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Last week’s filming felt more international than ever, with lots of extra faces, some new and many familiar, filling Studio 1 at Les Mills Auckland City. The Kia Kaha team caught up with BODYPUMP™ and BODYATTACK™ instructor Matias Sarria, a LAN Cargo airline pilot from Santiago, who fits three weeks in Auckland for filming each year into his busy flying schedule!
Everyone’s got a Les Mills story, what’s yours?A few years ago, I was at my heaviest weight ever, 96kg. I started my weight-loss journey, trying everything from nutrition changes, doctor’s visits and even hypnosis! My friend was a BODYPUMP™ instructor and started to push me to go to a class. I went- the next day I couldn’t walk. I spent the whole day in bed and I thought “If I’m this sore, it must be working!” I started to fall in love with BODYPUMP™. Then on a flight stopover in Amsterdam, I heard about this thing called BODYATTACK™ and decided to try it. By the end of the class I loved it! A year later I was a certified BODYPUMP™ and BODYATTACK™ instructor.What’s it like instructing in Chile?With my flight roster changing every week, it’s hard to fit in a regular class so I teach mostly cover classes and team-teach with other instructors. I’ve also taken part in teaching BODYATTACK™ classes at the local Vina del Mar beach in summer as a project my friend started with the local university which is a lot of fun!Why come all the way to Auckland?
Soon after I discovered BODYATTACK™, I did a lot of research and decided I had to visit New Zealand. I first came to Auckland for GFX in 2012 and made so many friends. People made me feel so welcome. I was shocked when some of the instructors recognized me from last year and said hi, it’s those small details that make you feel so comfortable. All my friends back in Chile think I’m crazy, spending three weeks of my holiday leave in a gym but this is what I love! To me, it’s a good way to spend my holidays. How has your filming experience been this time around?I feel so good here, I’ve seen a lot of friends I met at GFX and all those relationships have become closer. This place is amazing. What’s the next phase of your fitness journey? Keep training, get fitter and improve my instructing and who knows which program will be next!
My name is Chad Deets, and I am a BODYATTACK™ addict. My journey with weight loss began in June 2007, at 418 pounds. Over two and a half years, I was able to turn my life around, sustaining a 200 pound loss for over four years almost exclusively through participating and instructing BODYATTACK™. Late last year I was honored to conduct a personal interview with BODYATTACK™ guru Lisa Osborne.
The early years…
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Lisa cannot remember a time when she wasn’t active: “Since I could move, I was in a pair of ballet shoes [her mother was a ballerina]… my dad ran every day, so, I was just immersed in it.” Being just as gifted academically, Lisa began her first career as an elementary school teacher by age 20, where she stayed for five years.
After freestyle instructing for a short time, Lisa decided to pursue fitness fulltime and compete. Beginning in 1992, she won three aerobic world titles in a five year period and presented at freestyle fitness conventions all over Australia. It was during this time that she began to get regular phone calls from Bill Robinson, CEO of Les Mills Australia, asking her to become a BODYPUMP™ trainer. Lisa says she turned him down repeatedly, being skeptical of pre-choreographed classes at first. After six months of persistence (thank you Bill!), he convinced her by promising to never call her again if she didn’t like it.
She liked it. The very next weekend after being the trainee, Lisa began a two and a half year stint as a trainer in BODYPUMP™, BODYSTEP™, and BODYATTACK™.
Lisa the Program Director…
Ever since it launched internationally, Lisa has been in charge of the education for BODYATTACK™, putting together the first training manuals and modules. Although she was already choreographing BODYSTEP™, it was mostly coincidence that she began choreographing BODYATTACK™, filling in after a member of the previous choreography team left suddenly.
As Program Director, Lisa’s primary duty is the selection of music, and the creation of all choreography and education for BODYATTACK™. Lisa says she never goes into a release with a theme; rather it is an organic process that begins with the music. “Music inspires my movement”, she says. She usually chooses music for her programs while running: “I get a lot of work done when I run. I find what [music] motivates me and what I get lost in.”
When it comes time to film, Lisa is in charge of selecting and coaching her filming presenters. She says the common thread she looks for is those who create an inclusive experience. “I like people that are real, and not self-focused, but really focused on the class. I’d prefer someone that was not as good physically, but better with communication and creating the essence and experience.”
Finally, Lisa spends time on program research and development. This can be anything from watching the latest fitness videos to observing boot camps and personal trainers at work. “I spend a lot of time online,” she explains, considering questions like “What’s working? What are they doing? What can we do?” It is this research that leads to changes such as the introduction of 3D. “It would be crazy to try and stay in the past. I believe in change and the future.”
