem to be marketing to one particular group, but I fear that the population of people who might gravitate toward a dance-based exercise program might be a little self-selecting. And by that I mean that mostly women are choosing it. And I think that is a shame. I can think of many reasons why a man would want to choose these types of workouts and the biggest one is—you need it! If your exercise program consists of running, lifting, and some basic stretches, you're missing out on some important benefits (mobility and coordination), not to mention fun.
If you're self-conscious, the fact that you can do Body Groove in the privacy of your own home actually makes it the perfect gateway drug to those other group classes.
Sure, I wished there was another man in the Pure Barre classes I took, and having a fellow dude to high-five at the end of Zumba would be cool, but I still got a hell of a workout and I had a blast. If you're self-conscious, the fact that you can do Body Groove in the privacy of your own home actually makes it the perfect gateway drug to those other group classes.
As far as other demographics, there are categories of Body Groove videos for kids and seniors. And, since the Grooves only involve moving your body (no weights or proprietary gear), the risk of injury is totally within your control. Don't overdo it, and you'll be fine.
How can you incorporate Body Groove?
As much as this style of exercise provides much-needed movement nutrients to our broccoli-heavy movement diet, it's not a one-stop-shop. I still recommend that you mix it in with some strength-based exercise, the occasional high-intensity session, and some flexibility training.
So a ten-day workout plan could look something like this:
Day 1: Body Groove (or another full-body style workout)
Day 2: Upper body strength training
Day 4: HIIT (running, cycling, swimming or any other sprint worthy movement)
Day 5: Body Groove (longer session for endurance)
Day 6: Lower body strength training
Day 7: Flexibility and mobility work (preferably different than Day 3)
Day 8: A group activity that is more about fun and friendship than it is about the workout
Day 9: A shorter cardio type session (maybe Body Groove) followed by some core strength work
Day 10: Rest and recovery
All days: staying active before and after your workouts and always make sure to get more movement into your day.
By no means is this the only way to organize your routine, but you get the idea. And depending on your fitness goals, you may want to spend more time on specific training modalities (on a bike or in the pool for example), especially if you have an event or competition coming up.
What I dislike about Body Groove
Honestly, the one thing that almost stopped me from trying Body Groove was their marketing focus on weight loss. Whenever I see workouts that claim to “melt off extra pounds” I tend to run in other direction.
Sure, exercise can play an important role in your weight loss journey, but it should not be the backbone. If you have to exercise (especially to excess) to maintain a healthy body weight, your diet is to blame.
In my own coaching business—and in the Weighless weight loss program I run with my fellow Quick and Dirty Tips podcaster, Nutrition Diva Monica Reinagel—I do indeed focus on getting more movement into your life. But I always acknowledge that the real, long-lasting weight loss factors are going to come from resetting your relationship with food, not from trying to out-exercise your fork.
Workouts like Body Groove, or a fitness plan that I craft for my clients, can indeed aid in weight loss. But any "melting off extra pounds" that occurs is going to be about 80 percent due to making food choices that are aligned with your goals and 20 percent due to the workouts.
The verdict on Body Groove
I think I have made it clear that I am a fan of Body Groove. Whether you purchase Body Groove or not, this style of fun, carefree, full-spectrum movement is a plus for any fitness regimen. In conjunction with an otherwise movement-filled day, I can see myself keeping Body Groove as a fitness tool in my ever-growing movement toolbox.