Which "bhangra exercise" is pukka?

Not all exercise classes are made equal, how can you tell which are worth taking part in?

Pukka has a meaning in both Punjabi and a sort of slang English. In Punjabi it means full, and often is associated with completeness. In cockney English slang it means genuine or authentic, and has been popularised by the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver.

We all believe that a pukka exercise (or fitness) class should be providing a high grade service to people who want to exercise. It’s stating the obvious, but my observations show me that most in the “dance-fitness” industry aren’t genuinely doing this — i.e. their classes are not pukka.

We also believe that our time is valuable, and that no one wants to be wasting an hour in a class that is not designed to be any better than just going for a jog in the streets.

Not all people claiming to be providing an exercise or fitness class are the same. But how do you know the difference, unless you’ve had any formal training? The great thing is that you don’t need to learn all the ins and outs of exercise to know the difference.

Here are some questions to help you evaluate the offering, they apply especially to classes using music like bhangra, but can apply to any exercise class. If you find yes multiple times, be wary of that class.

  1. Do they have any formal exercise accreditation? Look for badges from REPs (Register for Exercise Professionals). Be extra wary of people that just create their own certificates, which no scrutiny from awarding bodies, this is deception of the greatest kind.
  2. Do they teach in community centres or halls? Community centres don’t vet people who hire them, so any cowboy can teach exercise classes there. Genuine pukka exercise instructors use reputative-brand fitness centres.
  3. Do they look like they are more interested in cramming as many people in the class as possible? Is it about quantity over quality?
  4. Do they play mostly old music? This is a good sign that they are repeating the same sequences, routines and even choreography for months or years on end. Look for a class that likes to keep it fresh.
  5. Do they pronounce bhangra wrong? (correct is more like pungra) If they’re not getting the basics right, what else are they not getting right?
  6. Do they spend more time focused on exhibitionism and showing off how good their dancing is, than exercise? They are probably more interested in using their class as a scouting/recruiting ground for performances, which is where they make their real money. If you’re there for exercise, not performing, expect to get less of their attention over time.
  7. With respect to just bhangra, do they make claims to be a bhangra workout or even the best bhangra workout? This again is deceptive because there’s nothing inherently exercise-worthy about bhangra. I mean is, that it wasn’t designed for exercise, so why would something not designed for exercise have a workout? By this logic I could create any old nonsense branding like the Best Shovel Workout, or the Best Balloon Workout, or the Best Rolling Pin workout. Just because shovels, balloons and rolling pins will get your body doing something, doesn’t mean they have anything inherently designed within them to be a thoughtful exercise program. Why should bhangra? Sticking with music types you’ll see others doing the same nonsense like Pop Workout, Rock Workout, Reggae Workout, Jazz Workout or similar. When does it begin to get ridiculous? We don’t use the term bhangra workout, instead exercise come first, the bhangra music is a feature of that.

To get the answer to these questions, you don’t always need to attend the class. Check out their web site, Facebook, YouTube. This will help you figure out if you’ll be wasting your time, or not.

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