BODYATTACK™ 80: Celebrating 20 years of BODYATTACK™
Although the track list is being kept under wraps, Lisa explains that the number 80 holds no musical significance: “Don’t expect it, there’s not one 80’s song in there. I’m going futuristic… now sounds.” As far as choreography goes, Lisa says “There’s some new moves, new high end challenges, but not forgetting the options. Options are still really important.”
In addition, there are two New Zealand instructors shadowing the entire release who Lisa explains really personify the essence of the program: “They come to my classes, they team teach for nothing, they just love it and want to get better.” This is Lisa’s hope for the 80th release: “I want 80 to be a real team celebration at every level… instructors, members... Fun and fitness, challenging but ‘we’ll do it together’.”
Recipe for success…
One of the hottest questions on my lips was about Lisa’s own fitness regimen. How does the woman who helps shape so many amazing bodies, keep hers looking its best? “Well obviously I teach a lot of BODYATTACK™, two BODYSTEP™ classes a week, two BODYPUMP™ classes, a LES MILLS GRIT™ Series Cardio class and I participate in CXWORX™.” In addition, she trains with Corey Baird, runs twice a week, and plays tennis with familiar faces Gandalf Archer, Jackie Mills and Bryce Hastings. She insists that she does have tired days, although I told her you’d never know by watching her on stage. “It’s the music and the movement. How can you be tired once that starts?”
Lisa at home…
On husband Pita: “We don’t do Les Mills at home. We have lots of parties. We drink and eat! Pita teaches BODYCOMBAT™ and he’s really serious about it. He’ll be in the kitchen with his headset on, and he starts cueing. I’m allowed to tell him to stop cueing now!”
On her sons Jackson (7) and Hunter (1): “Jackson is a natural athlete. He’s quite grown up, great with people, quite sensitive actually. Hunter is going to be different. He’s gorgeous, but he’s so naughty. Hunter bites.”
Will she have more? “NO!!! Definitely no. Two is hard! I used to tell people if they had one, it was hard!”
To read more from my time with Lisa, you can visit my blog at http://bodyattackaddict.blogspot.com
NB: I would like to thank Lisa, Les Mills, and Glen Stollery for helping to make this experience possible. I would also like to thank rock star BODYATTACK instructors Natalie Knollmiller and Shelly Bowers for bringing Attack into my life (you ladies are amazing!), and all my fellow instructors and participants. Kia Kaha!
Anyone who meets Jace Ago knows of his unwavering passion and love for Les Mills. A passion that was honoured by his selection to be on the DVD presenting team for SH’BAM™ 12. However, the road to receiving this accolade was challenging. He tells guest blogger Raina Singh about his journey.
Several years ago, in a men’s’ clothing store in Auckland, Jace Ago was an insecure young man who had a dream. His dream started over seven years ago when he watched a BODYJAM™ DVD in the Philippines. He was captivated by what he saw and it kick-started his engine of desire. “I want that,” he told himself.
From experiencing doubt and struggle in his initial training, to building up enough expertise to teach 18-20 classes per week, Jace worked hard in the Philippines, training in BODYJAM™, BODYBALANCE™, BODYSTEP™ and BODYVIVE™. What he didn’t foresee was the journey that was to come after he relocated from the Phillippines to New Zealand.
“When I first got to New Zealand, I was insecure.” Jace says. “Even though I teach mainly in English back in the Philippines, after seeing how good the instructors were at Les Mills in Auckland, my first reaction was Oh no, I can’t do this.”
Jace’s insecurity over his English made him pull back from instructing group fitness for almost a year. To this day, Jace acknowledges that he has a harder time because his instructing isn’t taking place in his native tongue. But he laughs as he recounts a memory from the SH’BAM™ 12 rehearsals.
“When we were practising for filming, Tauvaga said to me, ‘You should say ‘Yo I’m Jace and this is T-Pain and Rach and we’re about to do this’. My response to him was “Uh no… too much English!””
English aside, Jace knew he had ability and he still had his dream. Eventually, it was a chance to cover a BODYVIVE™ class on the outskirts of the suburbs of Auckland for four months that prompted him into action.
“It was a long commute on the bus and I was getting home at 9pm, but at the time it was my only class and I missed teaching so much that I didn’t really mind. After teaching and talking to the members I would say to myself, "Why did I stop teaching for a year? This is the best feeling in the world.”"
