Whether we like it or not, the health and fitness industry is rife with fads. As one celebrity workout or diet drifts out of fashion, you can guarantee that another will quickly take its place.
However, there are a few tried and tested methods, exercises and eating plans that stand the test of time.
The ever-popular Legs, Bums and Tums class undoubtedly falls into this bracket.
What is Legs, Bums and Tums?
It started to take off in the early 1990s and has remained a permanent fixture in many gyms’ exercise class schedules ever since.
As the name suggests, your typical LBT session features a number of exercise routines that specifically target the abdomen and lower body. It’s a fantastic option for those who want to tone up.
This isn’t a gruelling programme that will help you to lose a lot of weight - you’ll generally burn somewhere between 250 and 400 calories during a one-hour session depending on how much effort you put in. The focus is very much on toning and tightening.
Meet Legs, Bums & Tums instructor Penny Bolton…
Penny Bolton, 63, has been teaching Legs, Bums and Tums classes since 1993 and has been at our Brentwood club since 1998.
Suffice to say during this time she has seen many other classes and exercise routines come and go. Yet, Legs, Bums and Tums workouts are still in huge demand across the UK.
Why is this?
Penny has a few theories…
“There’s a real sense of familiarity with Legs, Bums and Tums. The basic principles have always remained the same,” she told us.
“People have heard of it and they know what it’s all about. It’s a class that doesn’t lose its flavour!
“It’s also a class that has a bit of personality. When you learn to become an instructor of some of the newer classes, you’re taught how to do it in a rigid way. Wherever you are in the country, you know that the class is being conducted in the exact same way.
“With Legs, Bums and Tums, however, we’ve got more freedom to shake things up a little and make sure that it remains fun and different.”
Is there a new breed of Legs, Bums and Tums fans?
Having been around for so long, you might think that Legs, Bums and Tums is only still relevant because the old guard refuse to let go and try something new.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
“In my classes, you will see all kinds of people from different generations,” Penny added.
“I’ve got people in their 20s right the way through to 70-year-olds. It’s a great mix. In the past six to nine months I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern, with more and more people in their late-30s and 40s taking part.”
Although the classes tend to be mostly made up of women, Penny confirmed that men do regularly get involved. Various media reports in 2014 suggested that David Beckham and Guy Ritchie had developed a liking for this particular class.
If it’s good enough for those guys, right?
What can a beginner expect from their first LBT class?
As we’ve already mentioned, your average Legs, Bums and Tums class will last for around an hour.
Penny’s sessions will start with a ten-minute warm-up, which will then be followed by a series of moves that are designed to tone your muscles.
• Leg raises
• Hamstring curls
To keep things fresh and varied, Penny has also incorporated some upper-body work into her classes, and this seems to go down really well.
“I bring weights into my sessions, and although these are optional, it really helps to ensure that everybody gets a full-body workout,” she continued.
“While the routines are primarily targeting the legs, backside and stomach, I find that getting everyone to do some upper body work takes their mind off the aches in their bum!”
Towards the end of the class, you will spend some time focusing on your abs. This involves a whole new batch of exercises, including:
You’ll start to stretch out and warm down five minutes before the end of the session to ensure you don’t pull any muscles when you get home.
How has LBT changed in the past 25 years?
The key to Legs, Bums and Tums’ success, in Penny’s opinion, is that it has managed to evolve while at the same time keeping the same core principles.
“It used to be very focused on mat work when I first started out, but now my classes tend to involve a lot more standing exercises. That’s probably the biggest difference,” Penny commented.
“It’s easier to hold people’s attention if they’re standing up, rather than lying on the floor. It allows for a more effective workout.”
Penny insisted that her classes are still fully subscribed to this day, so it’s safe to assume that Legs, Bums and Tums is going to be around for the foreseeable future.
Why is it better to do LBT at a gym instead of at home?
There are two main benefits of doing your Legs, Bums and Tums workout in the gym.
“There’s a real social aspect to it; certainly at this club,” Penny added.
“People meet up before and after the class and will have a drink and a chat in the café.
“Also, you can’t be lazy! You need to be really self-motivated to do it at home, whereas when you come to a class you will have somebody pushing you.
“It’s nice to see how other people are progressing and you get a lot of encouragement when you come here. That’s a big thing and it keeps you going.”