After regaining the taste for instructing he never looked back picking up classes across several Auckland clubs.
Jace discovered SH’BAM™ soon after its development in New Zealand, and says although it seems strange when compared to BODYJAM™ he soon got the hang of it. He says, “When I did the module, I gained an awareness of how to teach SH’BAM™ the right way. It was just magic. That was then I fell in love with the program.”
What others will find interesting is that in spite of a desire to be a DVD presenter, Jace absolutely cannot stand cameras.
“I hate them. I delayed filming my BODYJAM™ certification for a year because I don’t like cameras. Watching my initial certification and watching the first cut of SH’BAM™ 12 were no different. It never gets any easier. I’m just like ‘Oh did I just do that?’ ‘Oh did I say that?’ ‘Is that how I sound?’ I’m actually dreading learning this release since I will have to watch myself again!”
Jace has run the spectrum of emotions throughout his journey. The scepticism and doubt leading into auditioning for training, the fear and anxiety during his initial module, the relief and wonder upon passing, and the excitement and joy that comes from teaching to appreciative members. He now has aspirations to become a trainer and to share his knowledge and experience with anyone who needs help.
“I was lucky that there was a really kind instructor who would let me teach and give me feedback when I was training. He was like my mentor, John Fernando, who is now teaching in New Zealand. He made me feel good, and it made me want to do that for others.”
Jace knows that one thing all instructors have in common is bumps along the road. He offers some advice:
“Go back and find the reason why you started teaching. Look deep, and recall the first reason why you did the first module. What motivated you? Strive for that. Keep the passion going, keep the flame burning. Hard work, passion, determination, and with a little bit of luck, you can go places.
“Don’t stop dreaming. From the moment I watched that first video it took me seven and a half years to reach my goal, with one year in there where I didn’t teach at all.
“And it’s okay to take a break, but don’t forget the reason why you did the module, while you fell in love with the Les Mills programs in the first place. There’s a reason why you passed the module and a reason why you were certified. It’s because you can do it.”
We all know filming week is the highlight of each quarter at Les Mills, Auckland City’s Victoria St gym floods with an infectious energy as instructors from all corners of the world come together to become a part of Les Mills’ legacy. Our production team goes into overdrive, putting hours of blood, plenty of sweat, and tears into producing our world-class DVDs, which are shipped to our Tribe of 90,000 instructors in 80 countries. But how much work really goes into each DVD? The numbers might surprise you!
1. Around 200 people are involved in each filming round, from the start of choreography right through the distribution of the final DVDs!
2. A total of 549 different DVDs have been produced by Les Mills, from when filming first started right up until Q1 2013
3. One DVD takes a total of 29 weeks to be produced, right from the beginning of choreography through to its final distribution
4. Around 50 instructors per quarter travel to Auckland City Gym at Victoria St each release to attend filming classes
5. A huge 100,000 individual DVD units are produced each quarter, including 6 different kit versions across each of Les Mills’ 10 programs (not including LES MILLS GRIT™ Series)!
As always, filming week has been a fun, fantastic frenzy at Les Mills Auckland City with hundreds of instructors visiting from all corners of the world to be part of Les Mills history.
Mandi Jones sat down with visiting instructor, Hugo Pedroso, from Portugal to find out what motivates him and how he how he keeps his standards (and energy levels!) up while teaching five programs as well as being a national program director and trainer.
Hugo, welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up playing sports like karaté and basketball. Then I went to the university to study physical education and sport to be a sports teacher at schools. But during my university years, I made contact with fitness and in a natural way (and unexpectedly!) I discovered my professional path. First I became a BODYCOMBAT™ instructor because of my background in karate and after that Les Mills became part of my life. Currently I teach BODYSTEP™, BODYCOMBAT™, BODYJAM™, BODYPUMP™ and now, Les Mills GRIT™ Series. I'm the National program director for BODYSTEP™ and a trainer for BODYCOMBAT™ and BODYJAM™. I've been teaching for almost 10 years.
This is my first time in New Zealand. It is a MAJOR opportunity to became a part of a DVD (BODYSTEP™ 92) and I'm very excited and proud. This is a once in a life time opportunity! The process is huge and takes us to another level. Working seven days with the best of the best is something you can’t put a price on!
What’s your motivation behind teaching Les Mills programs?
Passion, knowledge, professionalism, quality of the product. It's difficult to explain because the Les Mills programs become a way of life. They change not only your body, but also the way you live as Les Mills brings so much passion, emotion and feeling to life.
What was your first impression/experience of doing the BODYSTEP™ Athletic circuit?
The first time I experienced the athletic circuit it was: DAAAAMMMMNN THIS IS A HUGE CHALLENGE!!! YEEESSSSS!!!! It will provide a whole new level of workout for BODYSTEP™. In Portugal the athletic circuit brings more participants, (especially men that didn’t come to BODYSTEP™ classes before) and retains the others because it’s a refreshing change. Of course it’s great there is still the option of 70/30 (the traditional BODYSTEP™ favourite) for the “Flava-addicted”!
What should we expect in BS 92?
In my opinion this is one of the best choreos of BODYSTEP™ ever! The music is tremendous and the workout is a real challenge. At the same time the “Flava” tracks are very cool! 92 has a lot of new moves and plenty of options for the instructor to build the perfect workout for their class.
The circuit is intense! With such a range of different fitness levels out there, how do you make it inclusive for everyone?
YES it is intense! But like every move and track in BODYSTEP™, there are options for lower impact or intensity. The instructor must choose and show to their participants the different options for each move. By lowering the step, losing the arm movements or jumps, the options are countless. Any participant of BODYSTEP™ can do the circuit, starting with lower intensity options that challenge them.
What is one message/benefit you have experienced since teaching and participating in the BODYSTEP™ Athletic circuit?
The circuit brings athleticism to BODYSTEP™! Power, stamina, cardio, resistance... all are taken to another level. And it's cool because it’s a very simple track in terms of moves and coordination, so participants can focus more on training and challenging themselves to become “fitter".
For most of us exercise is a way of life. It uplifts us. Energizes us. Rewards and revitalizes us. But sometimes it can do even more than that. In some cases it is a powerful tool that can pull a person from their rock bottom, back into the light.
After losing her husband suddenly, Jana Durst thought she would never find that place again. Now a US National Trainer, she shares the story of how BODYCOMBAT™ helped her get there.
“My name is Jana Durst and I am originally from the Czech Republic. I have been living in Tampa, Florida since 1997. I never planned on leaving my country and family behind and moving across the ocean but I did it in a heartbeat for the right man.
That man passed away nearly four years ago.
We were married in the US and had a son together. It was little Nicholas who found his Daddy in his room “sleeping”, and was trying to “wake Daddy up”, for two days. I was not there to help. No one was. I was working across the country and he was too little to call for help.
Our lives were crushed by the death of our Daddy. I’ve never been challenged with anything as difficult as to overcome death of my husband. It was a sudden death, he passed away in his sleep. He was healthy and strong, there were no signs of any illness. The autopsy did not find anything wrong, his heart simply stopped beating.
I soon realized the challenges we faced, including foreclosure on our home and raising my son here without any family. Life got tough. All I wanted to do was hide and cry. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to eat. I lost a lot of weight and became weak very quickly.
Our lives shattered into pieces. There was only one thing I knew how to do very well and that was BODYCOMBAT™. The challenge I faced was to pick myself of the floor and go fight. I finally made it back to the gym and I started to realize how much the other “Combaters” cared. It felt like being One Tribe. We were doing it together.
Although it was tough at first, I started to feel a little better each time I came back. My punches started to get stronger. The kicks got hotter again. I’m not going to lie – it was very tough to come back for more but this time it was a “fierce fight” that kept me going. BODYCOMBAT™ has made me stronger. The workout is so empowering that no matter what the trouble is – IT WILL TAKE YOUR MIND OFF IT, even it’s only 55 minutes. It worked. I felt better. At first the relief was temporary –it was not a magic wand that would make the trouble go away but I kept coming back for more until I really did feel better and was ready to take action with my life again.
If it worked for me, I know it will work for others too. I am now stronger than I have ever been in my life. I know now that it was BODYCOMBAT™ that helped me get through the toughest challenge of my life and thanks to BODYCOMBAT™ I hold my head higher than ever before. I am a proud Mom and I am a great role model for my son who is always watching. We got through it. Not only I have BODYCOMBAT™ for life now, I am also part of One Tribe and have friends for life.
As the silly season gets into full swing, staying on track with training can be tough, not to mention well-laid nutrition plans that fall by the wayside.
Becky Wax, an instructor and Group Fitness Director of Gold’s Gym in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has transformed her body into a lean, mean fighting machine since she discovered LES MILLS BODYCOMBAT™ three years ago and the dedicated mother of two trains hard to stay in top shape.
The Kia Kaha team asked Becky what inspires her to stay motivated, when the pudding is calling and the gym seems like a long way from the couch…
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get involved in BODYCOMBAT™?
I have been a Les Mills instructor for six years and my body has been transformed. Since I began doing BODYCOMBAT™ three years ago I have gone from 135 pounds and 18% body fat to 125 pounds and 9% body fat.
I have defined shoulders, back, legs and abs ....yes ABS even after having two children.
Although I was already active from teaching BODYPUMP™ and BODYFLOW™/BODYBALANCE™, my fitness has reached a whole new level through BODYCOMBAT™! I used to struggle with any type of cardio, very difficult to breathe, finish or have any motivation to continue a class. Now, I feel I could do BODYCOMBAT™ for hours!
What is it about BODYCOMBAT that got you hooked?
I took a Masterclass with Josef and Nicole Sanchez in Chicago and it was incredible. I couldn’t wait to become a certified instructor. I now teach two BODYCOMBAT™ classes per week to an amazing group of participants and what happens in class is hard to put into words. I get to see these women and men of all ages and fitness levels change physically and mentally, class by class. My participants range from 18-67 years old!
I feel so strong! I feel empowered every time I take/teach this class. BODYCOMBAT™ has given me a sense of inner strength that I never knew I had.
How closely do you stick to your training and healthy lifestyle over the holiday season and what motivates you to do this?
I am 150% committed to my training – every season! My motto is “Fitness is for life, not a season.” I stay motivated by how I feel. On days I don’t work out I notice a change in my mood. Without an active lifestyle I would not be happy - that’s what keeps me going!
What would your advice be to people who struggle to stay motivated by keeping active and eating healthily over the Christmas holiday season?
They should think about their journey. How hard would it be to start over if they stopped working out or eating well. The Christmas holidays are so focused around eating and drinking but my advice would be to enjoy, but not over-indulge. It’s all about choices! A great way to stay on track is to buddy up with a friend who has similar goals and hold each other accountable.
What is your favourite indulgence over the holiday season?
I have a huge soft spot for Scotcheroos! They are rice krispie treats made with peanut butter and covered with melted butterscotch and chocolate chips. Yum! I only make them at Christmas time, they’re too dangerous otherwise!
What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?
To continue with my passion for fitnes. Always to eat better, meaning more fruits and veges. To continue with my journey as an instructor and to inspire others.
What advice would give others to achieve their own health and fitness New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?
Set reasonable goals. When people shoot too high their goals can often be unachievable. Set one smaller goal and once you get there, set the next one. Once you receive that first milestone, you’re already committed to fitness and that next goal is much easier to reach!
What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?
Last month we were contacted by Hope Marie Cueva, a woman from Texas who, at her heaviest, weighed more than 400 pounds.
Now at a fighting fit 183 pounds (just over 80kg), she tells the story of how she got there.
“I started my journey on November 2, 2011 when I had a gastric bypass done. At 380 pounds, it was a case of life and death.
I knew I had to do everything I could to be around for my daughter, who was diagnosed with Autism at age three. I had to change myself to live long enough to show her she is worth everything in the world and to be independent.
Despite what some may think, a gastric bypass is not a quick fix and it goes hand in hand with a completely new lifestyle. I joined Gold's Gym on Military Drive in San Antonio’s Southside that same month I had my surgery done. I started walking 10 minutes a day, three times a week. Finally I moved up to three miles a day in less than an hour.
One day a friend of mine asked me to try BODYCOMBAT™. I had tried a class before and I just wasn’t up to the challenge so walked straight back out. But this time was different. I embraced the challenge, and since that day in March I haven’t looked back.
My Les Mills BODYCOMBAT™ instructor Jessica Cerda has saved my life. She has given me confidence and strength. I can't imagine what I would have done without her. She gives you 110 per cent and puts her heart and soul into every workout. Jessica made me realise that I can do anything. She will always be the one that showed me working out is something that will give you the sense of being. I know now I can do whatever I can get in this life.
Jessica also gave me the confidence to branch out to other classes and now I do BODYPUMP™ and BODYATTACK™ as well as BODYCOMBAT™ six days a week, sometimes twice a day.
Thanks to Les Mills classes, I am now close to my first goal of 180 pounds and once I reach it, I won’t stop because without these classes I know I wouldn’t be happy. My next goal is to run marathons. I have started the program to run my first 5km in January 2013. My long term goal is to do the Rock N Roll half marathon in November 2013.
Thank you to Hope for sharing her journey and we look forward to seeing photos of her crossing that marathon finish line next year!
You might remember a story we posted about back in May, on LES MILLS RPM lovebirds Lisa and Dane, who found romance over the handlebars in their Canberra RPM™ studio, and got engaged right before the GFX Summit in Auckland.
See the rest of their story.
Well, we’re pleased to announce that they’re officially hitched- they were married in the Snowy Mountains last month.
Lisa says although the wedding day was a nightmare, with snow, hail and blizzards, there was a lot of love, not to mention an amazing RPM™ playlist at the reception!
The day was also particularly special for instructor Lisa as her father, who has terminal cancer, was able to give her away, a day she says she never thought she’d see.
The couple are looking forward to planning a family in the next few years but Lisa says she won’t be giving up teaching LES MILLS RPM™.
“I’ll do a Sarah Ostergaard and ride through my pregnancy, stay tuned for the next instalment!”
A huge congratulations to the newlyweds from the whole Les Mills Tribe!
While a strong, athletic body is a common aspiration among our Tribe, biceps and a six pack are a little less common in the beauty pageant industry. We speak to one beauty queen, and BODYPUMP™ instructor, who is a firm believer that strong is the new skinny.
Winning Miss Virginia means a lot of things for Rosemary Willis –nearly $20,000 in scholarship money, a year to campaign on her platform for fitness and, of course, a chance to compete for Miss America. But it also means she'll have to defer her final year of College and, saddest of all, take a year off teaching BODYPUMP™ while she fulfills her duties.
When competing, each entrant brings a talent to the table – Rosemary's is singing – and a passion – hers being exercise which is a “no-brainer” she says. However, in defying beauty pageant stereotypes around body shape, Rosemary says that at first she was told that her look was too “athletic”, for the swimsuit section of the competition, but changing her look would have gone against what she stood for. “I’m not going to fit a mold. I will be real, I will be me, and my message will be more impactful. I would be going against what my platform is if I was super skinny, had no muscle tone and had achieved that in a non-healthy way.”
Rosemary was always athletic, playing field hockey and soccer in high school, but after being injured in a boating accident in high school she was told by doctors that she wouldn't be able to run for a year. “At that time, I found my identity in being an athlete”, she says, “And I struggled to find my place once I lost that and got to college. I gained weight and wasn't sure where I fitted in”.
Thankfully, her discovery of the student Rec Center at the College of William and Mary was the beginning of a recovery back to the old life-loving, energetic Rosemary. She found that lifting weights was an activity that she could do without exacerbating her injury. Rosemary tried BODYPUMP™ and “loved it!” because of the high energy and competitive spirit. The immediate results also helped restore her confidence and made her feel strong again.
When she got the all-clear from her injury, she added cardio to her routine with BODYSTEP™ and then got her personal training certificate in order to run a childhood obesity program at the local hospital to share her new-found joy for exercise.
Rosemary says that the Miss Virginia crown will give her access to a wider audience, so while she will miss teaching classes -though swears she'll attend classes any chance she gets - she plans to take the year to “project to the community the importance of being active – not just for appearance, but to be healthy and strong.”
So while Rosemary is now part of the Miss America family she says: “The motto of One Tribe has stuck with me. In a class we’re all in it together. The same is true in society. Exercise brings people together from all walks of life toward a common fitness goal: to better ourselves emotionally, mentally and physically.”
Of course Rosemary will be back instructing soon enough but in the meantime she has a message for other LES MILLS™ instructors out there: “You’re playing an important role in getting America’s and the World’s health back on track, so please take on this responsibility with love and excitement. Thank you for the job you do in helping change lives, just like my own life changed because of this program.”
A nervous wait
I’m sitting on the studio floor calmly waiting for the clock to tick over to 1.10pm and I can’t believe we are up to the double digits of this phenomenal program already.
But as we arrived I was nervous and curious to see what was coming up in the next 30 minutes. With all new choreography in programs I always get a little nervous, yet excited, on what are going to be the challenges? Do I need a plate, a 5kg plate, a 10kg plate? My questions were about to be answered as walking through the door were the presenter team. A star studded line up with the awesome Dan Cohen, Susan Trainor and Susan Renata, plus two other master trainers, Marcus from Germany and Justin from the UK and USA.
As the team were being miked up, Dan broke the silence of the class with a bit of a joke and laugh about a movie he had just seen but then, BOOM. This was the flipside – no mucking around – we were now in training mode. We were told to plate and tube up, (and of course, me, being completely oblivious to what was coming up, made sure it was all handy so I was ready to go!) We lay down, side to the stage and ready – the warm up phase had begun.
Stick a fork in me, I AM WELL DONE – from the neck down to what felt like the tightest butt ever - I was feeling the burn! What an unbelievable release, I felt like celebrating at the end of it if only because I had managed to make it through alive!
The first half of the class felt like a hazy yet familiar experience – basic, integrated exercises that pack one POWERFUL punch, so far so good and nothing that was too unfamiliar. Dan clearly felt passionate about education as his delivery through the first half of the class was phenomenal, you couldn’t escape challenging your own personal best!
End of track three and the home stretch begins – one word – SURPRISE! A working surprise. I always knew balance was not my strongest forte and it WAS challenged for 4-5minutes. My glutes, if they were able to, would have been waving a white flag of surrender. And cardio training? Does the C in CXWORX also mean Cardio? I felt my heart rate rise to a stage where I almost tasted lunch again. It definitely left me breathless and I LOVED IT! It was a great spin on things to keep the mind and body guessing, besides there’s nothing like a bit of gasping for air to get a healthy kick on the ticker.
Time to reflect
Quietly reflecting over the class while putting away my gear, I could confidently say that I felt WORKED! However, isn’t that the purpose? A purpose well nailed. It was great to see and feel a mixture of familiar moves with options for newbies and advances for us regulars, as well as tasting some new flavors in the mix to spice things up!
With the weekend ahead there are a few rehearsal classes left then Tuesday 12pm NZ time, the filming of CXWORX10 is in the making! I can’t wait to celebrate the core creation with the rest of the world.
Australian BODYSTEP™ AND BODYPUMP™ instructor Wendy Elphinstone reflects on a year of preparations in the lead up to taking the stage as a filming presenter…
Well here I am in Auckland, just four days away from my very first DVD appearance for Les Mills International. I’ve been a Trainer for Les Mills Asia Pacific since 1999. I’m a single parent to a fur-baby, 11yo Dixie-cat. LOL!
Although originally a Tasmanian, I now live in Melbourne, and I’m a Senior BODYSTEP™ Trainer for LMAP, with BODYPUMP™ as my other program. I’m in Auckland filming BODYSTEP™91 with Mark, Lisa, Sarah & Susan. I’m humbled & privileged to be here, yet SUPER excited too …… Dreams can come true folks!
The possibility of presenting first came to me about 18 months ago through Mark, and was confirmed six months later. So essentially I knew a year ago that I’d be on the Q1 2013 BODYSTEP91 DVD, and then the real focus could begin.
A year ago I started training at StudioForty6 in Melbourne with my friend, former colleague and successful PT Dean Lightbody, (former LMAP trainer and BODYATTACK™ and BODYSTEP™ DVD presenter), as Dean was concerned with my work, workout and life balance. We calculated that I was doing over 20 hours cardio and multiple weight sessions in my week, some were my classes and some my own individual training, as well as working as a full-time school teacher and training instructors for LMAP. I was a pure case of over-training … so upon Dean’s advice I cut some classes, and reduced my workout load to allow my body recovery and get more sleep. It was HARD, as I’m a compulsive exerciser, having being pretty unfit earlier on in life.
Honestly, it still is hard to ignore the compulsion to train, train and train. The training with Dean has been functionally based with a slant towards BODYSTEP™ and both the training and the emotional support Dean, (and his wife Kirsty), provided was INVALUABLE!
Dean also recommended an amazing naturopath, Genya Fleischer, who assisted me with the correct supplements, and got my body back into balance, because I knew nothing about it. She also did acupuncture on me to help fix a problem I was having with fluid retention.
Nutrition-wise I’m usually pretty good anyway as I am wheat intolerant and cannot eat bread, pasta, pizza, pastry etc. I try to eat wet carbs over dry, and fuel my body through meat, fruit, veges and nuts. I tried a few crazy diets leading up to Easter, every time crashing and failing due to lack of energy, and then feeling like a failure within myself. So at Easter I thought I’d stick to my usual food routine, but slowly eliminate things such as protein bars, my once-per-week chocolate treat, nuts, tinned tuna with a high salt content, and yoghurt.
Minor food adjustments, a reduced workout load and more sleep has made me feel more energized, and physically ready for filming….. And now I need to go back to scripting!!! See you on BODYSTEP™91!
For many international instructors, experiencing the iconic setting of Studio One during filming week at Les Mills Auckland City is a memorable experience. Our guest blogger and visiting BODYCOMBAT™ instructor Brit Berszelis writes about her first time...
"It’s Wednesday, 5.10 pm and I’m standing right inside Studio One. THE Studio One. Actually I imagined it much bigger from the DVDs but it’s a big and lovely studio nevertheless and I was pretty impressed by the enormous stage. The big videowall in the back and the Les Mills lighted frames at the side. That had a lot of charm and I really felt welcomed. There were a lot of people around me who had travelled a long way too, speaking different languages, just being here, meeting their idols and sharing their passion with others."
Ready for BODYCOMBAT™
"I put my BODYCOMBAT™ gloves on and stepped right into the ring... I mean, crowd. A great feeling, so many nice and open minded people, who just wanna train and have fun. Dan, Rach and Andrès ( a presenter from Hong Kong) were entering the stage and the music of BODYCOMBAT™ 55 started. Totally in fight mode, I was excited to find out what this release was about. It started right with an old Dirty Dancing track for the warm up and I was a little bit smiling cos I would never have imagined that song in a BODYCOMBAT™ release. But the atmosphere was amazing. Everybody was screaming. So many people moving, punching and kicking simultaneously, although there wasn’t much space for movements. A homogeneous crowd of fighting and exciting people. The big surprise for me came in Track 2. A Martial Arts move that has never been set before in this track. So this release has a lot of highlights just from the start. No time to rest, no time to recover, just pure training and endurance. I was totally smashed because of Track 4. One of my favorite tracks of BODYCOMBAT™ 55 - an old Prodigy song with an amazing fight combo.“
"I really enjoyed watching the BODYCOMBAT™ team acting on stage with precise techniques and colorful coaching. Right from the beginning I was into it, the excitement of the people, the thrilling music and the great fight combos. BODYCOMBAT™ 55 is really challenging right up to the end. Totally exhausted, but happy I went back to my hotel. I can’t wait to teach this release in my club and see how my participants will lose themselves in the music and in the moves."
There have been so many new faces around for this month’s filming of the latest program releases, we thought we’d take a second to get to know a few of our visiting international instructors and their thoughts on New Zealand.First up is Brit Berszelis, a BODYCOMBAT™ instructor from Germany. She tells us about her first time arriving at Les Mills HQ...
Today’s The Day. 7am and my alarm bell was ringing. ‘Today’s the day', I thought, and jumped out of bed. Shower, breakfast and of course checking the last clothes and important things. Check - everything‘s fine. Let the journey begin....
On our way to the airport it was raining and I just wished that the weather in Auckland would be much better.
Up in the air
First stop was Frankfurt/Main. It’s a huge airport and we walked miles getting from one gate to another. Finally at our gate, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was right in front of us the Airbus 380..... Such a gigantic airplane with two passenger decks including 12 suites, 420 seats on the main deck and 86 seats on the upper deck. Totally impressed, I stepped into my new home for the next 12 hours. Fortunately we booked some Emergency Exit seats in advance, so we got a lot of space for our legs.
The first thing I checked out out was not the menu card, but the entertainment system. My eyes were smiling. A lot of nice and new movies, it certainly wasn’t going to be a boring 12-hour flight. Satisfied, I laid back into my seat and watched one movie after another. Only thing that was missing - popcorn ;-)
Half way there
After arriving at Singapore Airport, my legs were really heavy and aching and I badly needed a leg massage. Luck was on my side. Right in front of gate B6 I saw an automatic foot massage machine - OMG I thought, and jumped into the seat. I searched for somewhere to pay and couldn’t believe that it was free - I love Singapore airport! So with 40 minutes left to our next flight I laid back and enjoyed the massage, which left me totally relaxed for the last 12-hour flight.
Finally...'Just 30 minutes to landing. Please come back to your seats, put the seat upright and fasten your seat belts.‘ At 12am we landed in Auckland and were really fascinated with the Maori sculptures at the entrance. We grabbed our luggage and were happy our taxi driver was already waiting to take us directly to our hotel.
Never mind that it was in the middle of the night, I wanted to go to Victoria Street and see the Les Mills Auckland City Club. Fortunately it was right around the corner. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of it: the mecca of all Les Mills‘ instructors. Even in the night this club was shining. Now I realized that my biggest wish had come true. Can’t wait to join a class in Studio One!
We all have our own stories behind our fitness journeys, a unique inspiration and motivation that drive us.
Baltimore BODYCOMBAT™ instructor and fitness blogger Lori Rypka spoke to our very own Rachael Newsham about motivation, the benefits of group fitness and how BODYCOMBAT™ saved her life.
Continue reading Lori's story